the wall and beyond; "beyond the wall the monsters live, the giants and the ghouls, the stalking shadows and the dead that walk… but they cannot pass so long as the wall stands strong and the men of the night’s watch are true.“
I was just thinking about how you can see the change in Daryl just by watching how he moves. In the first couple seasons, Daryl was almost always on edge. He had this frenetic sort of energy, this pent up anger that always wanted to come bubbling out, arms swinging and curses spilling from his lips. He was out of place and out of line and he had no other way to be. It wasn’t until the prison that he settled. That he found himself, or at least found a purpose. That anger never went away, but it sank beneath the surface. He began more focused, he had a job, one that even gave him some confidence and put a bit of swagger into his step. There’s that brief period of time after the prison where everything is weighing down on him again, all that guilt and sorrow. He’s not frantic energy and anger, though, he’s just sad. Everything is heavy, he’s almost silent, his shoulders slumped. Then he finds new purpose, in Beth. Watching him in Alone and Still he has that confidence again, but not necessarily in a swaggering sort of way. He strides through the woods after her or at his side, he follows patiently along beside her. He doesn’t bubble with pent-up energy, he’s almost calm, just watching her, studying her, trying to figure out who this girl is to him and what she’s making him feel. (It’s only when he gets drunk on Moonshine that we see early, angry, red-neck Daryl come bursting through, only to burn up like the house does with Beth’s help, so that same confident Daryl can stride away again right behind her, shoulders and chin lifted high by hope.)
After he loses her, his movements are slow again. You can see how it weighs on him, how the sorrow of letting her get taken is heavy on his shoulders and etched across his face. We see the change when he’s defending his family, but we see it especially in those moments where he’s pursuing Beth. He’s fast again, but in an entirely different way. He’s focused like he never was when he went after Sophia; he fast when he needs to but he’s also purposeful, he’s determined, every single movement he makes is towards getting her back.
I won’t talk about how he is in the hospital hallway the last time he sees her or how heavy his shoulders are once more.