walking dead season 5 spoilers Norman Reedus (left) explains how his character, Daryl, will cope with the death of Beth (Emily Kinney, not pictured) in Season 5. Melissa McBride as Carol pictured right. Photo: AMC

If you thought Daryl Dixon, Norman Reedus’ character on "The Walking Dead,” was thick-skinned before, just wait until you see how callous the crossbow-toting survivor will be when the hit AMC series returns for the second half of the fifth season on Sunday, Feb. 8. According to Reedus, Daryl has changed following the heart-wrenching death of his close friend Beth (Emily Kinney).

Beth met her fate in the midseason finale in November when she was shot by Dawn (Christine Woods) after a deal between the two groups of survivors went terribly wrong. Dawn had promised to hand over the captured Beth and Carol (Melissa McBride) in exchange for her two officers — and Noah (Tyler James Williams). But Rick (Andrew Lincoln) argued that giving over Noah was never a part of the deal.

That’s when Beth stepped in and stabbed Dawn with scissors she had hidden in her cast. As a reflex, Dawn shot Beth in the head; Daryl killed Dawn in retaliation.

So how will Daryl respond to the death of Beth, an apocalypse survivor he had bonded with throughout Season 4? “I think it puts him into a depression,” Reedus revealed during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The actor compared her death to that of another young female character. “Sophia [Madison Lintz] was like hope. You remember Glenn [Steven Yeun] saying, ‘This is Sophia!’ It was different [with Beth]. She was the bright hope of the future. ... an honest and true person," he said.

Fans will remember that Sophia, Carol’s daughter, went missing early in the series after a herd of walkers attacked the camp. The search for her became one of the show's key plot lines. She was finally found during the Season 2 episode “Pretty Much Dead Already” when self came stumbling out of Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) barn -- as one of the undead walkers. As Carol cried, Rick shot the little girl in the head.

Reedus explained the two girls each have a special place in Daryl's heart. “Beth’s death is like Sophia’s; she sings songs and was always hopeful. Of course she tried to kill herself at one point, but besides that, for the most part, she was this sweet songbird, and that represents a part of humanity that you don’t see anymore. So when you put that candle out, it goes dark for everyone.”

What do you think will happen when “The Walking Dead” returns its Season 5 winter premiere on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 9 p.m. EST? Sound off in the comments section below.