Had Glenn’s first crushed turned out differently in The Walking Dead, Rick’s alliance may have looked very different.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead; Deluxe Edition #7 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Rus Wooton and Dave McCaig, on sale now.

Glenn Rhee is one of the bravest, most selfless heroes in Rick Grimes’ alliance. He often made runs that people were scared of, but more importantly, he was a brilliant strategist, which is something Rick valued.

When Glenn met Maggie, he became an even better deputy because he had something to live for. His love for her helped solidify the bond between Rick and Hershel’s farm, which is the start of the coalition that would evolve through battles with villains like the Governor, Negan and the Whisperers. However, this unified front could have been changed drastically had Glenn gotten together with his first crush.

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As The Walking Dead: Deluxe #7 reminds us, Glenn harbored romantic feelings for Carol. Unfortunately, Carol only had eyes for Tyreese. Carol loved how strong and confident Tyrese was, because his physical presence offered her a sense of security. At a bonfire, Tyreese flirted with Carol by putting his hand on her leg, which upset Glenn. Glenn may have been heartbroken that the new guy got the girl. However, if he been successful in wooing her himself, things may have turned out way different for everyone.

If Glenn and Carol had ended up together, Glenn wouldn’t have crushed on Maggie, and Hershel’s camp may not have joined the war against the Governor. This was the first test that proved to Rick that they could be an army of their own. Glenn wouldn’t have had a kid with her either, though this might have actually been better because perhaps he would have avoided the path that led to Negan bashing his head in. Maggie’s path would have been changed too, as she may not have lost her family or become the leader of the Hilltop. Glenn and Maggie’s relationship was so central to the alliance that the repercussions of it not happening would’ve extended far beyond those two survivors.

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On the other hand, a relationship between Carol and Glenn may have actually saved her life. When Tyreese broke up with her, Carol became very depressed. She eventually killed herself, but if she and Glenn had been together, she may actually have become a war-general like she was on the television series. She could have even become the Hilltop leader eventually,  while Tyreese and his family may have survived the walkers too.

There’s one more thing to consider: Carol’s daughter, Sophia, who was the longest-surviving female member in the books. Carol’s death gave her the motivation to survive more than ever, which is why she ended up with Carl, marrying and growing old with him as he became leader when Rick died. They both went through tragedy after tragedy, but always kept each other going. But had Glenn and Carol eked out a life together, Sophia may not have ended up with Carl, which could have prevented Carl from fulfilling Rick’s role as leader. Ultimately, both Carol and Glenn were linchpins that set up important dominoes that eventually saw a dark journey turn into a somewhat peaceful ending.

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