Friday, January 30, 2015

WBI: Zira

It is kind of sad that this is the first lady villain we’ve reached thus far. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but if you have any WBI requests, I am always open to suggestions. It’s easier for me to get movies than books, and I reserve the right to ignore you, BUT there are a lot of awesome villains out there I bet I don’t know about, so feel free to expand my do-list for me!

Now, today’s topic: Zira, of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, which is my favorite sequel of anything ever.

via My Lion King Forum
Zira leads the remnants of Scar’s beloved renegade pride in the Outlands, where she plans the usurper Simba’s demise. When Kovu, Scar’s handpicked heir, begins a friendship with the princess Kiara, Zira realizes she can use the relationship against Simba, and hones her son into a weapon to destroy him. She nearly defeats the king, but Nuka, her eldest, is killed, and she casts out Kovu for good. Before Simba can recover, Zira takes matters into her own hands and attacks, only to be foiled by her son and betrayed by her pride. Rather than accept their pity, she throws herself into the river and dies.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Ξ012678#*&
Role :: Avenger (restore Scar’s justice)
Motivation :: chaos (offset the circle of life), evil (inflict pain recreationally upon others), idealism (avenge Scar), desperation (starving in the Outlands), gain (access to food, etc.), power (Kovu shall be king)
Bonus :: minions (pride), lair (Outlands), family ties (Scar’s former mate)

Click Me to Big Me!

A Study

right—Zira believes that she is morally justified in righting these wrongs against her pride; she has the right to restore Scar’s order on his behalf because she is the mother of his heir

lover—the exact relationship between Zira and Scar is unclear, but she produced his (non-biological) heir, and thus her family is his family

revenge—if Zira did not love Scar, she at least admired him, and thinks that the injustice of his death should be leveled by Simba’s own death

investing—unlike a lot of villains, Zira fights for power for her son, so that someday he will be king and he will have his true birthright

victim—to some degree, she brought it on herself, but Zira has suffered a lot at Simba’s hands, and she’s watched her children starve because of him

dreamer—more than once she uses words about dreaming; she imagines a better world in her future, and she desires it more than anything, not just for her, but for her children as well

bloodthirsty—yes, she wants her revenge, but Zira also demands the suffering of Kiara and the lionesses, merely because it will bring her pleasure

self-aware—Zira knows that her bloodthirsty demands are petty, and she doesn’t care; she enjoys the pain she will wreak upon her enemies

prepared—Zira’s plan was almost flawless; if she hadn’t failed to predict the weakness in her son, she would be sitting high and mighty on Pride Rock right now

continuation—Zira is really good at planning, but this plot goes hand-in-hand with the previous movie

symbolic—also, in accordance with the Hitler-esque theme, Zira used starvation and war as two motivators for her pride to follow her into battle; they had nothing to lose

deserted—the Outlands have no food for communion, no water for rebirth; it’s as baked as their morals and the haggard nature of her home also reflects the kind of person Zira is

patient—Zira waits for her son to become an adult before she sets her plan in motion; she doesn’t mind waiting now for the success to be all the greater in the long run

force of nature—Scar and Zira represent unbalance in the circle of life; although we want Simba to win, we also don’t want the entire ecosystem to fail because the lions can’t handle moderation

merciless—life is a battlefield, and this lioness doles out punishments when her plans fail and is able to keep that which she loves separate from that which she aims for: Pride Rock

sympathetic—okay, no, her passion for death and blood and stuff is a little disconcerting, but we also notice that her pride is STARVING and she is trying to survive for all their sakes

mother—believe it or not, Zira loves her children, because although she uses him, they are also the substantiation of her dreams for the future

Big Idea

family comes second—Zira is interesting because she demonstrates that she loves her children on several occasions, but she also treats them as soldiers, which is why she gives Kovu his scar and why she doesn’t respect Nuka. In fact, beyond Kovu, Vitani is Zira’s star, because she can follow the plan, she’s good at what she does, and she is the most reliable of them all. I think, in the end, it is Vitani’s betrayal that really hits Zira hard, because she knows that if she’s lost Vitani, her last dream, she’s lost everything.

symbolism works—the Lion Kings are great films, especially because the visual symbolism they use rocks. The state of the land reflects the state of the lions who live there, and nature itself is used in many ways to show the assertions the artists are trying to make. It’s beautiful.

revenge is justice—remember that justice is subjective; while for Simba’s clan, the objective is to keep spinning in the circle of life and ensure that there is always balance, Zira’s goal is domination. She wants to win. Any character seeking revenge is trying to right what they think has been wronged, and in this event, Zira’s opinion of justice is restoring Scar’s legacy to Pride Rock.

mothers rule—too often we think of mothers as nice little housewives who wash our clothes and pack our lunches; moms can be brutal. Zira wants to make a better world for her children, but to get them there she has to punish them physically, force them to train, and strip away things like playing and laughter that they can’t afford in their current state. Everything she does is for Scar and for her kids, and the manner in which she does those things demonstrates the exact lengths a woman reach to get what she wants.

I should also mention, Zira has a VILLAIN SONG! It is great, and I love it. Because I love all the music in that movie, but the villain song is always a good measure of a villain, and I used a lot of it to help me characterize Zira. Watch it!

So, is TLK2 not the best sequel ever? I kid, I kid. Anyway, what do you think of our first female villain? Do you like her role as a villain? As a mother? Do you think she works for her story?


  1. *cough* So I have never watched the Lion King sequel. Maybe I should? Anyways, great WBI analysis, but what really stood out to me was the bit about her Hitler-esque methods of starvation and war -- and it just came to me that there's this dude in Chinese history who smashed all of his army's pots and led them off to glorious battle. He's treated as a good guy. *coughs even more*

    1. Let's just say this: YES, YOU SHOULD WATCH IT. (Don't feel obliged to watch 1.5, but 2 is a must.)

      Ooh, who is the Chinese dude? (Or is this something I'm supposed to get oh no what if I don't get something easy is it the Huns they weren't Chinese strictly speaking but they conquered China. And Rome. I don't know.)

      Anyway, yes, the historical connections we can find in our villains can be fascinating, no?

  2. I've never seen this either, but she sounds like an incredible villain. I'm gonna check this out, eventually, but it's going on my already-long list of things to do! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well, you need to see it too. XD Don't rush, of course, but I'd definitely be interested in hearing your opinion on Zira's villainy if you get the chance!

  3. I LOVED The Lion King 2 when I was younger and remember being particularly scared (but also fascinated) by Zira. She's one of the darkest and most tragic Disney villains I can think of. Nice post!

    1. I know, right? She was a great villain, and her vengeance makes her particularly interesting, I think. Thanks for reading!

  4. I've never watched the Lion King sequel, but Zira seems like a very complicated villain. One one hand, she seems horribly cruel and evil, but on the other hand, the fact that she's so loving toward her children shows a soft spot. It seems like she's stuck in one huge inner dilemma.

    1. She is a complicated villain, and I think you hit the nail on the head with that little analysis. I'm not sure if she'd agree with the idea that she's in a dilemma, but I do think she deals with a lot of conflicting ideals that makes her an interesting character to watch. It's kinda awesome!

  5. I only watched The Lion King a few months ago, after a year of my friends at school telling me that I needed to come over to their place and watch it because I had no childhood unless it did. So I haven't seen the sequel.

    But this was super detailed! She must be a very complicated character. I love reading these posts because they help me understand how my villains do/might work. Also, the fact that she was a mother- that adds a huge dimension to it. I'd never really thought about female villains before. In fact, I don't think I've ever written one.

    I advocate for more female villains! :)

    1. Oooh I love that movie so so much. You have no idea. For other people, it's their childhood, but TLK is basically my teens. The 1.5 is dumb, but I love the sequel just as much as I do the original, because they are beautiful. :')

      I'm glad you're finding these useful! (Actually, I was surprised I got this many comments, at all... It was crazy.) But yes, mothers and females are unrepresented portions of the villain world, and I agree—we shall discuss them more in-depth in the coming times! :D

  6. Wow, I've seen this movie several times, but I've never thought much about Zira as a character. But you're right: she is a phenomenal villain. This movie just got like 10 times better in my eyes.
    And yes. Villain songs are great! Still like Be Prepared best, though.

    Alexa S. Winters

    1. Sometimes we have to stop and realize that hey—someone put a good amount of work into this character. Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking for those points the next time you watch the movie!

      And yeah, Be Prepared is still good, too... :D


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