10 Things We’ve Learned Watching ‘The Walking Dead’

Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg
TV The Walking Dead
TV The Walking Dead
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If there’s one thing that fans of The Walking Dead are sure of, it’s that they’re much more prepared for the inevitable apocalypse than most of the rest of us. After all, they’ve been watching the whole thing unfold for almost a decade now, and what’s more, their guides through the zombie-laden landscape of the near future have been none other than stalwart survivalists Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and many more. What lessons have these dedicated warriors of the wasteland taught us in nine seasons of zombie hordes and merciless marauders? Here are ten tips to survive the zombie apocalypse!

Don’t Go It Alone

There’s just no way that you’re going to make it through the horde all on your lonesome. You need friends – or at least allies – if you’re going to build a stable survival group and see this apocalypse through. Find people with varied skills that complement your own, but remember another important lesson while you’re bonding with your new and strangely still very clean buddies…


Trust No One

Yes, I know that I just said you need other people, and that’s true: The “Lone Wolf” routine won’t get you very far. But never forget the zombie genre’s most significant ongoing theme – the real monsters aren’t the Walkers, but the living people standing next to you. Work with them, fight alongside them…but never trust them. And be ready to take them out at a moment’s notice.


Never Camped Before? You’re in Trouble

Walking Dead Season 7

If you’re not an outdoorsy type, at least a couple of those tentative comrades should be campers. The world has ended, civilization has collapsed, and the power grid went down with it. It’s time to go back to the way it was in the olden times, with fire and tents and catching wild animals for dinner. If you can’t hack that, you’re going to be zombie grub very soon.


Startled? Stay Alert!

It’s like they know. The moment you’re startled by a loud sound or a sudden movement of long-standing debris, and then breathe a sigh of relief and let your guard down? That’s when the Walkers attack, and they’ll just be there, right at your side as if they teleported next to you. Never let your guard down. Keep your eye on your fellow survivors, but watch out for the zombies and marauders too.


Zombies Are Everywhere

I’m not kidding. Never stop being nervous. Not only are Walkers lurking in every shadow, and around every corner, but so are awful and occasionally cannibalistic tribes of other survivors. And all these people have the preternatural ability to make no sound at all until they’re right on top of you. It’s almost like you’re in a TV show designed to scare an audience with unrealistically staged suspense sequences. Hmm…


In Most Cases, Guns Are Better

The Walking Dead

You really have to know how to use a gun; if you don’t, they’re just dangerous to yourself and your fellow survivors, as well as unreliable, inaccurate, and noisy. Knives, swords, bats, clubs – all these and more will never let you down. But you’ll have to get a lot closer to use them, so they come with their own hazards. Basically, you’re going to have to be a close-quarters fighter or stay close to someone that is.


Oh, You Think That Place Is Secure?

Your perfect refuge is only as safe as your weakest link. A cluster of tents, prison, walled community – it really makes no difference. You can have everything figured out, every entrance sealed or guarded, and a well-cleared landscape beyond. Someone is going to screw it up for you, and when that happens, the horde will pour in, even if you didn’t even see them nearby minutes ago (refer back to ZOMBIES ARE EVERYWHERE).


Map Out Your Escape Plan

So that worthless weasel in your group that you never did trust just let the zombies in, or gave away your location to the evil group down the road. It’s time to head out, but don’t let this great fortress you’ve built turn into your inescapable tomb. Always have an escape plan, drawn-out routes, roles for everyone to play, and packed “bug out” bags for the quick disappearing act.


You Will Be Bitten

the walking dead feature

Just accept it. After all these lessons and all this preparation, survival is only a game of delaying tactics. Rick Grimes himself is going down; no one makes it out of the apocalypse alive. It’s going to happen when you least expect it, so just brace yourself for the inevitable feeling of rotting teeth sinking into your flesh. Contemplate it a little bit every day so you can face it with quiet dignity and grace; consider it your moment of Zen.


Be Prepared to Die

the walking dead carl dead

It’s best not to have to struggle with this one when the time comes, especially if you want to spare the feelings of anyone that’s been foolish enough to imprint on you emotionally in the End Times. So now that you’re on the way out, you should already have decided if you want to transition into undead uncertainty or clock out with a definitive brain-smashing blow or bullet. Hey, maybe you want to see how the other half “lives.”

Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg
Arnold is a world-renowned zombie expert & Marvel authority. He teaches courses in pop culture subjects & owns ATB Publishing (www.atbpublishing.com), publisher of genre non-fiction. He authored Journey of the Living Dead, & his podcast Doctor of the Dead is on iTunes & www.doctorofthedead.com.