You know, I’ve been asked this question a few times but have never answered it publicly.
I suppose I should begin by saying that Daryl and Carol weren’t an obvious pairing. She wasn’t a conventional beauty and he wasn’t an innate protagonist.
They were really your basic side characters.
Carol cowered under her abusive husband for a good while and Daryl was the muscle with his no-nonsense handling of the undead. Still, despite their very different paths, they were brought together by Sofia’s disappearance.
I don’t think anyone was waiting to see them together. No one was like, “oh this badass with the crossbow and that crying lady are totally going to be kindred spirits”. Their connection was a huge surprise! They saw in each other what no one else could see. Their connection wasn’t born from lust or opportunity or lonliness, it was built from an understanding. A knowledge between them.
They challenged each other in a singular way and I smile every time I see people worrying about whether or not there is going to be a romance because I think back on that very beginning. On how it was never suppose to be, on how Carol was going to be killed off various times and yet remained. There was never an intimate relationship planned out but it created itself. The same dialogue could have been played out so differently, and yet, here we are. Because sometimes, things just work out the way they are suppose to. Sometimes there are coincidences that sing. And that’s what Carol and Daryl are. Their relationship has defied all the odds simply because of who they are when they’re together.
As for Beth, I loved how bright and warm and resilient she was. Beth and Daryl were brilliant together, she inspired him, he schooled her, there is no question they grew together, but there was no real foundation. They poked and prodded at one other trying to get reactions, but it didn’t seem to come from a real knowledge of the other. It was more out of an attempt to heal and move forward because as far as they knew, they were the only people left to move forward with.
For Daryl and Carol it was the exact opposite. They had everything stacked against them, other relationships were open, other paths and possibilities… They had absolutely nothing but chance, and that was all it took.