One of the characteristics that makes The Walking Dead such a unique show is the fact that its palette of main characters constantly changes. Unexpected plot twists result in old characters dying and new ones appearing out of nowhere. However, there are some characters who've, thanks to their intellect and wit (or pure dumb luck), managed to survive all 10 seasons of this unpredictable show.
In the context of this post-apocalyptic world that showcases how, even with hordes of zombies looming around every corner, man is still a wolf to another man, we've decided to set aside the 10 most intelligent, adaptable, and resourceful characters who still survive among The Walking Dead.
From the very beginning of the show, we had positive predictions about the fate of this priest. Let's just remind ourselves about his biggest sin when he, cowardly and selfish, locked himself in a church leaving a herd of believers to be overrun by zombies. And if he hadn't been discovered by Rick and his crew, who knows if Father Gabriel would ever be able to adapt to the horrible circumstances.
Even after becoming one of the five co-leaders of the Coalition and seeming like a wise man, the fact stands that he had a lot of trouble adapting to the apocalypse. In the newest seasons, he seems to have come around and become much more adaptable and resourceful, but we're still placing him on the last spot among the most intelligent characters in the show.
With his charisma and wit, he was able to win over a group of loyal followers. But, aside from these theatrics, we assess that he wasn't the most successful ruler, given an abundance of his not-so-wise decisions. Ezekiel clearly cares about his people, but let's not forget that he also subjected them to Negan's torture like some sort of a vassal, with a portion of them dying as a result of his thoughtless plans.
Even after teaming with Rick's group, Ezekiel continues to show his weakness and lends himself to depression caused by all troubles they face. No one can deny this character's intelligence, but we believe that his accomplishments are better attributed to his charisma than his smarts.
Daryl may not be the most intelligent character in the cast, but he's one of the most adaptable and resourceful. He owes his survival and well-being to his hunting aptitude and a badass can-do attitude. With that in mind, his skills include: survival, hunting and tracking, hand-to-hand combat, crossbow skill, and navigation.
Aside from his practical abilities, Daryl also boasts an altruistic, protective, and loyal nature that made him one of the core members of Rick's group and someone he can lean on anytime. He even displayed pronounced leadership capabilities throughout the show, although he prefers to stick to himself. In any case, anyone denying the intelligence of this longest-surviving male character of the Walking Dead would clearly be mistaken.
At first, Aaron was Alexandria's scout due to being a good judge of character. His mission was to bond with Rick's group to assess whether they pose any threat to Alexandria. His intelligence was showcased early on, when he left water bottles for the group to test whether they're wise enough not to drink them (given the risk they were poisoned).
Soon after, we realized that Aaron was a good-natured and practical guy with a myriad of survival skills under his belt. He later displayed his resourcefulness by managing to convince the Oceanside people to join the war - the fact tha allowed for the victory of Rick's group over the Saviors.
This ten year-old girl has been born during the apocalypse, outliving many other, much older characters - and for good reason. She grew constantly needing to adapt to new and threatening situations. She mastered weapons like the katana and Rick's revolver early on, killing walkers.
She also displayed a keen ability to tell if someone is lying. Raised by Rick and Michonne, this clever and surprisingly mature young girl will surely grow up to be a serious badass and the worst nightmare of anyone who threatens her loved ones. Due to her maturity, cleverness, and adaptability, we're putting her at number 6 on our list.
Carol is one of the rare people who displayed an amazing amount of character development in the show. From an abused and insecure woman, she turned out to be a fearsome and highly intelligent person. The series also shows her as an introverted, reliable, and quick-witted woman who eventually becomes a counselor to Rick, and later one of the five co-leaders of the Coalition.
Aside from that, she's incredibly skilled with weapons, and has even gotten some medical experience along the way. She cleverly uses her image of a "regular old lady" to deceive and manipulate people when necessary. Yet, Carol will never hesitate to kill when faced with a threat. And though she may seem cold and perhaps even cruel on the surface, this only makes her survival in this brutal world easier.
When we first got introduced Michonne, she was a lone survivor, relying on her katana skills when faced with enemies. The zombie apocalypse actually turned this middle-aged art and literature enthusiast into a skilled and careful warrior. And though she functioned perfectly fine alone, Michonne was wise enough to join Rick and his group, eventually becoming his right hand woman.
She was constantly the rational voice in the group, and her intuition and wise advice eventually got her to the position of the leader of the Alexandria - and quite deservedly so, if we may add.
Alpha is a great example of a highly-intelligent person. However, she's also often quite extreme in attaining her goals, which proved itself to be unwise. She is prone to violence and will always turn to sadism and murder to eliminate those who show even the slightest sign of weakness.
A clever character, Alpha was able to climb up to the position of the leader of Whisperers, subverting not only loyal followers but also hordes of zombies to her cause. Cold and calculated, she is the kind of person to give up her daughter for her ideology. But, for someone this capable and intelligent, we'd expect Alpha to be at least able to create a happier and more stable community.
You can love him or hate him, but you can't doubt this intelligence. The secret to Negan's success rests upon his knowledge of human psychology, enabling him to attain power over a large group of followers - the Saviors. Just from their famous phrase "I am Negan," we can see that he's risen to the level of a symbol for his followers.
Negan is a charismatic individual, skilled in manipulating others and thinking strategically, which allows him to always stay one step ahead of everyone else. As opposed to Alpha, Negan only resorts to murder if he sees no better alternative. Finally, his intelligence is evident from his ability to easily adapt to a myriad of different situations, such as when he was detained in Alexandria or had to stay among the Whisperers.
Although he possesses poor social skills, Eugene is a lot more than your typical awkward person. You see, he's extremely intelligent - evident from his very first appearance when he tricked Abraham to protect him. He also showed an extremely high level of adaptability during his stay with the Saviors, particularly when he tried to impress Negan with his skills to survive, outsmarting him on a few occasions as well.
Eugene wields good knowledge in many different areas: he is well read, talented with electronics, and able to create explosives and poisons. And despite the importance of physical fitness when it comes to surviving a zombie apocalypse, Eugene is the perfect example of a person who's able to compensate his shortcomings and survive using raw intellect.