In the first two seasons of the show, few fans could have predicted that Carol—the unassuming wife of an abusive husband—would become one of the most badass characters on the show. Carol is currently one of the most popular characters on the show, in line with Daryl and second only to Rick. But how did Carol go from house wife to butt-kicking anti-hero?
She learned to shoot—and shoot well
In the beginning, Carol did not really know how to shoot or kill walkers. She was one of the members of the group who had to be protected by the more experienced marksmen such as Rick and Shane. However, the death of Sophia caused a shift in Carol’s personality and made her focus on surviving—and part of surviving in the world of the Walking Dead is knowing how to kill, and how to kill well. Carol learned to shoot, stab and even kill with her own bare hands. This greatly increased not only her asset to the group but her personal inner and out strength as well.
She became the most practical member of the group
The hope of finding Sophia, to viewers, was the opposite of practical. A young girl roaming in the woods is not a likely candidate for survival in the normal world—much less a world where zombies exist. Yet Carol continued to cling to the hope that Sophia would be found, despite the fact that it wasn’t realistic, and despite the fact that stopping and searching for her was using up resources.
After it was discovered that Sophia had long since been a walker, Carol lost that sense of naïve hopefulness and became much more practical. She killed Karen and the others when the flu outbreak occurred, because she believed that killing them would stop the disease from reaching the rest of the group. She did not want to bring back the two young people in town to the prison because they did not have any essential skills to add to the group and would only be two more mouths to feed. And she knew that killing the Terminus man who threatened them was the only way to ensure that he would not get to attack them—or baby Judith. Carol’s practicality has led her to become stronger, and led her to make tough—and sometimes debatable—decisions.