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Main Character Index | Joel and Ellie | The Fireflies | Residents of Jackson, Wyoming | Washington Liberation Front (WLF) a.k.a. the Wolves
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    Joel 

Joel Miller

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/joel_last_7295.jpg
Click here to see Joel as he appears in the The Last of Us: Part II
Voiced By: Troy Baker (English), Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Adrián Wowczuk (Latin American Spanish), Lorenzo Beteta (European Spanish), Vsevolod Kuznetsov (Russian), Krzysztof Banaszyk (Polish)
Played By: Pedro Pascal (TV series)

"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.
  • 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 Dad: Was a father to a young girl named Sarah, who passed away 20 years ago when the apocalypse started, and is now a surrogate father figure to a young girl named Ellie.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • His daughter's death in the prologue.
    • Hits him hard in regards to Ellie during the Winter chapter. It's implied that being terrified for her life is what finally makes him realize that he's come to see her as a surrogate daughter.
    • This is eventually what drives him to make his decision in the finale.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Seeing as how he was only in his late twenties when the outbreak happened, you’d expect at least one of his parents to be around but they’re not. Neither he nor Tommy ever bring them up or explain what happened to them. It’s also implied that he was the one who pretty much raised Tommy.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Downplayed as his right leg didn't get blown off from the shotgun blast by Abby in Part II, but the kneecap was destroyed, thus losing his ability to walk.
  • Animal Motifs: Moths, in The Last of Us Part II. Moths are nocturnal insects but they seek light no matter how dark it is.
  • 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 and Child Duo: He eventually forms one with Ellie. Not only does he save her life multiple times, the reverse also holds true. She nurses him back to health when he's impaled, for one.
  • Badass Baritone: Troy Baker's take on Joel is a very low voice with a distinct Texan drawl.
  • 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 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.
  • Beard of Sorrow: After the bad times keep getting worse, Joel just stops shaving. By game's end, he's sporting a full beard because he's stopped caring how he looks.
  • 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.
  • 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 Bad Slippage: His entire role in the first game is this in spades.
  • 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.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The outbreak began a few hours after his birthday.
  • 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.
  • Brains and Brawn: While not stupid, it's implied he's the muscle to Tess 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. Being a young single dad doesn’t leave much time for school.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In Part 2, Abby cripples him and demands to know if he remembers her, only for Joel to say "No" and tells her to get on with his execution. At this point, Joel has killed so many people and can't remember their names. He also did this to steal Abby's closure, she may have him at her mercy but he'll make sure she won't enjoy it.
  • Catchphrase: "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 Death: Joel returns in the sequel where he ends up brutally bludgeoned to death by Abby after being helped by her. He's noticeably a softer person compared to the predecessor, making him a rather easy target for Abby and her crew.
  • 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. He also seems more capable of handling his trauma over the loss of Sarah by the end of the game. Once she dies, she's never brought up again until about 2/3 of the way through the story when you get to Tommy's town. Once they're in the university, he talks to Ellie about her and as they're headed into the hospital in Salt Lake City, he accepts the picture of her from Ellie. He had previously rejected it when Tommy tried to give it to him.
  • 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.
    • In Part II, after living in Jackson for 4 years, the residents hold him in high esteem. He's the brother of one of the town's founders, a grizzled vet who kills infected real good, plays guitar, and looks after his surrogate daughter, Ellie. When Joel dies, the citizens of Jackson decorate his memorial with dozens of flowers. Jesse himself tells Ellie that he looked up to Joel.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dies a slow and painful death at the hands of Abby, via having his head repeatedly beaten by a golf club wielded by the latter and ends up getting his skull caved in.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Sarah's death. To a lesser extent, his falling out with Tommy.
  • Determinator: Holy crap, this guy just doesn't quit. Even when he gets shot at, impaled through the stomach, and faced with all kinds of horrors on a daily basis, Joel is not one to lie down and die.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Not only did he lose his daughter on the first night of the outbreak, but it's highly implied that Joel was neck-deep in some dirty, tragic business during the 20-year Timeskip. His response to one of Ellie's inquiries suggests that he was once a Hunter or at least did some of the same things they do in order to survive.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The trailers make him look like the Deuteragonist of the second game and he’s the first playable character but he’s killed very early on by Abby.
  • Defiant to the End: When Abby has him dead to rights and is ready to kill him, he just tells her to get it over with.
  • 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 the 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 of concurrently contrasting moments that show both Tommy's general good-hearted nature and the darker side of Joel's familial protectiveness:
      • After coming across the family on the road, Tommy strongly insists they stop and pick them up while Joel strongly rebukes him.
      Tommy: They got a kid, Joel!
      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.
  • Experienced Protagonist: By the time the main game begins, Joel already has a name in the criminal underworld and shows expertise at recognizing ambushes and torturing for information. Even in the prologue he doesn't panic at the outbreak and knows exactly what to do.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge:
    • In the first game, 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.
    • In the second game, he's on the receiving end of this instead, as Abby smashes in Joel's face with a golf club.
  • Famous Last Words: "Why don't you say whatever speech you've got rehearsed and get this over with?"
  • Fatal Flaw: Selfishness. Sometimes it's used for good in terms of protecting himself and his own, but it's more often shown negatively in regards to put his and their needs above all else.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Joel goes from an average working-class single father pre-outbreak to a typical smuggler whose reputation for brutality is well-known post-outbreak, to a one-man army who is ready, willing, and able to plow through hordes of enemies, human or infected, to keep Ellie safe. Taken to extremes in the Winter chapter when he has just woken up from a serious case of Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and so terrifies David's men that they run away in terror from a single, injured, and relatively ill-equipped man.
  • Genre Blind: Despite having been otherwise savvy in the original game and rightfully wary of the many strangers he came across, in Part 2, a logbook reveals that Jackson's inhabitants often helped strangers on patrol, including Joel and Tommy, that left Joel more trusting and accommodating over the years. He finally puts his trust in the wrong people when he saves Abby from infected who takes him and Tommy to the WLF, a group of people who traveled all the way from Seattle to kill him, which they succeed in.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Joel understands from the very beginning that he's in a Zombie Apocalypse, and what compromises he'll have to make to survive. In the opening sequence, he guns down his crazed neighbor and makes Tommy drive past a family begging for a ride over his and Sarah's protests, because there's no telling if they're infected.
    • When he and Ellie first arrive in Pittsburgh, a man stumbles into the road, apparently hurt. Joel sees through it right away, since he's been on both sides of that trick.
  • 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: Joel may be the hero of the story, but his main goal is to survive, and that sometimes means doing less-than-moral things, including killing someone at a moment's notice. Even at the very beginning of the outbreak, his pressuring Tommy to leave a family on the side of the road shows that he focuses on himself and his family first. Some dialogue with Ellie implies that he may have been a Hunter at one point. Case in point, he kills many innocent doctors in the climax of the original game on his mission to save Ellie.
    Tess: We're not good people, Joel.
    Joel: No, we are survivors.
  • Handguns: He can carry four different sidearms: a simple 9mm Colt Defender, a .357 revolver...
  • 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 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 BSoD:
    • He undergoes a major one in the prologue when his daughter is killed by a soldier ordered to take out any stragglers.
    • He later gets a minor one after leaving Tess behind to the point where he refuses to talk about her.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Part II shows that he's not only good at playing the guitar but also at building them. This being a highly specialized profession that requires advanced craftsmanship and years of training, it makes you wonder where he picked it up since his uncertain job situation before the outbreak is unlikely to have given him the resources and spare time to pursue it as a hobby.
    • Exploring his house in Part II reveals that Joel is an accomplished woodcarver. His upper floor contains a workshop filled with tools, reference books, materials, and several completed sculptures. His most recent project at the time of his death was of a cowboy bronc riding, suggesting he had some interest in rodeo as well.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Healing: With Ellie's help, he recovers from being impaled on rebar through his torso. Such an injury would really have killed him within a few minutes.
  • 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!
    • By the end of Part I, Joel evolves to believe that unconditional love also justifies the means.
    Joel: If somehow the Lord gave me a second chance at that moment...I would do it all over again.
  • 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.
  • Informed Judaism: Is shown wearing a menorah sweater while everyone else is in Christmas getups in an official (if, obviously, non-canonical) piece of art.
  • I Regret Nothing: Joel knows that no matter how tough his choices are, he has to do it for the sake of others, even if it's selfish. While clearly saddened by this, Joel proudly states that he would do it all over again.
  • 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 groin.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joel is not a good person, but he's capable of love and empathy for the people around him. He strikes up a fast friendship with Henry and Sam, has a strong bond with Tess, and eventually starts forming a pseudo-parental relationship with Ellie. Notably, it's this love that he uses to justify the terrible things he ends up doing throughout the story, so one could say that instead of Joel hiding his caring nature under a pragmatic and brutal exterior, he actually uses his caring nature to justify why he's doing the things he does.
  • 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.
    • In the E3 2018 trailer for Part II Jesse tells Ellie "your old man really laid into me", noting that he gets really involved when it's Ellie's turn to patrol the town.
  • 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".
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Played for Laughs in Part II when it's revealed that Joel is literally the only one in the whole of Jackson who doesn't seem to know that his surrogate daughter Ellie is gay, which results in him shipping her with Jesse, much to her exasperation. With Joel normally being an extremely observant dude, it can make one wonder how he managed to overlook something both so obvious and important to her.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Ultimately, it's his love for Ellie and fear of losing another "daughter" is what make him decide to save her and take away humanity's possibly last hope.
  • 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 afterward, 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!
  • Misanthrope Supreme: A possible reason why Joel chose to save Ellie rather than let the Fireflies kill her to extract the cure that might have saved the rest of humanity. Having suffered at the hands of humanity itself during their journey to find a cure, particularly David, causes Joel to decide that what is left of humanity might not be worth saving after all, especially at the cost of Ellie's life.
  • 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.
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: When about to kill Abby in their final fight in Part II, Ellie only restrains herself from doing so after thinking of the happier times she had with Joel when he was alive.
  • Must Have Caffeine: In Part II, Ellie states that Joel would (and actually did) trade half of his stuff for a bag of coffee beans.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Even though he's ultimately resolute about it, even he seems momentarily shocked by his decision to shoot Marlene knowing that Marlene was right about what Ellie wanted.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Killing the doctors at the end of the first game turned to out to be a major mistake as naturally they have living relatives, one of whom, Abby, would later track him down and kill him for it, setting up the events of Part II. Not that Abby isn't justified, the doctor who likewise was her father tried to talked him down, was only armed with a scalpel and Joel did have the option to just knock them out to rescue Ellie, but ultimately fatally shot him.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In Part II, Joel decides to rescue a stranger who had an Infected on top of her ends up with her realizing he's the one who killed her father in the first game and leading him to her group where she shoots through his leg and then slowly beats him to death with a golf club.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His primary form of melee combat is a string of punches and kicks that may follow into absolutely brutal finishers, such as: bashing the opponent's head in the wall, kneeing him in the face or stomping him in the head. It's also how he meets his end in Part II when Abby beats him to death with a golf club.
  • Nominal Hero: Stays one even after his Character Development - his reawakened conscience extends solely to protecting Ellie.
  • Noodle Incident: Several have created thanks to his preference not to elaborate on his past. Exactly how young did he have his daughter? What happened to Sarah’s mom? What did he do for Bill that was apparently enough to call in such a deadly favor? What did he mean when he said he's "been on both sides" when talking about the Hunters?
  • 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.
  • Old Soldier: He is the "only got to be so old because he's very good at surviving" type. At the start of the game he is roughly in his late twenties (he tells Ellie he didn’t go to college because he already had Sarah). After the timeskip he's in his late forties to early fifties which would make him about 55 during the sequel, and he isn't slowing down.
  • 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.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Open-Minded Parental Substitute to be exact. He defends Ellie after the homophobe Seth calls her a slur for kissing Dina and later encourages Ellie to go for it.
    Joel: I have no idea what that girl's intentions are, but I do know that she would be lucky to have you.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His biological daughter, Sarah, is gunned down at the start of the infection. This leads to him being fiercely protective of his surrogate daughter, Ellie.
  • Parental Substitute: Eventually takes on Ellie as his adopted daughter. In 2, everyone at Tommy's town thinks that Joel IS her dad. Though by then the trust between the two has been broken by Joel's lie at the end of the first game.
  • Papa Wolf: 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.
  • Parents as People: Joel's choice to kill the Fireflies who wanted to harvest Ellie's immunity is one that many parents can respect, even if they don't condone it. Ellie herself is horrified to learn the truth and swears off their relationship. Joel respects Ellie's wishes and keeps his distance, but he continues to worry about her, covertly overseeing her patrol schedule and overtly defending her from a bigoted townsperson. It's that last event, seeing Joel once again defend her, that prompts Ellie to attempt reconciling with him.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Barring the photograph of him and Sarah, Joel never cracks a single smile. He does smile more frequently during the flashback sequences in Part II.
  • Posthumous Character: He's killed by Abby early on in Part II, with the majority of his scenes taking place during flashbacks.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: After Sarah gets fatally shot by the soldier in the prologue, Joel tearfully tells her "Stay with me!" She dies in his arms moments later.
  • Pipe Pain: He can use steel pipes as melee weapons to fight and beats one of David's men to death with one after torturing another for information.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Joel gets murdered by Abby and the WLF in the first two hours of Part II and this kickstarts Ellie's character arc in the game.
  • Pragmatic Hero: He'll do whatever it takes to survive, even if he has to fight other humans.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite his justifiable reasons to do so, his past comes to bite him back. In addition, after spending years in Jackson, a safe settlement, he became less cautious of others.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: He can use a snub-nosed Taurus six-shot revolver, which is his default sidearm.
  • Sacrificial Lion: No better way to show just how revenge-fueled and bitter Abby is than having her murder the previous game's protagonist in cold blood.
  • Sadistic Choice: He's faced with one after he finally gets Ellie to the Fireflies. The only way for them to make a vaccine is to perform a brain surgery that will undoubtedly kill her. So, Joel has two options: possibly save the future of all humanity at the cost of his surrogate daughter's life, or save her, and possibly ruin the only chance of ever getting a vaccine/cure for the infection. Ultimately he chooses to save Ellie, and in their flashback dialogue at the end of Part II, he says point-blank he would do it again even with the same consequences.
  • 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.
  • Shadow Archetype: A rare example of the protagonist, Joel, being one for the antagonist, Marlene. Both are Harden survivors living in a Post-Apocalyptic world, seen the atrocities humans are capable of committing, and come to view Ellie as a surrogate daughter.. However, Marlene, despite witnessing the worst in humanity still believes it's still worth saving and will go to any lengths to ensure its survival even if it means having to kill her surrogate daughter to extract the cure for humanity. Joel on the other hand has grown to detest humanity because of how much he'd lost at its hands and is willing to doom it, rather than lose his surrogate daughter. Basically, Joel is Marlene if she chose to put her feelings and self-interests above the greater good.
  • Shipper on Deck: He apparently tried to get Ellie and Jesse together at one point, not realizing that Ellie is a lesbian.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: As Joel puts it, he saw the world one way and Tommy saw it another. This is what made them split apart and find trouble in reconnecting. Joel is selfish and lives solely on the moment, concerned with surviving another day. Tommy, on the other hand, is more selfless and lives for a long term goal of building a self-sustainable community. He is also quite the idealist, persisting on building his community even when told it wouldn't work, in clear contrast with Joel's cynicism. These differences were first established in the prologue, where Tommy wanted to help a family during the outbreak while Joel insisted on keeping Sarah safe at all costs and ignore them.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: At the start of the game, to Ellie. He slowly grows out of it... sort of.
  • Static Character: He doesn’t really change much as a character. Ellie just brings out who he really was underneath the gruff exterior.
  • The Stoic: One of his defining traits. He's rarely surprised and even when really angry, he doesn't lose his cool.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Gender Inverted. Joel begins the game clearly struggling to support Sarah. He talks to Tommy on the phone about how he needs a certain job and jokingly suggests that his daughter help him pay the mortgage. And then it's stated that he wasn't married to Sarah's mom for long.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: His death in the Part 2 effectively makes his sole role in that game to be the catalyst for Ellie's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: He barely makes it past the first chapter before he has his brains bashed in by a vengeful Abby over the death of the surgeon he killed at the end of the last game.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He was the playable character but the story revolves around Ellie.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Only towards Ellie. And towards Henry, a little. Look at 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. He also is a lot warmer towards his brother Tommy than most people.
    • Part II takes this further. Among the residents of Jackson, Joel is considered a Cool Old Guy who kills infected real good, plays guitar, and looks after his surrogate daughter, Ellie. When Joel dies, his memorial is decorated with dozens of flowers. Jesse himself tells Ellie that he looked up to Joel.
  • 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.
    Ellie: Your watch is broken.
  • Tsundere: It's a subtle, non-romantic example, but when Bill accuses him of caring too much for Ellie and potentially dooming himself for this, Joel replies it's not like that. Throughout the game, Bill is proven right and Joel is eventually shown to care about Ellie.
  • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: He says "goddamn(it)" a lot.
  • Villain Protagonist: Becomes one by the end of the game, when he decides to doom humanity's potential hope for a vaccine to cordyceps to save Ellie's life.
  • Walking Armory: By the very end of the game, Joel is packing three long guns, four handguns, a bow, a flamethrower, a heavy melee weapon, and a selection of IEDs, most of it folded away in his Hyperspace Arsenal of a backpack. If he's lucky, he might even have some ammo for all this artillery.
  • Walking Spoiler: Knowing too much about his role in a predecessor gives away that he's Killed Off for Real by Abby not five minutes after he's re-introduced.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Inevitably, Ellie finds out about the lie he told her at the end of the first game and this drives a wedge in between them for a long while where they barely talk. Eventually they do hash it out, but she's less then pleased Joel wouldn't allow her to go through with the operation despite knowing the lives it could've saved.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Given that he had suffered many hardships in this world, including losing his own daughter, it comes off as no a surprise that he becomes a ruthless and callous killer who decides to possibly doom the entire human race just so he won't lose another daughter.
  • 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 Hurt a Child: Implied. When Joel shoves Henry to the ground and has him at gunpoint, he briefly points his gun at Sam and yells "Get back, son!" when Sam tries to get between him and Henry. Then, when Sam becomes Infected and attacks Ellie, Joel immediately goes for his gun, ready to shoot him without a second thought. Though considering the world they live in goes by "kill or be killed", he can't really afford to hesitate.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Gender is no object in his fighting style. He kills female Infected and shoots Marlene to death at the end.
  • 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.
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    Ellie 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ellie_last_9.jpg
Click here to see Ellie as she appears in the The Last of Us: Part II
Voiced By: Ashley Johnson (English), Megumi Han (Japanese), Mariela Centurión (Latin American Spanish), María Blanco (European Spanish), Eliza Martirosov (Russian), Anna Cieślak (Polish)
Played By: Bella Ramsey (TV series)

Year of birth: 2019

"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. She is openly lesbian.
  • 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 arc is basically the origin story of an Action Hero.
  • Action Mom: in Part II, she becomes a second mom to JJ, Dina and Jesse's biological child. Santa Barbara chapter proves she can still kick ass.
  • Adult Fear: Despite being a young teen in the first game, she cites a particularly deep-cutting one as her biggest fear: the fear of being left behind, meaning the fear of everyone she cares about leaving her or dying. She's already experienced with her mother, Riley, Tess, and more across the journey of the first game, and by the end of the sequel it seems that everyone else has left her too.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Joel calls her "baby girl", which was the nickname he used to call his daughter Sarah, showcasing he's come to consider Ellie like his daughter.
  • All for Nothing: At the end of Part II, her quest for revenge yields nothing as she can't even bring herself to kill Abby when she finally has her at her mercy. Her revenge quest also gets Jesse killed and Tommy severely injured. What's more, Dina leaves her, along with JJ, and the fight cost her two of her fingers, preventing her from playing the guitar anymore, the only link to Joel she has left.
  • 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.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Literally. She ends up killing nearly all of Abby's friends and dog on the warpath to Abby herself.
  • Animal Motifs: Part II gives her a motif in the silk moth, seen in her tattoo, on her guitar, and several times in her sketchbook. Her quest for revenge can be seen as a moth towards a flame, being inexorably drawn to it even while it hurts her.
  • Anti-Hero: Goes from pragmatic to unscrupulous during the story.
  • Badass Adorable: She may look like an absolutely cute girl turn to a beautiful woman in Part II, but it doesn't mean she can't fight on her own.
  • Badass and Child Duo: The child to Joel's badass, though she's not entirely helpless and slowly grows into an Action Girl over the course of the first game.
  • 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!?"
    • From the Part II trailer: "I'm gonna find, and I'm gonna kill, every last one of them."
  • Badass Bookworm: She likes to read books and comics and can hold her own in a fight.
  • 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.
  • Birds of a Feather: Apparently Ellie's first long-term girlfriend was an tattoo-artist named Cat who's only shared interest with Ellie was that both of them being sexually attracted to each other.
  • 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, who attempts to kill her, then molests her once he has the chance. In Part II, there's the murder of Joel by the WLF, which sends her in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Broken Bird: By Part II, loses all of her innocence especially following Joel's murder, sending her into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. By the end she's lost almost everything, even though she ceases to avenge Joel.
  • 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.
  • Butch Lesbian: Downplayed in the sequel. Her hair is tied into a bun behind her head and her clothes are loose and maybe a bit too big for her. However, the whole Zombie Apocalypse thing means that getting haircuts and new, fitting clothes isn't necessarily easy and definitely not a priority, and she's still far from the stereotypical butch. Albeit she does have her hair short towards the final moments of Part II, which makes her look closer to the typical examples of the trope.
  • Catchphrase: 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. In Part II, she frequently asks "Where's Abby"?
  • 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 Development:
    • In Part I, Ellie starts off as brash and inexperienced to the outside world. By the end, she's become self-sufficient and capable enough to protect herself and Joel.
    • In Part II, towards the "character gets worse over time" spectrum. It started off proper when Joel finally reveals that he lied to her about the circumstances with her rescue in the last game. She was a spunky girl with an optimistic outlook, but afterwards Joel's reveal, it's indicated that she no longer thought her life was meaningful and became somewhat jaded. Joel's death emotionally wrecks her, and she becomes a hardened murderer who ignored her friend's advice and well-being just to satisfy her need for revenge. That said, there are some peeks of her old personality that surface throughout; she is rocked by killing Nora and Mel and she spares Abby after she gains the upper hand in their fight. Despite losing everything in the end, it appears that her true self is starting to shine through again.
  • 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.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Ellie is noticeably uncomfortable at how close Dina and Jesse act towards each other when Jesse joins the two of them in Seattle. Ellie's confidence isn't helped by the fact that Dina is pregnant with Jesse's child and the night before the two of them had a fight.
  • 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.
  • Contralto of Danger: Her voice is much deeper than what you'd expect looking at her, and although her physique isn't cut out for direct physical confrontations, she's still very much capable of carving a bloody swath through anyone and anything standing in her way. It's become more noticeable in Part II since she's older and can be downright menacing.
  • The Cutie: She's not sweet exactly, but is very lovable and produces most of the comic relief in the story. Downplayed in Part II as she goes through multiple tough scenarios but still maintains her cute looks.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: All the time, mostly out of surprise. Exhibit A: Warning, contains minor spoilers
  • Combat Pragmatist: Learns from Joel, but she learned 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 actor Elliot Page (the game was developed before he came out as trans). He himself 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.
  • Daddy's Girl: Develops a close relationship with Joel, whom she definitely sees as the father she never had.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a pretty sharp tongue, which annoys Joel when he needs to do the talking.
    Bill: Yeah, sure Joel, go ahead, take my car. Take all my food too while you're at it.
    Ellie: By the looks of it, you could lose some of that food.
  • 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 Captive: She takes none of David's Faux Affably Evil kind demeanor when he has her locked in a cage, and uses a moment of distraction to break his finger and later taunts him about it.
  • 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."
  • Dented Iron: In Part II, the Rattlers and their violent snare traps slammed her body into a spike, and she's delirious from blood loss and in a great deal of pain by the time they finally come in to try to capture her. Doesn't stop her from killing the entire faction afterwards, and it only begins to slow her down in the final fight with a similarly-weakened Abby - where she'd still barely have won had she not spared her at that point.
  • 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 he 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. She returns in The Last of Us Part II as the main Player Character, sharing top billing with Abby.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Despite Dina being supportive and helping Ellie for most of the game when Ellie decides to avenge Joel after failing once, Dina leaves their home with JJ without leaving a note. That being said, there are hints that suggest that she did, in fact, get the girl.
  • Disappeared Dad: Her mother is told to have died not too long after giving birth to her, but nothing is known about Ellie's birth father. This is probably the main reason why she got so attached to Joel, as she grew up without ever having a father figure.
  • 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...
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: During her time with Dina and JJ in the farm in Part II, Ellie has her hair much shorter. This comes after an (unfinished) journey of hatred, vengeance and traumas, which still persist until the end of the game.
  • Extreme Mêlée 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: Impulsiveness; as a young teenager she would mouth off to adults a lot, despite Joel's warnings and she continued to antagonize David, who was already unstable. The second game gives her another flaw; her tendency to hold grudges.
  • Fiery Redhead: She's a feisty, foul-mouthed girl with auburn hair.
  • Final Boss: While Abby does have a single gameplay section after this, Ellie is the final tough enemy that Abby faces in her part of the campaign.
  • Fingore: In Part II, she loses her left hand's ring finger and pinkie after Abby bit them in their last fight. What's worse, Abby only bit off one finger, meaning Ellie had to amputate the other herself.
  • Flipping the Bird: Gives one to Bill when he tells her not to touch his stuff.
  • 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 Girl Gone Bad: In Part II. In the first game she was a tough but friendly and good-humored fourteen year old girl; even though her horrific experiences during the Zombie Apocalypse have hardened her, five years later she's still a mostly well-meaning young woman who looks out for her loved ones. Then she watches Joel, her Parental Substitute, brutally beaten to death in front of her and she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, maiming and killing dozens of people in an increasingly vicious and callous manner, unwilling to let anyone or anything stand between her and vengeance. By the end, she does give up on the idea of getting revenge, realizing it doesn't solve anything and only perpetuates more violence, but by this point she has a lot of blood on her hands and her life is in ruins.
  • 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. The "good", however, erodes away in Part II when she makes increasingly dubious decisions for her desire of revenge.
  • 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. And by the end of Part II, she does end up alone. Maybe.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: By Part II she becomes almost as bad as the ones she hunts down in her Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Barely stops herself on the brink of the Moral Event Horizon at the end when she spares Abby.
  • Heel Realization: She realizes what her single-minded pursuit of revenge upon Abby has done to her after she kills Owen and Mel - and that Owen's suspicious behavior was trying to protect his pregnant lover, Mel. Notably, it's after this that Ellie eventually gives up on revenge.
  • 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.)
    • Downplayed in the sequel. Ellie becomes more of an Anti-Hero as the story goes on and, while coming across a group called "WLF" in Seattle who use guard dogs against intruders, Ellie can be forced to, or willingly, kill and maim said guard dogs in order to escape a fight or just stealth through an area however the prologue shows that when they aren’t threatening her life she still loves dogs.
  • Hero Antagonist: Downplayed in Abby's section of the game. Ellie is the antagonist from Abby's perspective however while Ellie certainly isn’t exactly a hero Abby at that point of the game is a Villain Protagonist.
  • Heroic BSoD: 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.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: In Part II, her journal outright states that Ellie was too scared to act on her feelings for Dina in fear of messing up their friendship.
  • 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In the second game, Ellie bares a bigger resemblance to her motion-capture and voice actress, Ashley Johnson, only with red hair and green eyes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While in part 2 she does become more cruel and violent her interactions with Dina and Jesse show that she’s still the same Ellie at heart and deeply cares about her friends.
  • 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.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: 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.
  • Little Miss Badass: To wit, she goes One Girl Army on the Cannibals during the Winter level.
  • Little Miss Snarker: With no functioning society in which to grow up, Ellie tends to act and make jokes of things girls her age don't stereotypically do...
  • Meaningful Name: "Noble" or "shining light". Bonus for the Fireflies' motto being "follow the light", and Ellie becomes Joel's new light in his life.
  • Mercy Kill: Offers one to Nora in Part II as Nora had already breathed in spores and would've had to endure the slow painful process of becoming an infected and being stuck in a living hell (until someone else killed her). So Ellie promises to make her death quick in exchange for telling her where Abby is. When Nora refuses, Ellie interrogates her the hard way.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Inverted. Some comedy is wrung out of the fact that Joel thinks she has a crush on Jesse. This is... not the case.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Part II
    • She's extremely shaken when she returns to the her and Dina's hideout after she delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Nora to make her reveal Abbey's location.
    • Later, she has a freak out when she realizes that Mel, the woman she just killed, was pregnant.
  • My Greatest Failure: Letting Joel die, the day after they had begun to reconcile after not speaking for two years.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Having grown up in a dystopian world means Ellie has no concept of things like a job or money. Joel and other adults have to explain a lot of things to her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After killing Mel and Owen, she drops the map she was using to get around Seattle that she had marked during her journey. Abby would later find it after escaping from Haven with Lev and use that to track Ellie's group back to the theatre they were hiding out in, which results in the death of Jesse, Tommy and Dina almost dying and herself and Dina brutally beaten. If Ellie had thought to pick it up, her group would've went back to Jackson that morning without incident and Jesse would still be alive.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Her early design shared a very close resemblance to Elliot Page. In fact, the design was changed due to Page's accusations for "ripping-off her likeness". As of Part II she looks more like her actress, Ashley Johnson.
  • 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 his wound, 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.
  • Older Than They Look: Joel makes an off-hand guess if Ellie's twelve when he meets her, to which she corrects him on being fourteen.
  • One of the Boys: To the point where the guys talk to her about their girl problems, knowing that she can relate.
  • One-Woman 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.
  • Only One Allowed To Kill You: At the end of Part II Ellie saves Abby from the Rattlers because Ellie was determined to be the one to kill Abby to avenge Joel.
  • Pink Is Feminine: She's seen wearing pink on some occasions, such as her coat in the Fall chapter or her striped pink shirt in the DLC.
  • 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.
    • Part II: Though Ellie is lesbian and Dina is bi, neither of them understand the LGBT connotation of rainbows upon seeing a few of them in Seattle, including the pride flag itself inside a gay and lesbian bookstore.
  • Promoted to Playable: Ellie becomes a playable character in the Winter chapter. She's also the only playable character in the Left Behind DLC, and she returns as the main Player Character in The Last of Us Part II.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Depsite losing almost everything in her pursuit of revenge against Abby, Ellie is at least able to forgive herself for her guilt, and at very least understand from Joel's perspective and actions on why he saved her from the Fireflies. It's with that, she's finally able to metaphorically put him to rest.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Her main motivation in Part II. after seeing Joel beaten to death by Abby, she sets out to find her and return the favor. Risking life, limb and her morality to do so. This is especially apparent after failing to kill Abby, Ellie tries to settle down with Dina and Dina's son, JJ as a farmer. She realizes she can't stop so she tries to find Abby again against Dina's wishes.
  • Save the Villain: A rather complicated example, somewhat veering into Villainous Rescue depending on how you see her side in the story compared to Abby's. But at the end of the game, after making her way through the Rattlers base, she pointed to where Abby and Lev are who were earlier captured and strung up on pillar by the beach, left to die of hunger and dehydration. By the time Ellie reaches them, they're barely hanging in there. Ellie does cut them down but only because she wants to personally kill Abby herself. After they battle, Ellie ultimately can't bring herself to do so and lets Lev and her go.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In Part II, Ellie develops debilitating episodes of PTSD when she returns from Seattle. This comes from the traumatic experience of seeing Abby killing Joel, and memories of these intense moments were shown to haunt her when she tried rounding up sheep into the pen with Dina's son JJ in her arms.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Her significance lies in being The Immune in a Zombie Apocalypse. It's what makes her the Deuteragonist.
  • Skewed Priorities: Late in Part II, Ellie faces what should be a simple choice: stay with her girlfriend and child and the peaceful life they built, or set out once more to hunt down the woman that killed her surrogate father but already suffered traumatic losses during their previous encounter. Consumed with hate and still driven by revenge, she chooses the latter, fails to kill her quarry and loses her family in the process, ending up with absolutely nothing.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Bill in the Lincoln chapter.
    Ellie: We're here because you owe Joel some favors, and you can start by taking these off! (referring to handcuffs dangling from her wrist)
    Bill: I owe Joel some favors... is this some kind of joke?
    Joel: I'll cut to the chase: I need a car.
    Bill: Well, it is a joke. Joel needs a car! Well, if I had one that works, which I sure as hell don't, what makes you think I'd just give it to you? Huh? "Yeah sure, Joel, go ahead, take my car! Take all my food too, while you're at it!"
    Ellie: By the looks of it, you could lose some of that food.
    Bill: (points knife at her) You listen to me, you little shit -
    Ellie: No, fuck you! You handcuffed me -
    Joel: (pulls Ellie aside) I need you to shut up.
    • When Bill asks what was Joel's job:
    Bill: What are ya deliverin', that little brat?
    Ellie: Ha ha. Fuck you too.
    Bill: (suddenly cracks up)
    • While Bill, Joel, and Ellie look for a car to fix:
    Ellie: So...why don't you fix one of these cars? (referring to the mass of broken down cars)
    Bill: Oh my God, you're a genius. I mean the whole time, why on earth hadn't I thought about fixin' one of these cars?
    Ellie: Okay, don't be a dick...
    Bill: The tires are rotten and the batteries are dead.
  • 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. In Part II, Ellie is now an able swimmer, thanks to Joel's teaching.
  • Survivor Guilt: Kicks in during the ending - she mentions feeling guilty for all her companions who died during the story. In Part II, she discovers the truth about Joel saving her from the Saint Mary Hospital and has a heavy falling out with him, telling him at one point that her life would have mattered if he let the Fireflies tried to develop a vaccine.
  • Tagalong 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.
  • Talk to the Fist: When David is giving her a lecture, trying to make Ellie sympathize with him, she breaks his finger.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Her outfit when chasing Abby for the last time in Part II is a tight tank top. Coupled with her now short hair, it makes her look more tomboyish than she already is.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: In Part II, Ellie now has a sports a tattoo of a tree branch with a moth across it. This helps covers her bitten (now chemically burned) forearm. Neil Druckmann explained its significance as relating to her obsession with revenge, as well her connection to Joel:
    There’s this idea of obsession and being drawn to a light and constantly pursuing this thing,” he explained. “And that’s how we got the idea as well for the loading screen, which is just moths being drawn to a light, which kind of looked like the spores [on the loading screen] in the first game. So, it felt like a sister image.” Druckmann added that the moth is a “constant reminder” of Joel for Ellie, and represents “this relationship she has with Joel to her old life.”
  • Teens Are Short: She’s noticeably taller in the second game even though she was 14/15 during the first game. Girls are usually more or less fully grown by then.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Once she gets her hand on David's machete, she makes damn sure he's really dead and won't hurt her again by stabbing his head over and over again, each shot more violent and stronger than the other. Who knows how long she would've gone for if Joel didn't stop her...
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: How she styles her hair.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several during the story. Then there's the Winter chapter... Definitely shows in Part II, as five years went by an now Ellie is a taller and tougher grown woman who can handle her own against adults, contrary to when she was a small 14 year old.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ellie exponentially becomes more violent and cold throughout Part II after witnessing Joel's death. She leaves enemies without any mercy, even if she's doing it for self-defense or not. Her quest for revenge certainly changes her for the worse until the very last minute when she almost drowns Abby to death.
  • Twofer Token Minority: In a cast full of mostly straight males (with the exception of Bill, who is gay), Ellie is female, confirmed to be a lesbian in the Left Behind DLC, and apparently an atheist/agnostic based on her final conversation with Sam. Then again, Henry and David seem to be the only religious characters in the game, but she and Sam are the only ones to outright say they disbelieve in religion.
  • 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.
  • Typhoid Mary: Subverted. The cordyceps around her brain isn't harmful to her or anyone else via her saliva for example.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: By Part II, the sweet Ellie from the first game who goofs around and makes puns is definitely gone, as over the course of five years, Ellie became a rough, stoic and violent survivor who ruthlessly kills anyone who gets in her way.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: At the end of Part II, she ultimately decides to spare Abby's life, realizing that she wasn't going to feel any better taking revenge for the death of Joel. Glimpses of it can be foreshadowed with her freak-outs whenever she murdered other WLF members during her quest- such as Nora and Mel.
  • 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. note 
  • 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.
    • In Part II she's replaced the Model 70 with the more ubiquitous, full-size 92 Inox.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gets this a couple of times in the second game during her quest for revenge. The biggest coming from Dina when Ellie decides to follow up Tommy's lead to Abby and the latter doesn't want her to go, as it was the cause of Jesse's death and fearing she will die and never return.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She really hates water, since she can't swim. She has conquered this after learning how to swim in Part II, though.
  • 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.
  • Would Hurt a Child: An inadvertent example in Part II, with Ellie being profoundly horrified once she realizes Mel was heavily pregnant after sticking her switchblade through her neck.
    • An actual example in the same game is when Ellie threatens to stab Lev, a thirteen year old boy, at his throat when Abby refuses to fight her one more time.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: When she's caught by David and about to be killed, she tells them that she was bitten and eating her will infect them in turn. She eggs them on to roll up her sleeve and see the bitemark, and she uses this as a distraction to grab a machette David left next to her.
  • You Killed My Father: What kickstarts her character arc in Part II is her desire for revenge against Abby and the WLF for killing Joel, who she has fully come to see as a father to her.
  • 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.
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