Spoilers for The Last of Us episode 1 below!

Next what’s left of us premiere of the series, co-creator Craig Mazin recently explained how different Ellie and Sarah are. Bella Ramsey stars as Ellie, a precocious 14-year-old orphan who finds herself at the center of HBO’s new terrifying horror drama. Based on the original PlayStation video game of the same name, what’s left of us follows worn-out black market smuggler Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) as he transports Ellie from the zombie-infested United States to a remote headquarters for the Fireflies. This idealistic revolutionary group believes that Ellie’s natural immunity to a zombie fungal infection can save the world.

During HBO’s The Last of Us PodcastMazin explains how Ellie is different from Joel’s daughter Sarah, played by Nico Parker.

what’s left of us The author draws attention to the differences between the two characters, highlighting their different reactions to death. Sarah is embarrassed by Joel’s killing of her infected neighbor, while Ellie is more surprised and amazed at Joel’s ability to fight and kill for survival. Read below what Mazin had to say about the two:

Mazin: Look, early in the episode, when Joel hits the old woman on the head with his wrench. Sarah is horrified and cries. Even though that woman basically tried to kill him. And he says, “You killed him.” He can’t believe what he just saw. He just saw his father kill someone. Ellie saw something that wasn’t a hit, and that man wasn’t even threatening Joel’s life. And she beats him to death. He punches repeatedly. And Ellie is enabled. And that will resonate forward. This was something Neil and I talked a lot about, understanding where Ellie was going and understanding what the connection between Joel and Ellie was. That there was a bond between them that was more than “I used to have a child and you are a child”. There is something else. That there is a connection between Joel and Ellie that is different, and perhaps potentially stronger, and certainly potentially more dangerous than the connection to his own daughter.

What’s Next for Ellie in The Last of Us?

During the first outbreak, Sarah was nearly killed by her neighbor, an infected elderly woman who was in a catatonic state. Sarah is stunned and burst into tears when Joel arrives just in time to save her daughter. This reaction makes perfect sense for the character, as he seems to have lived a relatively peaceful life otherwise. Confronting his neighbor was probably the first time he was placed in a life-or-death, kill-or-die situation. But Ellie’s reaction was indicative of the environment she grew up in.

Ellie was born in the violent post-apocalyptic world familiar to the smell of burning human flesh in the Boston Quarantine Zone, and was taught to fear what lies beyond the city’s walls that protect her. When Joel steps in on a Federal Disaster Response Agency (FEDRA) soldier, knocks him down and nearly beats him to death, Ellie sees firsthand what she’s been taught and warned about since birth. She is more curious than afraid, she. His passion for violence was already on display when he first met the FEDRA soldier and tried to attack Joel when they stabbed him without hesitation.

Like Sarah, Ellie had faced death before and lived to tell the story. However, an infected incident left an invisible scar on his arm, as well as a visible bite mark, as he still carried a significant amount of emotional pain. This deep-rooted trauma fuels Ellie’s anger and distrust of others, just as Sarah’s death forms the basis of Joel’s character. As Ellie and Joel continue their difficult journey, similar past stories will be revealed and they will break down their emotional barriers as they learn to trust again. Like what’s left of us Continuing on HBO, viewers will see how Joel and Ellie’s relationship evolves as they face violent threats lurking outside of Boston.

Source: HBO’s The Last of Us Podcast