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This article is about the Novel Series character. You may be looking for his appearance in the Comic Series, or his Assault, Escapists, Road to Survival, TV Series, No Man's Land, Our World, or Social Game counterparts. For other pages with the same name, see: Brian

Brian Blake, better known as Philip Blake or by his epithet "The Governor", is a main character and later an antagonist in the Novel Series, as well as the protagonist of Rise of the Governor. He is the brother of Philip, and uncle of Penny. Brian takes his brother's name after Philip dies, and even adapts his personality through an out of body experience, and never reveals his real name to anyone in Woodbury.

His voice is described as being "low and nasally, and filled with faux conviviality". He also has "a strange nervous tic that is hardly noticeable—he blinks a lot."


Prior to his arrival at Woodbury, Brian Blake was nothing like the villain he would become. He was a meek, insecure, and generally good-natured man. Weak and cowardly, he relied of the protection of his cold younger brother, Phillip. His insecurity took it's toll on him as days grew darker and humanity crumbled, and he ultimately succumbed to carnal instincts. To assure he would never be weak, he assumed his brother's identity as Phillip Blake.

As the Governor, Brian drowned in self induced psychopathy. He became utterly convinced that only the Phillip Blakes of society could make it in the world and that the Brians were destined to die. Against his internal ethics, he forced himself to commit atrocities to harden himself for the new world and repress the man who he once was. His true self emerges occasionally against his will, and he struggles with this severe internal conflict throughout his life as the Governor, rendering him insatiably callous, vengeful, belligerent, and paranoid. His thirst for power and blood to constrict the good within him is the dominant driving force of his character. He also showed intensely sexually perverted behaviour, such as raping Michonne and a sexual attraction to his dead niece. Despite his savage and perverse actions, he was a charismatic and well loved leader among the survivors of Woodbury, and was a skilled manipulator, as he never really cared for any of his people and only used them for his own benefit, even when they were attacking Rick's group at The Prison. However, his selfishness and sole goal of seeking revenge on Rick's group and sacrificing many of his own people ultimately led to his demise at the hands of one of his own people, Lilly Caul, who saw Brian for what he really was: a sadistic monster.


Rural Georgia

Brian along with his brother Philip grew up in Waynesboro, Georgia. Although Brian is three years older than Philip, he has always relied on Philip for protection. The novel describes Brian as sickly, frail, and "the runt" of the two brothers. He studied at the University of Georgia and got his degree in comparative literature. He is intelligent, but unable to harness his wits toward anything productive. At the time of the outbreak, he had failed at several business ventures in Athens that were funded with his parents money. He has a vast knowledge of music and wears band t-shirts throughout the novel (REM and Weezer among them). Just before the outbreak, Brian moves back in with his parents after a brief marriage to a Jamaican woman named Jocelyn.


Rise of the Governor

When the dead began to rise, Brian hides out in the crawlspace of his parents' empty town house. Philip Blake, his two friends Nick Parsons and Bobby Marsh, and his daughter Penny Blake, leave Waynesboro and take a detour to check on Philip's parents. Philip had forgotten that Brian was living there and isn't exactly happy about having to look after his older brother. The group finds shelter at Wiltshire Estates: an upper class gated golfing community. Rick and his group also pass through Wiltshire Estates a few months after Philip and his crew leave. After Bobby dies of blood loss due to a zombie bite, Philip, Nick, Penny, and Brian leave with weapons and supplies loaded up into Philip's Chevy Suburban. On their way out, Brian leaves a sign at the entrance of Wiltshire Estates that reads: "ALL DEAD DO NOT ENTER." Ironically, the sign that the future Governor creates alerts Rick to the dangers of Wiltshire Estates.

Brian and his group, led by Philip, make their way to Atlanta through wrecks and zombies. During this time Brian usually shies away from combat situations. He typically hunkers down with Penny while Philip and Nick shoot and slay zombies. They find a temporary safe haven with the Chalmers family in an apartment in Atlanta. David, Tara, and April Chalmers are traveling musicians who are eking out a living in the first floor of an apartment building. Philip and his group help them expand into the upper levels of the apartment and get food and supplies from nearby stores. Brian becomes slightly more confident in his time at the apartments. He volunteers to clean out the upper floors of the apartment with Philip and Nick. The living arrangement is perfect, until Philip takes his blossoming romance with April too far. As they begin to have sex, April tells Philip to stop and that it's too soon. Philip, in the heat of the moment, refuses to stop. He realizes what he's done immediately after, but, thinks he might still be able to salvage the relationship. The next morning, all of his group's weapons are gone. Tara tells them, at gunpoint, to get out now. They leave and make their way via motorcycle to an abandoned old plantation house. The house is secure and free of zombies, for the most part. They have food to last them through the winter and the house itself is on an orchard. Brian suspects that they were followed to the house and are now being staked out. His suspicions are confirmed when a drug-addled and heavily armed gang come to take the house away from them. Philip makes a deal with the group's leader to let them walk away, but, Philip realizes that the gang plans to kill them as soon as they're out of the house. They sprint down to the orchard where Philip tells Brian to hide with Penny and keep her safe at all costs. Philip and Nick stealthily take out several of the gang members. However, one slips past them and shoots Penny. Just as the shooter is about to execute Brian, Philip arrives and kills the gang member.

Enraged at his daughter's death, Philip begins mercilessly kicking Brian and severely injuring him. Philip cannot bring himself to put Penny down so he keeps her tied to a tree. They leave the plantation house and come across Woodbury: a beat up old town with a fairly large group of survivors. Philip and his crew take residence in an apartment there. Philip sneaks Penny into the apartment and begins feeding her appendages from bodies that he claims he didn't kill. One night, Nick spots Philip dragging a girl out to the woods against her will. He sets out to stop Philip with a shotgun while Brian tries to convince him that whatever it is going on with Philip can be fixed. Nick kills Philip and accidentally kills the girl Philip abducted. Brian kills Nick on the spot. Philip dies in Brian's arms.

The next day there is a town meeting about the rising number of deaths. A group of National Guard soldiers are terrorizing the citizens of Woodbury into obeying their every command. When one old man tries to leave, their leader, Gene Gavin, shoots him in the back of the head. Brian, who always relied on Philip for protection since childhood, begins wondering what Philip would do in this situation. While Gavin's followers are outside, Brian has an out of body experience in which he carries out his vision of what his brother would do. Brian walks toward Gavin and unloads his magazine into him. Brian encourages the people of Woodbury to help him take out the remaining National Guard soldiers. Martínez asks Brian his name. Brian tells Martinez that his name is Philip Blake.

The Road to Woodbury

A short time after the initial change of power from Major Gavin to Brian, Lilly Caul and her group consisting of boyfriend Joshua Hamilton, Megan Lafferty and her boyfriend Scott Moon, and Bob Stookey arrived in Woodbury after being convinced to come by Martinez. During this time Gabe and Bruce Allan Cooper have clearly become Brian's right hand men following him almost everywhere, including his first meeting with Lilly's group. During this meeting Joshua Lee Hamilton asks if he was some type of elected official, to which Scott Moon adds on saying with Gabe and Bruce following him everywhere like secret service, he looks like a president. Brian responds saying he never saw himself as the chief executive type, and finished saying "I'd be Governor at best." Shortly after this conversation, Brian started going by the nickname "The Governor."

After the murder of Joshua Lee Hamilton by the hands of another resident of Woodbury, Sam, Martinez had to physically beat Sam down in order to get him to subdue. During this fight Brian realized that the people of Woodbury seemed to love watching the violent acts, and the fight seemed to act as a form of catharsis for the crowd. Later Brian decided to force Sam to fight to the death in a makeshift arena for the whole town to watch with a surviving national guardsman Stinson, as a form of entertainment for others, and as punishment for his crime, neither man survived. Brian then decided the best way to deter crime in Woodbury would be the threat of being forced to fight to the death.

During this time, Brian also tricks Scott Moon into helping him put several fish tanks from Wal-Mart into his apartment, and immediately afterwards kills Scott and places his head in the first fish tank. This starts a trend with Brian, where he starts to build up a collection of heads in his apartment. It was revealed that Brian collects the heads to stare at until he is no longer scared, and instead "amused" by them. Also during this time, Brian soon befriends Bob Stookey after taking pity on him for reminding him of his own father. He starts letting Bob into his inner circle, and even shows Bob his adopted undead daughter Penny. While hanging out with Bob, Bob confesses he has a crush on the much younger woman Megan Lafferty (who stopped dating Scott Moon a while before his death), to which the Governor takes note of.

After this event, Megan Lafferty (who has taken up prostitution to help her survive) comes to Brian's house in order to barter sex for possibly marijuana. While having sex, Megan sees Scott Moon's decapitated head in Brian's fish tank and has a mental breakdown leading to her eventual suicide. This along with many other events, including the death of Josh Lee Hamilton, leads Lilly Caul to plan a coup on the Governor. Lilly gets the two resident doctors Stevens and Alice, plus one of The Governor's own right hand men Martinez to help her form a plan. During another of The Governor's fights, the coup begins.

Walking out of sight dressed in all black and a duster, Brian realizes all too late that an attempt is being made on his life. Martinez and a few of his most loyal men use a taser provided by Dr. Stevens and his assistant Alice, to beat down, tie up, duct tape the mouth of, and subdue The Governor while throwing him into the back of a van, and driving off. Inside the back of the van Lilly, Martinez, and another man known as "the Swede" hold hostage Bruce, Gabe, and Brian who are all tied up and gagged. Unfortunately for the insurrectionists, a massive herd of zombies intervenes leading to the death of everyone outside the back of the van. During the chaos, Bruce and Gabe manage to untie themselves and a short firefight takes place between Martinez and the Swede, and Bruce and Gabe which results in the death of the Swede. A Mexican standoff then forms in the back of the van, which is then defused by a then free and participating Brian. The five remaining people agree to work together to get rid of the herd by firing a mortar shell that Martinez had in the back of the van. The resulting noise and flames brings the herd into itself and mostly all die in the fire. The coup having failed, The Governor rounds up the remaining conspirators Lilly, Martinez, Stevens, and Alice, and tell them that if any of them try anything again that they will be killed. Brian, then realizing what the bartering system has led to, quickly tells everyone that the supplies from then on will be distributed equally and everyone must now look after their fellow man to survive.

The Fall of the Governor

The Governor speaks to the Woodbury citizens following an arena fight between Bruce and Gabe. He tells them that he understands that supplies are low, and that he is going to send out a group on a supply run. The group returns with Christina and a dead Mike. The two were found in the wreckage of a downed helicopter. The Governor interrogates Christina for information. The Governor, at first, is kind to her, but, as she dodges his questions the Governor puts pressure on her by putting his hand on her leg. She reveals that she and her friend were held up in a news station. The survivors turned on each other leading to death within the camp. Christina and Mike escaped, but, someone sabotaged the helicopter. The Governor stops the interrogation and offers her a chance to join Woodbury. She declines, having been told earlier by Dr. Stevens not to trust him. The Governor says to himself and her that he tried to be good with her and proceeds to choke her to death.

The Prison Assault

Main Article: Brian Blake (Comic Series)


Killed By

Enraged with the Governor for making her kill Lori and her baby, Lilly shoots him in the back of the head and shoves him into the horde of walkers, which proceed to devour him. As he is being eaten, he screams in his mind "Philip Blake lives" over and over while dying.

Killed Victims

This list shows the victims Brian has killed:


Philip Blake

Philip is Brian's younger brother. Philip was always more capable of being a leader than Brian while growing up, with Philip always being the one to be grounded to reality while Brian was seemingly in his own world. When the apocalypse started, Philip accidentally ran into Brian and brought him along with his own two friends Bobby and Nick. Brian always looked up to Philip despite being older than him and tried to be as strong as his brother often. After Philip passed away, it seemingly pushed Brian the extra mile into becoming The Governor.

Penny Blake

The daughter of his brother Philip Blake. Although his niece has turned into a zombie, The Governor seems to ignore it. He loved her and tried to keep her undead form safe, and feeds her with dead or alive survivors (he kills the alive survivors for her, if possible). Still, if she tries to attack him, he slaps her in the face, or just tells her not to attack. It is revealed that he has kept her in his house for months. He still cares about her and is able to tell when she is upset. He notably fed her Rick's right hand and later on (after being tortured by Michonne) he removed all of her teeth and kissed her on the lips, showing a deeply disturbing hint of necrophilia.

Bruce Allan Cooper

The Governor seems to respect Bruce more than Gabe, his other right-hand man. He praises Bruce often, usually of his strength. When he died, The Governor seemed surprisingly more upset, than usual.

Gabriel Harris

Gabriel was The Governor's other right hand man and took over after Bruce had died. The Governor, despite not treating Gabe very well, has stated that he values his loyalty. He appeared to have been incredibly shocked and upset to see him being gunned down by Andrea.

Nick Parsons

Even though Nick was initially a best friend of Philip and Bobby Marsh, the ensuing traumas of the apocalypse strengthened Brian's relationship with Nick. Nick viewed Philip as the last "sane one" within their group and as a result stuck by him more often. As Philip's actions lead to their "eviction" from the Chalmers' apartment, Nick began slowly losing his edge and tried convincing Brian that his brother was going insane. After the death and reanimation of Penny, Philip brutally beats Brian for losing sight of her. Nick is the one to help the latter heal and rehabilitate, informing him of his brothers deranged activities with Penny's surviving attackers. Brian shares Nick's concerns when Philip brings along the reanimated Penny until they arrive at Woodbury when things come to a serious head. Nick and Brian discover Philip killing survivors to feed to a zombified Penny, going as far as to come across his latest victim. Nick tries to stop him, but, winds up killing the victim and mortally injuring Philip before losing his mind himself, prompting the tired and hardened Brian to shoot Nick in the head.

Bob Stookey

When Bob arrived in Woodbury Brian took a special interest in him, he told him a lot of his secrets even revealing the undead Penny to him. Brian came to see Bob as a father figure, and was one of the few people he really cared about. Bob sometimes feared Brian, but, still respected him, he would later go on to save Brian's life after his mutilation by Michonne. When Brian went to attack the prison he asked Bob to watch Penny for him, until he returned.

Lilly Caul

She seemed to be another one of The Governor's brainwashed citizens, until she killed Lori and Judith died from the fall. She then shot The Governor because she saw him as evil and blamed him for Judith's death.

Rick Grimes

While initially appearing nice and kind towards Rick when they first met, such as giving him a tour of Woodbury and showing him the caged fight arenas, which is what they do when they're entertained, this immediately changed when he is left alone with Rick, his men, Glenn, and Michonne and even went as far as cutting Rick's right hand off and feeding it to Penny. They both hated each other bitterly after Rick escaped Woodbury and murdered some of The Governor's men.

Michonne Hawthorne

Michonne and Brian had a bad relationship. When Rick, Glenn, and Michonne encountered Woodbury, Brian came out to greet them in a pleasant manner. However, when he reveals his true self by cutting off Rick's right hand, Michonne lunged herself at him and tore his left ear off. Enraged, Brian had Michonne locked up in a garage. The Governor then proceeded to rape her and beat her twice. When finished Michonne tearfully states that she's afraid of what she's going to do in retaliation. When Tyreese died during the battle with Woodbury, Michonne became vengeful, but did not manage to kill Brian.


Novels 1 2 3 4 5
Rise of the Governor
The Road to Woodbury
The Fall of the Governor
Search and Destroy
Return to Woodbury
Appears Voice is heard
👁 Appears with no lines Appears in a flashback
Appears as a walker 🖼 Appears in a photograph/video
Appears as a corpse Appears in a hallucination/dream


  • Brian is one of the few characters Robert Kirkman misses, and even regrets killing.
  • Robert Kirkman revealed that he named Philip (at the time of his first appearance as he was known) after a bully with the same name who used to pick on Robert during his childhood.
  • In a Comic Book Resources interview, Robert Kirkman jokingly said: "A lot of different characters have aspects of my personality, I think, but for the most part, I'm just making people up. Not one character is exclusively based on one person. Except for The Governor, who is exactly like Joe Quesada [editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]. They are literally exactly the same."
  • According to Rise of the Governor, Brian is "barely" 5'7" in height with his boots on.
  • Regarding the torture and medical care of The Governor, Robert Kirkman wrote: "It wasn't that Bob was such a good medic that suddenly came out of nowhere that saved Governor's life-although he certainly did save his life. The idea is that Michonne was keeping The Governor alive, so she could torture him more. His wounds were bad, but not impossible to heal from."
  • Brian had mentioned that he had attempted cannibalism.
  • Brian's kiss with Penny shows one of several incidents that survivors can not turn by exchanging body fluids.
    • The kiss was also an indication to show the reader how bad things could get within his story arc, mentioned by Kirkman.
    • He also shows necrophiliac, incestuous and pedophiliac tendencies by kissing Penny on the lips.
  • Brian has survived most injuries than any other character. These injuries include such as:
    • Gunshots (shot to the chest and head)
    • Amputations (arm, ear, both eyes and possibly penis)
    • Scalds (nubs of amputated limbs burned in order to stop a bleeding)
    • Stabs (drilled to shoulder, rectum violated)
    • Hits, kicks, dislocations of limbs (beaten almost to death by Philip and Michonne)
    • Bites (to neck and ear)
    • Heavy blood losses
    • Long falls
    • Explosions
  • Brian is one of nine protagonists to die in the entire Walking Dead franchise thus far, the others being Rick Grimes from the Comic Series, Lee Everett from the Video Game, Jeffrey Grimes from The Walking Dead: The Alien, Hannah and Karina from the Webisodes, Jake Powell from the Flight 462 Webisodes, Heather Campbell from Overkill's The Walking Dead, and Chen Wenzhu from The Walking Dead: Typhoon.
  • Brian is one of three characters in comic universe to receive an eye injury, the other two being Carl Grimes and Kenny from the Video Game.
    • The Governor is one of the two people in the Comic Series to lose an eye, Carl being the second.
    • The Governor lost his left eye which is opposite of Carl who lost his right.
  • Brian is one of two characters in comic universe confirmed to have raped two people, raping both Megan Lafferty and Michonne Hawthorne.
  • Brian one of the five characters in The Walking Dead franchise to be both an antagonist and protagonist in the same series.
  • Brian was referenced in Eminem's song “Rap God. In the lyrics Eminem says "I'm the walking dead, but I'm just a talking head, a zombie floating" Brain has zombie heads in fish tanks.