[Trigger warning for mentions of attempted rape, abortion, and violence.]
Name: Rick Grimes
Fandom: The Walking Dead (TV series)
Canon point/AU: Season Five, Episode Three - Following the confrontation with Gareth and the Termites in the church, prior to Daryl's return.
PB: Andrew Lincoln
Age: Late thirties, early forties; it's never explicitly stated.
History: Character Wiki | Canon Wiki
At a glance, Rick Grimes doesn't look like much. Tall and lean, he lacks the brute strength of men like Shane, and doesn't have the charismatic air of the Governor. With his hair overgrown and his beard wild and greying, he's long since stopped worrying about his appearance. The sheriff's uniform is gone, replaced with plain, unassuming utility.
What makes Rick truly intimidating is in how he presents himself. It's in the relaxed stance and the sharpness of his gaze; he's level-headed and direct, more menacing with a few words and a hard look than most can accomplish with a gun and shouted threats.
From the very beginning, Rick reveals himself to be a natural leader. He effortlessly takes charge, utilizing cool composure and police training to organize their ragtag pack of survivors. He's not the strongest or the 'best' - He doesn't even particularly want the role. Instead, it comes down to the fact that Rick is willing to shoulder that responsibility, and perhaps more importantly, that he keeps the dying embers of hope alive within their group. Others may not always agree with his calls, but they accept him as the only one prepared to make them. His selfless nature lends itself well to the position, and Rick consistently bears the brunt of what the post-apocalyptic world has to throw at them. He is the one to step up and end Sophia's suffering. He is the first to take down a living person, despite his insistence they never resort to it. When Shane proves himself a liability, it falls to Rick to put him down.
His tenure has not been without its ups and downs. Following the loss of the Greene farm, Rick eliminates any democratic process, taking sole responsibility for the future of the group. Faced with the Governor and the stranglehold he has over the people of Woodbury, he comes to realize his mistake and swings back the other direction, forsaking leadership altogether. It's taken time and experience for him to find his footing, but through it all, he has managed to earn the respect and loyalty of those following him.
In the wake of Terminus, Rick's newfound confidence inspires him to take on his role in a way he never has before. More assured in his decisions and unwavering in his resolve, Rick has become an uncompromising and ruthless leader of survivors. If you don't stand beside him, you had best be standing out of his way; if the safety of his family hangs in the balance, you will lose. With violence an accepted part of Rick's life, he wields it readily and effectively - but still draws the line at cold-blooded murder. If there is another option, he will present it: lower your guns, stop running, back away. He doesn't believe himself to be unreasonable and he doesn't attack unprovoked. That said, if one fails to heed those warnings, they do so at their own peril. Rick is vicious if he feels it warranted, and will not hesitate to wipe a colony off the map if they threaten the safety of his people or others at large.
The responsibility may not have been asked for, but the power of the position has poisoned Rick in some ways; he's become accustomed to doing things his own way and isn't quick to fall under the rule of others. In a later episode, he defiantly tells Dawn's remaining cops that he will be taking those patients who wish to leave, challenging them with the idea that he holds the power in the situation. Even with his own best friend, he is surprisingly protective of his own authority and doesn't hesitate to reestablish it when it's threatened.
Hardened by past experience, Rick is slow to move past his initial distrust of outsiders and has a strong poker face. He's long been a better listener than he is a talker, and he still has a tendency to lapse into silence; he's brusque and to the point, carefully choosing his words for optimal efficiency. More frequently, he chooses to forgo conversation altogether, picking up far more about an individual through observation than he'd take away from actually talking to them.
For the few who manage to earn his loyalty, it's still possible to glimpse the man that he was before the turn. Through it all, he continues to be a loving and protective father to Carl and shares many tender moments with his infant daughter, Judith. He cares deeply for those he considers friends, subtly affectionate in his own way; be it through the way he puts an arm around Beth during their reunion or the casual physical contact with Daryl, he's not afraid to let his sentiment show. While he will never be an expert conversationalist, it's certainly easier once that trust has been established; uncompromising as he has become, he's still willing to hear others out.
In the end, it's the combination of both these sides that make Rick what he is. He's become the glue that holds his group together, just as much as they keep him from falling apart.
Rick is a man with a strong moral compass, which would be considered an asset - in just about any other situation. His steadfast ideas of right and wrong are quickly outdated in the post-apocalyptic world, and his initial refusal to stray from his own strict code often leads him to make bad judgement calls. Thinking with his heart instead of his head, he risks his group's wellbeing on numerous occasions, often putting himself at odds with his more pragmatic partner, Shane.
Needless to say, a man can only think that way for so long and survive; his principles are frequently challenged and have eroded over time. With each test, Rick has been pushed further and further into the grey area, forcing him to make decisions that don't necessarily have a 'right' answer. Free a prisoner and risk him bringing back an enemy group, or kill him to keep the people of his own camp safe? Take the Governor at his word and give him one life in exchange for a truce with Woodbury, or risk open conflict? The solutions are not always clear cut, and while Rick strives to hold on to his humanity, he learns quickly that sometimes rules need to be bent.
As flexible as it becomes, his sense of morality is still a sharp contrast to the undercurrent of brutality evident in many of Rick's actions - something which becomes increasingly more prominent as the series progresses. Initially, he denies this part of himself. When he stabs Shane, Rick insists that his hand has been forced, and that Shane is the one at fault. He feels that the things he does are a consequence of the reality he finds himself in - and he isn't wrong. That said, even sharing those circumstances, there are very few who are willing to go to those same lengths - It takes a certain steel to be able to kill a child, undead or not.
It's only after months of struggle and unsuccessful attempts to suppress the more violent aspects of his nature that things come to a head; when faced with the threat of Carl being raped and killed, Rick is forced to make a split second decision and tears his attacker's throat out with his teeth. It's in this moment that Rick finds his answer and finally accepts the brutality he is capable of, realizing that it is a necessary part of him.
If one were to make a map of Rick's motives, all paths would lead back to his loved ones. Family is the primary driving force in Rick's life, and there is nothing he wouldn't do to protect those he considers part of it. The first thing he does in a world turned upside down is search for his wife and son; he's barely standing, the dead are walking, and he's charging into Atlanta on horseback, because they might be there. As time passes, that circle grows to include the other members of their small group, the challenges they face together forging ties stronger than those of blood. It's the strength drawn from their connection that allows Rick to do things he would otherwise be incapable of, and when faced with losing those people, he starts to fall apart.
It wouldn't be the first time that Rick has broken down. With Lori's death, Rick loses his grasp on sanity; he suffers from hallucinations and embarks on a violent rampage through the catacombs of the prison, slaughtering walkers left and right. It takes a sharp dose of reality to bring him back, but his aren't the sort of wounds that heal cleanly; his mind is still fractured, and it's likely that under right pressure, he would crack again.
Trust is something of a commodity in the apocalypse, and one that Rick has in short supply. At the start, he is quick to open his heart to others, immediately taking to Morgan and his son, Glenn, Andrea, and the other survivors of the Atlanta camp. They are alliances of necessity in some ways, but he readily places his life in the hands of others - something that many would not be so quick to do under the same circumstances.
The bonds he shares with his people are ironclad, sometimes to his own detriment, as evidenced by his relationship with Shane. Rick allows his feelings to blind him to the other man's steady deterioration, endangering both himself and his group. He gives him chance after chance, and it's only when Shane plans to murder him that Rick realizes there can be no resolution between them.
Hard as it is to break, Rick's trust is not without its limits. Lori manages to press that farther than anyone; while alienating him with her attempted abortion and wavering support, the final straw comes when she lashes out for Rick's part in his partner's death - something she had pushed for in the first place. In the wake of that hurt, Rick pulls away from her; their relationship hangs by a thread, having dwindled down to obligatory protection and one-sided conversations until she eventually dies during childbirth. Similarly, Rick is forced to abandon Carol after discovering she is responsible for the murder of two of their own. Close as their bond has grown, he realizes that the threat she poses to his family outweighs his need to protect her; seeing her lack of remorse, he concludes that leaving her is the safest option for his children.
Once things start to take a downward turn, his faith broken by those closest to him, Rick's defense is to shut down. He distances himself from the others and allows his prejudice to colour his judgement regarding Axel and Oscar, before outright rejecting Michonne and Tyreese's group. He allows suspicion to rule him and stubbornly refuses to allow others into his fold without the intervention of the others.
As is his need with most things, he has since been forced to find a balance between the two extremes. With some gentle guidance from Hershel, Rick relearns that he needs to make room in his heart to trust others - but he's also very aware of the dangers of betrayal. Hershel himself is gone now after all, lost after Rick offers to open the gates of the prison to the Governor's crew. Now, while distrust and doubt tend to be his immediate response to most situations, winning him over is not impossible.
Holding onto hope is a constant struggle, and Rick continues to grapple with its place in his new reality. With all eyes on him, he often feels he has little choice, and that for him to lose hope, he would be condemning their group to despair and failure. The loss of Sophia is a significant blow to his faith; Rick convinces himself that she will be found, blindly believing that things could work out. Her death and his role in it mark a breaking point; up until that point, Rick has had incredible luck. Against all odds, he woke from a coma, found his family, had his son pull through after being shot. The unfair reality of Sophia's death came as a wakeup call, forcing him to face that sometimes, hope just isn't enough.
It's this capacity to have faith in the face of tragedy that makes Rick stand out amongst survivors and it inspires the others to continue on - and Rick is at his best when he's moving forward. Even when it's difficult for him to believe himself, he clings to the idea that there is a future to be had somewhere - They just have to find it.
Rick places unnecessary stress on himself with a self-imposed sense of responsibility, leading him to oftentimes shoulder more than his share of the burden. While an admirable trait in a leader, it can easily prove a double-edged sword. Particularly early on, he is tormented by the harder decisions he's forced to make. In the case of Lori, he nearly lets that guilt consume him, blaming himself for not mending their broken relationship before it was too late. Beneath it all, Rick is still human and he has trouble letting himself off the hook, even for circumstances not always within his control.
At his core, Rick is still a good person - but what constitutes 'good' in the world as he finds it now has changed nearly as much as the man himself.
As Rick hails from an already hostile environment, he is quick to adapt to situations and he doesn't scare easily - This is, after all, a man who managed to look only mildly inconvenienced when hogtied and shoved over a trough, about to have his throat slit by cannibals. He's seen the worst the world has to offer and come out the other side - there's no reason this should be any different.
That said, the idea of only one winner is going to present a problem for Rick. While he has no problem with giving his own life to protect those he cares for, he's not prepared to throw those same people to the wolves. He will do whatever he thinks he has to in order to ensure the survival of his friends while looking for a way out, likely getting his hands dirty in the process.
First Person Thread:
[As the world faded, Rick thought of Carl.
The knowledge that he would be leaving his son to raise Judith alone hurt more than the wound itself - or that he would never see the man he would grow up to be. He would miss his daughter's first steps, miss her first words and the birthdays they didn't keep track of anymore. Rick didn't want to believe that after everything they'd been through, that this would what took him down. Here, worlds away, where his family may never learn the truth of it.
Rick had once told Carl that this day would come, though that afternoon at Hershel's farm felt like a lifetime ago now. He'd said then, that he would die. That Lori would die. Whether it had been some lingering, foolish hope that he wouldn't be forced to outlive his son, or maybe just some gut instinct... Whatever it was, he'd been right.
... In the end, there really was no way to prepare for it.
His fingers were already clasped to his chest before he realized what was happening, nearly choking on the air as it rushed back into his previously lifeless lungs. Part of him expected to draw the hand back red, still painted with blood from a wound that by all accounts, should have still been there. All of this should have been impossible, and yet... he was there. Alive. Torn from death and tossed right back where he'd started - the cold sterility of a hospital room.
He'd seen the dead rise too many times to count, but this? This was different. He was coherent in a way the walkers weren't - enough to know that whatever this was, it wasn't the infection. Rick hadn't ever been much of a believer when it came to the Almighty, but then... he'd never been all that keen on men stepping in for him either.
The chirp of the device is enough to stir him from his thoughts, and he casts it a sidelong glance, as though he doesn't quite believe it at first.]
This is what you're all here to see, isn't it? People killin' each other?
[His voice was rough and an octave lower than usual; the only outward sign that he's the least bit rattled. His 'loss' - as though these people cared what that meant.]
You already got what you came for.
Rick was reminded of the Governor.
That first night they'd stormed Woodbury, they'd returned to find that he'd pitted the Dixon brothers against one another in some sort of twisted cage match. They'd been surrounded by bleachers and a cheering crowd, people shrieking for blood the same way they might have spurred on players at a football game. Men had brought walkers out like set pieces, their snapping teeth setting the boundaries of the fight for added 'excitement'. The entire thing, one big spectacle made of pointless death.
These people could say whatever they wanted - Rick knew that impressing them wasn't going to do a damned thing when it came down to it.
Whatever they chose to call it, this was the exact same thing that the Governor had done. They were looking for a show, and whether or not Rick chose to play into it, it wasn't going to end well for anyone involved. Were he to prove himself adept, pulling him from the arena wouldn't make sense. Whatever 'help' they provided would be during the fight and would likely be tantamount to the collared walkers that had surrounded the pit - Increasing the risk to those involved to increase the entertainment for the people in the seats.
As his fingers skimmed over the handle of an axe, it's not the impression that he'd leave in this room that was on his mind. With the notable assortment of weapons, there should have been something small enough that he could slip away; from the echo of laughter above him, it didn't seem his audience was paying him much mind anyway. He held no illusions that he was the first to think of it, and with his escorts close by, it wasn't a good call - but his options were already pretty limited.
Pushing the thought to the back of his mind, he finally settled on the machete. It was familiar, effective. It wasn't a surprise to see that there were no guns on the table; bullets were quick, and the sort of people looking to watch men kill each other weren't looking for it to be easy.
His gaze turned back to the upper level, his potential 'saviors' still engrossed in conversations and indulgence, unconcerned with the man they'd just sentenced to probable death. There was more food in that room than his family had seen in a year. The clatter of the blade hitting the floor was barely enough to turn their heads.
It would have been easy enough to do what they wanted. For Rick, it had been so damned long since things were easy, he'd almost forgotten what it felt like.
Probably because easy was rarely synonymous with right.
What is your character scored:
Rick may be an average human with no supernatural powers, but he is not one to be underestimated. He's in good physical condition, if not slightly malnourished, and the post-apocalyptic world he lives in has forced him to become adept in the ways of survival. While he does have some hand-to-hand and self-defense training as a police officer, his style has devolved into something else over time, shifting more toward stealth and brutality.
He is comfortable with a variety of firearms and bladed weapons, though he keeps going back to his trusty Colt Python. That said, he's proven himself able to make creative use of his surroundings, and, when cornered, won't hesitate to tear another man's jugular out with his teeth. In the end, he will work with whatever he has, and if he feels that his people are threatened, there is nothing he will stop at to protect them.
While Rick's mental state has been questionable at times, he's reached a level of stability unseen from him before. Having made peace with the more violent aspects of his own nature, Rick is now able to apply that side of himself to lethal effect. His loved ones are both his weakness and his strength; harming them does more damage to Rick than anything that could ever be inflicted to his own person, but it also brings out the more vicious parts of him. If he feels it's necessary, he will kill living people, and has done so on multiple occasions - even his own best friend.
One of his largest disadvantages will be in crowd likeability. Rick isn't one to perform for an audience; even before the world went to hell, he was never a real big talker. He can recognize the benefits of having that support, but as he is now, he's not particularly marketable. As a man of action, he's likely to give them a show (albeit not intentionally), but he's just not the type to go out of his way to garner favour either.
With all that said, I'd place him around a 9 or a 10. Rick isn't an irredeemable killer, but he won't shy away from the challenge of the games either. He's a survivor, and he will fight hard to protect those he cares about, regardless of how much blood he is forced to spill to do so.
Token: While he would prefer his .357, he'd choose to take his wedding ring. While his marriage was far from perfect, he hasn't taken that ring off since Lori returned it to him - he doesn't plan on starting now.