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Some spoilers for season 3 in The Walking Dead.

In The Walking Dead season 3 we see some shots of

the Governor's secret room where he keeps his zombified daughter and heads in fish tanks.

Why does he keep the heads??

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In the TV show:

Andrea asks about them in Made to Suffer. The governor explains to her that it is to steel himself and prepare himself for what lies beyond the walls of Woodbury. From the transcript:

I made myself look at them. Prepared me for the horrors outside.

In the comics:

No specific reason is really given beyond the fact that the governor is a sadistic, and unbalanced madman.

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Actually I wondered the same thing, when the Gov. said looking at the heads prepared him for the outside world, I instantly took this as one of his lies or cover ups to normalise the image he gave others of himself. In season 3 episode 10, Michonne talks to the group in the prison about what she saw in his office. She talks about the heads and says

he had fish tanks full of heads, walkers and humans. Trophies.

Michonne always saw the Gov. for what he was, a sadistic bastard, her analysis of what those heads meant to him felt pretty true for me. The Gov. saw them as trophies, ways in which he had won, sick victories that made him feel good about himself. He was crazy though so makes sense.

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In Season 3 Episode 16, "Welcome to the Tombs", he is talking to Milton telling him not to feel ashamed for winning

Take the heads so you never forget.

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It makes a lot of sense for them to be trophies. He also cuts off

Hershals head when they attack the prison.

Assuming that his side would win.

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