Daryl Dixon/Carol Peletier

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Pairing: Daryl Dixon/Carol Peletier
Alternative name(s): Daryl/Carol, Caryl
Gender category: Het
Fandom: The Walking Dead (TV series)
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Very popular
Archives: Nine Lives
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Daryl Dixon/Carol Peletier, commonly known as Caryl, is a popular het pairing in The Walking Dead television series fandom. Their canon relationship is complex — some fans (especially those shipping Bethyl) see them as having a mother/son dynamic (despite the actors being only a couple of years apart in age); a lot of the fans see them as emotional with romantic undertones.

Whether it’s romantic or platonic in nature the bond that these two characters share has always been deeper and more profound than anything else we have seen either of them share with the others in the group.

They started out almost at the same place with shared pain and history and since then the partnership and the seamless way they operate and compliment one another is one of the biggest reasons why even those outside the shipping community recognize them as “paired” up in one way or another.

They have always been “Daryl and Carol” and their association with one another has survived numerous emotional blows that could have easily eroded and damaged any of the other more “traditional” relationships. Theirs has never been an idyllic “coupling” but there is something to be said about the fact that even though the angst between them seems almost natural, they continually seek one another for comfort, understanding and relief.
CARYL - The Direction Stays the Same - sanjamac



Common Tropes in Fanworks

  • No Zombie Apocalypse AU - A lot fanfics are written as AUs where the zombie apocalypse never happened. In most of those Carol's daughter Sophia is also alive. They often still deal with the abusive relationship with Ed at the very beginning, as Carol gets out of her toxic marriage. In some Ed is already out of the picture (dead or otherwise) and Carol is moving on.
  • Sophia - Some fics deal with Sophia's death in season two. Sometimes the writers choose to deviate from canon and have Daryl find Sophia before it's too late. A lot of fics written around the time seasons 2 and 3 aired focused on the way Daryl and Carol grew closer because of his quest to find her daughter.
  • Carol's Banishment - often present in Fix-It fics where Daryl brings Carol back to the prison, or leaves after her.
  • Abuse - Past abusive relationships of both Daryl (Daryl's father and/or brother) and Carol (her husband) often play an important part in fanfics, with a lot of writers addressing the characters painful past one way or another.
  • Prison or Alexandria Safe Zone: Set within either the Prison or the Alexandria Safe Zone, providing a calm environment during the Zombie Apocalypse to develop Daryl and Carol's relationship.

Popular Side Pairings in Caryl Fics

In fanfics that center around Daryl and Carol, writers often incorporate side pairings that serve either as supporting characters/pairing or are a secondary focus of the fic. Most popular side pairings are canon pairings of Rick Grimes/Lori Grimes (sometimes with the canon storyline of Shane Walsh/Lori Grimes and Rick Grimes/Shane Walsh/Lori Grimes love triangle) and Glenn Rhee/Maggie Greene.

In fics written during or around season 3 of the show a very popular side pairing was Merle Dixon/Beth Greene. Another Merle pairing very popular in Caryl fics is Merle Dixon/Andrea Harrison‎.

Slash pairings are rarely present as side pairings in Caryl fics.

Challenges and Activities


  • Fans against the Caryl pairing are sometimes called ABC Shippers ("Anyone but Carol") or ABD Shippers ("Anyone but Daryl")

Caryl vs Bethyl War

For main article see: Caryl vs Bethyl

Starting with season 4, a conflict developed between some Caryl shippers and fans who were shipping Beth Greene/Daryl Dixon that escalated to a Ship War so big that even actors and creators of the show became aware of it. A Caryl-centric Tumblr tag Operation Levity is a direct result of that war.

Example Fanworks



Fan vids


Archives and Communities



  1. ^ CARYL - The Direction Stays the Sameby sanjamac, last accessed November 21, 2014.
  2. ^ The Walking Dead A03 Statistics
  3. ^ Chance Encounters by EnglishPoet18 at Archive of Our Own, archived 25 May 2015 by the Wayback Machine.