“The child is father of the man.” – William Wordsworth.
Imagine waking up to one day, finding everything that you know is decaying or everyone you know has gone rabid, trying to eat your intestines out. Serious stuff for a grown up (who has spent his entire childhood killing innumerous zombies in video games) right? Like every philosophy puts forward, for every crumbling civilization wanting some sort of retribution, all it takes is innocence and naivety. And who else can deliver in such times than two of the hottest child prodigies created by the hardship of an apocalyptic world. In our quest through the barren and dangerous earth that we used to know but is no longer, how about making Carl Grimes (of The Walking Dead fame) cross ways with Ellie (of The Last Of Us glory), and see who comes out fighting odds harder?!
For both Carl and Ellie, living just like normal adolescents could have served their purpose in life, would have been either toying with Joes or dressing up Barbies in their sweetest whims of mind respectively. But the world woke up to a new disaster and took charge of an epic plague before they could even figure out the dos and donts with the normal world (that we live in). For Ellie, I don’t think she was born to be a princess, for all that she saw of this world and knew about was the in-conflict quarantine zones that she traversed from time to time. For Carl, he was instantly turned into a nomad, not just the nomad without homes, but a nomad for feelings and tutor-age.
While it can be arguably said that Ellie had the chance to work with one of the brashest and most eligible badasses of the post apocalyptic world – Joel, it was hard for Carl to find the right mentor. Over four tele seasons, Carl had to switch his allegiance from Shane to Andrea to Daryl to Michonne. Rumour has it that the partnership between the noob Carl and hack and slack champ Michonne will take a big turn in the running series of The Walking Dead Tele Episodes. But does that anyway lower Ellie as a post apocalyptic prodigy? I’d say no. Ellie did what Carl could never bear; she saw too many deaths, had no parents to lean back on in times of need and still worked her way up even with a family of cordyceps hatching eggs on her right arm. For Carl, the fact that he had to kill his own mother Lori became the reason that drew him further away from his father, Rick Grimes; and we will get to see the two lions clash heads in the latter half of the current series. Ellie was born in the darkness, Carl merely adapted it.
Well what changed these two kids into killers? Guess it was all but a moment, to save their loved ones. And none of these children got even a single breath of appreciation for watching out for their asses. While Ellie was still struck with the suicide killing of Tess, it didn’t take long for her to reach Joel inside the abandoned hotel and plug a thug’s head off just before he would suffocate Joel to his death. For Carl, I guess no one saw this boy coming; even though right from Season 1 he was shown to be a killer in the making. For a boy who should be worried about a post apocalyptic world sans Twitter and Facebook, he was fooling with the revolver, taking secret lessons from Shane, his then mentor. And whose brains did he blow off? Yep, his mentor’s – Shane. When Shane conspired to secretly kill Rick way off Hershel’s barn, Carl sneaked right behind them, with the gun in his hands. Rick did kill Shane but didn’t know anything about respawning, and so it did, Shane was brought back to life as a zombie thanks to the virus infection that was breeding inside every human by then. Carl saw his corpse aiming for Rick and took its head off before surrendering to his father. The consequence? Well, he was disarmed by the Ricktator himself for the next couple of episodes.
Speaking of clean kills, I think Carl will draw more attention than Ellie in this regard. I was playing The Last Of Us in the 2nd most difficult setting and had to literally cry through levels before I could see the dawn of another. The point where I had to flee from the town as Joel, while Ellie was guarding my back will forever be the most intense moment from the game. Joel handed Ellie the Hunting Rifle and asked her to make every shot count. In TLOU, making every shot count is not only difficult but absolutely necessary, as ammo and items are rare to find. Ellie never used a rifle before, even though she took out a thug while Joel was being attacked by the brawlers inside the abandoned hotel, and I was so scared. That brave girl not only flanked the enemies while I crept behind them and crunched their necks, but she also took some thugs out in the process. For Carl, he was always abandoned from crucial run and gun moments in The Walking Dead, and yet he killed two of the most vital characters from the series. While Rick was being secretly preyed by the zombie of Shane, it was Carl who sent him a bullet swerving and splitting his dead brain into several pieces. Rick, the creator of the word Ricktatorship, took the credit for the Shane murder, as usual. Carl again trusted his guts and killed his dead mother Lori after she gave birth to his sister, even though this kill changed Carl as a person more than anything.
Click here for Carl:
Ellie is shown to be a more sensitive person when it comes to dealing with the world that wasn’t there anymore. She would throw her girly tantrums, run into a forest cottage and plunder through a lost child’s comic books collection. And even so, she would make fun of Bill’s collection of pornographic magazines or say ‘F**k You’ while taking out thugs. Swearing is an act of emotions, and the reason why I fell in love with Ellie’s character (voiced by Ashley Johnson) was because of the emotional Ellie moments. Be it hurling Joel back into the Lakeside, or escaping the pedophile David, she would show emotions even in the dying moments. And my heart would go, “Poor Ellie!” As for Carl, the fact that he was a Grimes put hopes in me in plenty. I wanted to see this kid turn into his father’s worst nightmare, challenging him for zombie heads as well as series pivots. The fact that he was so very disregarded by his tribe was reason enough for him to secretly learn knifing like the other kids and become a master at it. He was not an emotional kid unlike the others in his tribe, that includes Beth, and yet he had reasons in every time he let go of the trigger of his gun.
Click here for Ellie:
Fear the post-apocalyptic, but if you’ve got kids like these aiming for retribution, rest assured you’re in safe company. I’d still settle for a draw round between Ellie and Carl, and would wait to see what else could they do to man up in such times. That will include an imminent The Last Of Us sequel (Hell Yes!) and a couple of more disturbing The Walking Dead series. In case you find your connection with either of these two children of the post apocalypse, the comment section would be an ideal place to catapult your thoughts.