Norman Reedus: why Daryl Dixon is popular on The Walking Dead


Fans of The Walking Dead seem to love Daryl Dixon.  The character is played by an actor named Norman Reedus who was in cult films and shows like “The Boondock Saints” and “Charmed” before reaching a much larger audience when AMC’s hit zombie survival show became a massive worldwide hit.

The reason why fans love Daryl Dixon is something that I never quite figured out.  As a reader of the comics, I always felt he was an odd addition to a story that didn’t really need a lot of other characters included.  In fact, there wasn’t even a planned character for Daryl until Norman Reedus auditioned for the role of Merle and the casting director felt that Reedus needed a role on The Walking Dead.

There are only a couple of characters that are currently on AMC’s The Walking Dead that weren’t a part of the comics.  The fact that they don’t have to follow in those character’s footsteps allows a lot more freedom in how the character is portrayed on the screen.  It is that kind of freedom that has helped keep Norman Reedus’ character of Daryl Dixon so interesting.

Recently, Reedus sat down with the folks at i09 to discuss the upcoming movie Air as well as some details about The Walking Dead.  During that interview, Norman Reedus gave some insight into Daryl Dixon.  Here is the interview from the official i09 YouTube channel:

At the 4:33 point in the video, Norman Reedus is asked why fans like Daryl Dixon.  He takes a moment to think, but then answers with the following statement.

"“I think he wears his heart on his sleeve. I don’t think he’s trying to trick you or fool you. I think he has a certain amount of loyalty to him. He would never cross boundaries with that. Usually, you have a good guy that’s’s broken, and he goes bad. This guy started off bad, and was a loner and couldn’t relate to anybody, and didn’t want people around him.”"

Daryl Dixon and Aaron, The Walking Dead - AMC
Daryl Dixon and Aaron, The Walking Dead – AMC /

It wasn’t even that Daryl Dixon is bad.  I believe that it is Daryl’s surroundings and influences that led to him being a bit of a rebel and rule breaker.  The relationship between him and his brother Merle wasn’t the healthiest, but the two still found a way to bond growing up.

That rough upbringing could be why Daryl Dixon has a hard time trusting anyone.  That is one trait that the character has in which Norman Reedus brings out very well on The Walking Dead.  But according to Reedus, that “chip on his shoulder” is slowly being whittled away.

"“We’re watching that chip slowly get chipped off. He found a sense of self-worth through these strangers he would never have hung out with. And I feel like you’re watching this guy sort of become a man that… firmly believes in the things he believes in. He’s becoming admirable. People rely on him, for the first time.”"

There is no denying that Norman Reedus is a major part of The Walking Dead’s universe.  In fact, earlier this year we ran a tournament during the NCAA Final Four that resulted in us discovering that Daryl Dixon is the most popular character on the show according to our readers.

Why do you love Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon?  What parts of his character do you find to be charming or interesting?  Let us know in the comments below.

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