This is the character sheet for Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. Per the wiki's spoiler policies all trope names will be visible and there will be plenty of unmarked spoilers. Read at your own risk.
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Joel & Ellie
"I've struggled a long time with survivin', but no matter what, you keep finding something to fight for."Joel is the main protagonist in The Last of Us. A man in his late 40s/early 50s, hardened by the atrocities and devastation left by the fungal infection, Joel works as a black market dealer within the quarantine zone, selling drugs and weapons of all sorts. He's given the job to smuggle Ellie out of Boston to the Fireflies.
- A Birthday, Not a Break: The outbreak began a few hours after his birthday.
- Absurdly Youthful Father: Joel eventually explains to Ellie that he was very young when he had Sarah. He even implies it was before he could go to college, so most probably there was Teen Pregnancy involved.
- Action Survivor: Only in the prologue when he's still just an average single father celebrating his birthday with his daughter until the outbreak begins and he has to evade all opposition from the early infected.
- Actually Pretty Funny: He finds most of Ellie's jokes pretty groan-worthy, but there is one ("I used to be addicted to soap, but I'm clean now") he does laugh at.
- American Accents: He's from Texas, so he has a Texan accent.
- Adult Fear: This is eventually what drives him to take his decision in the finale.
- Anti-Hero: Of the nominal kind. Most, if not all, of his motivations are pretty selfish, he's not very friendly and is very much able to shoot the dog if you piss him off enough. He also kills and injures with zero hesitation.
- Anti-Villain: By the end of the game, Joel's intentions conflict with the only potential cure for humanity. Sadly, he's well-intentioned, but also quite possibly doomed the last hope of the human race (however faint it may be)
- Badass Beard: No doubt due to the loss of such personal hygiene utensils, Joel had no choice but to let it grow. It does help form a nice visual cue of Joel's gruffness.
- Badass Grandpa: At the start of the game he is twenty-eight to thirty years old. By the end he's in his late forties to early fifties.
- Badass in Distress:
- He's incapacitated for most of the Winter stage, in which Ellie has to care for him as he recovers his strength.
- He has a brief case of this in Pittsburgh as well where a hunter ambushes and nearly succeeds in drowning him until Ellie arrives to shoot him.
- Bad Dreams: It's no surprise that he's implied to suffer from plenty of them. The guy never seems to get a sound sleep at any point during the game.
- Behind the Black: The trope image for His Story Repeats Itself has one particular difference between the two scenarios: while he was carrying Ellie in his arms, his left hand had a gun pointed at Marlene the whole time
- Berserk Button: Even if you're an ally, do not bring up the people he's lost, or even mention their names, or think about them too loudly; it's a guaranteed shortcut to him losing his temper. Later, threatening Ellie is a good way to get this guy really, really angry. The Cannibals and the Fireflies learned this the hard way.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Once you get to know Joel, he's a pretty well adjusted adult. Even though he and Henry got off to a rocky start, they bonded over their fondness of Harleys. And it's endearing to see how he treats Ellie in the latter part of the game. It's rather jarring when you remember that he has a name in the criminal underworld. And even more so when he shows proficiency in interrogation. He makes sure to take two guys alive, so they can confirm each others' info, knows how to cause some serious non-lethal pain, and ruthlessly kills them both once he gets what he needs. He does an on-the-spot interrogation to a Firefly soldier at the end as well. He's quick to set these all up too, and it cements that he's likely done so many times in the past.
- Big Brother Instinct: Implied that he was the only reason Tommy survived. Tommy resented him for it, since he's done horrible things to do so.
- Break Her Heart To Save Her: In a sense. After all is said and done, he lies to Ellie, claiming the Fireflies had more immune but had given up the search for a cure, leaving Ellie dejected and lost after all the sacrifice and death she had seen on the journey. If she had known the truth, she may have pulled a Heroic Sacrifice and let herself be killed to find a cure, and Joel would rather lie than lose his 'baby girl' all over again. Played even more straight after Word of God stated that while Ellie loved Joel, she also hated him for taking away her choice.
- The Brute: While not stupid, it's implied he plays this role to Tess' Diabolical Mastermind as far as their criminal activities go. While Tess is a good fighter she seems to handle most of the planning while Joel handles most of the heavy lifting.
- Book Dumb: He tells Ellie that he did visit universities - just never as a student.
- Catch Phrase: "We should move on," and variations on such, especially after something bad has happened. It reflects Joel's tendency to put all his bad experiences behind him and try to bottle them up.
- He also has a tendency to mutter "That was too damn close," after escaping a sticky situation, reflecting his belief that his continued survival is due more to luck than anything.
- Character Development: Goes from being cold, resigned and utterly apathetic to being more sensitive and open. It's worth noting that towards the end of the game, Joel is the one who instigates the optional conversation bits, not Ellie.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: He makes it clear to Ellie that she is not to bring up his personal life or past, particularly his lost loved ones. He slowly opens up to her as time goes on, however.
- Combat Pragmatist: Attacking people from behind, shooting them in the crotch... the list goes on.
- Conscience Makes You Go Back/Changed My Mind, Kid: When he decides to continue with Ellie, instead of leaving the task to Tommy.
- Cooldown Hug: After a totally broken Ellie just killed David in the most gruesome way ever she breaks down in tears in Joel's arms.
- Cool Old Guy: Joel definitely qualifies. He may be graying in the hair and getting a little past his prime, but he certainly knows how to smash in teeth and take on hordes of infected.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Sarah's death. To a lesser extent, his falling out with Tommy.
- Determinator: Holy crap, this guy just doesn't quit.
- Defrosting Ice King: Warms up considerably to Ellie throughout the game. Also to Henry, though that was unfortunately cut short.
- Disney Death: One of the more convincing examples of this trope at the end of the Fall chapter, complete with a long time playing as Ellie where it isn't immediately clear if Joel is still alive. That is, until she asks David and James for medicine.
- Distressed Dude: For the end of Fall and first half of Winter, he's entirely dependent on Ellie after getting impaled, and it's hardly a question that he would have died without her.
- The Dreaded: If ambient conversations are anything to go by, Joel has this reputation back in Boston. The Cannibals in the Winter chapter also really don't want to fight him, to the point of running away from Joel.
- Establishing Character Moment: He has moments for each stage of the outbreak:
- Before the outbreak, he is first shown worriedly talking about a job to keep him and Sarah from poverty, and we're also shown some heartwarming fatherly moments between him and Sarah.
- After the outbreak begins, he and Tommy get a couple concurrently contrasting moments that show both Tommy's general good-hearted nature and the darker side of Joel's familial protectiveness:
Tommy: They got a kid, Joel!
- After coming across the family on the road, Tommy strongly insists they to stop and pick them up while Joel strongly rebukes him.
Joel: So do we!
- When they find themselves obstructed by a crowd of fleeing civilians, Tommy is clearly much more concerned about potentially running someone over than Joel is, who barks at him to hurry up and drive.
- Post-outbreak, he ignores a military execution on the street, shrugs off a bombing that kills several people near him, and barely reacts to an injury from the bombing, seeming more annoyed than hurt, showing his adaptation and apathy to the atrocities around him since the start of the outbreak. At the same time, he shows that he's still retained a fair deal of his humanity by sharing banter with Tess and having the option of engaging in casual conversation with several bystanders.
- Everyone Has Standards: Hardened though Joel is, he's still openly horrified by some of what he witnesses in the game, most notably the fate of Ish's group and the cannibalism of David's community. It really says something about how nightmarish the setting is when it can still shock him after 20 years.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: Joel is forced into several Quick Time Events in the story where his only response to completing them is a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to whatever caused it.
- Gone Horribly Right: For the Fireflies - Ellie's attempts to have Joel accept and connect with her as a surrogate daughter eventually ends up putting Ellie - and by extension, Ellie's immunity - out of the hands of the Fireflies for good.
- Good Is Not Nice: See Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique below.
- Handguns: He can carry four different sidearms: a simple 9mm Colt Defender...
- Hand Cannon: ...and two different Hand Cannons. One is the Serbu Super Shorty, a tiny shotgun. The other is "El Diablo", a scoped Taurus Model 66 with an one round capacity (that can be upgraded to 3 rounds).
- Hates Being Alone: While he never says so outright, it can be inferred that this is as much the case for Joel as it is for Ellie. He's almost never seen without a companion of some sort (whether it's Tommy, Tess, or Ellie), and on the rare occasions when he is alone, the game makes sure the player feels his isolation, with the goal always being to reunite with whomever he was separated from.
- Heartbroken Badass: First his daughter, then Tess... No wonder he'll do anything to not lose Ellie, too.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Gets a minor one when leaving Tess behind. Later refuses to talk about her.
- His Story Repeats Itself: Provides the trope image. Both at the night of the outbreak and 20 years later, he has to carry his "baby girl" to safety through a hostile environment with no means of defending himself.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Survival justifies the means. He makes sure to remind Tommy of that once they reunite.Tess: We're shitty people, Joel. It's been that way for a long time.
Joel: No, we are survivors!
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Falls from a walkway and onto a piece of rebar. Then struggles while bleeding out from the impalement and holding off an ambush at the same time, all the while the player controls everything. He's out of commission for most of the Winter stage as a result.
- Implacable Man: A bit of an understatement. Probably best illustrated when he fights his way through a hospital full of assault rifle-wielding Fireflies to save Ellie.
- It's All About Me: Joel is a survivor. He will absolutely not hesitate to destroy a potential threat to him and his, even over the objections of his loved ones as he defends them. And that eventually includes Ellie. Which explains what he does in the finale.
- During an argument, he also tells Ellie she has no idea about loss, even though she has obviously lost her parents and it's very likely that they're dead. Zig-zagged in that later on he expresses some sympathy that her friend turned right in front of her.
- It Gets Easier: Zig-zagged; while Joel has clearly been hardened by 20 years in the apocalypse, and is quite willing to act ruthlessly to protect his own interests ( the ending being one example of many), he's still horrified by some of what he witnesses in the game nonetheless, and some conversations with Ellie imply that he's more affected by killing than he lets on.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Pulls it off thrice. First time with Robert, whose arm he breaks. Once in the Winter levels with two Cannibals, where he kneecaps one and beats the other to death with a pipe. He pulls it again on a member of the Fireflies shooting him in the gut.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zig-zagged. He has a good side and a conscience, but it's basically focused only on family like his daughter, or Ellie, whom he views as his surrogate daughter by the end of the story.
- Kick the Dog: He has one moment where he coldly denies being Ellie's father. The look on her face screams that she seriously did start to view him as a fatherly figure, especially since her biological father is most likely dead.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: He apparently was one to Tommy in the intervening years between the game's prologue and the main events of the plot. As is often the case, when they reunite years later, Tommy's still not too happy about it.
- Knight Templar Parent: Is clearly one in the main storyline (you don't get much more "knight templar" than potentially dooming humanity to save your adopted daughter), but he even shows some telltale signs in the prologue, such as refusing to help some stranded motorists (even when they have children of their own) in order to avoid putting Sarah at risk.
- Like a Daughter to Me: How he eventually feels about Ellie, calling her "baby girl" the way he did with Sarah.
- Like an Old Married Couple: His constant bickering with Tess in the first two chapters. Word of God even states she's the one person Joel trusts in the world. Things take a bit of a tragic turn quite early on. They may actually be in some kind of relationship, as Bill refers to their "trouble in paradise".
- Moral Myopia: For better or worse, Joel is motivated by protecting his family and friends and is more than willing to sacrifice anyone who gets in the way of that goal. This starts to emerge from the very beginning of the outbreak when he tells Tommy to keep driving and leave another family with a child to fend for themselves, gets more obvious from the things he's willing to do to others to keep Tommy and himself alive in the years after, and ultimately is the driving point of the entire end game. He won't abandon his adopted daughter Ellie for anything, even if it may possibly mean the extinction of humanity in the long run.
- My Greatest Failure: His young daughter's death; shot by a soldier just as they made it out of their infected neighborhood, she died in his arms as he tearfully begged her not to leave him.
- My Greatest Second Chance: He's faced with the revelation that his "baby girl" will be taken from him again, but ultimately succeeds in rescuing Ellie.
- Made of Iron: Over the course of the story, he gets shot by a heavily armed soldier, hit by shrapnel from a bombing, falls onto the top of an elevator from about ten feet up (followed by another long fall into a flooded elevator shaft), gets hit by a semi-truck while in a flimsy pickup truck, jumps from a bridge and nearly drowns afterwards, thrown at a high speed from a horse, falls several feet onto a piece of rebar, nearly bleeds to death from the impalement, survives several weeks of a debilitating fever and a severe infection, goes out into a severe blizzard while dealing with the after-effects of the infection, falls through a bus as it crashes from a large height, and shrugs off an assault rifle butt to the back of the head... And this is only the mandatory injuries, not even any of the injuries he can take in combat!
- Nominal Hero: Stays one even after his Character Development - his reawakened conscience extends solely to protecting Ellie.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Joel makes it clear that he doesn't give a shit about the Fireflies or their cause. He's just doing a job and expects to be paid for it.
- Not So Different: From Marlene, both of whom see no problem making life-altering (or in Marlene's case, life-threatening) decisions for Ellie behind her back.
- Not So Stoic: He blows his lid at least a few times - but he doesn't lose control when it happens. Apart from that one time when Ellie mentions his daughter. And when Marlene reveals Ellie is going to be killed - even then, he comes up with a plan to escape in a matter of seconds.
- One-Man Army: By the end of the story, he will have killed a lot of people. In Winter, the Cannibals (who outnumber him) actually run away when he starts shooting.
- Parental Substitute: Eventually takes on Ellie as his adopted daughter.
- Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. His protection of Ellie causes him to bond with her, and they grow extremely close over the course of the journey. When Ellie is taken by the Fireflies, and Joel learns she'll die, he goes ballistic, and kills dozens of Fireflies.
- Pragmatic Hero: He'll do whatever it takes to survive, even if he has to fight other humans.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: He can use a snub-nosed Taurus six shot revolver, which is his default sidearm.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Tries multiple times to stop his involvement with the mission, but nobody ever listens to him. Joel knows that little girls won't stay alive too long outside the quarantine zone and probably fears seeing another girl killed in front of him, but Tess and Ellie make sure he finishes the job by himself. Or so they thought.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: At the start of the game, so much.
- The Stoic: One of his defining traits. He's rarely surprised and even when really angry, he doesn't lose his cool.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Only towards Ellie. And towards Henry, a little. You should see his face when Sam is killed. He looks so crushed as he tries to talk Henry down, knowing he's going to do something after that]].
- Tragic Keepsake: The watch he got on his birthday from his daughter hours before the infection broke out. It's the only thing he kept of her and the only sign that he might not have "moved on" as he claims. Initially subverted by his photo with Sarah until his time with Ellie allows him to accept it.
- Tranquil Fury: When Ellie is in danger.
- The Unfettered: Joel has one goal - protect Ellie. His moral guidelines extend solely to her and this goal - his only hiccups in this regard come from practical reasons.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He can't bring himself to say "thank you" or offer any emotional support after Ellie kills a man for the first time to save Joel's life; instead he berates her for not staying put like he asked her to. A little while later, Joel tries to suck it up and reconcile with her, but even then he struggles with saying a direct thank you. "Just so we're clear about back there...it was either him or me." Ellie at least seems to appreciate the effort.
- Worst Aid: When he falls on a piece of rebar during the climax of the Autumn chapter, he insists to Ellie that she help pull him off and nearly bleeds to death as a result. However, it's justified as enemies are on their tail and it wasn't safe to stay.
- Would Hit a Girl: Granted, he didn't "hit" Marlene, but still…
- You're Not My Father: Inverted at the end of his argument with Ellie during the Fall chapter. Fortunately, he changes his mind soon after.
"Everyone I have cared for has either died or left me. Everyone - fucking except for you! So don't tell me I would be safer with somebody else, because the truth is I would just be more scared."Having been born after the fungal infection had already collapsed modern civilization as we know it, Ellie doesn't know a life aside from the high walls of the quarantine zone. She was raised in perpetual fear. This, of course, sparks within her an obsession with relics from the past culture, such as books and music. This, too, leads to troublesome times at the boarding house she resides in. As it turns out, she's actually immune to the fungus and the Fireflies want her to make a vaccine.
- Action Girl: At only fourteen with no real fighting experience, she has to start the game as an Action Survivor instead. Part of her development is Joel trusting her to protect the two of them with real firearms and combat. She graduates into this trope during the Winter level, where she is the only playable character at the start and end of it, as well as getting a one-on-one boss fight with David. Word of God is that Ellie's character is basically the origin story of an Action Hero.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Ellie is playable for most of Winter, when Joel is seriously wounded and she does the fighting all by herself.
- Anti-Hero: Goes from pragmatic to unscrupulous during the story.
- Badass Boast: "Ellie is the little girl that broke your fucking finger!"
- In the DLC: "If anyone's still alive, don't even think about surprising me! You'll end up like your friends, you hear me!? Yeah!?"
- Badass: Just like Joel.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Despite her filthy vocabulary and hard-headed nature, she has a stronger moral compass than Joel. What she doesn't have is any illusion about how well a fourteen-year-old would do in a fair fight against desperate, hardened adult survivalists. So she never fights fair. And her switchblade isn't for show.
- Big Sister Instinct: She instantly befriends Sam.
- Blessed with Suck: Anyone she's gotten close to usually is bitten and either turns or dies. Since her body has been able to counter the fungal infection, she has had to watch people she's cared about tragically lose their lives to their bites.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: Happens to her quite a bit, especially when hacking David up.
- Book Dumb: While she loves reading comics and apparently stories in general (see below), her voice actor, Ashley Johnson, imagines that Ellie's the type of kid who wouldn't do well in school. Per the trope's description, however, she makes up for it with the 'street smarts' she eventually develops.
- Bookworm: She is obsessed with relics from the past culture and she states that she reads all the time.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Starts out as a bit of one, especially in regards to Bill in the Lincoln chapter. She gets better over the course of the game, though. She also serves as this for Riley in American Dreams.
- Break the Cutie: Courtesy of David.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Ellie mentions soiling herself in an early encounter with a Clicker.
- Bullying a Dragon: Towards David. Despite her being behind bars and knowing that he isn't right in the head and/or is a cannibal, she breaks his finger and taunts him about it. As a result, David decides to kill her after all and it's only by luck that she momentarily distracts him from doing so by telling him she's infected.
- Catch Phrase: Might as well be the various expletives she lets out while watching Joel at work. Also Endure and survive, which she got from a comic book. She also says "Oh, man!" and "Whoa Nelly!" a lot.
- Characterization Marches On: Originally, Ellie was going to be more of a normal, fragile 14-year old, (possibly to have her be more similar to Sarah), but as the game developed the writers figured her character would need to be more badass and capable of handling herself, lest she'd end up becoming a frequent Distressed Damsel. Ashley Johnson specifically helped in on this decision when discussing combat scenes with the creators where Ellie would originally be either easily caught or just stay in the background, pointing out that if it was her she would try to do something.
- Character Tic: Whistling and making sounds as though jamming on a guitar.
- Chastity Dagger: It's implied that David was trying to rape her towards the end of their fight. Too bad for him that his machete was within reach of Ellie's hand.
- Coming-of-Age Story: She's introduced as a plucky kid (albeit one who already has some serious trauma and cynicism under her belt), and ends the game on the cusp of womanhood. Compare her trying-too-hard toughness when she first meets Joel to how she interacts with him in the final cutscene.
- The Cutie: She's not sweet exactly, but very lovable and produces most of the comic relief in the story.
- Cluster F-Bomb: All the time, mostly out of surprise. Exhibit A: Warning, contains minor spoilers
- Combat Pragmatist: Learns from Joel, but she leaned that way before meeting him.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Officially, she's meant to resemble her voice actress, but many have noted how much she looks like Canadian actress Ellen Page. She herself has even acknowledged this.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Though given the setting, it's hardly a surprise. Ellie herself implies that orphaned children are more common than not.
- Damsel out of Distress: She's briefly captive by the cannibals during Winter, but manages to free herself before Joel can arrive in time to rescue her, though it results in a pretty heavy case of Break the Cutie.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Ellie's mother Anna is described as having been a very loving woman who had enough foresight to write a letter to Ellie before her death. Ellie keeps it in her backpack, and expresses a desire to make her proud.
- Defiant to the End: When she finds herself at David's mercy, he tells her that she can try and beg. She replies with "Fuck you."
- Determinator: Even more so than Joel himself, and she's fourteen. In her battle with David, she's struggling to crawl to her knife even as her taunts her.David: (Kicks her) It's okay to give up, you know. There ain't no shame in it. (Ellie continues crawling) Heh. I guess not. Just not your style, is it? (Kicks her again)
- Deuteragonist: She and Joel are the two main characters of the game. Word of God is that by the end of the game, she's taken Joel's role as the protagonist.
- Disney Death: A brief example. Towards the end when Joel carries her out of the hospital he's confronted by Marlene, who tells him that Ellie would have wanted this (sacrificing herself for a vaccine) and he can "still do the right thing." Joel appears to be hesitating, and it then cuts to him driving on the road, making the player wonder for a moment if he let the Fireflies take Ellie after all. Then you hear her waking up in the backseat...
- Extreme Melee Revenge: When she gets the drop on David, she makes damn sure he won't be getting up again; the impression is that she would have kept on stabbing until she exhausted herself completely if not for Joel's interruption.
- Fan of the Past: Loves old comic books and laments never having played a video-game.
- Follow the White Rabbit: A non-magic example. The beginning of Winter sees her hunting a deer, to which she's led straight to the leader of the cannibal group she and Joel encountered during Fall.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. Left Behind explores just how much her best friend Riley meant to her, but seeing as the DLC was created some time after the main campaign, it explains why she practically never mentions or mourns Riley while traveling with Joel.
- Good Is Not Soft: Being an idealistic teenager doesn't prevent Ellie from stabbing people to death with her switchblade, or cause her to hesitate in shooting people to save Joel.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: She has a scratch bisecting her right eyebrow, as well as bite marks from Infected on her right arm.
- Hates Being Alone: She admits to Sam that this is her worst fear.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Implied to be a dog lover. Early concept art reveals the idea of her having a dog at some point in the game, and she briefly gets excited actually meeting some in the final game (when walking through the abandoned neighborhood with Joel, Henry and Sam). In contrast, the DLC has her reacting negatively to cats (though it's up for debate whether she just reacted to being scared, or to the cat as well.)
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Has one after killing David. It takes some time for her to recover.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A 14-year old girl traveling with a grizzled man in his late 40s/early 50s.
- Hypocritical Humor: Makes fun of Bill for talking to himself when she essentially does the same to calm herself down.
- The Immune: As Joel finds out the hard way, so to speak. When she runs ahead into a spore-heavy area that Joel needs a gas mask to get through, she's able to breathe without any problems.
- Infant Immortality: Averted - albeit non-canonically - during gameplay. Just 14 years old, but if you fail to protect her, the game's not afraid to show her being ripped to shreds by Infected, shot, stabbed, or beat to death by enemies no different from Joel.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Ellie steals constantly throughout the game from apparent-allies, perhaps most notably the picture of Joel and Sarah. It's not necessarily endearing, but she makes up for it with exasperating frankness.
- Little Miss Badass: To wit, she goes One Girl Army on the Cannibals during the Winter level.
- Little Miss Snarker: With no functioning society to grow up in, Ellie tends to act and make jokes of things girls her age don't stereotypically do. That being said, this is presented more as a sign of immaturity; as the plot takes a turn for the worse and stealth takes up more of the gameplay, it becomes clear that Ellie is at her strongest (and most dangerous) when she's silent. Can't hear her? It's a good time to say your prayers.
- Meaningful Name: "Noble" or "shining light".
- Messianic Archetype: The method that would be used to make a cure from her would end up killing her. Subverted when Joel decides to doom humanity just to save her.
- Morality Pet: To Joel, who eventually sees her as a surrogate daughter.
- Mundane Luxury: Ellie loves to read old comic books, which are a rare find back in the quarantine zone.
- No Man Left Behind: In the Pittsburgh chapter, after Henry leaves Joel to die since they can't help him up onto a truck after the ladder breaks off, with the scavengers on their heels in a truck mounted with a machine gun. She jumps back down to him because "We stick together!"
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Pretty much all of the days (weeks?) she spends taking care of Joel while the latter is badly injured. This includes stitching him up, making a makeshift sleigh hooked onto Callus to transport him with, riding through a snowstorm in search for a place to stay, moving him to the cellar of a cabin where she finds him a mattress and blanket, spending their time there hunting for food in the woods with a bow etc. You really have to remind yourself sometimes that she's 14 years old.
- Oh Crap!: She has this moment when David reveals that he is the leader of the scavenger group that she and Joel had previously fought at the university.
- One Girl Army: No, seriously. Whether it's against men or infected, when she has no choice but to fend for herself, she uses a multitude of stealthy tactics, tricks, and weapons to mow them down one after the other.
- Parental Substitute: Marlene to a degree, while Joel more officially becomes this to her. When, during the Fall chapter, Joel tells her that she's not his daughter, she looks crushed. (He eventually acknowledges that he does see her as this however.)
- Please Don't Leave Me: Basically says this to Joel when she finds out he plans to leave her with Tommy. In the past, she also silently pleaded with her best friend Riley not to leave with the Fireflies.
- Plucky Girl: Although she gradually becomes more cynical, especially after her experiences with David in the Lakeside Resort chapter.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Justified, in that the infection preceded her birth by six years, and downplayed. She has a smattering of knowledge on the old world comics and even video-game characters but doesn't know what a pizza, ice-cream truck or Bobby Fisher is. The scene with the cassette player also suggests she understandably can't connect music genres to their respective decades. Also, the scene at the university where Joel is explaining the rules of football to her.
- Promoted to Playable: Ellie becomes a playable character in the Winter chapter. She's also the only playable character in the DLC.
- Sad Clown: She usually has a snappy comeback or a pun ready, but "Left Behind" and the main campaign establish that she's been through a lot. The ending makes it clear that she's felt every death she's witnessed.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: When David is giving her a lecture, trying to make Ellie sympathize with him, she breaks his finger.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Her significance lies in being The Immune in a Zombie Apocalypse. It's what makes her the Deuteragonist.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Lady in her case. Ellie's dialogue contains the most common use of harsh swearing in the game compared to the other characters, who are more prone to having a single Precision F-Strike, if even that.
- Straight Gay: Over the course of "Left Behind" it's made very apparent that she and her best friend Riley are pretty intimate with one another, culminating in a scene where Ellie kisses Riley. Word of God confirmed both of them being attracted to each other.
- Super Drowning Skills: Ellie can't swim, so there are a number of puzzles that involve trying to get her across areas with water too deep to wade through.
- Survivor Guilt: Kicks in during the ending - she mentions feeling guilty for all her companions who died during the story.
- Tag Along Kid: Joel and Tess treat her like this at first, thinking that all they needed to do was deliver her to the fireflies and be done with her.
- Took a Level in Badass: Several during the story. Then there's the Winter chapter...
- Tragic Keepsake: Several. Anna's knife, a letter from her mother given to her by Marlene when they first met, Riley's dog tag and book of puns, a toy Sam wanted to take with him. A photo of Joel and Sarah for a while.
- Weak, but Skilled: Ellie doesn't have the physical strength of Joel nor his stamina, but by making good use of stealth, she can be as much as a One-Man Army as him. Her unbreakable knife makes her much more effective against clickers.
- Weapon of Choice: Always has her trusty switchblade on her.
- To a lesser extent, the Beretta Model 70 Joel gives her. It's the only weapon she uses when AI controlled that isn't her switchblade, with the exception of bricks.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She really hates water, since she can't swim.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: She acts very mature for a 14 year old, though it's pretty justified seeing as she's been raised in a post-apocalyptic world.
- Youthful Freckles: She has lots of energy for a kid who grew up in a hellhole, and would be considered a misfit in the old world.
- Necessarily Evil: They have claimed responsibility for a couple of bombings. They can also prove to be as deadly as the Hunters.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Fireflies's attempts to overthrow the military and restore democracy has led to several human holdouts to fall to the infected and bandits.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: They will undertake any action no matter how extreme to return power to the people, even if it means killing innocents both directly and indirectly by their actions.
- Saving the World: The Fireflies are dedicated to restoring humanity, starting with researching into a vaccine against the spores. They need Ellie for that. Unfortunately, this means dissecting her. A document you can find implies this isn't the first time they've done so.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They're the only people wanting to save the human race and study the Cordyceps infection. They even tested the infection on monkeys and a few died as a result. They are perfectly willing to fight the soldiers and sacrifice a teenage girl's life for the sake of creating a cure.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Unlike the military, who are simply trying to maintain control and destroy threats, the Fireflies want to "rise from the ashes" and restore civilization to what it once was.
Voiced By: Merle DandridgeLeader of the Fireflies. She enlists Joel and Tess's help in smuggling Ellie out of Boston.
- Action Girl: The leader of the Fireflies.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When at his mercy, she pleads with Joel to let her live. It doesn't work.
- Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero: Of the well-intentioned kind. Finding a vaccine trumps Ellie's life - although she decides so not without questioning herself.
- Badass: Who leads an organization of them without being one herself?
- Big Bad: Subverted. She's not evil, it's just by the endgame her goals and motivations no longer align with Joel's.
- Big Bad Friend: To Joel, at first.
- Boom, Headshot: How Joel deals with her in their final confrontation.
- Despair Event Horizon: Reaches it about a month before Ellie and Joel find the Fireflies.
- Hero Antagonist: Possibly, since her goal at the end of the story is to cure the zombie infection. Unfortunately that means the death of Ellie, and Joel's having none of that.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Her attitude towards Ellie's surgery.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Though Joel's reaction is understandable, Marlene's decision to sacrifice Ellie's life could have possibly saved mankind and ended the Cordyceps infection once and for all.
- Knight Templar: Her treatment of Riley in American Dreams is proof enough.
- Like a Daughter to Me: Like Joel, she thinks of Ellie as a daughter… but doesn't let her feelings prevent her from sacrificing Ellie's life in order to obtain a cure.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She could have just killed Joel after after separating him from Ellie, as he'd been knocked out and was in no position to fight back. However, she decides to take the honorable course of action and not only spares his life, but honestly explains to him that Ellie will have to die if a cure for the infection is to be made. She feels that Joel is the only other person who might be able to understand the weight of her decision, and even after he refuses to listen to her, she'd rather have him escorted out instead of outright killed. However, Joel decides to violently rebel against her decision, and ends up effectively annihilating the Fireflies, herself included, as a result.
- This also applies to her final confrontation with Joel, as despite his rampage against the Fireflies she's reluctant to kill him, and she begs him to peacefully return Ellie to her. This ends up getting her killed.
- Parental Substitute: She apparently became something of a surrogate mother to Ellie after the death of her biological mother.
- Rebel Leader: And she has a tough time of it.
- Secret Test of Character: To Riley in American Dreams.
- Tragic Villain: Her actions during the last level are heavily implied to be out of desperation after losing nearly all her men.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Averted, the other Fireflies wanted to kill Joel, but she wouldn't let them. She felt Joel was the only person who could understand the weight of her decision.
- Voice of the Resistance: She can be heard making radio broadcasts in the game's intro, encouraging survivors to join the Fireflies and reminding them to "look for the light".
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sacrifice one little girl's life to save the remnants of mankind? Even if that little girl is close to being her own daughter? It's the mission of the Fireflies to save the world, whatever it takes.
- Wild Hair: Even in the post apocalyptic environs, she has noticeably less-kempt hair than the other characters. It does a lot to communicate the stress she's under.
Voiced By: Robin Atkin DownesA Firefly in Salt Lake City, one of Marlene's right-hand men.
Voiced By: Yaani KingEllie's best friend seen in The Last of Us: American Dreams who later appears in the "Left Behind" DLC.
- Big Damn Heroes: Her introduction in American Dreams is through saving Ellie from bullies trying to take her walkman... only to steal it from her herself. She gives it back when Ellie confronts her about it though.
- Bully Hunter: She first got to know Ellie when stopping a bunch of bullies from beating her up.
- Bury Your Gays: She and Ellie are bit not 10 minutes after sharing their first kiss.
- Child Soldiers: She joins the Fireflies at age 15. She doesn't consider it soldier work though, as she tells Ellie that she refuses to become a soldier for the military.
- Death by Origin Story: While her actual fate isn't made clear, it's clear that she isn't around by the time of the main game.
- Fan of the Past: Video games, music and vampires are mentioned among other things.
- First Love: To Ellie.
- Meaningful Name: "Courageous"
- Tomboyish Name: Though technically unisex, Riley is commonly a boy's name.
- The Unreveal: Her eventual fate as to whether she was killed by Ellie or remained as a Runner is never explained.
Voiced By: Jeffrey PierceJoel's younger brother. They've split up some time after the outbreak due to ideological differences.
- The Atoner: His decision to take Ellie and embark on what amounts to a suicide mission is implied to be motivated by a desire to assuage his guilty conscience over being unable to save Sarah at the beginning of the outbreak. It's also implied that he has serious regrets from both doing what had to be done to survive in the early years of the outbreak and his involvement with the Fireflies.
- Big Damn Heroes: Tragically half and half in the prologue. He manages to save Joel from being gunned down by a soldier ordered to kill him but is too late to save Sarah.
- Get Out: Basically his last words to Joel in-between the Time Skip. By the time they meet again a few years later, he's happy to see Joel, but it's clear that their relationship is strained over what he and Joel did during the outbreak.
- Good Is Not Soft: That all said, he's also not afraid to kill anyone who threatens those he cares about.
- Happily Married: With Maria, leader of the survivors occupying the power plant near Jackson, Wyoming.
- Nice Guy: Of all the named characters, he's by far the most selfless. In the prologue, he wants to pull over their car to help a couple and their child (Joel stops him) and he almost sacrifices himself blocking a door being pounded by Infected to get Joel and Sarah to safety. When you meet him in the game, not only has he helped establish a community free from martial law, murderous hunters and Infected, but he's willing to defend this community with his life and then ready to embark on a suicide mission with only a bit of prompting from his brother.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever happened between Tommy and Joel that led to them breaking apart and not seeing each other for years.
- Took a Level in Badass: Implied when you finally meet him - he's settled down and devotes his energy to protecting a community at a power plant. Of course he's shown some tendencies before hand such as managing to survive and hold off a group of infected chasing Joel, Sarah and him on the day of the outbreak.
Voiced By: Ashley ScottLeader of the survivors' community in Jackson, Wyoming and the wife of Tommy.
- Big Sister Instinct: Like Tess, she bonds with Ellie almost immediately upon meeting her, offering her food and taking her horseback riding.
- Good Is Not Soft: But she is extremely protective of said community. Upon initially meeting Joel and Ellie, she assumes they are hostile and greets them at gunpoint, threatening to shoot unless they leave immediately. It is only after Tommy recognizes Joel and explains who they are that she warms up and becomes friendly.
- Happily Married: With Tommy.
- Iron Lady: Functions as a generally benevolent leader of the Jackson community, one of the few in the game to be self-sufficient and not ruled by martial law.
- Unkempt Beauty: Like Tess, she doesn't look bad for having lived in a post-apocalyptic world for the past twenty years.
- Violently Protective Wife: Implied. After Tommy tells her he has made up his mind to take Ellie the rest of the way to the Fireflies, she bitterly warns Joel "If anything, anything at all happens to him, it's on you." Joel later jokingly states that the reason he decides to take Ellie to the Fireflies himself is because Maria "kinda scares me" and he would rather not face her potential wrath.
Voiced By: Nolan North
"You know I love how you think that you're better than this. Better than us. But you're not."Leader of a pack of scavengers in Colorado, with whom Ellie briefly teams up. He turns out to be a cannibal, while the people Joel and Ellie fought in the university were members of his group.
- 0% Approval Rating: Most of his men agree that making them chase after a single, dangerous, and possibly infected girl in a blizzard is crazy.
- Ambiguously Christian: While he and Ellie are fleeing from infected, he can be heard telling her to watch her language, and after shooting infected he'll sometimes say "Lord, forgive them." He also states to be under the belief that "everything happens for a reason".
- He admits during his fight with Ellie that she momentarily "shook his faith", and the developer's commentary describes him as someone who believes he's been chosen by a higher power. A banner hung in the steakhouse, possibly written by him, reads "When we are in need, he shall provide!".
- Arc Villain: He is the leader of the Cannibals whom you fight during Autumn and Winter, and you fight David himself in the climax of the Winter chapter.
- Attempted Rape: Tries it on Ellie. He gets a fatal case of machete in the face for his troubles. Even earlier than that, it's made clear he's initially interested in Ellie for physically intimate reasons, which is the first time his Affably Evil façade cracks before a full out Villainous Breakdown.
- Ax-Crazy: The result of his Villainous Breakdown. He completely ignores his own safety in favor of finding Ellie.
- Badass Normal: David might be a cruel, cannibalistic deviant and he doesn't look particularly tough but he's a slippery bastard. He takes out numerous Runners and Clickers, and is the only member of his group to successfully get the drop on Ellie.
- Bait the Dog: He initially appears to have befriended Ellie... only to turn out to be a ephebophile.
- Beard of Evil: Has a pretty thick beard that accentuates his thin face.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's first quite friendly and benevolent compared to most, especially his underlings. Then, he reveals himself to be an ephebolic cannibal that leads other cannibals as well as an intended rapist.
- Bastard in Sheep's Clothing: Starts off polite and well-mannered, and as an ally... until he reveals that he's the leader of the Cannibals Joel and Ellie fought in the University.
- Climax Boss: His fight with Ellie completes the arc, the season, and the scenario.
- Enemy Mine: Played with. He and Ellie team up to defend a buck that Ellie killed, while maintaining an uneasy relationship due to Ellie not knowing if he is on her side or not - but David knows she is responsible for the deaths of several of his men. He still wants her on his side, but he needs to convince her to prove she's not a threat to his group.
- Ephebophile: He's heavily implied to be this, just short of outright-stated. He's the only one of the group that wants to keep Ellie alive, and his behavior toward her certainly calls to mind grooming techniques.
- Evil Counterpart: He's very similar to Joel, in that he invokes "I Did What I Had to Do" as justification for certain questionable actions, and seems a possible candidate for "surrogate father" with Joel missing (at first, anyway), though he and Joel differ in significant ways. Joel tries to be as detached from others as possible, whereas David took it upon him to lead a community; Joel believes that his survival is in part due to luck, whereas David explicitly states that he does not believe in luck; and the reasons they concern themselves with Ellie are pretty much completely opposite. Also, when Joel first meets Ellie, he's cold and indifferent towards her, while David is polite and friendly. Joel however is a back-and-forth Jerk with a Heart of Gold while David is said Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
- Family Values Villain: Has shades of this, such as when he scolds Ellie for not being upfront and honest about her name and background with him after having just admitted to being a cannibal.
- Faux Affably Evil: David is soft-spoken and polite, even while admitting to being a cannibal.
- Fingore: Gets his finger broken by Ellie after creepily putting the moves on her.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Had it not been for his machete, Ellie most likely wouldn't have been able to defend herself from him.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The reasoning he gives Ellie for his cannibal lifestyle.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Towards the end of his and Ellie's cat-and-mouse chase where he's left with the upper hand, he starts taunting her and hints that he plans to rape her before killing her.
- If I Can't Have You: To a degree with Ellie. When his attempts to make her join his group fail (and after she breaks his finger), he decides to kill her.
- I'm a Humanitarian: David is a cannibal, leading an entire group of like-minded human-eating psychopaths.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: That being said, it's implied that his community turned to cannibalism mostly out of sheer hunger. David, who had no intention of letting his people starve, merely did whatever it took to keep them fed.
- I Want Them Alive: He orders his mooks to capture Ellie alive, but James overrides this order, leading David to catch her himself.
- Karmic Death: He tells Ellie he's going to chop her into little pieces. His fate had this threat turned around on his face.
- Kick the Dog: In the final boss fight, he faux-apologizes to Ellie about his men killing her horse, Callus, and then promptly "reassures" her that they will make good use of his remains for food. And of course, there's the fact that he literally kicks her several times while she is on the ground.
- Lean and Mean: David is noticeably thinner both around the body and the face in comparison to other characters like Joel or even his underling, James.
- Not So Different: Invokes it when he puts Ellie in jail before she calls him an animal. David says they both kill to survive; he simply gets more use out of what he kills.
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Eventually subverted, since there does turn out to be a good reason, albeit an unseemly one, for the teenage Ellie becoming his nemesis.
- Rasputinian Death: To a degree. During Ellie's Boss Fight with him, he suffers several lethal stabs from her that should at least have slowed him down or rendered him unable to move, yet he's still able to get up, kick her twice and attempt to rape her before she finally finishes him by surprise cutting him and then rage chopping at his head.
- The Unfettered: He all but describes himself as such when he discusses why he and his community have turned to cannibalism.David: We have to take care of our own. By any means necessary.
- Villainous Breakdown: Gets more and more unhinged the longer Ellie interacts with him. By the end, he's become a bestial lunatic.
- Villainous Crush: On Ellie. This is the reason why he wants her alive.
- We Can Rule Together: He makes a point of capturing Ellie alive, and repeatedly offers to protect her and talk the rest of his group into letting her join them. She breaks his finger in response.
- Wham Line: "...and get this, he's ... a crazy man, travelling... with a little girl."
Voiced By: Reuben LangdonDavid's right-hand-man and a fellow member of the cannibal faction. Though loyal enough, he's increasingly dissatisfied with David's attitude, and overrides his leadership several times.
- The Dragon: To David.
- Dragon with an Agenda: It's suggested that he's not satisfied with David's leadership, and both undermines and overrides his boss's orders on several occasions. That said, David doesn't think badly of James, referring to him as a "good kid" who's just doing his job.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Not that David is inept, but James is ruthless and efficient, a skilled butcher, and takes no chances. Of course, as irony would have it, he dies because he freaks out and loses his cool.
- I'm a Humanitarian: He's a cannibal like the rest of his group.
- Revenge: He wanted to kill Joel and Ellie for what they had done to members of his faction at the university.
- Satellite Character: He's pretty much a Mook with a name and unique character model, and his characterization such as it is revolves around David and their group.
- Villainous Breakdown: He loses his cool when Ellie bites David, which gives her the opening to shank him to death and flee.
- Would Hurt a Child: Was happy to execute Ellie on sight, and overrides David's attempts to take her in alive by ordering their men to kill her.
Voiced By: Annie Wersching
"Guess what, we're shitty people, Joel. It's been that way for a long time."Joel's partner in crime while he's in Boston. It's implied that they were an item some time before.
- Action Girl: Her combat skills rivals Joel's. When the latter asks her if two men who ambushed her are still alive, her reply is a snickered "Now that's funny."
- Action Survivor: Doesn't mess around? Willing to shoot first in a situation if it doesn't look like talking will get anywhere? Tough as nails? Oh yeah, she's this.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: She gets bit while the trio are fighting their way through an old museum, but decides to pull a Heroic Sacrifice before turning completely.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: After she reveals she's bitten, she states to Joel she refuses to turn into a fungus mutant and decides to make her last moments useful by stalling the army for as long as she can.
- Badass: As per Naughty Dog tradition. Her reputation seems to be actually even more established than Joel's.
- Big Sister Instinct: She bonds with Ellie a lot easier than Joel.
- Heel Realization: She had hers a long time ago, if the following line is anything to go by:"We're shitty people, Joel. It's been that way for a long time."
- Last Stand: Spends her last moments holding off the military so Joel and Ellie can escape.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Her constant verbal sparring with Joel in the first two chapters. Word of God even states she's the one person Joel trusts in the world. And of course, things take a tragic turn soon after.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The player might catch the hint of something being wrong after the run through the museum when Tess suddenly acts even more brash and aggressive than before. It's left up to speculation whether it's just due to stress (and the impending death sentence) or it's the Cordyceps slowly growing strong...
- Retirony: A temporary and mixed form of this. Eventually after saying to Joel that she's considering taking Joel's past offer to lay low and relax after their usual scavenging routine, she is bitten by an Infected.
- Unkempt Beauty: For having lived in a post-apocalyptic world for so long, she's pretty damn good-looking.
- Villain's Dying Grace: Not a villain in the narrative sense, but in Tess's own words, she and Joel are "shitty people." Once she finds out why the Fireflies need Ellie smuggled, she becomes very personally invested in what was initially just another job, and after getting bitten, her Dying Grace to the world is trying her damndest to convince Joel to see the job through to the end after she's gone.
- Zombie Infectee: Noticeably after the getting through the museum, she seems a bit more solemn and apprehensive until they reach the meeting spot with the Fireflies where she untimely force to reveal she's been infected an hour ago.
Played By: W Earl Brown
"Once upon a time, I had somebody that I cared about... It was a partner. Somebody I had to look after. And in this world, that sort of shit's good for one thing: Gettin' you killed. So you know what I did? I wizened the fuck up, and realized it's got to be just me."Joel and Tess's frequent supplier and asocial survivalist, located in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
- Action Survivor: Of the survivalist type, however, his attitude ended up with his partner Frank leaving him.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He's a paranoid, asocial loner who talks to himself frequently. Joel describes him as a little "unstable".
- Badass: After surviving a horde of infected and letting traps everywhere by himself, he definitely counts.
- Badass Gay: Perfectly capable of holding his own against the infected.
- Big Damn Heroes: Makes his entrance by saving Joel from an infected. Granted it was due to one of his traps. But still...
- Crazy-Prepared: He has a ton of supplies, he traps the city so heavily that it's even explicitly said that it's his and manages to manipulate the infected horde through those traps to act as a sort of defense.
- Crazy Survivalist: The crazy part is downplayed, as he is very asocial and eccentric, but seems otherwise fairly grounded. As someone who voluntarily lives alone in an area rife with Infected, being a serious survivalist is the sane option.
- Get Out: After surviving the whole ordeal to get a working battery for a car. This is the last thing he says to Joel and Ellie when they part ways.
- Heartbroken Badass: Tries to hide his despair at seeing Frank's body, and reading his last letter revealing Frank's insults towards him wanting to stay in the city.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Earl and Bill are the spitting image of each other.
- Jerkass: Has no patience for anyone whatsoever, especially for Ellie who he consistently treats like crap throughout the time they journey towards the school for supplies. Likewise his former "partner", Frank, couldn't stand him and tried to escape the town with Bill's last remaining car battery.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Due to the massive amount of infected showing up during their mission to raid the school, Bill points out that Ellie's right when she claims that she should be armed with a gun as well to help cover for both Joel and Bill. His point is proven when Joel is almost killed in the Pittsburgh Hotel by a hunter, and had only survived because Ellie intervened by putting a bullet to the hunter's head.
- He also makes a point of being detached from other people in general, so much so that he outwardly brushes off the death of his partner Frank. But given what both Joel and Marlene are willing to do out of concern for others, and what happens when Joel and Ellie bond with Henry and Sam, it's not hard to understand why he feels that way.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his sour attitude, he does keep his word with Joel, and gives some grudging respect towards Ellie.
- Kukris Are Kool: He uses a kukri as his melee weapon. He's quite good with it.
- Love Is a Weakness:"Once upon a time, I had somebody that I cared about. And in this world that sorta shit's good for one thing: gettin' ya killed."
- Manly Gay: Had a relationship with Frank, who apparently wasn't as emotionally caring for Bill as Bill was back. His sexuality is probably why he learned to become self-sufficient.
- Noodle Incident: It is never revealed what exact favors that Bill owed Joel from the past.
- Pet the Dog: He gives out a sincere congratulations on Ellie when she got the truck moving.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: He trashes and badmouths Tess to Joel's face on more than one occasion until Joel gets sick of it and chews him out. In his defense, however, he has no idea that Tess is dead; Joel never tells him as such.
- Straight Gay: Given that he doesn't exhibit any "stereotypical" traits, to the point some even would attest he qualifies as Ambiguously Gay (the only part that makes it unambiguous being Bill's gay Porn Stash), but the game really doesn't treat his sexuality as a big deal or anything to make a fuss about or draw attention to, no different than any of the other characters.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Has this relationship with Ellie, given that they start out fighting and openly insulting each other but do manage to work together to find the car parts and by the end, have developed a level of respect for one another.
Voiced By: Brandon ScottA survivor from Hartford, Connecticut encountered in Pittsburgh who travels with his little brother Sam in search of a Firefly outpost.
- Boom, Headshot: A self-inflicted one.
- Character Development: Henry goes from strictly survival-oriented, to the point he won't let his brother bring along a toy to talking with Joel about motorcycles and letting his brother sleep in.
- Despair Event Horizon: After he's forced to kill Sam.
- Driven to Suicide: Direct result of said Despair Event Horizon.
- Fatal Flaw: His overprotectiveness ultimately proves to be his and his brother's undoing, since his brother never learned to defend himself.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When the ladder breaks on the truck as they're escaping the scavengers in Pittsburgh, leaving Joel with no way to reach them. He leaves him to die. When Joel meets up with him again after narrowly finding an alternate escape route and being forced to jump from the bridge, he's understandably pissed at Henry for his actions and nearly kills him for it. Henry flimsily justifies himself by claiming he knew Joel would survive and that Joel would do the same in his position; he did at least save both Joel and Ellie's lives when they were drowning.
- My Beloved Smother: Well, brother. He is extremely strict towards Sam, forbidding him from playing, taking toys and being very overprotective of him. He also neglects to prepare him properly for combat and handling the Infected, which indirectly contributes to his infection and subsequent death.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Mouths this trope nearly word for word after he is forced to kill Sam.
- Nice Guy: Although he has a moment of major moral weakness (See I Did What I Had to Do above) and he's pretty strict to Sam, once Joel and Ellie get to know him, he's actually a pretty pleasant fellow.
- Parental Substitute: To his brother, Sam.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Forced to kill his Infected brother to protect Ellie. Consequently is Driven to Suicide promptly after.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: A non-villainous example. He shoots at Joel as he goes for a gun to kill Sam, who has turned into a Runner, then shoots Sam himself. It's ambiguous if he wanted to kill Sam as penance for failing to protect him, or wanted to protect his brother, before realizing he was too far from saving.
Voiced By: Nadji JeterHenry's younger brother, about Ellie's age. A very inhibited and passive kid.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Since he is unable to defend himself, he becomes an Infected.
- Break the Cutie: His infection and subsequent transformation.
- Despair Event Horizon: Hits one after getting bitten - it's subdued, but he becomes very depressed and bitter.
- Foil: To Ellie. He's timid and very passive, in contrast to the active and audacious Ellie. The game highlights that by pairing him with Joel for a short while - it comes shortly after a longer chapter of Ellie learning how to help you and fend off enemies by herself.
- Incompatible Orientation: Falls for Ellie.
- Kill the Cutie: The poor guy got infected, and the truth hurt him so much that he didn't tell anyone to kill him while he was still "alive".
- Neutral Male: Very much so, since Henry doesn't teach him how to protect himself. This eventually leads to him being unable to defend himself against an infected, and getting bitten as a result.
- The Load: While his brother loves him very much, he considers him this at best.
- Super Drowning Skills: He can't swim either.
- Tragic Monster
- Troubled Child: Partially thanks to his brother, who treats him like porcelain.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Henry focuses on admonishing him and telling him what to do. This is noticeable in his reactions when he's teamed up with Joel, who actually takes his time to commend and reassure him.
- Zombie Infectee: He gets bitten in the leg, which he fails to mention.
Voiced By: Robin Atkin DownesJoel and Tess's former supplier. Due to his many debts, he screws them over on a deal and tries to have them killed.
- Boom, Headshot: Courtesy of Tess.
- Chronically Killed Actor: As per Naughty Dog tradition. Whatever he voices usually ends up being killed in an unpleasant manner.
- Cowardly Boss: He sends his men after Joel and Tess. After they corner him, all he can do is a pathetic attempt at running away.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His selling of a gun shipment to Marlene behind Joel and Tess's backs kickstarts the whole plot.
- Too Dumb to Live: Trying to kill Tess and Joel and then asking them to help him retrieve the guns he sold himself proves him terminally stupid.
Voiced By: Hana Hayes
Joel's daughter. She died on the night of the outbreak.
- American Accents: Texan, just like her pops.
- Children Are Innocent: As far as we know. And her death means the death of innocent happiness for Joel and his world.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Her death in Joel's arms breaks him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Her answer to how she got Joel a birthday present: "Drugs. I sell hardcore drugs."
- Death by Origin Story: Dies after getting shot by a soldier ordered to take out any stragglers.
- Decoy Protagonist: At least players who didn't pay attention to trailers could be fooled into thinking she's a big part of the game, considering you start out playing as her. Then she's killed after 20 minutes in.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She dies in Joel's arms near the end of the prologue after getting shot.
- Dies Wide Open: Dies with open eyes.
- Infant Immortality: Averted; although she's in her early teenage years when she's introduced, she still gets shot.
- Kill the Cutie: She dies once the soldier who was about to rescue her is ordered to kill everyone in the city to prevent an outbreak.
- Missing Mom: Her mother isn't around by the time of the game. The most that Joel says about her is that they weren't married for long.
- Sacrificial Lamb: She dies at the end of the prologue.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Though she doesn't have an impact on the story proper, her death in the prologue essentially changes everything about Joel.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: She really had no reason to exist beyond getting killed off in order to give Joel depth.
- Tomboy: Her looks. And she snarks about drugs.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Too good for a post-apocalyptic Earth.
- Tragic Keepsake: Joel still has the watch twenty years later.
- Trailers Always Spoil/Foregone Conclusion: To anyone who paid attention to the game's previews; she's not Ellie, whom Joel travels with for most of the game, so something terrible was bound to happen to her.
IshA mysterious survivor, who is never actually met face to face. Avoided the infection by staying on his boat, but eventually ran aground and decided to hack it as a survivor.
- Apocalyptic Log: These are the only way to know he even exists.
- Character Development: A considerable amount considering that he's The Ghost. He starts off sounding a bit batty, but near his final notes he seems more down to Earth and responsible.
- The Ghost: The only reason you even know he exists is because of the notes he leaves.
- Hero of Another Story: One of many survivors from the outbreak, and one of few who prioritised things other than personal safety over anything else.
- Implied Love Interest: If the notes are anything to go by he has a thing for Susan.
- The Leader: Of the doomed Sewer City.
- Obfuscating Insanity: He's initially quirky in his notes, possibly a coping mechanism due to his isolation.
- Shout-Out: To the identically-named character from the 1949 novel Earth Abides.
Tropes that apply for all of them:
- Body Horror: The fungus takes root in your brain and then spreads from there.
- Eye Scream: The fungus first starts manifesting outwardly by growing in and out of the victim's eyes.
- Festering Fungus: The source of the infection.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: They're always referred to as Infected.
- Stronger Than They Look: Especially the Clickers. Even though they look like gooey, fleshy mushroom people, they can insta-kill Joel, who himself is one of the toughest survivors out there.
- Technically Living Zombie: Infected by a fungus, not really dead.
Freshly turned Infected who attack with their hands. They still look - and, disturbingly, sound - the most human.
- And I Must Scream: Their mournful wails indicate that they might be aware of their current state.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Once they spot an uninfected person, the fungus triggers certain hormone releases that cause them to go mad with aggression.
- Fragile Speedster: The least biologically changed, anything which will stop a human will stop a Runner.
- Tragic Monster: Every one of them was a person, once upon a time. Some of their cries sound very human, like sobbing, screaming, or whimpering. There probably isn't anything left (none of the noises are intelligible as words and they have no tactics, teamwork, fine motor skills or anything like true intelligence), but it's just close enough to make you wonder.
- Zerg Rush: Since they have their senses intact, any one of them will cry out when spotting an uninfected person, resulting in the whole lot of them running to converge on them.
Slightly aged Infected with fungi starting to grow out of their heads. Surprisingly intelligent, their fighting style is more ambush oriented.
- It Can Think: It's the only stage of infection capable of performing predatory tactics.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Due to a more advanced state of infection, they can move like Runners and are as tough as Clickers, but they lack the Runners' numbers and aggression, as well as the Clickers' strength.
- Stalker Without A Crush: It's part of their nature.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Tend to hide and stay quiet when in the line of sight of other creatures, but turn and charge when they think those others are not looking.
Aged Infected whose infection has turned their head into layers of fungus. Their eyesight lost, they sense their surroundings through echolocation.
- The Berserker: They keep charging even if loaded with bullets.
- Body Horror: The fungus has bloomed from their skulls, splitting them open.
- Disability Superpower: Their advanced infection has stolen their eyesight. Unfortunately, they develop echolocation to compensate.
- One-Hit Kill: They get a hold of you, they go straight for the jugular. However, you can get a skill that allows you to escape it.
The oldest of the Infected, the fungus has created something akin to armored plating covering their bodies. They can pluck spore pods from their body to throw at whoever or whatever they're fighting. These are the least common of the Infected since they take over a year to develop.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Due to being a mobile damage sponge.
- Body Horror: They look more like a bipedal fungus than a human, their entire body being covered by the blooms.
- Boss Battle: They are tough, what with the fungus acting as a natural Kevlar.
- Elite Zombie: They do not get much more elite than this.
- Flunky Boss: It has other Infected fighting alongside it both times that killing one is necessary to proceed.
- The Juggernaut: They can survive even a Molotov cocktail.
- Kill It with Fire: Like all Infected, fire works great. Once they're burnt they can no longer produce toxic sacs for their long-range attacks, and their natural armor is removed so your lower-caliber guns will be fully effective. However, you'll have to use two Molotovs or 2-3 bursts from the flame thrower to put one down for good.
- Mini-Boss: As the most powerful Infected they serve as this.
- One-Hit Kill: And unlike the Clickers, you can't fight back if they catch you. If they do catch you, you're in for a nasty shock...
- Recurring Boss: There are two instances in the game where you absolutely have to kill one of these in order to proceed.
- Tear Off Your Face: Your ultimate fate if you're caught by one.
- Villain Decay: The first Bloater will take everything you have to beat, and it is advised to run from those you do not have to confront. When Joel gets the flamethrower they become much easier. Even before that, two Molotovs will take them down fairly easily, albeit quite slowly.
CallusA horse initially owned by Tommy in Jackson, Wyoming and given to Joel and Ellie to help them travel to the Fireflies. He is later shot and killed by David's men at the Lakeside Resort.
- Cool Horse: He is helpful as the best of them.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He dies helping Ellie.
- Loyal Animal Companion: A horse loyal until the very end.
- Meaningful Name: Callus, or in most cases callous, can mean hardened, indifferent, or unsympathetic, traits just about everyone in the game has on a surface level.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Joel and Ellie didn't get the name of the horse before they left with him so Ellie named him Callus.
- Undying Loyalty: Literally; he dies because of it.
- Unfortunate Name: Joel thinks so, at least."What kind of name is Callus, anyways?"
- Dissonant Serenity: In a Crapsack World where humanity is ravaged by the Cordyceps infection and endless fighting, the giraffes in Salt Lake City provide a calm and almost haunting sudden change of tone.
- Rule of Symbolism: Giraffes are actually a recurring theme in the game, seemingly representing hope or innocence (for instance, Sarah has a toy giraffe in her room during the prologue).
- The toy giraffes keep popping up throughout the game. If you keep your eyes peeled and explore enough you'll find one in every chapter.
Dr Daniela Star
- Ambiguously Brown: It's not clear what ethnicity she is supposed to be.
- An Arm and a Leg: On the cover of the final comic she has a robotic arm.
- Gladiator Games: Forced into an arena with Captain Ryan.
- Hot Scientist: Fairly attractive as we can see in the covers.
- Science Hero: She discovers a method of traveling faster than light.
- Secret Keeper: So secret we don't know what it is, but it involves Captain Ryan's role in saving humanity.
Capt. James Ryan
Groups Of People
The United States Military
- Make Sure He's Dead: The military will not allow anyone infected inside their quarantine zones alive. They have a scanner to make absolutely sure, and if that goes off, so will the unlucky person's head. They do a lethal injection which seems to work instantaneously, so at least they're humane about it. It may also be an example of Pragmatic Punch-Clock Villainy, since a lethal injection does not open a vector for more spores to be dispersed like a headshot would.
- Punch Clock Villain: It's not that all the soldiers enjoy what they're doing. Some are helpful, some are jerks, just like anybody else. Unless they find out you're Infected.
- 0% Approval Rating: Averted with the first group you encounter, who don't question their boss. Played straight with another group, who verbally express doubts about David's orders. Especially James, who overrides him by ordering Ellie's immediate death instead of bringing her alive. They are in a blizzard and risking hypothermia for one extremely dangerous girl. You might even say that they're doing Ellie a favor, considering David apparently likes to keep 'pets'.
- Face–Heel Turn: At least for the first group, where a document implies that they were formerly part of the Fireflies.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: By the Winter chapter, just the mention of "tourists" and the sight of Joel is enough to send some Hunters running scared.
- Would Hurt a Child: They have no problem attacking Ellie, especially if she's armed. Once you take control of Ellie, you have the pleasure of seeing the handful of ways they can murder her.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: One way the hunters draw in victims is by having one stagger out, pretending to be hurt and calling for help. Joel saw through them pretty quickly. Because he's "been on both sides."Joel: He's not even hurt. (drives at the Hunter)