17 Character Deaths That Had a Major Impact on ‘The Walking Dead’

The Walking Dead

17 Character Deaths That Had a Major Impact on ‘The Walking Dead’

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17 Character Deaths That Had a Major Impact on ‘The Walking Dead’

Nobody is shedding a tear for the various red shirts who have lost their lives in the zombie apocalypse. 

But for every pointless death, there’s an equally important one that changes the very course of the show. 

Click through the gallery for 18 of The Walking Dead’s most meaningful deaths. 

The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

17 Character Deaths That Had a Major Impact on ‘The Walking Dead’
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Ed Peletier

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Ed Peletier

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Ed’s death was the first step in Carol’s fierce transformation.

The former Mrs. Peletier blossomed from an abused housewife to the fierce warrior queen we know and love.


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Amy

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Amy

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Amy’s death is what sent Andrea on her path of suicidal self-destruction. It’s why she began choosing dangerous boyfriends (Shane and the Governor, anyone?) and why she became apathetic about life in general. 


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Sophia Peletier

Sophia Peletier

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Sophia’s untimely death caused so, so many ripples.

This is when Hershel realized he couldn’t save his zombified family members. It’s when Daryl began to seriously lean on the group for emotional support. And watching her walker daughter stumble into the sunlight caused Carol to completely deny her child’s existence in later seasons. Not to mention all the many survivors who began to suffer a crisis of faith after this devastating loss. 

Sophia's death continues to be one of the most pivotal in the entire series despite her short screen time.


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Otis

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Otis

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Otis’s death is when Shane finally broke bad. The Sheriff’s best bud had been circling the drain from the beginning, but he finally lost all humanity when he murdered Otis in cold blood. 

The farmhand’s death caused a rift between Hershel and Rick’s group — many survivors saw right through Shane’s lies. But the fallout wasn’t all bad — Carl did survive his gunshot wound due to the officer’s fast thinking.

Oh, and Shane got a nifty new haircut out of the deal. So… this one’s a wash?


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Dale Horvath

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Dale Horvath

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Daryl is often credited with stepping up to a position of responsibility while searching for the missing Sophia. But Dale’s death offers a more subtle (but hugely important) breakthrough in the Archer’s character development.

The moment Daryl chooses to end Dale’s suffering, he gains instant respect for the sacrifices Rick has made for the group. He tells Rick he shouldn’t have to carry the burdens of the apocalypse alone and begins to defend the Sheriff when other group members begin to revolt.

This is the exact moment Rick and Daryl became brothers.


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Shane Walsh

Shane Walsh

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Ooh, boy. This one's a doozy. Carl kills his first walker. Lori shows her true feelings when she turns on Rick. The group learns everyone is infected. And Rick realizes he’s kinda OK with killing people.

Shane’s death definitely had a major impact and will continue to affect these characters for seasons to come.


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Lori Grimes

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Lori Grimes

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Carl loses some of his humanity after being forced to put down his mother so she doesn’t turn after dying while giving birth to his sister. Geez, poor kid.

Adding to Carl’s worries, his father goes more than a little crazy before finally deciding to take Judith as his own daughter.


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Duane Jones

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Duane Jones

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Morgan spirals into deep depression and suffers from major PTSD after the death of his son. This sets Morgan on the path to peace as he learns to deal with his emotional trauma through non-lethal forms of combat.


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Karen and David

Karen and David

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Rick can’t come to terms with Carol’s rogue attempt to contain the deadly virus sweeping the prison.

This leads to Carol inevitably being cast out of the group — but that left her in the perfect position to save her friends from the Terminus cannibals. 


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Hershel Greene

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Hershel Greene

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Rick temporarily loses hope after the death of his father figure. Carl begins to lose faith in his own father — possibly due to him taking out the enemy his father couldn’t. And Maggie begins her slow, painful journey to badass Hilltop leader.

Not to mention the loss of the thriving prison camp. This is another death with huge ramifications for the entire series.


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Lizzie and Mika

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Lizzie and Mika

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It’s at this point Carol first begins to realize the mayhem and murder of the apocalypse is a little too much for her to handle.

She’s a stone-cold killer and can do whatever is necessary to survive — it just saddens her deeply that all the bloodshed is so necessary.

Losing a second set of children trigger's Carol’s battle with PTSD.


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Martin, Bob, and Tyreese

Martin, Bob, and Tyreese

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Watching his sister kill the Terminus cannibal he spared sends Tyreese on a spiral that ultimately ends in his suicide.

This briefly causes Sasha to lose touch with her emotional self as she goes on an intense zombie-slaying spree. 


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Noah

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Noah

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Noah’s tragic death causes tension between Rick’s group and the Alexandrians. Seeing the careless way Alexandria’s runners conduct their business, Glenn takes a stand and the rest of the survivors follow suit.


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Deanna Monroe

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Deanna Monroe

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The death of Alexandria’s original leader leaves room for Sheriff Rick Grimes to assume control. This puts Deanna’s son, Spencer, on a reckless path for revenge, which ultimately leads to his death when his scheme to usurp Rick’s place isn’t taken well by Negan.


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Sam and Jessie Anderson

Sam and Jessie Anderson

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Rick loses another girlfriend, Carl loses an eye.

But: Richonne.


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Glenn and Abraham

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Glenn and Abraham

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Rick essentially loses all hope after Negan takes out two of his most trusted group members. These gruesome deaths caused major rifts in the group as individual members began putting their own reckless plans of revenge into motion.


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Benjamin

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Benjamin

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Watching Benjamin die puts Morgan back on the killing path. Poor Morgan suffers from flashbacks before ultimately losing control of his zen.


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Nobody is shedding a tear for the various red shirts who have lost their lives in the zombie apocalypse. 

But for every pointless death, there’s an equally important one that changes the very course of the show. 

Click through the gallery for 18 of The Walking Dead’s most meaningful deaths. 

The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.