Daryl, Reedus, and The Walking Dead

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So, here’s a thing you should know about me:

It takes a lot to get me to flail.

No, I am not often flaily person; in fact, I can usually contain my flail in almost any situation. Example: I met Rob Pattinson in the heyday of my very own brand of Twilight-induced Mania (see what I did there?) and managed to not only *not* scream my head off, but have an actual, brief conversation with him. WHO KNEW, RIGHT

So, yes: I can maintain my flail quite well, thank you. You gotta really sell me on something. It’s rare that I am immediately enamored with something (though Doctor Who is a rare exception to that rule).

In light of this, it’s possibly easy to guess that most of my fangirlishness is a bit of a slow burn, but once it hits, it lasts for-freaking-ever.

Right now, the one and only thing that I JUST CANNOT EVEN over?

Daryl fucking Dixon and (by proxy) Norman fucking Reedus.

I mean, I’d seen (and loved) him in Boondock Saints, years ago, but now?

I mean, really? Do you SEE HIS ARMS?
I mean, really? Do you SEE HIS ARMS?

I just cannot even, not even a little bit, to the point where I was in a foul mood for two days after the mid-series finale of The Walking Dead in December. To the point that every time I see him in any post ever on Tumblr, I reblog it. Or favorite it. Or both. To the point where I follow Mr. Reedus on Twitter, despite the fact that most of his tweets are random pictures of stuff, because I think he’s a sexy beast and (to repeat myself) I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

But let me back up a bit.

A couple of years ago, when The Walking Dead premiered, I was totally interested, but I’m also a total wuss, meaning that basically everything scares me, except vampires. So, I watched the first couple episodes, had some seriously demented dreams, and gave up.

Until the next season was slated to air, at which point I got my head on straight and watched all 6 episodes of the first season in one day and thought, “SELF, YOU ARE AN IDIOT. LOOK WHAT YOU COULD HAVE MISSED OUT ON.” (I think we can all agree that Caps Locking is the beginning of KEYSMASHING, yes?)

So, yeah. Season 2.

I loved the treatment the show gave zombies. The walkers aren’t fancy, they don’t look clean, and they don’t move quickly. They just want to eat your brains and internal organs and such, and move along. Slowly. But more than that, I loved – no, love – that the show was never really about zombies. Not really, anyway. It’s a hell of a lot more than that. Real life problems, real relationship development, and everyday things are the point, if you ask anyone who is really into the show.

Beyond that, what I loved was the writing. It’s so damn smart. How they manage to show but not tell so many key things about characters is proof that the folks who write the scripts are geniuses, and while that’s evident all over, no character on the show exemplifies that intelligent, quiet characterization like Daryl Dixon (and Norman Reedus in his portrayal).


Daryl is a filthy (and I mean that literally) redneck, younger brother to Merle, who is arguably the biggest asshole left on the planet, besides The Governor, post Zombie Apocalypse. In season one, he’s a loose cannon, and we never really know what to expect. He’s rough and tumble, he’s White Trash, and he’s a hot mess.

By the end of the mid point of season three, we’ve learned that he’s fiercely loyal, that he’s dependable, that he loves fiercely, that he’s kind-hearted, that he is brave and really smart. We learn, without them saying a word about it – only via body language between the actors – that he was abused as a child; we learn that his childhood was, generally speaking, marked by tragedy. We realize exactly how much his brother manipulated him, then and now. He’s still a hot mess, in every sense of the word (and I do mean HOT, too. *fans self*), but we understand him, so it makes it all okay.

Daryl is so damn amazing, and so integral to the working of the plot, that I love him. Every bit of his unwashed, probably terrible smelling self. He’s my favorite thing about the show, and there’s no question about that, and I knew that that was partially due to the writing, but mostly due to Norman Reedus and his rather superb skill in portraying him.


Then, I met a friend of a friend, and I followed her on Tumblr, and she posted the best Daryl gif sets and the best daryl photo collages and the best Daryl quotes and the best Norman Reedus videos and picture and suddenly, I was lost in some sort of Tattooed-Man-Who’s-Always-Wearing-Sunglasses Heaven, and I haven’t looked back since, and at this point, I CANNOT EVEN.

I throw things at the TV when he’s hurt on the show (usually my JesusPhone), or in danger on the show, or when someone is being an asshat toward him on the show.  Aside from The Doctor, this is the only time I’ve ever fangirled over a character and the actor who plays him so hardcore. With Twilight, it was a set of characters, all together. There have been books. There have been movies. There have been singers. But never have I ever been so infatuated with a fictional character, on his own.

Daryl is the only character I am in love with enough that I was willing to read fanfiction again. I read a story called “Watch Me Burn” by LittleMissTightlyWound, and I CAN’T EVEN BECAUSE IT’S LIKE HE LIVES IN THE WORDS. She captures his intensity and his uncertainty and his bad-assery all at once and it makes me a little squirmy (as all good M-Rated fic probably should).

Also, just throwing this out there: I judge anyone who can’t manage to spell his name correctly. D-A-R-Y-L. Not two Rs, not -EL/-LE/whatever else. Get it right, people. Jesus.


And then there’s Norman, on his own. He’s a father, he’s awkward as hell in front of crowd, his friendships are clearly very important to him, and he’s got what is obviously a quirky sense of humor, if his tweets are any sign. He’s an artist. He loves his fans.

Also, there’s (all of) this:

Glasses porn? I think so.


HNNNG *&^*^%& /ShoulderPorn/
HNNNG *&^*^%& /ShoulderPorn/

and for some lulz:

Dancing Reedus FTW.
Dancing Reedus FTW.

And also:

With the same hands he decapitates a Walker with...
With the same hands he decapitates a Walker with…

And then, there’s this, the final blow. An example of the ingenious writing and blocking of The Walking Dead, Reedus’ subtlety as an actor, and the most perfect way to show vulnerability in a character without even needing to give them some clever line of dialogue. Anyone who is an avid fan of the show will immediately recognize this, and probably melt/swoon/clutch their pearls immediately as well:

No caption necessary.

So. Are you on the /Daryl/Norman Reedus Bandwagon yet? I sincerely hope so, or maybe I’ve got to question your sanity.



Keysmash OT5

Keysmash OT5

keysmash \ KEE-smash\ verb

1. Randomly hitting your keyboard to express overwhelming emotion, such as anger or excitement.

ot5 \ oh-TEE-fahyv \ noun

1. Favorite combination of five persons in a fandom.
Keysmash OT5

Latest posts by Keysmash OT5 (see all)

  • Danielle

    OH I so wanted to love The Walking Dead but I, like you, am a complete wuss. I watched half of the first season sometime in the last 2 years, and I still have awful wake-up-screaming-in-a-cold-sweat nightmares. Daryl was my favourite character from what I did watch though. At first it was just because of Norman Reedus, but even S1 Daryl grew on me. Like fungus. Fungi?

    • Ang

      I have the worst imagination imaginable, and a somewhat photographic memory for the images that disturb me most (of course). I had to learn to shake that off after season one, and I’m ok now. I can be mostly impressed when gruesome stuff happens on the show now.

      Mostly. haha.

  • Motimetostart

    I’m on the bandwagon! Norman is awesome, but Daryl owns my soul. They can kill anyone off, but NOT DARYL. I would just… I can’t even think about it. I heart this post hard.

    • Ang

      YES, That. I mean, really, for an original character, he’s got so much depth and nuance… they can’t get rid of him or the fans would likely riot.

      No, really. And I know you know what I mean. 😉

  • Brie Keysmash

    Daryl is the best thing they could have done to the show that wasn’t in the comic. errr spoiler alert: Daryl is an original character for the show. I think of all the characters, he’s developed the most. He went from basically an insensitive, racist, badass with a crossbow, to a sensitive, “he’s Korean”, badass with a crossbow.

    I also found out about Norman Reedus thanks to the cult like love of Boondock Saints when I was in college. I watched that movie more times than I can count, but until TWD, I don’t ~think I saw him in anything else. But man, am I glad for his cut-off sleeved button down, and dirty demeanor. 😉

    • Danielle

      I’ve seen Boondock Saints and I still don’t understand why people like it. Is it meant to be an action movie? I don’t understand it at all, genre wise. I don’t understand why I LIKED it

      • Brie Keysmash

        I liked it because it was just really different I guess. Also, I watched it around a bunch of frat boys and I think their enthusiasm made me even more into it? But I just like the idea of two super catholic, vigilantes trying to save the city.

    • Ang

      I agree. I do think that he’s the most developed because he had the most room for development, if that makes sense, but being able to WATCH that development has been the key for Daryl, as a character.

      Like the other commenter, I don’t really know what genre to put Boondock Saints in. All I know is I was all, HEY TWO HOT VIGILANTES I AM ONBOARD. Also, weird, headphone wearing, interpretive dancing in an alley Willem Dafoe. Also, I was drunk the first time I saw it, so there’s that. hahaha.

      At any rate: I would climb Reedus like a GD tree. (FYI: It’s totally ok that he’s not that tall. Neither am I.)

  • Leiah

    Girl, you know I’m on board. Daryl/Norman is worth all the flails. He’s the only character I’ll riot over if he dies and the only one I want to know more about.

    • Ang

      Exactly. Gah! The show is about Rick, and Daryl has become its heart, so those two better be safe. The end.


  • Heidi Keysmash

    All right, all right. I’m sold. I’m going to have to watch this show. And when I get all the Daryl flails, I’m totally blaming you, Ang. <3