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Hershel Greene, as depicted in the comic book series.
|The Walking Dead character|
|Portrayed by||Scott Wilson (TV series); Robert Kouroukilis (video game voice-over)|
|First appearance||Issue #10 (comics)
"Bloodletting" (TV series)
|Last appearance||Issue #48 (comics)
"Too Far Gone" (Alive) (TV series)
"After" (Undead) (TV series)
"A" (Flashback) (TV series)
|Created by||Robert Kirkman|
Hershel Greene is a fictional character from the comic book series The Walking Dead and is portrayed by Scott Wilson in the American television series of the same name. He is the widowed owner of a farm in Georgia and has previous experience in the veterinary fields.
Comic book series
Hershel is displayed as a middle aged man of Irish descent who grew up on his family's farm where he developed a love for animals. As an adult, he held a veterinary business with his wife, which ended up collapsing once she died. Distraught over the loss and unable to do much (while at the same time forcing himself to develop a more religious point of view), he chose to fulfill his father's dying wish by moving himself and his seven children back to the farm and tending to the livestock, as well as being able to return to the old and simplistic form of life that he missed while he was living in the city. He struggled with the family finances, especially when it came to the expenses from college for some of his older children. Hershel was sheltered from the reality of the outside world when the apocalypse began and confused about what exactly was happening; when his son Shawn was bitten, Hershel was unable to handle the thought of killing him, and desperately clung to the belief that zombies were merely sick humans who could return to normal with a cure. He resorted to locking them up inside his barn whenever they wandered onto the property.
When the Atlanta band takes refuge at the farm after one of their own, Carl, is shot, he welcomes them with open arms; however, he gradually grows frustrated with them; this comes to a head when the barn bursts open and the zombies kill two of his children. He is distraught over their deaths and blames the survivors for what happened. After he discovers his daughter, Maggie, sleeping with Glenn, and sees that the other members of the group refuse to leave, he puts a gun to Rick's head and thus forces them out (though afterwards, he is ashamed and scared of the fact that he was on the verge of taking an innocent life). As the farm becomes increasingly unsafe, he and the rest of his people make the decision to join the Atlanta band at a safe and secure semi-abandoned prison where they next take shelter.
Hershel gradually makes amends with his fellow survivors and accepts Maggie's relationship with Glenn. His medical experience comes in handy for the survivors several times, such as delivering Lori's baby, as well as his farm-work knowledge, which he uses to start growing fresh crops in the prison fields. His two youngest daughters die at the hands of a deranged prisoner, adding to his family's death toll. He remains in shock for a while, only to get closure by forcing himself to watch the man's death at the hands of zombies outside of the premises. Now more than ever, he only lives for the protection and survival of his two remaining children. After marrying Maggie and Glenn, and knowing Glenn will take care of her for as long as he lives, he sees closure with that child and narrows his focus down to his youngest son Billy. He engages fiercely in the battle against the Governor and the Woodbury citizens but ultimately gives up on life after his son Billy is killed while they are fleeing the prison. In his last moments, he turned down the chance to escape with Rick and the others and remained hovering over his dead son's body until he caught the attention of the Governor. His tearful last words were, "Dear God, please kill me", before being shot in the head by the Governor.
Hershel was described as being raised by an abusive, alcoholic father, which resulted in him running away from the farmhouse at 15 years old and later not being at his father's deathbed. During his time away from the area, he became a veterinarian. At some point, he married a woman named Josephine, and settled back on the farm. Within the first few years of their marriage, he descended into alcoholism; however, he managed to give up the habit once Maggie was born. When Maggie was older, Josephine died, which ultimately led Hershel to marry another woman named Annette (who had a son of her own from a previous marriage) and have a daughter with her whom they named Beth. Sometime after the apocalypse began, he lost Annette and his step-son to the hordes of zombies. He and the rest of his group remained unaware of the reality of the outside world and strongly believed that there could be a cure. As a result of this mistaken belief, Hershel kept a large group of walkers, mostly family and friends, locked in a nearby barn.
When Otis accidentally shoots Carl, Hershel treats the boy as best he can with the limited amount of equipment; miraculously, he is able to save Carl's life. When the survivors settle down at the farm as Carl recovers, Hershel is watchful of their influence - particularly towards Shane's aggressive behavior and the group's hostile view of the walkers. Hershel is also wary of Maggie's closeness to Glenn, though he later gifts Glenn with a family heirloom symbolizing his approval of their relationship. He makes a deal with Rick to continue providing them safe haven, provided they stay away from the barn. When the survivors are forced to eventually storm the barn anyway (after Shane unlocks the barn door) and exterminate the zombies he had so desperately kept captive, Hershel sinks into a deep depression, running away and reverting to his old alcoholic habits. He abandons his previous beliefs for a cure and is convinced by Rick that he has to accept the new world in order to stay strong for his two daughters. When a horde of zombies invade his property, he fights tooth and nail to fend them off, albeit in vain. In the end, he is forced to retreat with Rick and Carl, not knowing if anyone else has made it off his property alive; he feels sadness over having abandoned his land. Going back to the highway in the Season 2 finale, they stay there until the rest of the survivors come, without Jimmy, Patricia, Shane and Andrea. Jimmy and Patricia have been eaten, while Shane has been killed by Rick (and again by Carl after reanimating) prior to the zombie attack and Andrea was separated from the group and on the run from walkers. While most of the camp doubts Rick's leadership in light of recent events, Hershel has solid trust in Rick, believing they should keep moving together as a group.
Approximately eight months later, Hershel continues to be an active member of the group as they continually move around from shelter to shelter. He has also grown a beard. While clearing out the prison, he is bitten on the ankle and his lower leg is immediately amputated by Rick. Hershel has recovered shortly after, and is able to get around by walking on crutches that Lori and Carol find for him somewhere in the prison. He appears to be the only major character so far to survive being bitten by a walker.
Following Lori's tragic death during the birth of her baby, Judith, Hershel appoints himself to the role of ensuring the well-being of Judith and Carl while Rick is frequently absent from the group (both physically and mentally). He becomes increasingly frustrated with Rick due to his inability to listen to reason and him specifically, but nonetheless he continues to help him through this difficult time in his life. He is with Carl when Carl coldly guns down a Woodbury boy who was handing over his weapon, disgusted he tells Rick. In Season 4 he is on The Council in the prison along with several others including Daryl, Glenn, Carol and Sasha. When a sickness breaks out Hershel argues with Rick to let him treat the sick, which Rick does. Eventually the sickness is contained and cured.
In the episode "Too Far Gone," Hershel and Michonne are captured by the Governor and his band. Rick pleads for the new group to join with his, saying, "Anyone can change." Causing Hershel to smile knowing his advice has rubbed off on Rick. Hissing "Liar!," the Governor slashes Hershel's throat with Michonne's sword, the standoff then turning into a firefight. Not long after the fight breaks out, the Governor pins Hershel to the ground, repeatedly slashing at his neck until he decapitates him, much to the horror of Beth and Maggie. His reanimated head is discovered later by Michonne after the attack and she remorsefully puts him down.
In the episode "A," he appears several times throughout the episode in flashbacks.
Hershel makes his first chronological appearance in the franchise in Episode 1: A New Day. At the point where Lee Everett meets Hershel, Lee has just escaped from the nearby suburbs, together with Clementine, Shawn, who is still alive at this point, and depending on player actions, Shawn's friend Chet, or the police officer Andre Mitchell. Hershel tends to a leg injury Lee has sustained, and questions him about what he was doing immediately before and after the outbreak took place. The player can either choose to be honest as possible to him, making Lee lie by omission, or dodging and not giving straight answers to his questions. Shawn then brings up the necessity of fortifying the farm to keep the walkers out, which Hershel disagrees with, believing that the outbreak will pass quickly, but after prompting by Lee, he agrees to let Shawn do it. The next day Hershel questions Lee some more, and if Lee was at any point directly lying to him, he will have picked up on the contradictions in Lee's story, and confronts him about it, and no matter what he will underline the importance of honesty and trustworthiness in the trying times ahead. Their conversation is cut short when Shawn and Duck, the young son of a couple also staying on the farm, are attacked by walkers near the fence. Lee arrives at the scene first and can either choose to concentrate on helping Duck or Shawn, who is trapped under a tractor. Regardless of that, Shawn is killed by the walkers, and Duck is brought to safety by his father, Kenny. Hershel then arrives at the scene with his shotgun and shoots the three walkers attacking Shawn. If Lee concentrated on Shawn, he will stay alive long enough to tell Hershel that Lee at least tried to save him which will mitigate his next responses a bit, but Hershel will ultimately be grief-stricken and distressed about his son's death, and angrily tell Kenny and Lee to leave his farm and never come back.
- "Beside the Dying Fire"
- Michael Crider (June 28, 2011). "‘The Walking Dead’ Season 2 Casts Hershel & Family". Screen Rant.