After all we've been through... Everything that I've done, it can't be for nothing.
Ellie Williams is the central character of The Last of Us series.[fn 1] She serves as the main character in The Last of Us: American Dreams, the playable deuteragonist of The Last of Us, and the playable protagonist of both The Last of Us: Left Behind and The Last of Us Part II.
Ellie grew up as an orphan in the Boston quarantine zone and attended a military preparatory school, where she met and befriended Riley Abel. When Ellie was fourteen, the pair were both infected with the Cordyceps brain infection, where Ellie discovered she was immune. A friend of her mother's and the leader of the Fireflies, Marlene, believed that she was the key to reverse engineering a vaccine. Marlene tasked Joel Miller, a smuggler, with escorting Ellie outside of the QZ. The simple drop-off turned into a year-long journey across America, and the two eventually formed a close bond.
Upon reaching the Fireflies in Salt Lake City, Joel learned that only killing Ellie could create the cure. Refusing to allow this, he killed the head surgeon and escaped with Ellie to settle down in Jackson, his brother's community in Wyoming. For the next five years, Ellie came to resent Joel for saving her life. In 2038, Abby Anderson, a former Firefly and the surgeon's daughter, found and killed Joel. Ellie vowed revenge and pursued Abby to Seattle. Her efforts were fruitless, leading her to retire on a farm with her girlfriend Dina and her son JJ. Unable to forgive Abby, Ellie abandoned her family and pursued her once again to Santa Barbara, only to spare Abby in the end. She returned to Jackson once more, coming to terms with Joel's death and his decision to save her life.
A brave, 14-year-old girl, Ellie has grown up in this harsh world and it is all she has ever known. She’s an orphan who was raised in a boarding school run by the military within the bounds of the quarantine zone. Naïve and curious about the outside world, she is wise beyond her years and highly capable of taking care of herself and those around her. Obsessed with comic books, CDs, and other pop culture, her knowledge base is filled by the remnants of a world that no longer exists.
Background and early life
Ellie Williams was born in the spring of 2019, by which time the Cordyceps brain infection had spread throughout the United States. Her mother was a nurse named Anna, although the identity of her father is unknown. On the day of her birth, her mother passed away. Before her death, Anna entrusted her closest friend Marlene to look after Ellie. However, Ellie did not meet Marlene until she was 13 years old.
Events of American Dreams
Meeting Riley Abel
Shortly after turning 13, Ellie arrives at the Boston quarantine zone on a bus, to the sight of the military scanning a man for infection. She thinks nothing of it until the scan reads positive and a man is forced to his knees at gunpoint. This sight frightens her.
Once she is safely inside the gates, she and the other survivors leave the bus. She is approached by a soldier who knows her. He warns her not to pull any of her "old stunts" once she has settled in and tells her that he can no longer look after her. Ellie asks that he take her with him, but he refuses, citing his responsibility to his own family.
Enraged, Ellie declares she can take care of herself without his help. However, shortly after she is caught in a fight with a group of boys who attempt to steal her belongings. Ellie provokes them, but is saved by a teenage girl as their leader prepares to attack her. The girl intimidates the boys enough to scare them away.
She asks Ellie what they wanted with her, and Ellie implies they meant to steal her belongings. She dismisses the girl when she tries to give her advice on how to function in the quarantine zone, inquiring whether or not she looked like she needed help. The girl notes she has "trust issues" and calls her "new kid." Seconds later, she advises Ellie to flee before quickly leaving. Ellie is confused by what she means and is caught by one of the authority figures in charge of the school. In his office, Ellie is flippant with his show of authority despite the open reading of her rap sheet in previous homes.
He assigns her to cleaning duty. While she is in the middle of scrubbing a bloodied jeep, she reaches for her Walkman and finds it missing from her jacket pocket. She realizes that the girl from earlier stole it from her and throws a fit, baffled by how she could have taken it without Ellie noticing.
A moment later, she notices an amputated finger near the wheel of the jeep and is quick to imagine the fight that must have occurred. She dumps the water on the tire and goes to confront the girl about her Walkman. In the mess hall, Ellie demands that the Walkman be returned to her, but the girl feigns ignorance. Ellie, however, continues to press the matter until the girl gives it up with a backhanded comment about her poor taste in music.
Later that night, as Ellie lies awake in bed, she hears footsteps outside her room. She gets dressed and peers outside her door in time to catch the girl disappearing through an exit. Ellie follows her discretely and successfully sneaks up on her. Surprised to find Ellie behind her, the girl demands that she go back to her room.
Ellie refuses; she wants her to show her a way out of the school and tells her to stop calling her "new kid." The girl hesitates for a moment before she obliges her request; she asks if she can keep up and Ellie remarks that keeping up is "not an issue." The girl finally calls Ellie by her given name, asking her not to make her regret bringing her along. The two manage to escape the building and cross the yard without being noticed. Climbing over the fence, Ellie asks how the girl knew her name. The girl states that she has "her ways" and introduces herself as Riley. Riley asks if she is ready for what is next and Ellie responds in confirmation.
Ellie struggles to keep up with Riley as she leads her across the rooftops. When Riley comes to a stop, Ellie, out of breath, asks if that is all the challenge she has to offer. Ignoring the question, Riley asks if Ellie ever thinks about her future. Ellie assumes she is being facetious and inquires if she means future as seen in science fiction. Riley repeats the question and asks Ellie what she intends to do with her life. Ellie does not see much of a future for herself and Riley says that her mentality is exactly how the quarantine zone's authority figures want people to think.
Confused, Ellie asks Riley what she intends on doing with her life. Riley tells Ellie she turns sixteen in three months and she intends on using that time to find out. Ellie demands to know what else life might hold for them, but Riley ignores the question. She asks Ellie if she has ever ridden a horse before and Ellie tells her “no." Riley leads Ellie through the window of an abandoned mall. As they travel through the vacant building, Ellie spots a mannequin standing behind a broken window display and takes a moment to mock its posture before she moves to rejoin Riley.
Moments later, she spots an arcade just a few feet away from them. She asks Riley to wait up and ventures inside, where she spots an old game called “Triple Phoenix” and proceeds to enthusiastically describe the television show it was inspired by.
Riley dismisses her enthusiasm, saying the game is for children. She then begins to describe "The Turning," a violent fighting game with a female character named 'Angel Knives.' Ellie points out the fortune of the kids that were born before the infection, never catching Riley's somber expression. Riley decides they are wasting time and leaves the arcade.
As Ellie follows, she stops to imagine what the arcade would have looked like before the infection hit and immediately after before moving on. Riley takes her to a camp where she meets her friend, Winston, a resident of the mall. Winston berates Riley for bringing another friend to the mall, knowing it will only cause him trouble. Riley assures him Ellie is cool and introduces the two formally. In exchange for bringing him whiskey, she asks that he teach Ellie how to ride a horse.
Ellie follows Riley to the stables; the girl explains to her how to behave around horses and tells her to make sure Winston takes her around the whole mall on Princess. As Riley prepares the horse, Ellie asks if she is trying to get kicked out of the quarantine zone by causing trouble.
Riley tells her she does not want to be put into general population where people receive terrible jobs and little rations to survive. Once the horse is ready to go, Winston helps Ellie climb into the saddle and warns Riley to behave as they head out. Ellie asks Winston about his life before the infection and listens to the older man reminisce about his childhood roaming the mall and skipping school, enthralled by his memories.
They return to Winston’s camp to find Riley reading a magazine. Dismounting from the horse, Ellie thanks her for bringing her to the mall. Moments later, an explosion occurs outside the mall, prompting Winston to find his unit. He orders Riley and Ellie to return to the school before he departs. Ellie, shaken by the events unfolding around her, agrees with Winston, but is ignored by Riley. She turns to find her friend fiddling with a walkie-talkie. She realizes she was used to distract Winston and begins to shout at Riley when they both overhear that there may be Fireflies in the area. Riley becomes excited at the prospect of meeting the Fireflies, but Ellie believes she has lost her mind. Instead of arguing with her, Riley leaves without her. Shocked, Ellie remains there for a moment before following after Riley.
Following Riley, the pair reach a place overlooking a battle between the military and the Fireflies. Seeing that the Fireflies are losing, Riley decides to give them a chance to escape. Ellie is shocked to find that Riley managed to steal some smoke bombs when Winston was distracted. The pair throw the smoke bombs at the military, allowing the Fireflies to retreat safely. The girls cheer, but the military spots the pair and opens fire on them.
Ellie and Riley quickly flee into an alleyway outside the mall behind a dumpster. Ellie is irritable despite Riley's assurances that they will be safe. However, a runner appears and attacks Ellie first.
Riley reacts by hitting it with a stone before it can do anything, but the runner, having discovered her, begins to attack Riley and pins her to the ground. He seems to bite her before Ellie kills it with a brick. Ellie inspects the area and finds that only Riley's jacket was torn. Riley displays a brief moment of defiant bravado, but right afterwards admits she was terrified of turning and cries into Ellie's arms.
The Fireflies that retreated from the fight soon spot the girls. Riley tries to explain that they were the ones who threw the smoke bombs, but is knocked unconscious by one of the members. Ellie is furious, but is later blindfolded and captured, with one of them shocked that Ellie was involved.
Ellie wakes up to the Fireflies arguing about whether or not they should disobey orders. Ellie is able to shake the bag from her head and can see three men arguing. She slips out of the rope which is binding her hands behind her back and reaches for a shard of glass when Marlene enters.
One of the Fireflies asks her how another one of their members, named Kerry, is doing. Marlene informs him that the doctor believes she has a chance of surviving. Marlene removes the binds from Ellie's legs with a knife and Ellie demands that Riley is untied. The Fireflies comply and Marlene hands Ellie an envelope with the instructions to open it when she returns to the school. Ellie sees Riley and Marlene argue before three armed men turn up and demand that they pay the toll for being in the smuggler's tunnel. The men become hostile and suddenly attack, with Ellie pulling a frozen Riley away from the firefight.
Ellie notices a way out but Riley refuses to leave and runs for a gun near one of the men. Before she can grab it, he pulls her back by her hood. However, before he can harm her, Ellie hits him with a brick. He turns his attention to Ellie and while he does so, Riley grabs the gun and shoots him, knocking him to the ground. When he opens his eyes, Marlene has a gun pointed in his face and shoots.
While Ellie is restrained by another Firefly member Riley and Marlene argue even more about the former wanting to join up. Marlene threatens to kill Riley as this will be her fate as a Firefly, prompting Ellie to bite the Firefly's hand and point his gun at Marlene. Marlene says that she wasn't really going to kill Riley. She fires a warning shot and Marlene says her name. When asked how she knows her name, Marlene responds by saying she knew her mother and that the envelope was a letter from her mother. Marlene continues to tell her that she has had people watching Ellie as she promised her mother she would. She asks Riley for advice on what to do and Riley tells her to lower the gun.
Ellie gives Marlene the gun and Marlene tells her that her mother was called Anna, and she would tell her more about her mother when the time is right. Marlene points to a ladder and tells Ellie and Riley it leads to behind the school. Before they leave, Marlene gives Ellie a switchblade and tells her that it was her mother's. The two girls leave and, after Riley tells her that there is no way out, Ellie gets angry and suggests running away. Riley gets upset and says that all this will give them is another way to die. Riley walks off and Ellie follows, over the fence and into the school. Riley says she will see Ellie the next day.
A while later, Ellie is listening to music. She has read the letter and picks up the knife before hugging it to her chest.
Events of Left Behind
Visiting Liberty Gardens
Sometime after returning to the school, Ellie and Riley took a picture together using Riley's camera. Depsite Ellie accidentally breaking the camera sometime later, Ellie kept the picture they took on her wall in her dorm room.
Ellie and Riley eventually had an argument and parted ways. Riley disappears from the school and Ellie assumes that her friend has been killed when she doesn't return. In the meantime, Ellie is drafted into the military and keeps a marginal connection with Riley’s friends. Sometime during Riley's absence, Ellie visited Winston's camp at the mall and spent some time with Princess, unaware she was being observed by Winston.
In the summer of 2033, Ellie is taken by surprise when Riley returns, waking her in the night. Relieved, but upset, Ellie asks where her friend has been, having not seen her for six weeks, and Riley reveals that she has become a Firefly. Riley, understanding her friend is upset, promises to tell her what happened while she was gone if she leaves the school with her. Reluctant, Ellie gets dressed and follows Riley out of the school.
Outside the school grounds, they evade a coming patrol by ducking into an abandoned building. Traveling through the building, Ellie asks how Riley found the Fireflies. Riley recounts how she followed Trevor, a Firefly Ellie bit when they first met Marlene, and was ambushed and taken directly to Marlene, who allowed her to join her cause.
When Riley asks if Ellie has made friends with anyone at the school or kept up with her friends, Ellie is evasive, but tells her that she doesn’t really talk to anyone since she left. Entering another room, Ellie spots a Firefly symbol and jokingly asks if Riley has "found the light." Riley tells her friend that with the Fireflies she is not a soldier like Ellie. Overhearing a loudspeaker transmission on the state of the quarantine zone, Riley tells Ellie that the military is lying about the number of infected that continue to appear in the zone. She nearly reveals that she had to kill someone who’d become infected, but veers from the subject.
Crossing the rooftops, they evade another patrol and climb down through the window into the Liberty Gardens mall, their usual hangout. When Riley asks if she remembers the first time she brought her here, Ellie asks why she brought her back. Riley evades the question and continues onward. Spotting a poster of a water gun, Ellie tells Riley that she attempted to get their water guns from "Corporal Dickhead's" office, but she got caught in the process of escaping. Riley tells her to give up on getting them back, but Ellie remains determined to steal them back.
Arriving at Winston’s camp, Ellie tells Riley that she heard that Winston had died of a heart attack, a rarity for survivors. Exploring his tent, Ellie discovers a photograph of Winston in his youth and comments on his looks. Riley discovers a bottle of alcohol and offers Ellie a drink.[fn 2] After Riley drinks in his memory they leave his tent and spot the saddle belonging to Winston’s horse, Princess.
Ellie tells Riley that Princess was likely taken by someone and lamented on the horse’s well-being, knowing it was easily spooked around strangers. Moving on, they attempt to find their way to the other side of the mall, Riley using a metal beam to lift up rubble from the fallen-in roof. As she pulls the beam up, creating a small passageway, the weight causes the tunnel to collapse on itself, making it impossible to pass to the other side. As they're looking around trying to find another way through, Ellie spots an open window over the door of a store and helps Riley climb inside. Ellie enters the store a moment after Riley opens the door and is startled by the mask her friend found inside. Riley gives Ellie a werewolf mask and reluctantly Ellie obliges her friend when she demands that she "fucking roar" when she refuses to concede with her antic’s. The two explore the store full of Halloween paraphernalia, trading masks and marveling over the odds and ends, including a fortune-telling skull.
Leaving the store, Riley suggests that they play a game. If either one of them knocks all the windows out of their car (Riley, blue, Ellie, red) they get to ask each other a question.[fn 3] Ellie beats Riley and asks why she left the school. Riley vaguely admits to being “in a weird space” and that she didn’t tell anyone she left. When Ellie questions if she is “just anyone” to Riley, her friend insists that they’re almost to their destination and moves on.
Heading into the back of the mall, Riley explains that the military lied about the power in the city and that there was still power inside the mall. Entering a room, Riley opens a junction box and motions for Ellie to flip the switch. Doubtful it will work, Ellie restores power to the mall and the two head toward the exit. There, Ellie hesitates and admits to being aware of Riley’s attempts to win her back. Riley apologizes for the things she said before she left, to which Ellie evades the moment by calling her friend a "sap." They exit the back of the mall and head for the illuminated carousel.
Ellie climbs aboard the carousel and rides for a brief moment before she asks Riley to join her. Riley barely gets to ride for a moment before the carousel loses power. Noting her friend's disappointment, Ellie tells Riley she enjoyed the ride. A moment later Riley reveals she got Ellie another joke book. The two depart from the carousel as Ellie picks and chooses jokes to tell until they come across a photo booth. Entering, the two fool around with the machine's settings and are confused by the prompt soliciting. They attempt to print the photographs out, but are denied by an error prompt. Moving on, Ellie overhears Riley whistling. When she attempts to mimic her friend, Riley tells her "it's about practice".
They head to the top floor and enter Raja's Arcade. Ellie is disappointed by the fact that the "Turning" gaming cabinet is broken, but Riley helps her visualize how to play the game, by describing the actions and button prompts for the character Angel Knives to fight against her opponent, Blackfang. Riley's help leads Ellie to victory, but Ellie decides it's time for her return to the school, despite Riley's insistence to continue on further into the mall. Ellie tells Riley she doesn't have any more strikes left for sneaking out to the mall, and Riley admits that she's being relocated to another Firefly hideout.
Ellie pretends to not be bothered, but when Riley pushes the issue, Ellie demands why she was brought to the mall. When Riley's answer of just wanting to see her isn't satisfactory, Riley is at a loss of what to say. Frustrated, Ellie tells Riley to "go" and Riley decides to investigate the music regardless of Ellie's protests. Ellie goes after her and finds Riley inside a department store, admiring the view. Enraged, Ellie asks whether or not Riley feels guilty for the fight they had before she disappeared.
Riley denies any admission of guilt as a motivator for crossing hostile territory to see her again, but admits she was trying to make things work between them again. Dropping her backpack on the ground, Riley reveals that she got their water guns back and was nearly shot in the process.
Ellie decides that the two play a game with their water guns.[fn 4] Afterward, Ellie reminds Riley that she has to return to the school and her friend offers to "walk her home". As they prepare to leave, Ellie encourages Riley to leave and that they'll see each other again one day.
A moment later, Riley asks whether or not Ellie still has her Walkman. When Ellie answers in the affirmative, Riley takes the Walkman and hooks it up to one of the audio systems in the store. The two climb on top of a counter and begin to dance. After several moments, however, Ellie stops, suddenly saddened, and sincerely asks Riley not to leave her. Riley removes her pendant and drops it on the floor as her answer. Ellie then kisses Riley. She apologizes almost immediately after, but Riley expresses that there's nothing to be sorry for.
As Ellie and Riley try to figure out what to do next about each other and the Fireflies, they are caught off guard by the sudden arrival of runners attracted to the sound of the music. They manage to escape and barricade the door, but the infected begin to swarm the mall. Riley leads Ellie through the mall up to the higher floors, evading close calls with the infected who catch up to them.
Riley leads them out of a window onto scaffolding. As Ellie catches up to Riley, the shelf she uses to climb tips over and she falls onto the ground. She defends herself against the infected until Riley can arrive to help her; however, her friend is ambushed by another infected. Recovering, Ellie jumps on the back of the infected and slits its throat. Ellie assumes the worst is over now that the infected are dead, but Riley brings attention to the injury on her arm. Ellie realizes she's been bitten, and Riley reveals her own bite on her left hand.
Knowing that the bite means certain death, Ellie becomes enraged and destroys several pots with a pipe. Riley tries to console her friend by telling her the two options they have to deal with their situation; they could commit suicide, or they could wait out the infection together and fight to stay alive with what time they have left. Riley says she prefers the second option. When Ellie asks if there is a third choice, Riley simply answers, "Sorry." The two then leave the mall.
Though the two resign themselves to the end and chose to wait together until they die, Riley is the only one of the two that succumbs to the fungal infection; Ellie survives.
Although Ellie is immune, she still carries a mutated form of the infection inside of her. She is later taken under Marlene's wing at the sight of this miracle for both of them. Ellie and Marlene later plan to head for Salt Lake City in order to reverse-engineer a cure for the infection, which Ellie agrees to since she feels that it will relieve her of survivor's guilt of Riley. At the time, though, she does not know the exact location of the Firefly lab.
Ellie shows no signs of being affected by the fungus, though her bite does have small fungi growing around the mark. She does not show any other significant reactions to her bite.
Events of The Last of Us
Three weeks later, around the time Marlene and Ellie planned to leave Boston for Salt Lake City - Marlene is injured during her search for the smuggler Robert, a man she had initially hired to escort Ellie out of Boston. Desperate to get her out of the city, Marlene hires two well known, feared, and experienced smugglers, Joel and Tess, to escort Ellie out of the city before the military wipes out the Fireflies. She arranges for a small team of Fireflies to meet the three at the Capitol building. Although Ellie insists she's staying with Marlene, the Firefly refuses, hoping that Joel will live up to Tommy's recommendation.
While Tess goes with Marlene to verify the weapons Marlene has promised the pair, Ellie is taken by Joel to an apartment close to the outer wall. While making their way there, Joel asks where her parents are and why Marlene is so fixated on her, among other things. Ellie avoids answering why she is being smuggled but does inform Joel that her parents died and that she's 14.
Once at the apartment, having avoided the military patrolling to see if anyone is out after curfew, they wait for Tess to arrive. By nightfall, she arrives, the trio deciding to commit to embarking outside the zone.
The trio soon leave the zone, Ellie is in disbelief that she's "actually outside". Her joy is cut short when her and the others are captured by a military patrol. The soldiers check them for traces of infection, causing Ellie to panic and stab one of the soldiers. The man knocks her down, preparing to shoot but Joel tackles the man and kills him, saving Ellie's life. With the soldiers dealt with, Joel and Tess find that Ellie is infected, but are forced to bring Ellie along when another patrol approaches.
Avoiding the soldiers as they search for them, the trio manages to escape, taking a brief rest. There, Ellie reveals that the Fireflies have "their own little research lab out West", causing Joel to chuckle at the thought of such a thing. Ellie is angered by him but he ignores her as he asks Tess what they should do next. However, Tess actually believes what Ellie claims, desiring to deliver her as requested. Ellie watches as the two briefly argue before following them towards the outskirts.
After a night of facing infected, the three are almost at their destination. After crossing plank to reach another building, Ellie is taken aback by the view, her child-like wonder briefly reminding Joel of Sarah. They reach the rendezvous point in the Capitol Building, but they find only bodies of Fireflies and the military closing in. Revealing that she has been infected, Tess insists that Ellie and Joel continue on their own while she buys them some time. Ellie and Joel overhear Tess being gunned down by the military, and they see her corpse whilst escaping the building. Ellie feels guilty about this, but Joel ignores her comments about the issue.
Looking for a car
The two later reach a town where Joel believes they can meet Bill, a mechanic who owes Joel a favor and can provide them with a car. Ellie reveals during their journey to and through Lincoln that she has never been in the woods until that day nor has she seen real fireflies. She learns that Joel has also never been to Lincoln, making finding Bill difficult. When Joel gets stuck in one of Bill's traps, Ellie works to free him from, avoiding the approaching infected and providing Joel with ammunition to cover her.
Once Joel is free, a masked man arrives, saving the pair from the approaching infected and escorts them to a safehouse. Once there, Ellie thanks the man and tries to shake hands. However, the man is irritated by their presence. Having disabled many of his traps and alerting an overwhelming swarm of the infected to their presence in the process, Bill subdues both of them, fearful that they have been bitten. While Bill checks Joel, Ellie manages to break free of her restraints and beats Bill with a pipe, but Joel quickly gets up and stops Ellie from causing further harm. After a brief argument, Joel asks Bill for a car. Bill agrees to put together a car for the two, but tells them that once it is done, he owes Joel no more favors. Joel agrees to his terms, using the given keys to unlock Ellie from the handcuffs.
They head toward a church which Bill has converted into an armory. As Bill and Joel converse while loading shotguns, Ellie investigates a pile of comics and magazines on a shelf. She secretly takes two of them, a pornography magazine and a Savage Starlight comic book. While putting them away, she is caught by Bill who proceeds to shout at her. Ellie tries to defend herself, lying that she was "just fixing [Bill's] stupid pile". In response to the man's ranting, she replies with an obscene gesture, much to Bill's anger. He turns to Joel, stating she will get him killed.
As the pair go to leave, Bill threatens her, but she slyly says she "doesn't need any of [his] shit". Ellie and Joel learn that they have to reach the local high school, as a military vehicle crashed there a while ago, with a new battery still inside.
They leave the church, Ellie noticing a pile of burnt cadavers. Joel tries to dissuade her from staring but she claims she has "seen worse". While making their way through a block full of infected, Ellie proves to be useful when she can fit through small gaps in doors and over railings. Bill even remarks that "maybe [they] should have given her a gun". When they do reach the school, they find the battery in the truck is gone. With no other options, they fight their way out the back of the school, having to kill the strongest of the infected—a bloater—to do so.
The three make it to a house. While Joel and Bill bicker, Ellie finds a seemingly operational truck in Frank's garage. She is rudely ordered out by Bill, who checks to see if it is working, finding the battery drained but the cells alive. He and Joel proceed to kill several infected on the street but manage to make it to the top of a hill, where Ellie finally starts the truck. Hopping in the back, the pair signal Ellie to keep driving, since more infected are on the way. They safely make it back to Bill's church.
Bill makes Ellie stop the truck and goes to leave, Joel getting out to say goodbye. Both briefly remark that Ellie held her own against the infected, but Bill still believes Joel will die soon. Before leaving, he gives Joel a siphon hose so he can obtain gas from abandoned cars. The pair drive on in the direction of Pittsburgh.
During the start of the journey, Ellie spends her time in the back reading the Savage Starlight article she stole from Bill. Despite saying she isn't tired, she falls asleep during the journey. When, she wakes up, she finds Joel has driven all the way to the blocked entrance to Pittsburgh. Joel detours into the city itself, but are ambushed by a group of hunters. Although they crash, they escape thanks to Joel killing some of the attackers.
As they make their way through the city, Joel spies a truck with a mounted machine gun being used by the hostile survivors to kill "tourists", the hunters word for unknown survivors. The two bond as Joel answers Ellie's questions regarding life before the disease destroyed the world. One question in particular, regarding a Dawn of the Wolf poster, causes to reveal he saw the "dumb teen movie" right before the outbreak. Wanting to know why, Ellie asks such but he dodges the question, claiming he can't remember, wanting to avoid telling Ellie he once had a daughter. To "lighten the mood", Ellie reveals a jokebook she possesses, quoting several jokes from it as they go to take their minds off of the dangers in the world, if all too briefly.[fn 5]
Ellie eventually becomes separated from Joel when the pair climb an elevator shaft, the elevator giving way, sending him plummeting to the bottom. Ellie, safe on the ledge, tries to climb down to Joel but he makes her stay put, wanting to make his own way to her. Becoming worried and impatient, Ellie makes her way through the hotel, going back down to try to find Joel. She does so, appearing at the last second to save Joel from being drowned by a hunter; shooting the hunter dead.
She admits her sickness at having "shot the hell outta that guy". However, Joel tells her off for disobeying him, causing Ellie to shout at him, frustrated he won't at least thank her. Joel coldly ignores the question, wanting to press on. As they walk, Ellie tries to explain why she ignored his order but just gets more frustrated at Joel's response.
They soon come to some abandoned scaffolding. Joel grabs a hunting rifle from the side, telling Ellie to stay behind cover. They see a group of hunters below, unaware of their presence. Ellie wants to help but still thinks Joel will not let her. To her chagrin, he does so, giving her the hunting rifle, testing to see if she "can handle that". Despite admitting she has only ever shot a rifle at rats, Joel trusts her with the job of covering him. He also thanks her for saving him, warming up to her. Ellie warms back, pleased Joel is start to bond with her. After they kill the hunters, Ellie both feeling impressive but sinister for having killed them, Joel finally feels Ellie has earned the right to carry a pistol, though he declares it is "for emergencies only". She admits she knows how to take the safety off, ensuring Joel she will be "careful".
Soon after, The pair encounter the Humvee in person when traversing through the streets, managing to outrun it despite its heavy fire power. The two decide to enter a building via the balcony in order to get off the streets.
While doing so, Joel is grappled from behind by what he presumes is another hunter Ellie watches as Joel overpowers him, quickly informing him a boy has a gunned trained on him. Joel subsequently ceases his assault. Once acquainted with the two, Henry and Sam, they agree to chat at their safe house.
Once there, Sam offers her blueberries, having found "a whole stash of them". She gladly accepts, the pair trying to toss blueberries into their mouths while doing so. By night time, she wakes Joel, the pair joining Henry and Sam on the way to the bridge.
They make it to the bridge but, as she is pulled up by Henry over a container, the Humvee once again returns. She tries to get Henry to pull Joel up but the man panics, racing off with Sam. Although she could go with the brothers, she jumps back down to Joel; "we stick together." After barely dodging the Humvee's bullets, they come to a halt when they find the upper section of the bridge has fallen through. With the Humvee pounding against the vehicles blocking its path and Joel unable to discover a safe escape, Ellie takes matters into her own hands. Though she knows she can't swim, Ellie recklessly jumps off of the bridge, causing Joel to do likewise. Barely afloat in the water, she calls for Joel's help, her carer managing to grab her only to be knocked out when crashing against a large rock.
Miraculously, Ellie survives, Henry returning to the two in time to save them. He carries them to the shore someway from the bridge, reuniting them with Sam. After a brief confrontation, the group start toward the sewers to the radio tower.
They escape the hunter area through the sewers and suburbs. The pair has slowly bonded with the brothers but this ended when Sam became infected and Henry commits suicide out of grief for killing his brother.
By Fall 2033, Joel and Ellie have moved on to Jackson County, Wyoming, where Joel believes his brother Tommy, a former member of the Fireflies, can show them their location. Just as the fall draws in, the two find Tommy in a dam providing electricity to a revived permanent community. During their stay, Ellie learns from Maria of Sarah, Joel's daughter who tragically died at the start of the outbreak. She also sensed that Joel planned to leave her with Tommy, leading her to run away to an abandoned ranch house. When Joel catches up to her, the two have a heated argument where it became obvious to both of them how much they have bonded and cared for each other during their travels. Joel eventually changes his mind and sticks back to accompany Ellie.
With Tommy's direction, Joel and Ellie reach a university where the Fireflies are thought to reside. The Fireflies are, however, nowhere to be found, instead the two are met with a large group of both infected and cannibals. During a brutal fight, Joel is impaled in the abdomen and leaves the fighting to Ellie.
Ellie manages to hide Joel in an abandoned mall, where she dresses his wound with her old shirt from and some duct tape she finds when rummaging in the drawers. She then decides it will buy her and Joel some time, and goes to find something to stitch up Joel's wound with while Callus keeps an eye on him.
After climbing up a broken escalator, Ellie finds an abandoned store in the mall, Weston's Pharmacy. Ellie hopes to find medicine, but to her disappointment, it has been picked clean of any useful supplies. Heading to the checkout aisle, and finds a first-aid kit behind a locked door. From a note Ellie finds on the ground, she finds that the pharmacist "went crazy", and that one of the employees, unaware of the Cordyceps outbreak, locked him in an American Princess Store next door, and locked away the keys to the first aid kit as well. The note gives the combination to the American Princess Store, 35-30-31. Ellie finds the infected corpse, and removes his key, along with a picture of the man and his daughter in a photo booth.
As Ellie leaves the store, she comes upon a lone clicker, and quickly kills it with her switchblade. She unlocks the door and quickly opens the first aid kit, but is disappointed to find it is empty, its supplies stolen by other survivors. Ellie kicks it out of frustration, but her disappointment quickly turns into excitement when she finds a crashed military helicopter, convinced it will have something she can use to stitch up Joel's wound. Puzzled on how to get up there, she finds a gate, but it is locked, and the button used to unlock the gate has no power to it.
She finds cables, and remembers Joel's advice to follow them. She attempts to start the generator, but finds it is out of gasoline. Ellie finds an empty gas can in a flooded parking garage, and after killing some stalkers, fills it up from gas taken from a truck. Ellie refuels the generator, and manages to get the electricity running. Two more stalkers come running in knee-deep water, but a power line falls into the water, electrocuting the stalkers in the process. Ellie has to find her way to the other side of the parking garage without touching the water, or she'll "get fried to a crisp."
Ellie, after encountering and killing more infected, makes it back to the gate. She jumps onto the helicopter, and is relieved to find medicine, embracing the med kit, stating that she's not going to let Joel go. She makes her way back after being ambushed by cannibals and infected multiple times, having to quickly distract some when they find the place where Ellie hid Joel and Callus. After killing the cannibals and infected, she makes her way to Joel, who is still alive. After telling him she's an "expert-ish" at sewing wounds, she manages to sew up his wound. She then ties him to a blanket on a sled, and then ties the sled to Callus, and starts to ride him.
She eventually gets them both to the Lakeside Resort. There, Ellie hides Joel in a house to take care of him, while also going outside to hunt for food. While traveling in Lakeside, Ellie carries numerous artifacts with her, many of which she acquired from her life in Boston. These include her mother Anna's letter, Riley's pendant, her switchblade, her Sony Walkman that she possessed during her time at the orphanage, the jokebooks she read from in Pittsburgh and a photo of Joel and Sarah that she stole from Tommy in Jackson.
Encounters with David
By the winter months, Ellie is running short on food. She leaves the house she is caring Joel within and searches for food in a nearby forest. She rides there on Callus and comes across a deer. She uses a bow and arrow to kill it but is confronted by two men, David and James. David offers to exchange supplies for a share of the meat from the deer that Ellie had tracked and killed. Ellie demanded antibiotics in return, threatening them with her bow and arrow if they tried anything. James leaves to get antibiotics at the group's settlement, leaving David alone with Ellie. David and Ellie take refuge from the cold weather and David asks for Ellie's name. She refuses to say.
Infected soon attacked their shelter. David helped Ellie fight them off and complimented her skill with a rifle. As they worked their way through the nearby buildings, fighting off several waves of infected, Ellie's attitude toward him softens slightly.
After completely clearing out the buildings, he and Ellie return to their original refuge. He discusses the philosophy that everything happens for a reason, to which Ellie strongly disagrees. David decides to prove his theory by revealing that it was in fact his men who attacked Joel and Ellie at the university. A returning James overhears the conversation and holds Ellie at gunpoint, but David demands Ellie be given the medicine and set loose, and James reluctantly complies. Ellie returns to the nearby town she had taken refuge in. While there, she administers the medicine to Joel then goes to sleep.
David, having let Ellie leave, has his men track her down. His men mention that they are under strict orders from David to keep her alive, but these orders were ignored when they found out from James that Joel slaughtered half of the raiders at the university. Ellie, riding Callus, attempts to get away from David's group and they begin tracking her which ultimately results in Callus getting shot and killed. While trying to flee on foot, Ellie makes her way through a lodge but David finds her in the dining hall and renders her unconscious.
When Ellie regains consciousness in her holding cell, she witnesses James chopping up a corpse on a bench and discovers that David and his group are cannibals. Ellie is visibly disgusted and is hostile toward David. They argue and Ellie reluctantly eats the food that David gives her, claiming that it is venison, nothing more. David pleads with Ellie that he has her best interests in mind, and offers her a place in his group. He then affectionately touches Ellie's hand (he is implied to be a ). Now realizing his intentions, Ellie breaks his finger and attempts to retrieve his keys, to which David responds by slamming her against the cell bars and threatening her life.
The next day, David and James arrive and pin Ellie down onto the table attempting to slaughter her for food. Just before David strikes her, Ellie exclaims she is infected and states that David is infected too because she bit him before she was thrust upon the table. David at first is skeptical, but Ellie insists that he should roll up her right sleeve to show him her bite wound. Upon finding out from Ellie that she is infected, James becomes frightened and disgusted but David claims it must not be real because she would have turned sooner. James weakens his grip on Ellie's left hand and David begins to observe his bite from Ellie. Ellie takes this chance to grab a butcher knife with her left hand and strikes it towards James' throat, killing him. James' death infuriates David, where he retaliates by firing at Ellie with his gun, missing every shot. Ellie escapes from the room, leading David and the cannibals to pursue her through the town.
David eventually finds Ellie at a decayed restaurant, struggling with her as she attempts to escape from his people out the back door and commenting that she is easy to track. He holds her at gunpoint after throwing her to the ground, asking her how she managed to escape alive. He is momentarily distracted by the building being lit on fire by a lantern knocked over during their struggle.
As the restaurant slowly goes up in flames, he locks the exit and taunts Ellie, telling her that she has nowhere to go and would need to take the keys from him if she wanted to leave. David proceeded to stalk her throughout the restaurant, taunting her creepily and expressing his disappointment that she did not accept his offer to join the group. Ellie simply expresses more of her disgust at David and his obvious insanity as she hides behind the dining booths attempting to take the keys from him by subduing him with sneak attacks.
After Ellie stabs David from behind once with her switchblade, he throws her off and attempts to shoot her with his revolver, missing as she takes cover. He then draws a machete from a back sheath and continues to stalk her, attempting to shoot or slash her to death. He makes use of broken plates on the floor throughout the building to find Ellie if she steps on them. She manages to elude David and stabs him two more times, causing him to panic and bash her into a table behind him before grabbing her hair and throwing her to the floor. Despite being stabbed multiple times in the upper torso, David is still able to run and threaten Ellie. He and Ellie then black out beside each other.
When they regain consciousness, David is the first to recover. He taunts a weaker Ellie as she crawls towards his machete underneath a cabinet, saying that it's okay to give up. At this time, he doesn't notice the machete he dropped is a short distance off. He strikes Ellie again and pins her down while grabbing her firmly by the throat and nearly strangles her to death. Ellie manages to reach the machete underneath the cabinet and slashes his arm. Gaining an advantage, Ellie proceeds to violently hack at David's head multiple times, seemingly in a state of rage and hysterics, until Joel suddenly arrives and pulls her away from his corpse, embracing and consoling her as she begins to break down in tears.
Finding the Fireflies
The spring arrives as Joel and Ellie reach Salt Lake City, the intended final destination on the 27th of April, 2034. Ellie has now turned fifteen years old. During the first half of the trip, Ellie is still shaken by the events from Winter, remaining distracted and quiet. Joel, after sharing a heartfelt moment with Ellie, tells her they can turn back now and return to Tommy's. Ellie thanks Joel, but declines, explaining that after everything that they've been through, it has to be worth something.
While encountering multiple infected in an abandoned tunnel, Joel is trapped in a submerged bus. Ellie tries to help him, but is unsuccessful and almost drowns. While Joel is performing CPR to save Ellie, Fireflies arrive and, after demanding his surrender, knock him unconscious. Ellie is resuscitated and, on Marlene's order, immediately taken to be studied by the medical team. When Joel awakens in the Fireflies' hospital, Marlene explains to him that Ellie's immunity can be reverse-engineered to create a vaccine to the lethal fungus, but to do so the mutated Cordyceps must be extracted from her brain via surgery, killing her in the process. Joel is immediately opposed and demands Marlene find someone else. Marlene refuses, explaining that there is no one else and no other choice, and it has to be done to save humanity. She instructs the Firefly guard, Ethan, to escort Joel out of the hospital; if Joel were to resist, Ethan is granted permission to kill him. On the way out, Joel overpowers and kills Ethan, and makes his way through the facility to the operating room where the surgical procedure on Ellie is about to begin. Joel rescues her, killing Doctor Jerry Anderson in the process when he attempts to stop him.
After fleeing the remaining Fireflies by taking an elevator down to the parking garage, Joel is confronted by Marlene, who begs him to reconsider. She suggests various terrible scenarios that could happen to Ellie if he takes her back out into the world, such as death by being torn to pieces by a pack of clickers, sexual assault, and murder committed by thugs. She then tries to reason with him, saying that "It's what she'd want, and you know it". Still unwilling to give Ellie up, Joel shoots and kills Marlene. Later on, Ellie awakens inside Joel's car on the way out of Salt Lake City, wondering what happened during the time she was unconscious.
Returning to Jackson
Joel and Ellie finally reach Tommy's settlement, where Joel remarks that they can return to a somewhat normal life. Before that, Joel tells Ellie what happened with the Fireflies during the time she was unconscious. She appears depressed and seems to have survivor's guilt, so (to alleviate said guilt) Joel claims there were dozens of other immune people being studied by the Fireflies, and that it had done no good in helping to find a cure.
Upon reaching the settlement Ellie tells Joel that on the day she was bitten, she was with a friend who also got bitten. She states that they promised to wait together until the end, and that she's still waiting to turn and join her friend. She asks Joel to "swear to me that everything that you said about the Fireflies is true." Joel replies, "I swear". Although she accepts this, it is left ambiguous as to whether or not Ellie believes him.
Events of The Last of Us Part II
Receiving a guitar
In the weeks after their arrival, Ellie and Joel settle into life in Jackson. At some point, Ellie chemically removes her bite mark on her arm, scarring her forearm but making it easier to conceal her immunity.[fn 6]
One evening Joel visits Ellie's home, a converted garage in his backyard. Joel knocks and calls for Ellie from the doorway, but Ellie does not hear him because she is drawing and listening to her Walkman. He enters, and nudges her chair with his foot to get her attention. Ellie is startled, and chides Joel that he "almost gave [her] a heart attack."
Ellie asks Joel why he is visiting, and Joel says he is just checking in. He mentions that people in Jackson are impressed with how Ellie has been helping out. As they talk, it becomes clear that there is still some tension between Ellie and Joel, indicating she is unsatisfied with Joel's answers about the Fireflies ending their search for a cure. Joel starts to tell Ellie about a joke Tommy told him that he thought she would like, but he can't remember it. Ellie interrupts him, noting that it is late and she needs to get up early. Joel says he will get out of her hair, but he has something to show her. He steps outside, and returns soon after with a gift.
"What's this?" Ellie asks.
"Some folks call this thing here a gee-tar." Joel says, dramatizing his Texan accent. He asks Ellie if she would like to hear something, and she says yes. Joel says she needs to promise not to laugh, which she does. Joel singsby Pearl Jam for her. The lyrics, which include lines of seeing "future days/Days of you and me" seem to resonate with Ellie, and she softens listening to Joel sing.
When Joel finishes the song, Ellie says that it "didn't suck." Joel chuckles and says he will take what he can get. He then holds out the guitar to Ellie, and says it is hers. Ellie initially tries to refuse, saying that she doesn't know anything about playing guitar, but Joel reminds her that he promised to teach her. Ellie is touched that he remembered, and accepts the guitar. Joel says they can have their first lesson tomorrow night, and Ellie agrees.
Joel makes to leave, but Ellie stops him as he reaches the door, asking if he remembered the joke. Joel thinks for a moment, then smiles and asks "What is the downside to eating a clock?" Ellie shrugs, not knowing the answer. Joel provides the punchline, "It's time consuming." Ellie smiles and says that is dumb. Joel chuckles and agrees. He lingers a moment longer, then wishes her goodnight and shuts the door. Ellie looks pensive for a moment. She then plucks at the strings of her new guitar.
The birthday gift
From 2034 to early 2038, Ellie lives in Jackson, becoming acquainted with Dina, another resident of the community. Ellie and Dina's friendship develops and, along with Jesse, they help other Jackson residents patrol the outskirts to defend against hordes of infected and any wandering marauders that could pose a threat. At some point, Ellie gets a tattoo of a moth on her right forearm from her ex-girlfriend Cat.
On her sixteenth birthday in 2035, Joel takes Ellie on a three-day journey to an abandoned museum elsewhere in Wyoming. During the trip, she practices her guitar, with Joel encouraging her and insisting she will get better once she develops calluses on her fingertips to make playing less strenuous. As they near the museum, he pushes her into a river, laughing at her surprised reaction but also observing that her swimming is improving. Ellie chides him for doing so and later does likewise to him while the pair are watching a nearby deer. Once at the museum, the full-sized statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex near the entrance leaves Ellie in awe. To Joel's concern, she climbs to the top of it's head, roars and then jumps into the water below. Climbing from the pool, she heads inside with Joel and the two look around at all the other dinosaur statues.
Ellie takes a worn-out guidebook from the entrance and uses it to read up on all the different types of dinosaurs. She also finds numerous hats in the area and tries them on, and makes Joel wear one. Joel resists but Ellie makes him wear it, insisting he should because it is her birthday.
Later on, they climb to a higher floor, where a space exhibit is found. Having wanted to be an astronaut for years, Ellie remarks that it is her favorite room as she plays with the numerous interactive activities and reads up on the various space suits and rocket ships, impressing Joel with her knowledge. She eventually finds a space capsule that she climbs into. Joel joins her, in awe at all the technology still intact within it. Ellie wishes she could fly into space, prompting Joel to take out a cassette tape. Ellie asks what is on it but he insists she play and close her eyes while she does. As it starts, it is a recording of NASA's Apollo 11 launch. Ellie sits back, eyes closed, and allows herself to imagine flying into space and seeing the moon. Once the recording ends, Ellie thanks Joel for her best birthday present. Upon exiting the pod, Joel gives her a badge to signify her success in landing back down on earth.
Not wanting the day to end, Ellie insists the pair check out the other building in the museum. Joel reveals he hasn't cleared one of them of infected but Ellie swims and climbs inside anyway. While looking around, Ellie finds messages written on the wall from a man who apparently hid out there. She eventually finds his corpse and a suicide note, revealing he was a former Firefly and came to the museum in the hopes of "finding the light" only to lose all hope that humanity could be saved. She enters the next room and is tackled by a boar trapped there. Hearing her cry, Joel forces his way into the room. Ellie claims she is fine but stares at a Firefly insignia on the wall with the word "Liars" written below it. Joel coaxes her to leave and forget about the group.
A year later, Ellie is on patrol with Tommy, lost in thought about the fact that she is dating her friend Cat while wondering about Joel's possible reaction to that and confused how that is affecting her relationship with Dina. Tommy has her snipe far-away infected to take her mind off her worries. Once done, he asks why she seems uneasy with Joel but she dodges the question.
The two return to the lookout at the lodge where Joel is playing Ellie's guitar. He reveals her strings need changing, confusing Ellie, unaware the strings could wear down from extensive playing. Tommy suggests the pair search a music store in downtown while he keeps watch at the lodge. Despite some animosity, Ellie agrees.
While riding down, Joel talks about he found some issues of Ellie's Savage Starlight comics and read them, admitting their not exactly his favorite fiction but good reads all the same, brightening Ellie's mood. Once down the road, Ellie and Joel find their path to the store blocked, forcing them to cut through a nearby hotel. Inside, the pair find it filled with spores. Despite not needing a gas mask, Joel insists Ellie wear one in case they stumble upon other survivors. While inside, they take down numerous infected before a bloater ambushes them. The bloater nearly kills Ellie but Joel attacks it with his machete, chopping its arm off and slaying it, saving Ellie.
Finding their way into a diner, Ellie discovers two bodies on the floor, one shot dead and the other a mutated clicker. Joel quickly leaps forward, pinning the clicker down and shooting it dead, saving Ellie once more. Ellie thanks him and then reads a note next to one of the bodies. The note, and the fact the bodies were wearing backpacks marked with the Jackson community's signature "J", confirms the pair were two teenagers who ran away in an effort to find the Fireflies and help "save the world" only to be attacked and infected by a horde, causing their deaths. Further ridden with guilt, Ellie confronts Joel about what happened at the hospital in Salt Lake City. Joel insists there were other immune patients but Ellie calls his bluff to which Joel retorts that other immune people could be hiding such like he makes Ellie do. He then shuts down the conversation before Ellie can argue further. The pair then leave to fetch Tommy to help carry the corpses back to their families in Jackson.
Learning the truth
Soon after, Ellie returns on her own to St Mary's Hospital in Salt Lake City, sneaking out in the middle of the night and leaving a note for Joel. While there, she finds it abandoned and discovers a tape recording left behind by Mel, a member of Fireflies, that stated she was the only one immune, and that the only doctor who could make a vaccine was dead. While sitting outside listening to the tape, Joel arrives on his horse and rushes to Ellie, hugging her while chiding her for running away. Ellie pushes him away and demands he tell her the truth, threatening to leave him forever if he lies once again. After much hesitation, Joel finally reveals the surgeons were willing to kill Ellie to make a vaccine, so he stopped them. The news devastates her and, although she agrees to ride back to Jackson, she declares she will sever her ties with Joel for good.
Two years after Ellie's discovery, she attends a celebration within the village church. Jesse, another attendee, approaches Ellie at the bar. He comments how Joel lectures him on his patrol routes, particularly when Ellie is out on patrols with him. The two watch as Dina, Jesse's ex-girlfriend, dances with a man to " ", by Crooked Still.
Having finished dancing, Dina approaches Ellie and Jesse, taking a swig of Ellie's drink and dragging her onto the dance floor. While on the dance floor, Dina tells Ellie that everyone watching them dance is jealous of her. Ellie says that she's "just a girl" to which Dina kisses her passionately, claiming that they should be terrified of her. Soon, Seth approached them and berated them for kissing. However, when Ellie and Dina walked away, Seth made a homophobic remark, causing Ellie to round on him. Joel, seeing the incident, rushed forward and shoved Seth, ordering him to get out. Maria and Tommy then handled Seth while Joel attempted to help Ellie. However, Ellie was still upset at Joel and rejected his help, much to his dejection.
Later that night, Ellie came to Joel's house, finding him playing his guitar and drinking coffee on his porch. The conversation starts with Ellie awkwardly asking Joel where he got the coffee, to which he responds that he traded for it with a group of travelers the previous week. However, Ellie quickly warns Joel not to get in her way, saying she doesn't need him to defend her or harass Jesse about patrols just because she goes on them with him. Joel, wishing to change topic, asks if Dina is Ellie's girlfriend. Ellie, tears in her eyes, denies it. Joel though presses that, regardless of Dina's intentions, she would be fortunate to have Ellie as her partner. Ellie lashes out, shouting about how Joel robbed her life of meaning by preventing her death to secure a vaccine at St. Mary's hospital. Joel stands up straight, declaring that even if God gave him a chance to change what happened, he wouldn't because he does not regret saving Ellie's life. Ellie then declares she may never forgive him for what he did, but relents that she wants to at least try. Joel, growing emotional, says he would like her to do that. Ellie then leaves as Joel slumps down, slowly starting to cry.
The morning after, Ellie is awoken by Jesse, who asks her about the night before (much to Ellie's relief, he has no hard feelings out her kissing Dina). They enter a bar, where Ellie meets with Seth and he apologizes for his behavior, blaming it on being drunk. Ellie, Tommy and Dina prepare to head out on patrol to relieve Joel and Tommy. Ellie meets with Dina and the two reconcile after last night, after Ellie ran off after their kiss. However, their discussion was interrupted by couple of children having a snowball fight. Ellie and Dina, without hesitation, decides to join the fight and proved victorious.
Later on patrol, Ellie and Dina come across a mutilated moose carcass, realizing it was attacked by infected. The two begin to hunt infected who are nearby. While investigating an abandoned market, the two are attacked by a group of clickers, but manage to deal with them stealthily. A huge snowstorm appears, and Ellie and Dina decide to take shelter in a nearby library, which also served as the hideout spot of Eugene, Dina's former partner, which had a bunch of (now dead) marijuana. They find some fresh weed hidden in a jar, and the two decide to smoke and wait out the storm. Eventually they start making out.
Later, while laying together, they are found by Jesse (visibly uncomfortable with them laying together yet surprised to see bunch of weeds laying around) who alerts them that Tommy and Joel never showed up to the lookout where they were supposed to be relieved. Ellie suggests that the three split up to look for them.
While riding on her horse, Ellie comes across the WLF's lodge with the group of dead infected on the other side of the gate. Praying to herself that Tommy and Joel are okay, Ellie sneaks her way inside the lodge, hearing noises downstairs. She comes across the WLF soldiers with a severely beaten Joel, and tries to save him, but is quickly subdued. Ellie pleads for them to let Joel go, watching helplessly as Abby finishes Joel off by smashing his head with a golf club. Watching Joel die before her eyes causes her hearing to go out, as she is unable to hear the WLF's conversation as she cries frantically while threatening them that she will kill them. Suddenly, she is knocked out as she is kicked across the face. Later, she is woken up by Dina and Jesse, and Dina apologizes to her as she lays eyes on Joel's corpse.
After returning to Jackson, Ellie is in a traumatized state after what has transpired, and Tommy approaches her in her room. Ellie and Tommy argue about Ellie wanting vengeance, figuring out the WLF is from Seattle, but Tommy is nervous about the required manpower for such a mission leaving Jackson vulnerable. Ellie informs him that she is leaving for Seattle, with or without Tommy or anyone else. Tommy asks her to give him a day to talk to Maria, in order to find out if she can spare enough soldiers.
Later, Ellie finds out that Tommy has left for Seattle on his own, and Maria has locked down the stables. Maria finds a note from Tommy, asking Maria to stop Ellie from following him. Knowing Ellie is just going to sneak out anyway, Maria allows her and Dina to head to Seattle on their horse, asking them to bring Tommy back in one piece, but notes that she cannot spare anyone else to go with them.
Hunting Abby in Seattle
Ellie and Dina arrive at the outskirts of Seattle on Shimmer. They follow the highway to reach the FEDRA wall marking the edge of the quarantine zone. With no easy way in, Ellie climbs to the top of the wall. After getting down, Ellie reroutes power in a generator to briefly open the gates so Dina and Shimmer can enter before it slams shut. She also finds a note that reveals the WLF have an outpost at the Serevena Hotel. Finding the gate they must pass to reach the hotel, the pair realize they need to retrieve gas elsewhere to power the generator. They ride deeper into the city to search the area for fuel.
The pair find disused M939 trucks on the collapsed highway, full of areas to explore. Ellie and Dina spot a synagogue surrounded by abandoned military vehicles and dead military personnel. They decide to search it for gasoline. The pair enter the building through the back, avoiding infected. Dina mentions how her sister Talia used to take her to synagogues to pray. Ellie finds the fuel tank empty, so they decide to continue searching the district. They then head to the courthouse and clear out the infected in the parking garage. Ellie refills the fuel tank and heads back to the gate to power up the generator. After clearing the infected in the building, Ellie enters a room to find a deceased Nick tied to a chair, alongside another WLF soldier. She deduces their capture, torture and deaths were Tommy's handiwork. Dina locates a gate code written in blood on the ground. Knowing where to go, they leave the hotel and go through the East gate on Shimmer. However, they trigger a mine while hopping over barbed wire, which cripples Shimmer and topples the pair from the horse. Ellie watches as WLF soldiers pursue Dina and their platoon leader Mike shoots Shimmer dead. Ellie attempts to reach for her rifle but Mike knocks her unconscious.
A while later, Ellie awakens in a school, tied to a table with Jordan watching her. Recognizing Ellie from Jackson, he threatens to slit her throat if she does not tell him how she found the WLF and whether there were more people on the way. Ellie mocks his scar and insists he cannot stop her vengeance. Mike soon arrives and plans to kill Ellie per their leader Isaac Dixon's orders but Jordan protests, wishing to interrogate Ellie. Before Mike can shoot her, Dina climbs on to the glass roof above them and shoots him dead. However, Jordan draws his gun and shoots the glass, causing Dina to fall. He proceeds to strangle her. Ellie cuts herself free with a shard of fallen glass, grabs her switchblade, races to Jordan and stabs him in the neck, letting him bleed out. Now free, Dina warns Ellie that the gunshots have alerted more WLF soldiers but Ellie focusses on taking Jordan's letter and a photo of Leah. WLF soldiers arrive, forcing the pair to fight their way out of the school. Resting in a nearby apartment, Ellie shows Dina the photo and has her read the letter. The letter reveals that Leah was posted in the TV station, so Ellie checks the map to locate it.
On their way to the TV station, the pair find Tommy's mutilated horse and a group of dead infected. Ellie takes this as a sign Tommy is close. When they arrive at the TV station, they find WLF soldiers hanging and disemboweled from the ceiling, killed by Seraphites, who have used blood to cover the walls in their insignia. Ellie and Dina find Leah dead upstairs and Dina does not find anything worth taking on her corpse. However, Ellie finds photos of the group of people who killed Joel in Leah's bag. Ellie specifically recognizes Abby as Joel's killer. However, a nearby radio cries out that a WLF support platoon are inbound, intent on finding the Seraphites. Dina and Ellie attempt to sneak out of the building but the arriving WLF patrol ambush them. With no other choice, Ellie and Dina put on their gas masks and flee into an underground, infected-filled metro.
A squad of WLF soldiers follow them in and a battle ensues between the WLF and the clickers in the area. Ellie and Dina continue onwards, encountering more infected, including several shamblers. The pair make it to the street level but a train car Ellie is walking through collapses, resulting in Ellie falling into the spore-infested station and her gas mask breaking. A runner then attacks Ellie but Dina jumps down and saves her. Dina notices Ellie's cracked mask and attempts to give her own mask to Ellie but Ellie stops her from doing so. Ellie then removes her mask, revealing that she is immune as she does not cough or succumb to the infection. Before she can explain, a horde of infected charge at the pair, forcing them to flee to the upper levels. They make it out alive but Dina grows weak and collapses to the ground. Ellie picks her up and helps walk her to a nearby movie theater.
While resting in the theater, Ellie explains that her story about being immune to the Cordyceps fungus was true. She asks Dina to say something but Dina reveals that she is pregnant. Angered that Dina kept it a secret for a long time, Ellie decides to let her rest while she ensures the theater is safe. Eventually, she finds a radio and turns the power on to listen in on WLF conversations. However, she cannot figure out how to find the right frequency, so uses a set of keys to enter the show room. While there, Ellie finds an acoustic guitar backstage and takes it to play and sings Future Days by Pearl Jam.
The next day, Ellie finds Dina in the radio room vomiting, brought on by morning sickness. To comfort Dina, Ellie rubs her back. Dina then reveals to Ellie that she fixed the radio and used it to learn that Owen Moore went AWOL from the WLF base but that Abby had not been mentioned yet. Dina also reveals the WLF classify the areas in Seattle by numbers. A transmission then comes through stating a lone male trespasser was spotted at "fourteen", an area Dina deduces is Hillcrest. Suspecting the trespasser might be Tommy, Ellie decides to go there to help him. Though Dina wants to join her, Ellie insists she stays given that she is physically weakened because of her pregnancy. Before letting Ellie depart, Dina takes off her hamsa bracelet and ties it on Ellie's wrist, telling her it is for good luck. Although she does not believe in luck, Ellie accepts it and kisses Dina before heading out to Hillcrest.
Ellie reaches the abandoned suburb of Hillcrest. Hearing an explosion and gunfire to the north, she hurries to find Tommy. She sneaks her way through abandoned shops until she reaches the residential neighborhood. When exploring one of the houses, a stalker ambushes her but she kills it, taking the bow on its back for herself. She sneaks through the neighborhood behind the house, but WLF reinforcements show up in response to an ongoing situation further down the hill. They spot her and chase her towards the source of the explosion. As she jumps from a window down onto the ground, a man grabs her from behind and pulls her into a house. As soon as he lets go, Ellie turns around and discovers that it was Jesse, not Tommy, who had been fighting the WLF.
Jesse reveals that he came by himself to help Ellie, but was ambushed by the WLF on his way there. He and Ellie agree to take out the patrolling WLF and steal one of their trucks to escape from Hillcrest. As they do so, more WLF soldiers are alerted to their presence, and a squad gives chase in a truck. Ellie shoots the driver, resulting in both trucks crashing. Ellie and Jesse's truck still functions, but the noise of the crash alerts a horde of infected. They drive away to escape the infected, but a clicker climbs onto the hood of the truck. Ellie kills the clicker, but Jesse loses control of the truck and crashes into a lake. The two swim out of the sinking vehicle and up to the surface. Having escaped the WLF patrol, they return to the theater where Dina is waiting for them. Dina embraces Jesse and questions him about how and why he was in Seattle. Ellie, reserved, goes upstairs to treat her injuries alone.
Searching for Nora
As Ellie stitches up a gash on her arm, Dina comes in and offers to help her. Ellie asks Dina why she did not tell Jesse about the pregnancy, but Dina responds that it was not the right time. Once done with Ellie's stitches, Dina tells Ellie that one of Abby's friends, Nora Harris, was assigned to Lakehill Seattle Hospital to find supplies. Having a lead on finding Abby, Ellie decides to leave immediately to find Nora. Dina initially protests that Ellie should wait until Jesse can go with her, but Ellie is determined to go lest they lose the lead.
Ellie follows Route 5, traveling through abandoned streets until she reaches high enough ground to see how far she is from the hospital. Drawing the hospital logo in her journal, she cuts through a newspaper office that is infested with stalkers. Just as Ellie leaves the offices, a stalker ambushes her and pushes her through a window, causing them to fall into the waters below and be carried downstream towards the sewers. Ellie survives the attack, climbs out of the sewers and into a train station. After climbing up some stairs back onto the street, Ellie checks a map, seeing that she is quite close to the hospital. Ellie proceeds to run through an overgrown park, but is soon shot in the shoulder with an arrow. She realizes Seraphites patrol the park, as well as a few nearby areas. Ellie pulls the arrow from her shoulder and sneaks through and kills the Seraphites. Following this, she makes her way through flooded city streets, eventually reaching the hospital. She swims into the boiler room and interrogates a distracted WLF Soldier for Nora's whereabouts before killing her.
Ellie sneaks into the hospital compound and finds Nora in her office. Ellie holds her at gunpoint and demands information on Abby's location. Nora, recognizing Ellie from Jackson, taunts her about Joel's death then strikes her in an effort to flee. Furious, Ellie chases Nora through the hospital as she alerts the WLF to Ellie's presence. Ellie catches up to Nora when she becomes trapped, as the floor in front of her is collapsed and the lower level filled with spores. Nora pleads Ellie to reconsider, but Ellie takes her hostage and orders the WLF soldiers to stay back as they reach the pair. The soldiers tell Ellie she does not have anywhere to go, but Ellie opts to fall into the floor behind her with Nora. Nora, choked by spores, runs for safety as Ellie takes cover from the soldiers and clickers infesting the lower floor.
After dealing with the soldiers and infected, Ellie follows Nora's coughing and corners her in a corridor. Nora tries to defend herself from Ellie with a pipe, but she is too weak to fight, and Ellie catches the pipe and hits her with it. Ellie continues her previous interrogation. Nora notices Ellie is breathing normally despite the spores, and realizes she is the girl with immunity to the CBI. Ellie, in turn, realizes that Nora is a Firefly, to which Nora responds that the Fireflies disbanded. Ellie asks Nora for Abby's whereabouts again, offering the ultimatum of a swift death if Nora complies, or a much more painful and drawn-out one if she defies her. Nora begs Ellie to think about the consequences of Joel's actions, but Ellie does not care and gives Nora one last chance. Nora remains loyal to Abby and refuses to give her up. Furious and impatient, Ellie brutally beats Nora with the pipe for answers. Eventually, Nora caves in and tells Ellie that Abby is hiding at the aquarium, as well as the motives for Joel's murder. Ellie executes her soon after.
Ellie returns to the theater, traumatized and covered in blood. Dina and Jesse open the door, and are concerned for her. She tells them about Abby's whereabouts, still shaken from what she did to Nora. Dina takes Ellie to the theater dressing room to calm her down and tend to her wounds. Ellie breaks down and tells Dina about her interrogation of Nora, still in shock. Ellie also tells Dina that she does not want to lose her, while Dina consoles and comforts her.
Road to the aquarium
Ellie wakes up the next day and leaves the dressing room. She finds Jesse watching Dina sleep on a couch in the lobby. Ellie goes upstairs with Jesse to talk privately. Jesse tells her that Dina could barely keep water down, and asks if she is pregnant. Ellie confirms that she is. Jesse tells Ellie that, while he understands why Ellie came to Seattle, it is not safe for Dina. Ellie agrees, but is unwilling to return to Jackson without Tommy. The pair agree to stake out the aquarium, believing Tommy will eventually go there after Abby. Ellie wakes Dina up so she can see them out and lock the theater doors.
Ellie and Jesse head west from the theater, through collapsed, flooded streets in search Tommy and Abby. On the way, Ellie explains why Abby's group killed Joel, in vague terms to avoid revealing her immunity. She also explains why Dina did not tell him about the pregnancy, and and describes her and Dina's first two days in Seattle. Jessie asks Ellie if she will really leave Seattle once they find Tommy, even if it means leaving some of Abby's friends alive. Ellie confirms that she will, as Dina needs care in Jackson.
Eventually, they reach high enough ground to see how far they are from the aquarium, but they find that the streets below are flooded for miles. They realize they need to steal a boat from the WLF to reach the aquarium. The two sneak down into a flooded shopping mall, but overhear that a sniper was sighted near the marina, over the WLF's radio communications. After climbing up into a shop for cover, Jesse is now convinced that Tommy is the sniper at the marina, could be in danger, and they should go to help him. However, Ellie is adamant about stealing a boat and going after Abby at the aquarium, insisting Tommy can look after himself. Disappointed with Ellie, Jesse leaves her to go and help Tommy, and Ellie goes on to steal a boat from the WLF.
Ellie navigates the flooded streets as a thunderstorm rises. She steers the boat through rapids and skirmishes between the WLF and Seraphites, eventually reaching an abandoned arcade she has to cut through before reaching the aquarium. Ellie's path is blocked by a security gate, and the chain for the gate is obstructed by a metal beam. Ellie searches the arcade and finds a cart she can use to climb through an opening above a locked door. The weight of the trolley causes the rotting floor underneath her to break, falling into the floor below and disturbing a bloater and several runners. Ellie kills the infected and proceeds to move the beam away from the chain. She then opens the gate and continues on to the aquarium by boat. Before she reaches the aquarium, the boat's engine stalls and the waves sweep Ellie into the waters below. She resurfaces and swims the final stretch to the aquarium.
Upon swimming to shore, Ellie breaks into the aquarium. While walking around, she finds an open vent and crawls through the ventilation shaft, until it ends up breaking and sending Ellie falling down onto the floor. The sound alerts a guard dog to Ellie's location, which then pounces on Ellie and tries to kill her, but Ellie stabs and kicks the dog off, killing it. Ellie continues on and finds Owen Moore's belongings.
As Ellie moves towards the aquarium lobby, she overhears and walks in on Owen arguing with Mel. As Mel is about to leave the lobby, upset with Owen, Ellie draws her gun and orders the pair to put their hands up. She demands Abby's whereabouts from them. They initially refuse to cooperate, but Ellie takes out her map and demands Mel to mark her map first. Growing impatient, Ellie moves closer to Mel, causing Owen to attempt to wrestle the gun from Ellie's hands, but Ellie shoots him through his chest. Mel draws her knife, and wrestles Ellie against a counter to stab her in the throat but Ellie parries the knife, pushes Mel to the floor and stabs her in the throat, killing her. Seeing that Owen is still alive, she barks for Abby's location from him, but Owen gurgles Mel is pregnant, as he drowns in his own blood. Returning to her senses, Ellie paces over to Mel, unzips her jacket and sees Mel is heavily pregnant. Horrified by her actions, Ellie's hearing goes out as she collapses to her knees in a panic attack. In the midst of her panic attack, a man shows up from behind her calling her name. Alarmed, she turns around and points her gun at the man, but stands down when she sees that Tommy has arrived with Jesse. Tommy takes Ellie by the arm and calms her down, leading her and Jesse from the aquarium and back to the theater. Ellie's map is left behind in Owen's blood.
Later on in the night, Ellie lies beside and watches over Dina as she sleeps in the theater dressing room. She then gets up and finds Jesse and Tommy on the stage, discussing the quickest route home to Jackson. Tommy tells Ellie that Abby's friends got what they deserved. While Ellie is dissatisfied with having to let Abby go, she agrees to doing so. Tommy also mentions that he collected a gold necklace for Maria as an apology gift for worrying her. Whilst Jesse doubts its authenticity, Tommy heads into the theater lobby to marvel over the necklace. Ellie and Jesse spend a moment alone to talk with each other, with Ellie thanking Jesse for coming back and looking out for her. Before the pair can continue speaking however, they hear someone attacking Tommy. Alerted, they run to Tommy, but as they burst through the doors to the lobby, the intruder shoots Jesse in the face, killing him, leaving Ellie shocked.
The intruder is Abby Anderson, with a young boy named Lev as backup. Abby orders Ellie to stand back up, while threatening Tommy's life. Despite Tommy's protests, Ellie exits cover and tosses her gun aside upon Abby's orders. Ellie tells Abby that she knows she killed Joel to avenge the Fireflies, and begs her to let Tommy go. Enraged with what Ellie and Tommy did to her friends after she spared them in Jackson, Abby prepares to shoot Ellie. Tommy leaps up to wrestle the gun out of Abby's hands, but Lev shoots Tommy through the leg, allowing Abby to knock him down and shoot him in the head.
Ellie seizes the chance to grab Jesse's gun and escape into the theater, with Abby giving chase while Lev watches the exits. Once both are backstage, Abby and Ellie brawl, eventually fighting in the basement. Although Ellie manages to stab Abby's thigh, Abby gains the upper hand, breaking Ellie's arm before beating her within inches of her life. At that moment, Dina charges at Abby with a knife. She knocks Abby away from Ellie and slashes her arms and face. Lev shoots Dina through the shoulder, allowing Abby to bash her head into the floor, knocking her unconscious. As Abby picks up Dina's knife, Ellie begs Abby to stop, as Dina is pregnant. Seeing this as a chance to avenge Mel, Abby moves to slit Dina's throat but Lev pleads against it. Conceding, Abby tosses Dina aside and walks over to the beaten Ellie. She looks down and warns Ellie to never cross paths with her again. As Abby and Lev leave, Ellie looks over at Dina, contemplating what her actions have cost her.
Life with Dina
Ellie, Dina, and the now physically disabled Tommy manage to return to Jackson. On returning, Ellie swears to Tommy she will one day kill Abby. Sometime later, Dina gives birth to a boy named JJ, and Ellie helps to raise him on a farm outside of Jackson. While they are a happy family, Ellie remains psychologically traumatized from her ordeals. She suffers from PTSD, which leads her to also having difficulty eating, insomnia, panic attacks, and flashbacks of her failing to save Joel's life.
One day Ellie heads out hunting. She encounters a boar that she chases and slaughters, stabbing it to death with her hunting knife. Recognising her excessive violence, Ellie runs from the boar's corpse and collapses to her knees near the farm. After a while calming down, Ellie picks herself up and returns to the house to find Tommy playing with JJ. Ellie asks Tommy for news about Jackson and Maria, to which he reveals he and Maria have separated. Tommy then reveals to Ellie that he has a report placing Abby and Lev in Santa Barbara. Tommy tries to convince Ellie to kill Abby in his place due to his weakened state but Ellie refuses to do so. Disappointed, Tommy reminds Ellie about her promise before leaving the house. Dina then has Ellie hold JJ for her while she confronts Tommy. Later that night, Ellie wakes up freezing and closes the windows. While Ellie closes the living room window, she accidentally knocks Joel's guitar to the ground. Ellie picks it up and plays it by the window. She then decides to pursue Abby and begins packing a bag. However, Dina awakens and finds her. She asks Ellie to come back to bed and discuss it in the morning but Ellie reveals she had made up her mind, convinced killing Abby will end her trauma. Despite Dina begging her to stay, Ellie leaves the house.
Over two months, Ellie journeys to Santa Barbara, fighting through hunters, avoiding infected and passing by the infected horde found in Las Vegas. Upon arriving in Santa Barbara, she finds Abby and Lev's boat and deduces they were heading to 2425 Constance. Ellie heads towards the town, fighting a few infected along the way, until she is caught in a trap that suspends her from a tree upside down, and her side is pierced by a branch. Unable to escape, Ellie soon loses consciousness. Hours later, she awakes as two Rattlers approach her in the trap. Calling Abby's name in her confusion, she is cut down by them. Seizing the moment, Ellie goads the small Rattler into pulling her into a clicker, also trapped. She forces him onto the clicker, who bites him, and uses his submachine gun to shoot the large Rattler in the knees, incapacitating him. Before Ellie could finish him off, he claims that he heard her speaking about Abby and reveals that she was captured with Lev and brought to their base. After the Rattler points out the base's location to Ellie, she executes him.
Ellie treats her wound and makes her way to the Rattler dome, fighting some of them along the way. Upon arriving there, she sees the Rattlers using infected as guard dogs. Nevertheless, she fights her way through the resort and reaches the cells where the prisoners are kept. She is ambushed by a Rattler with a bat, but manages to fend her off and toss her toward the cells. The prisoners seize the chance to choke the Rattler out and take her keys to free themselves. The group then steal some weapons from the gun cache and prepare to assault the Rattlers, but Ellie stops them and asks them about Abby. One of the prisoners informs her that Abby tried to escape and was strung up on the pillars at the nearby beach, left to die. A wounded Ellie then proceeds outside to the beach as the prisoners launch their attack on the Rattlers.
At the beach, she finds the pillars, where several people are strung up, exposed to the elements. On one of those pillars, she finds Abby, emaciated, tired and dying, but still alive. Abby recognizes Ellie as she is cut down. She then frees Lev, also weak, from another pillar, and picks him up. She informs Ellie about some boats anchored not far from their location, and walks up to them, with Ellie following her. As they arrive, Abby puts Lev in a boat, while Ellie puts her backpack in another. Remembering Joel's death, Ellie demands Abby to fight her. When Abby refuses, Ellie threatens Lev with her switchblade, after which Abby concedes.
They fight relentlessly, with Abby punching Ellie and Ellie slashing at Abby. Eventually, Ellie loses her switchblade in the water, forcing her to fight hand-to-hand. After a few more blows, Ellie tries to drown Abby, which causes Abby to bite off two of her left fingers. In pain, Ellie again forces Abby's head down the water, this time with Abby unable to break free. As Abby slowly drowns, Ellie remembers Joel playing his guitar, and ultimately lets Abby go. Crying, she tells Abby to take Lev and leave, and stays sitting in the water as the other two depart.
Returning to the farm
After her confrontation with Abby, Ellie travels back to Wyoming and returns to the farm shared with Dina, only to find it abandoned. She makes her way to her drawing room, where she finds Joel's guitar. Ellie tries to play it, but her lack of two fingers makes it impossible to play correctly. She stops playing and remembers her last conversation with Joel. Afterwards, she gently places the guitar by the window and leaves the house.
Personality and traits
Having been raised in an environment where modern standards and values have deteriorated, Ellie is considerably rash, foul-mouthed, impulsive, and temperamental, and is unfazed by the notion of using violence as a means to an end or profanity as a way of expressing how she feels. However, she manages to maintain a particular innocence as she has yet to see the darkest sides of human nature, and retains a palpable trust in people. This serves as the juxtaposition to Joel's wary, morose, and cynical outlook on post-pandemic life. She apologized to the soldier scanning her moments before stabbing him in the leg and hoped to incapacitate him and Ramirez with non-lethal means.
Ellie is also perceptibly clever and witty, and will do whatever it takes to keep Joel and herself alive. She has good survival instinct and she can be resourceful. She takes orders from Joel, but all the while makes it clear she does not "need any babysitting at all".
Ellie is enthusiastic about the outside world, given her confinement to her quarantine zone during her childhood. She is obsessed with things she collects from others, illustrated through her interest in music, movies, books, and video games. Ellie states that when she was a child, she had a coloring book, and thought the gnomes in it were cute, but fairies startled her. She frequently remarks her amusement upon finding interesting collectibles throughout her trip, which often clashes with Joel's physical indifference.
Ellie appears to be irreligious, as seen when she claims that she goes "back and forth" when asked by Sam if she believes in an afterlife. She says that she would like to believe it, but admits "I… guess not."
Ellie also suffers from a case of  Her phobia is reflected in how she has a habit of rubbing her nose and wringing her hands together, especially in situations that are stressful. The cause of this phobia stems from her estranged father, deceased mother, and the deaths of her best friend Riley and hired guardian Tess. Coincidentally, both were victims of the fungus and both had gotten infected while in her company. Soon after admitting her fear to Sam, he too, joins the list. This also links into her survivor's guilt she expresses to Joel when returning to Tommy's, where she expresses her guilt that they all died from the disease yet she continues to survive.(fear of being alone) and states to Sam that she fears losing others she cares about such as Joel. She openly admits to Sam that "ending up alone" is what she fears most.
Ellie showed difficulties in positioning herself as a young kid in an adults' eyes, and sometimes even tends to "supervise" adults. She also takes "justice" into her own hands on her relationship with anyone, and does not think she requires any adults' consent. This self-parenting trait is related to her time spent in the orphanage at Boston, where she had learned to fend for herself. An example is when Joel falls on an iron rod. Though not shown, she takes Joel (by horse) to an abandoned mall in order to find supplies to stitch his wound up. Afterward, she takes him to an abandoned house on a sled attached to her horse and continues to nurse him back to health, while at the same time getting them food, and medicine from David.
Ellie is romantically interested in women. She shares a kiss with Riley, and she is romantically involved with Dina, and prior to the events of the game, was with a girl named Cat. Joel was initially not aware of Ellie's interest in women, mistakenly believing she had a crush on Jesse, though eventually learned of (and supported) Ellie's affection for Dina.
Years later, Ellie became more mature and less talkative, but still retained her sense of humor. However, witnessing Joel's death at the hands of Abby's group proved a traumatic and damaging experience. In Seattle, Ellie was noticeably more aggressive and violent, and her thirst for revenge began to cloud her judgement, culminating in her decision to continue hunting Abby rather than help Tommy. However, upon finally getting the chance to kill Abby, Ellie realized her quest for revenge drove away everyone she loved. As such, she abandoned her quest and returned home, intent on repairing the life her revenge had broken.
Skills and abilities
In The Last of Us
Initially, Ellie is fairly unskilled in survival techniques. She cannot swim, a hindrance to herself since swimming is crucial, given the amount of water bodies in the locations she travels. She carries a switchblade, which is her only weapon until she is trusted with a gun by Joel. Her youth leads Joel to initially doubt her competence so he does not grant a firearm to Ellie until she saves him by shooting a hunter, and only afterwards does he teach her how to use a hunting rifle. Later on, she becomes more proficient in combat, sporting a number of weapons such as a pistol, rifle, bow, and explosives, along with her trademark switchblade. She can also ride a horse.
Ellie is occasionally a playable character, much in the same way Joel is throughout the game. She is at first armed with a bow, which she uses well. Her stealth capabilities are similar to Joel's, and she even has a less-honed version of the listening mode that Joel has. Compared to Joel, however, she has limited hand-to-hand combat skills, as she struggles to defeat fully-grown men, having to rely on stunning them with a brick or bottle to gain an upper hand. She also lacks the strength to grapple human enemies and infected, meaning she is unable to use the former as a human shield. She is relatively inexperienced compared to Joel, as she is often surprised when alone and is easily snuck up upon; David remarks she is "easy to track", the man successfully strangling her unconscious despite her drawing her switchblade on him. She also struggled to defeat David in a fight, nearly strangled to death, only defeating him by using his own machete against him.
Ellie is also an effective partner for Joel, able to spot and him about nearby enemies. She can also provide him with ammunition or health kits/ She can also fight alongside him, attacking hostile survivors with her switchblade who grapple with Joel (both infected and human) and occasionally dazes the latter by throwing bricks and bottles at them to give Joel an advantage. She later assists in combat by shooting them as well when Joel trusts her with a gun. Given her light frame, Joel often lifts her up over high ledges and obstacles, where she can then obtain a nearby ladder so Joel can access the previously inaccessible areas.
In The Last of Us Part II
By April, 2038, Ellie has finally learned how to swim, play the acoustic guitar and sing. Ellie's main hobby is drawing, with her skillfully able to draw many points of interests and other people's faces in her journal and her room. Furthermore, she is a skilled artist.
Her capabilities with firearms have greatly improved and she can handle a large variety of guns with ease. She is physically stronger, enabling her to use human enemies as shields and she can craft arrows, as well as use larger melee weapons such as machetes and hammers, which she can also disarm from her opponents though her preferred close range weapon is her switchblade. She is rather reliant on it, struggling to best Abby in hand-to-hand combat without the blade.
However, her strength has limits and foes will break out of her grasp if she doesn't act quickly enough. While capable of overpowering normal sized individuals, it does take quite a bit of effort on Ellie's part to do so. Notably, both Nora and Nick were able to pin Ellie down at the Baldwin lodge and Nora successfully fought Ellie off at the Seattle hospital. Against infected foes, Ellie has a hard time escaping their grasp and several times has been overpowered by them despite her best efforts, notably needing Dina to intervene when a runner tackled her. Although, she was able to beat the stalker-enhanced Boris Legasov in melee combat.
Her speed and agility has also greatly increased and is her best asset, easily able to outrun or chase down anyone pursuing or running away from her regardless of the terrain or environment by being able to slide or vault over obstacles with ease. Her reflexes have also improved quite drastically enabling her to swiftly dodge and evade deadly attacks with minimal effort on her part by just barely moving enough of her body out of the way of the attack. Her reflexes are swift enough to dodge multiple attacks at the same time from multiple attackers.
Her years of battling the infected and bandits have made her far more resilient then most people due to her having sustained numerous injuries over the years. She is able to push herself beyond exhaustion and fight through simple cuts, blunt trauma and open wounds all the way up to being shot by arrow's and simply pulling the arrow out and continuing as if nothing happened or being slammed through a window and falling out of a building and landing in a river. Ellie's physical resilience was displayed at its peak in Santa Barbara when she was impaled on a broken tree branch, passing out and waking up several hours later. Despite the injury, she proceeded to fight off and kill two Rattler bandits then proceeded to the Rattler's base and killed many inside.
Despite these improvements, Ellie struggles when facing against a physically superior opponent such as Abby, who was able to overpower and defeat her with brute strength. During their final confrontation, Ellie was able to best a severely weakened Abby, although Abby did bite off two of her fingers during the fight. As a result of the incident, Ellie's ability to properly play guitar has become impeded.
Ellie's most important, and unique, ability is her complete immunity to the fungus. Due to a strange mutation in her brain that developed following her initial infection, she became immune to the bites and spores of the infected. Despite this infection, the infected do not recognize her as one of their own so they still attempt to kill her. It is presumed that if she was properly studied, some form of cure or countermeasure for the infection could be created. This is never clarified, however, since the study would result in her death, which Joel did not allow.
Design and appearance
Ellie is described as having auburn hair and being 5 feet 3 inches (160.02cm) by a deceased Firefly. However, her official height description in outside materials has her height as 5 feet 5 inches (165cm). Ellie has bright green eyes, fair skin with freckles, a scar on her right eyebrow, a thin stature and tends to wear red colored clothes. When asked in an interview about her eyebrow scar, Neil Druckmann states that there is a story behind her scar, but says that he won't share the story yet. She gained the scar before American Dreams, Left Behind, and The Last of Us took place. At the end of The Last of Us (or as a pre-order bonus), different clothing options for Ellie can be unlocked.
Several years after the events of The Last of Us, Ellie's hair became darker and she now sports a tattoo on her right arm.[fn 7] Her jawlines are now more refined and became taller in appearance. Her voice became deeper as well. She also often wears blue colored clothing rather than her usual red.
Ellie used to bear a striking resemblance to Canadian actor Beyond: Two Souls (released roughly four months after The Last of Us), but had her appearance altered as an attempt by Naughty Dog to better portray her age and actual voice actress. Neil Druckmann, the game's creative director, spoke of the change, saying "after delving further into the game's narrative over the past few months, we decided to modify Ellie's model to better reflect Ashley's personality, and also resemble a slightly younger teen more fitting to the story. We're happy with the final result shown in the cinematic we have released today, and we hope the fans like her too.", who stars in another PlayStation exclusive game,
During her final confrontation with Abby in the second game, the former WLF member bites off parts of Ellie's pinky and ring finger on the left hand.
Upon meeting Joel, Ellie originally has a rocky relationship with him. Ellie struggled to make him trust her, the man initially believing that she was lying about being immune to the infection. She was unable to talk about anything personal with him, the man shutting her out when she attempted to make general conversation or brought up matters like Tess and Sam's deaths. However, as time passed, Ellie establishes not only a daughter-father relationship, but a bond of protection with Joel.
Ellie struggled to make Joel trust her initially. The man kept himself distant from her, refusing to disclose personal information about himself. Even after Tess' death, Joel kept conversation focussed only around transporting Ellie to the Fireflies despite her efforts to discuss more personal topics, notably her own history and Joel's own interests.
Ellie also struggled to earn his trust to use a gun. At first, Joel refused her the right to a firearm, judging her a child incapable of using one. However, after she used a handgun to save his life from a hunter, Joel granted her a rifle to use. Ellie also managed to convince him to then permanently gift her a pistol. Ellie even proved herself enough that Joel spent less time in combat with enemies focussing on protection and more so having her assist him in defeating them. Her prime example of this prowess was when the protection roles were reversed with Ellie protecting and defending Joel at the University from cannibals. Through this experience, Ellie earned Joel's absolute trust, the man finally acknowledging her as an equal.
One of the strongest aspects of the pairs relationship is Ellie's fear that she may lose Joel, like she lost Riley, Tess and Sam to the world they live in. She fears of being alone again, making their bond rather precious to her, remarking that losing Joel would "make [her] more scared", fearful she would always lose people she was close to. Furthering this, Ellie feared Joel would abandon her like in Pittsburgh; she was unable to wait by herself for him in case he "got in to trouble". It is also on display when the two first arrive at Tommy's town and Ellie is shown to be extremely uncomfortable leaving Joel and going with Maria. This fear, however, dissolves after Joel changes his mind and commits to her while they overlook Tommy's town following their argument at the ranch house. After this encounter, Ellie trusts that Joel will not leave her, evidenced in how she waits with Callus while Joel searches the University.
When Joel considers leaving Ellie in Tommy's care, Ellie is disappointed with Joel. However, when the parting moment finally comes, Joel is unable to part without Ellie. At one point, Joel states he is going to teach Ellie how to play the guitar and how to swim. When Ellie finally began whistling he responded to this event saying in a sarcastic joking tone "Oh good, something else you can annoy me with."
Ellie also cares greatly for Joel, displayed in how she cares for him while he is injured, just as he has cared for and sheltered her throughout their story. This demonstrates that Ellie is willing to do everything she can to keep him alive, even if that means risking her own life in the process.
Although at first Joel doesn't want Ellie to mention Sarah, saying, "you [Ellie] are treading on some mighty thin ice here," Joel warms up to Ellie considerably. Ellie initially struggled to make him mention Sarah or even get him to confess he had a daughter, having to find out of her own volition. Eventually, Ellie finally manages to discuss Joel's past with him, even Sarah. It culminates when Ellie gives Joel the picture of Joel and Sarah, Joel doesn't give it back, like he did when Tommy tried to give him the picture. In the final moments of the game, Joel makes several comparisons between Sarah and Ellie, evening calling her "baby girl", believing that they would have been good friends and would have liked each other.
As such, Ellie becomes precious to Joel, the man using any means possible to protect her and keep her safe. He tortures two of David’s men to find out where Ellie is being kept, going so far as to kill them after gaining the information he needed. Whether being selfish, or not wanting to lose another 'daughter' to the whim of another, Joel chose to save Ellie and try and start some semblance of a normal life again. Therefore, Joel grows controlling towards Ellie, unwilling to let her decide her own fate. This creates a small rift in their relationship with Ellie doubting Joel's claims that the Fireflies have "stopped looking for a cure".
Weeks later at Tommy's community, however, the relationship recovers with the two bonding once more when Joel plays a song for her and gifts her a guitar, keeping his promise to teach her how to play.
Years later, Ellie eventually forces Joel to tell her the truth of the hospital by threatening to leave, to which he reluctantly does. Ellie is distraught over the revelation that a cure was possible but Joel stopped it by massacring everyone in the hospital, causing her to declare that she and Joel "are done." Ellie returns to Jackson but keeps her distance from him. Despite the revelation, Ellie still deeply cared for Joel and eventually wanted to try and forgive him for what he did in the hospital.
Upon learning Tommy and Joel never checked in, she went out looking for them. When forced to watch Abby beat Joel to death, Ellie begged for Joel to fight back but he was unable to do so. After he was killed, Ellie became emotionally broken, swearing to murder Abby and her friends to avenge Joel. When finally getting the opportunity for revenge, Ellie ends up sparing Abby after recalling her final conversation with Joel, where she told him she wanted to work on trying to forgive him which implies Ellie at that point understood why Joel saved her.
Riley Abel is the first to befriend and trust Ellie after her arrival to the Boston military zone. The two eventually develop romantic feelings towards each other and share an intimate relationship.
However, their relationship starts off roughly; though Ellie was grateful for Riley's assistance when she is ganged up on by bullies, she is not appreciative of Riley's stealing her Walkman and nor constantly referring to her as a "kid". However, when the two choose to escape the zone together, Ellie and Riley open up to each other.
Riley reveals her desires of a future beyond the zone with the Fireflies. Riley's bravado emboldens Ellie on their short journey outside the zone, so much so that she is willing to risk her own life to save her in any given situation. This is partially the cause for Ellie's sadness and confusion when Riley leaves without notice to join the Fireflies.
When Riley finally returns to Ellie after forty-six days, Ellie is somewhat upset with Riley over the extended absence, which caused Ellie to believe that Riley was dead. However, Riley tries to make it up to Ellie by taking her exploring through a mall early in the morning. Over the course of the excursion, the two begin to rekindle their friendship.
When Riley tells Ellie that Marlene is having her sent to a group of Fireflies in another city, Ellie tells her friend that she should go and follow what she's always wanted to do. Though, as their time together progresses, Ellie's feelings for Riley grow stronger; she eventually pleads Riley to stay with her, the pair even sharing a spontaneous kiss.
When their hopes of escape are dashed, Ellie continues to support Riley's beliefs even though her friend has lost hope herself. Riley's resulting death from Cordyceps infection affected Ellie deeply, motivating her to put her immunity to good use. Even a year on from her death, Ellie still kept Riley's Firefly pendant with her, displaying deep faith in wanting to redeem what occurred to her friend.
Ellie once described Marlene as "just a friend, I guess." She was looked after by the Firefly for only a short time, as Marlene distanced herself from her; she never made direct contact until Ellie was a teenager. Ellie does not know of Marlene's decision to sacrifice Ellie for a chance for a vaccine.
The pair were close enough that Ellie didn't want to part from her with Joel and Tess and felt a need to protect her when she saw Joel enter the room with a visibly wounded Marlene. She also worried for her safety, asking Tess if Marlene was okay and even asks Joel about her from time to time.
Anna was Ellie's mother, although they never were able to personally connect with each other following due to her premature death. Ellie is always curious to know about her mother and cherishes the switchblade and letter that Anna left her. Anna expresses in her note that she is grateful and proud of her daughter, Ellie commenting "I'm trying to do you proud".
Tess met Ellie when she met Joel, being introduced by Marlene as the 'cargo' they would be smuggling out of the city. Despite attempting to attack her during their first meeting, Ellie formed a quick attachment to Tess during the mission and turned to her for questions, answers, or instruction. She initially bonded with Tess more than Joel, the woman protecting her when in the derelict building and talking to her more than Joel.
Although Tess was skeptical of Ellie's immunity, she soon accepted it to some degree. Later, in the Capitol Building, Tess expressed her complete belief that Ellie is immune, having compared how her bite was worse (despite only being an hour old) to Ellie's three-week-old (but healed) bite to Joel.
Tess was willing to die to ensure Ellie's survival, though only due to her value as a potential cure, sacrificing herself to buy time for the pair to escape the armed forces that had ambushed the drop-off point. Ellie was quick to object their leaving her and physically showed guilt about her death following the attack. When she tried to talk about it and apologize to Joel, he cut her short and suggested it'd be best if they "just keep [their] histories to [themselves]".
After this, Ellie mentioned Tess again when she confessed her survivor's guilt to Joel, demonstrating that she remembered the woman even a year on, and was still mentally scarred by her death. Ellie's philosophy of "it can't be for nothing" was also influenced by Tess, not wanting to waste the chance Tess gave them to find a cure she so desperately desired.
Ellie's relationship with Bill was initially one of hostility, as the first act Bill did towards Ellie was handcuffing her to a pipe. Both often loathed each other and shared a mutual dislike. However, since Bill owed a favor to Joel, Ellie reluctantly worked with him. Seeing her as a hindrance rather than helpful, Bill repeatedly expressed his anger at Joel's decision to escort Ellie. He constantly insulted her when given an excuse and even shouted at her when she was, in her words, "fixing [his] stupid pile", secretly stealing some of his items.
After they obtained the truck however, Bill admitted that Ellie held her own against the infected, but still saw her as a burden.
Ellie had always maintained a respectful air when with Henry. She considered Henry (and by extension Henry's brother, Sam) allies and always managed to persuade Joel to trust them. She initially attacked him on Joel's defense when they first met, though softened to him when she saw his brother. She didn't prefer him to Joel though, abandoning Henry to return to Joel when they were separated in Pittsburgh.
In the sewers, Ellie was willing to protect Henry when they were separated from Joel and Sam, and forced to run away from many runners and clickers, killing some of them. Although Henry became closer to Joel as time passed, he still liked the girl, joking about his fantasy of riding a motorbike.
Henry cared about Ellie enough that he reluctantly saved her from an infected Sam, but he committed suicide shortly after Sam's death.
Sam was the only person Ellie met on her cross-country journey to be near her age. As a result, the two bonded quickly, playing with blueberries and cracking jokes. He enabled her to feel like a child again, like she felt with Riley. The pair also played a brief game of darts and football, bonding through their childish traits.
The night before Sam died, he asked Ellie what she was afraid of. She told him that she thought scorpions were creepy, trying to be reflective, but opened up when she realized how serious Sam was; she admitted she was afraid of ending up alone. The pair discussed the idea of an afterlife, both reluctantly admitting they did not believe in it.
In the morning, Ellie was attacked by an infected Sam and subsequently saved by Henry, though she later expressed her guilt of surviving over Sam due to her immunity.
Later, the pair came across a small child's grave with a teddy bear on top of it in Wyoming. Ellie expressed regret at having forgotten to put the toy robot on his grave before they left. When Ellie took out the toy robot that she gave him from her backpack she said, "I should have said something different to you". She also still possessed the toy while living in Jackson, displaying it on a shelf in her room.
When they first met, Tommy became a rift between Joel and Ellie, isolating her when she and Joel arrived at the dam; Ellie was left out as Tommy and Joel were reunited, only being remembered by Maria - someone who has no attachment to her. Tommy correctly guesses that Joel tracked him down because of her, and becomes confrontational when Joel implores him to take Ellie off his hands. After the bandit attack, Tommy, seeing the relationship between the two, reconsiders and is willing to take Ellie to the Fireflies.
However, Ellie doesn't want to part with Joel, and steals one of Tommy's horses. Tommy then helps Joel chase after her; they eventually find her at an old ranch. Tommy lets Joel and Ellie talk about their issues while he keeps watch. He overhears their argument, but interrupts them when he spots bandits.
Tommy asks if Ellie needed help getting on the horse, expressing some general consideration for her. After returning to Jackson, Joel decides to escort Ellie himself. Tommy understands and offers Joel, and by extension Ellie, a place at Jackson for when they return, indicating that Tommy did grow fond of Ellie in their short time together. He even tried to persuade Joel not to take her, indicating he didn't mind the journey after getting to know her.
In the years that followed, Tommy and Ellie became close, with Tommy treating her as an adopted niece and improving her marksmanship by teaching her about elevation and bullet drop. Tommy continued to serve as a bridge between the two. Following Joel's death, Tommy is the only other person apart from Ellie who fully feels the trauma of Joel's death. He becomes protective of Ellie, not wanting her to make the dangerous journey to Seattle with him, planning to take revenge by himself.
While in Seattle and finally reunited, Tommy was content with the damage they did to the WLF and was making plans for them to leave before they were ambushed by Abby due to Ellie murdering all of her friends. Following their defeat and once again being spared by Abby, Tommy uses his resources and connections to track her down and reminds Ellie that she made him a vow that she would kill Abby for him due to Tommy's injuries not allowing him to be out in the field anymore. When Ellie refused, Tommy burst out in anger, enraged that Ellie would dare live a comfortable life and allow Abby to live despite what she had done to them, leaving their relationship on sour terms.
Ellie and Maria first meet when Ellie and Joel attempt to push open a gate. Maria and her guards confront them before Tommy shows up and diffuses the situation. Maria seems to take an instant liking to Ellie, offering to let her take some horses for riding. She also says that she would rather eat with Ellie than go oversee the generator. When Joel told Ellie to go eat with Maria while Joel and Tommy went to tend to the generator, Ellie showed reluctance.
The pair bonded, with Maria disclosing Joel's daughter and her death to Ellie. The pair also protected each other when the bandits attacked, showing mutual agreement to protect the other. Later, when Tommy tells Maria he wants to help guide Ellie to the Fireflies, Maria's anger is directed at Joel, but Ellie feels guilty about the argument and runs away with a horse.
Years later, the pair get along well. When Joel and Ellie grew distant, Maria tried to convince Ellie to forgive him, and generally pushed Ellie to be kinder to other people, even to apologise to Seth for his homophobic remarks. She also trusted Ellie to work with Dina on patrol duty. When Joel was murdered, while Maria was against abandoning Jackson to pursue his killers, she relented and allowed Ellie to pursue them, displaying an understanding of Ellie's conviction and repressed daughterly love for her now deceased father. She also allowed her and Dina to live on a farm alone when they returned, comprehending the trauma they suffered.
Ellie's relationship with David has been the source of a traumatizing experience for her. It is also rife with tons of irony. David allows Ellie to leave with the penicillin, which she uses to heal Joel, who later goes on to help Ellie kill most of David's group. David also tries to keep Ellie alive, but she later kills him.
David often talks to Ellie in a patronizing tone and treats her like a child. When they first meet, David offers to exchange supplies for a share of the meat from the deer that Ellie had tracked and killed, saying that his group needed the meat because they had many women and children to feed. He emphasizes the phrase "many women and children" several times in the hopes that Ellie, being a young girl, would feel sympathy for them. He is also the only person who calls Ellie out for her coarse language. After his group captures Ellie, he offers her a place with them. When Ellie reacts with rage and disgust, he tries to calm her down like he was talking to a wild animal. He ignores the fact that Ellie doesn't like him and tries to touch Ellie, calling her special.
Eventually, David loses his faith towards Ellie when she breaks his finger and attempts to steal his keys. As Ellie kills more and more of his men, (including his right-hand man James), David grows more fixated on her and makes several attempts to kill her. David meets his demise when he was violently hacked on the head with a machete by Ellie after he attempts to strangle her. Killing David was arguably when Ellie lost the majority of her innocence, it was the first time she had killed someone more than to protect herself but actually wanted to kill them.
Despite his violent death, his actions left a mark on Ellie, making her distant and quiet towards Joel, yet more determined to reach the Fireflies. She became so emotionally engaged with the act that she was unable to recognize Joel during and afterwards, displaying her vulnerability and her spiritual devastation, all because of David.
Despite only meeting in person a total of three times, Ellie's relationship with Abby was defined by revenge, animosity and loss. Their first encounter was Abby's murder of Joel, with Ellie being forced to watch. The event caused Ellie to adopt an immense hatred for everyone involved, as she would go on to kill four of Abby's friends (Jordan, Nora, Owen, and Mel) in her pursuit of revenge against Abby.
Ellie's second encounter came at the theater, shortly after murdering Owen and Mel. At this point Ellie believed Abby killed Joel because he prevented the world from having a cure for the fungal infection. Abby took vengeance on them, killing Ellie's friend Jesse, shooting Tommy and beating both her and Dina. However, at Lev's request, Abby spared the two women, leaving Ellie with a warning to never let her see her again.
Their third and final encounter was in Santa Barbara. Ellie spent months tracking Abby, unable to forgive her, only to save her and Lev from the Rattler gang. Despite Abby no longer feeling animosity towards her, Ellie was determined to exact revenge on Abby, and threatened the weakened Lev at knife-point so that she agreed to fight, revealing her moral boundaries had been shattered by her rage for Abby. However, Ellie experienced a moral epiphany during the duel and decided to spare Abby and begin a path towards forgiving her actions.
Even though Sarah died twenty years before Ellie met Joel, Ellie learns about her through Joel's sister in law, Maria. While the two never met, Ellie understands what Sarah's death meant to Joel and how he has seen some aspects of his daughter in Ellie during their journey to find the Fireflies. At first Joel does not want Ellie to mention Sarah, saying that Ellie is "treading on some mighty thin ice here". Later on though, Joel warms up to Ellie considerably when talking about Sarah.
Joel makes several comparisons between Sarah and Ellie. Joel's first impression of Ellie was that she was twelve, like Sarah. He was also reminded of Sarah when Ellie was in awe of the view of the Capitol building, briefly thinking back to her in the moment.
When Ellie gives Joel the picture of him and Sarah, Joel doesn't give it back, like he did when Tommy tried to give him the picture. In the epilogue, Joel makes several comparisons between Sarah and Ellie. Ultimately, Joel says that they would have been good friends and would have liked each other, implying that he finally sees Ellie as his "second" daughter. He even called her "baby girl" just like he did with Sarah.
In the first game, Ellie can be quite helpful to Joel in many situations. Whenever discretion is needed Ellie will never compromise the player's position; she will stay out of sight and keep quiet while keeping up with Joel. Also, she can assist Joel in combat by calling out enemy positions depending on their location in association to Joel's. For example, she will say "to your left!" if an enemy is to the left of Joel. On rare occasions, she may give the player ammunition or a health kit.
If the enemy is behind something and Ellie is able to see them they will be outlined in red, showing their location through walls and such. This is similar to Joel's listening mode. She can also help to attack the enemy by throwing objects to stun them, giving Joel opportunities to attack. Depending on the situation, Ellie will need assistance from Joel if she is unable to wrestle herself free from an attack. There are certain scripted events in which Ellie can be killed if the player does not reach her in time. Ellie will also sometimes stab an enemy in the back with her switchblade if the enemy is strangling Joel, thus allowing Joel to break free.
After killing a Hunter that was trying to drown Joel, she begins to take a more active role in combat, particularly helping Joel to kill them by shooting them herself or by stabbing enemies who are grappling Joel.
There are many times when the player can't access certain areas that are either too high or the space to reach them is too small. Ellie can assist in these scenarios; given her light frame, Joel will usually lift her up on his shoulders and boost her up so she can reach a ladder or open a locked door. As an NPC, she is also invisible to enemy AI, meaning she can't accidentally reveal Joel's position. Further, if the player stands idle or wastes ammunition and supplies during non-combat moments, Ellie will comment on the actions. She also has a unique death animation when killed by Bloaters, whom kill her with a hook-punch to the head rather than crushing her head.
Behind the scenes
When constructing the story within The Last of Us, creative director Neil Druckmann intended for Ellie to remain the focus throughout, even though Joel is the game's protagonist. Druckmann desired the story to act as Ellie's "coming of age" story, with her actions and influence in the story and Joel's character growing as the story progressed. The game's story would evolve both characters, namely Joel's humanity and Ellie's independence.[fn 1] There was even a plan to have Ellie be the one to kill Tess (then the game's primary antagonist) to demonstrate her having evolved into the protector role that Joel was for her.
Key to Ellie's role is the cyclical course the game takes, notably in Joel's actions to save her in the game's ending despite initially not wanting anything to do with her in the opening act. The ending is therefore the beginning reversed, with key themes reflected in Ellie's similarity to Joel's daughter Sarah. In the prologue, Joel and Sarah start off at home, and then use the car to escape the infected, which eventually crashes, forcing Joel to carry Sarah, who is eventually shot by the soldier. Sarah then dies in Joel's arms. Near the end of the game, an unconscious Ellie (reminiscent of the dying Sarah) is carried by Joel out of the hospital away from humans and into a car. The duo then drives 'home', home being Tommy's settlement. Further, when completing the game's main story, in the background of the main menu the player will see Ellie's switchblade lying against the window, displaying this fixation on Ellie rather than Joel. Druckmann also intended for the opening shot to begin with Sarah, and the ending shot to end with Ellie. These similarities continued in Left Behind, which also ended with a shot of Ellie's face, signifying how the series had shifted focus from Joel entirely towards Ellie, which was also displayed in American Dreams and would continue in Part II.
- Ellie: "I warned you not to touch my stuff. But I would've pulled my punches if I knew how fragile you were."
- Winston: [mumbling] "That girl… she's trouble if I ever saw it…"
- Ellie: "Yeah… I like her."
- Ellie: "So… any chance of convincing you that this is a really bad idea?"
- Riley: "No chance in hell."
- Ellie: [aims gun at Marlene] "Get the fuck away from her."
- Marlene: "Ellie–"
- [shoots at wall beside her]
- Marlene: "Take it easy, Ellie."
- Ellie: "You know what? Fuck this letter. Fuck the Fireflies. Fuck the soldiers. Fuck everyone in this city. Let's run away. Leave this zone. I hear there are other places, places that–"
- Riley: "Stop. [sobbing quietly] Leave the zone? All that'll do is give us a different way to die."
- Ellie: "I haven't seen you… in I don't even know how long."
- Riley: "Forty-five days. Well, forty-six, technically…"
- Ellie: "Why did you bring me here?"
- Riley: "I wanted to see you."
- Ellie: "No, why did you bring me here?"
- Ellie: "Okay. First… I'm gonna destroy you. And then we'll talk."
- Ellie: "Oh, shoot! Oh, shoot, what did I just do? Did you see those skills?"
- Riley: "Okay."
- Ellie: "Someone should revoke that dog-tag!"
- Ellie: "So… who am I to stop you?"
- Riley: "The one person that can."
- Riley: [taking Ellie's Walkman] "What's in it?"
- Ellie: "That tape you gave me."
- Riley: "You really will be miserable without me."
- Ellie: "Shut up."
- Ellie: "Don't go."
The Last of Us
- Ellie: "We're not murderers. We just survive."
- Ellie: [looking outside the QZ] "It can't be any worse out there, can it?"
- Ellie: "Man… I shot the hell out of that guy, huh?"
- Ellie: "To the edge of the universe and back. Endure and survive."
- Sam: "What are you scared of?"
- Ellie: "Let's see… Scorpions are pretty creepy. Um… being by myself. I'm scared of ending up alone."
- Ellie: "Everyone I have cared for has either died, or left me. Everyone – fucking except for you! So don't tell me that I would be safer with someone else, because the truth is I would just be more scared."
- Ellie: "Tell them that... Ellie is the little girl... that broke your fucking finger!"
- Joel: "So...this everything you were hoping for?"
- Ellie: "It's got its ups and downs, but… you can't deny the view though."
- Ellie: "After all we've been though. Everything that I've done. It can't be for nothing."
- Ellie: "Her name was Riley, and she was the first to die. And then it was Tess, and then Sam…"
- Ellie: "Swear to me. Swear to me that everything that you said about the Fireflies is true."
- Joel: "I swear."
- Ellie: "Okay."
The Last of Us Part II
- Ellie: "I'm gonna find… and I'm gonna kill… every last one of them."
- Ellie: "Joel, get up. Joel, fucking get up. Please stop! Please don't do this..."
- Ellie: "I'm leaving tomorrow. And if you want to come with me, great."
- Tommy: "You have no idea what you're walking into. You don't know how large that group is, how armed--"
- Ellie: "I don't care. You can't talk me out of this."
- Ellie: "After you took me out of the Firefly hospital, you said there were dozens of people like me."
- Joel: "Yeah. Yeah, that's what they told me."
- Ellie: "I've never met another immune person before. Have you?"
- Ellie: "Where's Abby?"
- Nora: "I'm fucking dead anyway. Why would I tell you anything?"
- Ellie: "Because I can make it quick. Or I can make it so much worse."
- Ellie: "If you lie to me one more time, I'm gone. You will never see me again."
- Ellie: "I'm just a girl. Not a threat."
- Ellie: "I have to finish it."
- Dina: "You don't owe Tommy anything."
- Ellie: "I don't sleep. I don't eat. I'm… I'm not like you, Dina."
- Ellie: "I was supposed to die in that hospital. My life would've fucking mattered. But you took that from me."
- Ellie: "I don't think I can ever forgive you for that. But I would like to try."
The Last of Us
The Last of Us Part II
- Neil Druckmann has stated in the in-game cinematic commentary that, while Joel is the protagonist of The Last of Us, he personally viewed the story as Ellie's and designed the series around her.
- The player will have the option to “accept” or “reject” the drink.
- The player, however, will have a choice of three questions and a dismiss option to choose from if they beat Riley.
- Depending on the player, Ellie can either beat or be beaten by Riley.
- Listening to every optional conversation where Ellie reads from the book while in Pittsburgh will unlock the That's All I Got trophy.
- For an alternate version of these events, see The Last of Us: One Night Live.
- According to GameSpot, the tattoo on Ellie's arm in Part II was designed by tattoo artist Natalie Hall. Before being put in the game, it was tested on the arm of UI artist and designer Alexandria Neonakis.
- The Last of Us Part II, PlayStation Experience, Polygon
- The Last of Us 2 ending explained: A spoiler filled look at what it all means, GamesRadar (Accessed 2022)
- The Last of Us 2 players spot tiny detail that presents massive implications for the ending, GamesRadar (Accessed 2022)
- Firefly map
- According to Game Designer Rodney Reece on Twitter, she is actually 165 cm (Accessed 13th of September, 2020)
- It Can't be for Nothing
- Neil Druckmann on Twitter: "Fun fact: Eliie's [sic] last name is a homage to Ken & Roberta Williams. ♥️", Twitter. (Accessed 31 December, 2021)
- PlayStation - Ellie's official bio (Accessed November, 2013)
- The Last of Us: American Dreams
- "Bill's Town"
- You're welcome
- Left Behind
- I Swear
- "The Quarantine Zone"
- We're smuggling her?
- Killing Time
- I'm not infected
- What if it's true?
- "The Outskirts"
- Just go
- I need a car
- Let's get on with it
- He was my partner
- He ain't even hurt
- I feel sick
- How'd I do?
- I'm Henry...this is Sam
- Welcome to my Office
- "The Suburbs"
- I saved you
- What are you scared of?
- "Tommy's Dam"
- How you doing, baby brother?
- I'm not her
- "The University"
- You're Going to Make It
- "Lakeside Resort"
- Name's David
- By Any Means
- I Believe Him
- It's Me
- E3 2018 - Exclusive Interview with Neil Druckmann
- "Bus Depot"
- Find Someone Else
- "The Firefly Lab"
- You Can't Save Her
- - Halley Gross interview about Ellie's tattoo
- "Seattle Day 1"
- "Seattle Day 2"
- "Seattle Day 3"
- "The Farm"
- "The Farm"
- "Seattle Day 3"
- The Art of The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog and Dark Horse Books, 2020, pp.161-162
- Ellie's journal
- "Santa Barbara"
- Exclusive First In-Game Screenshots Of The Last Of Us, Game Informer (Accessed February, 2012)
- Boris Gindis, (April, 2012). Orphanage Behaviour, BP Publications (Accessed April, 2021)
- Druckmann on Ellie's sexuality, PopQT, (Accessed March, 2020)
- The Last of Us Part II, E3 2018 (Accessed 12th June, 2018)
- The Last of Us Part II - E3 Gameplay Demo
- The Last of Us: A Tale of Two Ellie, IGN, (Accessed 2014)
- The Last of Us - The Truck Ambush Trailer
- Ellen Page AMAA on Reddit, (Accessed 2015)
- Is Ellie Gay? Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann Weighs In on The Last of Us: Left Behind
- Ellie is more autonomous than you think, NeoGaf, (Accessed 2018)
- The Last Mysteries of The Last of Us, GameTrailers, (Accessed 2016)
- Neil Druckmann's keynote, IGDA, Toronto, YouTube. (Accessed April, 2022)
- Venture beat interview, VentureBeat, (Accessed 2019)
- Game Informer