Ellie with her pun book on The Last of Us.

Bella Ramsey Opens Up About Ellie’s Queerness on ‘The Last of Us’

There are multiple queer storylines throughout the first season of HBO’s The Last of Us, which is something rare in television still to this day, and one of the the series’ main characters is a young girl named Ellie Williams who isn’t afraid to tell people like it is—played brilliantly by non-binary actor Bella Ramsey. It’s clear that this series was a passion project for many involved.

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Ellie is queer in the series, which is the same for her arc in The Last of Us: Part II, as well as the Left Behind portion of the original The Last of Us game. The show brought the Left Behind part of the game into Ellie’s main arc on the show and confirmed her queerness outright in the series, prior to when Part II would take place, and it was a brilliant move by the show. Because Ellie is an important queer character for exactly how the showrunner Craig Mazin described Ellie to Bella Ramsey. In an interview with L’Official, Ramsey spoke about how unapologetic Ellie is in her queerness and how that is something that Ramsey really connected with and was exciting to them about the character:

I definitely connected with it and it was really exciting to me. I remember the character description that came through in the initial email about Ellie. Part of what Craig wrote in her description was that ‘she’s gay and she doesn’t care,’ or I think the actual words were ‘doesn’t give a f*** what you think.’ I just loved that from the get-go,” Ramsey said. “It was really nice to have two really queer episodes. Like, gay people exist, so why shouldn’t they exist in the apocalypse? I really liked that it didn’t feel tacked on. It was so integral to this story, and so organically done, that it didn’t feel like, Oh, we’re just putting in these queer people for representation. This is the story, and it’s just a story of two people loving each other, and it was really beautiful.”

Ellie’s strength does come from her “I don’t give a F” attitude

Mazin describing Ellie as someone who “doesn’t give a f*** what you think” is very accurate, because the character really doesn’t. Yes, she’s looking for guidance and acceptance, particularly when it comes to Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal), but if he told her he’d never accept her, it’d be something that Ellie could quickly move on from.

But her queerness isn’t the only thing that defines her, which is something that often becomes a pitfall in queer characters. For Ellie, it is just who she is, and she’s happy in her own skin. And the show also highlighted the couple of Bill and Frank in a way that the game did not, which had fans (including myself) praising it as one of the best episodes of television.

Ramsey’s point is, though, that it was important to them that Ellie was gay and didn’t care what people thought about it. And the fact that Bill and Frank met and fell in love in the apocalypse because why wouldn’t they? It was truly one of the best shows I’ve seen in quite some time, and I can’t wait until we’re back with Joel and Ellie again for season 2.

(featured image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.