Fictional history

Sheemie Ruiz first appears in the fourth of the Dark Tower books, Wizard and Glass, in Roland Deschain’s tale of the events in his youth that shaped his life and led to his quest for the fabled Dark Tower. (However, in the revised version of The Gunslinger, Roland recalls him as “a boy… who’d had a mule”.)

Sheemie is a “half-wit” or “obviously retarded” young man working at the Traveler’s Rest, a saloon, whorehouse and boarding house in Hambry, the seat of the Barony of Mejis. He is the illegitimate son of Dolores Sheemer, and it is implied that the Rest’s bartender, Stanley Ruiz, might be his father; the witch known in Hambry as Rhea of the Cöos expressly refers to him at one point as the “son of Stanley”. He shows moments of great insight, as well as extreme loyalty to his heroes, the ka-tet comprising the young Roland and his friends Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns, who come to Hambry under assumed identities to keep them from danger in their homeland of Gilead. The trio win Sheemie’s loyalty and hero-worship when they stand up for him against the Big Coffin Hunters, a group of outlaws who are secretly working in Mejis for the rebel John Farson. Sheemie is most fond of Cuthbert, the first of the trio to intervene, and continues to think of Cuthbert by his alias of “Arthur Heath” even after learning his true name.

Later, when the Big Coffin Hunters frame Roland’s ka-tet as murderers and allies of Farson, Sheemie aids Susan Delgado, the love of Roland’s life, in freeing the trio from jail. Sheemie is charged with watching over Susan while the ka-tet foils the Coffin Hunters’ plans, but Susan is taken by the Coffin Hunters, the witch of the Cöos, and other confederates of Farson while Sheemie is away relieving himself. Though Sheemie follows Susan and her captors back to Hambry and aids her in an escape attempt, Susan is ultimately recaptured and burned alive by the townspeople in an archaic ritual, as punishment for her part in the supposed crimes of the escaped trio.

After Roland tells the story of his time in Mejis to his latter-day ka-tet, Jake Chambers asks about Sheemie. Roland reveals that, despite the long distance and many dangers between Mejis and Gilead, Sheemie followed the trio and finally arrived, with his mule “Capi” (short for “Caprichoso”) in tow, in time for the Year’s End Fair in Gilead. He also states that Sheemie then joined the young Roland and his friends on the initial stages of Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower “as a sort of squire”, but Roland’s voice trails off before he can continue, and he does not speak further on the subject. Thus, Sheemie’s fate during and after the fall of Gilead is unknown, though it is known that all of Roland’s original companions on his quest died during that period of time, and that Roland had been travelling alone for many years before assembling a new ka-tet.

By the time Sheemie is seen again in the seventh book, The Dark Tower, it has apparently been confirmed that Ruiz was his father since he is now using it as his last name. It is also revealed for the first time that Stanley is his true first name as well. By this time, his powers have matured, and he can make portals between “our” world and Roland’s world. He is now being used by the Crimson King’s forces as one the Breakers (a group of psychics who are mentally attacking the beams that support the Tower) in the Thunderclap station. He has become close friends with Ted Brautigan and Dinky Earnshaw. The trio assist Roland’s Ka-tet when they attack the station, however, during the battle he cuts himself on a piece of glass and the wound becomes infected. He creates a portal allowing Roland and Jake Chambers to travel to Maine and save the life of Stephen King. During the subsequent journey he dies of blood poisoning, made worse by the toxic fumes in the region.

In the comic book miniseries The Gunslinger Born, Marvel Comics’ adaptation of Wizard’s flashbacks, his parts are relatively unchanged, and in the sequel The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home, Sheemie ends up in a Dogan, a military base, after the death of Susan Delgado, and activates a robot which grants him psionic powers, including telepathy and teleportation. He uses the latter ability to transport across a canyon while following Roland and his companions (who had cut the canyon’s bridge to evade a posse from Hambry that was pursuing them). In the final issue of The Long Road Home, Sheemie rescues Roland’s mind from the evil seeing sphere known as Maerlyn’s Grapefruit, where Roland was being tortured by the Crimson King with visions of his future and the Tower. Sheemie uses his newfound powers to first heal himself (after Cuthbert shoots him, mistaking him for an attacking wolf), then does the same for an injured Alain. Sheemie then enters the Grapefruit physically, astride Capi the mule, and expels Roland’s mind; however, Sheemie and Capi themselves do not emerge from the sphere, and their immediate fates are unknown from that point until their arrival in Gilead as described in Wizard and Glass. The Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead, shows Sheemie’s arrival and he again uses his powers to dodge the guards on the main gate. Cuthbert and Alain eventually locate him within the city and save him from a group of Slow Mutants that have entered to city in the advance of Farson’s attack on the city.

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