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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Affably Evil / 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).
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.
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.
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 / Evil Former Friend: 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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.