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|“||You do what I say, when I say it||„|
|~ Joel to Ellie.|
Joel is the main protagonist of the PS3 and PS4 video game The Last of Us, the deuteragonist of The Last of Us Part II, and a supporting character in The Last of Us: Left Behind. He is a morally ambiguous figure who is determined to survive no matter what in a post-apocalyptic world. Though he is an incredibly violent, ruthless, and ethically sketchy individual, he is not completely without positive traits or heroic moments and consistently looks out for the well-being of Ellie, the young girl he travels with. In essence he is a parental figure looking out for his daughter.
He is voiced by Troy Baker, who also voices Rhys in Tales from the Borderlands.
Skills, Abilities and Weaknesses
Due to his time as a Hunter, Joel has become a master survivalist. He is skilled with chokeholds and stealth, being able to creep up on a human and Infected without them noticing. He is also a ferocious fighter, being able to quickly overpower enemies much younger and faster than he is. Joel is also a skilled craftsmen and can augmemt his own weapons. He is also able to craft Shivs, Smoke Bombs, Nail Bombs and Molotov's and is experienced with torture, an example is when he broke Robert's arm while Tess was trying to discover what happened to the weapons he was supposed to deliver to them, when he interrogated two cannibals with a knife to discover the location of Ellie and shooting Ethan in the stomach while trting to find out where Ellie's surgery was happening.
Joel is also very skilled with guns and bow and arrows. He possesses tremendous fighting skills, able to overpower Ethan, a Firefly despite the fact he was being held at gunpoint and he was obviously more military experienced. He was also able to overpower two cannibals despite the fact that he was still recovering from his life-threatening wound and he was amhushed by the latter. Joel also possesses a quick recovery time. Despite the fact his car was ruined off by Hunters and he was later grabbed by one he was able to overpower the Hunter and kill him on a shard of glass.
Despite his many impressive feats, Joel is still human and can be injured, knocked out and ambushed. He gets ambushed many times, such as while leaving the Quarantine Zone he is attacked by two soldiers, another one was when he was ambushed by a hunter while climbing a ladder, nearly drowned if it wasn't for Ellie's help, he was also ambushed by Henry and nearly choked to death, attacked by a cannibal at the University, thrown off a ledge which caused him to be impaled and stealth-attacked by two cannibals. Unlike Ellie, Joel is not immune and can be Infected by bites or spores.
Personality and Traits
Joel has been described as a "violent thug, a brutal killer, and a torturer." He is shown to be able to kill his enemies with noteworthy brutality, earning his infamous reputation to those he encounters. David calls him a "crazy man." During the aftermath of the epidemic that struck the country, he has resorted to working in black-market dealings and smuggling items or people of interest through quarantine zones or other designated areas. Because of this, he has accumulated valuable knowledge in regards to surviving the post-apocalyptic environment. Ellie notes that Joel has stained his hand with innocent blood when he reveals to her that he has been "on both sides", thus having the knowledge about a hunters' ambush and anticipating it. This dark past likely contributed to his experience as a hardened survivalist.
He also becomes extremely dedicated to Ellie, using any means possible to save her and keep her safe. He tortures several cannibals to find out Ellie's location, and then kills the other prisoner after he has gained information about Ellie's location. Ellie also cares greatly for Joel when she cares for him when he was injured, Just as Joel cared for her and protected her throughout their journey. They had a father and daughter bond.
However, Joel's other side is also portrayed. Prior to the apocalypse, he worked hard to single-handedly raise his daughter. The outbreak and Sarah's death changed him into an apathetic, ruthless, and estranged man. He wears the watch that Sarah gave him the day before the initial infection broke out as a reminder. Upon meeting Ellie, he originally has a rocky relationship with her. However, Joel later grows to trust her and finds her reliable at most times such as Ellie spotting for Joel or providing support. As time passes, Joel establishes a father-daughter relationship with Ellie, reminding him of his beloved daughter, Sarah. His more kinder side begins to surface as he spends more time with Ellie, something that was buried underneath two decades of guilt, loss and pain.
Whether being selfish, or not wanting to lose another "daughter" to the whim of another again, he chose to save Ellie and try and start some semblance of a normal life again. His decision to kill Marlene inside the Fireflies facility in Salt Lake City is to cut all loose ends, to ensure that no one will have the knowledge of Ellie and thus no one will go after her in the future. In this sense he is the opposite of Marlene, who intends to sacrifice Ellie for a chance to save the rest of humanity.
Described as being in his late 40's, Joel knows what the world looked like before it was devastated. Over time, he has begun to become less bound by morality and more driven by doing whatever is necessary to survive. "What he wouldn't do in the past is almost a daily occurrence at this point," Bruce Straley, the game's director, notes. Whenever Sarah is brought up or he is uncomfortable, Joel strokes his watch, the same one given to him by his dead daughter showing hes somewhat habitual.