AMC’s The Walking Dead is coming to a close, as Part 3 is due to be released later this year. From the hit series’ humble beginnings on Halloween 2010 to now, we’ve seen some of the greatest heroes and cruelest villains trying to survive a zombie (walker)-ridden world.
Amongst the unforgettable and relatable characters are several fathers and father figures who’d risk their lives for their children. These men have taken the role of father to new heights, teaching, protecting, and accepting those they consider their family.
In honor of the upcoming holiday, Father’s Day (June 19), we wanted to talk about five fathers and father figures from The Walking Dead, Choosing five for this list was not a simple task as many men have taken this role throughout the 11 seasons.
Before we begin, be aware, that spoilers are ahead if you have not caught up with the series.
5. Father Gabriel
Father Gabriel has come a long way since his introduction back in season 5. He was cowardly, weak, and nearly betrayed Rick and the group.
But over time he has forgiven himself for his past actions and learned to become a fierce fighter. His faith may have been waivered throughout the series but his love for Coco never did.
Coco, short for Socorro is the baby girl of Rosita and Siddiq. At one point, Rosita and Siddiq had a quick fling before she got into a serious relationship with Father Gabriel.
Little did she know, she was pregnant with Siddiq’s child. Even though the situation was awkward at first, Father Gabriel learned to love Coco as his own.
His task became further implicated when Siddiq was tragically murdered by Dante, a Whisperer spy pretending to be a doctor in Alexandria. The loss of Coco’s real father saddened Rosita, but it created an even stronger relationship with Father Gabriel.
Even in the most recent season of The Walking Deadhe looks onto the baby girl with such love and admiration.
Becoming a father might not have been something Aaron expected. Seasons ago, he and his boyfriend Eric lived happily in Alexandria.
But during the war, which had Alexandria, The Hilltop and The Kingdom battle The Sanctuary; Eric was tragically killed. But the same war also brought Gracie into Aaron’s life.
Rick Grimes had killed Garcie’s father, not realizing baby she was laying in her crib. Rick takes the baby girl to Aaron, officially becoming her father.
Aaron becoming a father is one of many character developments he goes through, along with becoming a skilled fighter and incredible leader. He comes off very protective of Gracie, but always has her best interest at heart.
Aaron literally battles a room full of walkers in order to save her, regardless of the outcome. While Gracie is a sweet girl, nearly as grown as Judith by this point, she’s still going to need her father there to guide her through a world that’s constantly changing.
We can count on Aaron being there for her every step of the way.
Some were surprised to see that Negan, leader of The Sanctuary, has a soft spot for children. He may have no issue killing walkers and those who stand in his way, but children, well, he becomes easily attached to.
He could have harmed or kidnapped Judith when she was a toddler to get back at his enemy Rick, but instead he doestes on her. His bond with her grew over time and into something he basically had with Rick’s other child, Carl.
Even when Negan was sitting in his cell in Alexandria, he spent time with Judith as she sat by his window. He literally rescues her from a blizzard while the rest of the group looked on!
His role as a father figure for Judith is nothing compared to what later develops between him and Lydia. Who knew the two outcasts of Alexandria would bond and overtime become practically father and daughter?
Lydia had a father-daughter relationship with Daryl before Negan changed things up. While both men are protective and caring over her, Negan seems to have taken the role indefinitely as Daryl has become the caretaker for Judith and RJ at The Commonwealth.
But now it seems Negan may finally have an actual child of his own. Entire his life, neither his wife Lucille or any of his “Wives” from The Sanctuary became pregnant.
Recently, he met and married a woman named Annie and lo and behold, she’s pregnant. We truly hope we see the day he becomes a father and has the family he always wanted.
2. Daryl Dixon
The Daryl Dixon of season 11 is far different than the one we meet in season 1. He may still be stubborn and brash, but his kindness, strength and overall loyalty has never been stronger.
Daryl never saw himself as anyone worth caring about. His own childhood and home life was miserable and even when he became a part of the group in season 1, he was a loner and difficult to communicate with.
But now that both Judith and RJ are under his care, we can see Daryl’s full evolution. After all, when Carol’s daughter Sophia went missing, he sprang into action without thinking twice.
He didn’t want to harm anyone with children, he would spring into action to save children at the prison, he outright ventured to find Judith baby formula after her birth and will practically die protecting Rick’s daughter. Daryl went from designated uncle to father figure quickly and he hasn’t looked back since.
His role as a father figure expanded when he met and saved Lydia from her abusive and dangerous mother, Alpha the leader of The Whisperers. When Rick disappeared, if Daryl wasn’t searching for him; he was there for Michonne and her pregnancy.
As Daryl continually learns more about himself, his unconditional love for especially Judith grows. She means the whole world to him and perhaps reminds him of his brother and best friend.
At this point so many friends and family members have died that anyone you bond with, no matter the age has become your family.
1. Rick Grimes
Last but not least is Rick Grimes. Every, single, action Rick has done since the beginning has been for his family.
Even if it’s questionable. Rick spared Negan for his son Carl.
Rick accepted Judith as his daughter even though she was Shane’s. Rick was willing to have a child with Michonne.
Rick Grimes was far from perfect; But he took his role as a father as seriously as he could. He would struggle teaching Carl to become the man he eventually became before he died.
He would look onto Judith with such love, even though she’s a painful reminder of how his wife and best friend got together in season 1. He tried to save Sophia from a walker that was pursuing her.
He hoped Terminus would be a great home for himself, Michonne and Carl only to be disappointed by the eventual outcome. There is no doubt that if Rick were still present, he’d continue to be an outstanding father for Judith and RJ.
He’d be grateful to Daryl and probably Negan too for their roles in Judith’s lives. We hope Rick returns to reunite with his friends and family, so he can meet his son RJ and take the role of leader once again.
Which father or father figure from The Walking Dead is your favorite? Share your answers in the comments below, I’d love to read them!