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The Walking Dead: Is The Governor Bad?

Updated on January 14, 2013

Who is the Governor?

The governor is the new villain in series three of the TV version of The Walking Dead. He’s also present in the graphic novel versions of the story and in both narrative strands is presented in a fairly negative light. But in both telling of the tales it isn’t immediately clear as to precisely what makes the Governor bad. We’re aware that we’re supposed to mistrust or even to dislike the character, but not why. In the graphic novels he’s more evidently a baddy- WITH his eye patch and general appearance he really couldn’t be anything else. But beyond these tropes, it isn’t immediately obvious why the Governor is to be feared. In plain terms, is the Governor Evil? Is the Governor bad? And if he is, what makes the Governor evil? How is the Governor bad?

Yes, But Who is the Governor?

The Governor is the name of the leader of a rival group to the main characters in the Walking Dead. He leads a rather large bunch of survivors who securely within a gated community, keeping the Walkers at bay and leading managing to lead a surprisingly ordinary existence given the circumstances.

Is the Governor Bad?

The first clue that the Governor may be a bit lacking in moral fibre, apart from his sinister appearance, is the company he keeps. It is the arrival of the Governor and his group within the TV series version of the story that heralds the re-emergence of Merle Dixon, the violent and aggressive racist whom Rick Grimes handcuffed to a roof during season one. Beyond that we start to see glimpses that despite his claims to be a relaxed and caring leader with a laissez-faire attitude, the Governor is actually a petty despot with a strange fixation with his own authority. Next we learn that he keeps what appears t be a zombie of his own daughter captive within his apartment. This may be a pitiable form of grief but it is also, surely, not ordinary behaviour.

What Does the Governor Do That's Bad?

When Michonne and Andrea are brought captive to the Governor’s town, Woodbury, he at first seems courteous to them despite their incarceration. When Andrea takes him at face value and begins to like him, she and the Governor ultimately begin a relationship. Conversely Michonne seems to sense that something is not right with the Governor or with Woodbury and the Governor responds to her attitude with similar dislike and, ultimately violence.

Later, in the TV version of the story, Glenn and Maggie become captives of the Woodbury group. The violence and humiliation meted out to them both either at the Governor’s instruction, or directly by him, is considerable and is surely just cause for considering him to be an evil character.

Zombie Fights!

In both the comic and the TV versions of the Walking Dead universe, the Governor offers some fairly non-standard entertainment to the people of his community. We learn that the good people of Woodbury like to relax of an evening by watching some rather cruel and pointless fights that are staged between the town’s more macho inhabitants and some chained walkers. The cavalier attitude towards moral probity shown here, as well as the fairly dangerous decision to actually catch and cage walkers within the town’s limits both suggest that the Governor isn’t quite the wholesome figure he likes to pretend he is.

Walking Dead Goodies!

So... Is The Governor Bad?

Yes. The Governor’s propensity for evil isn’t fully developed within season three of The Walking Dead TV series- we’ve seen some of the things he is capable of, but we can also sense that there might be more beneath the series. Within The Walking Dead graphic novel the Governor’s evil doings are a lot more explicitly explored- his evil less lurks below the surface than it does rise bubbling to the surface like erupting magma. But regardless of your preferred medium, it’s apparent that despite his initially placid appearance, the Governor is a very bad man.


Do let us all know what you think about The Governor. Will he get more evil within the next season of The Walking Dead? Or will he be in some manner redeemed?


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