The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’s Quote About Buttons, the Horse


When Daryl Dixon was helping Aaron to try to rope the beautiful black horse, Buttons, he remarked, “The longer they’re out there, the more they become what they really are.” This line bothered me at first because I knew it was meant not to refer to the wild animals, but to the survivors as well. But I didn’t want to think that who our people are is more brutal and violent. Of course,  after I was able to think about it longer, I realized that when you look deeper, the brutality and violence is what they have to do. It’s their behavior; it’s not who they are. Let’s look at a few of the characters and see how they have become more of what they really are. Then you can think about more on your own.

Daryl Dixon 

Since Daryl is the one who made the remark, let’s look at him first. He was abused and abandoned as a child and he has become someone who is determined to stick by his friends and not give up on people. He has perseverance and loyalty.  He told Beth he was nothing and did nothing before the end and now he uses the idea of having nothing else to do or his plans falling through as a convenient excuse to do his good deeds. Some abused people lose their confidence and turn inward and others gain confidence and become overly loud, abrasive or full of entitlement or resentment. Daryl became and continues to become an interesting combination of someone who has turned inward, but who has a lot of quiet confidence and nothing to prove. And for someone who has turned inward he has learned in the new world that you need people and can ask for help.  He has affirmed and built up others in the most subtle of ways. Something that he never received.  He is a quiet, wise, observer and helper who needs people and sees their needs. 

Rick Grimes

Rick has always been a protector and has looked out for the entire group. He was a cop. A protector of society.  He has obviously become more violent, but what he has really become is more and more protective. Early on his protection included keeping people alive and maintaining his humanity and negotiating. But many of his decisions seemed to yield bad or even horrible results in his eyes, which left him with guilt for not being able to protect everyone and keep everyone safe. So as his protective instincts got stronger, he felt he needed to make more ruthless decisions.

The Governor

The Governor always had a need for control and respect and admiration. To me what gave him away was when he talked about being bossed around by a kid half his age at work before the end of the world.  He was never above doing whatever ot took to get what he wanted, his dignity and integrity were not too high a price. A mask of gentility, geniality and generosity? Not a problem. Yes, the apocalypse and the loss of his daughter and wife changed him, but I think he missed their loving him more than him loving them.  And with the people of Woodbury,  including his people in charge, Martinez, Schumpert, Merle and Milton, he was more interested in what they could do for him and he desired their fear, respect and aprobation without any hint or shred of reciprocity. The apocalypse augmented his characteristics as if he were out there a life time!


Glenn has always been a sacrificer and a savior. Had he not saved Rick from that tank, we wouldn’t have the same show we love.  He is becoming more and more of who he is in much more sophisticated ways. Instead of volunteering to be lowered into a well with a bloated walker in it, he’s now making stern warnings to a member of Alexandria who made a horrible decision that forced Glenn to watch Noah die in front of him. Glenn wasn’t able to save Noah, but he was able to forgive or at least empathize with Noah’s ill-equipped murderers’ accomplice and save him.

There are many more characters to look at and how the apocalypse has brought out more of who they are.  I’m going to write another article featuring more characters.  But until then, feel free to discuss your opinions in the comments! What have the other characters done or said that reveals more of who they are because they’ve been out there so long?

Click HERE for part two!