“The Lion King” is “rule by divine right” propaganda, and I am here to convince you that Scar did in fact do nothing wrong.
Ok, he did do some things wrong. He did kill his brother. And sent assassins after his nephew. He has engaged in acts that cannot strictly speaking be claimed to be “moral” behaviour.
But sometimes a leader must do sordid things for the greater good. And I will freely admit that all lions – including Scar – should in a just world get the guillotine. I mean, they are literally preying upon other animals in order to sustain their way of living and justifying it all with some bullshit “circle of trickle-down life” bullshit.
Anyway, I am getting side-tracked… My point is – that although I am loath to defend a lion – I do find it fascinating how mistreated and maligned Scar has been as king. So, accepting the premise of a monarchy, let me argue why the portrayal of Scar is unfairly biased, and how and why Scar is the better king.
The Lion King is Anti-Scar Propaganda
I must admit, “the Lion King” is a brilliant piece of propaganda. They do not actually try to hide much; most things they just heavily spin in favour of the traditionalist and absolutist monarchy. But if you put anything under the slightest bit of scrutiny, the propaganda falls apart. On the different policy decisions of Mufasa/Simba and Scar, the latter is either plainly better or equally horrible. Let’s first look at the ways in which Scar is portrayed as villainous, even though he is no different than Mufasa/Simba:
Scar is shown as blatantly sexist, forcing the lionesses alone to hunt. Well, newsflash, that is how all lions do it. It is still sexist and should be changed, but no regression has happened here.
Scar is shown as a dirty, dirty fascist, literally framed as nazi with green-lit goose-marching hyenas. But the literal opening number of the movie has a scene with all the animals prostrating themselves in front of their absolute ruler – a scene that could have been taken right out of “Triumph of the Will”. The only difference between the fascism of Scar and fascism of Mufasa/Simba is the colour scheme.
Scar is shown as a direct and indirect murderer. Do I even need to explain this? How the fuck do you think lions get their food?? The only difference between Scar and Simba/Mufasa is that Scar did not follow the arbitrary and classist rule against killing aristocrats. (Although Simba was admittedly somewhat closer to getting this right with his hippy-like insect diet. It’s a shame he doesn’t seem to have continued this later in life, as well as imposing it upon the other lions)
Oh, and Scar somehow single-handedly caused a drought?? Even if his policies somehow affected the fucking climate, those would be policies the inherited from Mufasa and previous kings. Because you do not induce literal bloody climate change in the handful of years it took Simba to grow up. I mean, bloddy hell, he most likely he just got blamed for something completely out of everyone’s control, and Simba just got extremely lucky. Or they are just lying to argue in favour of rule by divine right. That it started to rain the literal minute Simba ascended his throne was awfully convenient.
And yes, Scar is somewhat easily angered and triggered by disrespect. But did you know that his real name is Taka, which translates from Swahili to English as “Waste”? I think you too would have some issues if your parents named you “Trash” and your brother “King”.
Scar is the Better King
One thing even the propagandist movie seem to agree with is that Mufasa got the brawn (and splendour), and Scar got the brains. Yes, you do need charisma in order to be a leader, he does not seem to lack in that area, as Scar basically got himself elected as the leader of the hyenas. Now a leader with brains and a talent for international diplomacy? Yes please. Who cares if Mufasa looks better in the crown.
Remember how both Mufasa/Simba and Scar are fascists? Well, Scar is the better fascist ! (please don’t quote me on that) While both are aristocrats and lion-supremacists, Scar does not have the same policy of ethnic cleansing of hyenas as Mufasa/Simba. Why are hyenas excluded from the Pride Lands, exactly? Something about how filthy and evil they are, which smacks heavily of speciesist propaganda. Hyenas are carnivores too, yes, but unlike lions, at least they have a scavenger streak and do not necessarily kill to eat.
Scar’s policy of hyena integration is more inclusive, and I would argue that the way he was close to establishing somewhat of a proto constitutional monarchy in the way he attained the throne only after the hyenas elected him as their leader.
Written by Emil Olai