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TLOU: The Heartbreaking Detail That Shows How Much Joel Projected Onto Ellie

It's safe to say that the first meeting between Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in HBO's "The Last of Us" is a bit tense — Joel points a gun at Ellie and threatens to execute her after she tries to stab him. Even after they begin their journey together across the post-apocalyptic United States, Joel remains distant and cold towards Ellie, still traumatized by the death of his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) and unwilling to grow close with anyone ever again. However, after spending some time together, the duo becomes closer than either of them could have imagined.

Joel and Ellie create a bond that's almost like father and daughter amid the chaos and danger of the wasteland. Joel even begins establishing certain parallels between Sarah and Ellie, projecting characteristics of his late daughter onto the new daughter he found by accident. This is made abundantly clear in Episode 9 when Joel gives a speech about Sarah as he and Ellie hike up a mountain, reminiscing on how Sarah loved to climb, or "scamper," to the top of big rocks. As pointed out by @EIlieMilIer on Twitter, Ellie is actually seen climbing to the top of a huge boulder in Episode 6, further cementing the parallels between herself and Sarah.

This heartbreaking detail is one of many examples of Joel projecting the memory of his lost daughter onto Ellie, and it was emotionally devastating for many fans.

This Ellie and Sarah parallel devastated fans

Although this parallel between Sarah and Ellie may not be as blatant as the one in Episode 8 (in which Joel hugs Ellie and calls her "baby girl," something he called Sarah before her death), fans on Twitter were still heartbroken by Joel's comments about the big rock. "I could have been slightly at peace for today not seeing this thx," replied @lyssramscal to a photo collage showing Joel's comments, while @Mavakor said: "Well, that did some damage."

This completely devastating revelation about Joel's speech seemed to fly over the heads of most fans at first. Some users, like @tonysdanqvers, urged the original poster to remove the tweet to stop the heartbreak from spreading. "Deactivate right now this was unnecessary," @chrisawae added.

What makes this scene perhaps even more heartbreaking is knowing that Joel's projection of love comes just moments after he rips Ellie out of the Firefly lab and massacres everyone inside, a decision which could end up costing him the relationship he's spent so much time building. As painful as this parallel may be for some fans, it serves as a further reminder that Joel has finally overcome part of his trauma and truly considers Ellie to be his daughter.