Ellie is one of the strongest characters, not just female characters, in games of the past decade. She’s got a lot going on, and yet somehow she’s a completely normal human being, even if she is far too well-versed in killing for her age. She’s appeared in The Last Of Us, and the DLC Left Behind, and is set to be the protagonist for The Last Of Us Part 2. We think she’s a great character to kick off our International Women’s Day 2020 series, let’s dive in.
Needless to say, SPOILERS for The Last Of Us.
Above all else, Ellie is a survivor. Her parents were killed when she was young, and so in The Last Of Us we initially meet her, as Joel, after a terrible incident. This incident takes place in Left Behind, and sees Ellie and her best friend go out to explore the world beyond the military boarding school. Unfortunately, things go south, and the pair are attacked by infected runners. While they wait to turn, Ellie discovers that she is immune to the infection, which is why the Fireflies are keen to get their hands on her. She holds the clue to a cure to this infection that has destroyed the world, but in order for a cure to even be considered, scientists need to dissect her brain, killing her.
Ellie is brave beyond her 14 years in The Last Of Us. She’s made the decision, and it was a decision that was hers to make, to serve the greater good, ending her life so early for the chance of a cure. Joel isn’t as strong as Ellie, as the ending of the game shows us. However, Ellie’s intent to move forward with this decision, and the fact that she questions Joel so intently following the end sequence of the game, shows that once she’s made a choice, she won’t back out of it. That is bravery that you only see come out in people this young when they’re faced with a world that needs them, and it’s so powerful to see it from this young woman.
Heart On Her Sleeve
Ellie doesn’t spare your feelings, she’ll tell you exactly what she things. She isn’t exactly sure of herself, that much is clear from the way she acts around others. She’s easily angered when she things someone is making fun of her, and won’t back down from a fight. One thing that Ellie is sure of is her sexuality. She’s gay, and that has no implications on the way she plays, or her abilities. It’s almost an entirely unimportant fact, given that there is no normal in the post-pandemic world of The Last Of Us, except for the power that her kiss scene has in Left Behind.
The actor behind Ellie, Ashley Johnson, is still praised today for the character she created. The revelation that Ellie is gay has massive implications for other young women who believe they are the same, giving them some affirmation that not only are they normal, they can be as brave as this badass 14-year-old who can land a headshot on a clicker with a bow from 20 metres.
Ellie isn’t without her flaws. In The Last Of Us Part 2 we will be playing as her on a journey of revenge. Something happens to her best friend, and love interest, at the game’s start, and that sets the tone for the rest of the game. Where we played a story of redemption in The Last Of Us, seeing Joel go from his selfish self to a more empathetic and caring character, we’ll instead see the opposite with Ellie. Revenge is bittersweet, yes you get to inflict the same pain that someone caused you, but it costs you a lot more than suffering in the process.
We can’t wait to play The Last Of Us Part 2 and spend even more time with Ellie. Let us know what you think of her in the comments.
For International Women’s Day 2020 we’re doing a week of coverage, looking at the most-influential female characters in games. If you’d like to check out more articles on this subject, then keep an eye on the site for the rest of the week, or head here to see other characters that we’ve covered.