R is for Rick Grimes

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

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Isn’t the artwork lovely? I had a lot of trouble finding a page with no gory stuff and no swearing.

This is not my first time talking about The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, on this blog. I love both the TV show and the graphic novel, even though they’re quite different. Many of the characters are similar, like Rick and Glenn ūüė¶ , and some are completely different, like Carol and Daryl (who doesn’t even exist in the comic, if you can believe it!)

But I don’t think I’ve ever specifically talked about Rick.

I love Rick as a hero and the leader of the group. Before the apocalypse, he was a cop. He’s all about law and order and doing the right thing. At first, he has a strict moral code that’s a leftover from the world before. But when he realizes that’s not going to work anymore, he adapts.

His moral code changes throughout the books and the TV show. Sometimes he tries to be the man he was before the apocalypse, and sometimes he realizes that’s impossible. But what I like about him is that his moral base is always on his mind, and he’s always the guy trying to keep his family alive.

At first, family means his wife, child, and best friend/ partner. Later, it comes to mean the group he’s in charge of.

Rick has moments where he loses his mind a little, which I think is understandable. Having to come to terms with a world where zombies… excuse me… walkers are real, would be too much for most of us to handle.

I’ve seen people online complain about how Rick (on the TV show) changes his mind on things. For instance, helping strangers vs. not helping them. He goes back and forth on this issue a few times. They say it’s inconsistent or wishy washy.

I think it’s human.

I think that changing our minds based on new information we get is what people do. Sometimes we go back and forth on issues a few times, depending on many factors. If we don’t adapt and grow, assimilate new information, we stagnate and die. His underlying moral code doesn’t change, so it’s not accurate to call him inconsistent. He always puts family first. It’s just the other decisions¬†that change based on his thinking at the time and recent experiences.

What do you think about characters who change their mind? Are you a fan of The Walking Dead, show or graphic novels?

Making Tough Choices in the Apocalypse

tara-and-oceanside-walking-deadSpoiler alert for episode 7:15 of The Walking Dead, Something They Need, aired 3/26/17.

In the last episode of The Walking Dead, Tara tells Rick about¬†Oceanside, despite promising she’d never tell anyone. and Rick’s group goes to take their guns. Despite the fact that she made the promise to Cyndie, who saved her life. Twice. (Three times by the end of the episode.)

Rick tells Tara, “You don’t have to feel bad about it.”

Group members have had to make a lot of tough choices, and the show is no stranger to moral dilemmas, but Rick’s response struck me as callous. It’s a classic case of thinking that “the ends justify the means.” Rick is so sure that he’s right, that the Saviors must be stopped by force, that he’s okay with stealing in order to facilitate that.

Lying (breaking a promise) is wrong. Stealing is wrong. No matter how well-intentioned.

I don’t know what I would do in that situation. Tara knew about the guns, and she’s watched members of her group die at the Saviors’ hands. It’s a desperate situation.¬†If I were protecting my loved ones, I might do the same. I might justify it in my mind so that it seemed like the right thing to do.

But to¬†say that she doesn’t have to feel bad is a cop out. In the post-apocalyptic world, sometimes there’s very little separating humans from monsters. In fact, the monsters aren’t really the threat anymore. Isn’t feeling bad when we do wrong one of the things that separates us from the monsters?

At the end of the episode, as Tara strolls out of Oceanside, she looks at Rick and says, “You’re right; I don’t have to feel bad,” as if it’s something profound. As if she’s just learned a secret.

If that’s the case, what separates Rick’s group from Negan’s group, other than intentions? And do good intentions matter to the people they¬†stole from?

What do you think? Should people feel bad about breaking a promise, even if they believe they have a really good reason? Or does the safety of everyone (because Oceanside will be safer without Negan) justify the stealing?

Do Stories Need To Be Realistic?

img_6887The Walking Dead is my favorite show, and the day after an episode shows, there are a million articles about what happened, analyzing it endlessly.

People are still talking about last season, calling¬†out The Walking Dead for some unrealistic moments, and how they “cheat” sometimes, so that the audience “can’t trust them.” ¬†(Excuse me while we take a moment of silence for the “unrealistic moments” in a show about zombies).

But it’s not the real world, is it? ¬†I mean,¬†I read stories for a break from the real world. ¬†In the case of TV shows, why would¬†I necessarily want to see realism? ¬†It’s nice when my favorite characters get close to death but don’t get eaten. ¬†In the real world, bad things happen to good people. In the fantasy world, it doesn’t always play out that way. Last minute escapes happen.

In The Walking Dead, beloved characters do die; no one is safe. But sometimes they also make amazing, no way out escapes. And that’s why I keep watching. Despite everything bad that happens, it’s a hopeful show. Most of the characters survive, and the ones that do survive thrive.

I know a lot of people don’t see it as a hopeful show, because of all the killing and dying and apocalyptic stuff, but I see it as a show about how nothing can squash the human spirit. People keep doing what they do, falling in love, finding friends, balancing¬†how to¬†to live with what they need to do to survive.

That’s what keeps me watching week after week, and it’s what I love about the graphic novels as well. I don’t care how “realistic” the situations are, as long as the relationships feel real.

What do you think? Do you prefer realism in your TV/ books?

 

The Walking Dead Knows How To Hurt Me

I’ll warn you when I’m going to post Season 7 spoilers… okay? ¬†The first part of this will be fine for anyone who’s seen through the end of Season 6.

Every time an episode of the Walking Dead airs, people everywhere post how they’re going to stop watching. ¬†I see it in my Facebook feed, and I see it in articles online. ¬†When they pulled the thing in Season 6 where Glenn supposedly was eaten by zombies, but wasn’t, people everywhere got quite upset, vowing to stop watching.

Maybe some people even did quit. ¬†I didn’t. ¬†I’ve never even thought about quitting.

I didn’t want to start in the first place. ¬†My husband watched the first few episodes, and insisted I had to watch. ¬†I got all cranky about it because I hate getting addicted to TV shows. ¬†But I begrudgingly watched the first episode and was hooked. ¬†As soon as I found out about the graphic novels, I bought those too.

We don’t have cable, so we buy the season pass on iTunes, which means it’s not available until about 1 a.m. ¬†So, we got up first thing this morning and watched this first episode with our morning coffee. ¬†Then I went online to see what everyone was saying about it.

People said lots of things, mostly about how sick it made them feel, how difficult it was to watch. ¬†A few people even said they had trouble sleeping. ¬†We’ve all known a character we cared about was going to die. ¬†We’ve known it for like the last 6 months. ¬†Everyone lined up in the circle was someone who’d have some emotional impact. ¬†The only question was… who was it going to be?

If you haven’t watched the first episode of Season 7, you should probably stop reading now. ¬†I’ll start up again below the photo.

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*Spoilers*

It was hard to watch Abraham die, but I suspected it was going to be him, primarily because he was beginning to be hopeful and care about life last season. ¬†That’s the kind of thing writers do, and it made sense. ¬†I didn’t like it, but it made sense.

When Glenn died, I was shocked, but not as shocked as I might have been.  I mean, he dies in the graphic novels, so I knew he was on borrowed time.

What makes their deaths so shocking, in my opinion, is not how they were carried out. ¬†People talk about how graphic the deaths were, but I don’t think they were more graphic than other things I’ve seen. ¬†What made them so shocking and visceral is that they were so senseless. ¬†I’m used to villains not necessarily following through, pulling punches, being full of hot air. Negan isn’t. ¬†Plus, he’s cordial, joking around like none of it bothers him.

At this point, characters being killed by zombies is something we expect. ¬†Even being killed by other characters isn’t all that surprising. ¬†We’ve already figured out that human beings are the real monsters. ¬†And last season showed us one huge moral dilemma when Rick and his group attacked Negan’s group without direct provocation.

We’re a society who sees blood and guts on TV all the time. ¬†Modern audiences have become blas√© about a lot of it. ¬†I laugh at horror movies. ¬†We know it’s not real, and most shows don’t kill off beloved characters. ¬†When was the last time two main characters got killed in a show? ¬†It doesn’t happen often.

I keep watching the Walking Dead because it emotionally impacts me. ¬†I care about the characters and know that anything could happen to them at any time. ¬†It makes me think. I was on the fence last season as to whether or not Rick and his group crossed a line. ¬†I’m still on the fence. ¬†Can we use the present to justify the past?

Negan is a worthy villain, a reflection of Rick. ¬†He’s arrogant and affable, with a loyal following. ¬†I doubt this is going to be the last difficult episode this season.

I may not like who got killed (I don’t), but

Like it or not, The Walking Dead¬†experiments with ways of making the viewer feel something. ¬†I would argue that even when people hate the way they do things, the experiments mostly pay off. ¬†After all, I can find tons of articles discussing just about every episode.¬† Love it or hate it,¬†that’s why they’re already signed on for Season 8.

So, what are your thoughts on all this? ¬†Let’s discuss in the comments!

 

The Walking Dead Weekly Wrap-Up

imagesSo, I really liked this episode of the Walking Dead. ¬†I guess I really like the episodes that are heavy on drama and character development with some death and dying thrown in. ¬†It’s what I imagine the zombie apocalypse would really be like. ¬†People would do a lot of soul searching because they’d have all that free time not filled with TV and video games. ¬†People would really have to get to know themselves and what they’d be willing to do to survive.

Spoilers ahead!

I was upset last week when Rick even considered giving up Michonne, and then I was even more upset at the beginning of this episode when Rick approached Daryl and Merle about executing the plan. ¬†But I liked the way it played out in the end. ¬†Rick came to some very interesting realizations about himself. ¬†He finally addressed his “I’m the dictator and you’ll do as I say” attitude from the beginning of the winter. ¬†No one questioned it, because he is the best guy for the job as leader. ¬†I guess he finally realized that being in that kind of power leads to corruption. ¬†He knows the rest of the group would have said “no” to sacrificing Michonne.

I feel like Merle committed suicide by going to the meeting alone and taking out some of the fighters. ¬†I think he knew he was going to die, and that he wanted to die. ¬†Daryl has a good place at the prison and fits in there. ¬†Merle doesn’t know how to fit in with them, but in the end, I think he’s a good guy and doesn’t want to disrupt his brother’s place there. ¬†I agree with Michonne, that there’s good in Merle, and I think he could have learned. ¬†I even think Michonne would have forgiven him; she’s pretty pragmatic. ¬†But Merle wasn’t willing and made a choice that made him a much more interesting character in this last episode than he’s been up until now. ¬†I just wonder how his death is going to affect Daryl. ¬†Hopefully he doesn’t lose it the way Rick did.

Only one more episode left in the season! ¬†This has been a really good season. ¬†Not that I watch much TV, but I think this is, hand’s down, the best show on right now.

Walking Dead Weekly Wrap-Up

images-1What was this episode about?  Can someone please tell me?

Spoilers ahead!

This was mostly a Woodbury episode, with lots of interpersonal drama.  Milton knows the Governor is a bad man!  Andrea knows the Governor is a bad man!  News flash!

Um… let’s see, did anything else happen in this episode? ¬†Not that I remember. ¬†I mean, it was interesting how Andrea ran away from the Governor and they ended up inside that place with all the biters. ¬†That was cool.

This was definitely a filler episode, and if all of them were like this, I’d have long since been done with the show. ¬†Of course, all this could be because this was the all-Andrea episode, and I never really liked her. ¬†I do, however, like Milton, and think he would make a great addition to Rick’s family!

I believe we only have two more episodes left, which makes me sad.  My plan is to go back to the beginning and start over.  Between that and the graphic novel, it should get me through the summer, anyway!