‘Arthur The King’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Arthur Dead In Real-Life?


Arthur the King is a heartwarming drama film that is based on a true story revolving around the beautiful relationship that developed between an adventure runner, Mikael Lindnord, and a stray dog in Ecuador. The location is changed to the Dominican Republic in the film, and a few other changes are made for dramatic purposes, but the crux of the story remains pretty much the same. 

Michael Light’s reputation suffered a blow after he made the wrong decision to kayak against the tide in 2014. This teammate, Leo, shamed him on the internet after he chose to prioritize winning over the wellbeing of his team, who were extremely fatigued. The post reached Leo’s thousands of followers, and it instantly went viral. Michael chose to take a break from competition after the embarrassment he had to face. But he soon figured out that he was not meant to live an ordinary life, selling houses for a living. He was a racer, and he could not imagine spending the rest of his life not doing what he loved. His wife, Helen, was initially hesitant, but she ultimately supported him emotionally and financially to fulfill his dream.

Spoiler Alert

How did the stray dog become a part of Michael’s team?

Michael managed to convince Olivia and Chik to come on board with him to participate at the Adventure Race World Championship in the Dominican Republic, and his sponsors encouraged him to also bring Leo to the team because of his large fan base. Even though it was not what Michael had in mind, he agreed to it. It was during the five-day race that Michael came across a stray dog at the transition area. Unlike most dogs who would have jumped at the chance of getting a meatball, this one was rather reserved and only had the food when Michael went up close to him and sweetly offered him the treat. Michael was surprised when he met the stray once again during the night hiking challenge. He thought it was almost impossible for a dog to have traveled the distance that they had covered, and he joked about him having wings.

The stray followed Michael and his team and ended up saving Leo’s life when he was about to walk off a cliff by mistake. They realized that the dog was a blessing, and they did not mind having him follow them. Michael, in particular, started to grow attached to him. He could almost relate to the stray dog’s resilient spirit—even though he was injured, he did not give up, and what surprised Michael all the more was that he never begged for food. He was clearly hungry, but he always waited for his turn and never made any demands. Michael thought there was a majestic quality to him, and that was why he named him ‘Arthur, the King’.

Did Team Broadrail win the tournament?

Arthur followed Team Broadrail even through the most difficult terrain. He was simply happy to be among humans who cared for and loved him. Even Leo, who initially considered the dog a distraction, appreciated him for saving his life. Arthur brought out the sweet side of Michael, and social media was absolutely in love with what they saw. Arthur and Michael’s relationship became the talk of the adventure tournament. There was also a significant change in the kind of person Michael used to be three years ago and the man he had become. He was a lot more considerate about his team, and he cared about their health over winning the race. It was because of Michael’s brilliant leadership and the understanding between the members of his team that Team Broadrail headed the race until the very end.

The last challenge involved kayaking, and the authorities decided it was not safe for them to take Arthur along in the tiny boat that could only fit two people. Michael was heartbroken when he had to leave behind Arthur at the shore, but the race was their priority, and he could not disappoint his team now that they were so close to winning. Arthur begged his new friends to take him along, but they did not turn around for him. So he decided to follow them, even if it meant endangering his life. Michael was surprised when he noticed Arthur walk into the water. He tried to swim, but he struggled to stay afloat. Michael knew that if he turned around, his team would lose the race, but he could not watch Arthur die. His team agreed that they must save Arthur because he was a team member by now. Michael saved Arthur, and they were the second team to make it to the finish line. Even though Team Broadrail had not won, they experienced a sense of fulfillment by the end of the race. They had been through a lot as a team, and their relationship had significantly improved during the race. Moreover, they found a new friend on the way; what more could they have asked for! 

Did Arthur make it to Colorado?

Arthur collapsed soon after making it to the finish line. After taking him to the vet, Michael found out that his infection was almost incurable, and the vet suggested that it was best if he chose to euthanize Arthur. Michael struggled to make the decision. He wanted what was best for Arthur, but at the same time, the thought of giving up on him was difficult for him to accept. Michael ultimately decided to ask Arthur what he wanted. And even though the dog did not understand what he said, Michael assumed that, as resilient as Arthur was, he would have never wanted Michael to ever give up on him. Michael decided to fly Arthur to his home in Colorado, even if it involved a lot of paperwork at the airport.

The next morning, when Michael reached the airport, he was surprised by the number of people who turned up to show their support. The social media loved Michael and Arthur’s story, and everyone was ready to support Michael in any way they could. They waited patiently outside while Michael got the paperwork done. And when the officer approved for Arthur to fly to Colorado, the crowd cheered in joy. The win felt quite personal for the animal lovers. Michael was hesitant to put Arthur in a cage, but he had no choice. By the time they reached Colorado, Arthur’s health had degraded quite significantly. Arthur was immediately hospitalized, and his condition was critical.

Arthur the King ends on a happy note as we watch a healthy Arthur running with Michael sixteen months after he was operated on. Michael made a bold choice, but it paid off—Arthur survived. Arthur adjusted well with Michael’s newborn, his daughter, and Helen. Who would have known that when Michael flew to the Dominican Republic, he would end up bringing home a companion whom he would cherish for life?

What Is Arthur’s True Story?

The film is based on real-life Swedish adventure runner, Mikael Lindnord, and the stray dog he came across in Ecuador. In 2016, Mikael published a book where he discussed how life-altering the 2014 Adventure Racing World Championship was for him. As shown in the film, Mikael stumbled upon Arthur during the race, and to his surprise, the dog followed him and his team throughout the competition. Even through the harsh terrains of the Amazon rainforest, Arthur did not give up, demonstrating his loyalty and willpower to keep up with the good humans he fell in love with in an instant. Arthur did not hesitate to swim beside them in the kayaking challenge, and by the end of the race, Mikael had made up his mind to bring Arthur home to Sweden. People showed support when he started an online Twitter campaign, and that was how Mikael raised enough funds to bring him home.

After successfully bringing Arthur to his home country, Sweden, the duo spent six years together before Arthur passed away in 2020. He lived a happy and peaceful life with Mikael and his family. Mikael continues to advocate for animal rights, and Arthur the King resonates with the message that a stray dog can also be a loyal companion, and they must be protected at all costs. In the film, it is suggested that Arthur was abused, which resulted in his infected wound. He might have gone through incredibly challenging times, yet he did not doubt Michael and his team members and protected them throughout the race. Stray as well as shelter dogs deserve a chance at living a good life, which is why it is more important to adopt than to shop.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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