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When most people watch The Walking Dead, they have a good idea about what aspects of the show are legitimate, such as Norman Reedus' gunky hairdo, and what elements of the show are completely fictionalized, such as mass hordes of hungry zombies. But there are always parts that blur the lines between real and fake, and one very young fan got her mind blown when she asked actor Khary "King Ezekiel" Payton if his tiger Shiva was real. Watch the incredibly adorable video below.
And here I thought that The Walking Dead had reached its limits on all things cutesy-cutesy when, during the last episode, Rick and Michonne crashed through a building's roof together and then laughed about it together. But no, Khary Payton takes the cake here with his masterful improvising, as he builds upon the simple fib of Shiva's real-life existence not just by blathering on in an ill-prepared manner, but seemingly by tapping into the history of his on-screen character.
Before the zombie apocalypse, Ezekiel was a zookeeper in Washington D.C., where he was first responsible for keeping Shiva safe. He nursed her back to health after she injured her leg, thus sparking their continued relationship. And while Khary Payton didn't get into all that exactly, he turned into a caretaker when speaking with the young fan in the Walker Stalker Convention video, telling her how he'd raised Shiva up, flipping her diet around from formula to muskrats and then finally all the way up to a three-walkers-a-day meal plan.
Of course, TV viewers haven't gotten to see Shiva get all chewy on anything, walker or human, but hopefully that day is coming soon. Though when it does get here, perhaps that young Shiva-loving fan should keep her eyes fixed on something away from the screen. As someone who watched horror as a youngin, I'm not against this interesting kiddo avoiding The Walking Dead altogether, especially if she's a fan. I'd just hate to have her adoration ruined because Greg Nicotero's visual effects work too convincingly depicts a tiger ripping a man's throat out.
Shiva will return to our TVs when The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC. Everybody make a fe-line - animal puns! - down to our midseason premiere schedule to see what other shows are hitting the small screen soon.