As incredible as Mufasa is at being king, we think he’s even better at being a dad. Here are eight times in The Lion King that Mufasa blew us away with his outstanding parenting:
1. Mufasa wakes up at the crack of dawn to hang out with his son.
We know how much we’ve come to value sleep as we’ve gotten older, and we don’t even have a kingdom to run. Mufasa, on the other hand, does, and he still responds to his excited little alarm clock of a son with, “Okay, okay. I’m up, I’m up.”
2. Mufasa patiently and lovingly explains how the world works to Simba.
In one brief walk, Mufasa gently conveys to Simba both the magnitude of his future responsibilities and the importance of humility: “When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the antelope eat the grass. So we are all connected in the great circle of life.”
3. Mufasa gives Simba a pouncing lesson.
The joy Mufasa derives from goofing around with his son warms our hearts. He’s not only giving Simba space to play around and be a cub, but also getting down in the grass and playing with him.
4. Mufasa saves Simba and Nala from the hyenas.
Human or lion, this face is universal—Mufasa has entered total protective dad-mode.
5. Mufasa delivers discipline thoughtfully and honestly.
Mufasa is rightfully angry with Simba for going to the elephant graveyard, but he doesn’t act on that anger. Instead, he expertly delivers the secret weapon of dads everywhere by emphasizing that he’s disappointed. He explains exactly why Simba was wrong in a way that Simba can understand, and then he follows it up by confessing that he was scared he might lose Simba. The whole speech is masterfully straightforward and emotional.
6. Mufasa makes sure Simba knows he’s still loved even though he made a mistake.
When Simba, still a little ashamed, slyly suggests that the hyenas were even “scareder” than Mufasa, Mufasa transitions seamlessly from stern dad to goofy dad in a way that makes us teary every time: “Cus nobody messes with your dad. Come here, you.”
7. Mufasa teaches Simba about the great kings of the past.
Mufasa makes his son a beautiful, eloquent, reassuring promise: “Whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I.”
8. When Simba loses his way, Mufasa is there to help him find it, just like he promised.
Mufasa delivers the honest wake-up call that Simba needs when he tells his son, “You are more than what you have become.” In one moment, Mufasa fulfills every promise he’s made as a father by guiding Simba back to the light: “Remember who you are. You are my son. The one true king. Remember who you are.”