So um, I may have reblogged this four times already, but can we talk about how much swagger (not swag but the Shakerpearean definition of swagger “to walk or strut with a defiant or insolent air”) Joel has here? Like it just shows how tough he is. A couple of people are being gunned down right here, and he walks past them like it ain’t even happening. And yeah, the strut is pretty sexy on the surface, but it kind of shows you how cold Joel is.
Oh yeah, for sure. He’s big man on campus in this area of Boston, and he fucking knows it. One of the most interesting thing about this first section is walking around and seeing how people react to him. Not all of the AIs acknowledge him, but the ones who do show either respect or fear. It’s a marked contrast from when they go into the wharf district, where Tess is known, but he’s not really recognized like she is. Gotta be a story there.They know what he could do. It’s like don’t fuck with Joel,but fuck with Joel ya feel me?
Oh, baby. I feel you.
This post is the result of many weeks of inbox ramblings between Babs and Max, all compiled here for your meta reading pleasure.
Why Joel Needs Ellie
This one is kind of a gimme. Joel is a mess. He’s violent and selfish and practically amoral, and he hasn’t given a fuck about anyone in a long, long time. He is a brutal survivor. Joel has been operating mostly on instinct ever since Sarah died; he shut everything down and put up walls and compartmentalized, and the only reason he’s lived as long as he has is because he doesn’t really examine anything he says or does. Introspection takes him to a dark place that he doesn’t want to touch, so he ignores it, which is probably why he’s happy to be a sidekick to other people. He’s almost…pure in his motivations. Survival. That’s it. Anything else doesn’t even register.
That’s why Ellie makes him panic so much, because she cracks through that shell he’s built and makes him face all those years of accumulated darkness inside him, and it just brings him to the brink of despair even when he’s happy, because he knows how quickly it can all be torn away from him.
Joel needs Ellie because she connects him to his humanity and provides him with a moral center that he’s been missing for a long time. It’s ironic that in trying to preserve that, Joel commits perhaps his most amoral acts in the game (slaughtering the Fireflies and Marlene, destroying the hope for a cure), but given what Joel knows about the rest of humanity, it’s not surprising.
Joel’s rescue of Ellie at the end of the game signals a complete 180-degree turn for him in terms of his priorities. Whereas before, he was so intrinsically focused on his own survival that he couldn’t focus on anyone else’s well-being, now there’s this girl that he’s dedicated himself to, heart and soul, and suddenly nothing about himself matters. Now it’s all her, and he’ll run himself ragged to make sure she’s happy and safe and comfortable.
And really, Joel needs that moral compass that Ellie provides when they get back to Jackson. There is no way they’re going to be able to settle into any semblance of society if Joel can’t adhere to the social conventions that make a society possible; things like “don’t kill people,” and “use your words, not your fists” don’t come easy to Joel anymore.
Why Ellie Needs Joel
Ellie is, in many ways, stronger than Joel. She has been through a lot, and has been forced to do terrible things, but she never lets it affect her core; her goodness shines through even after everything. She manages to hold on to her morals in a world that tends to shatter them, and she has an incredible capacity for love. But she is also incredibly fragile.
Ellie’s survivor’s guilt has manifested in a strong sense of altruism. We can only wonder at what being the cure for mankind has done to her sense of self-worth, or the sense of urgency and duty that Marlene must have instilled in her right from the moment she found out Ellie hadn’t turned. But we can see that Ellie has a deep-rooted belief that she owes the world something, that she has to earn her existence; this idea that, because she survived what no one could have survived, she has to pay it back somehow.
That’s the most frightening thing about Ellie. She’s smart, and kind, and brave, and she definitely doesn’t lack survival instincts. Her problem isn’t not being quick enough on her feet, or disintegrating under pressure, but that deep down, she believes that the only reason she lived through being bitten was to serve a greater purpose, and that kind of thinking will get her killed.
If given a choice, Ellie would have chosen to sacrifice herself for the cure at the hospital in Salt Lake City. Marlene knows it, and so does Joel. The only way Ellie was getting out of that hospital alive was if Joel took that choice away from her. That’s exactly why Ellie needs Joel, to stop her from sacrificing herself, because he’s about the least altruistic person in the universe.
So That’s It
That’s why they work so well together. Ellie brings a strength and light to Joel that he’s not accustomed to, and Joel keeps her safe from herself and her own altruistic tendencies that might otherwise become her downfall. They’re co-dependent and screwed up as hell, but together they fill in all the missing pieces of each other. And that’s why they’re our OTP.
- Babs & Max
Don’t you ever wonder how we survive?
Well, now that you’re gone, the world is ours.
Favourite Video Game Characters [1/?]
-Ellie (The Last of Us)
We are going our separate ways.
medicine // daughter
you’ve got a warm heart
you’ve got a beautiful brain
but it’s disintegrating
from all the medicine
100% accurate depiction of Ellie and Joel.
That’s it, that’s their relationship.
"Decisions used to be easy, huh? What time to wake up, what to wear, where to go. But now, it’s a bit different, cause can you tell friend, from foe? Could you kill… could you do worse? If a loved one was infected, could you do the right thing? Could you put your life on the line for me, the way I would for you? Could you be the last of us?”