Arguably, there is no one as beloved in The Walking Dead universe than Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). Though if one was to only have seen his first few episodes, they wouldn’t believe it. Daryl, who was one of the first characters viewers were introduced to in Season 1, started off as a surly redneck who didn’t seem to have much love for those he shared a camp with.
The Story Of Daryl
The younger brother of wise-talking, tough guy Merle, Daryl butted heads early with people like T-Dog, Shane, and even Rick, who eventually would become like another brother to him.
A skilled tracker and hunter, who is an expert with the crossbow, Daryl rose little by little to become one of the group’s leaders and most trusted confidants. He has been influential in every major battle the group has encountered—both living and dead.
But things could have taken a much different turn. Early on, Merle was handcuffed on a roof during a supply run when he started to turn on some of his fellow campmates, and when the key was lost accidentally, they were forced to leave him there.
Daryl was furious and when he went back to find him, his brother was gone—only a severed hand in his place. This caused a great deal of friction between Daryl and Rick, as he wanted revenge on T-Dog and the others but Sherriff Grimes kept him at bay.
The younger Dixon continued living at the campsite and doing his part, but wasn’t happy and wasn’t looking for friends.
A Corner Turned
The turning point for Daryl was in his efforts to find Carol’s young daughter Sophia when she was lost in Season 2. Not only was he driving the rescue attempt but he comforted Carol along the way and we saw the goodness in him.
His friendship with Carol has grown more and more through the years and the two even joked about running away together earlier this year. In one of the most touching scenes on the show, the two were separated for a long time, and there were tears in his eyes when they reconnected for a hug.
While there are some fans who may have rooted for a Daryl/Carol love story early on, most know that they were never meant to be anything but lifelong friends. Still, love has not really been in the cards for Mr. Dixon.
At one point, he and Beth Greene were separated from the group and spent a few days together holed up in a home. It looked like a little puppy love might have been starting, but she was kidnapped the next day, and died before they ever had the chance to connect again.
Daryl’s Big Losses
Through the years, he’s seen many dear friends die in front of him—most notably Glenn and Carl—and he had to kill Merle when he was turned into a Walker. But it was the loss of Rick that really hit him the hardest.
He spent a long time living in the woods, looking for his friend’s body, not quite giving up on the possibility that Rick was still alive. During this time, he also found a dog he calls “Dog” and brings him with him on battles.
These days, Daryl is the one leading the charge against all enemies and is looking after Judith and R.J. in Michonne’s absence. He might also be finding love finally, as he’s been crushing on Connie. Though when last he saw her, she may have been killed in a cave collapse. It’s not easy being Daryl, but for fans, he’s easy to love.