King Ezekiel's tiger Shiva is the flashiest new addition to The Walking Dead, which is saying something for a show that just introduced Negan, the most attention-seeking villain of all time. Shiva is both pet and protector, and she also adds a certain je nais se quois to Ezekiel's grandiose kingship. The unfortunate thing is that Shiva is most certainly not long for this world, because her comic counterpart meets an unfortunate end. So how does Shiva die in The Walking Dead comics?
Shiva passes away after the battle against Negan has already begun. Once the Hilltop community, Alexandria, and the Kingdom join forces to overcome the Saviors, Shiva actually joins the fray. She proves an admirable tiger soldier, but that's not how she dies. Instead, when she and Ezekiel are escaping a scuffle they find themselves on the wrong side of a zombie herd. Only one of them would be able to get away unscathed, so Shiva voluntarily throws herself into the Walkers, providing a distraction so Ezekiel can get away. She gives up her life for the person who had saved hers back before the Walkers took over. If and when it happens on the show, it's sure to be as poignant a moment as it is heartbreaking.
Before the virus broke out and destroyed everything, Ezekiel was a zookeeper and Shiva was one of the animals in the zoo where he worked. Their bond began one day when a fall in her habitat led to Shiva being injured and Ezekiel went into the enclosure at great danger to himself to care for her. After the zombie apocalypse, Ezekiel returned to find Shiva still living and he freed her. They became inseparable ever since. As ostentatious a reminder as she may be, Shiva is all Ezekiel has left from his life before. In many ways, she is the most important thing in the world to him, and she keeps him going.
Shiva also bolsters the powerful image he needs to maintain control of his community. Ezekiel is just a regular guy with a penchant for theatrics at the end of the day, but having a tiger by his side gives him some serious credibility. Her mere presence makes people believe in Ezekiel and his leadership. If a man can tame a tiger, what can't he do?
Once Shiva is lost to him, Ezekiel enters a deep depression. So much of his journey was wrapped up in hers that without her, he doesn't know what to do. In his grief, he's not sure he can even be a leader anymore. Ezekiel is eventually able to move past it, but Shiva's loss is still felt.
It seems almost certain that she will end up dying on the show, even if it doesn't happen in the exact same way as it did in the comics. Fans can only hope it doesn't happen anytime soon.