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"You’ve got some nerve thinking that about the kindest guy who ever walked the damn Earth. It’s a real testament to who you are as a person, Mark, if you can find it in yourself to dislike someone like him."
Joe to Mark about his outburst towards Xavier.
Joe Crook is a major protagonist in The Road To Idylland and one of the original Duke of Edinburgh survivors. He was introduced in the first page of Part 1: Downfall and was travelling through Dartmoor, Wales with his group when the virus went nationwide.
Joe is a well-decorated member of the group. He sees himself as a leader of men and holds a sense of arrogance about his strong position in the group. He is looked up to by some of the other survivors and he uses this to fuel his ego. He is the first to admit his arrogance and entwines it into his humour to the extent that it is accepted by his close friends. Despite this side to him, he is generally a friendly boy who would go the limits for his friends and make decisions based upon the good of the group.
He is madly in love with his girlfriend, Megan, who remains at the centre of the majority of his decisions. Her safety is his utmost priority and he would do anything to protect her. However, this can sometimes be perceived as patronising to her, leading to some arguments between them. He believes Megan to be strong and capable of doing anything in the post-apocalyptic world but cannot bring himself to admit this as he fears for putting her in dangerous positions. All in all, their relationship is something to be admired.
Joe attended Bournemouth Grammar School after moving to the area when he was 14 years old. He joined the football team as soon as he could as it was his favourite past time in that stage of his life. As he grew older, he focused more on academics than sport and became a very bright student with the aim of getting a job as soon as he left school and working his way up the ladder. His passion soon became real estate and earned himself an apprenticeship at a company. He was due to join this three weeks after his golden expedition finished with his Duke of Edinburgh group.
He first joined DoE at Bronze level and met the rest of the people who joined at this level. This is where he met Xavier, who would become his best friend, and also Megan. She was Xavier's friend at the time who joined with him with the intention on being in a group with him, but they quickly gelled with different people and settled into their seperate groups. Soon after meeting one another, Joe asked Megan out on a date and they have been together ever since.
He was with the rest of his group in Dartmoor when the virus hit on a wide-scale. He and the rest of the DoE participants hid in Oak Barn whilst trying to locate the missing group. During the argument when Mark insisted upon leaving, Joe took Xavier's side against Mark who wanted to steal the van and drive back to Bournemouth. However, they were forced to flee when a small herd of walkers threatened Oak Barn. Aware of the limited seating, Joe insisted on Megan entering the van with Mark and fleeing to safety whilst he would remain and fend off the walkers. Megan was reluctant to do so, however, demanding that she stay with her boyfriend. Fortunately, Ian and Tracey had spotted this incoming danger and returned quick enough, allowing the group to split into two and take a van each.
Joe shared a van with Tracey, Xavier, Megan, Steve and Frank and were able to flee Oak Barn and, eventually, Dartmoor. They were separated from the other group during this journey.
Megan is, without doubt, the most important person in Joe's life. They have been a couple for only two years but their bond is incredible. Their relationship had not endured much hardship before the outbreak of the infection, and is to be put to the test in the post-apocalyptic world. Megan can perceive Joe as patronising, sometimes, believing that because she is a woman he feels it is his duty to protect her when she is more than capable of defending herself. Joe states that he does not mean to come across that way, and it is simply more the act of protecting who he loves. He fears for her safety when he receives Ian's phone call and is concerned for her well-being, demonstrating how she is always a priority to him.
When they are reunited, Joe's relief is plain to see and they embrace tightly. It can be said that some members of the group are envious of how close they are. They are regularly seen together throughout the story due to their close relationship.
Xavier, nicknamed 'Zav', is Joe's best friend and has been since they met. They are very close friends and will do anything for one another. Joe sees Xavier as the 'leader' of the group, but also knows that his place in the group in held in high regard: a position of which he is secretly proud of. Joe is regularly seen taking Xavier's side and vice versa. They are the group's rock in terms of making decisions and the responsibility to carry out certain tasks normally resides with one of these two. They are inseparable.
Joe and Darren share a good friendship. They met at the start of their Duke of Edinburgh days and have been good friends since. They share similar senses of humour and generally get on well with one another. Joe appears surprised upon seeing that Darren does not flee with them, but instead follows Mark but believes it to be 'in the moment' and not a calculated decision.