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The Circle of Life: Immortalizing The Lion King

The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, fandom tattoos

Reboots and fresh takes on old stories are rapidly taking over the box office. Earlier this year, Detective Pikachu provided a unique reimagining of the Pokémon universe, and a revitalized Aladdin, equipped with a genie brought to life by Will Smith, attracted longtime Disney lovers and first-time viewers. This weekend, yet another reboot to a familiar series will hit movie screens. The Lion King boasts an immensely star-studded cast voicing the beloved animal characters. Like Detective Pikachu and Aladdin, this new addition to the long-running Lion King series is primarily live action with computer-generated animation. The addition of these live action versions to the established ouvre of Pokémon and Disney movies plays on the nostalgia associated with these longtime loves. Many potential ticket-buyers grew up watching these stories. Children who watched the originals in theatres with their parents may now be parents themselves, so they can now hopefully pass on their own love for these films to their children. Although the computer-generated graphics in these new films fulfill our wishes for a Simba so realistic we wish to cuddle the furry cub, these tattoos immortalize the familiar hand drawn animation style that began the craze. 


The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, fandom tattoos, Janet Thatcher tattoo

Painted inside the home of the Pride Lands’ sage, Rafiki, is an image celebrating Simba’s birth. Rafiki acts as a mentor to all who live in the Pride Lands, and he stands loyally at Mufasa’s side. Still filled with gratitude many years after Mufasa’s father and Simba’s grandfather, Ahadi, saved his life, Rafiki serves as a protector, mentor, and eccentric friend to all who live in the Pride Lands. His painting of Simba reflects the health of the Pride Lands throughout the film. This tattoo immortalizes the original painting Rafiki creates, before it deteriorates during Scar’s reign, and before Rafiki ultimately revitalizes it with a flowing mane when he finally realizes Simba is alive. The painting and tattoo of Simba symbolizes hope and recovery.


The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, fandom tattoos, Mark Stewart tattoo

Rafiki protects the Pride Lands because the Pride Lands have always protected him. When he found himself targeted by the hyenas, Ahadi saved his life, and after many years of travel he decided to make the Pride Lands his permanent home. Rafiki boasts a deep connection to the natural world, and that is how he heals and teaches those around him. He even heals those who threaten to harm others, like Scar. It is this nobility that makes Rafiki such a lovable character and an enduring symbol of love and humility. His staff not only represents his powers of healing and educating, but also manifests his connection to the spirits of the Pride Lands. Most notably, the staff serves as a connection between him and Mufasa, allowing Rafiki to pass along Mufasa’s teachings to Simba.


The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, fandom tattoos, Bethany Whitehead tattoo

Following the death of his revered father, Mufasa, and Scar’s takeover of the Pride Lands, Simba narrowly escapes the hyenas. After he makes his escape, he falls unconscious and Timon and Pumba, a noisy meerkat and warthog pair, take him into their care. Simba begins a new life with these two, carrying on with their hakuna matata way of life. The lifestyle is named for the Swahili phrase meaning no worries. Together, Timon, Pumba, and Simba become an adopted family; this tattoo depicts the love they share for each other and the lifestyle that inspires them. 


The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, fandom tattoos, Noemi tattoo

Timon and Pumba not only love and accept Simba into their life, but also teach him how to live carefree and in the moment. They also act as an adopted family following his escape from the Pride Lands and the death of his father. They come into his life at a time of despair, bringing light to Simba in a dark time. Together they help Simba along his journey back to the Pride Lands, and this tattoo memorializes them as a smiling and caring duo. 


The Lion King tattoos, Disney tattoos, Harley Fleming tattoo

Watching over the Pride Lands from above, Mufasa’s spirit endures in Rafiki’s teachings and Simba’s destiny. Mufasa is revered for his deep love for the Pride Lands, its inhabitants, and his willingness to sacrifice himself for others. His legacy ultimately inspires Simba to return to the Pride Lands and save them from Scar’s destructive rule. Colorful and whimsical, this tattoo depicts Mufasa’s spirit as the protector that he always proved himself to be.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.