The Walking Dead Rise of the Governor Gave us some insight into who the Governor really is. The novel follows Philip and Brian Blake as the beginning of the Zombie-pocalypse begins. Philip is the younger brother of Brian. Philip is fearless and cutthroat while his brother is not even capable of killing a zombie who is tied to a tree. Philip keeps Brian alive for the sole purpose of having a babysitter for his traumatized daughter Penny. Brian eventually fails to keep Penny alive and is nearly beaten to death by his brother.
After the death and Resurrection of his daughter Penny, Philip looses all ability to feign humanity. He tortures Penny's killers for weeks while keeping the girl chained to a tree. Then he realizes he can feed her. Philip ends up becoming a rapist and a murderer. While Brian looks on in horror.
After Philip is tragically killed in the process of raping and murdering a local Woodbury girl Brian undergoes a transformation and becomes the alter ego of his brother Philip. One too many whacks to the head and a sense of helplessness without his brother to protect him drives him over the edge and gives him the courage to take over Woodbury and hide his niece in a closet. Brian continues his brothers tradition of feeding her the remains of those that he raped and tortured.