Ellie is the deuteragonist and secondary playable character of The Last of Us and the protagonist of American Dreams and Left Behind . A fourteen-year-old survivor. Ellie is "mature beyond her years" as a result of the circumstances of her environment.  She is voiced and mo-capped by Ashley Johnson.
Background & Early Life
Ellie was born several years after the spread of fungal pandemic. As a result, she grew up in an oppressive military quarantine zone in Boston, Massachusetts, with little knowledge of the world before infection. Before she died, Ellie's mother, Anna, asked Marlene to watch Ellie. However, Ellie never really met Marlene until she was 13 years old.
According to Ellie, at one point in her life, she drove a car.
Events of American Dreams
Ellie looking out the bus window.
13-year-old Ellie arrives at the Boston quarantine zone on a bus, to the sight of the military scanning a man for infection. She thinks nothing of it until the scan reads positive and a man is forced to his knees at gunpoint. This sight frightens her.
Once she's safely inside the gates, she and the other survivors leave the bus. She is approached by a soldier who knows her. He warns her not to pull any of her "old stunts" once she’s settled in and tells her that he can no longer look after her. Ellie asks that he take her with him, but he refuses, citing that his responsibility to his own family comes first.
Angry, Ellie declares she can take care of herself without his help. However, shortly after she is caught in a fight with a group of young boys who attempt to steal her belongings. Ellie provokes them, but is saved by a teenage girl as their leader prepares to attack her. The girl intimidates the boys enough to scare them away.
She asks Ellie what they wanted with her, and Ellie implies they meant to steal her belongings. She dismisses the girl when she tries to give her advice on how to function in the military zone, inquiring whether or not she looked like she needed help. The girl notes she has "trust issues" and calls her "new kid." Seconds later, she advises Ellie to flee before quickly leaving. Ellie is confused by what she means and is caught by one of the authority figures in charge of the school. In his office, Ellie is flippant with his show of authority despite the open reading of her rap sheet in previous homes.
He assigns her to cleaning duty. While she is in the middle of scrubbing a bloodied jeep she reaches for her Walkman and finds it missing from her jacket pocket. She realizes that the girl from earlier stole it from her and throws a fit, baffled by how she could have taken it without Ellie noticing.
A moment later she notices an amputated finger near the wheel of the jeep and she is quick to imagine the fight that must have occurred. She dumps the water on the tire and goes to confront the girl about her Walkman. In the mess hall, Ellie demands that the Walkman be returned to her, but the girl denies knowledge of what Ellie is speaking of. Ellie, however, continues to press the matter until the girl gives it up with a backhanded comment about her poor taste in music.
Ellie watches as the girl sneaks out.
Later that night, as Ellie lies awake in bed, she hears footsteps outside her room. She gets dressed and peers outside her door in time to catch the girl’s figure disappearing through a door. Ellie follows after her without her noticing and is successful in sneaking up on her. Surprised to find Ellie behind her, the girl demands that she go back to her room.
Ellie refuses. She wants her to show her a way out of the school and tells her to stop calling her "new kid." The girl hesitates for a moment before she obliges her request; she asks if she can keep up and Ellie remarks that keeping up is "not an issue." The girl finally calls Ellie by her given name, asking her not to make her regret bringing her along. The two manage to escape the building and cross the yard without being noticed. Climbing over the fence, Ellie asks how the girl knew her name. The girl states that she has "her ways" and introduces herself as Riley. Riley asks if she is ready for what is next and Ellie responds in confirmation.
Ellie and Riley on the rooftops.
Ellie struggles to keep up with Riley as she leads her across the rooftops. When Riley comes to a stop, Ellie, out of breath, asks if that is all the challenge she has to offer. Ignoring the question, Riley asks if Ellie ever thinks about her future. Ellie assumes she is being facetious and inquires if she means future as seen in science fiction. Riley repeats the question and asks Ellie what she intends to do with her life. Ellie does not see much of a future for herself and Riley says that her mentality is exactly how the quarantine zone's authority figures want people to think.
Confused, Ellie asks Riley what she intends on doing with her life. Riley tells Ellie she turns sixteen in three months and she intends on using that time to find out. Ellie demands to know what else life might hold for them, but Riley ignores the question. She asks Ellie if she has ever ridden a horse before and Ellie tells her “no." Riley leads through the window of an abandoned mall. As they travel through the vacant building Ellie spots a mannequin standing behind a broken window display and takes a moment to mock its posture before she moves to rejoin Riley.
Ellie stops to look at Raja's Arcade.
Moments later she spots an arcade just a few feet away from them; she asks Riley to wait up and ventures inside. She spots an old arcade machine for a game called “Triple Phoenix” and proceeds to enthusiastically describe the television show it was inspired by.
Riley dismisses her enthusiasm, saying the game is for children. She then begins to describe "The Turning ," a violent fighting game with a female character named 'Angel Knives.' Ellie points out the fortune of the kids that were born before the infection, never catching Riley's somber expression. Riley decides they are wasting time and leaves the arcade.
As Ellie follows she stops to imagine what the arcade would have looked like before the infection hit and immediately after before moving on. Riley takes her to a camp where she meets her friend, Winston. a resident of the mall. Winston berates Riley for bringing another friend to the mall, knowing it will only cause him trouble. Riley assures him Ellie is cool and introduces the two formally. In exchange for bringing him whiskey, she asks that he teach Ellie how to ride a horse.
Ellie follows Riley to the stables; the girl explains to her how to behave around horses and tells her to make sure Winston takes her around the whole mall on Princess. As Riley prepares the horse, Ellie asks if she is trying to get kicked out of the quarantine zone by causing trouble.
Ellie riding a horse for the first time.
Riley tells her she does not want to be put into general population where people receive terrible jobs and little rations to survive. Once the horse is ready to go, Winston helps Ellie climb into the saddle and warns Riley to behave as they head out. Ellie asks Winston about his life before the infection and listens to the older man reminisce about his childhood roaming the mall and skipping school, enthralled by his memories.
They return to Winston’s camp to find Riley reading a magazine. Dismounting from the horse, Ellie thanks her for bringing her to the mall. Moments later, an explosion occurs outside the mall, prompting Winston to find his unit. He orders Riley and Ellie to return to the school before he departs. Ellie, shaken by the events unfolding around her, agrees with Winston, but is ignored by Riley. She turns to find her friend fiddling with a walkie-talkie. She realizes she was used to distract Winston and begins to shout at Riley when they both overhear that there may be Fireflies in the area. Riley becomes excited at the prospect of meeting the Fireflies, but Ellie believes she has lost her mind. Instead of arguing with her, Riley leaves without her. Shocked, Ellie remains where she stands for a moment before she decides to follow after Riley.
Watching the wounded Fireflies from the roof.
Following Riley, the pair reached a place overlooking a battle between the military and the Fireflies. Seeing that the Fireflies were losing, Riley decides to give them a chance to escape. Ellie is shocked to find that Riley managed to steal some smoke bombs when Winston was distracted. The pair threw the smoke bombs at the military, allowing the Fireflies to retreat safely. The girls cheered, but the military spots the pair and opened fire on them.
Ellie and Riley quickly flee into an alleyway outside the mall behind a dumpster. Ellie is irritable despite Riley's assurances that they would be safe. However, a Runner comes right after this statement and attacks Ellie first.
Riley reacts back by hitting it with a stone before it can do anything but the runner, having discovered her, begins to attack Riley and pins her to the ground. He seems to bite her before Ellie kills it with a brick. Ellie inspects the area and finds that only Riley's jacket was torn. Riley displays a brief moment of defiant bravado, but right afterwards admits she was terrified of turning and cries into Ellie's arms.
The Fireflies that retreated from the fight soon spot the girls. Riley tries to explain that they were the ones who threw the smoke bombs, but is knocked unconscious by one of the members at this. Ellie is furious, but is later blindfolded and captured, with one of them shocked that Ellie was involved.
Ellie wakes up to the Fireflies arguing about whether or not they should disobey orders. Ellie is able to shake the bag from her head and can see three men arguing. She slips out of the rope which is binding her hands behind her back and reaches for a shard of glass when Marlene enters.
One of the Fireflies asks her how another one of their members, named Kerry, is doing. Marlene informs him that the doctor believes she has a chance of surviving. Marlene removes the binds from Ellie's legs with a knife and Ellie demands that Riley is untied. The Fireflies comply and Marlene hands Ellie an envelope with the instructions to open it when she returns to the school. Ellie sees Riley and Marlene argue before three armed men turn up and demand that they pay the toll for being in the smuggler's tunnel. The men become hostile and suddenly attack, with Ellie pulling a frozen Riley away from the firefight.
Ellie notices a way out but Riley refuses to leave and runs for a gun near one of the men. Before she can grab it, he pulls her back by her hood. However, before he can harm her, Ellie hits him with a brick. He turns his attention to Ellie and while he does so, Riley grabs the gun and shoots him, knocking him to the ground. When he opens his eyes, Marlene has a gun pointed in his face and shoots.
While Ellie is restrained by another Firefly member Riley and Marlene argue even more about the former wanting to join up. Marlene threatens to kill Riley as this will be her fate as a Firefly, prompting Ellie to bite the Firefly's hand and point his gun at Marlene. Marlene says that she wasn't really going to kill Riley. She fires a warning shot and Marlene says her name. When asked how she knows her name, Riley responds by saying she knew her mother and that the envelope was a letter
from her mother. Marlene continues to tell her that she has had people watching Ellie as she promised her mother she would. She asks Riley for advice on what to do and Riley tells her to lower the gun.
Ellie gives Marlene the gun and Marlene tells her that her mother was called Anna, and she would tell her more about her mother when the time is right. Marlene points to a ladder and tells Ellie and Riley it leads to behind the school. Before they leave, Marlene gives Ellie a switchblade and tells her that it was her mother's. The two girls leave and, after Riley tells her that there is no way out, Ellie gets angry and suggests running away. Riley gets upset and says that all this will give them is another way to die. Riley walks off and Ellie follows, over the fence and into the school. Riley says she will see Ellie the next day.
A while later, Ellie is listening to music. She has read the letter and picks up the knife before hugging it to her chest.
Events of The Last of Us: Left Behind
Warning! The following information contains plot details or spoilers on new material! [Skip]
Sometime after returning to the school, Ellie and Riley parted ways after getting into an argument. Riley disappears from the school and Ellie assumes that her friend has been killed when she doesn’t return. In the meantime, Ellie is drafted into the military and keeps a marginal connection with Riley’s friends. Sometime during Riley's absence, Ellie visited Winston's camp at the mall and spent some time with Princess, unaware she was being observed by Winston.
Ellie is surprised by Riley.
Six weeks later, she is taken by surprise by the sudden return of Riley, who pretends to be infected and bites her on the neck.
Relieved, but upset, Ellie asks where her friend has been and Riley reveals that she’s become a Firefly. Riley, understanding her friend is upset, promises to tell her what happened while she was gone if she leaves the school with her. Reluctant, Ellie gets dressed and follows Riley out of the school.
Outside the school grounds, they evade a coming patrol by ducking into an abandoned building. Traveling through the building, Ellie asks how Riley found the Fireflies. Riley recounts how she followed Trevor. a Firefly Ellie bit when they first met Marlene, and was ambushed and taken directly to Marlene, who allowed her to join her cause.
When Riley asks if Ellie has made friends with anyone at the school or kept up with her friends, Ellie is evasive, but tells her that she doesn’t really talk to anyone since she left. Entering another room, Ellie spots a Firefly symbol and jokingly asks if Riley has "found the light." Riley tells her friend that with the Fireflies she is not a soldier like Ellie. Overhearing a loudspeaker transmission on the state of the quarantine zone, Riley tells Ellie that the military is lying about the number of infected that continue to appear in the zone. She nearly reveals that she had to kill someone who’d become infected, but veers from the subject.
Ellie and Riley explore the mall.
Crossing the rooftops, they evade another patrol and climb down through the window into the mall. When Riley asks if she remembers the first time she brought her here, Ellie asks why she brought her back. Riley evades the question and continues onward. Spotting a poster of a water gun, Ellie tells Riley that she attempted to get their water guns from "Corporal Dickhead's" office, but she got caught in the process of escaping. Riley tells her to give up on getting them back, but Ellie remains determined to steal them back.
Arriving at Winston’s camp, Ellie tells Riley that she heard that Winston had died of a heart attack, a rarity for survivors. Exploring his tent, Ellie discovers a photograph of Winston in his youth and comments on his looks. Riley discovers a bottle of alcohol and offers Ellie a drink.  After Riley drinks in his memory they leave his tent and spot the saddle belonging to Winston’s horse, Princess.
Ellie discovers a photograph of Winston in his youth.
Ellie tells Riley that Princess was likely taken by someone and lamented on the horse’s well-being, knowing it was easily spooked around strangers. Moving on, they attempt to find their way to the other side of the mall, Riley using a metal beam to lift up rubble from the fallen-in roof. As she pulls the beam up, creating a small passageway, the weight causes the tunnel to collapse on itself, making it impossible to pass to the other side. As they're looking around trying to find another way through, Ellie spots an open window over the door of a store and helps Riley climb inside. Ellie enters the store a moment after Riley opens the door and is startled by the mask her friend found inside. Riley gives Ellie a werewolf mask and reluctantly Ellie obliges her friend when she demands that she "fucking roar" when she refuses to concede with her antic’s. The two explore the store full of Halloween paraphernalia, trading masks and marveling over the odds and ends, including a fortune-telling skull.
Leaving the store, Riley suggests that they play a game. If either one of them knocks all the windows out of their car (Riley, Blue, Ellie, Red) they get to ask each other a question.  Ellie beats Riley and asks why she left the school. Riley vaguely admits to being “in a weird space” and that she didn’t tell anyone she left. When Ellie questions if she is “just anyone” to Riley, her friend insists that they’re almost to their destination and moves on.
Riley and Ellie fooling around in the photo booth.
Heading into the back of the mall, Riley explains that the military lied about the power in the city and that there was still power inside the mall. Entering a room, Riley opens a junction box and motions for Ellie to flip the switch. Doubtful it will work, Ellie restores power to the mall and the two head toward the exit. There, Ellie hesitates and admits to being aware of Riley’s attempts to win her back. Riley apologizes for the things she said before she left, to which Ellie evades the moment by calling her friend a "sap." They exit the back of the mall and head for the illuminated carousel.
Ellie climbs aboard the carousel and rides for a brief moment before she asks Riley to join her. Riley barely gets to ride for a moment before the carousel loses power. Noting her friend's disappointment, Ellie tells Riley she enjoyed the ride. A moment later Riley reveals she got Ellie another joke book. The two depart from the carousel as Ellie picks and chooses jokes to tell until they come across a photo booth. Entering, the two fool around with the machine's settings and are confused by the prompt soliciting Facebook.com. They attempt to print the photographs out, but are denied by an error prompt. Moving on, Ellie overhears Riley whistling. When she attempts to mimic her friend, Riley tells her "it's about practice".
Ellie imagines playing as Angel Knives in "The Turning".
They head to the top floor and enter Raja's Arcade. Ellie is disappointed by the fact that the "Turning" gaming cabinet is broken, but Riley helps her visualize how to play the game, by describing the actions and button prompts for the character Angel Knives to fight against her opponent, Blackfang. Riley's help leads Ellie to victory, but Ellie decides it's time for her return to the school, despite Riley's insistence to continue on further into the mall. Ellie tells Riley she doesn't have any more strikes left for sneaking out to the mall, and Riley admits that she's being relocated to another Firefly hideout.
Ellie pretends to not be bothered, but when Riley pushes the issue, Ellie demands why she was brought to the mall. When Riley's answer of just wanting to see her isn't satisfactory, Riley is at a loss of what to say. Frustrated, Ellie tells Riley to "go" and Riley decides to investigate the music regardless of Ellie's protests. Ellie goes after her and finds Riley inside a department store, admiring the view. Angry, Ellie asks whether or not Riley feels guilty for the fight they had before she disappeared.
Riley denies any admission of guilt as a motivator for crossing hostile territory to see her again, but admits she was trying to make things work between them again. Dropping her backpack on the ground, Riley reveals that she got their water guns back and was nearly shot in the process.
Ellie decides that the two play a game with their water guns.  Afterward, Ellie reminds Riley that she has to return to the school and her friend offers to "walk her home". As they prepare to leave, Ellie encourages Riley to leave and that they'll see each other again one day.
A moment later, Riley asks whether or not Ellie still has her walkman. When Ellie answers in the affirmative, Riley takes the walkman and hooks it up to one of the audio systems in the store. The two climb on top of a counter and begin to dance. After several moments, however, Ellie stops, suddenly saddened, and sincerely asks that Riley not leave her. Riley removes her pendant and drops it on the floor as her answer. Ellie then kisses Riley. She apologizes almost immediately after, but Riley expresses that there's nothing to be sorry for.
Ellie moments after she's bitten.
As Ellie and Riley try to figure out what to do next about each other and the Fireflies, they are caught off guard by the sudden arrival of Runners attracted to the sound of the music. They manage to escape and barricade the door, but the infected begin to swarm the mall. Riley leads Ellie through the mall up to the higher floors, evading close calls with the infected who catch up to them.
Riley leads them out of a window onto scaffolding. As Ellie catches up to Riley, the shelf she uses to climb tips over and she falls onto the ground. She defends herself against the infected until Riley can arrive to help her; however, her friend is ambushed by another infected. Recovering, Ellie jumps on the back of the infected and slits its throat. Ellie assumes the worst is over now that the infected are dead, but Riley brings attention to the injury on her arm. Ellie realizes she's been bitten, and Riley reveals her own bite on her left hand.
Knowing that the bite means certain death, Ellie becomes enraged and destroys several pots with a pipe. Riley tries to console her friend by telling her the two options they have to deal with their situation; they could commit suicide, or they could wait out the infection together and fight to stay alive with what time they have left. Riley says she prefers the second option. When Ellie asks if there is a third choice, Riley simply answers, "Sorry." The two then leave the mall.
Though the two resign themselves to the end and chose to wait together until they die, Riley is the only one of the two that succumbs to the fungal infection; Ellie survives.
Although Ellie is immune, she still carries a mutated form of the infection inside of her. She is later taken under Marlene's wing at the sight of this miracle for both of them. Ellie and Marlene later plan to head for Salt Lake City in order to reverse-engineer a cure for the infection, which Ellie agrees to since she feels that it will relieve her of survivor's guilt of Riley. At the time, though, she does not know the exact location of the Firefly lab.
Ellie shows no signs of being affected by the fungus, though her bite does have small fungi growing around the mark. She does not show any other significant reactions to her bite.