so this is a week late but
idk wat i did to deserve this.
all 5,080 of you.
bless you for putting up with my weird fickle fandom shit.
i have the best followers in the whole wide world.
So, here is my long awaited (as in waiting a few hours) meta about Joel and Ellie and their journey and the depth of their bond and why their relationship goes beyond adoptive father/daughter and is something so deep that calling it a brotp feels more like a joke, taking it too lightly. It’s something so ridiculously strong and deep that there is no name for it. It’s…it’s this strange dependency on the other. This love they share is just…it’s goes beyond love between blood relatives or romantic love. It’s a love of owing your life and sanity.
The first half the game feels like the entire story is going to follow Joel. The set up is about Joel, the cut scenes follow Joel’s POV. Ellie is a reminder, this constant thorn in his side and it hurts almost looking at her—as it does for Joel too. (Tess saying “I get it” understands too). As Joel starts to warm up to Ellie, and when you first see this bond and trust and dependency taking place between both characters, it’s endearing and humorous almost. I burst out laughing when Joel gave Ellie a sarcastic reply and she says something like, “Sarcasm. I like it. Gettin’ somewhere.” Ellie is quirky and funny, while Joel is dark and brutal. The man is a beast with blood stains on his hands, but when he interacts with Ellie, you can see the humanity in him coming back.
But it doesn’t take long for the narrative to take a twist (I honestly wasn’t expecting this—at least not the way it happened). Suddenly we see how far these two are willing to go for one another and not only do we see how deep and real their bond is, but the tolls of their bond. That bit of humanity Ellie brought to Joel? It still exists, but only for Ellie. With Ellie, Joel can breathe. He can joke and see a future, talk about the past, he can live. But only through Ellie. Ellie is the one thing he knows he can depend on. The one thing that brings him hope. And he will be the beast for her without a second thought. He doesn’t care if it’s wrong or Ellie could possibly hate him for it, he does it for his own selfish love and need.
Ellie isn’t like Joel. She’s young and unlike Joel, hasn’t experienced the collapse of society, but was born into it. But she has experienced loss, abandonment, and loneliness. She fears being alone in this world and through Joel she finds this rock. When she faces the possibility of losing the one solid, dependable thing in her life, she goes to immeasurable lengths for Joel. She suffers both physically and mentally for him but unlike Joel, she feels not just guilt but…this sort of aching hate for herself. She knows she can do good and make up for the horrors she’s committed and seen. Even if she’s afraid of what may become of taking a step toward the healing of humanity.
But this is where it becomes frightening. This is when you see how these two differ: Joel looks at humanity and scoffs. He has given up on it, finding his reason to live though himself and now Ellie. He is still entirely selfish and survives for himself and Ellie becomes part of him. Ellie looks at humanity as a sad, broken thing and experiences the extent of the horrors people are willing to commit to survive and still believes there is cure. She wants to help people and possibly the world.
By the end of the story, these two people practically switch places. Joel is talkative, excited for the future, this new life after a year of struggles. Ellie can’t quite shake off the weighty shit she’s experienced and has been forced to do. And who does she go to for comfort? Who does she go to reassure her everything is okay? That this is the right thing to do? Joel, the disillusioned man who has already thrown humanity away, who only cares about himself and Ellie, the man who brutally kills others and calls it surviving.
And what does Ellie say? “Okay.” even though she knows full well that it’s not “okay.” Nothing is “okay.” Yet she says “okay” because Joel to her is all she has and can depend on. She’s willing to say “okay” because Joel, her savior, her mentor, her father, her reason for killing, tells her it’s okay to feel the way she feels, and that eventually everything will be okay. So, instead of walking away from this beast in human skin, she says “okay” and embraces him.