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Literature / The Drawing of the Three

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Preceded by The Gunslinger.

The Drawing of the Three is Book II of The Dark Tower series, published in 1987. It brings the action from a post-apocalyptic other world to ours — Roland Deschain, The Gunslinger, tries to draw a ka-tet of three to join in his quest: a drug addict, Eddie Dean; a woman with a Split Personality, Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker; and a man named Jack Mort.

To see the character sheet for the whole book series, go here.

Followed by The Waste Lands.


The Drawing of the Three provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Eddie does this with Henry's severed head.
  • Alien Geometries: The world has "moved on", and everything is off-kilter, including the cardinal directions. Roland walks west until he reaches the western sea, then turns right to head north, which means the sea should be at his left. However, the text says that the sea is at his right, making it seem as though Roland somehow did a 180 degree turn without realizing it. Things get even weirder in The Waste Lands.
  • Arc Villain: Jack Mort/The Pusher, initially believed to be the third of his ka-tet to be drawn into All-World, turned out to be a serial killer responsible for the death of Jake Chambers, causing Odetta Holmes’ Dissociative Identity Disorder and pushing her on the train tracks which caused her to need to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
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  • Asshole Victim: Jack Mort deserves what he gets. For that matter, so do Enrico Balazar and his henchmen.
  • Being Watched
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The "lobstrosities", large and dangerous crustaceans encountered by Roland on the shore of the Western Sea.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A knife-wielding man in the drug store tries to be this, but has the blade of his knife shot off first.
  • Bilingual Bonus / As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The "Italian" spoken by Balazar (which is also not even an Italian name) and his henchmen is so poorly rendered as to be nearly indecipherable.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Roland does this to gangster Jack Andolini. The gun, however, explodes into Andolini's face. Later, he shoots a gun and a knife out of different people's hands in the same encounter.
  • Bond One-Liner: Roland gives Carl Delevan, an irresponsible police officer, one after knocking him unconscious:
    Roland: You're a dangerous fool who should be sent west. You have forgotten the face of your father.
  • Brick Joke: We first see a cop mocking Roland (in Jack Mort's body) about buying lavender handcuffs at a gun store. It's later explained that the handcuffs are primarily purchased by homosexuals practicing S & M.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Signet mass market cover makes it look as though the three doors that connect Roland's world to Earth are all right next to each other in the middle of an overgrown field, which certainly would have made things easier for Roland since he wouldn't have to trek across miles of lobstrosity-infested beach.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Mostly by Eddie — Jarring after the first book's use of Precision F-Strike.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Detta and Jack Mort celebrate their mischief managed with a little Did-a-cheek.
  • Debut Queue
  • Decapitation Presentation: During the gunfight, one of Balazar's men throws Henry's head into the room to distract Eddie.
  • Driven to Suicide: Narrowly subverted with Eddie following his final jaunt back into Mid-World. After Roland inquires as to why he stopped, Eddie initially tries to deflect with a joke before revealing to Roland that he couldn't let him die.
  • The '80s: Eddie is pulled from the eighties by Roland.
  • Epiphany Therapy
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: After killing the lobstrosity that eats his fingers, Roland spends several minutes stomping the shit out of it in rage. Then he sees his severed fingers in the wreckage and vomits.
  • Face of a Thug: Jack Andolini, who Eddie and Henry refer to as "old double-ugly", but never within his hearing. That said, Jack was in no way "old double-stupid"; he's Enrico Balazar's right hand man for a reason.
  • Fake Memories: The reason Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker are unaware of each other is because each personality makes up fake memories to fill in the blanks from when the other is in control.
  • Fall of the House of Cards: Balazar's carefully constructed house of cards collapses without him noticing when Eddie begins talking about Henry. One of Balazar's men notes that Balazar liked to create houses of cards, which often fell down for various reasons, but the one time Balazar ever became annoyed at one falling was when someone knocked it down deliberately (indeed, he immediately pulled a pistol out of his desk and shot the offending man).
  • Fat Bastard: Balazar, the crime lord. Doesn't help his case that he indulges in child pornography.
  • Fingore: A lobster-like creature bites off most of Roland's right index and middle fingers at the beginning.
  • Flush the Evidence: The flight crew thinks Eddie Dean is flushing evidence down the airplane toilet.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: We're repeatedly told that Jack Mort wears gold-rimmed glasses.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Eddie's naked gun skills earn Roland's praise, as he notes that most people would have a hard time fighting naked.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Eddie involuntarily ceases to be a heroin addict when he's drawn into Roland's world, because there's no heroin there.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Roland drops Jack Mort under the same train that'd severed Odetta's legs. He gets run over the same as his victim, but several fatal inches higher up.
  • Handicapped Badass
    • Detta Walker, and, at the end, Susannah.
    • From this book on, Roland himself, as he loses two of his fingers.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Odetta objects to being referred as "black," because in her time, the neutral word was "Negro," and "black" was offensive.
  • Heroic BSoD: After taking his first sip of cola, Roland is so overwhelmed by the flavor (specifically, the sweetness, as sugar was a rarity even before the world started to fade) that it clears all thoughts from his mind for a moment. He's quickly brought back to reality when he nearly chokes on an ice cube.
  • Hidden Depths: Roland realizes that Eddie could be more than a burn-out if given the opportunity.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: When Roland is recovering from his illness and Eddie has to take care of him, Eddie keeps feeding Roland pieces of meat. At first Roland loves the taste... until Eddie accidentally lets it slip that the meat comes from the lobstrosities. Roland quickly gets over his revulsion though.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Roland gets this when his finger-stumps get infected. Subverted - Eddie hears his rattling cough and thinks he's on death's door. Roland catches Eddie's look and starts laughing, assuring him he's not done yet. He eventually gets better when he gets some antibiotics.
  • Jive Turkey: Detta's language, which is frequently called a phony mockery of African-American speech by Eddie.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Subverted.
  • The Lonely Door: This novel is basically Roland and his new ka-tet slowly visiting a multitude of trans-dimensional doors across a very lengthy stretch of beach. Doors standing alone on the sand, with hinges attached to nothing, that still swing open when their knobs are turned.
  • Love at First Sight: Eddie almost immediately falls in love with Odetta shortly after meeting her.
  • The Mafia: Balazar is a big crime boss in New York. When Roland "draws" Eddie, Balazar is using Eddie's heroin addiction to manipulate him into smuggling cocaine.
  • Malaproper: Roland can't pronounce words like "aspirin" or "Keflex" correctly.
  • Meaningful Name: Jack Mort, a Serial Killer.
  • More Dakka: Deconstructed all to hell when Balazar's Mook tries to kill Eddie with a machine gun, whereupon King explains the real-life reasons why shooting automatic weapons at a specific target is ineffective — and why they tell you to fire a fully-automatic machine gun in short, controlled bursts.
  • Mundane Luxury: Sugar and paper are both very rare commodities in Roland's world, but in America they're common. He's also amazed by standard medicines like aspirin and keflex. The fact that you can walk into a shop and buy 150 rounds of ammunition pretty much blows his mind:
    One hundred and fifty rounds! Ye gods! What a mad storehouse of riches this world was!
  • One Degree of Separation: Jack Mort is the guy who dropped the brick on Detta's head. And pushed her in front of a train. And pushed Jake in front of the car that killed him. Very pushy, our Jack.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Suffice it to say, Enrico Balazar was probably NOT expecting a half-dead yet lethal gunslinger from another world to emerge from his private bathroom and give him trouble.
  • Pocket Protector: A lighter saves Jack Mort. Unfortunately for him, the fluid then catches fire. And Roland, controlling him, makes him jump on electrified tracks. In front of a train.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • After getting duped by Roland and suffering nasty concussions, Officers Delevan and O'Mearah wake up and then proceed to speed to the drug store Roland is robbing... only for one of them to start shooting it up with a shotgun regardless of whether civilians are still inside.
    • Later subverted with the pair of beat cops who calmly corner Roland in the subway while ensuring that bystanders are out of the line of fire.
  • Rasputinian Death: Jack Mort. In the following order, he is: Shot. Set on fire. Thrown onto electrified train tracks. And bisected by a passing train.
  • Red Herring: The title. The third to be "drawn" is not Jack Mort, but the split Detta/Odetta personality. Or Jake Chambers in the following book.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: A brief line at the beginning reveals that Roland is in fact not the last Gunslinger alive, but prior to the Battle of Jericho Hill, various others "simply recanted the whole idea of the Tower" and abandoned Roland's group.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Roland is able to save Jake from both deaths in the first book by stopping Mort from pushing him into traffic.
  • Serial Killer: Jack Mort. His method is to Make It Look Like an Accident; he throws bricks at people from old buildings or pushes them into the traffic. Since he plans his acts meticulously, he always gets away with it. Mort is also a successful accountant who wants to get ahead in his field; killing people is just his hobby.
  • Situational Hand Switch: Due to an unfortunate encounter with "lobstrosities", Roland Deschain loses three fingers of his right hand. From that point forward he's strictly a left-handed shooter. The remaining members of his ka-tet inherit the use of his right-hand gun.
  • The '60s: Odetta is from 1964. Probably. Maybe. (See "Writers Cannot Do Math," below)
  • Short-Range Shotgun: A truly horrendous example pops up during the shootout in Balazar's office. One of the crime boss' mooks fires a shotgun at Eddie, and not only is the length of an office enough for the spread to be ineffective, but those pellets that do hit him merely sting. That's right, someone just on the other side of the room shoots Eddie in the chest with a shotgun, and it just stings a bit.
    • Potentially justified, as the text mentions "hundreds" of pellets, which would mean the mook was probably using birdshot: basically BB pellets out of a shotgun which was sawed off so short it made said shot lose any pattern cohesion.
  • Split Personality: Odetta has multiple personalities pounced around her head.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After encountering and knocking out two policemen in 1977 New York (while in Jack Mort's body), Roland takes their guns, planning to give one to Eddie and one to Odetta. Somewhere along the line, he evidently forgets about this plan, although he wears the guns up to the time he returns through the door to his own world.
    • One of the mob henchmen guarding Eddie's brother only appears to be knocked out, yet the end of the scene implies that they've killed all of them.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The dating of the segments with Odetta and Jack Mort is inconsistent. First, Odetta thinks that it's been three months since the assassination of JFK; that means it's February 1964. Not much later, it's stated that August 19, 1959 (when she lost her legs) was five and a half years before; that means it's February 1965. Also, after the time travel to the 1970s, it's first stated that Roland entered to Mort's head at most a few weeks before he would've killed Jake; that means it's 1977. Later, it's said that a character saw The Terminator nine years later; that means it's 1975. Later, it's stated that Odetta lost her legs three years ago; that means it's 1962.
  • Your Answer For Everything: While Henry is being held hostage, the mobsters holding him drag him into a game of Trivial Pursuit. He gives Johnny Cash as the answer to every question, explaining that "Johnny Cash is everything." Eventually the gangsters give a question deliberately evoking Johnny Cash, only for Henry to reply "Walter Brennan."