Zamfir wrote:When Scar dies at the end, the rain starts falling immediately. I think we can safely take the drought (and the fire, and the sunless sky, etc) as metaphors for the misery caused by Scar's misrule. That ties to old traditions where the king is held responsible for the harvest (and presidents for the GDP)
In the beginning, Mufasa explains the circle of life in the context of his responsibilities as king. It's followed by 2 examples of what he does as ruler. First Zazu reports to him about political conflict among the animals (in a parody of human politics), and then Mufasa goes to chase away hyenas.
The movie makes very clear that Scar has passed on that responsibility about hyena fighting. The less explicit suggestion is that Mufasa was also good at managing the political conflicts among his subjects, and that Scar has also failed in that regard. Leading to the misery that's shown to us as a hellish, burning landscape.
Simba returns to the responsible style of kinging, shown as literal rain to quench thirst and extinguish the fires.
Specifically, the circle of life is the status quo, and the maintenance of that status quo is the king's primary job. The king is to hunt prey and police the hyenas. As Mufasa explicitly states, lions furthermore contribute to the circle of life by living long, natural lives, then dying of old age. Scar violates this by violently killing Mufasa (lions are not meant to die violently; this is a death reserved for their prey. Scar has reduced Mufasa to prey, and therefore broken the circle of life), then cooperating with the hyenas and allowing their status to be uplifted rather than forcing them to stay in their role.The Lion King
(and, by consequence, the circle of life) is ultimately about conservatism and the maintenance of the status quo. Everything is wonderful about Pride Rock up until
Scar's ambition disrupts that status quo, and further damages it by permitting hyenas to occupy Pride Rock. Permitting hyenas to occupy Pride Rock is such a toxic decision that nature itself
rejects it. When Rafiki (our moral authority in the narrative) sees the hyenas occupying Pride Rock, he shakes his head in disappointment. You can almost imagine him saying: "There goes the neighborhood" -- then packing his things and moving out.
Also notice (as has already been pointed out) that Scar is the effete, physically weak, mentally superior 'elitist' who wants to consolidate the power of the poor and marginalized to use against the righteous leadership of Pride Rock. Ultimately, these marginalized groups literally devour him
the moment they realize he's just using them. He is a caricature of leftist collectivism; the weak intellectual elitist who empowers the marginalized only for the sake of satiating his ego -- to increase his own power and prestige. Hyenas don't need to be empowered. They need to be policed
Simba and Mufasa are the strong, conservative leaders who understand this. The circle of life must be maintained, the chain of power unbroken, and the hyenas kept in their place. By breaking the chain and encouraging hyenas to rise from their station, Scar rejected his own duties as a lion in regards to protecting the circle of life. He rejected the status quo. Thus, he gave up the protections that status quo afforded him: he became prey, fit for consumption. As it is not fitting for Simba's new rule to be stained with the act of killing another king (even an unjust, false one), he ultimately leaves this task to the hyenas -- who (unconsciously or not) now understand their place. It is down below, consuming whatever scraps the lions deign to throw at them (in this case, the scrap is literally Scar).
The rain at the end is nature validating Simba as the new maintainer of the circle of life. It's akin to the rainbow in the Bible: A promise from God that so long as you maintain the circle of life, nature will be on your side. Do not kill your kings. Do not stray from your lane. Do not
disrupt the status quo. Simba has learned these lessons, and thus receives God's blessing.
Rain falls. Music plays. A new king is born, and thus -- the circle is restored.
Simba has Made Pride Rock Great Again.