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The Last Of Us Showrunner Says Joel Is A "Hero", But Not In A "Positive Sense"




Those who've played The Last of Us know how hard the ending hits. Whether it was the PS3 original or the PS4 remaster or the PS5 remake, the Game has been a standout experience not only for its refined Gameplay but for the story that it serves. The director and writer Neil Druckmann, alongside Game director Bruce Straley, deserve full credit here.

The HBO adaptation has thrust the Game's famous ending back into the limelight, sparking much discussion and debate once again. Recently, showrunner on the HBO show Craig Mazin spoke at length about the season finale, Joel's decision, and much else, in an interview with Vulture. Mazin was generous, not only revealing his regrets over a cut line in episode five that foreshadowed the finale's events, but also what he thought about the character played so well by Pedro Pascal.

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There was the tidbit too that Mazin got a tattoo — his first — of Ellie's switchblade, to mark the success of the show, a promise between him and fellow showrunner Neil Druckmann, although Druckmann has yet to keep up his side of the bargain. "I am saying this to as many journalists and as many places as I can, because he gave me his word", Mazin joked.

the last of us joel and ellie in truck while ellie looks at adult magazine

The season finale 'Look for the Light' has set Internet conversations ablaze with talk about "love's inherent rationality" as Vulture puts it, and Mazin was eager to get into the subject. As Mazin says, "good stories are built on arguments".

The interviewer and Mazin go back and forth on the the topic of rationality and irrationality, and how humans have, over the centuries, often rationalised what are inherently irrational impulses. The interviewer then asks if Mazin would still use the word "hero" to describe Joel following his actions in the season finale.

Plague Tale Requiem Games Like The Last Of Us Joel and Ellie

"Yes, but I don't look at the word 'hero' in the positive sense any more than I necessarily look at 'villain' in the perjorative sense", Mazin says. "'Protagonist' would be just as good of a word. The protagonist has goals, and the protagonist ultimately does or doesn't achieve them. Joel achieves his goal — it's just that we might not be onboard with it anymore, and that's the discussion I think people are going to have".

Mazin said he's been "captivated" by the discussion around the Game and that the story "didn't let me walk away clean". Later on in the interview Mazin gets real deep into his subject as he waxes philosophical about the nature of love and the extremities it can push people toward. It's a fascinating interview and well worth checking out, head on over to Vulture to read it here.

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