Fight the dead, fear the living — The Walking Dead‘s tagline says it all.
While the zombies in The Walking Dead are undeniably terrifying, they’re also incredibly predictable. The virus that turns people into undead walkers affects the brain at a very primitive level. Walkers react to sound, sight, and the smell of blood, and their only real goal is to devour the flesh of a living being.
Human beings, on the other hand, have much more use of their brain and the complexities of emotion, morals, and thought (for the most part). Most people avoid killing another person because they believe it to be morally wrong, and have an emotional reaction to the mere thought of it. When faced with the overwhelming trauma of an apocalypse, however, the living fit into one of two categories: those who allow themselves to become numb to death in order to survive, and those who still refuse to kill on moral grounds.
In The Walking Dead, we’ve seen people from both sides of the coin, but most eventually become killers in order to protect their own. Since we’ve examined the deadliest characters on the show thus far, it’s time to recognize those who managed to never kill a living human. Most of these folks have since bit the dust, but that’s just a coincidence, right? Right?!
Here are 15 Walking Dead Characters That Never Killed A Living Person.
15. Dale Horvath
Dale served as the sage advise giver of the Atlanta survivors, which included Lori, Carl, Carol, Andrea, Shane, and eventually, Rick Grimes himself. While Dale’s RV and knowledge of cars proved useful, his moral compass and experience with people made him truly invaluable, at least for a time. He consistently looked out for the group’s well-being, and preferred to talk it out rather than straight up murder someone, even if they were dangerous.
Saving the ones in need also became a key part of his morality. He prevented Andrea from staying behind to die at the CDC and took care of T-Dog when the cut on his arm became infected. Dale also became the voice of reason when Rick wanted to kill Randall, trying to convince him and the others that it’s wrong to kill the living.
Dale could have easily shot Shane in the woods when he was discovered hiding the group’s guns, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. In that moment, he even acknowledged his unwillingness to kill as a weakness in the present circumstances, but stood by his decision, stating that “…at least I can say when the world goes to sh**, I didn’t let it take me down with it.”
Andrea’s primary goal is to protect Rick and the rest of the Atlanta survivors, becoming a skilled marksman thanks to Shane’s tutelage. Although she struggles with suicidal thoughts after the death of her sister, she remains convinced that everyone has the right to their own life or death, even the likes of Randall, whom the group wants to execute at Hershel’s barn.
Andrea, like Dale, has diplomatic tendencies, seeking to find the good in everyone, including The Governor. After she’s brought to Woodbury and integrates into the community, Andrea becomes caught between keeping her old friends safe and enjoying the new comforts of Woodbury. Even though she eventually comes to see The Governor for who he truly is, she’s unable to kill him in his sleep after being prompted to do so by Carol.
If Andrea had the guts to kill The Governor, she would have prevented her own death, as well as the deaths of Hershel and numerous others. However, when she’s caught by The Governor and left to die at the hands of a zombified Milton, she’s finally able to fulfill her suicidal wish. She chooses to die at her own hand rather than wait to become a walker. Suicide doesn’t count here, right?
13. Lori Grimes
Lori would do anything to protect her children from the harsh realities of their post-apocalyptic world, but we never get to see if that means killing a living person or not. When Carl is accidentally shot during his encounter with the deer, Lori doubts whether his survival would even be a good thing if he has to live in such a violent world. It’s Rick who actually convinces her that Carl needs to live, after he recalls the beauty of the deer.
She also nearly aborts the newly formed fetus of Judith by taking pills scavenged by Glenn and Maggie, though she soon has a change of heart and throws them up. At least she didn’t have to try and explain that to Judith someday. Karma’s a bitch, though, ain’t it Lori?
Even though Lori lets the men do the protecting, she does take out a few walkers after getting into a car accident trying to find Rick. Her goal was always to survive for as long as possible and not give up, teaching Carl to do the same. Lori still clung to her morals until the very end, making Carl promise her to always do what’s right, not just what’s easy.
12. T-Dog (Theodore Douglas)
One of the kindest members of the initial group of Atlanta survivors, T-Dog proved he was selfless and brave, but not a killer. He consistently offered help to whoever needed it, and was always thinking about the greater good rather than his own well-being. After accidentally losing the key to Merle’s handcuffs, he padlocks the door behind him to ensure Merle isn’t attacked by walkers. In his eyes, even a racist who calls him the n-word doesn’t deserve to die by the hands of zombies. Talk about strong morals.
When Tomas and the other prisoners try to come into their cell block, T-Dog raises his gun at them, but does not shoot. In fact, he tries to convince the others that Axel and Oscar could ultimately help their group. T-Dog is revealed to have a religious side, which guides everything he does and prevents him from taking human life. As recounted by Glenn to Hershel, at the start of the apocalypse, T-dog evacuated the elderly to a nearby refugee center using a van from his church. During a walker invasion in the prison and his final act of bravery, T-Dog also sacrifices himself for Carol, telling her “This is God’s plan. He’ll take care of me. Always has.”
Perhaps if his real-life actor hadn’t been so difficult to deal with on set, perhaps T-Dog would still be alive today.
11. Hershel Greene
Another main character who remained stubbornly fixed to his morals, Hershel Greene devoted his life to helping, not hurting people. His veterinary skills saved multiple people in Rick’s group, including Carl and Daryl, and he did his best to treat those infected with a flu-like virus at the prison, risking his life in the process.
Initially, he pushed back against the notion of using force against walkers, insisting that they’re just sick and rounding them up in his barn. But after the barn massacre, he realizes the error of his ways. Although he’s against guns, he defends Glenn against a man named Sean who attacks them at the Carriage Bar. Because of Glenn’s devotion to and love for Maggie, Hershel come to see him as a son, and he’d do anything to protect his family.
Hershel remained a force of good throughout a number of harsh trials, and even tried to persuade The Governor they could all live together peacefully. Unfortunately, his idealism became his demise, as The Governor was past the point of negotiation and only wanted revenge on Michonne for the death of his zombified daughter.
10. Mika Samuels
Unlike her deranged sister, Mika Samuels didn’t have it in her to kill. She tried for weeks to convince her big sis Lizzie that walkers weren’t people or pets, but to no avail. At ten years old, Mika was still a child and lived in constant fear of walkers and violence. She was one of the children at the prison whom Carol taught how to defend themselves with knives and kill if necessary, though it was clear from the beginning that she wasn’t the trigger-pulling type.
When the prison is attacked by The Governor, she and Lizzie get weapons and help defend it, and the latter even shoots two people to save Tyreese, who was pinned down by gunfire and seemingly on his last ropes. Mika also defends her sister from a walker that tries to attack them in the woods. Despite knowing how to use both guns and knives, Mika is unable to kill a living thing, which she demonstrates when hunting a deer with Carol. Because of that instance and when she was unable to put down her father after he turned, Carol viewed Mika as being too weak to survive the long haul. Perhaps she would have eventually been able to kill the living — if only her deranged sister hadn’t gotten to her first.
9. Eugene Porter
Eugene is probably the biggest coward on the show. After Abraham finds him, he lies about being a scientist with knowledge of what caused the zombie virus in order to survive. Time and time again, Eugene is shown avoiding conflict, as he’s obviously not the fighting type. He clearly can’t use a gun, as shown by him shooting a hole through their truck’s gas tank in Season 4. He does, however, have an incredibly diverse amount of survival knowledge, which includes lock picking, bullet making, mechanics, and building batteries.
It takes him two entire seasons to finally have the willingness to defend himself and others. He eventually adapts and takes control after the wall in Alexandria falls and the walker herd overtakes the town. Apparently, he really was paying attention during Rosita’s machete lessons.
Although he’s only taken out walkers thus far, after his dick biting incident with Negan’s minion Dwight, it’s only a matter of time before he gathers the courage to kill. Perhaps Abraham’s death is just the kind of motivation he needs to cross the line and kill for the first time, but so far, the run-in with Lucille has only made Eugene more cowardly (just when he was starting to come around, too).
Noah was one of those unfortunate characters that showed a lot of potential but wasn’t given his chance to shine. Young though he was, Noah was comfortable with guns, taking control of Daryl and Carol’s after his escape from the hospital. He wasn’t afraid to point a gun at someone if he felt threatened, and proved himself capable of shooting accurately from a great distance.
While other survivors on this list had strong morals that guided their actions, Noah was strong in his loyalty to goodness. He showed incredible loyalty to Beth almost immediately after meeting her, and helped lead the assault against the hospital in order to rescue her and Carol. Noah also took the fall for Beth more than once at the hospital, and was more than willing to sacrifice his freedom for hers.
Noah would have proved to be a valuable asset to the community of Alexandria for his marksmanship and interest in architecture — if it hadn’t been for Nicholas’ cowardice. Because Beth and Maggie were sisters, Noah would have undoubtedly shown Maggie the same loyalty he did Beth. Even though he didn’t kill anyone, it’s highly likely he would have helped defend Alexandria against the Wolves had he still been alive. Damn you, Nicholas!
7. Deanna Monroe
A former congresswoman and head of Alexandria, Deanna had an optimistic outlook on life despite the current circumstances. The utopian ideals she held for her community caused her to exile a few people who weren’t fitting in there. However, because of her persistent optimism, she allowed the domestically abusive Pete Anderson to remain at Alexandria because he was a doctor, which leads to the death of her husband, Reg. Although she doesn’t pull the trigger herself, in her grief, she gave the go-ahead for Rick to kill Pete in retaliation, which almost disqualifies her from this conversation, but not quite.
When Rick’s group first arrives at Alexandria, Deanna admits her ignorance about guns and the need for protection. As actress Tovah Feldshuh so eloquently put it in an interview with Variety, “(Deanna) needs Rick Grimes. She needs his brawn and he needs her cultural brain. She needs his knowledge of the outside as he needs the sanctum of the inside.” Eventually, she does learn to use a gun and helps Rick shoot walkers when the herd breaks in, but is injured and bitten in the process.
6. Judith Grimes
Some people may argue that baby Judith has killed a living person, Lori, in childbirth, but it’s more likely that Lori died from blood loss during the cesarean section Maggie gave her since there was no way to stitch her up. However, Judith’s very existence nearly gets the majority of Rick’s group killed when she cries or people have to save her or keep her safe.
Judith is used as a bargaining tool when Tyreese and Carol come across Martin in the shack. Martin threatens to kill Judith if Tyreese doesn’t deal with the walkers outside, which nearly causes Tyreese to lose his life. During the Terminus Hunters’ ambush on the survivors in the church, Judith also gives away their hiding place with her cries. As she continues to grow older, it would be interesting to see how she views the world after growing up around so much death.
Everyone’s favorite moody teenager, Enid, surprisingly hasn’t totally snapped yet and killed anyone. Sure, she has survival skills, carrying a knife and helping kill walkers when Alexandria’s under attack, but as of now, Enid’s too traumatized by her parents’ death to take a living person’s life. After all, it was walkers that killed them in front of her, leaving her alone in the world.
Enid lives by the motto JSS (Just Survive Somehow), which she did for a while before she joined Alexandria. More than anything else, she’s good at hiding — both physically and emotionally — to keep herself safe. When Glenn takes an interest in her well-being, she clings to his words about holding on to who she is in order to honor those who made her that way. Her parents wouldn’t have wanted her to become a killer, and so she’s unable to shoot Glenn after pointing a gun at him. Judging from the number of times she’s snuck in and out of Alexandria, she’d probably have no problem sacrificing herself to protect Maggie, especially after what happened to Glenn. Time will tell if this presumed devotion will result in her taking a human life.
4. Sam Anderson
Poor little Sam Anderson. All he wanted in life was more of Carol’s cookies. He was simply not made to survive in such a cruel world. Sam could barely walk down the stairs of his own house, never mind go outside and defend himself against walkers. Who can blame him, though? His father likely abused him, and he certainly must have seen his mother and brother get beaten. At one point, he asked Carol for a gun, but claimed it wasn’t for him. Perhaps part of him wanted his father dead to make the abuse stop, but he was too afraid to actually do anything about it.
Sam was overcome by fear of the monsters in the world, both living and dead. He was afraid his family would turn into one, and terrified that he would too. When Sam asked Carol about monsters, she put it to him straight: “The only thing that keeps you from becoming a monster is killing.” Even though Sam never killed anyone, he still became a monster anyway (assuming there was left to be reanimated after the walkers were done with him). Death makes monsters of them all.
3. Denise Cloyd
Denise Cloyd became Alexandria’s doctor rather reluctantly after Pete Anderson’s death. Before the apocalypse, she studied psychiatry after her anxiety and lack of confidence caused her to drop out of her medical school’s surgery program. Denise would have rather been left alone with her books and the safety of her apartment than deal with the present catastrophic situation. Although she was aware that she’d have to overcome her fear in order to survive, ironically, when she finally faced her fear, her life was tragically snuffed out.
The immense fear and insecurity Denise felt did not make her the best survivor. People can only hide for so long in The Walking Dead, a notion which the residents of Alexandria were forced to accept upon the arrival of Rick’s group. Denise would never have killed anyone intentionally; she’s a doctor, and is only interested in saving people. Killing is unjustifiable to her, which she tells Owen, the Wolf that Morgan let live. However, even after all she went through, Denise still believed that people can change, all the way to the bitter end.
In charge of the armory and pantry inventory, Olivia has played a vaguely important role during her time in Alexandria. It’s likely she was given the rationing job because of her experience in the food service industry, having worked at a coffee shop and cured her own meats. Having control of the armory, on the hand, seems more out of convenience due to its proximity to the pantry, not because she has any real experience with guns. Of that, she has none, as evidenced by the ‘Shooting Guns 101’ class that Carol is forced to give her at one point.
When the Wolves attack Alexandria, Olivia fearfully hides in a closet, but is discovered by Carol. (She’s been in charge of the guns all this time and she doesn’t think to grab one and defend herself? It takes Carol actually putting a gun in her hand and telling her to shoot anyone she doesn’t recognize for her to have any real experience with firearms. That just shows how vulnerable Alexandria really was before Rick and his group got there.The majority of the community’s residents have little to no experience dealing with the threats of this zombie world, and Olivia exemplifies that.
1. Ron Anderson
After Rick kills his father for killing poor old Reg Monroe, Ron Anderson starts a downward spiral of anger and revenge. Even though his father abused him, Rick soon becomes the young man’s source of blame, as he calls the series’ protagonist a dangerous killer even though his father was far, far worse. Mainly by association — but also because he perceives him to be stealing his girlfriend Enid — Carl also becomes a target for Ron Anderson’s misplaced sense of vengeance.
Ron was conniving and unforgiving, making him a potentially dangerous individual himself. He has Rick and Carl teach him to shoot solely to be able to kill them both, and he steals ammo from the armory. He tries to shoot Carl in his garage, but is bested and overpowered. After his brother and mother are killed by walkers, Ron raises his gun and nearly gets his revenge on Rick, but he’s cut down by Michonne and only manages to graze Carl’s eye with his shot. Although he’s unable to kill either Rick or Carl, his recklessness would have caused him to kill or be killed regardless. Good riddance.
What other TWD characters have held off on pulling the trigger on a living being? Let us know in the comments.
Season 7 of The Walking Dead continues this Sunday on AMC.