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I’d Have Let a Certain Character Live in Walking Dead

Yeah, that’s an awkward title, but I can’t very well spoil stuff, now can I?

So, SPOILER WARNING

In the storyline leading up to the fiftieth issue of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman wanted to make sure readers were kept off-balance and that they did not feel like the world of the survivors were that safe, so in the issues leading up to #50, he killed off a few major characters, most notably the wife and daughter of the main character, Rick.

It was powerful stuff, and I certainly can’t begrudge Kirkman for killing off the wife, Lori.

However, I’d have kept the baby, Judith, alive.

I think you get across the whole “No One is Safe” vibe just by killing Lori, while meanwhile, you add a whole new dynamic if it is Rick, his young son Carl and his baby Judith on the run, hiding from zombies. How do you really go “on the run” with an infant? Imagine the new difficulties that would raise! Heck, for one, how do you keep a baby quiet so as to not draw attention from zombies?

I think it’d have been an interesting idea for the book.

14 Comments

I agree. Talk about “Throwing the baby with the bathwater”! Kirkman really went for broke with issue #49. The book needed a shakeup. I am excited to see the new direction. But I agree. Keeping the baby would have been an even bolder move, especially since *SPOILER ALERT*
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It wasn’t even his baby

I disagree. Granted Kirkman is an inventive writer, but that gets too close to the whole ‘Cable-baby-carrier’ line of plot making. Plus, Kirkman’s time scale is so slow, the baby would be a baby for the next five years of storytelling.

The “Cable baby carrier” line of plot making?

Is that an actual line of plot making? That’s one book that’s really not all that similar to this book. One of the major features in the book right now ALREADY is how RIck is taking care of Carl while he is in the midst of all the disaster, how is adding a baby changing anything much besides making things slightly more complicated (I would argue that complicated = more interesting here).

Frankly, I was half-expecting and mostly hoping it’d be Rick getting it.

I dunno, I guess my point was that there would be very few places to go for Judith as a character. I’m wracking my brains for example of babies in comic books, and am not coming up with too many examples. But one of the tropes that seems comes with the territory is aging the infant up to make something useful out of it. Thus you’ve got Cable himself in the old X-Factor & Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix miniseries. Or Hope in the current volume of Cable.

Obviously that isn’t an option here…but beyond the keeping the baby quiet or more broadly speaking having the baby endanger other survivors angle I’m not certain how much of a plot engine she could be.

Carl works for me as a character because he is old enough to be an effective POV. You can see him grow and change over the course of the series in ways that I think would be much harder to do with Judith.

Sounds like Kirkman painted himself into a corner in terms of “who lives and who dies,” as he’s already said (in the intro to the First (?) volume) that he wouldn’t kill off Rick ever.

Yeah, I was just thinking, “I did read him say that, right?” But I couldn’t figure out where he said that.

If you want to see how the noisy baby scenario might play out, you could always look at the last episode of MASH. Just substitute the North Koreans with zombies. Or any number of Holocaust melodramas. The idea isn’t that uncommon in Hollywood.

I think culling the cast and killing Judith in particular was needed to get the story out of the sedentary safe mood that the book stumbled into at the prison. That idea worked well enough for awhile, but couldn’t be sustained indefinitely. By the time the Governor’s tanks showed up, I was rooting for him to tear up the status quo.

Kirkman’s intent of killing Judith was to show that no one is safe everyone is expenable even a baby not to mention it gives rick another reason to survive

Wait – in the book – have we seen a body of the baby? The shot showed the baby’s moms guts spill out, but we did not see the baby damaged (except for maybe her feet – I can’t tell if what is shown is the mom, or Judith).

No body, no death. That is the rule in the comics.

What if the baby survived and one of the Gov’s people took it in?

He was going to kill the wife earlier in the story, but relented. He was just making the story what it should have been a long time ago. When I read the earlier story, I thought she was being set up to die. Kirkman even confirmed this.

Charles Highway

March 15, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Rob,

I think we didn’t see more of the baby’s death for good taste reasons. I know that sounds funny in regards to this book, but I think showing a baby mortally wounded or torn apart by zombies is too much even for the Walking Dead. When we last left the baby, she was crushed under her mother and surrounded by zombies. If we see her again I think it would be a big blow to the “realism” Kirkman seems to be after.

I also thought that Rick was going to die around that time as well. I would have loved to see Carl take over as the lead in the book.

I would have loved to see Carl take over as the lead in the book.

Well, seeing the blow that Rick’s sanity has taken that might not be very far from happening. We’ve seen the kid take a more leading role since these events as it is. And I think the baby dying was the definitive push into selfdoubt, selfloathing and shaky grip on sanity Rick is now dealing with. The death of his wife was hard but coupled with the horrible icing on the shitcake that the baby’s death was made such an impact on his character that the whole dynamic of the series has changed. Rick is no longer the natural leader that the other survivors still want him to be, I don’t think his character would’ve changed this much without the baby’s death.

I wish Tyreese was still alive…

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