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Philip is the leader of a small group consisting of himself, his brother Brian, his daughter Penny, and his friends Bobby and Nick. While fiercely protective of his loved ones the events of Rise of the Governor lead to him going through some major Sanity Slippage. He is the man destined to become the Governor until it's revealed that he's not. In reality, his brother Brian is the Governor.
- Big Bad: Even though he's not the Governor he still serves as the main antagonist of Rise of the Governor.
- Character Death: Nick shoots him in the back as he's about to rape/kill a captive girl.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicts this on two of the bandits who got his daughter killed. It's still horribly disturbing even though they may have had it coming.
- Disproportionate Retribution: See Cold-Blooded Torture and No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Doting Parent: For all his flaws, Philip truly adores his little girl. Her death leads to his Jumping Off the Slippery Slope for good.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He sees himself as the responsible sibling to Brian's foolish sibling.
- Foregone Conclusion: We know that he loses his daughter Penny and becomes the Governor until the Twist Ending averts that last part. See Red Herring for details.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He appears to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at first but as the book progresses he becomes more and more of a monster.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Does this to Brian for failing to prevent Penny's death.
- Papa Wolf: His driving obsession is keeping Penny safe at all costs. Even after her becoming a zombie, he just can't bring himself to put her down for good.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Rapes April, although this wasn't his intention and he feels horribly guilty about it after. After Penny dies he repeatedly rapes one of the bandits who attacked her while forcing the other to watch.
- Red Herring: It seems obvious that he'll become the Governor, until it's revealed that his brother Brian is really the Governor and took his name after he died.
- Sanity Slippage: Starting with Penny's death, and it only gets worse from there. By the end of the book he's become a barely recognizable shell of his former self.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot
- Tempting Fate: Claims that Nick doesn't have the guts to shoot him. He was wrong.
- Villain Protagonist: Serves as one of two main POV characters in Rise Of The Governor and is certainly evil.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
Brian is the much more meek and less physically capable brother of Philip.
- And I Must Scream: After he becomes "Philip", his "Brian" persona is mostly submerged and forced to watch helplessly and protest feebly at the Governor's atrocities. It's written rather like Philip's spirit is possessing his brother's body.
- Becoming the Mask: Takes on Philip's appearance and personality traits and comes to believe that he really is the original Philip.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Throughout the novel it was assume that his brother will be the one to become The Governor but however at the end it turns out it was Brian who ends up becoming The Governor who also took his brother's name and takes up his appearance as well.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Lilly kills him.
- Break the Cutie: Rise of the Governor.
- Cool Uncle: For Penny. At first, anyway.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Fall of the Governer revises his fairly quick comic death into this; the bullet with was a .22 round that just paralyzed him, and for a few minutes he felt the zombies eat him.
- Despair Event Horizon: Seeing his civilization completely fall apart around him, spending months roaming from place to place, trying desperately to survive attacks from zombies and bandits, seeing his niece and brother shot to death in front of him and being unable to stop either happening, witness beforehand his brother going batshit insane and turn into a torturer and murderer before his friend shoots him like a rabid dog, causing him (Brian) to shoot said friend in a fit of rage and then go catatonic for the next 24 hours, and finally being stuck in a town lorded over by a bunch of corrupt, dictatorial National Guardsmen who shoot anyone who so much as speaks out against them yup, that did it.
- Driven to Villainy: Over the course of Rise of the Governor.
- FaceHeel Turn: After Philip dies, he makes a full transformation into the Governor.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He goes from being a sweet-natured, geeky, physically frail failed businessman who can't even bring himself to shoot a walker, to a terrifying mass murdering, raping, sadistic, power-tripping dictator.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: The first thing he does upon his transformation into 'Philip Blake' is empty his revolver into 'Major' Gavin. He's not going to lose sympathy points from the readers for that one.
- My Sibling Will Live Through Me: Assumes Philip's name and even his personality after he dies, effectively convincing himself that he is Philip.
- My God, What Have I Done?: See And I Must Scream. The part of him that is still Brian is absolutely appalled and horrified at the Governor's actions, particularly his rape of Michonne.
- Nice Guy: Well, he was
- Non-Action Guy: He can't even bring himself to shoot a walker at first. Especially ironic considering who he later becomes.
- Split-Personality Takeover: His POV in The Road To Woodbury and Fall Of The Governor shows that although he has taken on his brother's personality, his original personality is still in there deep inside, although mostly smothered by his "Philip" persona. Following his Cold-Blooded Torture at Michonne's hands, his "Brian" persona is completely obliterated, and only "Philip" remains.
- Papa Wolf: He tries to be this for his niece. Unfortunately she gets killed and comes back as a zombie anyway. When he assumes his brother's identity, he also continues "caring" for his "daughter" and providing fresh human remains for her.
- Revenge by Proxy: Rise of the Governor reveals that Brian's "crazy" Jamaican wife divorced him shortly before the Zombie Apocalypse began. Given what the Governor later does to Michonne, it's a possible hint that he's venting some very ugly feelings that he held towards his ex-wife onto Michonne because she reminds him of her.
- Start of Darkness: Rise of the Governor is one for him.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from the dweeby brother of Philip who can't even get a headshot on a walker to the most dangerous villain in the Walking Dead universe, barring maybe Negan.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Naturally, considering that he changes from a harmless guy to the monster from the comics that we know and love (to hate).
- Trauma Conga Line: Rise of the Governor is one big one for him and leads to him becoming the Governor; it keeps going even after he becomes the Governor, what with the accumulated injuries and Michonne's Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Villain Protagonist: It is he who eventually becomes the Governor.
- Walking Spoiler: Ladies and gentlemen, the once and future Governor.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: As the Governor, he's a horrific monster, but good lord, he was a geniunely sweet, harmless guy who obviously hadn't had a particularly happy or successful life even before the Zombie Apocalypse happened, and he didn't so much Jump Off The Slippery Slope as he was kicked off it with a lead weight attached.
The daughter of Philip.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: After dying she reanimates. Philip refuses to put her down, instead feeding her corpses. After Philip dies, Brian continues this practice. She's finally put down by Lilly after Brian is killed.
- Break the Cutie: What happens to her over the course of the book.
- Character Death: Shot in the abdomen by bandits.
- Doomed by Canon
- Foregone Conclusion: Thanks to the comics we already know that she dies and reanimates.
- The Quiet One: Is very shy and rarely speaks.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth
- Undead Child: Her ultimate fate. Lilly finally kills her near the end of the book trilogy.
One of Philip's good friends, Nick is very religious.
- Boom, Headshot!: Brian shoots him in the head after he kills Philip.
- The Lancer: Is this for Phillip for the majority of the book due to Bobby's unexpected death and Brian's reluctance to fight. By the end, however, he considers Phillip to be too far gone to try and save.
- Only Sane Man: Becomes this for the group after Penny dies; Brian tries to rationalize Philip's increasingly unstable behavior, but Nick is the one to recognize that something needs to be done about it and kills Phillp when he see him dragging a girl which he either plans to rape or kill her and despite Brian trying to stop him, Nick kills Phillp but accidently kills the girl along with him.
- Token Religious Teammate: Very religious.
Another one of Philip's friends, Bobby is somewhat looked down upon by the rest of the group.
- Big Eater: A more mild and subdued example due to the serious and realistic nature of the book, but he consumes an entire package of Oreos by himself when the group finds a stocked pantry and is always described eating or lusting over food the few times the book focuses on him.
- Butt-Monkey: Never gets much respect from the rest of the group and ends up being the first to die.
- Mercy Kill: Philip puts him down after he is bitten.
- Sacrificial Lion: The first member of the group to die.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Lampshaded by the other characters.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Doesn't even last fifty pages.
Atlanta Apartment Survivors
A young woman who is trapped inside an abandoned apartment building with her father and sister who offers Phillips group a place to stay when they get stranded in the middle of the city surrounded by the zombies.
- Action Girl: She heads out scavenging with Phillip and kills several zombies.
- Batter Up!: Her main weapon when gathering supplies.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Unfortunately, Phillip ends up loving her a bit too much...
- Friend to All Children: She develops an instant liking to Penny and has trouble putting down a zombie girl she encounters in a store.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Tara is at least seen in the chapter where she kicks the group out but the last time we see April is when she is walking off to her room in traumatized silence. Given that she disappears from the story completely after that and the fact her sister is absolutely LIVID the next day could imply that she committed suicide, ran away or went into a completely catatonic state due to Phillip's actions.
April's older sister who isn't quite as friendly and welcoming as her younger sister is.
- Foil: To Brian. Both are the elder of two siblings, but far less effectual than Phillip and April, whom they rely on to keep them safe and cared for in the apocalypse. Also like Brian, she finally steps up albeit too late when her younger sibling is brought down. Unlike Brian, however, her final actions hint at a streak of heroism in spite of her spiteful and difficult personality; while Brian is a mostly useless but fairly decent person who goes on to become one of the biggest villains in the series in his brother's honour.
- Get Out!: When Phillip rapes her sister she loses all patience and sympathy with the group and kicks them out of the apartment at gunpoint.
- Hero Antagonist: Despite her increasingly Jerkass persona, an overweight stoner putting aside her self-centred attitude and single-handedly kicking a group of strong men out of her apartment building having safely disarmed them in their sleep because one of them raped her sister and she's (presumably) too traumatised to ever face them again is a pretty brave act. Too bad most of the group never learn of the justification behind her actions, making her seem like a heartless villain who turns on them for no good reason.
- Small Role, Big Impact: She only sticks around for the middle portion of the novel and doesn't get too many lines, but her deciding to kick out Philip's group is what forces Brian to slowly adapt to the crumbling world around him and eventually becoming the Governor, which in turn leads to the massacre at the prison. In other words, her actions began majorly shaping and influencing the entire storyline from issue 48 onward.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: She becomes much more cold and distant once her father dies and comes back as a zombie that almost kills her, but after Phillip rapes April any hint of niceness she had left evaporates completely.
- Would Hurt a Child: When she kicks the group out both Brain and Phillip bring up the fact that this is practically a death sentence since she doesn't leave them any guns or food. When its pointed out that Penny (who is only seven years old) is likely to perish as well she flatly says that she doesn't care.
A withered old man hooked up to a breathing machine. He is the father of both April and Tara.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: He comes back despite not being bitten and almost kills April, which he would have done had Phillip not bashed his skull in.
- Life Will Kill You: He collapses due to a stroke or some other form of illness brought on by his age or weak lungs and slowly wastes away in bed.
- Papa Wolf: He may be old, frail and hooked up to a breathing machine, but that won't stop him from confronting you with a shotgun if he thinks you might be a threat to his girls.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Only lasts a couple chapters.
Tent City Survivors
The main protagonist of the Road To Woodbury novel who finds her self struggling with the recent loss of her father in the Zombie Apocalypse while also dealing with the other survivors and possibly even forming a romance with one of her close friends. She is the same character who appears in issue 48 of the comic and kills the governor for making her shoot Lori (Rick's wife) and Judith, who was only a baby.
- Action Girl: Takes a while but she eventually becomes one of the best examples in the entire series and even manages to kill the Governor.
- Ascended Extra: She was an extremely minor character in the comic, here she's the main protagonist.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. She suffers several nasty injuries that leave her looking like a mess.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Blatantly invokes this trope when the Governor uses Josh's death as an excuse to begin the gladiator games Woodbury becomes imfamous for.
- Shovel Strike: Uses a shovel as a weapon early in the book.
Josh Lee Hamilton
A large African American man who quickly develops a friendship with Lilly at their camp. After killing Chad Bingham to protect her he and Lilly hit the road with a few other survivors and eventually find themselves in a place called Woodbury.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The man is extremely friendly and polite, but god help you if you threaten or insult Lilly within earshot of him.
- Boom, Headshot!: After knocking Sam down and refusing to give him the supplies he and Lilly found the butcher goes into a rage, whips out a gun and shoots him right in the back of the head.
- Gentle Giant: Noted several times throughout the book.
- Supreme Chef: He was a master cook before the Zombie Apocalypse and even comes up with the idea of preparing a fancy dinner for Lilly with salvaged food supplies. Sadly, he dies before he ever gets the chance to fulfil this dream.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Shot in the head out of nowhere.
An alcoholic former army medic who accompanies Lilly and Josh when they leave camp and began travelling on the road.
- Ascended Extra: Played a minor role in the comics but is more of a main character here.
- The Alcoholic: About half of the time the story focuses on him he'll be drinking some kind of booze. By the end of Fall of the Governor, he has overcome his alcoholism. Unfortunately, he has a brief relapse in Invasion after Gloria dies.
- Character Death: During the fight with Jeremiah's group in Invasion, he dies from a heart attack and is put down by Lilly, though not before saving her from some walkers.
- Cool Old Guy: Becomes this after overcoming his issues.
- The Determinator: Even in the midst of a heart attack he manages to crawl for a long period of time, headshot four walkers, and hand Lilly his dynamite before dying.
- Dirty Old Man: He spies on Megan and Scott having sex through a hole in the wall and even admits to the Governor that he'd like to get with her for at least one night if he ever has the chance.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Already dying from a heart attack, his last action is to kill some walkers that were about to devour Lilly.
- The Lancer: Becomes Lily's closest ally over time. His death devastates her.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Saving the Governor from death after the latter is tortured by Michonne leads to the devastating attack on the prison.
- Non-Action Guy: He doesn't really do much fighting at first, but grows out of this eventually.
- Took a Level in Badass: Becomes a capable survivor after a while.
Lilly's friend from high school who joins her on the road. Her two loves are getting high and getting laid.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Reanimates in front of Lilly and is put down by Bob.
- Boom, Headshot!: Done to her zombie form by Bob.
- Driven to Suicide: Hangs herself.
- Sex for Services: Her eventual "job" is this once the group makes it to Woodbury. Lilly is so disgusted by this that she ends their friendship.
- The Stoner: Constantly smoking pot and having sex.
Megan's stoner boyfriend who follows her when she joins up with Lilly.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: His reanimated head is kept in one of the Governor's fish tanks.
- Off with His Head!: After disappearing about halfway through the book he is found by Megan at the Governor's apartment near the end, with his zombiefied head floating in one of the Governor's many fish tanks.
- The Stoner: Same deal as Megan.
The unofficial leader of the tent community who spends most of the first three chapters of the book ordering everyone around. He is killed by Josh when he attempts to murder Liily in revenge for his daughter.
- Never My Fault: Despite taking all of the guns and heavily armed men with him out of camp he has the gall to blame Lilly when zombies show up and eat his daughter along with several of the other defenseless survivors.
- Papa Wolf: A dark example. He tries to kill Lilly because he believes she let his daughter die.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Even though Lilly saved three of his daughters from walkers at great risk to her own life he tries to kill her just because she couldn't save Sarah.
- Would Hit a Girl: He damn near beats Lilly to death, the only thing that saves her is the fact that Josh was close by.
Chad Bingham's 15 year older daughter (not to be confused with the Sarah from the video games) who is left under Lilly's watch early in the story.
See Brian Blake.
Caeser Ramon Martinez
The leader of a group of Woodbury soldiers who find Lilly's group in an abandoned Walmart and offer them a place in their town. Shortly, after the events of The Road To Woodbury he meets up with Rick's group which leads to his role in the comics.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the comics he was Ambiguously Evil and a possible traitor to Rick's group. In Road To Woodbury he is a genuinely decent guy who saves Lilly's life several times and even plays a major role in her attempt to overthrow the Governor.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Lilly a few times during The Road To Woodbury. Unfortunately, the second time he arrives too late to prevent Josh being killed.
- In Vino Veritas: After having a few drinks at Doctor Stevens Christmas party he reveals that despite being one of the Governor's best soldiers he doesn't trust the man to rule over Woodbury for any long term amount of time.
Woodbury's resident doctor who ends up forming a friendship with Bob Stookey. Appeared briefly in the comics.
A fairly major character from the comics who serves as doctor Stevens assistant.
Sam The Butcher
Woodbury's local butcher who runs most of its barter business with an iron fist. He is rude and quick to anger, ultimately going so far as to murder Josh in cold blood over a bag of supplies.
- Greed: He works poor Josh like a dog to pay him back for food, adding on excessive debt when it looks like Josh might finally be in the clear. Then he outright murders him for refusing to hand over a bag of supplies.
- Icy Blue Eyes: The book describes him as having "diamond chip blue" eyes.
- Off with His Head!: Gets decapitated by Stinson in the arena.
A former officer at the local national guard station who was captured by the governor and placed in a holding cell with some of his fellow guardsmen. After a failed attempt at ambushing the Governor he is chosen to be the first fighter at the Woodbury arena and defeats Sam the butcher in single combat.
- Bring My Brown Pants: He pisses himself in fear when the Governor locks inside the trailer. Understandable, given that he was seconds away from being devoured by a mob of zombies.
- Eaten Alive: Chained to the inside of a trailer and used as live bait for a pack of incoming zombies.
- Machete Mayhem: His weapon choice in the arena.
- Sanity Slippage: By the time the Governor uses him as live bait for a herd of zombies his remaining sanity is completely gone. Even before then he kills the butcher in a murderous rage after getting heavily beaten up during their fight.