There’s a reason I care so much about Daryl and it’s because I understand him.
He’s an angry, abrasive jerk about ninety percent of the time. In any other circumstance, he’s exactly the type of person almost everyone would discount. Even in a situation where he has proven his worth people still tend to discount him. And the truth is, even Daryl wouldn’t realize how inherently wrong this is because for him it’s normal. He believes he’s worthless. No one has ever told him otherwise.
Daryl’s never given them a reason to.
Not because he hasn’t tried or done good things. He has but anyone who tries to show him a bit of compassion he shoves away. Because that’s what you do in his world. If you’re hurt or angry or scared or a million other things, you fight back. If you don’t, the world will just push you down. He’s socially awkward in the worst way. No one, even him, sees that for what it is. He comes across as a jerk because that’s the only way he knows how to interact with other people.
Except he’s a lot more than that.
Here is a person who comes across as if he hates pretty much everyone, himself included, but he’s done more than anyone to find a little girl who isn’t even his. If you didn’t know him, you might wonder why. But he was a lost little boy once and no one looked for him. He said it himself, Sophia had people looking for her. All he wanted was to bring her back to the life she had where people gave a damn about her. It was something he never had and he wanted her to be able to keep it, even in this world.
And for Daryl, this world isn’t all that scary. I have no trouble imagining that before the world went to Hell, he was just the way he is now. The world is shit? Sure, and for him it was before. Look at the group: Everyone of them seems to struggle with some aspect of this new world they’ve found themselves in. Daryl less so.
It’s for those reasons, and many more, that Daryl Dixon matters.