The series protagonist, also called "the Gunslinger", who hails from Gilead in the barony of New Canaan. He became a gunslinger at age fourteen after defeating his teacher, Cortland Andrus, in combat (his weapon of choice being David the hawk. He seeks the Dark Tower and will stop at nothing to reach it.
Badass: It's a requirement for being a gunslinger. He is an insanely fast draw with a deadly aim.
Chick Magnet: Is noted to be rather handsome, and has a number of romantic encounters throughout the story.
Mommy Issues: And how. When he's 14, he discovers that his mother is having an affair with Marten Broadcloak, one of Flagg's guises. This is the catalyst for his early gunslinger trial. Later, after the events in Wizard and Glass, he glimpses her in a mirror carrying a belt that she intends as a peace offering. He mistakes her for Rhea and her snake (magical illusion may or may not have been involved), and guns her down out of pure reflex.
Omniglot: He mentions that he speaks five languages and used to know a sixth one, but he has "forgotten everything but the curses."
One-Man Army: Single-handedly kills the entire town of Tull, men, women and children, when they were whipped into a fanatical religious frenzy against him by Sylvia Pittston.
Tragic Hero: Utterly determined to find the Tower, even if it means sacrificing everyone close to him, and he's not happy about this fact.
Walk the Earth: Pursuing the Man in Black and looking for the Dark Tower, to try and fix whatever is causing his world to fall apart at the seams.
What the Hell, Hero?: Letting Jake fall, shooting surrendering enemies and killing his own son, among other things.
John "Jake" Chambers
A young boy from New York who was killed in his own world and appeared at the Way Station in the Mohaine desert of Roland's world. He fell to his death when Roland abandoned him, but in the the third novel Jake is brought back to life because of a Grandfather Paradox caused by the death of Jack Mort.In the final novel, he throws himself in front of a car to protect Stephen King
Back from the Dead: Dies in Roland's world in The Gunslinger, but when Roland is in control of Jack Mort's body during The Drawing of the Three, he is able to prevent Jake's death in Jake's own world by stopping Jack from pushing Jake into traffic. Roland, Eddie and Susannah later find a door through which they are able to draw Jake back into Roland's world.
Badass Adorable: To the point that an 11 year old girl tells him she wants to do it in a closet.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: After getting no affection from his real father, he turns toward Roland for acceptance.
Edward Cantor "Eddie" Dean
A drug addict from New York who was rescued from drug lord Enrico Balazar by Roland. Eddie always has a snarky comment or terrible pun for any situation.In the final novel, he is shot by Pimli Prentiss after the attack on Algul Siento.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a smartass, kind of a goofball, and when introduced he's still a slave to drugs, but Roland recognized that there was "deep steel" in Eddie Dean, and his judgement is vindicated in the shootout at Balazar's place.
Disappeared Dad: He finds the Mid-World expression "forgotten the face of my father" ironic, because he wouldn't recognize his father if he met him. When he introduces himself as "Eddie Dean of New York, son of Wendell" in Calla, he thinks that leastwise, his mother always said that.
Going Cold Turkey: There's no heroin in Roland's world and going through the withdrawal cold turkey was not pleasant...but it was better than going baked turkey.
Sad Clown: Uses jokes and sarcasm to cover up his lack of self-worth, which came from his emotionally manipulative brother and years of being a junkie.
Sarcastic Devotee: "All things serve the fuckin' Beam." He often makes light of their quest and is always quick with the jokes, but he becomes loyal to Roland and wants to see things through to the end.
Young Gun: Roland sees Eddie's potential almost immediately but it takes a while to bring it to the fore.
Susannah Dean (formerly Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker)
A black, disabled woman who lived in the 1960s and fought for equal rights. She suffered from a Split Personality: Odetta Susannah Holmes, who was refined and cultured, and Detta Walker, who was foulmouthed and violent. They merged together into one person. Susannah had to distract a demon by having sex with it, and became "pregnant" with Mordred, a child of Roland, the Crimson King and Mia, who possessed Susannah and brought her split personality disorder back.In the final novel, she returns to the New York of another world, where she is reunited with Eddie and Jake.
Action Girl: She's a crack shot with the pistol and later the oriza.
Amazonian Beauty: She's described as very beautiful, with very muscular arms from driving a wheelchair.
Split Personality Merge: Happens at the end of Book 2, resulting in her merge into Susannah. Her alter-egos are still there and do resurface occasionally however, particularly Detta.
Twofer Token Minority: A black woman with multiple personality disorder in a wheelchair. Particularly notable in that every other member of the ka-tet is a white male.
Values Dissonance: In-universe. In her time, the politically correct term for African-Americans is "Negro". She doesn't like it when Eddie calls her "black". Eddie has a hard time with this because in his time, calling a black person a Negro is almost tantamount to calling her a nigger.
A billy-bumbler from Mid-World who was an outcast from his pack and joined the ka-tet.In the final novel, Mordred brutally kills him.
Retcon: When he joins the ka-tet in The Waste Lands, he is missing his tail. Roland thinks he probably lost it in a fight with other bumblers. In later books, he's described as wrapping his (very long) tail around himself when he rests. No explanation is given as to how he got it back.
Tanuki: It's unknown if this was intentional or coincidental on King's part, but as a raccoon/dog hybrid with a penchant for mimicry...
The Original Ka-Tet
Roland's comedic childhood friend. He died during the Battle of Jericho Hill.
An enigmatic sorcerer whose true name is Walter Padick but who goes by several other names including Randall Flagg (or simply Flagg, Marten Broadcloak, Richard Fannin, Walter O'Dim, and several others. He is the Crimson King's second-in-command, who intends to scale the tower himself.
Arch-Enemy: To Roland. Until Mordred comes along...
Hidden Depths: Hinted in Wolves of the Calla when Callahan calls him cruel.
Walter's eyes widen, and for a moment he looks deeply hurt. This may be absurd, but Callahan is looking into the man's deep eyes and feels sure that the emotion is nonetheless genuine. And the surety robs him of any last hope that all this might be a dream, or a final brilliant interval before true death. In dreams — his, at least — the bad guys, the scary guys, never have complex emotions.
I Have Many Names: Including but not limited to Walter o'Dim, Walter Padick, Marten Broadcloak, Rudin Filaro and other variations of R.F.
A spider god named Los', who has gone mad and intends to tear down the Dark Tower.
The Anti-God: He's personification of evil in the multiverse, yet not very sane or powerful, and he plans on knocking down the Dark Tower, which would destroy the multiverse in general.
Bigger Bad: Of Stephen King's metaverse. However, at one point Mia states that the Crimson King has been "promised" a new kingdom after all the Beams have been broken, but by whom, she knows not. So there may be a never-seen even bigger bad behind him. When Susannah questions her about this she states that he may have only promised it to himself, she doesn't know for sure.
Red Right Hand: Like with all the masked can-toi, there is a small circular scar on his forehead that is always welling up with liquid blood, which never spills over to run down his face.
Slasher Smile: Gleefully tells Father Callahan how he led him to his office to either be killed or infected by vampires.
Tick-Tock Man/Andrew Quick
The power-mad leader of the Greys of Lud, who is obsessed with clocks. After being shot he was recruited by the Man in Black.
Berserk Button: "So Fell Lord Perth." Lord Perth being his direct ancestor.
Faux Affably Evil: It's mentioned that Tick-Tock is very charismatic, and people can't look away from him for very long, feeling almost hypnotized by his presence. He's also very polite and gentle with Jake at first (or at least more polite and gentle than the brutal and thuggish Gasher) and seems more educated and relaxed in general than the rest of the Grays, then Jake manages to accidentally press his Berserk Button...
Large and in Charge: When Jake first meets him, he notes that Tick-Tock is a very big man, and the only one of the Grays he's seen that looks healthy.
Lightning Bruiser: In addition to the aforementioned size, Tick-Tock also moves with an eerie speed (demonstrated when he gets out of his casual sitting position, pulls a knife from its scabbard, and flings it into the chest of a laughing woman from across the room in the time it takes to blink), and Jake notes with dismay that he may actually be faster than Roland.Luckily, this theory is never tested.
Gonk: He's startlingly ugly even without the mandrus.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gasher and Hoots, another Gray, were always butt-buddies of old, says Tick-Tock. Hoots even writes down the password for gaining entry to the Cradle of the Grays and gives it to Gasher to help him remember, which Gasher seems quite grateful for (even though he can't read).
The computer system that runs Lud and inhabits a train. It takes delight in riddles and is sadistic, having driven its partner Patricia to suicide and feeling no remorse about destroying Lud.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Was once a servant of the citizens of the Imperium, but after they vanished and the world began to move on, he started to lose his sanity.
ALL CAPS: How his dialogue is shown. The voice of "Little Blaine", and the recording the ka-tet hears when they board Blaine (which sounds like a more confident Little Blaine) is written normally, however.
For the Evulz: His motivation for gassing Lud and attempting to kill the ka-tet.
Blaine claimed that Patricia, the other monorail based in Lud, had essentially had a mental breakdown and would not stop crying. He removed certain restraints from Patricia's programming so she could kill herself by going over a broken trestle into the Send, and so he wouldn't have to listen to her anymore. He basically lets his only remaining contemporary die because she got on his nerves.
Jerk Ass: Showcased in his treatment of Patricia, and how he uses the "god-drums" to incite the Pubes of Lud to practice human sacrifice in order to appease what they think are malicious ghosts.
Logic Bomb: Eddie dispatches him with these, much to the surprise of the rest of the ka-tet.
Riddle Me This: Practically the only thing that piques his interest by the time of the story, aside from watching the Pubes kill each other because of the "god-drums".
Shock and Awe: Blaine electrocuted the last person who tried talking to him before Roland's ka-tet came along.
Split Personality: Big Blaine and Little Blaine. Big Blaine is the one that is in control and doesn't seem to realize that Little Blaine even exists. Little Blaine is what is left of Blaine's original programming and is utterly helpless to do anything but warn the ka-tet not to piss off Big Blaine.
Taking You with Me: Intends to kill himself at the end of his final run, and the ka-tet is along for the ride. Roland manages to convince Blaine to spare them if they can best him at riddles.
Rhea Dubativo of the Cöos
A witch that the residents of Hambry fear greatly. She becomes addicted to using Maerlyn's grapefruit to spy on others.
Dirty Old Woman: An even creepier variation than the usual. During a scene where she is bullying poor Sheemie (who was delivering a cask of Graf to her hut), she made a very rape-y and uncomfortable pass at him, and it is very heavily implied that she was getting off on her pet snake "rubbing" against her while she spied on people through the pink ball.
Killed Offscreen: It's implied that Roland killed her at one point but it's never elaborated upon.
Wicked Witch: Being wicked is pretty much a requirement for working with the Crimson King. In her backstory, she made a pact with him for extended life in exchange for serving him.
The leader of the Big Coffin Hunters, an arrogant old man.
Broken Ace: Before getting a shard of the "Laughing Mirror" embedded in his foot, which was mostly what turned him into an evil and lazy man, Eldred Jonas was a prodigy who could quickly master nearly every type of weapon that was handed to him.
Fighting with Chucks: His weapon of choice during the final test was the "Kashmini Nunchaku", a weapon apprentice gunslingers are trained to use. Too bad he was more interested in goofing off than actually training with them...
Handicapped Badass: Walks with a limp due to having his leg broken by his instructor, which resulted in the aforementioned failure.
We Used to Be Friends: Eldred trained under Cort's father, and he and Cort were apparently really close childhood friends, that is until Eldred failed his last test and was sent West.
A dim-witted Big Coffin Hunter.
A Big Coffin Hunter who always wears a cloak and is popular with women.
A serial killer, "the Pusher", who is responsible for Jake's first death and Susannah's split personality.
Death by Irony: Killed by the same train he pushed Odetta under years ago.
Man on Fire: A shot from a cop's gun ignites the cigarette lighter in his front pocket when Roland's in control of his body.
Professional Butt-Kisser: Mort only carries a lighter so he can light his boss' cigarettes at opportune times, usually when someone else even higher up the ladder is nearby, so he looks like a man of courtesy and good taste.
Serial Killer: By pushing people into danger, or pushing objects onto people, such as a brick off of a high windowsill onto a child's head.
Roland, Cuthbert, Alain and Jamie's mentor.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Constantly belittles his charges and will beat them if they aren't living up to his expectations.
Eye Scream: During his duel with Roland, Roland's hawk David claws out his bad eye, which was already blind.
Made of Iron: Gunslingers "graduated" from his class by beating the crap out of him; at least one of his predecessors had died during these coming-of-age duels. In the end, it was poison, probably, that killed him and not the duels.
Training from Hell: Cort will literally go upside his student's heads whenever they aren't meeting his high standards.
We Used to Be Friends: Was apparently good friends with Eldred Jonas during his childhood, that is until Eldred failed his last test...
Roland's mother, who lost her son's respect after having sex with Marten.
Death by Origin Story: She was accidentally shot by a paranoid Roland after he discovered a plot to undermine Gilead; she was apparently going to try to make amends, but Roland's reflexes took over when he heard someone entering his room.
The Mole: Worked with the resistance leader, who was her lover.
A mentally disabled young man who worked at a tavern in Hambry; he was recruited into being a Breaker in Algul Siento
The Rainman: Despite being mentally handicapped, Sheemie is revealed to be a powerful Breaker.
Eddie's older brother, who bullied Eddie out of jealousy.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A toned-down version of this trope as Henry was more of a Jerkass rather than outright evil. He was not the best of brothers, but Eddie still loved him, even when he later realized that most of the time Henry was just jealous of him and trying to bring him down.
Erudite Stoner: Referred to as the "Great Sage and Eminent Junkie" by Eddie and himself, however it's a subversion of the trope, as the main thing Henry was good at was, well, being a junkie, with Manipulative Bastard tendencies.
Jerkass: A number of flashbacks in The Waste Lands show that Henry could often be pretty mean to Eddie, especially if he saw that Eddie was better at something than he was, such as basketball (and, as Eddie comes to realize, just about everything).
Manipulative Bastard: Eddie notes that Henry's limp (due to a wound he received in Vietnam) would always become more pronounced when they were arguing, most likely in an effort to make Eddie feel like a jerk for stressing his poor put-upon brother who always had to watch out for him.
Present Absence: Henry is only on page for a short time before he's killed by Balazar's men, but it takes Eddie a while to get over the mental block that Henry caused with his bullying when they were younger.
Father Donald Frank Callahan
A priest who fought vampires; he met Roland's ka-tet in Calla Bryn Sturgis and travelled with them until he shot himself rather than letting the elder vampires kill him.
The Alcoholic: In his backstory. At one point, Callahan wonders at having been a walking stereotype: an Irish Catholic priest with a drinking problem.
Badass Preacher: In the years after 'Salem's Lot he started hunting vampires after one of them infected his friend Lupe Delgado with AIDS, which got him on the Sombra Corporation's shit list.
A prolific horror writer from Maine, Stephen King appears As Himself in the last two novels of the series. He is first mentioned when Roland discovers a copy of 'Salem's Lot, causing an existential crisis for Callahan; Roland and Eddie, visiting "Keystone Earth" in the when of 1977, discover that King is a medium through which the Dark Tower is attempting to save itself. They become convinced that their quest cannot succeed if King does not complete his Magnum Opus, and encourage him to do so.
Author Powers: inverted. Stevie explicitly disclaims creating Roland or any of the others, and cannot control them; in fact, he admits to having given up on the series after completing The Gunslinger precisely because Roland went Off the Rails and let Jake fall.