Mufasa Causes The Drought In The Lion King

Reddit is a perfect breeding ground for Disney theories (a fact previously proven true with The Frozen Theory).

This time the proposal comes from reddit-user, OstrichMadeOfClay:

‘In The Lion King, Mufasa is responsible for the drought.’

I thought this was worth exploring in more than 57 words, and the longer I looked, the more sense it made. So I present to you:

The Lion King Theory

circle

The Lion King, dictating how newborn babies and new puppies are terrorised since 1994.

Anybody who has been at least semi-concious since the mid-90s will know that the message at the heart of The Lion King is to respect the ‘Circle of Life’ and the life-cycles of nature.

During a classic early scene, Mufasa tells Simba that ‘a king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the Sun’ and that one day ‘the Sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king.’

He (of course) also says that when lions die they become food for the grass, which is eaten by the antelopes, so they ‘are all connected in the great Circle of Life’.

This is one of two ways Mufasa hints at what he will become when he dies.

The another is after Simba’s eventful trip to the elephant graveyard, when Mufasa show him the night sky and explains that ‘the great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. So whenever you feel alone, just remember, those kings will always be there to guide you, and so will I.’

But when Mufasa dies he doesn’t follow the traditional path.

Instead of going to join what Timon bluntly calls ‘a bunch of royal dead guys watching us’ he stays a bit closer to Earth to right the imbalance caused by Scar’s treachery. And he does this in four ways.

First:

Mufasa causes the drought

Drought

‘I said you’d never go hungry again. I said nothing about being thirsty.’

Mufasa’s tragic death is followed by a crippling drought.

This has two results: first, it punishes Scar for his betrayal and makes it near-impossible for him to rule in place of Mufasa; second, it eventually causes Nala to widen her search for food, which is how she finds Simba.

Don't anger a hungry woman.

Never anger a hungry woman.

Which brings us to two:

Mufasa manipulates the clouds

When Nala’s tale of how bad things are at Pride Rock doesn’t convince him to return, Mufasa pulls out the big guns.

First Mufasa appears to a certain loyal baboon, who offers to take Simba to his father.

Rafiki then shows Simba a reflective pool and teaches him a metaphorical lesson about Mufasa living within him. The irony is that Simba also sees the clouds above him, which is how Mufasa truly appears to Simba.

'The weather! Very peculiar!'

Not a traditional sign of global warming.

It’s worth noting that Rafiki acknowledges that this is not how ‘kings of the past’ normally bow out, as he walks up to Simba and semi-flippantly declares: ‘The weather! Very peculiar.’

But it has the desired effect, and Simba himself sees the thematic importance of weather as he says: ‘The winds are changing.’

Indeed they are, because at three:

Mufasa brings the thunder (OK, lightning)

Simba's father is the God of Thunder?

Simba’s father is the God of Thunder?

Simba’s dramatic showdown with Scar is accompanied by violent bolts of lightning, which punctuate heated moments of tension in the scene.

It’s almost as if Scar has angered someone, because every lie and threat that comes out of his mouth is answered by a vicious bolt from the sky; and when Scar attacks Simba, a fork of lightning flies incredibly close to them, but redirects towards the dry bushes below, starting a brush-fire. (Of course, lightning is usually attracted to a highest point, so there must be some interference for it to miss a big lightning-rod like Pride Rock.)

Of course, the fires caused by the lightning provide an appropriate backdrop to the film’s climactic scenes; but once the fighting is over, they do requires a fourth act to set things right again:

Mufasa makes it rain

Um, no Aladdin. Not that kind of rain.

Um, no Aladdin. Not that kind of rain.

As soon as Scar is defeated, a heavy rain begins to fall; both quelling the fires that engulf Pride Rock, as well as providing nourishment to the now barren landscape.

'Dad, quit it!'

Cats hate water – who knew?

Perhaps this is Mufasa attempting to compensate for Simba’s task of rebuilding his dry and inhospitable kingdom. Still the rains don’t fall forever, as Simba takes his place as the king of Pride Rock and roars at the heavens…

green

‘Pride Rock – under new management.’

And balance is restored…

The End

Of course, there are such things as visual metaphors and pathetic fallacy, but I find it amazing that The Lion King is such a rich text that new readings can continue to be pulled from it.

Personally I think it’s a smoother concept than Tarzan being Elsa’s brother or even my own invention that the Disneyverse is one big computer, but what do you think? Was this an intended narrative or is this a through-line being drawn between unconnected dramatic elements?

Is it all just part of the Circle of Life?

(What, like I wasn’t going to play the song?)

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About Joshubuh

I write news, reviews and articles on film, TV and games for sites, magazines and newspapers. I also like adding to that list.
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16 Responses to Mufasa Causes The Drought In The Lion King

  1. Nikhil Rajkumar says:

    Wonderful post! I was just wondering about two things:
    1. How does this fit in your unification theory? Is Mufasa a magician? Why so?
    2. Where is your Kingdom Hearts post? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
    Thanks for reading.

    Like

  2. Shanese says:

    Hi,

    Did anybody else notice the pictures in the cloud shot Mufasa? Like the picture drawing of Simba as a baby that Rafiki did (on the lower left side)?

    Like

  3. Personally, I saw all this as more of a connection to the ideas presented in the movie Excalibur, the idea that, “The king and the land are one,” and, “You will be the land, and the land will be you. If you fail, the land will perish; as you thrive, the land will blossom.” When Simba neglected his duties as king the land suffered and when he returned the land again blossomed… It was in ruin from his negligence more than Scar’s poor stewardship.

    Like

  4. Em says:

    This isn’t bad, except that The Lion King is a retelling of Hamlet

    Like

  5. girl says:

    i say that the lion king is an animalification of one of the trials of hercules providing the reason as to why scar appears in in the movie as well as mufasa(zeus) ability to control the heavens. Scar(hades) tries to overthrow the natural order of things and brings death to the land as the god of the underworld naturally would.
    Discuss

    Like

  6. Elena says:

    Girl: That’s pretty interesting actually. I think maybe it took all the lion ancestors to do that. And maybe Nala was told to go find Simba but she wasn’t allowed to say that and Nala was told where to go and what to say. While she was at it she decided to do some hunting as well. Nothing wrong with some pork right?

    Like

  7. Marx says:

    If this was the case, it would make Mufasa one f***** up King/God.

    Essentially he would let all the animals go through years of suffering just because he did not like who was on the throne. That’s not only egocentric, it’s flat out evil.

    It also mean Scar isn’t really to blame for the misery of the animals under his rule. One can’t expect him to make it rain. He is no God, or whatever Mufasa becomes.

    So essentially what this theory means is, the bad guy wins in the end. He is making countless animals suffer for many years just to see his no good slacker son on the throne.

    Like

    • Kev allah says:

      Marx you hit it on the head! This movie is pure programming. From the red haired alpha lion (complete bullshit) to a lion that looks like Tony Montana being the ‘bad guy’. Also Nala can overpower Simba? That’s pure ‘girl power’ man hating propaganda and to think she can beat the guy who beats scar bUT she can’t beat scar. Lmaooooo at this dumbass movie.

      Like

  8. Juliana Soares says:

    I always connected those acts such as the rain, the lightning and the drought to Mufasa. I always thought: if he can show up from the clouds, anything could be possible.” (How could we know what is possible, right?) But my sisters and friends never connected it as I did. But that’s interesting that someone does. =)

    Like

  9. Paige says:

    Another theory about this movie is that the plot was inspired by the play Hamlet.

    Like

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