Apr 8 2012 11:00am

The Walking Dead: A Budding Romance, or Just Wishful Thinking?

After finishing Season 2 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, I found myself obsessing about what might happen in Season 3—not about next season’s anticipated prison backdrop or how the death of Dale or Shane will ultimately effect the group, but what I presumed was my own flight of fancy, romanticizing the relationship between Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier. As evidenced by the clip above, I am not the only one who is anticipating this new love amongst the gore.

Acheron by Sherrilyn KenyonWhat is it about them that has my girly romance meter buried deep in the red? Looking deeper, it’s not hard to unearth the romance roots of the relationship. In fact, it shares similarities to everything I love about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series: The tortured hero, brutal when necessary but with a working moral compass that will always point him to what is right, and although life has been nothing but brutal to him, he still shows kindness to others.

From The Guardian’s Seth, tortured daily for 4,000 years in the hell realm, to Night Pleasures’s Kyrian of Thrace, betrayed by his beloved wife and delivered into the hands of the Romans to be tortured and crucified; from Seize the Night’s Valerius, the Roman General crucified by his own family for not being brutal enough and who has spent the last few millennia being ostracized by his fellow Dark-Hunters, most of whom were killed or lost family to the Romans, to Night Play’s Vane Kattalakis, a Katagaria were-hunter raised in a dog-eat-dog (or more to the point, wolf-eat-wolf) world where everything from food to sex is fought for with tooth and claw, these are all heroes who fight to save the innocent from the soul sucking daimons who feed off the living, and after a lifetime of enduring nothing but their own pain and suffering, they meet that one person who shows them nothing but kindness, gentleness and unconditional love that it is so absolutely life changing to them.

Daryl and Carol in The Walking DeadAfter Season 1, I thought nothing more of Daryl Dixon’s character than that he was a narrow-minded hothead, and that he was pretty cool with that crossbow. I took notice, however, when Season 2 started, and Sophia was chased into the woods by the “walkers.” Daryl searched day after day for the little girl and offered support to Carol to help keep up her spirits. When Daryl offered Carol the rose and told his “Cherokee Rose” story, I was swoony. But I was a goner that one moment when Carol leaned over to give Daryl a kiss on the cheek, and he actually flinched away, presuming she would hurt him just like everyone else in his life so far.

Daryl watches Carol in The Walking Dead Season 2Daryl Dixon’s neglectful childhood and abusive older brother has nothing on Kenyon’s Acheron Parthenopaeus’s upbringing, which was so brutal I will never be able to bring myself to read that again, but I want to see him realize that Carol offers a kindness and a strength missing from his life.

These two characters definitely deserve a HEA (or as best one can get during a zombie apocalypse), if only Daryl has the courage to embrace what Carol can offer. I am dying to see the changes to Daryl’s character after finding that one person who will give him that unconditional love and acceptance.

I have my fingers crossed, what about you?


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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Allison Brennan
1. Allison Brennan
Now I need to finish watching Season Two!
Lindsay Beeson
2. lindsayb
I'm with you. I love a tortured hero! I would like to see a romance develop between these two. Daryl has taken on a whole new dimension in the second season. I can't wait for the third.
Allison Brennan
3. Acole
I so got this feeling from them as well, and am with on hoping there is more.
Allison Brennan
4. Trish Milburn
I am right there with you. I just love Daryl and these two getting together.
Allison Brennan
5. Kimswhimsy
Daryl is my fav character- as evidenced by the Daryl action figure I begged for at Christmas (he's sitting on my desk now!). And I think the show really needs a Daryl-Carol romance. Both are strong and would create a certain force that we don't see with any of the other characters.

One of my favorite Fitzgerald quotes is this: "Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy." We already have the tragedy- now we'll see Daryl emerge as the unlikely hero.
Anna Bowling
6. AnnaBowling
I would love to see Carol/Daryl. The show already has a young romance with Maggie/Glenn, so I'd love to see something develop between two more mature characters. We need some light in all this darkness.

In the graphic novel, we do get to see some romance for Carol, though Daryl is unique to the series, and I really do think these two could be good for each other. The Cherokee Rose bit gave me that shippy gut clench that only comes for the really good couples, and I think that given the right opportunities, Carol and Daryl could make that list.
Darlene Marshall
7. DarleneMarshall
Daryl's my favorite character on WD. I'd love to see more of him, in any fashion.
Allison Brennan
8. FangirlJo
I adore their friendship and if the writers want to push the boundaries and bring romance into the mix, then by all means! I really hope that season 3 will bring something new for Carol in terms of protecting herself. I would love to see Daryl (or anyone else) teach her a few defensive/attack techniques that will be beneficial for the group. I see a lot of Carol hate, which annoys me to no end, so it'd be great if that surfaces next season...with a hint of romance as well! :)
Allison Brennan
9. misterdaryldixon
I hope Daryl realizes his feelings for her. I watch the epiosdes and I study their body language and I see it! I think their relationship will complete the show. I love the idea of a "bad boy" turns softy over a woman :)
Allison Brennan
10. BowlingAlley
It seems that the actor who plays Daryl Dixon is adamantly resistant to his character having a relationship with Carol on the show, and for some reason, this annoys and infuriates me to no end. Perhaps it is because I, too, am a middle-aged woman (married! with kids! no one's been eaten in a ZA!) but get this creepy vibe from Norman Reedus that the reason he doesn't want Daryl to have a relationship with Carol is because the actress who plays her doesn't look like a 24-year-old supermodel.

I don't think he disrespects Melissa McBride (who plays Carol) or thinks she's "ugly" (I sure don't--she is very cute, albeit in a Jamie Lee Curtis "everyday American woman" sort of way). I do, however, think it is telling that he's dated only models, he's BEEN a model, and he seems to put a lot of importance in the appearance of things and people (he's a photographer and artist as well as a former model). Not only that, but he mentioned that his pick for Michonne would've been Zoe Saldana (from Avatar) who is a freakin' bombshell. IMO she would've seemed too much like Barbie Does Badass, but hey, if that's what he's into...

Reedus gets a TON of flexibility and freedom in his character's development that many TV actors--including his counterparts on The Walking Dead--do NOT get. He basically said--yes, this came out of his mouth--that he can decide who he has sex with on the show because his character is original to the show and not in the comics. Ummm, OK, well, T-Dog's character is original to the show. Randall's character was original. Merle's character--Daryl's own brother--is original to the show, and you don't hear about THEM pressuring the writers not to give them a "romantic relationship" they don't want! Sorry if it seems like I am making too much of an issue about this, but Reedus sounds like a shallow prima donna who just wants to make sure he sleeps only with the "hotties"--a typical dirty old man who wouldn't give the time of day to someone his own age...

BTW, for the record, I am NOT a Daryl/Carol "shipper" but this aspect of an actor basically bullying the writers on the show NOT to "hook up" his character just seems to scream that it's because it might be with someone he doesn't find "sexy enough" in real life. Ulgh. So I guess the writers need to find a way to put Megan Fox in the show now. (eyeroll)
Allison Brennan
11. Kinga
I love their relationship as it is - friendship, more son/mother relation and I think pushing it too far would spoilt it! I like Carol as she is and I really can't see it different (I'm in minory though).

I had no idea Reedus asked the writer not to include this, but maybe something less shallow that not finding her sexy. Maybe he just uses the freedom he was given - I'd do the same!
Jaimi Thomas
12. jim13
I honestly hope those two don't get together. I love his character and i love the tortured hero but i (by my own reasoning) think that she doesn't 'fit'. She is very strong and passionate and kind but i think Daryl also needs someone that kind of, doesn't put up with his (for lack of a better word) rude and brash crap. There needs to be a woman that is hotheaded, strong and warrior-like, like he is, someone able to still love hima nd show him that kindness but able to be by him through EVERYTHING the show has in store. I agree with Kinga. A mother/son type of frienship is the right thing for those two.
Allison Brennan
13. newsqueen123
I think that Norman Reedus doesn't want the Daryl/Carol romance to blossom because he thinks it's predictable, not because he doesn't find Melissa McBride to be attractive enough. He constantly goes on about how much he loves working with her and on the Talking Dead last year, he talked about he's always 'goosing' her between takes. He also posted a pic on his Twitter calling her 'sexy'. Yes, he's dated models, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's shallow. I love the whole Carol/Daryl romance angle, but it would have to be done right to not be a big stereotype and I think that's one of his concerns.
Allison Brennan
14. DixonsFallynAngel
Anyone who has ever met Norman Reedus knows that BowlingAlley's allegations are untrue. He is a very down to earth and extremely appreciative of his fans. I do not think that a Daryl/Carol relationship would be good for the show. I do not believe that Norman Reedus doesn't want a Daryl/Carol relationship because Melissa is not a model. He has stated that he plays Daryl as if he were a virgin and it works. Adding a romance would be a mistake and would be stereotypical. Leave Daryl and Carol as friends!
Allison Brennan
15. lil_asskicker
Hi! Love the character references. Uhm, are you familiar with the Rurouni Kenshin: Samurai x anime series/manga series? I just realized why I love Daryl Dixon's character so much and this budding romance with Carol is because they share similarities with the anime hero, Kenshin Himura or known as Assassin Battousai. He was raised in an assassin clan with twisted ideologies of a new, better era for Japan and was known as the legendary manslayer. BUT, after a battle he decided to leave his killing past and live as a wanderer, help and protect people. And when he met Kaoru, who was so kind and self-less accepted him despite his past. GOSH sorry for that haha.
Allison Brennan
16. DixonChik
I want to see Daryl get the love he craves and needs. But im a little iffy on him and carol. i like carol, but the age difference,......if it does happen, im more than fine with that. But maybe he can get with a newly introduced younger character. one that's not in the comics as well.
Allison Brennan
17. MD Owen
People mention the age difference. I think that goes out the window like every other cultural aspect when the zombies take over. Not that he should just settle with Carol because she's an available woman, but if he likes her, he likes her regardless of age. Has it ever be mentioned how old Daryl is? Some speculate Carol to be mid-40s. I would think Daryl is in his 30s. That's not too old.
They obviously have something. I believe most Dixon Vixens hate Carol because they're not the ones in Daryl's arms. :P
Barbara Reid
18. whse42
FYI... They are both in their 40s... she is about 3 years older... she does look older than he does... Andrea is also in her 40s. So think twice when you when you equate 40 some thing as old... However I do think a Daryl and Carol hookup would be the least sexy hookup on TV & it would hurt his badass image. This is not a soap opera people!
Allison Brennan
19. Huggiemuscles
I love their characters... And samurai x.. Not a fan of the kenshin series.. Anyway. The actors might be close In age but they don't look it. I see Darryl with an alpha femme. Carol has a big sister mother vibe, I would hold out for something else .. Just saying maybe tyrese sister or Herschel's youngest after a year "lol evil..hey it's the zombie apocalypse . No offense to old meek minded Carol. But she goes off the deep end in the comic. If I had glen and Maggie and hot Andrea float
ming around me I'd be pissed if the last thing I busted up was Carol. Hold out Darryl...,
Allison Brennan
20. Sunmais
I completely agree with Kinga, I get a maternal vibe from the two which is lovely, and natural. I really hope they don't wedge a sexual relationship in there just to satisfy their lady fans who want to see hotty Daryl getting dirty! It would suck, Norman Reedus knows more about the character than anyone else - he's helped make him. We should just trust him and enjoy watching how the character develops.
Allison Brennan
21. arianna clemenzi
I havr been wanting them to hook up for willso long i see in sea son 4 tht they probably will and hopefully they do i love them and theyd be so cute and i totally ship them... GO CARYL!!!
Allison Brennan
22. Ayanna
I completely agree with @BowlingAlley Norman likes to come off as this awkward shy guy with "no game" his words yet his resume of women he's hooked up has been exclusively with models even the mother of his child Helena Christensen was a former Victoria Secret Model even though she has been the only one from public knowledge who has been his actual age as far as the rest goes all under the age of 30 and 25. I listen to his bs in interviews and it's annoying your actions speak louder than your words. Norman is a typical shallow Hollywood actor. Yes he may pander to his fans cause he knows they worship him and continue to make him more and more popular but he would never date 99 percent of his fans because they are not models. This turned me off from him, but he's an actor so he's good at lying to his audience. His GF/DAUGHTER is a 20 year old model fresh out of High School 2 years ago, Cecelia Singley whos a complete immature tool and fame whore, he will probably marry and impregnate this women maybe not in that order but it's digusting how people overlook the perversian of this if this was R. Kelly and even the guy who dated Courtney Stoddem or whatever her name is this would be considered nasty but coming from "America's Favorite Redneck" people excuse this scrap it's digusting and I no longer even want to watch any thing he's it's not hard to tune out to The Walking Dead since it started as a show with much potential and just ended up being a total typical American show with violence that is just gory. I rather watch BBC " In the Flesh than this scrap any more.
Allison Brennan
23. Carlitos
Melissa look alike a zombie with a male body. Com'n, she's ugly and old...
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