What Is Rat King in The Last of Us Part 2? Why Is It Called That & Is It the Strongest Boss?

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The first season isn’t over yet, but we’ve stepped deep into the world of The Last of Us, HBO’s adaptation of Naughty Dog’s acclaimed video game of the same name. We witnessed how the two main characters go through many threats that this world is full of. At the same time, we follow the characters’ back stories that give the series that unique emotional touch for which the original games were recognizable.

At the time of this writing, the first season of HBO’s The Last of Us is two episodes away from its conclusion, and the second season has already been confirmed. We won’t get ahead of ourselves, but the second season is expected to cover the story of The Last of Us Part II, and while we wait for the grand finale of season one and who knows how long until season two, let’s see what that one thing in The Last of Us franchise that is called the Rat King is.

The Rat King is an infected anomaly composed of several infected (stalkers, clickers, bloaters) connected by the Cordyceps fungus. First introduced in The Last of Us Part II, the Rat King is the strongest and most fearsome boss the player can face in the entire game. Its strength and resilience surpass the bloaters’, making killing very hard. Fortunately, the player will have to deal with only one Rat King in the entire game.

In the rest of this article, we will further discover what the Rat King is, why it is called that, and what is the most effective way to defeat it.

We have already written about the various stages of infection in The Last of Us. When the infection takes over the person, the person first turns into a runner, then into a stalker, after that into a clicker, and then after a few years time into a bloater, which was the strongest boss in the original game. The sequel to the game took one step further and introduced a new, even stronger boss called the Rat King, which is, in fact, a super-organism composed of multiple infected that are held together by the Cordyceps fungus.

While it takes years of exposure to the Codryceps to develop the bloater stage of infection, it was indirectly mentioned in the game that it took around 25 years of exposure to develop the Rat King stage of infection, since one of the game’s supporting characters mentioned that the Rat King was made up of some the very first people that were infected in Seattle.

Why is the Rat King called that?

One interesting fact is that this boss was never specifically called “the Rat King” by anyone in the game, so that begs the question of why is this worst stage of infection called “the Rat King.” Co-game director Kurt Margenau once revealed that this boss was originally unnamed until late development when the game’s Model Viewer required an official name.

Unlike this strong and scary boss, the rat king term exists in real life, and it describes the phenomenon of a group of rats whose tails are bound and intertwined together in some way. So, the same way rats are connected by their tails to form a real-life rat king, the infected are connected by Cordyceps fungus to create the Rat King in The Last of Us Part II.


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Is the Rat King the strongest boss?

The Last of Us franchise has spawned two video games so far, and the Rat King was first introduced in the second one. It is the strongest known infected and, as such, can take a big deal amount of damage before it falls.

In the game, the player encounters the Rat King when the playable character Abby searches for medical supplies at a hospital in Seattle. It’s not possible to sneak out of this situation as it could be with other infected in the game, so it’s always advised to keep your combat supplies stocked up as you never know when you might encounter such an abomination (especially if you’re playing the game for the first time).

When fighting the Rat King, it’s important to keep running often and keep your distance. The Rat King is the most vulnerable to flamethrower damage, bombs, and incendiary rounds that deal massive damage quickly. However, killing this boss effectively takes some time and thinking.

While the game’s veterans already know everything there is to know about the Rat King, the fact is that the fight against it is still one of the scariest, most memorable, and most awesome sequences in the entire game. Not only that it’s the hardest boss there is, but it looks just like you would expect it from such an abomination.

Will there be the Rat King in HBO’s series?

Well, even if the Rat King appears in HBO’s TV series, it surely won’t be during the first season. It’s hard to say, but if we ever see this creature in live-action medium, it could be in the second season, at the earliest. Still, the first season isn’t finished yet, and who knows how long will we need to wait for the second season, so we’ll take one step at a time.

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