I already posted this image before; the color version of this image, to be more precise. I have posted both, the color and the monochrome version of another photo before and I have pointed out then that converting a photo to black & white can completely change how it affects the viewer. The same is true for this shot and its color twin. The color version showed the Lion as the king of animals at the height of his power. He was strong and full of energy and nothing could possibly threaten his wise reign. He was a quintessential display of power and dignity.
How completely different is the monochrome version. Here you can see a grey emincence, a mighty king of the past whose reign is, however, over now. Others have taken his place and are lucky to have this portrait of their mentor and idol to remember his greatness and to find inspiration for their own decisions. It's not a strong and powerful king anymore, but an eternal monument.
I don't know if this rumbling makes any sense to you but this is about as close as I can get to express what I feel about these to versions of the photo. Maybe I should just shut up. This is about photography after all, isn't it?
Just tell me, please: Which version do you like better? I bet it's the color version. People more often vote for color photos than for b&w. :-)