The new HBO show The Last of Us seems to have us infected with some kind of obsessive FUNgal virus about the show. 

Let’s dive into the backstory of Ellie Williams.

Like A Boss Deal With It GIF by Naughty Dog - Find & Share on GIPHY

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of humanity has been wiped out by a fungal infection. 

The story follows Joel, a smuggler, and Ellie, a teenage girl, as they travel across the United States to reach a group called the Fireflies. Along the way, they must evade hostile humans and infected enemies and scavenge for supplies. Ellie and Joel confront the harsh realities of survival in a world where morality has frustratingly become blurred.

Before we jump into Ellie’s story, you’ve gotta know this

The creator of the game Naughty Dog is known for its innovative storytelling and cutting-edge graphics. The Last of Us combines motion capture, performance capture, and traditional animation techniques. Developers created highly detailed character models and environments featuring advanced lighting and physics systems, contributing to its immersive atmosphere. This project pushed every boundary and has left a deep impression on game players and viewers. Pure brilliance if you ask me!

Via cbr

Ellie Williams is born after the initial cordyceps outbreak.

Ellie Williams is born after the initial cordyceps outbreak. According to the HBO show, her mom, Anna, was bitten by an infected just as she was giving birth to Ellie.

While falling ill with cordyceps, Anna asked her best friend Marlene to care for Ellie. She swore that she would take care of her. Instead of taking her home, Marlene dropped Ellie off at an orphanage. Years later, she was placed under the care of a military boarding school by FEDRA. 

Ellie’s life at the US military boarding school was pretty harsh. She was trained to be a soldier through rigorous physical and weapons training and academic studies. The school was focused on preparing its students to survive and fight against the infected. At the school, FEDRA taught them about the new world, and they learned nothing of it before the cordyceps outbreak. Despite the tough environment, Ellie found solace in her friend, Riley, another student at the school. The two girls developed a close bond and eventually fell for one another.

The two snuck out to an abandoned mall in Boston one evening. They experienced many “firsts” together, including an arcade, a dance party, and even their first kiss! During that night at the mall, the girls were blasting music from Ellie’s cassette player in an old electronics store. An infected was drawn to the sound and tried to attack the girls. Riley and Ellie do their best to fight off the clicker, but both get bit.

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The two ponder whether or not they should end their lives right there or wait and lose their minds together. Now, that’s some apocalyptic romance right there! Unfortunately, Riley loses her mind, and Ellie doesn’t for some mysterious reason.

Ellie not only has PTSD from the fiasco at the mall, but she also experiences survivor’s guilt because she lost her best friend and love interest to the infection. That is quite heavy for a 14-year-old to deal with. Considering this post-apocalyptic world is the only one Ellie and Riley know, it should have been common sense not to make such a racket in the mall, attracting infected humans. Her death could have easily been avoided if they had leveraged their common sense.

About a year later, Ellie’s time at the boarding school ended when the truth came out about her immunity to the infection. The Fireflies, who were fighting against the military’s oppressive rule, saw Ellie as an asset and possible key to creating a vaccine that would hopefully save humanity. 

In a way, she is the chosen one in this dark dystopian world.


Once under the watch of the Fireflies, Ellie met Marlene for the first time since she was a newborn. She learned about her mother and was given her switchblade.

Marlene tells Ellie that she needs to connect with a different group of Fireflies across the country in Salt Lake City. Some medical professionals will run tests on her and begin working on a cure. This is where Joel and Ellie begin their relationship. Marlene wants Joel to transport Ellie safely to Salt Lake. She believes he is the best man for the job, which we later discover is true.

Throughout the game/show, Ellie’s relationship with Joel develops as they journey across the country. She learns more about her past, the importance of her immunity, and how she can help the world.

Anna Torv Ellie GIF by HBO - Find & Share on GIPHY

I really liked how in the show Ellie’s story isn’t told chronologically

We don’t begin to learn about her backstory until a few episodes in. The way her story is told had me fall more in love with her character and truly see how brave and sincere she is.