It’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold. But I would assume that for a starving lion settling for a warm hornbill snack would be retribution equally satisfying. Revenge is an extremely important aspect to Scar’s usurpation of Mufasa’s throne. And keeping Zazu locked in a rib-cage watching everyone and everything die around him is definitely a fitting reprisal for past scorn received. But how long was this possible? Surely hunger would have gotten the best of the aging lion and Zazu would have disappeared in one bite. I mean, when Scar wasn’t starving he tried to eat him and that was when there was plenty of food in the pride lands. So, I guess I will pose the same question about Zazu as he did about the mouse: ‘didn’t Scar’s mother ever tell him not to play with his food?’
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Maybe we have Scar all wrong. If you watch The Lion King, you can easily come away with the view that Simba’s uncle is a devious usurping murderer. And this would not necessarily be incorrect. Yet, I do question if we are not presented with a somewhat lopsided view of the Royal family that predisposes us against the dark-haired lion. Mufasa, King of the Pridelands, is seen presenting his heir to resounding cheers and hoof-stamping from his subjects leading one to believe that every animal supports his rule. But we obviously know this isn’t true. I’m not talking about Scar…I’m talking about the hyenas. This group, characterized for their low intellect and ravenous appetites, have been banished from the lands and forced to live in an elephant graveyard. We know nothing about why or when this happened, only that Mufasa and team do everything to make sure this segregation continues to occur. But does he really have that right?
Hyenas are carnivores and therefore a competitor to the Circle of Life story that Mufasa bases his whole worldview around. The hyenas also eat the antelope and when they die become grass that is eaten by the antelope. Yet for some reason, they are not allowed to live in the lush, gated community that is the Pridelands. Why? They are doing what comes naturally to them, yet Mufasa does not allow them to mingle with the other local residents. We see cheetah’s in the opening sequence, so this wasn’t a sentence based on their diet. So what was it? When we look for an answer here, the obvious thing one could point to would be what the pridelands look like after Mufasa dies and Scar & The Hyenas take over. But that could be more a case of poor leadership vs. the fault of the hyenas.
So with that question swirling in the clouds of your mind, let’s revisit Scar. Say what you want about him, but one positive thing that he does is reach out to a disenfranchised group of underdogs that results in them having the same access as every other animal. Sure his motives may have been purely self-serving, but what politician doesn’t have ulterior motives for good works? And does the ends justify the means? When Scar’s obituary came out after he was digested by those he helped to free, I hope that it would mention that for a brief moment, Scar brought a little equality and pride to these lands.
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“Ok. Let’s go over the plan again. There is a large number predators that are big and strong and will stop at nothing to devour you both if you’re discovered. They are holding another group captive and we are going to save them. These prisoners are a group of ladies that I knew a long time ago and based on the actions of my recent one night stand, they’re probably starving as well and will also want to consume you if they catch your scent. But don’t worry about that, they’ll be too focused on gaining freedom to be thinking about food. Once we oust the evil dictator I will reclaim my throne and reestablish the Circle of Life in the Pride Lands. What’s the Circle of Life? Oh, it’s just a little thing that my dad taught me. Basically it means that my kind can kill and eat whatever we want because when we die we become grass and others like you and your kind can ‘eat’ us. It’s not exactly the same thing, I agree, but is sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? You’re right…it isn’t really a circle either…more like a pyramid. Guess I never really thought about it too much. No, I haven’t considered establishing a strict vegetarian lifestyle when I am King, why? Oh, right. Because you and Pumbaa would be a the perfect victory feast for a band of hungry, battle-weary lionesses….hadn’t thought of that either. Oh well, too late now. Hakuna Matata!”
I can appreciate that they are doing it to help their friend. It is a very valiant thing after all. The only problem that that this is a lose-lose proposition for these two. Sure they get rid of one group of meat-eaters, only to have another group of carnivores take their place? Wasn’t Nala trying to kill & eat Pumbaa before Simba stopped her? Her shock of seeing him abated her hunger for a bit but I am sure there wasn’t time for Simba to share and get Nala on board with the whole ‘I only eat bugs’ thing. Disney has a way of having couples not discuss those important types of things before they make life altering decisions. (see my Little Mermaid post). I don’t think Timon really saw what was happening. He was the one who didn’t have a clue. When Simba fell in love, the real bottom line is that it would have been better for Timon & Pumbaa if their trio had gone down to two.
(Special Thanks to Abigail for drawing this scene from a Lion King Screenshot! She does a great job and shows her step by step process on her blog. Take a look: http://www.drawingdisney.wordpress.com)
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This question nags at me every time I watch The Lion King. We see Simba & Nala running around as lion cubs and smile when Zazu informs them they are betrothed. We are somewhat ok when they get it on almost immediately after reuniting 10 years after Simba runs away. (still not a fan of Nala’s come hither look though). And we root for them as the new King & Queen of the Pride Lands after the defeat of Scar. But then the question hits you like a ton of bricks: are they brother & sister?
Before we continue I need you to remove the notion that we are just talking about ordinary lions and family structures are just different in the animal kingdom. Because we aren’t talking about ordinary lions. These are Disney lions. And they have been given human thoughts, feelings and voices and therefore we can judge their actions based on the laws and social conventions of human society. (At least that is what I tell myself. I’m not crazy right?) So, Mufasa is the King and Sarabi is the queen. They are happily married…or so it would seem. Also, Mufasa’s whole persona is wrapped up in morality. But is it possible that being surrounded by many other lonely female lionesses got to him? Maury, could he be the father?
If he’s not, it’s not too difficult to determine who it would be. At the end of the day, there are only two male lions in this group. If it wasn’t Mufasa, then it has to be Scar. Not only would that make them cousins, but then Simba ended up assisting in the murder of his uncle/father-in-law. Wow. So whether they are cousins or siblings, it would take a whole lot of Hakuna Matata to get past those family issues.
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Is Scar his real name or a nickname? I know he’s got a scar on his face but I don’t know when/where he got it. I wonder if he was born with it and his parents gave him the name. If so, I think he is completely justified in becoming a passive aggressive jerk. If my parents gave me a name based on a a facial deformity I might have turned out a little differently myself. Or maybe he got it later in life in a fight and then someone gave him a bad ass nickname that just stuck. If that’s the case he should have been sitting pretty. Tons of lionesses…and chicks dig guys with scars & accents.
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