The Walking Dead Father’s Day edition: King Ezekiel’s top 5 life lessons

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

King Ezekiel is an inspirational father figure within The Walking Dead universe.

King Ezekiel is arguably the most well-spoken leader in The Walking Dead series. The way he leads and speaks to his people in his community called the Kingdom shows just how great and inspirational he is. As Father’s Day approaches, we are taking a look at the fathers/father figures in The Walking Dead, Ezekiel is next on the list.

As fans know, Ezekiel is not a father, but as the former leader of the Kingdom he acts like a father figure to some members of the community. He also decided to take care of his good friend’s two sons, Benjamin and Henry. Also, he can relate to a lot of fans of The Walking Dead by being an animal father to his pet tiger, Shiva.

Ezekiel has a way with words, and his inspirational speeches and life lessons apply to our personal lives and not just the show. That’s why he has become one of my favorite characters on the show. Khary Payton portrays the role very well, and ever since I saw him during the trailer for season seven, I knew right away that Ezekiel would be one of my favorites. I never read the comics, so that was my first introduction King Ezekiel and he exceeded my expectations.

Here are King Ezekiel’s top five life lessons from his four seasons on The Walking Dead. 

5. Opening up to Carol

The Walking Dead universe’s introduction to King Ezekiel came in the second episode of season seven title “the Well.” Upon meeting each other, Ezekiel and Carol became very close. Even though she was just acting, not showing the King and members of the Kingdom her true colors, he saw right through that. Carol attempted to leave the Kingdom, but he caught her before she could go. Ezekiel sat down with her and opened up to her in a way that he hadn’t to anyone.

I liked this scene between Ezekiel and Carol because I am very closed off to other people, and I don’t open to just anybody. I have to trust you and connect with you in a way that I can open up to you and let into my life. This moment between these two characters applies to other people too, as you should trust people before allowing them into your life, plus it makes them feel comfortable also about opening up to different people.

4. Losing Shiva

Season eight of The Walking Dead featured many heartbreaking deaths to significant characters. Ezekiel’s pet tiger, Shiva, was one of those deaths. Losing Shiva was the tipping point for Ezekiel’s character development. He was always so happy, smiling, passing on wise words and life lessons to the members of the different communities. However, in episode four titled “Some Guy,” the positive vibes from the King quickly go away. Not only did he lose Shiva very tragically, but he also lost almost every member of the Kingdom army due to an ambush at one of the Saviors’ outpost.

Ezekiel felt like he let all his troops down by putting themselves in that situation when they eventually would lose their lives. It was so sad to see him limp around as the dead members of the Kingdom became walkers and tried to attack their king and leader.  It was sadder to see him when Shiva died saving Ezekiel, Jerry and Carol from a horde of walkers. He became depressed and felt like he wasn’t anything special. We all have had moments like that in our lives when we feel like we’re useless and not anything special. This moment/life lesson that sometimes we all need a hard dose of reality to humble us.

3. Quote to Morgan

King Ezekiel is one of my favorite characters because of his wise sayings and inspirational quotes. They relate to the characters on the show, and more importantly, they relate to the fans of The Walking Dead. 

In his debut episode, King Ezekiel displayed many of those words. There is one in particular that hits home for a lot of people. Ezekiel is speaking to Morgan about his skill with the staff and wonders if he would teach Benjamin. Before he asks him, he says to Morgan, “There’s a saying… the pessimist looks down and hits his head. The optimist looks up… and loses his footing. The realist looks forward and adjusts his path accordingly.”

I love this quote because, based on our attitude, we can lose sight of who we are, and we can also lose our way. All we need to do is be real and have a realist state of mind, and we will find our way because we will have to adjust our way in the world.

2. The Fair

Right after Rick left the show, all the communities lost contact with each other despite the efforts of Ezekiel to reconnect with his friends. The Kingdom hosted an event called the fair that would bring Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom back together again. Ezekiel opened up the fair in the season nine episode 15. He said that Rick, Carl, and Jesus were the driving force of the fair because they all wanted to bring people from different backgrounds together again.

This episode surrounding the fair is one big life lesson that Ezekiel passes on to the members of the communities as well as the fan base. It doesn’t matter how far apart we can be from our loved ones because one day, we will find our way back to each other because we love each other, and as long as we have one another, then we will always have love and happiness in our hearts.

1. “And yet I smile.”

King Ezekiel’s greatest speech, in my opinion, came at the beginning of the fourth episode in season eight. Right before he led the Kingdom into battle, he spoke to the members of his community. He said that they are going to go into battle against dangerous people. He knows that there will be sacrifices, among other things that happen with war. He knows it won’t be easy and it will be scary, but all that doesn’t matter because he smiles. Ezekiel repeats over and over again, “and yet I smile” throughout the speech.

I love this speech so much that I plan on getting “and yet I smile” as a tattoo soon. This quote means so much to me because in life we are going to experience bad times and good times; life and death; relationships and heartbreak; great experiences but difficult moments; sick times and good times; but as long as we smile, we will make it through the dark days to find the light once again.

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King Ezekiel’s life lessons and quotes mean a lot to the characters on The Walking Dead and the fans of the show. There are too many to count, but I tried my best to narrow it down to the top five life lessons King Ezekiel gave us.