5 touching moments in the life of Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead series

Norman Reedus portrays Daryl Dixon who is one of several characters who experienced drastic transformation during his time on The Walking Dead.
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Blake Tyers/AMC
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Blake Tyers/AMC /

Actor Norman Reedus has portrayed Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead universe for well over a decade. During that time, Daryl has transformed into a compassionate person, a drastic change from the character introduced in season 1.

While Daryl is a tough fighter and survivor, there are several times throughout The Walking Dead's eleven seasons when he becomes uncharacteristically emotional, which touches the hearts of the fandom. Below are five our our favorite emotional Daryl Dixon moments.

Season 3, episode 6, "Hounded"

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Blake Tyers/AMC /

In this episode, Daryl believes Carol (Melissa McBride) died during a skirmish at the prison. He finds her knife embedded in a walker's neck. He angrily grabs the knife and sits on the floor, mourning the loss of his friend. He gets up to end the racket that he believes is being made by a walker to find Carol in a very weakened state but very much alive. This event was preceded by a conversation with Carl (Chandler Riggs), who recently lost his mom, and Daryl shared some of the loss of his own mother with Carl, helping him feel that he isn't alone. Both of these scenes showed a much different side to Daryl.

Season 4, episode 12, "Still"

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

This episode occurs after the prison's fall when the survivors are scattered. Beth (Emily Kinney) ends up with Daryl, which makes for a very interesting episode as Daryl harbors much guilt regarding the death of Hershel (Scott Wilson), Beth's father. They end up at a cabin where Daryl gives Beth her first real "drink," moonshine. They proceed to play a game of "I never," which leads to Beth learning Daryl is an angry drunk. When his emotions come pouring out regarding his guilt, she consoles him, and they burn the cabin, which reminds Daryl of his poor upbringing, to the ground using the remaining moonshine.

Season 3, Episode 15, "This Sorrowful Life"

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and Ben (Tyler Chase) - The Walking Dead_Season 3, Episode 15_"This Sorrowful Life" - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) was a racist, mysoginistic man who in the beginning planned on robbing the Atlanta group with is brother Daryl. He was left handcuffed to a roof in Atlanta during episode 2 of season 1, and when the group returned, evidence remained indicating he chopped off his own hand to save his life, which Daryl remarks, “Aint nobody who can kill Merle but Merle.” This proves true when Merle returns in season 3 with a homemade knife-hand. He would join Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) group, a fact that was only tolerated because of their fondness for Daryl, who, after separating from his brother, became his own man.

Merle would attempt to redeem himself by meeting with the Governor (David Morrisey) and killing him to save the group at the prison. Sadly, the Governor got the upper hand and killed him. This led to Daryl discovering his brother's reanimated form while he was eating what remained of Ben (Tyler Chase). This was a highly emotional scene from Daryl as Merle was the only family he had left.

Season 9, episode 5, “What Comes After,”

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

Next to the image of Michonne (Danai Gurira) above, Daryl's reaction to the bridge explosion and Rick's supposed death was the most gut-wrenching. Daryl finally had a real brother in Rick, one who encouraged, supported, and always had his back. This was a significant loss for Daryl, who carried this until season 11 when Judith told him, "Mom's gonna find Dad, and we're gonna be together. We're all gonna be together."

Season 5, episode 8, "Coda"

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

This episode of The Walking Dead was one of the most shocking deaths of the series. Even viewers who weren't big fans of Beth were overcome with emotion when she was accidentally shot by Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods). Daryl didn't hesitate one moment before shooting Dawn, exacting his revenge for Beth's death. Beth and Carol were being held at Grady Memorial Hospital, and Rick bargained for their release. When Beth learned that Dawn also expected Noah (Tyler James Williams) to return to her service, it was too much for Beth, who stabbed her with a scalpel, causing Dawn to fire her gun. Accident or not, Rick and Daryl were prepared to shoot Dawn. It was a significant loss for Daryl and her sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

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