King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Ending, Explained

Auteur director Guy Ritchie gives his stylistic makeover to the age-old folk tale in the 2017 epic fantasy drama ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.’ Set in ancient England, the story begins with a coup of Uther’s empire by his vile brother Vortigern. Uther dies, but his son Arthur must get his grip on the Excalibur and defeat Vortigern to fulfill the prophecy of Merlin. It is not easy as it sounds, and Arthur’s journey is fraught with deadly obstacles. Well, there are no Old English ornaments here, but a star-studded cast ensemble comprising Jude Law, Eric Bana, Charlie Hunnam, and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey makes the quest highly enjoyable. The fight sequences are dynamic, the story is infused with an epic vision, and the animal imagery is worth noticing. However, if you seek to revisit the tense final moments, let us sort you out. SPOILERS AHEAD.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Plot Synopsis

The movie begins with a literal bang. Title cards tell us that there was a time when humans and mages lived side by side, but that time has come to pass. Now, sorcerer Mordred wages war against humans, and he marches towards the last stronghold of king Uther, Camelot, with his arsenal of magical creatures. The war is followed by compromised peacetime until King Vortigern arranges a coup. Uther and his wife die in the hands of Vortigern, while Arthur ends up in a brothel.

Arthur becomes a hustler while obtaining kung fu lessons from George. Arthur grows up, and he runs the operations now, occasionally rubbing shoulders with the police. The resistance is on the rise, and the prophecy entails the return of the born king. Arthur turns in Goosefat Bill when Jack, the policeman, comes around asking about an incident involving a few Vikings. As it happens, Arthur roughed up a few Vikings some days ago in retaliation to them torturing Lucy. But the Vikings are protected by the king, and in turn, Arthur is summoned to try his luck and lift Merlin’s sword.

When he pulls the sword out, his regal lineage is proven, but that does not favor Arthur in any way. On the contrary, Arthur is held captive by the king, who prepares to execute him in a public spectacle. A mage goes to Sir Bedivere, asking for help. With the help of the mage, Arthur makes a daring escape. He has nothing to do with becoming a king, but the mage knows that Arthur is resisting the sword. So, she sends him to the Darklands to make him see the past. Now, he must prove his worth to the sword and take over the kingdom.

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Ending: Can Arthur Master the Excalibur?

As the story goes, Vortigern allied with rogue mage Modred to take over the kingdom of Uther. Modred killed the mage king, and Merlin remolded his staff into the Excalibur. Then, Merlin destroyed the ancient tower. The Lady of the Lake then took possession of the sword, and she bound it to the bloodline of Uther Pendragon. Therefore, only Arthur can lift the sword. Initially, he cannot control the blade and is seemingly overpowered by it. However, after his little tour to the Darklands and some rabble, Arthur finds his way. Arthur’s ragtag team comprises Wet Stick, Percy, Back Lack, and his son, Blue, Rubio the educated one, Sir Bedivere, Goosefat Bill, and the mage. He also gets some help from the palace.

They discard the plan to make alliances with the barons since Arthur’s low-life upbringing is a problem. Arthur and his allies drown the barges that supply stones to the new tower that’s under construction, free some slaves, and burn down parts of Vortigern’s palace with the help of brandy. They are finally able to lure Vortigern out of his lair. As per the news that Maggie gives Arthur, Vortigern would come to Londinium to meet the barons. But Vortigern is clever to anticipate the trap and sends a dummy king in his place.

Goosefat Bill is still a sharpshooter, and Vortigern’s trusted general Mercia receives the arrow meant for the king. Bill’s shot sparks off a war, and the party rushes to George’s training ground. The Blacklegs surround the premise, but Arthur gives them a tough battle (with some theatrics, thanks to the mage). When a Blackleg soldier captures the mage, Arthur unleashes hell with the sword. A storm blurs everyone’s vision but his, and when the storm is lifted, the party sees a heap of bodies lying in the arena. At this moment, the others are convinced that Arthur can yield the Excalibur. But Vortigern remains undefeated.

Is Vortigern Dead or Alive?

To fulfill the prophecy, Vortigern, the unlawful king, has to die. Arthur does not want the responsibility of kingship, and he throws the Excalibur into the sea. However, the Lady of the Lake shows him a vision of the future lest he wins the battle, which is pretty dystopic. The sight of the massacre changes Arthur’s mind, and he is willing to perform the coup. In the tense finale, the king takes Blue and Lucy to his palace while sending Mercia to intimate Arthur and the resistance about the abduction. The mage arranges for a snake bite, following which Arthur sees uncanny spectacles.

Arthur reaches the palace without the sword, and Vortigern is earnest to behead him. The mage attempts to assassinate the king controlling a snake, but Vortigern shows fine reflexes, assailing the snake before it can bite him. Shortly after, Merlin’s snake breaks into the palace and takes out the guards. After some fight, the Blacklegs also surrender. However, Vortigern is not finished yet. He consults Mordred for one last attempt at salvaging the situation, but he has to pay the price of his loved one. Vortigern does not hesitate to stab his daughter and feed her to the dreadful creature in the lake.

The sacrifice gives him some power to pull through the final battle, as he attains the skull armor. Arthur reaches the tower and activates the energy of the sword. The epic stylized final battle is a treat for the eyes, where Arthur initially incurs some injury. He goes senseless, and in the delirium, sees his father, Uther. Uther tells him that there is no need to run anymore. Arthur wakes up and fights with newfound courage, defeating Vortigern and destroying the tower.

What Happens After Vortigern Dies?

Arthur regains his rightful kingdom and ascends the throne while keeping his humor in place. The old Viking warrior comes to the palace, asking for 10,000 men. Vortigern promised them the men, but now, the times have changed, and Arthur denies keeping the promise made by Vortigern. However, he is clever to avoid conflict, and thanks to his iron will, the Vikings bow before the throne of England, seemingly ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity. Arthur makes his fabled round table, while the others in his company are ordained to be Arthur’s legendary assembly of ministers and knights.

Read More: Best Fantasy Movies on Netflix