shivafilmSecond and last character appearing in The Walking Dead Season 7 trailer isn’t a human one, but she’s nevertheless the (possibly) most intriguing one. When King Ezekiel introduces himself, there’s quite a big cat by his side roaring menacingly at his guests: that’s Shiva, his pet tiger… quite a formidable asset in the post-apocalypse world, as you can guess. The tiger will be the first character completely realized in CGI in the show (and that’s possibly a sign that she won’t last long, unfortunately), and the effects seem to be pretty good. Waiting to see how much (and for how long) she’ll make her presence felt in the show, let’s take a look at her comicbook counterpart.

Shiva was a Bengalian tiger, born in captivity in a zoo in or near Washington D.C.. When she was still a cub she was trained and tamed by a number of workers from the zoo, but despite this, during her youth, she attacked one of them, Ezekiel. The man chose not to report the “incident”, thus effectively saving the tiger’s life. From that moment, between man and beast a special relationship was born and grew, and Shiva became fiercely loyal to Ezekiel; she also grew to hate violence, and she didn’t attack anybody else… at least, until it became strictly necessary for the survival of both. The friendship with Shiva proved to be quite a luck for Ezekiel, as soon the Outbreak changed everything in the world: dead people started coming back in the form of flesh-hungry walkers, wiping away any form of order and civilization. The world descended into chaos, and the few survivors tried their best to stay alive as long as they can, and to find allies in the new world order. Shiva was freed from her cage, and she proved to be pretty useful in mauling hundreds of walkers who attempted to eat her friend and master Ezekiel; she even was an extremely effective deterrent against the many living people who exploited the spreading chaos to revert to a more barbaric way of living. Thanks to Shiva’s strength and to his own charisma, Ezekiel became the leader of a numerous community, and he eventually founded The Kingdom, a colony set in an abandoned school, protected by a fence made of school buses and metal sheets. Shiva never left Ezekiel’s shivacomics1side, and especially when The Kingdom was treated by The Saviors, a violent group of people led by the cunning and deranged Negan, Shiva became her master’s inseparable companion, escorting him along with a number of armed loyal warriors even when Ezekiel was walking among his people in The Kingdom. Despite her distaste for violence, Shiva was always ready to protect her friend with her claws and fangs, from living and dead alike.

Every time she was in the throne room, however, Shiva was chained near Ezekiel to impress the visitors, and every night she slept in a huge cage near her master’s bed. If at first Shiva only aided Ezekiel with her mere presence, she soon proved to be of essential importance in the war to come: when Ezekiel forged an alliance with Paul “Jesus” Monroe from Hilltop Colony and Rick Grimes from Alexandria Safe-Zone, Negan and his men didn’t wait much to react, and a massive army of Saviors invaded Alexandria. The other two allied colonies intervened, and Shiva proved to be just as fearsome as she looked, slaughtering a number of Saviors. At the end of the battle, Shiva and Jesus had repelled the invasion pretty much by themselves, not only saving Alexandria, but also strengthening the newborn Militia, the alliance of the anti-Negan group (which soon counted among its midst even a faction of rogue Saviors led by the disfigured Dwight). When Ezekiel found a lover and a companion in Michonne, a woman from the Alexandria group, Shiva obviously followed her master to the woman’s house, and when the two slept together, she found a fit accommodation in the bathroom, spending there the entire night (and leaving a “souvenir” in the bathtub). The day after, Ezekiel showed to Michonne how he fed Shiva, giving the tiger a dead walker: she could eat the walking dead without getting sick, and this allowed her to eat the 40-50 pounds of shivacomics2meat per day she needed with ease even in the post-apocalypse world. The tiger would have needed all her strength, as The Militia was planning a series of attacks to the Saviors’ outposts, before moving to their main base, The Sanctuary… and obviously the tiger was the ace up the alliance’s sleeve when it came to sheer strength and raw power, a living weapon not even Negan saw coming.

Shiva is an adult Bengal tiger, but being born in captivity she’s not as fierce as her wildlife peers. This, however, doesn’t make her any less dangerous: fiercely loyal to her master Ezekiel, she’s ready to resume all her savagery to protect him from walkers and Saviors alike, and her claws and fangs have claimed hundreds of victims among both the living and the dead. Not even her usual dislike for violence can prevent Shiva from fighting for the one man she had always loved and followed since the day she was born, and to whom she owns her own life.