Daryl Dixon

The Walking Dead has had a plethora of characters grace viewers’ displays. None has had as much of an impact than Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). If there were a character that could define a series from start to finish, Daryl would be that character.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon

Today, Wednesday Warriors looks at the life of a single individual who has made a difference in the perception of people’s expectations of what a hero ought to be. Today, Daryl Dixon takes the spotlight in this weekly feature.

When the rise of the walker first takes hold, no one knows what to make of it. People attacking other people consuming their insides becomes the norm. A little girl wandering the streets is more than a curious image. When she turns around and reveals her true nature, the viewer sees the effect of the devastating virus that has taken hold of humanity to reduce society’s most vulnerable to an eating machine.

Throughout the upheaval, two types of characters hit center stage. First, there is the selfish character that makes it a point that one will interfere with his plans of staying alive. He doesn’t care about anyone else other than himself. This character has a short lifespan in The Walking Dead. He either falls to the bullet, knife or ax, or ends up as a walker’s next meal. Second, there is the hero character. He takes on the role of the reluctant champion to anyone who needs him to intervene on his behalf. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is this type of character. He gives of himself regardless of the situation.

Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead
Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead

However, a third type of character rules The Walking Dead. He is subtle with his actions. He is not your typical hero. If anything, the image he exudes is that of the first group—a selfish man who is looking out for no one else but himself.

Daryl is that character. When people think they have him figured out, he pulls a rabbit out of his hat surprising everyone.

Others in the group may consider him a redneck. He hunts squirrel with a bow. He chews on the bark of trees. He can live off the fat of the land devouring crawling things that would make a billy goat puke.

Say what you will about Daryl, in that he may pose as a front for the survivor who has no interest than to save himself, but underneath that facade lies a man very much consumed with doing the right thing in spite of others getting in his way. Left on his own, he can outlast the strongest of a group.

The only enemy Daryl has to worry about is himself.

Torn by the demons haunting him, a brother who he’d rather not call a brother and the sadness of losing one of the only people he truly cared for, Daryl lives each day as if it were his last. If his friends settle into a new place feeling comfortable with their new surroundings, he doesn’t follow. He has always questioned authority. In his mind, if the folks he hangs with use commonsense, that is good enough for him. But don’t expect him to do what the others would want him to do. He’s his own boss.

The best part about Daryl’s character is his steadfast push toward killing walkers at all costs. When someone falls to one of the undead, he spares the others by taking a direct approach to solving the walker problem. He kills them. There isn’t anything Daryl hasn’t done. Aside from his lack of social skills, he knows where he fits in the zombie apocalypse.

Perhaps Daryl has a lesson for everyone, not only those watching him every week on The Walking Dead. Perhaps his way of doing things—grabbing the world by the throat—is the only way to solve a problem.

Maybe he does have a lesson for those interested in making a difference.

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RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What do you think of Daryl? What do you like most about Daryl’s character?

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17 thoughts on “Daryl Dixon

  1. Don’t worry y’all as long as Norman is alive in real life……Everything’s fine, this IS what we should be focusing on..Love you Daryl!

  2. I stopped watching The Walking Dead a few seasons ago. The zombies and carnage didn’t bother me. What bothered me were the sick, depraved, disgusting humans… Even Rick wasn’t immune to the real disease that runs rampant in TWD.

    The only character who seems to have stood the test of time, zombies, and human nature is Daryl. I can’t watch the show, but my wife does, and the one thing I want to know when she’s finished is, “Is Daryl okay? Still the brooding good guy?”

    He’s the kind of person I hope my family and I end up with if the real world goes Z.

  3. Besides being an obvious bad-ass, I think he’s the most consistently well -written character on the show. He may be a man of few words but he speaks with his actions. He surprisingly has a big heart, beneath a gruff exterior. I also liked how he’s evolving, one of the keys to being a long time survivor. He started off on the outside of the group, and slowly built relationships with the core people. I also like what you said about the demons that haunt him. The show wouldn’t be the same without Daryl.

  4. Daryl has a big heart but it’s buried under his crude veneer that he shows outwardly. He takes no one’s flak and he’s okay helping those who show that there is some steel lurking in that spine of theirs.
    Under it all he wants to be the loner and he wants to be accepted for who he is and not what he thinks they can remake of him. No matte how hard he tries to fit in he still calls the shots and does what he does best… aiming directly, with either words or arrow, to the center of the issue without ‘sugar coating’ it.
    Very much the ‘post apocalyptic’ reluctant hero.
    -> Do I like him? Yes! He’s the type of guy you need around to get things done in the new world.

  5. Despite coming off as a simple redneck, Daryl is probably one of the most complex characters on the show. There is so much below the surface smoldering, just waiting for the right moment to be revealed. Had the zombie apocalypse not happened, the man he is now would never have come to be. He is at home in this world. There is much we can learn from his character, whether in his world or in ours.

  6. He really is the redneck hero of The Walking Dead. stronger and more steadfast than Rick, he does what is right even though its not how he was brought up. he has a big heart but the common sense to keep it from getting him into trouble.

  7. It’s ironic how popular he’s become, considering he wasn’t even part of the original comic series. But the TV series does take a turn of its own from the original, and Daryl appears to have become the new archetype of a post apocalyptic hero for the 21st century. Im sure the classic Joseph Campbell’s Hero Thesis will need a new revision. 😉

  8. An iconic character who will stand the test of time, I predict, for generations to come. In my opinion, The Walking Dead tv series is a standalone complex which has set new artistic standards across the cinematic, media and social media landscapes. I have never seen anything like it. Norman Reedus was a veteran couture model and actor from NYC, a fixture in the most exclusive Manhattan scene for decades, and it amazes me how he has brought such a natural grace and authenticity to the character of Daryl Dixon, a redneck from Georgia with a tragic past and the tenderest of hearts. Pure genius. A+

  9. Daryl has always been my favorite of the series. He is tough and at first may seem uncaring but he may just have the biggest heart of the group. I love the combination of those two characteristics in him.

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