I've been wanting to do this for a long time, so here I go. My little character psychology analysis on the three most crucial characters for the official story. In a way this results in Simba born -> Scar the bad guy -> Simba the bad guy -> Zira the bad guy -> the being bad ends with Simba growing into his father's son.

SCAR:
Nothing official is known about his past, but we can assume something made him want to be the king perhaps more than his brother ever did. I personally like to think it was not any remarkable amount of neglect by their father, but just Scar's desire for freedom and power. He was a dominating, highly intelligent and proud person himself which already in itself would be enough for a kingship to be your ultimate dream but it could be that he was much younger than Mufasa, and Mufasa as the big brother acted too much big-brotehrly, meaning well but causing his little brother some more power/freedom complex.

I don't think Scar tried to gain the crown in any dangerous way at any point before the film, I think he was patient enough to wait in the line because he had remarkable power and freedom already with his position as a prince. I do think he tried to impress their father though in hopes that he'd get chosen over Mufasa after all. I think this relates to the scar over his eye and him being called Scar. I think it was about some heroic deed he'd done and wished everyone to remember it by making them call him Scar. Young Scar failed to understand that it was his lack of understanding the delicate balance of nature and how important it is to respect it was why his parents never considered him over Mufasa, who had this understanding.

He didn't try to get the crown by any dark path because his first line in the film is "Life's not fair, is it? You see, I, well I shall never be king." He gives a laugh while saying so, a kind that when combined to the words, told me he hadn't really tried anything crucial while he was the next in line. But Simba's birth triggered the evil in him. (We all have the seed in us, we just choose not to let it grow.)

He was no more the first in line. By Simba he had lost the chance to become king before he'd die. So he protested it by not showing up to Simba's ceremony and I don't think he was planning to kill the kid yet. He was planning to so something--"Oh no, Mufasa, maybe you shouldn't turn your back on me."--but not murder, because he had just said that life's not fair for he will never be king.

But then Simba grew older and started to show very similar personality features to his uncle. Simba too was fascinated by how a king could order people around, thought a king could do whatever he wants, and he was eager to prove himself to his father. Scar likely saw himself in Simba--but unlike he, Simba would get to become king even if he never changed his attitude. I think this triggered Scar's murderous side and to use his intelligence for executing evil plans.

When he claimed the throne he really believed he would grant the Pridelands a better era--perhaps he even thought he was doing a good deed by allowing the previously looked-down and banned hyenas to have some respect and happiness for a change. In them too, he probably saw similarities to his position in his family. (For some reason he had prefered solitude and was feeding on a mouse even though he certainly wouldn't have had to. He just probably by his adult years had chosen to prefer that over spending too much time with the royal family wherein he didn't have the position he'd liked to have.)

Scar reigned for some five or six years and succeeded only in destroying his kingdom and through that likely turn both the pride's and the hyenas genuine respect/admiration to less genuine. He came to see where was his crucial flaw seeing to Mufasa but he was too proud to admit it. Like, 'of course there's food, you're just not looking hard enough'. But failing so utterly wherein he thought he'd be ten times better than Mufasa, made him even more obsessed with power, while he must have deep inside hated himself for failing, and thus he refused to leave Pridelandds: to punish himself and to show he held the power even if it meant to sentence everyone to death. But mostly the great-kingship had become an obsession.

When Simba returned he was first convinced it was Mufasa. Perhaps this was a hint of some subconscious guilt because he certainly knew Mufasa was really dead. For this and in order to seem better than Simba in the pride's eyes, he used the blame-Simba card immediately. He probably thought Simba would be exactly like him as a king, after all he only knew what Simba was like as a child. This likely had the obsession and possesivness of the kingship take an upper hand again. He confessed to Simba that he killed Mufasa--I think this was a mixture of a need to tell someone and of evil mean to throw Simba to his death just after revealing he'd trusted his father's murderer and carried false guilt for all those years.

He appeared a coward and probably meant to flee and return if the hyenas won the battle. But he made a crucial mistake by blaming the hyenas when cornered by Simba. I think that was yet another attempt to hit where Simba was the most vulnerable: Simba was a Daddy's boy and still very much a child inside. The same with the "you wouldn't kill your own ucnle".

After Simba told he wouldn't kill him, Scar likely thought he'd get to stay in the kingdom and wait for it to prosper again. When Simba sent him to exile, he was clearly surprised and upset. I think at this point all he cared about was to kill Simba. He knew he couldn't stay without Simba, but if he didn't get to be the king or at least be part of the kingdom, neither would Simba (whom he still remembered as the child who'd been so much like he had been about kingship.)

It was a battle to death from both of their point of views.

SIMBA:
As said, Simba took after his uncle in many crucial characteristics, but fortunately he looked up to his father and thought of his uncle as just the other male adult in the family who he didn't have to listen to and with whom he could share secrets. In a word: a friend.

Because of this and the fact they were close family members, Simba didn't have the slightest doubt that Scar loved and supported him and he trusted him with all his heart. This trust lasted for all those years, especially after he learned Scar hadn't told anyone about who was responsible for Mufasa's death.

Simba was only 10 years old in human years when he lost his Daddy who was very close to him, and he witnessed the father's fall to death after an already in itself traumatic stampede episode. He is blamed for the death and exiled for life. He goes through a day and night and nother day of hopless wandering around a wasteland just waiting to die with all the pain in the world inside him, without food or water, alone and with nowhere to go and knowing he could never go home. He was likely just waiting to die.

Then he was rescued by couple of scoundrels whose 'no worries' lifestyle he only seemingly adapts into. He chooses to keep his past a secret from his new friends and thus bears it all alone for all those years and runs away from his past and all issues and responsibilities. He can't grow up--he remains the 10 year old child inside but one that suffers greatly every day and night while trying to push it away and hide it.

He had no adult guidence to anything: not to adulthood, not to kingship, not to parenthood. He lead a care-free bachelor lost boys life for some fifth year when he is suddenly literally faced with his past. He finally falls in love with his childhood friend and this was probably the first genuinely happy day/night of his life since his father was alive. This and the revelations Nala gives about Scar's reign gives Simba a little strength to consider going back--but he's a child inside and too afraid to really seriously consider it, not to mention do it. Also, he hates himself too much. ("No one needs me," he saud to Nala.) But all these new emotions and of course the ever-lasting caring and love for his family makes him extremely nervous and consider all the more to go back home, but is still too afraid to go without his father.

It was not so much seeing his father again and hearing him tell he must take his place in the circle of life as it was learning that his father still loves him no matter what he'd done, that convinced him he could go back and try to save what was left to be saved.

Still immature and afraid, he leaves to challenge Scar, with the knowledge that his father loves him and is with him in spirit. He still believes Scar is his friend--a bad friend, but a friend. Then all the courage and strength Mufasa's ghost had managed to give him fall away by him having to admit his guilt to the entire pride by his "friend" betraying him by forcing it out of him. Scar made it worse by talking to him as the child he was inside, "...but this time Daddy isn't hear to save you..."

Judging by how fast Simba reacted, I think Simba had a subconscious clue of the truth for a good while before Scar revealed it. He had it perhaps because of how Scar had treated Sarabi. And then hanging on to the cliff and Scar reminding him he looks just like Mufasa before Mufasa died, caused Simba to count one plus one... and thus the truth hit him as Scar spoke. We even see him first seeing his father falling from the position he himself is at the moment and then his thoughts shooting up to the eye of a child image of himself at the moment of Mufasa's fall. Symbolizing hsi inner child realizing what had happened.

He believed Scar didn't deserve to live but wouldn't kill him because he's not like Scar--he doesn't kill family members. But Scar showed him he could not be trusted with exile. However, he let the hyenas finish Scar off rather than have family blood on his own paws.

He reclaimed the throne and now he was expected to be the adult and king he was never guided into being. His kingdom was ruined which wouldn't be easy to rule for any king, the very least for someone in Simba's situation.

He was immature, insecure and uncertain of how to deal with all the responsibility that had suddenly been thrusted upon him. His main goal was to follow in his father's footsteps. His emotional wounds were open and they were dripping with hatred for Scar and Scar had also shown him a wolf may lurk in every guise. Then Simba is introduced to a new part of his pride--a large group of lionesses he had never met before. They were likely ones joined with Scar's pride at some point during Simba's exile. They were outsiders to Simba from the beginning. Outsiders who had been accepted by Scar--outsiders that had not been fighting in the battle.

Zira appears to be the dominating individual of the strangers and she shows loyalty and love to Scar in some practical way. Zazu called them "back-stabbing, murderous outsiders" and Simba confimed "you can't turn your back on them". But, as no reference to a murder attempt was shown in the film, I believe those words are just Simba and Zazu's natural assumptions of a group lead by a fanatic Scar fan girl. After all, Scar was back-stabber and murderous.

So, in his insecureness, immatureness and natural mistrust and hatred of these stranger lionessess taken in by and/or remaining loyal to Scar, wants to ensure his family and kingdom's safety by exiling the lot for no other reasons but 'just in case' and 'because you like/were accepted by the guy I hate' and 'guilty by association'. He couldn't kill them because he's his father's son and the lot hadn't commited a crime. Remember he spared Scar in the first place only because Scar was family.

Seasons pass and Pridelands recover and new golden age has begun. Simba tries to rule following in his father's footsteps and tries to grow up. How well did he succeed is questionable after years of hakuna matata and Timon & Pumbaa still around, while he was also insecure as he had had no guidence to adulthood and kingship. Where was Sarabi? Probably dead soon after Simba claimed the throne, because she was old at that point and because we don't see her in the sequel film.

Then comes along Kiara, making Simba a father. This alone turns a guy's life perspective around, not to mention someone's with Simba's story. This was the point when he saw he has to abandon Hakuna Matata. His daughter turns out to be just like he was as a cub and Simba really doesn't like this, as he got himself in life threatning dangers and traumatizing events back then. Thus, he over-protects his child. The rules and advices were typical for any child, but Simba pressed them on too much--he apparently yapped about them to no end and wouldn't even let Kiara jump around the Pride Rock without restraining her. He does this because he was not guided into parenthood but tries to follow in his father's footsteps in this too.

He fails in that completely, because he's still much a scared kid just trying to be an adult. This is seen in the situation wherein Kiara ran away from her babysitters had almost got herself killed and Simba only gave one disapproving stare and then "scolds" her but his tone is too gentle, uncertain and scared. He also failed to listen to what Kiara had to say.

His constant fear of the exiled Outlanders striking isn't helping. Esoecially after Zira tells him "Oh no, SImba. We have barely begun." Being the reason why he never developed from his over-protectiveness and bad parenting but continued being the promise-breaking, over-protective parent for years to come. Somehwere along the way he manages to give Kiara bits of wisdom his father had taught him but because of his insecureness and hatred of Scar and the Outlanders, he fails to live up to that wisdom.

He treats Kovu the way he does for the same reasons. With Nala's help he becomes to see that Kovu deserves a chance, but Zira ruined it by arranging a surprise ambush and pinning it on Kovu. Yes, Simba had just told Kovu that sometimes what's left behind can grow better than the generation before, if given a chance. But just moments later he completely forgets this because his realization hadn't been genuine enough but a bit thrusted upon by Nala and deeper inside he was still tormented by Scar and his own mistrust for someone Zira had announced to be "the Chosen One".

After this ambush and Kovu seemingly responsible for it, Simba's Scar-hatred of course spreads to every cell of his body and past wounds naturally open again--and so he sees that the right thing to do is to exile Kovu. I think he didn't kill him for Kiara's sake, but as we heard he intented to make sure Kiara was supervised at all times.

It took Kovu and Kiara together trying to end the war and Kiara, a beloved daughter to remind him of his own wisdom, for Simba to start realizing he had been wrong to break his pride. However, it seems like the final trigger was--again--Mufasa. As Simba's look softens only when the clouds broke and the sun shined through which may have reminded Simba of Mufasa coming to him all those years ago in the jungle, and at Kiara's ceremony.

Some say Simba was portrayed out-of-character in Simba's Pride. Well, I don't think so. I see his behaviour and attitudes perfectly realistic, understandable and natural.

After all a boy doesn't just grow up into a man with no one to raise him and after all that Scar had put him through and how he revealed the truth to him, it is no wonder Simba held on to his hate for so long and so affectively.

ZIRA:
I assume she was a rogue lioness who gathered some companions from other lionesses and then they ran into Pridelands in their wandering. Zira thought the king Scar was oh-so-fascinating-and-mighty and somehow got herself and her friends into the pride. Zira falls obsessively in love with Scar and fantasizes about becoming his queen instead of Sarabi whom Scar clearly didn't love. But I don't think Scar had much feelings for Zira either. I believe she mothered all her cubs by someone else. Her being the queen was just her dream, her fantasy which was fommited by Scar choosing her cub to become the next king.

She has murderous and cunning tendencies of course and she's power-hungry, likely being some reasons why she liked Scar so much.

She couldn't have known Simba didn't kill Scar because she wasn't present and someone had torn Scar to pieces and of course natural assumption is that it was Simba. By "killing Scar", Simba had robbed Zira off of her obsessive love, Scar... of her chance to become queen... and of her son becoming king. As if this wasn't enough, Simba exiles her, her cubs and the rest of her long time companions, not for any crime but just because they are themselves! She has every right to violently hate Simba.

She spends some two years harboring this hate, suffering in a half-barren area with little water and little food. Why they would stay on such area is insane, but I believe Zira chose so to hold on to her anger and desire to revenge.

All this results in:
"When I think of what that brute did
I get a little tense. But I dream a dream so pretty that I don't feel so depressed. 'Cause it soothes my inner kitty and it helps me get some rest. Now the past I've tried forgetting, and my foes I could forgive... Trouble is I knows it's petty--but I hate to let them live."


This is why I don't believe she'd commited any kind of crime to deserve the exile. She was too bitter about everything and apparently got no pleasure out of anything from the past but only in her dreams about the upcoming revenge. She couldn't have got any revenge before Kovu gave her the idea.

As the years go by she focuses to fullfill Scar's wish and revenge his death by training Scar's Chosen One to kill Simba. She robbed Kovu off his childhood. I don't think she saw him as a child, ever. He was just the Chhosen One, Scar's heir who was first a thing to be protected and watched over and then she had the idea to turn this thing into a weapon. As Kovu grew up into a might, powerful Scar-look-alike and a killer, Zira's obsession grew along with it. She probably planned to rule Pridelands as Kovu's queen, never letting him to be an actual king. Just the title in her family was enough to make her the path to power. She may have loved Kovu in some shallow, twisted way through her love for Scar.

Her love for her children seemed to be there, however faint and little shown--but I believe it was weak enough to drown under her obsession combined to Kovu's betrayal and Nuka's death not so far apart.

At the war scene she was apparently obsessed enough to result in killing her own child if this child chose to turn away from her. Vitani was the last one to leave her. Nuka had died, Kovu had betreayed her and then Vitani...

Her reasons for attacking Kiara were likely complex. She said it's for Scar but perhaps it was also for herself because in her eyes Simba had now taken also all her children from her in one way or another.

Oirginally they intented Zira to commit suicide, and it would've fit her situation perfectly. But of course it would've been too morbid for a cartoon targeted at children as well as adults. Then again the way the film is now, is as good as a suicide--she knew she had to let Kiara help her if she wished to live, but she didn't take her paw.

Zira commited suicide because all her dreams were lost, her family and pride had turned against her, and she had failed to revenge anything. Holy crap, she's tragic even for a psychotic person with no background told.

CHARACTER PSYCHOLOGY SUMMARY:
"Where your treasure is there will your heart be also."