The red neck with a heart of gold, Daryl Dixon has been a part of The Walking Dead from the very beginning, and without him it's unlikely that many of the group would be alive today.
Preferring to let actions speak louder than words, Daryl may not be an eloquent conversationalist, but hey, in a zombie apocalypse that's not necessarily the man you want standing next to you.
Unfortunately, during Season 6, Daryl made himself some pretty powerful enemies in Dwight, Negan and the Saviors when he blew up a bunch of Saviors on the road side, and then killed many as they slept. Now it could be the end of the road for Daryl, as he kneels at the mercy of Negan and Lucille. But before his fate is revealed, take a look over the last six seasons we've had with him, and remember just what a core part of the crew he is.
A tough upbringing
Despite not really being one to chat, we actually know quite a lot about Daryl's life before the apocalypse, especially thanks to his brother Merle also being in the series for several seasons.
Daryl and Merle grew up in the mountains of North Georgia, their father was an abusive alcoholic (who severely scarred up Daryl's back), and their mother was also a big drinker, and died after accidentally burning down the house with a lit cigarette. Merle was Daryl's only role model as a kid, though when he was in juvenile detention, Daryl was forced to fend for himself.
Following his father's death, Daryl met up with Merle (who had joined the army), and the two lived life together as drifters, with Merle teaching Daryl how to hunt and track. Despite being his brother, Merle wasn't a great influence on Daryl, and once Daryl revealed to Beth that Merle's drug dealer threatened to kill him after a fight.
Surviving the outbreak
After heading towards Atlanta with his brother, Merle, the pair met up with Shane's group and helped set up a camp on the outskirts of the city. Daryl's skills as a hunter and tracker were immediately useful in finding food and keeping the campsite safe.
He initially fought with Rick when he joined the group, due to his brother Merle being left handcuffed on a roof in Atlanta, but the pair soon become allies and work together in liaising with another group of survivors who stole a bag of guns from Rick's group. Even though Daryl suspected his brother was still alive somewhere near Atlanta, he joined Rick's group as they left the camp to go to the CDC, and then continued with them when they fled as the center self-destructed.
A soft side revealed
During Season 2, Daryl's softer side is revealed when he dedicates himself to finding Carol's missing daughter, Sophia. Daryl continues to look for the little girl long after many others have given up, and it's this commitment that earns Daryl a permanent place in Carol's heart, and the two form a tight friendship as a result. When it's revealed Sophia has reanimated, it's Daryl who holds Carol, to keep her from running toward her undead daughter.
By Season 3 Daryl has officially become Rick's right-hand man, replacing the now-deceased Shane. He is often the groups only hope for food and shelter while they're on the road, and he and Rick are the ones who find the prison which becomes the groups' home.
Daryl's nurturing side comes out again in Season 3 when he cares for the new baby, nicknaming her "Lil Ass Kicker," and also risks life and limb when he heads into the bowels of the prison in search of Carol, whom had been given up for dead when she was trapped inside by walkers after T-Dog was bitten.
Leaving his past behind
During the battle between the Governor and Woodbury and Rick and the prison, Daryl assists Rick, however he soon becomes torn when he learns his brother Merle is now the Governor's right-hand man (which is ironic considering Merle now only has a left hand). Daryl even temporarily leaves with Merle, after Rick refuses to accept Merle as part of the group, but eventually returns when he realizes that the group are his true family. Later on in Season 3, Merle is killed in an attempt to shoot the Governor, and sadly Daryl is the one to find him, and put him down.
During Season 4 Daryl forms a close relationship with the youngest Greene sister, Beth, after the pair end up together when the prison is attacked by the Governor and Beth's father, Hershel is murdered. While the pair are stuck together, presuming the others dead, Daryl opens up to Beth, stating he believes her father's death to be his fault, and telling her about his pre-apocalypse life, drifting with Merle. Beth suggests they burn down the shack they're staying in as a way of leaving his past behind, and the two flip off the fire as the building is razed to the ground.
Shortly after, Beth is taken by a mystery group, and Daryl joins up with Joe and the Claimers to ensure survival, though he eventually assists Rick in killing the group when they threaten to rape Michonne and Carl. He also helps in the destruction of Terminus at the start of Season 5, and is tearfully reunited with Carol.
During Season 5, Daryl and Carol embark on a road trip to the city to try and save Beth Greene (though sadly it ends in her death, breaking his heart). We also get a hint that Daryl is trying to better himself, when Carol catches him taking a book about treating survivors of childhood abuse.
Before the group reach Alexandria in Season 5, Daryl acts as the main provider, hunting and gathering as best he can, though it obviously takes a toll on him. Although he's initially distrusting of the Alexandrians, in the end he finds friends in Aaron and Eric and he eases into life there.
During Season 6, Daryl continues being a leading of the community, helping to draw the trapped walkers away from the quarry and town, though is kidnapped by Dwight, Honey and Tina, who rob him and leave him alone in the woods. After making his way back to Sasha and Abraham, the trio first meet some of Negan's Saviors, only making their escape when Daryl kills the group using the newly acquired RPG.
After helping save Alexandria using the fuel truck he found in the woods, Daryl swung back into life helping out the community, and after the death of Denise, felt compelled to search out Dwight and seek revenge. Unfortunately what followed was capture by the Saviors, and as Season 6 drew to a close, Daryl was in a very poor state, kneeling before Negan.
With the reveal of Negan's victim just weeks away, sadly there's a very good chance that Daryl could be that person. Aside from Rick, he's made himself a very big target, having killed so many of their members. If Daryl were to be killed, he leaves behind no family, but there's no doubt that it would tear a hole in the heart of people like Carol who were closest to him - not to mention the fans.