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The Walking Dead The 10 Best Characters According To Ranker

The Walking Dead has seen its fair share of characters come and go. Some characters alive or dead continue to hold as fan favorites.

With 161 episodes aired and only a handful more to go, The Walking Dead has been an entertainment staple amongst fans for over a decade. As is expected when a show is based in a post apocalyptic world full of flesh eating undead and dangerously desperate humans, the character turn over rate is pretty high leading to a long list of potential fan favorites. In fact, as of October 6, 2021, 59 characters from The Walking Dead have received votes on Ranker, with over 49,000 voters cumulatively clicking over 472,000 times for the characters they love to love or maybe hate to love the most.

10 Negan Smith

For fans of the show, it’s likely unsurprising that this devilishly charming villain is the only baddie to make the list. There’s no denying that his horrifically violent actions in season 7 produced some of the most gut-wrenching, soul-crushing scenes in the show, and yet Negan, as portrayed by Jeffery Dean Morgan, is arguably the most charismatic, sometimes even comical character on The Walking Dead. That, mixed with his emotionally complex past and his seemingly genuine concern for Carl and Judith, is enough to leave anyone feeling confused over whether they love to hate him or hate to love him.

9 Tyreese Williams

Tyreese, AKA Ty, joined the group alongside his sister, Sasha, in season 3 and quickly became a fan favorite. Portrayed by Chad Coleman, Ty provides a voice of compassion in a world ravaged by fear and violence. When push comes to shove, Ty can hold his own, but he consistently chooses a path of kindness and forgiveness when possible which is the only reason Carol is still with us. He’s also the only reason baby Judith survives the Governor’s prison attack in season 4. Fans mourned his death in season 5, and he holds strong as a fan favorite more than 5 seasons later.

8 Abraham Ford

Abraham, portrayed by Michael Cudlitz is first introduced to the show in season 4. Previously a Sergeant for the US Army Abraham is loud humorously obnoxious, and a stubborn brute force to be reckoned with. He also struggles with a deep sense of hopelessness, brought on by a combination of unresolved PTSD and the death of his family which makes his character more complex than he may first appear. Much to the heartbreak of fans, right as Abraham finds a renewed sense of hope he meets his fate unflinching, head held high, looking Negan straight in the eyes.

7 Maggie Greene

Maggie has survived The Walking Dead since season 2. She’s first introduced to fans when Rick and his group stumble upon her family’s farm. When the farm catches fire and is overran by walkers, Maggie flees with the group alongside her father, Hershel, and sister, Beth. Maggie portrayed by Lauren Cohan, is quick thinking, strong willed, loyal, and fair, with a keen sense for survival. Maggie leaves the group and the show in season 9, shortly after Rick decides to spare Negan a decision Maggie cannot abide, given what Negan did to her husband, Glenn. Fans greatly felt her absence and were thrilled to see her return at the end of season 10. There’s hopefully still a lot to unpack with her character over the remaining 16 episodes, as she navigates a tenuous and likely temporary alliance with Negan.

6 Hershel Greene

Hershel, portrayed by Scott Wilson joins the show in season 2 alongside his daughters Maggie and Beth, as well as short timers Otis Patricia and Jimmy who don’t make it through the season. He allows Rick’s group to camp on his farm while he tends to Carl after Otis accidentally shoots the boy while hunting. A man of faith, Hershel is initially convinced that the walkers can be cured, and takes to corralling stray walkers and his undead wife into his barn for safekeeping. Eventually Hershel is forced to see the hard truth, and events lead him to becoming one of Rick’s most trusted advisors and the closest thing the group has to a doctor, as he was a veterinarian pre apocalypse. It was a huge blow to the group and fans, when Hershel died a most heroic death at the hands of The Governor in season 4.

5 Carol Peletier

Carol is one of the two remaining characters from season 1. Portrayed by Melissa McBride, Carol is introduced to fans as the protective mother of a young girl Sophia and wife of an abusive man, Ed. Much to the relief of Carol and fans, her husband dies early on, giving her character room to breathe. The death of her daughter, Sophia, is one of the first character deaths to have fans reaching for the tissue box, and it becomes a defining moment for Carol, pushing her to become a hardened, sometimes manipulative survivor. Carol is capable of being ruthless, especially if she feels its necessary to protect her loved ones. Shes deeply wounded by loss, which often causes her to push those closest to her away. Still, despite best efforts to repress how much she cares, she’s heavily influenced by her loyalty to those she considers family.

4 Michonne Hawthorne

Michonne, portrayed by Danai Gurira, has one of the most mysterious introductions to the show. Shes first introduced at the very end of season 2 as a cloaked figure with a katana and a couple of leashed walkers who saves Andrea from an attacking walker. At first Michonne seems stoic, hardened, and pragmatic, but as she settles in with the group and begins to let her guard down deeper layers reveal her as a warm and caring person. She’s fiercely loyal, a true warrior with a sword and will fight passionately for those she loves. Still alive as far as we know she leaves the group and the show in season 10 in search of her romantic partner Rick after discovering he may still be alive.

3 Rick Grimes

Rick is arguably the show’s main character and the group’s leader until leaving the show in season 9. Portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, Rick is the very first character introduced, as the show begins with him waking up in a hospital bed alone, dehydrated, and soon to discover the world has been overrun by the undead and his loved ones are missing. Being a sheriff’s deputy, he’s already equipped with some useful survival skills, and he eventually finds his wife, son, and best friend deputy partner, amid a group of survivors. From then on Rick becomes the natural leader of the group, forcing him into any number of moral dilemmas as he takes on the responsibility of keeping everyone alive. Often faced with situations where violence is the only recourse Rick does his best to navigate his group through the challenges of a post-apocalyptic world, while maintaining some semblance of a moral compass. In season 9 Rick is caught in an explosion and the group believes he has been killed. Fans however know better.

2 Glenn Rhee

Glenn, portrayed by Steven Yeun, is clever, kind, and a bit of a dare devil. He’s first introduced in season 1, episode 2 when he saves Rick from a swarm of walkers. Always a fan favorite, it’s his quick thinking, compassion humor and optimism that makes Glenn a breath of fresh air in an otherwise suffocating situation. His blossoming and eventually fully realized relationship with Maggie, was a romantic focal point for many fans of the show which played a big part in making his brutal death at the hands of Negan in season 7 arguably the most traumatizing death the show has ever produced. Always a loyal trustworthy and dependable member of the group Glenn will forever hold a special place in the hearts of fans.

1 Daryl Dixon

Daryl wasn’t even a character in the comics, yet he continues to be a favorite with fans. Starting off in season 1 as a hot headed, crossbow wielding, thorn in Ricks side, Daryl is arguably one of the most transformed characters in the show. Fans are first introduced to his softer side in season 2, when he forms a bond with Carol making it his mission to find her missing daughter. Over time, Daryl learns to deal with the anger he carries from surviving an abusive childhood and he grows into a respected and relied upon member of the group, embracing Rick as a brother and the group as his family. A smart, observant, capable survivor and tracker, it’s no surprise Daryl and his closest friend, Carol are slotted to get a spin off show once The Walking Dead comes to a close at the end of its 11th season. Fans can’t get enough of Daryl Dixon.

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