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The Best Walking Dead Characters, Ranked

Dead or alive, we put them in order of awesomeness so you don't have to

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as Negan)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character, Negan, was just too evil to make the list. But don't fret: There are plenty of other undead-battling characters to judge ...

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25. Tara Chambler

Tara is an extremely complex character. When first introduced, she has a tough exterior. As she becomes a more integral part of the show, she exhibits intense guilt for her involvement in the prison attack. Her struggle with feelings of revenge and her ability to let go of her hatred make her one of the most fascinating characters in the series.

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24. Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam)

Father Gabriel is a man living with the sins of his past. He survived a year and a half in his church after sacrificing his congregation to walkers, and then he betrayed Rick and Co. to the people of Alexandria.

Gabriel has since looked to atone for his treachery as he tries to walk a more righteous path. In Season 6, he sought forgiveness from the group by helping to protect the people he once betrayed from walkers.

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23. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt)

Did Eugene lie about being a scientist for way, way too long? Yeah, he did. But did he more than make up for it with some serious MacGyver-like crafting skills? Yeah, he did that, too. Combine that with the mullet to end all mullets, and Eugene musters barely enough coolness to rank near the bottom of our list.

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22. Noah (Tyler James Williams)

Noah was an aspiring architect and historian who tragically lost his family, and though he wasn't around too long, he left a lasting impact on The Walking Dead. Noah's best quality might have been his sense of humor. In such a sad world, the group needed some much-needed comic relief.

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21. Andrea Harrison (Laurie Holden)

Andrea might not have made the smartest decisions during her time on The Walking Dead, but she became one of the first women on the show to prove she can masterfully wield a weapon. Andrea quickly became a skilled assassin in the art of killing zombies.

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20. Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies)

Lori might not be the most popular character on The Walking Dead, but she had plenty of redeemable qualities. She was a strong, selfless woman who would do anything for her family's survival. She exemplified that notion when she ultimately sacrificed herself during childbirth for the health of baby Judith.

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19. Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.)

The Walking Dead isn't exactly brimming with optimism, but Bob Stookey proved that the show's characters don't have to be a victim of their circumstances. Bob came to Woodbury Prison as a depressed survivor of multiple zombie attacks, who was nevertheless able to use his skills as a medic for the greater good.

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18. Dale Horvath (Jeffrey DeMunn)

Dale was a retired car salesman whose RV helped give this rag-tag team of survivors a temporary home base. As the elder of the group, Dale often served as a mentor and adviser to Rick, Andrea and the others. In a world quickly losing its humanity, Dale served as the moral compass in his short time on the show.

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17. Beth Greene (Emily Kinney)

You know, it'd be easy to lose hope when your parents, siblings and two boyfriends die, but Beth kept her optimism until the bitter end. She was a soft-spoken and loyal companion who helped boost the morale of her companions.

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16. Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas (IronE Singleton)

T-Dog might have started his journey as the clumsy guy who lost the handcuff key needed to free Merle from that Atlanta rooftop, but he transformed into a devout, compassionate man who cared more for others than himself. He proved that by sacrificing himself for Carol. And honestly, what's cooler than compassion?

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15. Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal)

While Rick was in a coma after being shot, Shane emerged as the group's first leader. He was a strong and determined man who was one of the first to adapt to the new world that has taken over The Walking Dead. Shane's loss of humanity was shocking, but it's what the group needed to survive in a lawless society.

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14. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz)

There wasn't a survivor who enjoyed killing walkers more than Abraham Ford. The only time you'd see this mustachioed badass smile is when he was slaughtering zombies. But despite his violent habits, Abraham was a rather complex character who had to find a balance between his wisdom and rage.

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13. Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker)

Yes, Merle might have been rough around the edges, but he also had a heart buried deep underneath that tough Southern exterior. After being left for dead on a rooftop, Merle reappeared as the Governor's right-hand man in Season 3. But in the end, Merle was driven by his fraternal bond with Daryl. He would go on to turn on the Governor in an effort to save his brother and his former companions.

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12. Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green)

In a show filled with characters who make bad decisions, it was rather nice to see Sasha and her pragmatic ways shine on The Walking Dead. She was also a master marksman whose skills helped her become the lone survivor in her family... until her suicide in Season 7.

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11. Morgan Jones (Lennie James)

Some of the coolest characters on The Walking Dead don't even need a lot of screen time. That's true for Morgan Jones. After he lost his family to the outbreak, Morgan naturally went through a roller coaster of emotions, but he was able to retain his sanity. Plus, anybody who can kick butt with a wooden staff is pretty damn awesome.

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10. Tyreese Williams (Chad L. Coleman)

You've got to respect someone who does things his own way. While other characters slay zombies with guns, crossbows and swords, Tyreese preferred to stick with his deadly hammer. When he wasn't exterminating walkers, Tyreese was a respected leader who helped protect his family and his fellow prison survivors.

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9. Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs)

Despite Rick's attempts to keep his son sheltered, Carl might be the character who had the biggest loss of innocence on the show. After the outbreak, Carl quickly matured from a reserved child to a cold, calculated young man. The cruel reality of this world was never more apparent than when Carl had to kill his mother before she reanimated as a walker. In later seasons, Carl proved to have a strict moral code and strived to help others until his tragic death.

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8. Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson)

In his time on The Walking Dead, Hershel demonstrated his ability to be the voice of reason in a world that desperately needed it. Hershel was a stubborn Georgian farmer who not only helped to patch Carl up from a gunshot wound, but also survived getting his leg amputated. However, his coolest moment came when he almost single-handedly ended the zombie attack on his field in Season 2.

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7. The Governor (David Morrissey)

Fans of the Walking Deadcomic books were patiently waiting for the introduction of the Governor, the leader of the town of Woodbury. As the clear-cut villain of the series, the Governor helped keep survivors safe, but was also a cruel leader with an affinity for torture. Walking Dead co-writers Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga had so much fun writing for the Governor that they wrote a prequel novel to flesh out his back story. How cool is that?

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6. Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun)

Almost instantly, Glenn proved that he was one of the most fearless survivors of the bunch. While he was not highly skilled in combat, Glenn was always the first to volunteer for a supply run. He's also one of the few characters who demonstrated compassion and humanity. Fans were devastated to see him brutally killed by Negan in Season 7.

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5. Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan)

As the last surviving member of the Greene family, Maggie has transformed from a sweet country girl into the hardened soldier we see today. Her loss of innocence hasn't shut her off from the world, however. She's determined to build a life in this dystopian society, instead of just waiting to die.

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4. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride)

There probably isn't a stronger person on The Walking Dead than Carol. She has transformed into one of the most fun, kick-ass characters on TV today. Following the devastating loss of her family, Carol discovered her inner strength and learned vital survival skills that have saved her companions on many occasions. She also might be the only character on the show who has actually thrived in this dark world.

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3. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln)

Yes, this is Rick's show and his story, but he's not quite the coolest character on the show. While Rick is a stubborn man who often puts too much responsibility on his own shoulders, his greatest skill is leading and uniting the survivors. It'd be hard to imagine this group getting as far as they have without Rick's leadership.

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2. Michonne (Danai Gurira)

Michonne is one of the coolest characters in the series, but you wouldn't know it at first. Initially, the quiet, katana-wielding figure "walking" her zombie pets seemed unapproachable. But she was just going by the old mantra: Speak softly and carry a big ... sword. As her character developed, we learned through her interactions with Carl that she's a mother, through her support of Rick that she's a friend (and later lover), and through her bravery and survival instincts that she's a badass.

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1. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus)

Honest. Loyal. Brave. That's how many people would describe Daryl Dixon. He's an excellent hunter (both physically and mentally) who has transformed from a selfish loner to an integral member of the survivors. He's one of the most important characters on The Walking Dead, and it doesn't hurt that he wields a freakin' crossbow.