|Also known as||
Mom (by Simba)
Queen of Pride Rock
During Mufasa's reign, Sarabi served as a dutiful queen, leading the hunting party and caring for her son, Simba. However, she lost Mufasa and allegedly Simba to a stampede and was forced to serve Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, who ruined the Pride Lands by allowing his hyena minions to over-hunt the herds. Sarabi condemned Scar's actions and helped overthrow him by allying with Simba, who returned as an adult to reclaim his birthright.
Sarabi was presumably betrothed to Mufasa, the heir to Pride Rock, as per the law of the Pride Lands monarchy. As a result of this, she became the queen consort of the Pride Lands, and led the hunting party. She would later betroth her son to Nala, the daughter of Sarafina.
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 wildebeest stampede, Sarabi is devastated over the deaths of her mate and son, and is seen being comforted by Zazu when the news is broken. She later watches in horror as Scar allows the hyenas to invade the Pride Lands as a part of his executive staff, thus officially ending her and Mufasa's reign. Under Scar's reign, the Pride Lands become impoverished, and many of the herds leave.
Battle of Pride Rock
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, now a young adult, who had been watching closely from a high rock, jumps down to defend his mother. She, along with Scar, mistakes him for Mufasa, but soon realizes that it is her long-lost son. Confused, she asks how this is possible. Simba replies that it does not 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.
Years later, when Scar's spirit returns to the Pride Lands for revenge, Sarabi's grandson Kion and his Lion Guard pass through their lair to see cave paintings of the Pride Lands' past. Rafiki's apprentice Makini intervenes and begins to show her friends the paintings of the Pride Lands' history, including a painting of Mufasa and Sarabi when Simba was presented to the kingdom.
Personality and traits
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.
- The Lion King (1994) - (film) - Madge Sinclair
- The Lion King (1997) - (musical) - Gina Breedlove (original actress)
Sarabi originally had yellow-orange fur, matching her deleted sister Naanda. The fur on her chest was lighter than the rest of her 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 chest were white.
- Sarabi's name means "mirage, optical illusion" in Swahili.
- Simba's Pride co-screenwriter Flip Kobler noted that Sarabi was excluded from the film because "there was no place for her in the movie. There was nothing she could do as a character that Nala wasn't already doing."
- In a puzzle, Sarabi has an unnamed sister and a nephew named Mtoto.
- A since-suspended Disney website stated that Sarabi was banished alongside the Outsiders. However, this was not shown in the film.
- The character of Sarabi was inspired by Queen Gertrude from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet". However, there are some major differences between the characters. Gertrude dies near the end of the story from poison and, by her own will, remarries King Claudius after her first husband's death. Meanwhile, Sarabi survives the whole film and stays loyal to Mufasa even after his death.
- A lioness who strongly resembles Sarabi appears as a member of Simba's pride in "The Ukumbusho Tradition".
- 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.
- In King of the Kalahari, a character named Queen Sheena appears. She is most likely an early version of Sarabi.