Walter White is undeniably one of the most interesting and complex characters in the history of television. The story of Breaking Bad is truly the story of Walt, and the character arc and developments that he goes through are some of the most intriguing and extreme that any character can experience.
There are many good sides to Walter, but there seem to be just as many bad sides to him as well. He’s very easy to love or hate. And with that in mind, which are Walter’s best character traits, and which are his worst?
Best: His Desire To Be A Good Father
Obviously one of Walter White’s primary drives as a person is his desire to be a good parent to his children, and as the series goes on, it’s clear that includes being a parental figure to Jesse as well.
Even though Walter isn’t an ideal role model, he does what he can to guide his kids in the right direction and he is willing to put himself on the line for them when they’re against the ropes.
Worst: His Thirst For Power
At the start of the story, it’s clear that Walt has essentially given up on life and he is lacking in self confidence. But once he starts making meth, it seems like that pendulum swings way too far in the other direction.
Walter develops a really strong sense of entitlement and superiority, and starts to seek out greater power and more authority because he believes that it’s his right to have it.
Best: His Willingness To Do The Worst So Others Don’t Have To
Although he sometimes has a completely backwards way of showing it, Walter is actually incredibly caring and considerate when it comes to the people that he loves.
He definitely has an intense cruel streak at times, but ultimately he repeatedly puts himself in a position to do absolutely terrible things simply because he doesn’t want Jesse to have to do them instead.
Worst: His Lack Of Compassion
While Walt proves himself very willing to make hard and unimaginably cruel decisions for Jesse’s sake, it’s clear that his compassion for people doesn’t really extend beyond those that are in his inner circle.
He often sees others as nothing more than tools to get what he wants, and he’s willing to hurt people or even kill them if he believes that their suffering will result in some sort of benefit for him.
Best: His Bravery
Although Walter White becomes very arrogant by the end of the series, he is an incredibly by the book guy when the series first begins, and it’s clear that he’s terrified to be dealing with unhinged criminals.
However, despite his fear, he not only engages with them, he winds up scaring the pants off of them quite a few times as well. That kind of bravery in the face of life threatening danger is impressive.
Worst: His Vanity
Walt is undeniably an incredibly talented and brilliant individual. But not only does he know that, he seems to really overestimate his value and power in a lot of situations.
He’s an incredible meth cook and he’s a genius at problem solving, but he is willing to risk everything else in his life to prove his value as a drug kingpin and chemistry whiz.
Best: His Intelligence
Although Walter spent most of his public life languishing as an underappreciated high school chemistry teacher, his career in the drug trade really proved that he was an unparalleled genius when it came to chemistry (and when it came to a lot of other things too, actually).
Without Walt’s insane intellect, he and Jesse never would have made it as far as they did, and he and his family likely wouldn’t have survived his foray into the drug world either.
Worst: His Arrogance
Clearly the main story arc of Breaking Bad is Walt’s experience hitting the absolute peak of the drug trade, and then having it all come crashing down on him.
And the unfortunate fact is that he likely could have gotten out of the drug biz relatively unscathed had he not overestimated his own power and abilities. Walter’s arrogance got Hank killed, Jesse imprisoned, and his entire family’s life destroyed.
Best: His Desire To Care For His Loved Ones
Although Walter obviously let himself get wrapped up in all of his most negative personality traits and impulses by the time Breaking Bad came to it’s conclusion, the undeniable fact is that he did start his journey off with good intentions, and no matter what happened, he never lost sight of those intentions.
Walter was always willing to do whatever it took to make sure that his family would be cared for after he was gone, and when it came down to it, those he loved were always his priority.
Worst: His Deviousness
Walter is actually an incredibly loving and kind person who is unfortunately riddled with just as many negative traits as he is positive ones.
But despite the fact that he genuinely cares for the people around him and is willing to do almost anything for them, his worst trait has got to be his willingness to manipulate them and lie to them for his own gain.