'''Warning: Major unmarked spoilers below.''' Administrivia/YouHaveBeenWarned.
For the [[Series/TheWalkingDead TV show]], see '''[[Headscratchers/TheWalkingDeadTVShow here]]'''.
For the [[VideoGame/TheWalkingDead video game]], see '''[[Headscratchers/TheWalkingDeadVideoGame here]]'''.
* WordOfGod has it that the reason nobody in ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' calls the Walkers 'zombies' is because ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' does not exist in that universe. However, nobody in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' ever refers to the dead as zombies, preferring to call them 'ghouls' or 'those things'. In fact, the word 'zombie' isn't used in any of Romero's 'Dead' films until ''Film/LandOfTheDead'', apparently because Romero never made that connection and was never entirely happy with it when he was made aware of it. Which means that the resemblance between Haitian voodoo zombies and Romero's undead cannibals was spotted by somebody in the real world, ''our'' world! Given that, is there any other reason why somebody in ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' universe couldn't come up with that name? Granted, they've probably got bigger things to be concerned about...
** While the the film never used the word "zombie" it did popularize the monster commonly referred to as a zombie. Kirkman is assuming that without that movie zombies, by any name, would not have become as popular as they are today; basically, no one came up with naming them "zombies" because it was never in the popular consciousness to begin with.
** How long did it take people to start calling those things zombies? How many people made the connection themselves, rather than reading it online or having a friend call them that? Of those people who came up with the term in a relatively short span of time, how many were being chased by reanimated corpses? My point here is, just because some people here came up with it at some point doesn't mean someone would immediately come up with after they rise. Finally, maybe someone did come up with the term. But they live up in Vermont so no one in the show/comics ever meets them.
* Can anyone tell me why the Walkers (in the show, haven't read the comic) still bleed? When they're shot or stabbed, there's always a big glut of thick fluid, but where is it coming from? There's no heart to pump the blood and get it moving to various parts of the body. What happens IRL is the blood pools in the lowest part of the body, so wouldn't it follow that they wouldn't bleed that much?
** In the comic book, all the events so far happend in few months, within relatively short time-span. That's the time when carcass starts to desintegrate and all kinds and types of soft tissues simply fall apart, if not already being eaten by insects and micro-organisms. And it shows. TV series? It's ''two years'' after the outbreak. Not counting desert and sub-polar climate, there is no freaking way ''anything'' dead wouldn't simply cease to exist after so much time. Especially in South-East, where temperatures are high and air moisture even higher. It's not the point of bleeding. It's the point of those zombies not being anything else than semi-gel lying on the ground. Which is the main issue of any other media about long-term zombie infestation. So either just go with MST3KMantra or assume it's a plot-hole. Because there is no other way to solve this. And to answer your question -- if you assume any, even slow rate of decay, the "blood" you are talking about is fluid from decaying tissues.
** The ''original'' outbreak was two years ago. It's pretty clear that a lot of the still-mobile walkers encountered in the last two seasons are recent kills, probably arising from overrun havens or the diseases that have spread in the wake of civilization's collapse.
* Do all dead people that have been buried right before the zombies came turn into zombies if they get any of the airborne virus on them?, Or just dead people after the zombies came?
** It would be impossible for a person who's been buried alive to get out without help, so the same most likely applies to a zombie.
** Well it's mostly impossible for a person to get out of being buried alive due to oxygen issues. A zombie on the other hand won't die from lack of oxygen (I assume) therefore has more time to work at it. Eventually, they might claw their way out.
*** True, yet said zombie would have to claw its way through its coffin, then the possible concrete vault, then six or so feet of dirt to get free. Suffice to say it's unlikely any dead will make their way out of their graves any time soon.
** Probably not. The virus seems to only affect the living that come in contact with it, not the already dead.
** Certainly anyone whose pre-zombie death wasn't a natural one due to old age would stay dead, as they'd most likely have been autopsied and their brains, removed for examination. Whether the embalming process would damage the brain of an unautopsied corpse sufficiently, who knows?
* How does a bite accelerate the infection?
** Never read the comics, but for the show, what I've been assuming is that there's nothing to "accelerate"; as long as they don't die, the disease isn't going to do anything to them and they'll just walk around carrying the disease indefinitely. As for why the bites ''kill'' you, I have no clue. Maybe there's some kind of weird saliva catalyst that sets off the lethal part of the virus...or something.
** I think there are two diseases that are very similar. Kinda like how we catch the flu each year because it's a "new" flu by the time it comes back around. The "first" Walker Flu is airborne and everybody caught it. It killed a large percentage of the populace outright. It explains why the hospital in episode 1 had bodies outside that they had simply put down. They had learned the symptoms and just dealt with it. It also explains how the military was so easily overrun worldwide. You had people turning both behind lines and during combat and nobody understood it early on. Everybody has this version and they are carriers. In fact if they meet healthy humans they might infect them and start a new outbreak. There is also a bodily fluids version spread by bite (and also presumably by sex or blood exchange) that nobody (currently) is immune to.
** In the comics, they explained that the bite doesn't cause zombification, that it just killed you, and the zombie virus already inside you causes you to come back as one. Dale survives his bite by getting the limb amputated above the bite and the stump treated by Alice and Hershel. As for why the zombie bite kills you... Do you even want to think about what kind of nasty things are in the mouth of a rotting corpse?
*** Don't know if it's any different in the comics, but the show definitely seems to paint it as zombie bites as "special". Like for one thing, there seem to be pretty specific symptoms associated with being bit, and I'd also imagine death also comes much faster than it would just from succumbing to a nasty wound infection.
*** To be fair, you are talking about a cocktail of some very nasty toxic and necrotic bacteria specifically coded to eating human flesh, and in a world without a lot of antibiotics. Though it would be nice to show at least one person who had enough medicine (and luck) survive a bite to establish this theory.
* One question continues to not be asked in the comic series and the television series...the "how". Let us start from the beginning. It isn't the BITE that does it. Evidently EVERYONE is infected. But how? An airborne virus? How could it just spontaneously affect everybody in the entire world all at once? And we see people that have been long dead rising up from the grave. If they're DEAD, their bodies can't become infected and thus reanimate. Dead people can't get influenza or ebola or anything. The "transmission from a bite" makes sense to a degree, your bloodstream's getting infected, but the airborne thing? And even then, there's no such thing as a supervirus. There's always going to be people who are immune, the same way there were always those immune to the Black Death, or the way people are, even now, developing immunities to diseases we didn't think could be resisted. So how can it spread so quickly, affect EVERYONE at once, HIT everyone at once? Diseases do not work that way!
** I don't recall anyone "long dead" coming back as a zombie in the show. And who said it happened spontaneously all at once? You're making a lot of assumptions for something that we haven't seen how it happened. And as for people being immune? Even if someone's immune to the virus, nobody is immune to being torn limb from limb and having chunks bitten out of their flesh.
*** Bingo. We don't really know that much about the virus except that it reanimates those who die while infected with it and it's apparently spread across the globe sufficiently to cause a ZombieApocalypse. The idea that everyone is infected is probably an exaggeration, but it's widespread enough to be close to the reality of things, and even if a person is immune to the disease, they're not immune to being ripped limb from limb by the corpses brought back by the disease. Immunity, in this case, means you won't come back when you die, not that those already succumbed to the infection won't kill you.
** [[Film/DawnOftheDead1978 "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."]] Similar line of reasoning as in George Romero's films. More than a mere global pandemic, something has gone terribly wrong with the laws of reality. Nobody understands how it works, other than every human alive past a certain point in time (and lacking a headwound) will come back as a zombie. [[NothingIsScarier The "how" and "why" really isn't that important in this kind of story]], [[TropesAreNotBad which is just as well]], [[VoodooShark considering how daft many of the reasons they give tend to be.]]
** Is there someone who never had a flu? Before vaccines mumps and measles were sicknesses that 90% of people use to have in their childhoods and was even dangerous not to, because are very aggressive if you catch them as an adult. So we do have examples of viruses and the like that most of the human population had.
** Has the nature of the zombie virus remained consistent across all media?
*** Basically. Dying by any means that doesn't destroy the brain brings you back as a Zombie, the Bite itself just kills you, but getting that limb amputated in time can save you. I don't recall in either media where corpses that had been buried before the outbreak started coming back, but honestly unless someone dug a grave up to check zombies don't have the strength to dig themselves up.
* With regards to losing power/generators running out, HOW has no one -- not even those at the CDC, before they killed themselves -- thought to burn the killed walkers for fuel? Isn't there something like a 5000:1 walker/human ratio? That would mean there's an ample supply of fuel for any generator; just shoot a few walkers in the head and shove 'em in.
** There are so many reasons that wouldn't work, I'm really not sure where to start. For one, humans aren't actually that flammable, and nowhere ''near'' flammable enough to serve as fuel for a generator. For another, generators are typically built to use gasoline--you know, liquid that has to be mixed with air in specific ratios to work. Generators do not work by just "burn something inside, and you get electricity."
*** At the very least, there has to be some engineer alive who can jerry-rig *something*. Surely, if there are enough military personnel around to operate a helicopter, there's someone around who can figure out a simple power source that runs on steam/smoke from burning bodies.
*** No, because those two things don't remotely correspond in the least. And why does there "have to be some engineer alive" who can turn what simply isn't a good fuel source at all into a fuel source? Again: Human bodies are not that flammable, otherwise we wouldn't need humongous piles of wood for funeral pyres and we wouldn't need massive furnaces to cremate people. Just because there's a lot of something doesn't mean it's a good fuel source--there's a lot of water, but you're not going to be able to make that burn either.\\\
I mean, seriously, a generator works because he fuel you're burning either burns hot enough to boil water to steam almost instantly or is explosive enough to make pistons move rapidly and consistently. ''Human bodies have neither of those qualities''. They burn slow, and only after you've done a crap ton of work to get them to burn at all--work that amounts to, "get other flammable substances to soak the bodies in or build up the fire beforehand." So in order to use human bodies as a fuel source, ''you need to already have other fuel sources that burn a lot better''.
** Theoretically, though, if there's a car around, the bodies could be soaked in gasoline. Not saying it'll work, but surely someone would have at least *thought* to try it.
*** Not really. Because if you have gasoline, that means '''you have gasoline''', which is already the main fuel that works in available generators. What you're suggesting is that if someone ''already has fuel for a generator'', they would waste it by dumping it on a body to ''try'' and make the body into something that ''it does not work as''.\\\
It's like saying, "Okay. I'm thirsty. I have a bottle of water. I know, I'll pour the water into sand in the hopes that maybe I can drink the sand."\\\
But I suppose, yes. '''Theoretically''', someone '''might''' have completely and utterly wasted his fuel in order to burn a body in some ill-conceived attempt at making it into fuel. He would then have discovered that this was a complete and utter waste of time and resources for no practical benefit whatsoever, and unless he was a complete and utter idiot, he didn't try to do it again. The other 99.9% of people who survived to the point in time that zombies are so plentiful have ''probably'' figured out on their own that trying to make a fuel source out of something that is composed primarily of '''water''' isn't going to work.
** I think the better idea would be to, essentially, compost them and try to harvest the methane from their decomposition, but even that would take quite a bit of know-how, materials, and still be pretty inefficient.
** Or strap muzzles on some still-animated walkers and cut off their fingers, then shackle them on a treadmill or inside a giant hamster wheel. Hang a cage full of rats where they can see it, and let them shamble endlessly towards the prey, generating power from torque as they go.
* So, where exactly is Rick from? It's Cynthiana, Kentucky, in the books (Robert Kirkman's hometown), but the pilot changes it to (fictional) King's County, Georgia. But then, the ''Dead Reckoning'' flash game and ''Cold Storage'' webseries changes it back to Cynthiana.
* Can Walkers swim? this is actually a vital piece of information as it opens up a place of safety that, in my opinion, borders on TooDumbToLive for no one having thought of it before: Live on a boat. I'm not talking about the ocean or anything like that; anywhere that has water higher than 9 or 10 feet would do. A boat or a ship has several major advantages when dealing with enemies that are very slow, very dumb and can only attack using their teeth namely the 360 degree field of vision and the fact that its absolutely impregnable from the land. Supplies aren't an issue assuming you pick a lake with fish in it and even then it wouldn't be difficult to procure/build a raft to ferry yourself to and from the shore nor is fuel as even if they can't get hold of any gas/diesel (despite the fact that they have seemingly had no trouble so far procuring the fuel for any of their of vehicles since Rick stole a horse) oars would work perfectly fine for moving the vessel away from the banks. The only significant problem would be Raiders; however this is once again where that great field of vision comes into its own where one man with a rifle could pacify nearly every threat short of an improvized armoured attack boat; and only the very largest and most confident groups of Bandits would risk that kind of operation when there are so many other more vulnerable targets to go after.
** Walkers wouldn't have to swim to threaten a boat, just float around until they drift up against it. Y'know, like rotting corpses tend to do if they're not weighed down by something.
* During the scene where Daryl and Merle are made to fight one another gladiator-style, the fight is interrupted by Rick's group attacking. In particular, the girl with the bow gets sniped by Maggie. The ''girl with the bow'' gets sniped by Maggie, while the Governor who almost raped her, tortured and threatened to kill her and her boyfriend and is plainly the biggest threat to them is standing in plain view, completely exposed and completely oblivious to the presence of her or the rest of her group. For her first shot and with the element of surprise completely on her side, she has the chance to cut the head off the Woodbury threat and doesn't take it. Wouldn't a good chunk of grief have been ended right then and there if she had just understood the concept of a high priority target?
** And how do you know she had anything like a good line of sight to him? Remember that she only starts shooting after the gas grenades are thrown.
** Not to mention, the girl with the bow has... A bow. The mayor is unarmed, IIRC and so he is a lower priority target for the moment.
* Do zombie films exist in their world? Are reanimated corpses new to these humans? You never hear a character make a movie or George Romero reference. Hell, they are never referred to as zombies.
** No, they don't. The author has said as much.
* It seems to me, in every part of the series, any society that actually has food, water, safety, is evil in one way or another (Cannibalism, Zombie Experimentation, Harsh Dictatorships, Eugenics), while those that are just trying their hardest to survive are the good ones (Or at least good compared to the Evil Societies)... So what your saying is Democratic Societies can't really get anywhere post-Zombie Apocalypse without scrounging out the other, evil societies? What the hell?!
** Its not that odd. In a post-apocalyptic setting it will be the strongest who survive, which in general means the ones who are the most ruthless and willing to do ANYTHING to go on a little longer, including murder, rape, cannibalism, you name it. Democracy is well and good, but it only works with an existing infrastructure. When all the niceties of civilization are gone or crumbling, power will lie with those who can kill everyone else so there is more left for them.
* Understanding from a narrative point it would make for if not a boring story certainly an entirely different story but why don't the survivors start clearing entire areas? It's obvious when they do clear zones, the prison or Alexandria for example that as long as you've got a safe place to fall back to and know what you're heading into zombies are really more obnoxious than anything else. Sending out patrols specifically to clear your immediate area of zombies, then expand your territory would probably eliminate the zombie menace given time. Doubly so for places with low population density.
* Why not head to Canada? We already know that cold weather severely slows zombies and there are worse things than living in Canada or Alaska. Like living places where you never know when the next zombie horde is coming.
[[folder:The Comic Book]]
* So, uh...why did society collapse ''so hard''? Rick's out for, what, a month, but by the time he wakes up, everybody's gone back to the stone ages. Nobody even bothers looking for battery-run computers/digital watches? I mean, what, did the vague cataclysmic event also destroy all electronic devices? And, putting that aside, was mass amnesia another effect? Everyone seems to forget the date, for no good reason.
** The simple answer for not seeking out battery-operated devices is that they're simply too hard to come by. Even if the devices themselves were abundant, the batteries would have been one of the first things looted due to society's dependence on portable electronics. People still thought of the plague as a short event at the beginning that would be over soon, so they wouldn't give a second thought to aimlessly depleting batteries.
** Granted it happened a bit fast but without a reason to know the exact date it would be quickly forgotten. In Zombie Land you don't get the weekend off, there is no President's Day or Veterans day. Currently these people are back to hunter-gatherer status so there isn't even a harvest. Considering how long watches seem to live it's hard to believe that nobody had a watch on when this all started but over all it makes sense.
*** Forgetting the date isn't unexpected, since there's no reason to really remember dates on account of the complete collapse of society. When the odds of surviving to see the next sunrise are so uncertain, you tend to stop caring about trivial things like what day on the calender it is compared to avoiding death by zombie. As for why nobody has watches, people probably do have them in their luggage but don't see the point in keeping track of time because again, with societies breakdown there's very little reason to need to know the exact time of day. Granted things like coordinating meeting spots would be better served with a watch.
*** Except enough people own watches, and enough cars have calendars built right in that it's a tad absurd that nobody seems to know the exact date. I can level with them simply not giving a shit but not with not knowing.
*** The only person with a watch was Dale, who kept the mechanical watch his father gave him. For the car calenders, none of the cars they use would have had them.
*** Why would people care about the date in a zombie apocalypse? It's useful for cordinating complex actions, which is not a smart thing to try and pull off in a zombie apocalypse. Simple plans would work best, which only requires a day and a fixed point (dawn, dusk, noon).
* What bugged me the most--nay, what utterly pissed me off--was Tyreese's death. So, Rick doesn't do anything to prevent Tyreese being beheaded in front of him, supposedly because if they try to stop the Governor he'll kill Michonne too. Except here's Rick going on the word of the Governor, who already blatantly lied to them once before trying to kill them. Why would he be so sure that Michonne was actually a captive? (Of course, she wasn't but that's just DramaticIrony for you.) Likewise, so much effort is made to make Rick look like this calculating and careful character, who's capable of being cold and merciless if it's beneficial to the group overall. So why would he value Michonne, who had only showed up a month or so before and was currently elsewhere with only the word of Rick's greatest enemy that she was in danger, over Tyreese, who Rick had known almost since the beginning of the plague and had proved to be one of the most capable and helpful members of the group? Likewise, it was just the Governor and one other guy against six or seven people from Rick's group. If they'd acted then they could have killed the Governor and his right-hand man, which would have made a huge dent in the morale of the Woodburians and made them think twice about attacking Rick's group. This would have saved Tyreese, and Michonne was out of danger anyway at that point. And anyway, even if Rick's careful risk/reward planning failed him for once, plain old human nature would have spurred him to help his best friend. It's like he was temporarily superglued to the IdiotBall to give the writers an excuse for Woodbury to show up later and kill off 80% of the main characters. Needless to say, I thought Lori's reaction upon hearing about Tyreese's death was completely reasonable.
** Between that, surviving Michonne's payback, and a few other places, it felt like the Governor practically had JokerImmunity. Hell, it took RocksFallEveryoneDies to kill him off.
** I won't disagree that the whole event pissed me off, but it made sense from Rick's standpoint. The Governor had Michonne's katana, which lent some credibility to his claim that he had her. He was
* How exactly was Ben supposed to be presented? A burgeoning [[EnfantTerrible psychopath]], or just a little boy with a poor comprehension of death as it relates to the zombie infection? I mean, he [[spoiler: killed his own twin brother]], but his reasoning was that he thought he'd come back.
** I think it was supposed to be left intentionally ambiguous in order to let the readers decide whether or not [[spoiler: they [[MoralEventHorizon crossed the line]] [[InfantImmortality by solving]] [[AvertedTrope the problem.]]]]
* How come nobody is afraid of natural deaths? They all know you come back irrespective of how you die, so shouldn't you be weary of old people dying in their sleep or younger people having heart attacks, all just to devour your sleeping ass? Now that they are in this Washington "paradise", why is it no action is taken to account for this?
** They probably ''do'' have a plan to deal with it. It's just not shown to us. Aside from that, also keep in mind that nobody in Washington has died of natural death yet.
*** It's probably just destroying the brain, like they do after the walker attack on their camp outside Atlanta.
** One question: '''How many natural deaths have occurred?'''
*** On another note, I'm pretty sure they established a contingency plan for impending reanimations. Her name is Michonne.
* Why did Rick & c:o [[WhatTheHellHero torture those cannibals]] instead of [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just stabbing them]]? I might understand if they were freaking out with all the stress and starvation and stuff, but they only act as if it's a just and necessary thing to inflict on these traumatized crazies the most painful and depraved deaths they have time for. You'd think being dead was enough to keep any person from eating people.
** It seems like an attempt at PayEvilUntoEvil if anything.
** Wait, they ''tortured'' the cannibals? I thought they just hacked them to pieces with axes/machetes/etc. I guess I can kind of understand where you're coming from if they hacked off their limbs first, which they might have(it's been a while since I read that arc), but even then it could be reasoned that a limbless body is easier to decapitate and can't attack you while you're focused on executing somebody else. And stabbing somebody is a bit tricky. Unless you hit one of those "insta-death" vital organs like the brain or the heart, the person you stabbed can still try to pull a TakingYouWithMe if they have enough mobility and sufficient energy to do so(and you'd be surprised how much energy a person who is staring death in the face and is within arms-reach of their potential murderer can muster up....OrSoIveHeard...), so it would probably be smarter to either decapitate them in one quick swing(very difficult to do) or to cripple them and THEN decapitate them(which is what they did).
* So, ''why'' exactly does everyone have such a hard time keeping track of the time since Z-day? Rick couldn't have been in a coma too long (any longer and he'd have been dead, not to mention that at the beginning, he's shown with a kind of two- or three- weeks scruff going on, not a months-old beard), so why the hell does everyone forget the time and/or date? Did the initial panic cause everyone to destroy every single clock and calendar around in their efforts to survive?
** If you take people out of their normal routine, they very easily lose track of time and days. Think about when you go on vacation for two weeks, and you're doing something entirely out of the ordinary. It's disorienting for most people, and you'll wake up forgetting what day it is. Pair that with our reliance on mechanical and electronic time-keeping, and you've got people whose world is turned on its head, they're not doing anything remotely like their normal routine, and all those digital time displays -- computers, banks, etc. -- are no longer working.
*** I've owned digital watches with a calender function in them before that had battery life of well over a year and a half. Of all the survivors they've run into, not one of them has something like that?
** Chances are that apart from periods and seasons none of them really have any reason to keep track of time. Who would really care? So even they did find someone with that very specific device (and not many people wear wristwatches anymore, let alone those calendar functions) it probably isn't something they'd put too much thought towards.
* Does it bug anyone else that the villains in this comic, instead of being interesting, are just a bunch of crazy rapists?
** What? A lot of them are much more than that. Dexter had some legitimate issues with Rick's group, The Governor was much, much, more than just a crazy rapist, then there was the cannibal group, and now Negan is something completely different as well. That's not even counting several of the more minor antagonists like Thomas and Pete.
*** I think what the OP is referring to is the fact that, barring very few exceptions, most of the villains in the comic either attempt to rape the survivors or show an inclination towards wanting to rape the survivors. There's always a sexual edge to them, and it kind of comes off as RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil sometimes. I guess it's to distinguish them morally from the protagonists, who often have to kill people(sometimes even innocent people) just to survive. It's like they're saying "Hey, Rick may have [[spoiler: cut off that terrified woman's hand to make her let go of Carl]], but at least he's not a rapist!" As for why they're crazy? Dude, these were(on average) normal people pre-apocalypse. They had lives, loved ones, and morals. However, the dead rising and killing everyone around them pushed them over the edge and into madness, and a lot of them were acting out of desperation and just happened to come into conflict with Rick's group. In a sick sense, you could almost say that most of these "villains" could just as easily be the protagonists of the story. That's what the apocalypse does. The few that didn't go crazy were either crazy beforehand(such as Thomas) or are sociopaths taking advantage of the craziness around them and using it to get what they want(like Negan and, possibly, The Governor). Insanity is to be expected in the apocalypse. In fact, when the shit hits the fan, madness often becomes the norm and reason consequently becomes insanity.
*** Selection bias may be part of it, too. Sure, there are lots of other sorts of bad people, but the ones whose evil was directed towards other goals, like striking it rich, hating some particular ethnic group, or beating folks up for kicks, have mostly lost all motive to act out: money is worth jack-squat, ethnicity don't mean much when just finding ''any'' live person is a lucky break, and the naturally-violent can get all the kicks they need by smashing walkers' skulls. Sex and stealing supplies are really the '''only''' motives for criminal behavior that are left in their world, that could drive potential villains to risk messing with another group.
* Why does Brian claim his name is Phillip at the end of ''The Road to Woodbury?'' He didn't seem to have any reason to change his name, especially since it's next to impossible to do background checks now. And it's not like he was some big name war criminal or bank robber before the world ended? Why not just say his name was Brian and be done with it? It just seemed like something thrown in [[ShockingSwerve for the sake of blindsiding the readers about The Governor's character]].
** Reread the section leading up to him killing the National Guard asshole because it spells out the exact reason why he changed his name (even if the reveal comes a few pages later). He looks back on his entire life as Brian and holds himself in contempt, and compares how he views himself (weak, cowardly, waste of space, needs his brother to help him all the time, etc.) to his younger brother (brave, strong, ready to take charge, etc.). The name change is to symbolise him letting go of everything he hated about himself and taking on everything he thought his brother was. Unfortunately, that took all of the bad and none of the good of the real Phillip.