10. Sophia

The Death: Uncharacteristic of the series’s typical gory offerings, Sophia was killed offscreen, propelling the Season 2 mystery of what happened to her and where she was. When they eventually found the zombie Sophia in Hershel’s barn, it was Rick who finished her off.

How It Changed Things: The Walking Dead is at its best when it maintains its frenetic pace, never letting the heroes get comfortable. Season 2 was the low point of the series largely because they spent so much time simply walking around the forest as opposed to killing zombies. Sophia’s death marked an end to this and righted the course for not only the season, but the series as a whole.

To this point, Rick and the group were far from the zombie-killing experts we know and love, but they had still come further than most. The way that Sophia was handled by Hershel reminded us of the fear that was still in others, helping us to recognize Rick’s own growth.

This didn’t develop characters so much as it highlighted how they had already changed, but for one, it marked the beginning of a massive shift. Notably, Sophia’s death was the start of Carol’s transformation that would take place over the next few years.

9. Amy

The Death: When the initial Atlanta camp was overrun with walkers, Amy was bitten. Her sister, Andrea, held her in her arms until she slowly turned when, tearfully, she would wait until the last moment before shooting her.

How It Changed Things: It’s a well-known fact that no one is safe in The Walking Dead. But when the show first aired, we were all in the dark about how unrelenting the series would be. Amy’s was the first major death to occur and would set the tone for the entire show that followed.

She may not have been the most important character, but she was certainly visible, developed, and had done nothing to warrant her death. This show meant business and killing off someone like her set a bold statement.

The was also one of the first big emotional points early on. In fact, her death was even so touching that it made us briefly like Andrea, and that’s no small feat.

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