While most would picture Judith as this, ‘child who will one day change the future’ others would argue it could also be Lydia. Lydia’s character while present in both The Walking Dead series and the comics, actually plays a bigger part than most might realize.
She was a victim of physical and mental abuse by her mother, the future leader of The Whisperers named Alpha, but has since recovered. From being an outcast to a core member of the survivors, let’s talk about Lydia.
Lydia’s (Cassady McClincy) character was hard to decipher from the moment she was revealed under the walker mask in the season 9 episode titled “Adaptation”. By this point, our main cast has not fully met nor understood The Whisperers.
They knew people were dressing and acting like walkers, which was how they successfully killed loyal friend Jesus (Tom Payne). When Lydia is first caught, screaming for mercy, face stained with tears, you’d think there was no way she’d survive.
Once a victim of her mother, now independent and strong, who is Lydia on The Walking Dead?
Daryl (Norman Reedus), in particular, was incredibly brutal and untrustworthy of her. Especially as she began a friendship and later brief relationship with Henry (Matt Lintz); Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel’s (Khary Payton) adopted son.
But over time Lydia’s story began to unfold as she was a victim of her mother’s abuse (Samantha Morton), misinterpreting it as tough love. So much so that in her first telling of her story, her father was the abusive one and her mother the protective one.
Lydia, under the control of her mother for so long, was hard to communicate with and understand but would create a near Father-Daughter bond with Daryl. A man who from the beginning was a loner, distrustful of anyone who wasn’t his toxic brother Merle (Michael Rooker) and was abused by his own father for years.
A man who was so overprotective of her that the moment she started to bond with fellow outcast Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), he stepped in and practically ordered her to stay away from him. Of course, Lydia would be an outcast at Alexandria, despite the fact she wanted nothing to do with her mother and The Whisperers anymore.
Even though her innocence and honesty helped her to connect with several characters like Carol, some simply hated her. So much so she was almost killed if it wasn’t for Negan.
Negan, at this point, while still a prisoner, was helping out in Alexandria and still very hated. Hated to the point they wanted him dead for accidentally killing one of the bullies who almost killed Lydia.
This also led to Lydia and Negan’s friendship to become a type of Father-Daughter relationship. Their bond was so strong that she was devastated when she found out he killed her mother.
A bond so strong that Lydia is visibly upset when Negan did not return to Alexandria with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl, Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) and Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) after the Meridian food mission. Negan, Daryl and Carol changed thanks to Lydia.
Even when Carol knew how dangerous she’d be to have around, even when Henry was brutally killed by Lydia’s mother, she still found herself unable to disconnect from her. Currently Lydia’s presence has become more prominent.
She’s fighting walkers, she’s protecting her friends, she’s speaking out against Maggie when she doesn’t agree with her actions. Lydia is no longer a victim of her upbringing but a victorious survivor.
It will be interesting to see what’s next for her, whether that is taking a leadership role of her own or perhaps creating a new relationship with Elijah.
What are your thoughts on Lydia? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to read them!
The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 14 airs on March 28, 2022.