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The Walking Dead: Character Crash Course

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Belmont chapter.

Like a shuffling, decaying zombie,The Walking Dead is back with the second half of season 7. But before you worry because you’re a little fuzzy about what’s happened the past 6 and a half seasons we’ve got your back. Whether you’ve decided to forgo the hours upon hours of binging that it would require to catch up or if you just want a little refresher, you’ll find it here. Here are a list of the remaining major characters and the trials and tribulations they’ve experienced over the last 7 years. 

*Naturally spoilers are to follow…*

Rick Grimes was in a coma for the start of the apocalypse but hit the ground running once he regained consciousness. He was taken into a group where he was reunited with his wife (Lori) and son (Carl). Rick soon became the de facto leader of the group and eventually led them to the safety of a nearby farm. While living at the farm Rick was forced to kill his best friend, Shane, in self defense. Eventually the farm was taken by walkers. Thankfully for the rest of the group, the “Ricktatorship” was born and helped them get to an overrun prison that they were able to make their home. After a clash with a rival leader, the Governor, Rick’s group was forced to flee and eventually they came upon a haven called Terminus. Unfortunately for the group Terminus was filled with cannibals. On the run once again they came across a peaceful community called Alexandria. Unsurprisingly the group got into trouble again with yet another society known as the Saviors led by a man named Negan. Rick was the mastermind behind attacking the Savior’s outpost, not the best move, and has been under Negan’s thumb for the majority of season 7 since the disasters during the premier. But now he’s back to his old ways and is ready to rise up against Negan. 

We met Daryl Dixon in season one when his brother Merle was left for dead in Atlanta by Rick. Since then the rough-around-the-edges redneck has become a major part of the team and the show’s unlikely heartthrob. In season 4 Daryl was unfortunately forced to kill his brother,Merle, after he had turned into a walker. Unfortunately for Daryl the rough times followed him into the next season when his friend Beth was kidnapped, tracked down to a hospital where she was being held and eventually killed by her captors. After the group moved on to Alexandria, Daryl worked as a recruiter to try to bring new people into the community, but after a couple of close calls his career as a recruiter ended. Most recently Daryl has spent a lot of the current season locked up in the Savior’s base listening to the torturously upbeat song “Easy Street” on repeat. Fortunately for Daryl and his fans he’s escaped and has found asylum in the Kingdom, where “Easy Street” isn’t constantly playing.

For a majority of the series Carl Grimes was seen as a pain in the neck, a kid who was just wandering around and who’s parents never seemed to know where he was. Now more responsible, Carl has come into his own, but it hasn’t been an easy journey for him. Carl had to kill his infected mother after she delivered his baby sister, Judith. By season 6 Carl had really become a productive member of the group though he still struggled with making connections with the softer Alexandrians, especially with angsty teen rival, Ron. Carl is accidentally shot by Ron, while trying to kill Rick, resulting in the loss of Carl’s eye. Since the loss of his eye Carl has noticeably become more withdrawn and season 7 hasn’t been a cake walk for him either; Carl infiltrated the Savior’s compound, survived spending time with Negan and made it back home in one piece. And don’t worry, Carl’s still sporting that hat. 

Michonne made a pretty memorable entrance during season 3, showing up with her chained ‘pet’ walkers in tow. As if her pet walkers weren’t cool enough, did I mention she carries a sweet katana as her weapon of choice ? She had that infamous fight scene with the Governor, gouging out his eye and killing his zombie daughter. She also cemented her fan favorite staus by saving Rick  from being killed by the Governor. Since then we’ve seen Michonne’s cold and distant demeanor turn into friendship with many of those in the group, especially with Rick and Carl. Now, in season 7, Michonne and Rick are an item, she has been instrumental in encouraging him to get off the bench and stand up against Negan. 

Carol Peletier is a member of the original Atlanta crew. Carol has evolved from a timid and suppressed wife to a certifiable badass. Though it hasn’t been smooth sailing, her daughter Sophia went missing while they were traveling to the farm. The whole group searched for her but she turned out to be a walker that was being kept inside of the barn on the property the whole time. Cut to when they’ve moved into the prison, there was an outbreak of sickness and Carol took it upon herself to mercilessly kill those who were sick so that they couldn’t infect the others, resulting in her exile from the prison. There was also that time that Carol came back from her exile, by totally blowing Terminus up so that the group could escape. Now, Carol is spending her time in a nice, little house outside the Kingdom, taking a well-deserved break, but we’re sure she’ll be back to step in and save the group when needed. 

Morgan Jones was the first living person that Rick met after he woke up from his coma. He and Rick parted ways in season 1. He shows up briefly in season 3, suffering a mental breakdown after the death of his son. Morgan has gone through a lot of change, his killing ways were changed sometime before season 5 by a man who held him prisoner, fought with a stick and had a pet goat. When he made his return Morgan was a different man, he took on a strict no-kill policy, which at times has become infuriating. However Morgan has broken his policy to save Carol’s life. This season finds Morgan living within the Kingdom and he has become an aid to King Ezekiel. 

We met Maggie Greene back in season 2, when she was just the farmer’s daughter that came out of nowhere and stole our hearts. Maggie has been through some rough stuff including watching her beloved father be beheaded. She also endured the presumed death of her sister, only then finding out that Beth was alive and then having to watch her die. There were some bright spots in there too though, like her marriage to Glenn Rhee and her pregnancy. But… yet nothing can last on this show, as she witnessed Glenn gruesomely clubbed to death by Negan (see below) in the bloody season 7 premier. While Maggie almost lost her baby afterwards, both mother and baby are rebounding. She’s one tough cookie and we’re rooting for her to become the leader of the Hilltop. 

We don’t know too much about Negan yet, other than the fact that he is bad news for the Alexandrians (and everyone else under the sun). Negan leads the Saviors, a group Rick thought they wiped out last season in an outpost attack, yet turned out to be a well-armed and large army of thugs. In season 7, Negan made his first act of business beating both Abraham and Glenn to death with “Lucille,” his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. He broke Rick’s spirit within an episode and snatched Daryl from the group. Thus far, we’ve seen the factory that serves as the home base for the Saviors, Negan’s harem of wives, and his love for sadistic terror. No Alexandrain is safe, as Negan has shot, gutted, taken hostages and bludgeoned his way through the season. It doesn’t seem like Negan will be done anytime soon and honestly with Jeffrey Dean Morgan on screen, we’re not sure that we entirely mind that. 

So in short, The Walking Dead characters have had it anything but easy. It’s been a long seven years for them and honestly no wonder they’re all starting to loose it a little. Now you’re caught up, properly refreshed, appropriately invested and ready for next Sunday night. Be there or be square.

The Walking Dead airs every Sunday at 9/8 central on AMC. 

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Madeline is a senior at Belmont University in Nashville and a lifelong Tennessean. She is majoring in Entertainment Industry Studies with a minor in Business Administration. She loves binge watching dramas on Netflix, going to Predators games, and spending time with family and friends.