Towerpedia:Susannah Dean

Susannah Dean is a fictional character in author Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Susannah is originally introduced as Odetta Holmes, a woman who harbors an alter ego unknown to her, Detta Walker. These two personalities are eventually merged to form the gunslinger Susannah Dean.

Early Life

Odetta Holmes is the daughter of Dan Holmes, a small town dentist who eventually obtains patents on several dental processes, making him quite wealthy. Susannah inherits his wealth upon his death.

Odetta Holmes is five when she is injured when a brick falls from an abandoned building. This head injury marks the beginning of her dual personality, as this is when the beginnings of the personality of Detta Walker manifest.

Odetta has no knowledge of her alternate personality, but instead makes up elaborate false memories of how her time as Detta is spent. Detta seems to be a bit more aware; she knows she is losing time, but never takes the time to ponder why this is. The two coexist in relative peace until Roland enters the picture.

Odetta’s most significant experience comes on August 19, 1959, the day Jack Mort pushes her onto the subway tracks, which causes her legs to be severed at the knees. This is when the personality of Detta finally makes herself known. Odetta and Detta both ride in the ambulance to the hospital, shocking the ambulance personnel who have to contend with a polite, cultured woman one minute and a screaming harpy the next.

Odetta is active in the civil rights movement and even gets jailed in Oxford, Mississippi, where she attends a civil rights rally. This experience has given her a great deal of insight into the human psyche.

Going Through the Door

Detta is the one in charge when Roland steps through the door marked “The Lady of Shadows” into her conscious. Unlike Eddie Dean, Detta is immediately aware of a foreigner on her turf, and she and Odetta almost get a glimpse of one another in the process.

The dual personality is evident upon arrival in Mid-World. Both Odetta and Detta emerge early on, but it is Detta who ultimately takes control. She thwarts Eddie and Roland at every turn, and makes up elaborate stories to account for her missing time as Odetta by believing that Roland and Eddie are raping and torturing her.

Once they reach the third door, labeled The Pusher, Roland sees a way he might make Odetta and Detta aware of each other and meld their personalities. He throws Jack Mort onto the subway tracks as he calls for Odetta/Detta to look through the door.

Roland jumps out of Jack Mort’s body and reenters his world to find Odetta and Detta have become two people, and are fighting for control. Finally, when Odetta tells Detta she loves her, they merge into one person, who takes the name Susannah, the middle name of both women. Not long after, she takes Eddie’s surname, Dean, to signify their bond to each other.

The merging of Odetta/Detta creates a woman who has Odetta’s polite calmness with Detta’s unflagging survival instinct and will to fight. This makes her a formidable opponent, whether using a gun or the Oriza plates as a weapon.

The Chap

Susannah is raped by the demon in the stone circle outside Lud as Roland and Eddie attempt to draw Jake back to Mid-World. Unknown to Susannah, she is possessed by another, Mia, whose sole purpose is to be the chap’s mother. Mia uses Susannah’s body to nurture the chap, but it is she who intends to raise him.

The Final Door

After following Roland the majority of the way to the Tower, Susannah realizes she is not meant to see it. She keeps dreaming of another world where Eddie and Jake are still alive and believes this is where she must go. Eventually she discovers Patrick can draw this door for her, and she leaves Roland behind to rejoin her husband.

Original artwork by Ned Dameron



Furth, Robin. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance. Scribner, 2006. ISBN 0743297342

King, Stephen. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book I, Revised). Viking Adult, 2003. ISBN 0670032549

King, Stephen. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, Book II). Viking Adult, 2003. ISBN 0670032557

King, Stephen. The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, Book III). Viking Adult, 2003. ISBN 0670032565

King, Stephen. Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, Book IV). Viking Adult, 2003. ISBN 0670032573

King, Stephen. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, Book V). Donald M. Grant/Scribner, 2003. ISBN 1880418568

King, Stephen. Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, Book VI). Donald M. Grant/Scribner, 2004. ISBN 1880418592

King, Stephen. The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, Book VII). Donald M. Grant/Scribner, 2004. ISBN 1880418622

Vincent, Bev. The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King’s Magnum Opus. New American Library, 2004. ISBN 0451213041

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