If you were half the king Mufasa was...
Sarabi was born sometime before the events of the first film and had at least one sister and three nephews, one of whom was named Mtoto.
At a young age, Sarabi was betrothed to Mufasa, and as adolescents, the two would often stroll the Pride Lands together. To Mufasa's annoyance, Zazu often hovered nearby, chattering nonstop, as he hoped to assist the king in his daily ventures. One day, Sarabi got trapped in the gorge, and Zazu rushed to fetch Mufasa, who lowered a log down to Sarabi to help her out. Once safely out of danger, Sarabi thanked Mufasa and Zazu for saving her life.
|“||Sarabi: Your son's awake.|
Mufasa: Before sunrise, he's your son.
Sarabi is first seen outside the den of Pride Rock with an infant Simba in her paws. Mufasa affectionately nuzzles her, and she licks the cub's head, revealing the prince to Rafiki. The old baboon anoints the cub, carrying him off as the king and queen look lovingly at each other, ready to watch their son be presented to the land. When Rafiki lifts the cub for all to see, Sarabi stands by Mufasa, watching the ceremony with pride.
She is later seen sleeping beside Mufasa as Simba tries to wake his father, telling him that their son is awake. Mufasa tries to stay asleep as long as possible, but eventually, they both relent. Sarabi walks by Mufasa, nudging Simba ahead after the cub stops to nuzzle his mother.
She then watches fondly as both her mate and her son disappear up the summit.
After Simba is told about the Elephant Graveyard from Scar and comes to greet Nala, who is being cleaned by her mother Sarafina, Sarabi, previously snoozing on a small rock, wakes up, snatches Simba up and gives him a bath, amused at his attempts to get away. She inquires her son about the "cool place" that he's so eager to show Nala, and consents to the two cubs going to "the water hole." Knowing her son's mischievous nature, however, she is sure to send Zazu with them.
After the stampede, Sarabi is devastated over the deaths of her mate and son, and is seen being comforted by Zazu when the news is broken.
Years later, she is summoned by Scar to Pride Rock. The former queen strides fearlessly past the hyenas who growl and nip at her heels. Scar angrily questions her about why her hunting party refuses to do their job, and she replies that there's no prey left due to the hyenas, but Scar passes their failure off as not looking hard enough.
Sarabi states that there's nothing left and that they have to leave Pride Rock in order to survive, to which Scar replies, "We're not going anywhere." Sarabi points out that he is sentencing them to death, and Scar replies that he is the king and can do whatever he wants. Sarabi angrily replies, "If you were half the king Mufasa was you would-" She is cut short by Scar when he strikes her with his paw, causing the lioness to fall onto her side. Seeing this, Simba, who had been watching closely from a high rock, jumps down to defend his mother. She mistakes him for Mufasa at first but soon realizes that it's her long-lost son. Confused, she asks how this is possible. Simba replies to his mother that it doesn't matter because he has returned home.
When the lionesses begin rising up against Scar and the hyenas, two lionesses are shown helping Sarabi up. When Scar pressures Simba into admitting that it is his fault that his father is dead, Sarabi says in a quiet voice, "It's not true. Tell me it's not true." Soon after, Scar admits that he killed Mufasa, and Sarabi and Nala are the first lionesses to lunge forward into battle.
Finally, after Scar and the hyenas are defeated, Sarabi nuzzles her victorious son, and proudly watches him take the Pride Lands back, accepting him as her new king.
Sarabi is briefly shown in her original place at Simba's presentation alongside Mufasa. She is not animated here and has no speaking lines, and she does not appear anywhere else in the film.
In the musical, Sarabi is portrayed by a human actress in an African-style garment with a lion-face headpiece mask worn on the actress's head. Sarabi was originally portrayed in the Broadway production by Gina Breedlove.
Sarabi's role is considerably the same, though she takes part in the musical number, "The Lioness Hunt." She is also seen mourning Mufasa and Simba when Scar reports their deaths to the pride. Lastly, she is called by her brother-in-law to question why the hunting party has stopped hunting. Sarabi tells him that there is no food or water left, that the herds has move on, and that they need to leave Pride Rock in order to survive. Scar refuses, and when Sarabi snaps at him about not being half the king Mufasa was, Scar strikes his sister-in-law, claiming that he is ten times the king Mufasa is. Simba, hearing this, comes from hiding and comforts his mother.
In How True, Zazu?, Sarabi appears in a flashback when she and Mufasa are spending quality time together without the bothersome company of Zazu. When the hornbill leaves, a water cobra slides in and creeps up on the two. Zazu returns just in time to alert them. While Mufasa is annoyed, Sarabi thanks Zazu.
In Friends in Need, a young adult Sarabi is trapped in the gorge and found by Zazu. She is later rescued by Mufasa after Zazu reports her condition and leads the prince to his future queen. Sarabi gives Zazu a thanking nuzzle on his bill for saving her life. She and Mufasa then walk side-by-side while Zazu flies overhead.
When Nala goes missing, Sarabi comes to Simba and asks him where Nala is. Simba admits that he can't tell her, for it's a secret, but Sarabi gently reminds him that secrets sometimes need to be told for the safety of others. Seeing the wisdom in his mother's words, Simba tells the pride where Nala is, and they set out to rescue her.
- A Gift from the Heavens (mentioned)
One of the largest queens to rule Pride Rock, Sarabi is tall and heavily built, noticeably larger than her fellow Pride Landers and able to stand nose height to Scar. She sports strong shoulders and a rectangular body, built for the hunt, and manages to put up a good fight against the hyenas even after being struck to the ground by Scar. Her face is long and round, but broader than those of the other lionesses, though her other facial features are delicate and soft.
In addition to being unusually grand in size, Sarabi sports a distinctive dark pelt broken only by patches of lighter fur on her muzzle, paws, and underbelly. Her nose is also dark, and her ears are rimmed with brown. Like Mufasa, she sports large orange eyes.
Sarabi passed many traits down to her son, including her colored paws, ear rims, and orange eyes. During early production of the film, Simba was drawn in many concept sketches with darker fur, making him look more like his mother. However, this was later changed so that Simba would more closely resemble Mufasa. Sarabi bears a striking resemblance to her granddaughter, Kiara.
Personality and traits
So where is this 'really cool' place?
During periods of peace and prosperity, Sarabi is a supportive mother and queen. Throughout Mufasa's reign, she displays herself as being a fierce encouragement to her family, viewing her son's presentation with pride and later motivating him to learn kingly duties from his father. Unlike Mufasa, who is gentle but firm in his guidance, Sarabi is softer, shown to be especially affectionate when dealing with her son, whom she is especially patient with. However, just like Mufasa, she guides Simba along his path to becoming king.
Not only is Sarabi gentle and soft-spoken, but she is also a doting mother who is not afraid to tease. Through her son's many kiddish complaints, she keeps a smile on her face, proving herself willing to embarrass him if she believes that she is serving his best interests. Despite her joking nature, Sarabi is wise enough to keep her family safe, willing to put barriers on Simba in order to keep him from harming himself and his friends. Her easygoing approach to parenting is not of an overly lenient nature but strict enough to keep Simba on the right track, rendering her just as protective of her son as Mufasa.
When bliss falls away from her beloved family and homeland, Sarabi proves her character by remaining strong through her grief, taking her place as the matriarch of her pride despite the devastating loss of her mate and son. As Scar's reign begins to crumble the land around her, Sarabi loses the joy she once had, replacing her easy smile with a distinctive frown that follows her from the hunt to the home. She becomes considerably cold, showing little reaction to the destruction around her, but always keeping a firm and strong face, perhaps for the benefit of her heartbroken pride.
When faced with Scar, an overbearing and unfair leader, Sarabi keeps her head held high, unaffected by the intimidating presence of her abounding enemies. Even when blamed for problems that are not her fault, Sarabi keeps her temper, remaining fair by refusing to take the blame for Scar's doings. She even goes so far as to suggest something radical for the good of her pride, risking harm in defying her misguided ruler in doing so. Though her temper typically remains cool and under control, she does let angry words fly when Scar refuses to take action in order to save his pride. In her rage, Sarabi reveals herself to be defiant and sharp-tongued, able to expertly hit Scar's weakness by comparing him to Mufasa.
Just as willing to evoke justice as she is to save her pride, Sarabi proves herself to be a fierce fighter, being the second lioness to leap into battle after Scar's admittance to killing Mufasa. Understandably vengeful, Sarabi's bravery and prowess expose themselves fully during the final battle, tearing away the impassive mask which she has been hiding behind throughout Scar's abuse. A seeker of justice, Sarabi fights for the rightful ruler of the Pride Lands and proudly accepts him as her new king.
Sarabi originally had yellow-orange fur, matching as her deleted sister Naanda. The fur on her chest was lighter than the rest of the fur. Her red eyes and ear rims remained unchanged through development. In later concepts, Sarabi had gray fur and a pink nose and ears. Her neck was a bit longer than in the final version. Her muzzle and her chest were white.
- A Disney website states that Sarabi was banished alongside the Outsiders, but this is unlikely, as she is Simba's mother and was not loyal to Scar.
- Sarabi appears oddly colored on the tenth cover of one of the The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn magazine series.
- In The Lion King: Bloopers and Outtakes, Sarabi is missing her ear rims.
- The character of Sarabi was inspired by Queen Gertrude from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet". However, there are some major differences between them. Gertrude dies near the end of the story, poisoned, and she, by her own will, remarries King Claudius after her first husband's death, while Sarabi survives the whole film and stays loyal to Mufasa even after his death.
- During early production, Sarabi and the other lionesses had single stripes on their foreheads, similar to that of Zira's. In one storybook, Sarabi is even pictured with one.
- After Simba's encounter with the hyenas, Sarabi was scripted to sing a song called "The Lion in the Moon" to calm her son.
- There is a deleted scene in which the hyenas try to scare Sarabi away from the water. Then Nala comes to her side and protects her.
- According to a 1993 script for The Lion King, Sarabi was meant to appear during the presentation of Simba and Nala's cub at the end of the film.
|“||Scar: Well, Simba, now's your chance to tell them! Tell them who is responsible for Mufasa's death!|
Simba: I am.
Sarabi: It's not true. Tell me it's not true.
Simba: It's true.
|Preceded by||Succession Right||Succeeded by|
|Uru||Betrothal of Mufasa||Nala|
|For more information about the history of the Pride Lands, click here.|
|Characters from The Lion King|