TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of rape, murder, violence and controlling relationships.
WARNING: Spoilers of TV show and comic book references but focusing mainly on TV Negan (up to 7×07) | This is quite gif heavy | Some swearing will also occur FYI.
These are just opinions.
It’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with The Walking Dead. My obsession has been further ignited by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of Negan, who we were introduced to at the end of Series 6. And despite him being a complete arsehole, we love to hate him. And hate to love him too. He is the ultimate bad guy since The Governor. And today I thought I would share my thoughts on this love/hate relationship many fans have with this character.
Throughout Series 6 Negan’s name kept cropping up. And yet we had no idea who he was. We know he wanted half of everyone’s shit. And then Rick and his group went and killed a lot of his people which, according to Negan is:
So, in return Negan entrapped Team Family (Rick, Carl, Daryl, Michonne, Aaron, Abraham, Maggie, Glenn, Rosita, Eugene and Sasha). He delivered a long-winded speech, torturing them into wondering what was going to happen next.
Ultimately, Series 7 premiered with Abe getting his head bashed in by a barb wired baseball bat named Lucille. It was gross and surprise to many. But it was not half as disgusting as Glenn’s eye-popping, skull crushing death triggered by Daryl punching Negan in the face. Wooo, well done Daryl.
After taking Rick on a mini road trip, Negan decides to “keep” Daryl and treats Rick like a puppet, resulting in our fearless leader almost chopping his son’s arm off.
So, yeah, Negan’s a bad guy within two episodes. But why do so many people, including myself love him?
I CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU
The moment Negan steps out of that RV many of us TWD fans thought “shit.” Because a lot of fans, whether you’ve read the comics or not, knew who Negan was. Some of us knew he killed Glenn in Issue 100 of the comics but we weren’t sure if this would turn out to be the same.
Well, it was close enough. But not many people expected Negan to be so… Attractive.
Yeah, weird right? This murderous, chatty man is the definition of sexy. You saw the way he slid that gun down his pants right?
THAT WAS THE MOMENT. I know, I have no shame.
Here’s why many of us have this sick obsession:
The Softer Side
Negan is sexy, strong and a provider. He keeps us on our toes, he has a leather jacket and he’s played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Did I mention the jacket already? Not only that but he’s fearless, funny and is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome.
Psychopaths like Negan are really good at playing on people’s emotions, needs and desires. A lot of them are smart, funny and can easily blend in with society. I mean, for goodness sake, Ted Bundy was considered charismatic and attractive too. This is how they control people, lure them in. Smart and cunning making it easier for them to catch their victims and get away with their crimes.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
So, we now know why so many of us are attracted to Negan. A witty, six foot two smooth talker. He’s strong, he has supplies and he can keep those who support him safe. What’s not to love?
HE’S A HEARTLESS MURDERER
“But everyone in the show is!”
“So is Rick!”
Yep, and you’d usually be right. Which is why the writers are so smart. We are now meant to question ourselves. If we saw how life was from Negan’s perspective, would we feel different about the Abe/Glenn blood bath? Probably. Because we would have no idea what those characters were like. We are meant to say “what would we do?”
However, Rick and the group don’t exactly have a sense of humour like Negan does about murdering people. He jokes and taunts those who loved the victims which really isn’t fucking cool.
HE’S A LIAR AND A HYPOCRITE
In Sing Me A Song Negan burns Mark’s face with an iron for sleeping with one of his “wives”, Amber. He says to The Saviors that he doesn’t want to do it which is complete bull as you can see how much pleasure he gets from torture. He also tells Amber that the rules are that the wives aren’t to cheat on him. But later in Alexandria, he’s offering himself to Olivia (whether this is his idea of a joke or no not, it’s against the “rules” that he’s so proud of). Overall, he’s pretty deluded in thinking he’s a good guy.
HE’S A POWER HUNGRY CONTROL FREAK
Although we, at this stage, aren’t exactly sure what makes Negan so special (other than his gorgeous face) or the exact reason why he has so many followers, we do know that he has power. Examples of said power:
- The Saviors (a pretty boastful name for people who steal half of everyone’s stuff) kneel whenever he enters the room.
- They all refer to themselves as “Negan”. Pretty strange.
- Oh, something else that is strange… He gets Carl to sing, whilst exposing his eye socket as Negan practices his kill shots with Lucille. Carl, despite standing up to Negan on the odd occasion, obeys him nervously. Pretty awkward to watch.
- He plays mind games with Rick, forcing him to chop off Carl’s arm… And then changes his mind.
- He claims that Rick and his people are his. That they belong to him. Needy much?
- His wives are all wearing practically the same thing, like it’s a uniform. They’re also confined to one room in silence like weird robots doing whatever the boss man tells them to do.
- After Sherry calls him an “asshole” he responds by telling her that she likes him that way and that they know the truth. He is telling her how she feels and thinks. Similar behaviour occurs in controlling, abusive relationships.
Negan is all about control, breaking people to fit his mould. Telling them how they feel. To make them into Negan.
Ooooh, now this is a tricky subject. Many fans argue over this topic. And I get why but let’s chat both sides of the coin, shall we?
Not a rapist:
- He tells Dwight to make sure the woman he picks “at the pussy bar” says yes.
- He asks Olivia for her permission to “screw her brains out.”
- In the comics, he murders a rapist and tells him, “we don’t rape.”
- Sherry’s kiss in Sing Me A Song looked very consensual and convincing. And damn I’m jealous.
- Sherry chose to be with Negan.
- Amber said she loves Negan and chose to stay with him.
Why he is a rapist:
Firstly, just because someone says yes or is in a relationship with a person, doesn’t mean that the sex isn’t rape. Coercive rape, which is what I believe Negan does, is when you feel threatened and are scared, so you agree to sexual activity.
- Negan tells us how he threatened to kill Dwight after he, Sherry and his “super hot maybe fiance” escaped The Sanctuary. However, Sherry said she’ll marry him to keep Dwight alive. Fear is what created the relationship between them not her desire to be with him.
- Some say Sherry isn’t scared of Negan… Would she be warning Daryl what Negan is capable of if she wasn’t afraid of what he might do? Sherry tried running from Negan a while back, you don’t do that if you aren’t afraid.
- We know Negan and Sherry had sex based on her pregnancy test. He also mentions that he has more than one wife so he can sleep with whoever he likes so sex is certain with Negan.
- When Sherry and Daryl had met before, he told her she would be sorry. She confirms to Daryl that she is and he was right. This indicates that she’s sorry for her situation, as opposed to sorry for what is happening to Daryl.
Basically, Sherry is scared of Negan and so is his wife because of that reason.
- Negan mentions how he wanted to “take” Maggie back to The Sanctuary with him. The man who bashed her husband’s skull in… He tries to explain to Rick a number of times how he is convinved Maggie’s opinion of his will change eventually.
Sing Me A Song
- When Sherry confirms to Negan that Amber cheated on him with Mark, he asks if he’d hit any of them. To which she replies, “No, but I know you. There’s worse.” Sherry knows Negan’s mind games, his acts and torture. He may not use sex as punishment but she knows he isn’t exactly Mr. Nice Guy. Again, fear and control is how he controls his wives.
- Amber, who cheats on Negan with Mark cries to him about how sorry she is. He asks her what the “rules” are like she is a child. Stuttering, she tells Negan she loves him. T0 which he responds “of course you do.” She acts very forced with no emotion other than being afraid of what he is going to do. He does give her the choice, though… She can stay as his wife or she can go back to Mark and her mum and work. The work, however, spells certain death. So what choice does she really have? She agrees to stay continuing to cry to the other wives.
- Despite her kiss with Negan looking convincing, once he has left the room, she seems disgusted with herself and has a nice strong drink. And, wait, is that a tear? Not something a loving, consensual wife would do after kissing a man she is meant to love.
Sherry’s kiss with Negan is literally the only thing that shows me there’s any sort of consent between them. But she’s been with him a long time now. Sherry may be conditioned to this behaviour and it is a natural reaction for her to show this sort of affection towards him.
Negan may say he is against rape. He may ask for permission. He may also encourage others to ensure they have consent. But in his eyes what he does isn’t rape at all. He hears “yes, Negan” and he thinks it’s all good.
But he also thinks that he’s a “Savior” and that his rules help society. When in realisation, they just help him. He uses his power, influence and reputation to get people to do what he wants and this, in my opinion, includes sex. Negan believes he has to kill people to teach them a lesson. Negan also talks to babies about burying their family in the flower beds. He’s disconnected.
Of course, this is just how I perceive the situation. We have only seen snippets so far which to me rings plenty of alarm bells. I can completely understand why people wouldn’t see it this way. Some may think Sherry is more upset about the fact she’s hurting her real husband as opposed to hating being with a completely deluded (although incredibly sexy) psychopath.
Whether you agree that he is a coercive rapist or not, we can all agree not one of those women who he calls his wives, looked particularly overjoyed to be in his presence.
YOU’RE THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE
“The devil would be sexy to everyone. And this man is clearly very sexy while destroying lives and keeping them in terror.” [x]
Negan is the perfect bad guy.
He’s hot as hell. He’s not a complete arsehole. His back story in the graphic novel ‘Here’s Negan’ shows that. He even has glimmers of humanity in the show. You cannot help but laugh at his odd sense of humour, his sociopathic behaviour and lack of human nature. He truly and honestly believes that he is a good guy.
But do we question his nature and actions as much as we should? Probably not. And that’s what makes Negan so terrifying. That’s why people like Negan are so dangerous. So many women, including myself, have been controlled by men with intelligence and a good sense of humour, charm and charisma who turn out to be violent and mentally abusive.
Should we hate Negan? Should we be concerned that so many love him? No, because it’s not real life. When these traits occur in someone we know and are in a relationship with, then yeah it’s time to be concerned. But we are viewers looking in on fiction, we aren’t in that situation. We also don’t know the whole story. And it disgusts me that so many Negan lovers receive so much hate for loving this character. Like Hannibal, he’s a bad guy. But we love him anyway.