There are few games that make one invested in their story so deep, with The Last of Us having the honor of being one of these offerings. The Last of Us Part II is sure to bring us new stories to be invested in, but for that you need to remember how the main characters work.
Joel will be a supporting character this time round, but he has enough characterization for you to know what kind of man he is. He let his actions speak more often than not, but Joel did have these 10 quotes for the fans to remember him by these past several years.
10 "...No Matter What, You Keep Finding Something To Fight For."
Throughout the twenty years he spent on his own, the viewer would have wondered what the reason was for Joel to even be fighting to live since he didn’t seem to be happy.
He answered this for us in the closing moments of the game, where Joel admitted he also had feelings of guilt over surviving while others had died; the only way he saw life was worth living was finding things to fight for. By the end, he had more than enough reason to live now that he had Ellie.
9 "No, we are survivors!"
Before he came to the realization that he needed something truly worth protecting to live, Joel’s argument for doing the terrible things he once did was that he was a survivor. He revealed to Ellie that he had once been a hunter, making him no better than the many men he had killed during the game.
But nobody could’ve made Joel feel bad about this, since he saw it as a means to survive. This was clear indication at the start of the game that our pal Joel here wasn’t the squeaky clean hero we’re used to having.
8 "You Want To know the best thing about my job? I Don't Gotta Know Why."
Joel’s grief over his daughter’s death led him down a path of darkness so bleak, that he came out as a completely apathetic person two decades later. This was needed, though, since it served as juxtaposition to the Joel we saw later in the game.
At the time when he wasn’t a father figure, Joel told Ellie he really couldn’t care about her even if he tried, as he only saw her as part of his job. It was surprising to see how he could have spiraled into a person who had no problems seeing a child die, but that’s what formed the first part of the layers of Joel’s character.
7 "...Too Much..."
Here was a time when we saw Joel becoming a different person due to Ellie’s influence, as he showed signs of wanting to share his inner turmoil, but wasn’t developed enough to fully dive into talking about things that made him sad.
In this scene, Ellie wanted to ask about Joel’s ex-wife; while he’d been happy to share things about himself a little more than he’d used to, Joel calmly told Ellie she was asking too much by this point. It was a whole lot better than when he’d screamed at her for asking questions earlier in the story, though.
6 "If I Get in trouble down there, you make every shot count."
It wasn’t only Ellie who had influence on Joel, if that’s what you’re thinking, as we had an example of Joel being a teacher underneath his gruff exterior when he first taught Ellie how to handle a gun under pressure moments.
Here, Joel planned on sneaking in and taking out the enemies, and entrusted Ellie with a firearm to cover him. This was the first time he was trusting her with his life, and she sure did make every bullet count. It was also the beginning of their trust for one another moving onto a higher level.
5 "You'd Just Come After Her."
There’s a lot of debate that has gone on for over six years whether this scene cemented Joel as a villain or not, but there’s no question it was incredibly impactful. Although Marlene had given him several chances to leave when she could’ve killed him, Joel didn’t extend the same courtesy to her when the tables turned.
Marlene, who had plans to kill Ellie to extract a vaccine out of her, begged Joel to let her go; he, however, showed off his less-than-stellar morality by shooting her point blank in the head because he knew Marlene would just recover and come after Ellie.
4 "Tommy saw the world one way, I saw the other."
Less is more in some cases to tell you just what a person is talking about, and it was abundantly clear what Joel meant when he said this about Tommy. Before this scene, the viewer would’ve wondered what happened to Tommy, since he and Joel were shown fighting for the other’s life in the intro, but Joel’s answer was enough.
It was the sudden calm in his deep voice that told you that a huge difference in philosophies had been the reason for the two to cut ties, and it was also clear that Joel wasn’t the one to cut contact off.
3 "Ellie, You're treading on some mighty thin ice here."
One of the reasons why The Last of Us was one of the best PS3 games was because it defied usual tropes in storytelling where the protagonist only goes upwards in characterization. Here, we had Joel revert to his formerly mean behavior after he and Ellie had gotten close.
When Ellie escaped Tommy’s settlement because she found out Joel was leaving her there, he tracked her down. Rather than give her the “dad talk”, though, Joel instead said it plainly that he wasn’t her father like she thought he was - this was in response to her bringing up Joel’s daughter. This topic was thin ice that no-one could walk with Joel, and he didn’t care at the time if his words hurt Ellie.
2 "I guess no matter how hard you try, you can't escape your past."
Then again, the above moment was only there so we could see Joel embrace the idea of his daughter being brought up in conversation again, as he finally accepted that he couldn’t pretend she hadn’t existed.
This was because he had by this point come to see Ellie as the replacement of his daughter, meaning he had no more problems with Ellie talking about anything that was personal to Joel. It was good to see him stop being in denial and understanding that he couldn’t spend his life grieving over what happened.
1 "I Got You, Baby Girl."
Before the winter chapter of The Last of Us, we hadn’t seen the tender and loving side of Joel. He’d been caring to an extent, but he hadn’t been outright fatherly toward Ellie up until he said these words.
Seeing how traumatized she was after she killed off the guy who wanted to eat her, Joel had no big words to comfort her, but reaffirmed that he was there. Ellie had gone through the entire ordeal for Joel’s sake, which brought the whole chapter together neatly as Joel was healthy again and would make sure he was always there to watch over the girl whom he now considered his daughter.