Lion King: The Many Kings of Pride Rock
The Lion King
Most of us are familiar with Disney's hit film the Lion King. First shown in 1993, the movie takes us through the life of a young lion cub, Simba, destined to one day rule his home, Pride Rock.
Of course, Simba encounters other lions, including his caring father Mufasa and his nefarious uncle Scar. As far as the movie goes, those are the only kings of Pride Rock depicted.
However, due to Lion King's popularity, various books have expanded upon the lore in the series, offering unique looks at other ancient rulers of the savanna
Mohatu, the first Lion king revealed to us. Mohatu, Simba's great-grandfather, debuted in The Brightest Star, a short book where Mufasa recounts to young Simba a story of a great king of the past. Mohatu appears very similar to Mufasa, with a large build, brownish fur, and a crimson mane. Additionally, their names sound similar and both kings are depicted as wise, compassionate rulers.
In the book, Mohatu successfully unites the animals of Pride Rock, leading them as they help each other survive a drought.
Quotable: As we travel, no one may harm any other animal. That is the only way we'll survive this difficult drought.
Next, Ahadi, the grandfather of Simba. Ahadi is indirectly mentioned by Mufasa in the movie "Simba, let me tell you something my father told me..", but we really learned about him in the short book A Tale of Two Brothers.
Within the story, a young Mufasa and Scar, whose birth name is Taka (you didn't really think his parents named their baby Scar, did you?) are growing cubs under the rule of King Ahadi. However, Taka grows resentful of his brother, who he believes to be favored by their father, and convinces a buffalo to attack Mufasa.
Things ultimately backfire, and Taka ends up being the one attacked, giving him his trademark scar. Burdened by guilt, Taka asks his family to forever be known as Scar, and they agree.
Ahadi has a black mane and green eyes like Scar, but golden-brown fur similar to Mufasa's. He's shown to be a kind and strong king, but is oblivious to Taka's growing jealousy over Mufasa's right to the throne.
Quotable: It would be so much easier if I could learn of the little problems before they become the big ones. How sadly ironic.
You've probably never heard of this obscure, not very memorable character.. ah, who am I kidding. The lion who gave us one of the most heart-wrenching scenes we ever watched as children: Mufasa, Simba's father.
Voiced by James Earl Jones, Mufasa was a strong and wise ruler; under his leadership, Pride Rock flourished. Unfortunately, Mufasa never realized just how far Scar's envy of his position grew, and in the end, it cost him his life.
Quotable: Being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.
Mate: Zira, the villain of Lion King 2
Simba's nefarious uncle, Scar, who murdered his own brother and claimed the throne for himself. Originally born as Taka to King Adahi, Scar inherited his father's black mane and green eyes. However, Ahadi deemed Mufasa as first-in-line to the throne, a proclamation Scar always resented. Upon Simba's birth, Scar even loses his second-in-line spot, a situation that pushes him from jealous brother to murdering psychopath.
Pride Rock became a wasteland under Scar's rule, despite the union of lion and hyena. Ultimately, Scar is defeated by Simba, and after trying to pin the blame for his crimes on the hyenas, they enact upon him the ultimate price.
Quotable: Long live the king.
Our protagonist who just couldn't wait to be king. After tragic events leave him separated from his home, Simba was raised by fellow outcasts Timon and Pumbaa. Since his diet largely consisted of insects, Simba doesn't reach the size of Mufasa, but he share his father's golden-brown fur and red mane.
With some help from his deceased father, Simba learns his place in the circle of life, and takes his rightful throne, marrying his childhood friend Nala in the process. As king, Simba is wise and kind, if a bit overprotective of his daughter, Kiara.
Quotable: Fire is a killer. Sometimes, what's left behind can grow better than the generation before, if given the chance.
A leading character from Lion King 2, Kovu was raised as a weapon to overthrow Simba. However, things become complicated when a budding romance develops between Kovu and Simba's daughter, Kiara. Eventually, of course, Kovu chooses love over hate and allies with the lions of Pride Rock.
We never get to see Kovu as king, seeing as Simba still lives, but presumably he'll take over upon Simba's demise.
Quotable: Judge me now, for who I am.. or am I to be blamed for a crime I didn't commit?
Which lion is your favorite?
One more king.. ?
There we have it: the royal leaders of Pride Rock. Hope to see you at our next -
Hmm? What about Kopa, you ask? *sigh* Alright, alright.
As hardcore fans may know, Simba and Nala (probably) have a son, Kopa, who appears in a series of books written by Alex Simmons. Kopa is only shown as a young cub, who looks and acts very similarly to young Simba. Remember the end of Lion King, where Rafiki holds up Simba and Nala's newborn child? That cub's gender wasn't revealed within the movie - so was it daughter Kiara or son Kopa? And if Kopa does indeed exist, why wasn't he in Lion King 2?
Good questions, but unfortunately ones that lack clear answers. The shortest explanation I can offer is that Kopa's status as canon is uncertain at best, while Kiara seems much more widely accepted, so I tend to view the baby cub as Kiara. It's up to your interpretation.
Regardless, let me know which king is your favorite, and whether you think the cub was Kopa or Kiara!