Dec 4 2012 2:30pm

’Til (After) Death Do Us Part: Shipping in The Walking Dead

The cast of The Walking Dead Season 3This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Walking Dead television series, as well as for the graphic and prose novels.

In the world of The Walking Dead, be it comic series, TV series, or hardcover novels, the course of true love never does run smooth, providing dedicated shippers with a veritable buffet.

Rick/Lori/Shane: Here we have a classic triangle. Rick starts off the story married to his beloved Lori, who thinks he’s dead, so she turns to his best friend, Shane, only to have Rick show up very much alive. Rick and Lori reunite in every way and Lori soon discovers she is pregnant, but who’s the daddy?


Shipping Prognosis: Sunk. With Lori and Shane both dead in all formats of the franchise, we’ll never know what might have been. At least TV Rick has baby Judith to comfort him in his grief. Will he get a second chance at love a la Comic Series Rick, and if so, with whom? Is Rick better off staying solo for now?

Glenn and Maggie in The Walking DeadMaggie/Glenn: Ah, young love. Would farmer’s daughter Maggie and city boy Glenn even have met in any other circumstance? They’ve shared the intimacy of Glenn’s first prayer ever, made love in an abandoned pharmacy and wouldn’t turn on each other no matter what torture The Governor threw in their path. It was only to save Glenn that Maggie spilled the location of the prison, and he understood; he’d have done the same. If these two can face and escape certain death side by side, that’s good enough for me.

Shipping Prognosis: Looks good at this point. In the comic series, Glenn and Maggie’s wedding provides a much needed moment of relief from the horrors of everyday life, and would translate beautifully to the small screen. The comic series also finds these two becoming adoptive parents and debating the ethics of creating biological children in such a perilous world. I’m rooting for their TV HEA.

Daryl carries Carol in The Walking Dead Season 3Carol/Daryl:  TV Carol has been through enough hell on earth to last a dozen lifetimes, surviving domestic abuse and outliving her only child, Sophia, only to see a zombified Sophia put down in front of her. What better partner than Daryl, who’s equally proficient at killing zombies, hunting game and comforting infants in distress? Daryl searched tirelessly for the missing Sophia and comforted Carol with the legend of the Cherokee Rose. Shippers everywhere sighed when Daryl dropped that flower on the empty grave that served as Carol’s memorial, and cheered when he freed a very much alive Carol from the prison cell where she’d taken shelter after fighting her way through a horde of walkers.

Shipping prognosis: Before the midseason finale, I would have said this couple is a slam dunk from fan response alone. Possible game changer? Tyreese. In the comic series, the Carol/Tyreese/Michonne triangle had huge ramifications for all three parties as well as other members of the group. Comic Series Carol also proposed a polygamous relationship with Rick and Lori, but was turned down by both. I’ll call this cautiously optimistic, but in the world of The Walking Dead, anything can happen.  

Andrea and The Governor in The Walking DeadAndrea/The Governor (aka Philip): Andrea sure does know how to pick her men. First she propositions Shane, and now she’s sleeping with the devil, almost literally. The man has an aquarium full of severed undead heads, kept his zombified daughter locked in a closet, and he can still get consensual nooky? Some viewers may posit that the zombies already ate Andrea’s brain.

Shipping Prognosis: Grim, and possibly in more ways than one, but both parts of this pair have had interesting love lives in different formats. While Philip Blake did have a relationship with a musician named April in the novel, Rise of the Governor, that did not end at all well, as Philip never did understand when no means no.

Comic Series Andrea, on the other hand, entered the story happily partnered with the much older Dale. This May/December couple stood by each other despite their insecurities –did Dale still love his late wife? Would Andrea want a younger mate?—to serve as adoptive parents to orphaned twin boys. They comforted each other after the deaths of their adopted sons, and it was Andrea who did her final duty by putting down the doomed Dale before he could turn. Comic Series Andrea also gets a second chance at love, but I remain team Andrea/Dale.

Other/Other?: With the franchise including TV, comics, novels, and now a video game, other ships are bound to set sail. What couples or sorts of couples would you like to see? Aaron and Eric from the comic series? Though TV Sophia is out of the running, surely Carl isn’t the last tween standing. Who knows what the future will bring, but one thing is sure: even the zombie apocalypse can’t stand in the way of real love.


Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
This is pretty unusual for me, but I don't really ship any couples in TWD. I like Glenn/Maggie together, though, and can see the appeal of Daryl/Carol. (I think Daryl's my favorite at this point.) I quite like Michonne, so I hope she sticks around and maybe finds a confidante or more with someone in the group; it seems like she's been by herself more often than not.
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
@redline_ Some shows can be enjoyed without shipping, that's for sure. I like Glenn/Maggie a lot, and I like Daryl/Carol. Seeing Michonne let anybody get close enough to become a confidante could be really interesting. I'd love to see her get a prose novel of her own.
Dr. Opossum
3. Dr. Opossum
I am quite fond of Glen/Maggie and am hopeful for a Daryl/Carol romance. I don't see romance as a strange element to The Walking Dead world. After all, when you are in a post-apocalyptic world, you really need some love!

I don't see Tyreese as a serious spoiler to my D/C hopes. Comic book Carol is a lot different from TV Carol, who is a lot tougher - which I attribute to having Daryl in her life, as he isn't in the comics. I don't see TV Carol suffering the very grim fate of her comic counterpart. I do fear she will be killed. I can definitely see her reenacting Lori's death scene in the comics. Hope I am wrong, though!
Anna Bowling
4. AnnaBowling
@Dr. Opossum, I agree, TV Carol is made of much sterner stuff than Comic Series Carol, and she has Daryl in her life, so her character arc is very likely going to differ from her comic counterpart. I hope you're wrong about her reenacting Comic Series Lori's death, too. Should be interesting to see what role TV Tyreese fills.
Christopher Morgan
5. cmorgan
I'm curious to see if the Andrea/Rick plays out. I know they were teasing at it a bit in the comics, but now they are both suitably damaged goods, and have made some pretty bone-headed decisions.

Or Rick/Michonne, wouldn't that be a brood-fest pity party?
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
@cmorgan -- I'd much prefer Rick/Michonne to Andrea/Rick at this point. So not a fan of Andrea.
Anna Bowling
7. AnnaBowling
@cmorgan, I'm curious about Andrea/Rick for the TV series as well, as I could see where they'd find common ground in the comic, but as with @redline_, I think Rick/Michonne might make a more interesting couple. I'll be interested to see how they treat Michonne's backstory on the show.
Dr. Opossum
8. SassyT
I haven't read the comics or any of the novels. I am so shipping on Glen and Maggie. I'm also waiting for Carol and Daryl to get together. I think they'd be good together. She gets Daryl the way other folks don't. And he has a soft spot for Carol. I think Andrea just needs to keep her legs closed. She's very bad at picking men...lol. She goes for all the psychos (on the show anyway). I think Rick needs to be alone for a bit (he's still seeing dead Shane and hearing his dead wife). No woman wants a man with that kind of baggage. I'm looking forward to Carl finding an age appropriate girl (Maggie's sister is too old for him). And what about some love for Hershel? I don't know much about Tyreese (I hear he's a very popular figure in the comics though). I'd have to see more of him first before I start shipping on him and someone. As for Michonne, I'd like for her to say more than two sentences per episode first and then we can find her a man.
Dr. Opossum
10. WilliamLC
Carl/Lizzie or Carl/Mika would be interesting.
Dr. Opossum
11. BrookeJennB
Yes, I know a lot of people don't ship them but I can't help but pair them together. They've been through so much that their bond has grown so tight it's insane. I don't see them as an extremely 'lovey-dovey' couple but more as a 'I'll always have your back no matter what because you're my everything' couple. They have chemistry that I find undeniable. I've shipped them from the very first season and I will continue with my shipping 'till the very end.
Anna Bowling
12. AnnaBowling
@BrookeJennB, that's a very interesting pairing, a pretty good argument for it.
Dr. Opossum
13. Mirandaxoxo313
Daryl and Carol all the way??
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