|This article is about the Comic Series character. You may be looking for her TV Series, Assault or Road to Survival counterparts, or the actress.|
- "You're probably not going to like it here, y'know. They're nice enough people, at first they're great...but they're so goddamn judgmental. One slip-up...and that's it for you really. I tried to kill myself. I did. It didn't work, obviously, but I tried. They won't let me forget it. Since then, I can see it in their eyes-- they've lost all respect for me. All of them. Even my best friend. She tries to be nice but I can tell she's just patronizing me. She hasn't wanted to talk to me since I did it. She just feels like she has to. Everyone thinks I'm crazy. (...) I don't really have anyone to talk to, so I figured I'd introduce myself. I'm Carol. I think I'll just talk to you from now on. You listen, you don't seem to judge me. That's really important in a friendship, y'know. Not judging people. I really hope you like me. (...) Oh, good... You do like me."
- —Carol to a zombie.[src]
Carol is a main character first encountered in Issue 3 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. She is the mother of Sophia and one of the survivors of the original Atlanta band. She is good friends with Lori and was seen with her most of the time. Carol begins a relationship with Tyreese, who eventually cheats on her, leading her mental health to become unstable and leading her on a path of self-abuse and eventually, suicide.
Characteristics and Role
A relatively calm and collected individual at first, Carol's friendly and normal attitude served as a facade to hide some of her underlying mental instabilities, which would later reveal themselves and eventually lead to her untimely death.
One major theme throughout Carol's time in the comics is her need for companionship among the daily chaos, due to the fact that she is a weak and dependent person. The people around her kept her balanced and helped the woman maintain the image of a sane individual. However, once she no longer received this support from them, she gradually began to slip and lose the control that she initially had over herself. The boundaries between rationality and irrationality became blurred to her, as she fully believed that she and the Grimes could be a family together.
Not much is known about her pre-marital days. She had always had a good relationship with her sister and, specifically when she was a teenager, had dated a number of guys. She had dated her husband for a significant amount of time, before he eventually talked her into marrying him (the proposal she only accepted because of her fear of being alone). It's been heavily implied that she faced little satisfaction throughout her many years of marriage and only stayed with him because she both needed as much help as she could get taking care of Sophia and also because of her needy tendencies.
Her husband was the breadwinner of the family, working as a successful car salesman. Because of the large amount of money he brought in daily, she herself didn't have to venture out into the working world, so she played the role of an average housewife, although she occasionally brought in some extra money by maintaining an at-home business where she would sell Tupperware out of catalogs (though her customers were mostly just friends and family). She tended to indulge in a lot of arts and crafts during her free time, including knitting and scrap booking.
Once the apocalypse broke out, her husband was traumatized, forced to see his parents die in front of him and supposedly become zombies. After this event, he was driven into a deep depression and Carol's relationship with him became increasingly strained. Even despite talking a distressed and doubtful Carol into staying with him, he ended up giving up on life eventually and committing suicide, leaving her and Sophia to fend for themselves. Shortly after his death, Carol had decided the best next move for the two of them would be to move to Atlanta to be with her sister, where they both would be safe and secure from the zombies.
On the way to Atlanta, she and Sophia met up with Shane and the other band of survivors in Atlanta and set up an initial campsite in a nearby quarry. Throughout her time at the quarry, she constantly assisted the other mothers in domestic duties such as washing clothes and looking after the children (though often she let Donna and Lori do work for her while she observed and made sure they were washing right). Usually coming off as a friendly and chatty (albeit neurotic) woman, she was able to befriend most everyone around her fairly quickly and usually tended to stay close to the women in the group. The person she most bonded with was Carl's mother, Lori, with the two of them constantly conversing about the current happenings around them. Lori was also who she relied upon the most for support whenever it was needed.
She and Sophia managed to survive the deadly attack at the campsite, nearly being attacked, but, saved at the last second by Glenn.
After abandoning the quarry campsite and hitting the road, they come upon a man named Tyreese, who Carol is almost instantly drawn to. Several times she flashes sexually suggestive glances at him, to which he gladly reciprocates. During the group's campfire dinner, she makes admiring comments towards him, such as how grateful she and everyone else were for him and how they wouldn't have lasted without his help. Tyreese makes a physical advance toward her and gropes her leg which Carol visibly enjoys. Holding each other's hands, they leave with everyone else for their housing quarters and the two end up sleeping next to one another. She notices Tyreese's slight nervousness about being this close as he puts his hand on her shoulder, but, she calmly keeps his hand on her shoulder for comfort, with the two embracing each other as they wait to fall asleep. This officially starts off their relationship. The next day and so on, she appears confident in herself, in a joyful mood.
Throughout the group's stay at the farm they're shown together, whether it be relaxing and teasing each other in the farmhouse or target practice during one of the Rick's training sessions. Carol and Tyreese appear to be very happy, their relationship serving as a distraction for Carol from all of the horrors of the world, filling her with joy and providing her with positive energy.
Carol and Tyreese's relationship continues on as normal when they arrive at the Prison. Carol is happy with the group staying in the prison, as it is a good place to raise their children.
Tensions start to rise between Carol and Tyreese when Michonne is introduced, and Carol begins to fear Tyreese will be attracted to her. Carol tries to ignore Tyreese and Michonne's friendship for some time and simply just brush it off as nothing, until she witnesses Michonne performing oral sex on Tyreese in the prison gymnasium. Initially, this led to her to think that she had to try and compete with Michonne for his affection, so when they were in bed she shamefully and tearfully attempted to give him oral sex as well. She openly expressed how she couldn't bring herself to do such a degrading act and broke down into tears. It was then that she officially split up with Tyreese, demanding that he gather his things and move out the following day.
Soon after the break-up however, her mentality came into question, due to Tyreese's betrayal and the global apocalypse in general. It escalated to the point where she deeply cut her wrist (in front of a terrified Sophia).
Soon after the cutting, Carol became desperate for companionship, seeing as how Sophia (her only child and remaining blood relative) now looked down on her. She felt that the Grimes' were the only ones in the survivor group who offered her comfort and relaxation (especially after the cutting), the only bright aspect in her otherwise disastrous life. On one occasion, she passionately kisses Rick when he attempts to console her. She proposes the idea of a polygamous or plural relationship between him, Lori, and herself. Her reasoning being that since the normal rules of society no longer apply, they can live however they want, raise their children and provide each other with security and comfort in this nightmarish world. He rejects her idea. Visibly hurt, she goes to Lori and attempts to propose the polygamous relationship to her, only be to shot down a second time.
Things turned even more depressing for her when she showed genuine compassion to Lori while she was under a significant deal of distress (gently putting a hand on her lap) only for Lori to mistake the woman's actions as another advance and a sign that she was still trying to get her to accept the idea. This resulted in Carol being angrily berated, which showed her that even her best friend didn't trust her anymore and now thought of her as being a freak just like everyone else.
This rejection by the two people she was closest to at the moment (and the mistrust they now had towards her) pushed Carol over the edge and she begins to formulate a plan to commit suicide - the only solution in her mind that would put a definite end to the increasing amount of suffering she had been going through. She attempted to converse with people before she put the plan into action to see if there was even one person who still had respect for her - that person was Alice, who was very kind to her (which Carol outwardly said).
On her last day alive, she joined Lori for a picnic outside in the prison yard and discusses with her what would happen if she were to die. Lori agreed that she would take responsibility for Sophia, unaware of Carol's plan. She then joked about finding a man before it's too late, which Carol literally did, as she seduced and slept with Hershel's son Billy, whom she had recently taken a subtle liking to. Afterwards, she wandered into the courtyard where Alice was keeping a zombie for testing purposes and poured out her feelings to it. In a state of delusion, she began talking to it, explaining how everyone no longer trusted her and that she now had no other friends in the world besides it. She moves closer and allows it to bite her and ravage her neck.
Carol successfully managed to kill herself by letting Alice's test zombie bite into her neck, while remarking "Oh good, you do like me," enjoying the pain momentarily (knowing that she would bleed to death in a matter of seconds). A handful of the survivors rushed to her side, but she refused to let anyone help her, telling them to leave her so she could die in peace.
- Andrea (Zombified)
Carol died in Tyreese's arms, and was killed mercifully by Andrea, during her almost immediate reanimation before she had the chance to bite Tyreese (who was deeply saddened and thus vulnerable to Carol's attack).
This list shows the victims Carol has killed:
- Herself (Suicide)
- A few zombies.
She remained extremely protective over her daughter throughout their stay within the group, often setting ground rules and making sure she behaves the way she's supposed to. For a significant amount of time however, she tried to keep Sophia in the dark about her inner feelings so that she could try to come off as just a capable parent like the others (showing her true self possibly would've weakened her image). Though she eventually couldn't keep these feelings contained, as she began crying every night in her prison cell with Sophia and Carl around her and even reaching the point where she committed an act of self-harm directly in front of her. After Carol's suicide, Sophia was deeply distraught and enraged at her mother's actions and soon enough tried to suppress all memory of her, causing her to latch onto Glenn and Maggie and pretend they were her parents and thus the couple adopted her.
She had a close, romantic and physical attachment to Tyreese soon after he joined the group. He acted as an emotional and physical protector towards her and made her feel better about her life, while at the same time, he was keeping her somewhat balanced (which she otherwise wouldn't have been with all of the chaos that was usually happening around them). Their relationship crumbled however, shortly after she caught him cheating on her with Michonne. The dissolution of their relationship, and Carol's own isolation contributed to her eventual tragic suicide.
- "I heard what you did for me--with Tyreese. You sticking up for me like that--me finding out about it... It meant a lot to me."
- —Carol to Rick.[src]
She was relatively close to Rick, looking up to him as the de-facto leader of the group like everyone else. She also never hesitated to give her opinion when she believed it was needed, similar to Dale (although not as regularly). Before her death, she realized that his perspective of her had changed after she proposed that he, Lori, and herself get married and raise their children together. Rick was distraught and outraged at Carol's suicide while she still had a daughter to care for.
- "I kinda want to marry you. Not just you, you understand--you and Rick. Just hear me out--it's not as crazy as it sounds. I mean, I've been thinking about what Rick said, y'know--about how things are never going to go back to the way they used to be and how we need to just a new life for ourselves. This just makes sense to me. I love you both and we could all raise Carl and Sophia and the new baby together. I know it seems weird now but we don't have to follow the old rules, we can make new ones. We could all be happy together."
- —Carol trying to convince Lori into a polygamous relationship.[src]
Lori and Carol maintained a strong friendship, often conversing with each other about various things and looking out for each other. This friendship, however, become strained during their stay at the Prison after Tyreese cheated on her with Michonne. Carol (with her mental instabilities becoming increasingly apparent to Lori) proposed a polygamous/plural marriage and continued to talk about how alone she was. Carol began to realize after a while that Lori was beginning to pick up on the fact that she was ill and thus distancing herself.
Carol and Glenn had a good friendship, Glenn had a romantic interest for Carol which he never had chance to pursue since Carol and Tyreese began dating. At the Atlanta camp Glenn saved Carol and Sophia's life by killing a roamer, which was about to attack them, later on the road Carol praised Glenn for his contributions to the group. Glenn seemed saddened by Carol's death and was shocked when he found out her and Billy had had sex.
Donna, along with Carol and Lori, seemed to have a basic woman friend-relationship. The trio is seen, for example, laundering and communicating.
Carol and Allen were friends, after Donna's death Carol was seen comforting and hugging him. At the prison, after the amputation of Allen's leg, Carol was devastated and furious with Rick for cutting off Allen's leg, until she found out why.
- "She... She came to me. We had sex. She had sex with me. And then... Then she did it. Killed herself. Why would she do that to me?"
- —Billy about Carol's suicide.[src]
Carol and Billy are rarely seen interacting whilst Carol was alive. After having a cryptic conversation with Lori, she decided she wanted to have sex one last time before taking her own life. Carol took advantage of Billy and had sex with him inside of his jail cell, but Billy later fell guilty for this after her death.
- "I got enough on my conscience without having to worry about some girl offing herself because I--well..."
- —Michonne about Carol.[src]
She was visibly jealous of Michonne during her interactions with Tyreese and made even angrier when realizing that the woman was oblivious to both her relationship with him and her feelings in general. She was constantly fearing that Michonne could and would take away Tyreese at any second, as it was obvious to her that their personalities and body structures were similar.
- Carol would've had Sophia around 15-16 years of age.
- While Carol mainly displays attraction to males (such as Tyreese, Rick, and Billy), she is also seen kissing Lori (albeit without Lori's permission), implying that she may possibly be bisexual. However, due to her deteriorating mental state at the time, it remains unclear whether she kissed Lori out of actual attraction or simply desperation.
- Carol has one of the fastest reanimation times of any character in the Walking Dead franchise to date, turning mere seconds after her biological death.
- Although the Carol of TV series survives for much longer than her comic book counterpart and becomes a much stronger character because of it, the mental instability of the original character still manifests itself within her, only in a different manner.
- Carol begins to display some sociopathic tendencies from Season 4 onward, going so far as killing members of her own group in order to keep the rest of the group safe.
- Carol sociopathy further manifests itself as she puts on the guise of a harmless housewife while living in Alexandria so that she could gather information and manipulate the residents from behind the scenes. Her subtle manipulations ultimately give way to intimidation as she coerces both Sam and Pete to do her bidding through threats of violence.
- As in the comics, however, Carol eventually reaches a breaking point in Season 6 when she finds herself no longer capable of coping with the pain that comes with taking a life, even if it's to save someone that she cares about. This leads her to leave Alexandria so that she can put as much distance between her and her loved ones as possible. This eventually leads to her ending up in a situation where a Savior, whom she had previously wounded, states his intent to make sure that she die slowly and painfully as revenge for his fallen comrades. Like her comic book counterpart, Carol is now at her lowest point and welcomes death. Unlike her counterpart, however, she ultimately rescued by Morgan and two soldiers from The Kingdom.
- A reader asked:
- "Why did you make Carol the one who does all the weird crazy things?"
Robert Kirkman responded:
- "...I just wanted to show how stressful life in this book actually is and how crazy it can make weaker people. Carol was a pretty weak, dependent person. Things wouldn't work out for people like her in this world."