Since its premiere this week, HBO’s The Last Of Us has been receiving flak for casting actress Bella Ramsey as its lead character. We take a look at how this culture of hate has been nothing new for the videogame community.
The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic survival game that follows the journey of Joel and Ellie, two survivors of a fungal outbreak that has decimated the population of the United States. The game is known for its strong narrative, emotional depth, and complex characters, and has garnered a dedicated fanbase. However, when it was announced that Bella Ramsey would be playing Ellie, a significant portion of the fanbase expressed their disappointment and anger.
The HBO adaptation of the popular video game was met with mixed reactions from fans of the game, with one particular aspect of the casting causing significant controversy. The young and talented Bella Ramsey, best known for her role as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, has been cast as Ellie, the protagonist of the game.
Her casting brought with it a wave of hatred and negativity directed towards the young actress, as some felt that Ramsey did not fit their idea of what Ellie should look like. They argued that she was "too ugly" or "not pretty enough" to play the character, and that she did not look like the Ellie from the game.
People who say that Bella Ramsey, the actress who plays Ellie in the Last Of Us series is ugly and unattractive, you forget that Ellie is 14 in the game. You're talking about a 14 year old. Don't forget that. pic.twitter.com/GquB5s7j08— Yara Amendiares 🦋🍄🇫🇷 (@foushi19) January 17, 2023
One of the many other unfounded criticisms directed towards Ramsey's casting is that she is not "tough" enough to play Ellie. Fans have argued that Ellie is a strong and independent character, and that Bella Ramsey does not have the physicality or the acting skills to portray her. This criticism is entrenched in misogyny and the belief that women must conform to societal expectations of femininity, rather than being allowed to express their own strength and independence. It also highlights the lack of representation of strong, independent women in the entertainment industry, and the pressure on actresses to conform to a certain standard of physicality.
The backlash towards Ramsey's casting in The Last of Us also reflects the very same toxicity that permeates the videogame community. The gaming industry has long been criticised for its lack of representation and inclusivity, and its tendency to discriminate against women and other marginalized groups. This culture is further perpetuated by fans who hold rigid expectations of who should be cast in certain roles, and who reject performers like Ramsey who don’t conform to societal expectations of femininity.
the only criticism of the casting is from men who are pissed that the 14 year old character actually looks like a child and not the sexualized version they have in their heads. get behind me bella ramsey pic.twitter.com/nR5EKWEd1E https://t.co/nmev9Gma7R— caroline :p (@oceanmanbyween) January 12, 2023
This kind of hate being levelled against the actress is not only unjust, cruel and outright disgusting, but it also reveals deeper issues in the community, where physical appearance is often prioritised over talent and merit. The idea that a person's physical appearance should be the sole determining factor in whether they are suitable for a role is not only backward but also harmful.
It perpetuates the idea that looks are more important than talent and merit, and that people should be judged solely on their appearance. This is not only unfair but also damaging to those who are on the receiving end of such hate and discrimination, especially considering how young the actress is. Its toxic and discriminatory attitudes of the very same kind that undermines the ability for young women like Ramsey to perform in the entertainment industry.
me getting ready to defend bella ramsey from incels in 48 hours— anth (@up2anth) January 14, 2023
Conversely, Ramsey’s powerful performance in the pilot has also been lauded by critics and fans alike. The pilot episode, which premiered earlier this week, showcased Ramsey's ability to perfectly capture the character's emotions and demeanor to her fullest, making her the perfect choice for the role.
The Internet has flocked together in an attempt to combat the ridiculous toxicity, applauding the young actress for her efforts as Ellie, many convinced that there could be no be no one better.
bella is so ellie williams she literally sounds like ashley here 😭pic.twitter.com/2DOo93Fe39— joel miller defender TLOU SPOILERS (@ellievjoel) January 17, 2023
every single person who doubted bella ramsey owes them an apology like that’s ellie through and through. with all of her mannerisms. bella embodied ellies attitude so WELL. even sounds like her at some points. every tongue that rises against bella ramsey shall fall pic.twitter.com/iTGl1L80PQ— joel miller defender TLOU SPOILERS (@ellievjoel) January 16, 2023
Rest assured, we love you Bella. Ellie is in the best hands.
You can watch Bella Ramsey bring Ellie to life in HBO’s The Last Of Us on Disney+ Hotstar.