Kublia, the Lion King fan

Photos | Kublia's furry side

Hello, I am telling you about how I became a Lion King fan, what I see in the fandom, and what I feel for it. It is long, but please take the time to read it. You may find yourself in it.

It was an afternoon in December 1994 when I watched a Disney special on TV. I've always liked Disney's cartoons, but I never got to see many of Disney's films. There it was. The opening scene of a brandnew Disney Film, "Der König der Löwen", that's the German title of the film. I saw the immense and wonderfully drawn scenery, and could not believe that I was fighting tears. From then on I only knew I had to see the film. But still, as contradictionary destiny can be, I never got to see the film at the movies. I had that show taped, so I watched the scene a couple of times, until my next encounter with TLK came. It was on Feb. 23rd 1995, I was working on my brandnew VCR, when there was Elton John's Circle of Life video aired on MTV. I taped this one as well and had those same creepy and emotional four minutes as before in December!

A few months later, in Summer 1995, The Lion King was back in theatres here, which is VERY extraordinary for a film. But again I did not go to see it. Back then I was a very taken back and shy not-so-young anymore man, from all thetroubles that my family had. Again a few months later, in october 1995, the Lion King video came out. I was in the stores the vry first day when it was released. Cerks were carrying piles of TLK videos to the shelves, and I was waiting in line to pay my copy. Together with ten people, each one of them holding one or more TLK videos in their hands.

Later that evening I watched the whole film, with my mother. It is hard to put into words what was going on with me when in the end Simba was ascending to the tip of the promontory of Pride Rock.Happyness for this lion that I understood so well in his suffering, worrying and his love for Nala. I was shaken inside by what I saw, what I heard, at the same time happy as well, and all I knew was that this cannot be all-it had to go on! I wanted to see the film again, again and again.

My first piece of merchandise was the German TLK CD, followed by a baby Simba plushie that I bought in November 1995. "Could you wrap it please? It is a gift for my sister." I said to the woman in the toy store. Silly, isn't it? I never said that again thereafter, at every single of my twenty-five plushies that I own now.

It must have been these days when my love for TLK extended into interest, then love for cats and big cats in general. I began to watch everything related to big and small cats.

Time passed, I bought a few pieces of merchandise, like another baby Simba, the English soundtrack, until I saw a TLK picture in a computer magazine with a URL beneath. I had never been using the internet, but once again destiny kicked in high gear. It was August 1996. There was an AOL CD included in the magazine. I installed the software ONLY TO GET ME THIS ONE PICTURE. The URL was outdated, and it took me two weeks to realize that AOL is not the Internet. My hour as TLK fan had come when I used Yahoo first and found Brian Tiemann's website. There I was, without knowing what lay ahead of me. My first contacts through email were Brian Tiemann, Ryan McGinnis and Dave Morris. The latter should become a very dear friend of mine very soon.

Let me tell you at this moment, with my first contacts to natively English speaking people on the net, I was taking a rather big step. I took the courage to use my for 10 years unused school-English and approached people. I did not know if I would be laughed upon for my grammar or vocabulary, but...I wasn't. Believe me, this can be an incredible courage push. Also there weren't any other German speaking fans around that I knew, so I was rather alone with only English speaking people.

Back to Dave Morris. He and John Burkitt had merely finished the second part of the Chronicles of the Pridelands, when I began to read TLK fanfiction.The Chronicles, The Tales of Tanabi, all the classics. I was absolutely amazed. Besides there was a story buried in me that had to be told.

Just before coming online for the first time there was a documentary on TV that grabbed my heart just as TLK did. Maybe in a different way, but no less lasting. It was about a lioness that has been found, abandoned by it's mother, Shingalana. I was depressed for a week when Shingi died in the last part,being a merely 27 month old overgrown and cuddly, tame kitten. I told Dave Morris about her, and knowing how much I cared, he began to write a story about her. Not much later I simply tried to write a chapter for the story, to Dave's surprise. Over the next weeks we grew to write together. By Christmas 1996 I was a member of "The Gentle Kingdom", John's and Dave's author's...hm, conference, to put it like that. all people who wanted to write, with a lot of enthusiasm, and love for TLK and cats.
Over the next eighteen months two stories were written, with me as 'director' and Dave Morris and John Burkitt as co-authors. Part one is named Homecoming, and part two The Long Path. They both describe what could have happened if Shingi had not died, in the world of TLK with relations to the Chronicles of the Pridelands. Now, antoher 18 months later, the third part is in our heads, after a cruel deep blow of destiny.

That's me. Kublia, with my cat Shanni. This cute little, six years old female I got from an animal's shelter. The only tiger that I can afford! As for the furry characters of mine, Kublia and Amurtigress, you can find them here.

I joined the TLK-L mailinglist in January 1997, and found there were two other German fans on it, actively participating. I was welcomed, and I felt at home in the TLK fandom ever since I met Dave, and in the future I began to welcome others, especially German fans. I saw, and still see it as my task to introduce new German fans to the international and German speaking fan community. I approached them as I found them, or as they found me, helped them to get in touch with the others, showed them how to join our now existing German mailinglist and IRC chat channel #tlk-d on Yiffnet. Drop in, fellow TLK fan if you want to be together with other TLK fans.
Today we are about FOURTY people on the German mailinglist and chat channel, and those who were once introduced do the same as I did. Seeking for fans,  getting us all together for fun, comforting each other, and friendship. Or even to give them a family and a place where they can feel at home.

Photo: Meeting in Mannheim/Speyer, Germany, April 15/16th, 2000. Click on the photo for a larger version.
Back row: Rakeesh, Kublia, Catzee, Leopatra, Kopa, Siran, Batian, Obsydian, Kovu
Front row: Ihlosi, Kah, Zyx
Picture taken by Ihlosi

I am happy that what I see in the fandom, it's spirit as I see it, is being spread here in Germany and all German speaking neighboring countries, and partially maybe Europe, by others now!

Another big change for me was managing the first TLK meeting in August 1997. People form the Netherlands, Sweden, Latvia and Germany met at my place, a dozen people. What an experience...I did not use my spoken english before. Only here and there, but not seriously. I was realy happy meeting all those people. Since then meetings have become more and more frequent, the German speaking fans are a quite close community. TLK fans here meet roughly every two months at various places, visit zoos, and have a lot of fun together. But the for sure greatest experience was seeing the Lion King musical in London, together with nineteen other fans mostly from Great Britain and Germany, on Sep. 30th, 1999.

Another aspect of my love for cats is that I am trying to help John Burkitt with his in 1999 founded organisation "Cougar Hill", dedicated to support big cat sanctuaries. Those sanctuaries only too ofthen have to be a home for big cats that were literally DUMPED by circuses, were shown as beasts at times, or were simply given away by zoos because they were handicapped and not the average demonstration cats they needed. Another sad aspect of that are big cats that are being bought by people who wanted a cuddly little cub, not expecting them to grow to a size of up to 2-3 meters/7-10 feet  in the case of lions or tigers. My humble share in helping John is either finding sanctuaries that might need financial support or designing Internet sites for sanctuaries to get attention for them!

This is my story...and yours? I can only say I am a different person now. Irreversibly changed in heart and soul, through TLK. All the friends that I got through TLK are a family to me, a home, and a lot more.

Page Design Copyright 04/22/2000 by Kublia