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Abagail is God's prophet on Earth and the guide to the main characters. She is a 108-year-old black woman who lives in Nebraska. Almost every main character dreams of her sitting on her porch, playing her guitar, usually directly after they have a disturbing dream about the Big Bad.
- 108: She's 108 years old when the story sets.
- Big Good: She's considered to be the symbolic leader of the Boulder region due to her appearing in dreams and being something of the spiritual leader of the area.
- Cool Old Lady: Over a hundred years and still ticking. She remains to be one of the most interpersonal individuals within the Boulder group, partly because of her faith.
- Dream Weaver: In the aftermath of the Captain Tripps plague, she and Flagg start appearing in peoples dreams throughout the holdovers of humanity.
- Final Speech: Shortly before wasting away.
- I Sense a Disturbance in the Force: Ruby Dee (in the miniseries) even looks like Yoda, and she's a prophet so it's justified.
- Magical Negro: Played with. Abagail most certainly has supernatural insight and ends up being the emotional and moral center of the BFZ, so much so that the council - which is all white - make sure to give her absolute veto power over any of their decisions, lest it look like they were trying to wrest power from her.
- Ultimately subverted by the very hero-worship outlined above. Her duty's just getting everyone together and pointing the way, but she enjoys the attention so much that she inadvertently indulges in Pride and leads the council astray from their real duty of dealing with Flagg.
- Meaningful Name: Abagail Freemantle
- Sacrificial Lion: She realizes she's been putting too much stock into herself rather than God and disappears into the wilderness for a while. When she returns, the group rushing to announce her return saves most of the Boulder council from a bomb planted by Harold. Abigial dies of starvation soon after.
- Waif Prophet: Mother Abagail is so old she verges on a Blind Seer.
- Wasteland Elder: She started put as an old woman living in a field in Nebraska. Afterwards, she became a de facto leader for a faction of naturally-immune super-plague survivors that were unambiguously the "good guys".
Stuart "Stu" Redman
Stu Redman grew up in Arnette, Texas, and was stuck working in a calculator factory to support his brother when his parents died. When the Superflu's Patient Zero crashed into the gas station in his town, Stu was transplanted to a plague control center in Vermont. A redneck with a heart of gold, Stu quickly became a leader among survivors.
- Action Survivor: Stu is an aging, regular dude from a lonely part of the country who finds himself wrapped up in, in order: a government cover-up, a post-apocalyptic survivor, rebuilding society, and a climactic battle between good and evil.
- Cincinnatus: Stu is reluctant to be Marshal of the Free Zone, and ultimately leaves for New England. His successor actively campaigned for the part.
- The Everyman: When it comes down to it, Stu is just a guy from East Texas with very little to set him apart from the Weirdness Censor that kept him from getting killed during a superflu outbreak.
- Fist of Rage: When he's talking to Frannie after the explosion, and showing his anger toward Harold.
- Good Ol' Boy: Naturally, as an aging Eastern Texan in the '70's (or '80's, depending on the book edition).
- The Gunslinger: First marshal of Boulder.
- The Hero: Stu is nominally the hero, as nobody else really falls into the role.
- I Sense a Disturbance in the Force: Stu (rather unjustifiably) does this in the miniseries.
- Meaningful Name: Stu Redman
- Opt Out: Stu Redman is forced to do this near the end of the novel due to injury. It ends up saving his life, and is more than hinted at that God did this intentionally so the resolution is left unambiguous for the Boulder survivors.
- The Quiet One: Rarely talks unless it's important. Even lampshaded when he has to give a speech when Boulder is resettled.
- Supporting Leader: In addition to being appointed First Marshall of Boulder, he leads the final mission to overthrow the Dark Man. It turns out he was only sent in order to Bring News Back about the others' subsequent sacrifice and destruction of Flagg's kingdom. See Passing the Torch on the main page.
Frances "Frannie" Goldsmith
A college girl, Frannie discovered at the beginning of the book that she had become pregnant with her boyfriend, Jess. She had traveled home to Ogonquit, Maine, to tell her parents when the Superflu hit. Frannie cares most about keeping those she loves, especially her unborn child, safe.
- Daddy's Girl: The person she's closest to is her father, and this causes he no small amount of anguish when it finally hits that she's eventually going to have to bury him after he dies from Captain Tripps.
- The Chick: The only feminine member of the team from the group that rebuilds and leads Boulder.
- The Ditz: Miniseries only. She's merely hormonal in the book.
- Girl Next Door: A regular girl from the Eastern U.S.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: She has an unwanted pregnancy, but decides against abortion.
- Team Mom: She's the one who tries to diffuse tension from the group, even if it's at the emotional expense of others, like Harold. This is a plot point. Also, literally as she spends most of the book pregnant with her old boyfriend's child.
- Mommy Issues: From her neurotic mother, who could be more than a little abusive during certain circumstances.
Nicholas "Nick" Andros
Nicholas Andros was born deaf-mute, or physically unable to hear or speak. To communicate, he reads lips and writes on a pad of paper. Orphaned at a young age, Nick grew up in an orphanage. He left at age 16 and hitchhiked from town to town, taking odd jobs. Nick was in Shoyo, Arkansas, when the Superflu hit. He cannot understand why people look to him as a leader.
- Adaptational Badass: In the miniseries, he's... fast.
- And I Must Scream: Nick, who is already deaf-mute, nearly has both eyes gouged out by the last surviving human plague victim within a 50-mile radius.
- Badass: instead of running from the bomb, he tries to defuse it.
- Decoy Protagonist Possibly the most protagonistic of the series, until its subverted during his death three-quarters through the novel. Then again, he does act as a Spirit Advisor for Tom, so maybe not so subverted...
- The Drifter: He drifted from the age of 16, doing oddjobs to keep himself fed over the years.
- Eye Scream: The thug who mugs him at his introduction nearly gouges out an eye when he pops back up. Nick eventually heals, though his eye does cause him some discomfort afterwords.
- Handicapped Badass: A deaf-mute who pulls off actions of self-defense and heroism in spite of his handicap.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Attempts to defuse a bomb to save the others.
- Ideal Hero: Especially after his death.
- I Sense a Disturbance in the Force: Nick uses this to sense the bomb in the book.
- Mayor of a Ghost Town: in Shoyo after Captain Tripps runs its course.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Nick receives one of these in his first scene in the book.
- The Speechless: As a deaf mute, Nick has to communicate via lip-reading and writing down what he wants to communicate (since he hasn't learned sign language, and most characters couldn't understand it even if he had).
- The Stoic: Probably mostly due to his inability to really express himself.
- Technical Pacifist: You wouldn't like Nick when he's angry.
Lawson "Larry" Underwood
Larry started off a career as a singer/songwriter but was unsuccessful until his single, Baby, Can You Dig Your Man? hit it big. He was taken in by people taking advantage of his fame and fortune and traveled to his childhood home in New York City for refuge. Larry is haunted by the words of a woman he slept with, "You ain't no nice guy!" and of his mother, "You're a taker, Larry." He is determined to prove them wrong and terrified that they are right.
- All Take and No Give: His mom calls him a "taker", which comes back to haunt him many times. To put it in the words of his friend Wayne Stukey, there's "something in [Larry] that's like biting on tinfoil."
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Larry wasn't a bad guy before the plague but he certainly wasn't pleasant either: a selfish asshole to his friends, a drain on his mother and a short-sighted hedonist when he has his first taste of success. But his long-buried noble qualities rise to the surface after the plague, and he becomes one of the pillars of the survivor community.
- Betty and Veronica: With Lucy and Nadine. An inversion for Nadine, when he serves as the cosmic Betty to Flagg as Veronica.
- Celebrity Survivor: Sort of; his first single had become a hit right before the plague wiped out everyone, and soon after everyone has forgotten that he was kind of famous. It's lampshaded late in the book, when Fran is talking to Larry trying to remember who sang "Baby Can You Dig Your Man" and says the name's on the tip of her tongue. Larry lies that he can't remember either.
- Childhood Friends: One of Larry's bigger regrets is how his selfish attitude ruined his relationship with a childhood friend. He goes into some detail not only about how trivial the argument was, but what a good friend he had had.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Dies in the nuclear blast at the climax.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Fully indulged in the Sex Drugs And Rock N Roll lifestyle prior to the plague.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Word of God says Larry Underwood is an expy for Bruce Springsteen, and he looks the part in the miniseries. King even said many fans wanted Springsteen to play Larry in any movie adaptation.
- Running Gag: People are surprised that Larry is white because apparantly he "sounds black" on the song "Baby Can You Dig Your Man."
Glendon Pequod "Glen" Bateman
Glen was a sociologist and novice painter before the Superflu. When he meets Stu, he is living on his own with an adopted dog, Kojak. He loves to speculate on the post-flu future, and gives Stu and others good advice about the new Boulder government.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Stu.
- Defiant to the End: His Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When he finally meets Randall Flagg, Glen proceeds to taunt and mock him. Flagg becomes so outraged at Glen that he orders Lloyd to execute him.
- Ludd Was Right: Believes this of the new, post-plague world.
- Mondegreen: In the miniseries, when we first meet him, Glen mondegreens "Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?".
- The Philosopher: Spends a lot of his page time talking about the nature of good and evil and the remaining survivors' place in the world.
- The Professor: "Not anymore, Larry. In case you haven't noticed, school is out."
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: To Flagg. He laughs him out of the room!
Formerly known as Big Steve, Kojak is one of the few dogs to survive the Superflu. He is very smart and fiercely loyal to his new owners, to the point of fighting wolves and running across half the country to be with them.
- Badass: Kojak takes on a pack of bloodthirsty wolves and wins, then continues on to Boulder in spite of his injuries.
- Canine Companion: Glen's, initially.
- A Day in the Limelight: Kojak's journey across the United States to Boulder told from the dog's perspective.
- Determinator: Due to Undying Loyalty.
- Heroic Dog: When Stu breaks his leg on the way to Vegas and has to stay behind, Kojak saves his life by bringing him food and firewood.
- Undying Loyalty: Traveled halfway across the country and fought demonic wolves to be with his new owners.
Tom was born lightly mentally retarded, only able to make certain connections normal people find easy by putting himself in a state of near-hypnosis. He never had any friends until Nick found him lying in the road in his deserted hometown. Despite acting like a child, Tom is braver and smarter than people think.
- Actual Pacifist: Is terrified at the first sign of violence, and even under hypnosis visibly starts at the suggestion he hurt someone else. It never becomes an issue.
- Catch Phrase: "M‑O‑O‑N, that spells [any word]", including illegal, ruptures, DeeDee Packalotte, tired, Stu Redman, sore feet, moon, Tom Cullen, trouble, and deafmute. He also theorizes that C-I-T-Y-L-I-M-I-T-S spells Boulder. Laws yes.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Generally serves as little more than comic relief and an obstacle for Nick Andros (albeit an amusing and endearing one) during his journey to Boulder. He's virtually forgotten by the third act, until he comes out of nowhere to save Stu's life, making it possible for the other members of the Free Zone to learn of what transpired in Las Vegas.
- Disability Immunity: Flagg is unable to sense him, because of his retardation.
- Disability Superpower: Tom is especially susceptible to suggestion and is able to hypnotize himself to solve problems.
- Dumb Is Good: One of the dumbest characters in the book, and also one of the most kindhearted.
- Gentle Giant: Tom is described as being both big and strong, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. (Though it is remarked in the book that once, and only once, a group of foolhardy young men from his hometown set upon him, perhaps just to harass the village idiot for a few laughs, with no real intentions of serious harm. Suffice to say the experiment did not fare well for the good ol' boys and was never repeated.)
- Hidden Depths: He manages to creep the others out with them, under hypnosis."I am God's Tom."
- Kindhearted Simpleton: Tom is on a mental level of a child, and he's very kind and nice to everyone.
- Manchild: Tom is middle-aged but still enjoys playing with toys (he's mentally retarded).
- Mayor of a Ghost Town: He is the only surviving person in his hometown of May, Oklahoma, where Nick finds him.
- Older Than They Look: He is said to look no more than twenty-three; actually he's at least forty-five. It probably doesn't help that he acts like a kid.
- Third-Person Person: He often refers to himself as "Tom Cullen".
- Verbal Tic: Laws, yes.
Harold Emery Lauder
Harold Lauder grew up in Ogunquit, Maine, as the fat kid whom nobody liked. He always had a crush on Frannie Goldsmith but never told her. Harold is extremely bitter and sees his new situation as a chance to get Frannie once and for all.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Is this to Frannie in the miniseries, where Frannie's father says that Harold's had a crush on her since Frannie was nine years old. In the novel his big sister was Frannie's best friend, but they only really got to know each other after the superflu had ravaged Oguinquit.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Harold is described as being an overweight dweeb with bad acne. In the miniseries he is played by the slender and handsome Corin Nemec.
- Alas, Poor Villain: His last moments are very pitiful.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Harold affects a bit of this early on. It is specifically noted as being kinda pretentious, and something he's doing because he's scared.
- Ate His Gun: After being left behind by Flagg, he chooses to write a suicide note and fire his gun inside of his mouth.
- Author Avatar: Harold is an unpopular, bespectacled teen from southern Maine who is a literary geek, lusts after the girl next door, and wants to write the next great American novel. Wouldn't be the first time King turned his own expy into the villain...
- Big Bad Wannabe: He causes a lot of trouble for the heroes when he bombs them and kills Nick, but he's ultimately just another pawn of Flagg.
- Best Served Cold: Plants a bomb in Boulder to get back at the world for mistreating him.
- Covert Pervert: Has sexual fantasies about Frannie while travelling with her.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: At one point he tells Frannie he loves her, but she rejects him. When Frannie and Stu become a couple, Harold's jealousy causes him to slide further towards the dark side.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: At one point in the book he "masturbates bitterly" after reading Fran's diary and finding out about her affair with Stu.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Harold "Whack-Off" Lauder.
- Evil Feels Good: After Harold's heel turn, everyone comments on his newfound charisma and self-esteem.
- Face–Heel Turn: After being manipulated and driven by envy, he sets a bomb up to kill the Boulder community and go to Las Vegas.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: He realizes that he could have went on and become a valued member of the Boulder community if he settled his petty grudges, but by that point he is alone in the middle of the desert and left for dead.
- Geek: Possibly inspired by King's own awkward youth.
- Ignored Epiphany: Harold has a moment when the camaraderie he shares with his coworkers makes him see that all the Wangsty bullshit he's been carrying around since high school is just that: bullshit. He resolves to give up his plan to betray the Free Zone and settle down. Then Nadine seduces him on orders from Flagg, and things go downhill from there...
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: His Insufferable Genius tendencies serve to compensate for the fact that he has been mocked and outcasted his whole life. Flagg preys on this to make him turn against his friends.
- In-Series Nickname: He recieves the nickname "Hawk" in Boulder. He first thinks it's a bad joke, the he realizes it's serious and people actually respect him. He signs his suicide note as Hawk.
- Insufferable Genius: It is mentioned that he starts talking like a politician as he gains confidence, something that annoys other characters.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: "My name is Harold Emery Lauder. I do this of my own free will."
- Man Child: Harold is very intelligent, but quite immature for his age.
- Mask of Sanity: Harold wears it in Boulder. It gives him a reputation as a back-slapper but rings alarm bells for the more perceptive Boulder residents.
- Meaningful Name: Harold E. Lauder
- The Mole: For Flagg, eventually.
- Most Writers Are Writers: He's an amateur fantasy writer.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Begins to take on these beliefs
- Not Good with Rejection: Harold, once Frannie picks Stu, despite the fact he'd been deluding himself into believing he had a chance with her.
- Put Them All Out of My Misery: See Alas, Poor Villain and Wangst.
- Redemption Rejection: Harold, who realizes he can make a new and better life for himself in Boulder, chooses to settle all of his childish grudges instead.
- Say My Name: "My name is Harold Emery Lauder."
- The Smart Guy: For the survivors in Boulder.
- Smug Snake: Not as clever as he thinks he is.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Frannie.
- Stepford Smiler: Harold becomes one when he reads Frannie's diary. When he starts up the practice, many characters start to comment on how cheery he's become. Oh, if only they knew...
- It doesn't fool everybody. Nick refuses to give him a place on the council in Boulder because he thinks there's something unsettling and fake in his constant grinning and glad-handing. Mother Abagail doesn't like him, either.
- The Unfavourite: His parents always frowned on his nerdy ways.
- Wangst: Harold's bitterness over being picked on throughout his school years and his inability to just get over it ends up with him falling to The Dark Side. After realizing how accepted he's become in Boulder, he realizes that holding on to his old grudges is stupid and pathetic and resolves to change... but then, along comes Nadine.
- Wild Card: Harold refers to himself as this, and seems to embody the trope. This proves bad for the people of Boulder and is also hinted to be the reason why Flagg takes him down after he does his job.
- Yandere: At the beginning, to Frannie.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once he's done his job in Boulder and then escorted Nadine through the mountains, Flagg leaves a convenient oilslick in the road for him.
Nadine has had dreams of the Big Bad, Randall Flagg, since college. She is his promised wife and mother of his child. By the time Larry finds Nadine, she is desperate to find someone to tear her away from Flagg's spell over her, whether it is Larry or Joe.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She literally can't help it, for she is prophesied to carry Flagg's child.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica.
- Composite Character: Rita Blakemoor is rolled into Nadine's character in the miniseries.
- Disney Villain Death/Driven to Suicide/Dying Moment of Awesome: She doesn't save anyone, and she doesn't take anyone with her (well, one person), but she does something still profound; she rattles Randall Flagg.
- Face–Heel Turn: Goes over to Flagg, along with Harold.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: Nadine Cross spent her life believing she had to save her virginity for Dream Weaver Flagg, who is revealed to be an expy for The Antichrist. When she falls in love with Larry instead, she initially rebuffs his advances, then desperately asks him to sleep with her (after he has fallen in love with someone else) to break her commitment to Flagg. When Larry refuses, Nadine falls in with Flagg.
- Kirk Summation: Deliberately done to anger Flagg. Redemption Equals Death.
- Locked into Strangeness: Flagg turns her hair white.
- Meaningful Name: Nadine Cross
- Mystical White Hair: Nadine's hair supernaturally turns white due to contact with Randall Flagg.
- The Mole: For Flagg. She turns Harold into one as well.
- Parental Substitute: To Leo/Joe.
- Rape as Drama: Flagg rapes her to conceive his son.
Leo was still a kid when the Superflu hit. When Nadine found him, he was sick from an infected rat bite. When she nursed him back to health, he was unable to speak, dressed only in his underpants and carried around a knife the way most kids carry around teddy bears. She named him Joe for lack of a better name.
- Child Prodigy: He's able to play the guitar after hearing Larry once.
- Creepy Child: He has some psychic powers which allow him to "know things".
- Knife Nut: Holds on to a knife at all times because it provides a measure of security.
- Morality Chain: For Nadine.
- Orphan's Ordeal: After his family's death he nearly died of infection, and was so traumatized he stopped talking and carried a knife all the time. Nadine becames his Parental Substitute but it doesn't end well. In the end, he's adopted by Larry and Lucy.
- Psychic Powers: He seems to have a little telepathy, and he instantly knows there's something wrong with Harold.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Can remember nothing of his former life due to the horror he went through surviving the plague on his own.
- Troubled Child: Naturally, because he lost his whole family in the plague and had to survive by himself for a long time.
- The Voiceless: When we first meet him. He gets his voice back when he meets Mother Abagail.
- Wild Child: In the "feral child" sense.
Dayna was traveling with other survivors when they were attacked by a group of rapists. Her friends were killed and she was the group's plaything until the day she and the other girls, along with Stu and Frannie's group, were able to overthrow them. Dayna is fiercely loyal and independent.
- Action Girl: One of the more active female characters.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Dayna kills herself to prevent Flagg from torturing her for information. That he could not stop or predict this really rattles him.
- Bi the Way: Sue Stern offhandedly mentions that Dayna is bisexual; Stu is flabbergasted.
- The Dog Bites Back: When Stu's group encounters the rapists, she leads the women in a revolt against them. She later reveals they were waiting for a group, preferably one with guns, to find them before they moved.
- The Infiltration: One of the spies sent to Las Vegas.
- Rape as Backstory: Before joining up with Stu, she was part of a "woman zoo" kept by a group of survivors as sex slaves.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Found out as a spy and kills herself to avoid torture.
Lucy met and fell in love with Larry offscreen. She sees the best in him and tries to help him do the same.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty.
- Someone to Remember Him By She gives birth to Larry's twins months after he dies.
Rita was the wife of a rich man and never had to do anything herself until the Superflu hit. She met Larry in New York City and latched on to him. She can't deal with the horrors around her and depends on Larry heavily for support.
- Escort Mission: The Lincoln Tunnel
- Functional Addict: In the miniseries this is given to Nadine.
- May–December Romance: Larry is young enough to be her son.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: She eventually dies in her sleep.
Richard Theodore Farris
Also known as Judge Farris. He is a wise old man with a thirst for adventure.
- Everybody Calls Him Barkeep: He's usually called "Judge".
- Jumped at the Call: Accepts Larry's request (to act as a spy against Flagg) even before Larry can ask him, and shoots down Larry's attempts to talk him out of it. He knows full well what the risks and potential consequences are, but dammit, he's doing what he feels is right.
- Race Lift: Is played by Ossie Davis in the miniseries. In the novel, the Judge mentions growing up as part of a wealthy family in the 1930's, almost certainly placing him as white.
Susan was with Dayna in the group of girls gathered by rapists as playthings. She later was on the Free Zone Committee.
- The Artifact: Susan seems to belong to the Boulder Free Zone committee only so that Fran Goldsmith isn't the only female member. Her only roles in the story include sharing dialogue and scenes with Dayna Jergens to display their friendship and finding a bitch for Kojak to mate with. She was one of the characters King struggled with during the hiatus whilst he was writing the book which led to...
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: Gets abruptly blown up along with the rest of the committee to get the plot moving again.
- Mauve Shirt: She has a name and some dialogue, but not much else. Then she dies.
Randall Flagg, called The Dark Man, Legion, The Walkin' Dude, is the ultimate evil. He is the servant of the Devil himself. He haunts Superflu survivors' dreams and gathers an army of insane or frightened people to him. His smile can drive a man insane and he crucifies those who oppose or fail him.
- A God Am I: The people of Las Vegas almost literally worship him, and he was inspired by several different cult leaders King had read about.
- The Antichrist: Or an archetype thereof.
- Bad Boss: He keeps his citizens motivated and behaved by public crucifixions for people that give him any trouble or commit crimes as tame as recreational drug use.
- Big Bad: When he takes over Las Vegas and plots to conquer the rest of the nation. The Dark Tower even states that he started the plague for fun.
- Canon Immigrant: Into and out of various works.
- The Corrupter: He drives men to commit the most horrific atrocities, all with a friendly smile on his face.
- Creepy Crows: A crow is Flagg's preferred shapeshifted form.
- Dark Messiah: He seems to be this when he gets society back on its feet, though the Messiah part falls through when it's implied that, should his side win, everything will just...end.
- The Dragon: Ultimately one for the Crimson King.
- Dream Weaver. He's the opposite end to Mother Abigail, causing nightmares for those who would side with her and comforting dreams for those that would fall under his camp.
- The Drifter: They don't call him "The Walkin' Dude" for nothing.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Things like love and loyalty are foreign concepts to him. He can only genuinely feel hatred, rage, and fear.
- Evil Counterpart: to Mother Abagail
- Evil Overlord: Of Las Vegas. He missed a couple items in the checklist.
- Evil Sorcerer: The only character to be skilled in magic.
- Expy: Of Nyarlathotep. A shapeshifter who goes by many, many, MANY names, is impossibly old, and loves to manipulate people just for the hell of it? Yep, sounds like him.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's extremely charming, but it's all a facade. Flagg is evil incarnate and bears nothing but hatred for everyone and everything.
- Flying Dutchman: Constantly drifts from place to place, bringing chaos and mayhem wherever he goes.
- For the Evulz: The only reason he does anything.
- The Gadfly: His pre-Superflu days were spent drifting around, becoming part of various underground extremist groups, and then driving them to commit horrible acts. It's implied that he has no close ties to any group's rhetoric - he's been a member of the KKK and a member of an anti-white Black Power group - he just does it for fun.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The ball of electricity.
- Hot as Hell: Subverted, as everyone who meets him is more frightened of him than attracted to him. Though Flagg seems to have developed a dark magnetism over the course of the story.
- Humanoid Abomination: Almost literally Satan. His mere presence can bring calamities to those around him and he radiates an aura of fear.
- Iconic Item: His cowboy boots. The clicking of cowboy boots against asphalt is a sign that you should run.
- I Have Many Names: And many of them begin with the initials R.F.
“Are you so afraid of him you don’t dare speak his name? Very well, I’ll say it for you. His name is Randall Flagg, also known as the darkman, also known as the tall man, also known as the Walkin Dude. Don’t some of you call him that? Call him Beelzebub, because that’s his name, too. Call him Nyarlathotep and Ahaz and Astaroth. Call him R’yelah and Seti and Anubis. His name is legion and he’s an apostate of hell and you men kiss his ass.”
- As Glen Bateman says to Flagg's men:
- Kneel Before Zod: Flagg is particularly prone to doing this."For a favor of this magnitude, I really think you ought to get down on your knees."
- Large Ham: During his speeches to his followers.
- Manipulative Bastard: To all of his followers.
- Noodle Incident: He's identified with Mother Abagail's brother Richard; nothing is ever made of it.
- Obviously Evil: It's interesting that half of the remaining population would want to live with Flagg. It helped that he could pass for an affable figure before he started to decompensate and, well, the Trains Run on Time.
- Perpetual Smiler: He has a wide grin on his face all the time, and it scares the hell out of everyone.
- Power Floats: His introductory scene shows that he discovered that he suddenly can do magic, and he floats above the road for a few minutes.
- Satanic Archetype: A deceiver who walks in many shapes under many names, bringing ruin to everything and everyone.
- Shapeshifter: Assumes different forms to carry out his plans.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: To Whitney Horgan. It comes back to bite him, though.
- Smug Snake: Flagg spends a lot of time smirking and doesn't do much to prevent setbacks in his "plans".
- Unexplained Recovery: Wakes up on an unknown island after taking a nuke to the face, and begins presenting himself as a god to the locals.
- Villainous Breakdown: A few different times, including after he learns Trash has blown up his air force, Dayna kills herself, he realizes Tom has escaped and when Trash shows up with the nuke at the end. The irony here is that, until the nuclear warhead goes off, Flagg's position is actually not significantly affected by any of these events. Losing the jets at Indian Springs is a pain in the ass, but he can go rolling into Boulder with an armored column in the spring, Dayna only knows that Tom is the other spy and Tom doesn't actually know anything. Flagg even realizes this. But he wants to destroy Boulder as soon as possible, and he should be able to get what he wants. The people of Vegas start slipping as things go wrong, because Flagg's entire appeal is his omniscience and omnipotence.
- Villainous Demotivator: Las Vegas is decorated with the crucified bodies of those who have failed him.
- You Have Failed Me: Poor, poor Bobby Terry.
- As well as Hector Drogan, crucified (literally) for drug use.
Lloyd was a small-scale criminal until he met a fellow jailbird, Poke. Together they went on a killing spree until they were eventually caught and Poke was killed. Lloyd is trapped in jail when the Superflu hits and becomes Flagg's right hand man when he is rescued.
- Anti-Villain: While he can commit some very bad crimes, he's really nothing more than a child in a man's body. He follows Flagg only because the guy saved him from starvation, and even then he begins to doubt him when his plans start to crumble.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To Flagg.
- Boxed Crook: Before Flagg frees him.
- Deal with the Devil: Flagg is close enough, anyway.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Lloyd tells Flagg that Tom Cullen escaped, Flagg becomes enraged and attacks Lloyd for not telling him sooner. Lloyd then becomes angry himself and yells that he did try to tell Flagg, but Flagg wouldn't listen. Surprisingly, Flagg calms down and doesn't kill Lloyd for his insolence.
- The Dragon: To Flagg.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Lloyd is in prison during the Superflu, and when he doesn't get food any more because all of the guards have died or run away, he resorts to eating from the leg of one of his fellow prisoners.
- I Owe You My Life: He realizes that Flagg is evil but follows him anyway because he saved Lloyd from starving to death in jail.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He would do anything for Flagg after Flagg busts him out of jail.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: In fairness, this was a survival-motivated event, since he was in jail when the plague hit.
- Pet the Dog: Lloyd's affection for Dinny, a four-year-old boy in the Las Vegas camp.
- Reduced to Ratburgers: Lloyd kills a rat in the prison, and hoards it in "just in case". He eventually eats it, leaving nothing but the bones and the tail (he tries to eat the latter, but it's too tough).
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: When he's locked away in a jail full of dead people.
- Smoking Hot Sex: Well, there's smoking.
- Too Dumb to Live: At first. He gets over it, for the most part.
- Undying Loyalty: To Flagg.
Donald Merwin Elbert, nicknamed Trashcan Man because of his childhood habit of burning trash cans, is a pyromaniac of the first order. All he wants is a place where he can blow things up unmolested. He fits right in with Flagg's crowd and becomes undyingly loyal to Flagg.
- Berserk Button: "Hey Trash, what' did old lady Semple say when you burned her pension check?"
- Blessed with Suck: His pyromania and hallucinations made him an outcast in pre-Virus society, but it also gave him a sixth sense for finding weaponry post-Virus.
- Determinator: You might say he never flagged in his determination.''
- Embarrassing Nickname: Originally, though the erstwhile Donald Merwin Elbert eventually comes to accept and even embrace that name as his true identity.
- Everything Is Better With Explosions: Blows up half of Gary, Indiana after the plague hits just for fun.
- Evil Counterpart: To Tom Cullen
- Freudian Excuse: Bullied relentlessly for his pyromania.
- Goggles Do Nothing: They don't help with radiation induced blindness and hair loss.
- Idiot Savant: Mentally challenged, but he's a decent engineer.
- I Owe You My Life "My life for you!"
- Mad Bomber: He really likes to blow shit up.
- Madness Mantra:
- "Ciiiii-a-bola, bumpty-bumpty-BUMP!"
- "MY LIFE FOR YOU!" in the miniseries.
- Mr. Fixit: Too bad he's working for Flagg.
- Pyro Maniac: Has a compulsive need to burn things.
- Rape as Drama: Involving a revolver, no less.
- Spanner in the Works: Trash's plans to redeem himself by seeking the Big Fire to destroy the people of Boulder.
- Undying Loyalty: To Flagg.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Trashcan Man proves to be the ultimate instrument of destruction after he finally snaps. Even Flagg feels sorry for him and wants him painlessly executed...
- Adapted Out: Actually happened to The Kid twice. He appeared in King's original manuscript, and was one of the major things taken out when Doubleday "requested" that King make cuts (although he does appear in a limited fashion; the book mentions that while walking to Vegas, Stu, Larry, Glen and Ralph find the corpse of a man strangling a wolf). He was back for the "Complete and Uncut" edition, and was nowhere to be seen in the miniseries.
- The Alcoholic: He drinks constantly, and always has at least a case of Coors with him.
- American Accents: He has a Louisianan accent.
- Ax-Crazy: Kills, rapes, and tortures just for fun.
- Catch Phrase: "You believe that happy crappy?" and "Don't tell me, I'll tell you."
- Cool Car: He has a tricked out Deuce Coupe.
- Domestic Abuser: To the Trashcan Man during Trashy's brief stint with him on the road.
- Fan of the Past: Of the 50's to be specific.
- For the Evulz: His motivations in a nutshell is that everything he does is for the hell of it.
- Greaser Delinquents: He's straight out of the 50's, and it helps that he really is straight out of the 50's.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: Though he might be Charles Starkweather.
- Last Stand: The discovery of his body reveals that he not only shot several of the wolves surrounding him, but managed to strangle the one that killed him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Word of God is that he's Charles Starkweather.
- Psycho for Hire: He reveals that before Captain Tripps, he was a wheelman who included smuggling in his repertoire. His personality is what completes the trope.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His pair of .45's loaded up with dum-dums.
- The Starscream: He intends to get to Las Vegas, scope out the situation, kill Flagg, and take over for himself. Too bad he never got there.
- Trademark Favorite Food: He is obsessed with Coors. It's even plot-relevant, as he chooses to drive through Colorado just to pass the Coors brewery in Golden.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Almost does this to Trash a few times. Implied that Flagg brought him into the picture so that he could rescue the much more faithful and useful Trashcan Man from the Kid, bringing this trope in as the logical conclusion.
- Adaptation Expansion: Was given a little more to do in the miniseries, even appearing for a cameo before the plague hit, when Larry bumps into him in an arcade in New York City.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: He's a pirate gangster.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Doesn't take long for the sheep's clothing (or literal clothing, for that matter) to be tossed aside.
- Even Sluts Have Standards: Despite the the fact that she Really Gets Around. Julie considers the Rat-Man too creepy even for her to sleep with.
- Jail Bait: It isn't made clear if she is legal but she is described as having acne and poorly thought out aspirations, much like a Bratty Teenage Daughter.
- Psychopathic Woman-Child
- Quirky Miniboss Squad
- Really Gets Around: Literally moments after meeting Nick she suggests they have sex, which Nick finds himself too weak to resist. However, when he resists a second round, she immediately turns spiteful. In Vegas, she annoys everyone by constantly talking about sex.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: She says she's 17, but Nick thinks she's aging herself up and is more like 14 or 15. She carries herself like an experienced bar-slut but Nick realizes that her brazen sexuality is just a symptom of her real problem; bug-nuts insanity.
- Woman Scorned: Her mood switches from flirtatious to bitchy toward Nick for the crime of not having sex with her a second time after meeting her less than two hours ago. Then, in retribution, she convinces Tom Cullen that his medicine is really poison, and when Nick tells her that she can't come with them, she starts shooting at him and Tom.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: He does this to Trash.
- Only Sane Man: He is the only one to see what a monster Flagg is and tries to stop him.
Specialist Charles D. Campion
A gate guard at Project Blue Campion is Patient Zero for the virus and unwittingly spreads it to the rest of the world.
- Patient Zero: Technically he isn't the first person infected, but he is the one who spreads it to the outside world.
General William "Billy" Starkey
The commanding officer of Project Blue and the man initially in charge of the military coverup.
- Bald of Evil: In the miniseries where he is played by Ed Harris.
- Blatant Lies: In the miniseries he is shown holding a press conference where he categorically denies the existence of the superflu. This is in contrast to the novel, where there is no indication that he ever leaves his command post during the crisis.
- Driven to Suicide: Kills himself after it becomes clear the virus is out of control. In the novel he goes to Project Blue and shoots himself, while in the miniseries he shoots himself at his command post.
- Warrior Poet: He studied WB Yeats in college and quotes The Second Coming as things go from bad to terrible.
Major Len Creighton
Starkey's right hand man and friend and successor at Project Blue.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the book he's last 'seen' onpage talking over the radio to one of his officers in LA during the last days of the plague, though he may have also been the one who ordered Elder to terminate Stu, which occurred the following evening. It is very possible he died of the superflu but notably he gives no indications of being sick even at this very late stage, leaving his fate a mystery (the miniseries implies he will contract the flu).