Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The second episode of The Walking Dead’s seventh season introduced us to an important new character: Ezekiel. He’s leader of the community whose inhabitants call it The Kingdom, and fans of the comic have been waiting for this for ages – and fans of the TV show got a taste of Ezekiel, and his pet tiger, Shiva, this summer in the trailer for the new season.

After the season’s first, brutal episode, Ezekiel’s theatrical manner is totally refreshing and weirdly comforting. But that’s not even the best thing about the character – obviously, it’s his tiger, but also, how he came to have a pet tiger in the first place.

Towards the end of the episode, Ezekiel has a very open talk with Carol, who has been recuperating at The Kingdom after the injuries she suffered at the end of Season 6.

Ezekiel’s tells her how he came to have a relationship with the magnificent tiger: She was at the zoo where he worked, and became injured. With a gash on her leg, Shiva was at risk of bleeding out, and those at the zoo wanted to wait until a vet could arrive. However, Ezekiel went into her enclosure, and was able to staunch the bleeding with his shirt. After that, he tells Carol, Shiva was always calm toward him.

“Keeping a tiger ain’t practical, I know,” Ezekiel says – she could yank the chain from his hand and run loose and she also eats a TON. But, it’s the zombie apocalypse, so “practical” might not be the main concern.

Ezekiel shares with Carol that, at the beginning of the end of normal life as the characters knew it, he experienced difficult losses – much like most people: “When it all started to end, I found myself back at the zoo and Shiva was one of the last animals left. She was trapped, hungry, and alone.”

Credit: AMC /

Ezekiel says that he was a lot like Shiva, then reveals, “She was the last thing left in this world that I loved. She protected me, she got me here, and made me larger than life.”

We love that Ezekiel has such a strong relationship with Shiva, and that there’s obvious mutual respect between him and the tiger. We can’t wait to see more of them both on the show!