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The Lion King

Zira

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Zira
Zira&KLIFF
Name
Zira
Meaning
Hate[1]
Gender
Female
Species
Lion
Affiliations
Pridelanders (formerly)
Outsiders (currently)
Titles
Leader of the Outsiders
Appearances
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Close Relations
Nuka (son)
Kovu (son)
Vitani (daughter)
"Listen to me! Simba is injured and weak! Now is the time to attack! We will take his entire kingdom...by force!"
—Zira to the Outsiders

Zira is the main antagonist in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. She is the leader of the Outsiders, a fierce follower of Scar's, and the mother of Nuka, Kovu, and Vitani.

Physical Attributes

Zira has pale dark tan fur with a darker brown dorsal stripe running down her face and stopping between her eyes, a gray-cream chest, blood red eyes and a notch of unknown origin in her right ear. Her ears also feature two thin dark brown stripes. Like Scar, she is thin (due to either malnutrition or her genetic makeup) and her claws are permanently extended.

Personality

"I'll never let it go!"
—Zira refuses to get over Scar's death
Zira TLK2
An angry Zira
CutefluffydogAdded by Cutefluffydog

Zira is self-centered, violent, arrogant, and short-tempered. She is also very cynical, ruthless, and opportunistic, as shown when she prepares to attack Simba in broad daylight while he is alone until Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and the rest of his pride show up.

As well, Zira is manipulative as she warps Kovu's mind into killing Simba. She also threatens to kill her own daughter, Vitani,  although it is possible that she merely speaks out of anger and hurt at her daughter's betrayal. Zira allows her emotions to control her often, which leads her to act impulsively. Her impulsive threat towards Vitani is ultimately the reason the remaining Outsiders turn against her.

However, despite all this, she is something of a tragic figure, and appears to genuinely love Scar, even praying to him to watch over her dead son Nuka. She remains loyal to the memory of the dead king until the very end of her life. Furthermore, despite threatening Vitani shortly before her death, Zira seems to genuinely love her family and is heartbroken when she finds Nuka dying beneath fallen logs, even though she has, until that point, always favored Kovu. In the end, Zira dies because all her dreams were lost, her years of training had gone to waste, and her entire family and pride turned against her, except the deceased Nuka.

Information

Early Life

"I now see the path to our glorious return to power!"
—Zira before "My Lullaby"
"Scar is gone, but Zira's still around...to love this little lad, till he learns to be a killer with a lust for being bad!"
—Zira in "My Lullaby"

As suggested in the film, Zira was previously a Pridelander during Scar's reign as king, where she bore Nuka, Vitani, and Kovu. While Scar was still alive, the two of them raised Kovu to be Scar's successor; his protege. After Scar's death, they were exiled immediately afterward by Simba for their remaining loyalty to Scar, and Zira was left to raise the child alone.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

"Oh! Haven't you met my son, Kovu? He was hand chosen by Scar to follow in his pawprints and become King!"
—Zira explains Kovu's destiny to Simba
Barelybegunzira
Zira sinisterly chuckling at a scared young Kiara
SuereberewAdded by Suereberew

Zira is first seen trespassing in the Pride Lands and closely examining Kovu's interactions with a female cub, snarling with anger when the cub reveals herself as Kiara, daughter of King Simba. When the king himself appears ready to hurt Kovu, Zira quickly intervenes, roaring at Simba and stopping the younger lion in his tracks. The two lions converse bitterly, Simba telling her she broke the law of the land and must suffer the consequences. She offers up Kovu to Simba who hesitates to kill the cub, something she knew he wouldn't be able to pull off.

Simba tells them to get out, saying their business is finished, but Zira corrects him and smirks dangerously and knowingly at Kiara, stating their business was far from over in a subtle threat. She grabs Kovu (more forcefully than Simba picked up Kiara) and leaves, returning to the Outlands.

Zirastride
Zira striding by and ignoring Nuka, carrying Kovu
CaluaAdded by Calua

Zira strides by an informative Nuka, ignoring him with a less-than-pleased expression on her face and a helpless Kovu in her mouth. She then drops the cub none-too-gently into the sand and turns her fury about the cub's disobedience on Nuka, screaming that he was supposed to be overseeing his actions, scaring her teenage son. Kovu steps in on his brother's behalf and she chews him out instead. Zira questions Kovu into oblivion about acting friendly towards a Pridelander rather than repelling them like he should have done and through her scolding gets an idea: To get Kovu to use Kiara so he can kill Simba. Zira turns gentle suddenly, praising her son for possessing a mind of ill will (situational irony, considering how Kovu had no evil in his innocent mind). Nuka expresses disgust at his mother's praise, but she turns and snarls at him dangerously. The anger making Nuka back down in fear, Zira grabs Kovu and leads him into the termite mound the Outsiders live in, near his bed. Zira softly coos a lullaby to her son, stating that "one day, when he's big and strong, he will be a king." Before Kovu falls asleep for the evening, she informs him that his training is going to intensify the next day. In a heavy song, Zira outlines her dreams about the blood-soaked payback that she will levy on Simba and Nala and how her pride's "flag will fly against a blood-red sky"; this is what gets her to sleep at night.

Ziracircle
Zira circling around a fully-trained young adult Kovu
SuereberewAdded by Suereberew

When Kovu is a young adult and has completed his training, she circles her son, very much approving of the manipulated monster she has created in Scar's image. She comments, "You have the same darkness that Scar had," and reaffirms her teachings by questioning Kovu himself about his destiny, teachings and his mission to kill Simba and take Scar's place as king. After stating that he is ready, she prepares a plan that will involve Kovu infiltrating the Pridelands society by rescuing Kiara, integrate himself with Simba, and then kill him once he has gained the king's trust.

Nuka and Vitani ignite the Pride Lands during Kiara's first solo hunt and Zira watches the flare, with Kovu by her side. She commands him into action and then leaves herself.

ZiranukaVitani
Zira congratulating Kovu for bringing Simba with him
SuereberewAdded by Suereberew

After the fire rescue, Zira and Nuka sit a little ways from Pride Rock and observe Kovu's actions. Nuka is disapproving of his brother's not harming Kiara, but Zira rebukes him, stating that Kovu was following the plan as he was supposed to be and that the fire rescue worked perfectly. She expresses her approval and anticipation by snapping a branch in half.

Later, Vitani reports Kovu is no longer on board with the plan, because of a love affair between him and Kiara. Zira is angered by this apparent betrayal, and quickly devises a plan to get Kovu back. The next morning, Simba takes Kovu out to walk, and while he is making his speech, Zira cackles evilly and emerges in the tawny dust with her pride, preparing an ambush. She subtly taunts Simba, and then credits Kovu for leading him into the ambush (again, ironic, considering Simba chose the spot to go). As Simba instantly loses all his trust in Kovu, Zira, and her pride attacks. They pursue him through the clogged gorge and eventually trap him at a dam.

Nukasdeath
Zira cradling a dying Nuka's head
CaluaAdded by Calua

King Simba climbs up the wall of logs, and upon seeing Kovu at the top, Zira commands him to get Simba. Kovu, instead, does nothing, so Nuka climbs up the dam, seeing his chance to prove to everyone he is the lion everyone thought Kovu was. However, he is pinned under the logs, and dies in the process. When Kovu tries to dig up Nuka, Zira frantically pushes him out of the way and clears the logs herself. Near-tears, she comforts her son until he dies, as he apologizes for being a failure. Zira mourns her son's death and sends a desperate prayer for Scar to watch over Nuka in Heaven. Her sorrowful mood quickly turns angry and she blames Kovu for Nuka's death, and then proceeds to hit him (even scratching at his face, thus making a scar like Scar's over his right eye). Zira blames Kovu for Nuka's death, coughing out angry invective at her remaining son about how he had betrayed his pride, his mother, and how he had even betrayed Scar, causing him to run away, frustrated.

Zirasnarl
Zira blaming Kovu for Nuka's death
WerebereusAdded by Werebereus

With her son dead and the chosen one "corrupted", Zira has had enough, and announces to her Pride that King Simba has taken away her children in one way or another; she takes advantage of Simba's injury, and prepares a full-scale war on the Pridelands, to the unanimous acceptance of her whole Pride. The Pridelanders meet the Outsiders head on as Zira triumphantly mocks Simba, saying this battle was the moment she had 'dreamed of... for years'; after Simba tells her to go home, Zira says that she is home and commands her troops to attack. Zira stays on an elevated knoll for the beginning of the fight, commanding her lionesses, and upon seeing Simba swarmed by Outsiders (though still holding his own), she attacks.

Zira falltlk2
Zira falling to her doom
Disney14ph12Added by Disney14ph12

The two are dangerously close to having a blood-soaked battle, but Kiara and Kovu intervene, to Zira's annoyance. Kiara then says that they were all one and the fighting was pointless. Taking advantage of a tender moment between Simba and Kiara, Zira orders Vitani to attack, but she is moved by Kiara's words and disobeys her mother. Blinded by fury and sadness, Zira threatens her own daughter impulsively; disgusted by this, the Outlanders cross over to the Pridelanders' side and stand against a shocked but unrelenting Zira, leaving the lioness unwilling to let go of the past. On Scar's behalf, she leaps out to kill King Simba, but Kiara intercepts it and the two roll over the side of a cliff. During this time, logs off to the side of the gorge burst, which opens a massive river underneath the lionesses. Zira hits multiple rocks and is left dangling off a ledge; an addled Kiara offers to help Zira, who is seen torn between choosing life or death. However, unable to let go of her hate and seeing that her dreams were lost, Zira refuses Kiara's help and proceeds to fall to her death into the river, and is presumed to be swept away by the tide.

Concept Art

ZiraConcept
Zira concept
WerebereusAdded by Werebereus
Out of all the lions who were conceptualized despite Vitani's concept being unclear, Zira doesn't seem to change in the slightest. The only thing she seems to be missing on her ref sheets and concept art are her ear strips.
Zinote
Zira notes
WerebereusAdded by Werebereus

There is a rumor amongst the fandom claiming Zira's original name was Bianca, which means white or fair in Italian[2]. Her name suggests her fur would have been white or pale-cream like a Pridelander female's.

Bianca
Possible concept of Zira
WerebereusAdded by Werebereus
In the videos, Proud of Simba's Pride and Proud of Simba's Pride part 2, a lioness in a rough storyboard appears. It is unknown if this is Zira, but it seems to be taking place around or during "My Lullaby", so it is heavily speculated to be her. The suspected Zira concept is more heavily built than the finalized Zira, and has no visible Outlander traits except her nose and lean build.

Songs

Voice Actors

Trivia

  • The notch in Zira's right ear occasionally changes sides during the movie, which is a common mistake by the animators.
  • According to her concepts, Zira's eyes were once to be green, like her son's.
  • In an alternate scene that survived to the rough animation stage, Kiara offers Zira help, but Zira, with a twisted grin, replies, "No... never," and releases her claws from the cliff, falling into the swollen river below, thus committing suicide. This was considered too dark and morbid for a Disney film, so it was cut.
    Zira 2
    Zira before sucide
    EhnameloxAdded by Ehnamelox
  • Zira's working name is rumored to be Bianca. That name means "white, fair" in Anglo-Saxon, which is ironic to her dark personality seen in the final film.
  • Interestingly, in a brief scene during "My Lullaby," Zira is seen with blue eyes and not red.
  • On a Disney website, Zira is described as Scar's sister.[3] Whether or not this is true or a mistake is unknown, but considering the aim to eliminate incest in the film by obliterating Scar's relation to Kovu during production, it probably is as that would be counter-productive.
    • Certain sources and speculation by some fans claim that Zira was Scar's mate, including a Lion King II storybook[4] and a Disney website. However, director Darrell Rooney confirmed in a statement made on Facebook that Zira's relationship with Scar was purposely obscured in the middle of production due to the incestuous undertones Kovu's romance with Kiara would have had.[5]
      • Rooney later made another statement on Facebook about Kovu, describing him as an orphan, in which case, Zira would only be his adopted mother.[6]
  • Zira's inspirations are most likely Lady Montague from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (as she is the mother of Romeo, who is presented in the film as Kovu) and Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. In the Proud of Simba's Pride documentary, Rooney mentions Simba's Pride taking inspiration from Manchrian Candidate. [7] In relation to Zira, Mrs. Iselin is a ruthless power-hungry mother of a brainwashed son sent to kill a presidential candidate.
  • Zira's line "If you need your pount of flesh..." is a reference to the Shakespearian play "The Merchant of Venice", even though Simba's Pride is based on "Romeo and Juliet".
  • The other inspiration for this Disney villainess was Belldonna who pretended to be Kimba's aunt in an episode of the 1960s anime "Kimba the White Lion".  
  • When Zira blames Kovu for the death of Nuka, her reasoning seems somewhat ironic for someone who had a high opinion of Scar. Although it is also very likely that she was trying to inform Kovu that he ended up becoming no different from Scar despite rejecting him as a means to break his spirit.
    • She told Kovu that he betrayed his pride, which is exactly what Scar did when he allowed the Hyenas to take over.
    • She also told him that he "Killed his own brother", which, again, is exactly what Scar did. 
  • Originally, Zira was going to be accompanied by the hyenas[8], who served as her army.

Quotes

Simba: "Zira!"
Zira: "Simba! (Notices that Simba's whole pride has arrived) Nala."
Nala: "Zira."
Timon: "Timon, Pumbaa. Great! Now that we all know each other... GET OUTTA OUR PRIDE LANDS!!!"
Zira: "Your Pride Lands?! (Roars at Timon and Pumbaa, scaring them) These lands belonged to Scar!"
Simba: "I banished you from the Pride Lands! Now you and your young cub get out!"
—Zira confronting Simba and his pride


"Oh, no, Simba! We have barely begun! (Chuckles evilly)"
—Zira to Simba at their first encounter


"You were supposed to be watching him!"
—Zira scolding Nuka for not watching Kovu


"Hush! The fire rescue worked perfectly and Simba fell for it. Now, the closer Kovu gets to the daughter, the closer he gets to Simba! And once he has Simba alone... (smashes branch with paw as Nuka quickly ducks)"
—Zira to Nuka as they watch Kovu


"This is for you, Scar!"
—Zira's last words


"The melody of angry growls: A counterpoint of painful howls! A symphony of death, oh my! That's my lullaby!"
—Zira outlining her dreams in "My Lullaby"


Zira: "You are ready. (Chuckles) Nice. Very nice. You have the same blackness in your soul that Scar had. What is your destiny?"
Kovu: "I will avenge Scar... take his place in the Pride Lands."
Zira: "Yes! What have I taught you?"
Kovu: "Simba is the enemy."
Zira: "And what must you do?"
Kovu: "I must kill him!"
—Zira, having fully trained Kovu to kill Simba


Zira: "YOU! (Angrily slashes Kovu across the face, earning him a scar on his eye similar to Scar's; Zira notices this and gasps in shock and anger) What, have, you, done?!"
Kovu: "I-- I didn't mean to. It-- it wasn't my fault I I... I did NOTHING!"
Zira: "EXACTLY! And in doing so, you betrayed your pride! Betrayed Scar!"
Kovu: "I want nothing more to do with him!"
Zira: "You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you!"
Kovu: "No..."
Zira: "You've killed your own BROTHER!"
Kovu: "NOOOO!"
—Zira blaming Kovu for Nuka's death


"Simba has hurt me for the last time! Now he has corrupted Kovu... listen to me! Simba is injured and weak! Now is the time to attack! We will take his entire kingdom... by force!"
—Zira to the Outlanders


Zira: "It's over, Simba! I have dreamed of nothing else for years!"
Timon: "Boy, does she need a hobby."
Simba: "Last chance, Zira. Go home."
Zira: "I am home!"
—Zira before the battle between the Pridelanders and the Outsiders


"If you will not fight, then you will die as well."
—Zira to Vitani when she refuses to kill Simba


"I'll never let it go!"
—Zira refusing to let go of her hatred towards Pridelanders


Gallery

See Here

Video

Lion King II - Zira's Revenge(01:17)
EhnameloxAdded by Ehnamelox

References

  1. [1]
  2. http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Bianca
  3. The Lion King 1½ - Who Wants To Be King Of The Jungle?
  4. [2]
  5. Wwww
  6. Darrel Rooney
  7. Proud of Simba's Pride.
  8. name="Production"
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