1. He believes in things. Whether it be the legend of the Chupacabra, the healing and protective powers of Jade, or the symbolism of Cherokee roses. Daryl has an open-minded view of the world and finds comfort and beauty in the small things that most people might overlook.
2. When there isn’t an exit, he makes one. Daryl always seems to find a way to get himself out of unfortunate situations. When the odds are against him, he keeps going and thinks fast, getting himself and others to safety in ways that most people wouldn’t be able to.
3. He fights harder than most. He has had a succession of some of the shittiest life experiences imaginable, from a shitty childhood with an abusive dad and a runaway brother to being tormented by Negan. yet he is one of the characters who continue to fight the hardest.
4. He’s a survivor. He was raised to hunt, track, and fend for himself. When he was a kid, he was lost in the woods for more than a week, but still managed to find his way home with his acquired skills. He never had a choice. He always had to look out for himself and find a way to keep going, because the people who should have been there to look out for him were negligent.
5. He has a story. He knows what it’s like to have shitty parents and became familiar with loss at a young age. He lost his mother to a fire that resulted from her own poor choices, and his father was just a distant, abusive alcoholic.
6. He isn’t a victim. Despite all that Daryl has been through, he never allowed himself to give up. He didn’t feel sorry for himself. Honestly, he probably didn’t realize how messed up his life was until later. But he always found a way to keep going and pushing on. He was too busy keeping himself alive to throw himself a pity party for what he had been through.
7. He shares his food. Whether it be a dead animal or a Twix bar, he’s got you. Now, whether you choose to eat it or not is another story.
8. He is relatable. He has a shady older brother whose reputation overshadowed him. He chose to be his own person, despite other people’s expectations of him. He is basically Chris Chambers from Stand by Me, just all grown up.
9. He is awkward. He is a bit socially awkward, and he does strange things, like making a necklace out of Walker ears. But he has a huge heart, and he’s kind of fun to look at. So, there’s that.
10. He is loyal. Norman Reedus once described his character as being, “Like a wet dog you’d find in a dark alley. You desperately just want to give him a hug. If you try to pet him, at first, he’ll growl at you. But if you feed him, and give him someplace warm to sleep, he’ll follow you forever.”
11. He isn’t afraid to cry. Life is gross. Sometimes, it can be too much. Despite all of the neglect, abuse, and trauma that he had to face throughout his life, he knows it’s okay to just cry it out sometimes. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.
12. He is sarcastic. Honestly, Daryl’s sarcasm is the highlight of most of season 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead. He has some of the best lines, and his sense of humor is refreshing in an apocalyptic world overrun with reanimated corpses.
13. He is smart in his own way. After everything he has been through, Daryl has definitely developed some street smarts. He may not be the most socially intelligent person on the planet, but he knows how to improvise. He knows how some of the shadiest people work. He knows how to trust his instincts about certain people when they give him bad vibes. He has knowledge of hunting as well as mechanics. He may not be excessively intelligent in the traditional kind of way, but his points of intellectual strength prove to be extremely useful in the chaotic world that he and his group struggle every day to survive in.
14. He has a huge heart when it comes to other people. I mean, unless he doesn’t like you.
15. He stays true to himself. Despite the chip on his shoulder and his struggle with self-esteem, he still has confidence in his moral compass. He knows what he believes, and he has his own code.
16. He isn’t scared of much. He has seen and been through more than most. In a way, he has become desensitized to a lot of things that might scare the average person.
17. He is real. A lot of his character’s quirks and hobbies are based on the actual actor, Norman Reedus, who portrays his character. Daryl Dixon’s character wasn’t present in the original Walking Dead comic books, but they liked Norman Reedus’ audition for Merle Dixon so much, that they created another character just for him to be a part of the cast.
18. He just really loves dogs. He tries to share his food with them, too.
19. He is trying. He is trying to do the right thing, and grow, and be an overall better person. He is trying to overcome his past traumas and be the best version of himself that he can be in such an ugly world.
20. At the end of the day, you just really want to hug him.