Unraveling the Symbolism: What Does Ellie’s Tattoo Symbolize in The Last of Us Part II?

Ellie’s tattoo has been the talk of the town since she graced us with “The Last of Us” game franchise. Fans have speculated over its meaning, and many have come up with different interpretations. Some say it is a symbol of her journey, while others suggest it represents her struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. But what does Ellie’s tattoo actually symbolize, and why is it so important?

At first glance, the tattoo appears to be a simple black moth, intricately detailed and located on Ellie’s arm. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a faded text above it that reads: “When you’re lost in the darkness, look for the light.” This quote is from the Fireflies, a revolutionary group that plays a crucial role in her journey throughout the game.

But what does this quote mean, and how does it connect to the tattoo? As many fans have speculated, the moth represents Ellie’s transformation and metamorphosis. Moths symbolize change and transformation in many cultures, and in “The Last of Us,” the moth stands for Ellie’s change from an innocent girl to a fierce warrior. As the quote suggests, Ellie’s tattoo serves as a guiding light that reminds her of who she is and what she stands for, even in the darkest moments.

The Meaning Behind Ellie’s Tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo is a prominent feature in the post-apocalyptic video game, The Last of Us. It is located on her right forearm and consists of two lines, a series of dots, and a depiction of a moth. The tattoo serves as a symbol of Ellie’s past, her identity, and her journey throughout the game.

  • The Two Lines: The two lines in Ellie’s tattoo represent the metaphorical “paths” she could take in life and the choices she has to make along the way. They can be interpreted as the divergence of her old and new life, one line representing her innocent and carefree past, while the other represents the brutal reality of her present.
  • The Dots: The dots within Ellie’s tattoo symbolize her loved ones who have passed away, including her friend Riley, who had the same tattoo on her arm. This represents Ellie’s desire to remember and honor the people she has lost.
  • The Moth: Lastly, the moth in Ellie’s tattoo represents the transformation she has gone through since the outbreak of the infection. Moths symbolize change and metamorphosis, and Ellie has had to adapt and evolve in order to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The moth may also signify Ellie’s desire to break free from the darkness surrounding her and to find light in the midst of chaos.

The tattoo serves as a constant reminder of Ellie’s past and the people she has lost. It also represents her hopes and dreams for the future, as she struggles to find her place in the world. The Last of Us tells an emotional story of survival and redemption, and Ellie’s tattoo serves as a powerful symbol of her journey throughout the game.

The inspiration behind Ellie’s tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo in The Last of Us video game is undoubtedly one of the most iconic tattoos in the gaming world. The tattoo, which depicts a beautiful blue butterfly with menacing antlers, symbolizes the character’s journey and experiences throughout the game. Here, we will take a closer look at the inspiration behind Ellie’s tattoo.

The butterfly: A symbol of transformation

The butterfly is a universal symbol of transformation, metamorphosis, and renewal. Butterflies are fragile creatures that go through an incredible process of transformation from a caterpillar to a beautiful winged insect. This transformation process is seen as a metaphor for personal growth, change, and evolution. For Ellie, the butterfly symbolizes her journey from being a helpless child to a strong and capable survivor who can handle anything that comes her way.

  • The butterfly represents Ellie’s transformation and growth throughout the game.
  • Ellie’s tattoo shows the resilience required for transformation.
  • The butterfly alludes to the theme of metamorphosis that runs through the game.

The antlers: A symbol of protection

The antlers on Ellie’s tattoo represent protection, strength, and resilience. Deer antlers are also a symbol of survival, perseverance, and adaptation. The antlers are a powerful symbol of the character’s strength and determination to survive. They are also a reminder that Ellie is not just a vulnerable survivor but a fierce protector. Ellie is willing to do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way.

The butterfly and antlers together create an image of transformation and strength. Ellie’s tattoo is an artistic representation of the resilience required to survive in a world overrun by infected. The butterfly and antlers symbolize the journey Ellie has been on and the person she has become.


Ellie’s tattoo is rich with symbolism and meaning. The butterfly and antlers are both symbols of transformation, resilience, and strength. Together, they create an image of a survivor who has overcome incredible adversity. Ellie’s tattoo is not just a tattoo; it is a reminder of what the character has been through and how far she has come.

ButterflyTransformation, personal growth, and change
AntlersProtection, strength, and resilience

Ellie’s tattoo is a beautiful work of art that is loaded with meaning and symbolism. The tattoo is a powerful reminder of the challenges Ellie has overcome and the person she has become along the way.

The Placement of Ellie’s Tattoo on Her Arm

Ellie’s tattoo in the game The Last of Us is a significant part of her character, representing her past and the journey she underwent. The tattoo is located on her right arm, extending from her wrist to her elbow.

  • The decision to place the tattoo on her arm was intentional, as it is visible to others and serves as a reminder to Ellie of her past and the events that shaped her.
  • The location of the tattoo also makes it easy to see during gameplay, emphasizing its importance to the storyline.
  • Furthermore, the placement on her arm allows for the tattoo’s design to be clear and easily distinguishable, contributing to its overall significance.

The tattoo itself features a moth and the number three.

Tattoo DesignSymbolism
MothRepresents transformation and growth, as the moth goes through various stages of change before reaching its final form.
Number ThreeSymbolizes Ellie’s past, present, and future. It also represents the three main characters in the game: Joel, Ellie, and Tess.

The placement of Ellie’s tattoo on her arm serves as a constant reminder of the events that shaped her, representing her growth and transformation as a character. Its design and location were carefully chosen to reinforce its significance throughout the game.

The Importance of Moths in Ellie’s Tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo contains various symbols and imagery that hold different meanings and represent different elements of her life. One of the most prominent symbols in her tattoo is the moth, which can be seen flying near her elbow. The moth is a mystical creature that has been used in many cultures and traditions to symbolize different things, such as transformation, rebirth, and the cycles of life and death. In Ellie’s case, the moth has a specific meaning that ties into her story and her character.

  • The moth represents Ellie’s connection to nature: Throughout the game, Ellie is shown to have a profound appreciation for nature and the world around her. She finds solace in the beauty of the outdoors, and often takes time to observe the various creatures and plants that inhabit it. The moth, with its delicate wings and soft fluttering, represents this connection to nature and the wonder that she feels when she is immersed in it.
  • The moth symbolizes Ellie’s metamorphosis: The moth is an insect that undergoes a transformation from a caterpillar to a winged creature. This transformation is often used as a metaphor for personal growth and change, and in Ellie’s case, it represents the ways in which she has changed and evolved throughout her journey. From a young, naive girl to a hardened survivor, Ellie has been through a lot and has come out on the other side stronger and more resilient.
  • The moth represents Ellie’s connection to her past: In addition to its association with change and growth, the moth is also seen as a symbol of the past and of memories. Just as moths are attracted to light and flame, Ellie is often drawn to memories of her past and the people she has lost along the way. The moth in her tattoo serves as a reminder of where she comes from and what she has been through, and is a symbol of the enduring presence of those who are no longer with her.

In conclusion, the moth is a significant symbol in Ellie’s tattoo, representing her connection to nature, her personal growth and transformation, and her past and memories. Through the use of this mystical creature, the tattoo tells a deeper story about Ellie’s character and the journey she has been on.

The role of an astronaut in Ellie’s tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo, which features an astronaut reaching out to a star, has a significant meaning to her. The tattoo is a tribute to her father, who was a huge influence on her life and career to become an astronaut. The astronaut in her tattoo represents her father, who inspired her to look up to the stars and pursue a career in space exploration.

  • The number 5:

One important element in Ellie’s tattoo is the number 5, which is featured on the astronaut’s suit. This number represents the five people who Ellie lost in her life, including her parents. The number 5 is also significant in the world of space exploration, as it represents the five Earth-like planets that have been discovered so far.

Earth-like planetsNumber discovered
Proxima Centauri b1

Ellie’s tattoo is a way for her to remember and honor those who have passed away. The number 5 serves as a reminder of the five people she lost, but also represents the hope that there are more Earth-like planets out there waiting to be discovered.

The Significance of a Fern Leaf in Ellie’s Tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo is a prominent part of her character design, which she got after surviving a traumatic event in “The Last of Us.” The tattoo features a sprig of fern, which holds significant meaning and symbolism. Here’s an in-depth look at the significance of the fern leaf.

The Number 6 in Ellie’s Tattoo

Ellie’s tattoo features the number “6” on the side of the fern leaf. The meaning of this number is not fully explained in the game, but it is heavily implied that it references an event from Ellie’s past. It could represent a date, an age, or a personal significance. Nevertheless, “6” often symbolizes harmony, balance, and stability. Six is also the number of man, as humans were created on the sixth day in the Book of Genesis. When paired with the fern leaf, it could represent Ellie’s journey toward finding balance and stability in her life after her traumatic experiences.

Other Symbolism in Ellie’s Tattoo

  • The fern leaf itself is a symbol of new beginnings, growth, and resilience. This symbolism is fitting for Ellie, who has survived numerous hardships and has emerged stronger for it.
  • The design of the tattoo, with its rough edges and imperfections, could represent the roughness of life and the scars that people carry with them. Ellie’s tattoo is a visual representation of the trauma she has endured.
  • The placement of the tattoo on Ellie’s arm is meaningful as well. The tattoo is prominently displayed on her left forearm, which is the arm that carries her weapon in-game. This placement could symbolize Ellie’s inner strength and her ability to protect herself.

The Bottom Line

Ellie’s tattoo is a powerful symbol of her character in “The Last of Us.” The fern leaf, combined with the number “6,” represents new beginnings, resilience, and balance. The design of the tattoo is rough and imperfect, symbolizing the scars of Ellie’s traumatic experiences. Its placement on Ellie’s weapon arm shows her inner strength and her ability to protect herself. The tattoo is a remarkable piece of character design that fits perfectly with Ellie’s story.

The use of negative space in Ellie’s tattoo design

Ellie’s tattoo in the game “The Last of Us” has become iconic, not only for its intricate design, but also for the symbolism it carries. One of the most interesting aspects of the tattoo is the use of negative space, which is the space around and between the design elements. This technique can often be overlooked, but it can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of a tattoo.

The Number 7: A Significant Symbol in Ellie’s Tattoo

  • The number 7 is prominently featured in Ellie’s tattoo design, and it holds a particular significance.
  • In many cultures, the number 7 has been associated with concepts like completeness, perfection, and divinity.
  • In some ancient beliefs, there were believed to be 7 heavens and 7 hells.

By incorporating this number into her tattoo design, Ellie is expressing a desire for completion and perfection in her own life, while also paying homage to the idea of something greater than herself.

The Mandala and Negative Space

One of the most prominent design elements in Ellie’s tattoo is the mandala, which is a geometric shape often used in spiritual and religious contexts. Mandala designs are typically intricate and symmetrical, and they often incorporate negative space to create a pleasing visual effect. In Ellie’s tattoo, the mandala is heavily stylized, with a lot of negative space between the individual elements.

This use of negative space not only creates a striking visual effect but also allows the design to breathe and have a sense of calmness amidst the detail. Without the negative space, the mandala would feel cluttered and difficult to read. Instead, the negative space invites the viewer to pause and appreciate the details of the design.

The Role of Negative Space in Tattoo Design

The use of negative space is an essential tool in tattoo design, and it can have a significant impact on the final product. A good tattoo artist will use negative space to bring balance and clarity to the design, allowing the elements to breathe and stand out against the skin.

Pros of Using Negative Space in Tattoo DesignCons of Not Using Negative Space in Tattoo Design
Negative space can create a more dynamic design that is visually striking.Without negative space, a design can become cluttered and difficult to read.
Negative space allows the design to breathe and has a calming effect on the overall design.Without negative space, a design can appear cramped and claustrophobic.
Negative space can bring balance and clarity to a design, making it more legible and pleasing to the eye.Without negative space, a design can appear unbalanced or heavy on one side.

Ellie’s tattoo is an excellent example of how negative space can be used effectively in tattoo design. By incorporating this technique, her tattoo design has become a work of art, with each element thoughtfully placed and balanced against the others. It’s no wonder that it has become such an iconic image in the gaming world.

The Connection between Ellie’s Tattoo and Her Mental Health Journey

Ellie’s tattoo, which consists of two black lines intersecting to form the number eight on her arm, is a recurring symbol in “The Last of Us” video game franchise. The ink on her skin is more than just a design; it represents a significant part of Ellie’s mental health journey and personal growth. Here are some of the connections between Ellie’s tattoo and her mental health journey.

One of the most prominent meanings behind Ellie’s tattoo is its connection to the theme of rebirth. The number eight, when turned on its side, represents the symbol of infinity, an endless loop that can signify the cycle of life and death, creation and destruction. In the game, Ellie has experienced the loss of loved ones, trauma, and despair. But through her story, she also undergoes a transformation, a rebirth of sorts, as she learns to heal and grow from her experiences. Her tattoo serves as a reminder that, just like the infinity symbol, she too can continue living and thriving despite the challenges life throws her way.

  • Another interpretation of Ellie’s tattoo is its symbolic meaning of balance and stability. The two lines intersecting in the middle represent two opposing forces in harmony, creating equilibrium. In Ellie’s case, her mental health journey is characterized by the struggle to maintain balance between two sides of her personality: her violent, survivor instincts, and her compassionate and empathetic nature. Her tattoo symbolizes the need to find middle ground, to combine and accept both aspects of herself to achieve balance and stability.
  • Moreover, Ellie’s tattoo is also linked to the concept of self-identity and acceptance. In a world where individuality is threatened by conformity, Ellie’s tattoo serves as a personal statement, a way of expressing herself and her identity. The number eight, for her, represents a unique way of seeing herself as a survivor, a fighter, and ultimately, a person worth living for. Through her tattoo, Ellie owns her story and her identity, letting go of the shame and guilt that once held her back.

Lastly, Ellie’s tattoo is a testament to her resilience and strength. The game depicts the brutal realities of a post-apocalyptic world, where violence and loss are constant threats. But despite the harshness of her environment, Ellie endures and continues to fight. Her tattoo is a physical manifestation of her inner strength, a symbol of the will to survive and thrive that lies within her.

The infinite loop of the number eightRebirth
Two opposing lines intersecting at the centerBalance and stability
The number eight as a personal identity statementSelf-identity and acceptance
The tattoo as a physical representation of strengthResilience and endurance

In conclusion, Ellie’s tattoo is more than just a design on her skin; it represents a part of her mental health journey and personal growth. Its symbolism connects to various themes of rebirth, balance, self-identity, and resilience, reflecting Ellie’s character arc and evolution throughout the game.

The process of getting a tattoo as a form of self-expression

Getting a tattoo has become a popular way of expressing oneself, beliefs, or personal traits. People get tattoos for various reasons, from honoring a loved one or representing an important event in their lives to simply enjoying the art form. Tattoos are permanent and deeply personal, which is why the tattooing process itself is an important part of this form of self-expression.

The Number 9

The number 9 is considered a powerful and meaningful symbol, both in numerology and various cultures. In numerology, 9 is believed to represent spiritual enlightenment, inner-wisdom, and completion. Some cultures consider 9 to be a symbol of longevity, abundance, and prosperity, while others associate it with the divine.

  • The Chinese believe that 9 is a lucky number and associate it with heaven.
  • In Japanese culture, 9 represents good luck and happiness.
  • In Hinduism, 9 symbolizes the 9 planets and is considered a sacred number.

Because of its significance, the number 9 is a popular choice for tattoos. Some people choose to incorporate the number into a design, while others opt for a simple yet powerful stand-alone numeral tattoo.

The Tattooing Process

The tattooing process is part of the overall experience of getting a tattoo. It involves not only the physical application of ink onto the skin but also the emotional and psychological journey of choosing the right design, artist, and placement for the tattoo. It takes time, focus and, dedication to seeing the process through to completion.

Before getting a tattoo, it is essential to research the artist and tattoo studio beforehand to ensure that they are reputable, experienced, and have a good safety and hygiene record. Once you’ve selected the artist, they will work with you to create a design that reflects your personal style and vision. This creates a collaborative process that ensures your personal touch is included in the final design.

Once the tattoo has been completed, proper aftercare is crucial to ensure proper healing and longevity. This usually involves keeping the tattoo clean and avoiding sun exposure, clothing that may rub on it, or any other activity that may cause irritation. Tattoo care is personal and will vary from person to person and the instructions should be followed as instructed by the artist.

Tattoo aftercare Tips: Dos and Don’ts

Keep the tattoo clean and dry.Scratch, pick or rub the tattoo.
Apply ointment or moisturizer to the tattoo regularly as per the artist instruction.Wear tight clothing on the tattoo.
Wash the tattoo using mild soap and water gently.Expose the tattoo to direct sunlight or sunburn.
Stay hydrated and eat healthily.Go swimming or expose the tattoo to water.
Call your doctor if you observe any sign of infections such as fever or unusual redness, swelling or pain.Do not listen to advice from unreliable sources on tattoo aftercare.

Getting a tattoo is a unique form of self-expression that can be both powerful and meaningful. By choosing a design that reflects your personal beliefs, values, and passions, you can create an artful reminder of your individuality. The tattooing process involves creativity, attention to detail, and dedication, making it all the more rewarding for those who choose to get inked.

The Impact of Ellie’s Tattoo on the Gaming Community

Ellie’s tattoo is a symbol that has captured the attention of gamers worldwide since its debut in “The Last of Us” video game series. The tattoo, which consists of a moth with the number “10” inscribed above it, has created a buzz within the gaming community due to its intricate design and hidden meaning.

  • Uniqueness – One of the reasons why Ellie’s tattoo has garnered so much attention is its unique design. It’s a beautiful moth that contrasts well with Ellie’s rough and unrefined nature.
  • Personal Connection – Ellie’s tattoo is a symbol that represents certain aspects of her life that are significant to her. It is believed that the number “10” represents the number of people Ellie has lost in her life, including her mother, father, and friends. This loss has shaped her beliefs and morals, and the tattoo is a way to remember and honor them.
  • Impact on Players – Ellie’s tattoo has had a profound impact on gamers, leaving them with a sense of awe and curiosity. Players have tried to decipher the meaning behind the tattoo by searching for clues within the game. This has kept the gaming community engaged and invested in the game’s narrative.

Moreover, Ellie’s tattoo has inspired many players to get their own tattoos with similar designs and meanings, showcasing how video games can influence and impact people’s lives.

Overall, Ellie’s tattoo symbolizes loss, remembrance, and growth. It has left a significant impact on the gaming community, highlighting how video games can create meaningful connections with players, just like other art forms.

“The Last of Us Part II Storytelling | The Moth and the Flame | PS4”, YouTube, e3 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUmtVv1soph&ab_channel=PlayStation

Creates a connection between gamers and characters through symbols.Some may not understand the meaning behind the tattoo, losing its essence and impact.
Inspires players to get their tattoos with similar designs and meaning, resulting in a unique way of storytelling.May lead to inappropriate tattoos with similar designs and meanings that may offend or harm others.
Creates a sense of curiosity and engagement within the gaming community, driving them to find more information on the characters and the game storyline.Some players may feel that the tattoo is too personal and does not want to know too much about Ellie’s past experiences or backstory.

Table: Pros and Cons of the Impact of Ellie’s Tattoo on the Gaming Community

FAQs about what does Ellie’s tattoo symbolize

1) What is the design of Ellie’s tattoo?
Ellie’s tattoo is a moth surrounded by plants and flowers, with the moth being the centerpiece.

2) What does the moth symbolize?
In tattoo culture, moths represent transformation, the mystery of the night, spiritual growth, and the desire to seek the light. In literature, moths also represent rebirth and metamorphosis.

3) Why did Ellie get a tattoo of a moth?
The game’s storyline has hinted at Ellie’s transformation and journey through the game. The moth tattoo that represents transformation is a way for Ellie to signify that she has changed in some way.

4) What do the plants and flowers represent?
The plants and flowers surrounding the moth are a part of the tattoo’s overall design. They are symbolic of growth, life, and renewal.

5) Does Ellie’s tattoo have a deeper meaning?
Ellie’s tattoo is open to interpretation, but there is a subtle message to it. It is a symbol of Ellie’s desire to transform herself physically and symbolically. It also represents a connection to the characters she has met throughout the game.

6) Is there any significance to the tattoo’s placement on Ellie’s arm?
The placement of Ellie’s tattoo is open to interpretation. Some may argue that the tattoo’s placement on her arm symbolizes Ellie’s fight and struggle, as she uses her arm to use a bow and arrow to fight. However, the tattoo’s placement is purely subjective.

7) Does Ellie’s tattoo symbolize anything beyond the game?
Ellie’s tattoo represents the game’s character and themes, but it is also a piece of art that can be appreciated beyond the game’s context. The tattoo’s symbolism is open to interpretation and can hold meaning for whoever is looking at it.

What does Ellie’s tattoo symbolize?

Overall, Ellie’s tattoo symbolizes transformation, growth, life, and renewal. The tattoo is a way for her to show the progress she has made throughout the game, both physically and symbolically. Beyond the game, the tattoo is open to interpretation and can hold different meanings for different people. Thank you for reading about Ellie’s tattoo symbolism, and we encourage you to visit again later for more interesting articles!