Since The Walking Dead started in 2010, little Carl Grimes has grown a lot, not only physically, but also emotionally. Over the series, the young teens' world has been rocked - he used to have two parents, now he has one, he also used to have two eyes, but after recent events that too has been reduced to just one. The world he knew was forever changed, and he was robbed of a normal childhood.
But despite all the trials he's faced over the course of the series, Carl continues to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with. Take a look back through Carl's journey over the course of the show, and see just how far this tough-as-nails kid has come.
Carl grew up in King County, Georgia and attended the local middle school. After his dad was shot and fell into a coma, the apocalypse began and eventually Carl ended up with his mom, Lori, and several other survivors (including Shane Walsh) on the outskirts of Atlanta.
Carl kept a relatively low profile in Season 1, however in Season 2 he didn't exactly make many fans when he continually put himself and others in danger. After unfortunately being shot in the woods, Carl eventually recovers and even learns to use a gun for protection. But, soon after Carl steals Daryl's gun and goes off to the woods alone where he taunts a walker stuck in mud. Eventually the walker breaks free of the mud and Carl only just gets away with his life. Later in the same episode that same walker — which only managed to pull itself loose because of Carl's taunting — finds its way to the Greene farm and kills Dale.
Season 2 was also when the infamous "Carl, stay in the house" meme was born. Despite being told to stay indoors while many of the group set off to look for the missing Randall, Carl snuck out and found his father standing over Shane's body. While Carl shoots the reanimated Shane in the head, the loud gun shot also drew an enormous herd toward the farm, which ultimately resulted in the group having to flee.
Rising to the challenge
But despite his rather annoying beginnings, to didn't take too long for Carl to soon become a useful member of the group, helping to clear walkers and gather supplies. Following the birth of his baby sister, Judith, and the death of his mom, the reality of the apocalypse hits Carl as never before, and he has a new sense of seriousness. He throws himself into helping the group, and is the one to decide that they should save Michonne, as well as leading Tyreese's group to safety (though keeping them contained in one of the cells).
Throughout Season 3, Carl shows the dark side of his personality - firstly when he doesn't hesitate to shoot Morgan (who was lucky wearing armor), and secondly when he kills Woodbury soldier, Jody, in cold blood as he was surrendering. Throughout Season 4, as life normalized a bit, he mellowed and even enjoyed some of his favorite pre-apocalypse hobbies, however that changed after the Governor attacked the prison and he and Rick fled, believing Judith to have been killed.
After they flee the prison, life becomes pretty bleak for Carl, and even though in Season 5 he's reunited with Judith, the group are still homeless and on the brink of starvation until they move to Alexandria. There his life quietens down for the first time in a long time, and he even meets kids his own age, including his first love interest, Enid.
A true survivor
In Season 6 Carl continues to show his survival skills when he assists members of Alexandria to get to safety when the community is overrun with walkers. Unfortunately in the process, Sam and Jessie Anderson are killed, and Ron shoots Carl with a bullet meant for his father, Rick. Carl survives, but is left with just one eye and a gnarly injury as a reminder.
Now, once again Carl's luck seems to have run out, after he was forced to kneel before Negan, along with his father, Michonne and eight other members of Alexandria. Although Carl seems like an unlikely choice for Negan's victim, we know that Negan did kill another boy of a similar age at the Hilltop, so Carl isn't totally safe yet. Besides, even if he survives the after effects of such a trauma are surely going to have an affect on Carl for the rest of his life. Hopefully this plucky teen can overcome this moment as just one more obstacle in the fight to rebuild society again.