The Lion King – The hero’s journey breakdown.

Ordinary world

Simba is the son of Mufasa, the King of the jungle. All the animals serve under Mufasa’s just rule.

Call to Adventure

Simba is born to be King but Mufasa’s brother, Scar, plots to kill them both and take the throne for himself

Refusal of the call

Scar easily tricks Simba into going to the Elephant grave yard because Simba has no comprehension that Scar would try and kill him. He’s completely unaware of the call which is why he doesn’t take action against it.

Belly of the whale

Simba enters the Elephant grave yard and is nearly killed.

Supernatural Aid

Simba’s mentor is his father Mufasa. He leads by example and teaches Simba how to be a good King by being just one. Later Rafiki the baboon also serves as guide to encourage Simba to take action.

Death of the mentor

Mufasa is killed in a stampede of wildebeest.

Crossing the First Threshold

Simba runs away believing he killed his father.

The Road of the trials

Simba meets up with Timon and Pumba  and learns their carefree lifestyle. But meanwhile back on the Pride lands, Scar’s rule has destroyed it.

Meeting with the Goddess

Nala returns to his life, these childhood friends have grown up and become lovers. She begs him to return home because of what has happened to their homeland since Scar took the throne.

Woman as Temptress

Hakuna Matata – No worries, why be King, which carries with it the burden of responsibility when you can just relax and have fun.

Atonement with the Father

Simba understands the concept of the circle of life and there’s more to being King than getting your way all the time. He learns that he has an obligation to the greater good of serving your community.


Rafiki shows Simba that Mufasa is alive and shows him his reflection in the pond. Mufasa speaks to him and tells him he must reclaim the throne.

Ultimate Boon

Simba has the courage to return to his homeland and take up the thrown which is rightfully his.

The Magic flight

Returning to fight Scar

The crossing of the return Threshold

When Sarabi compares Scar to Mufasa he strikes her. Simba steps forward to defend her.  Simba accepts responsibility for his father’s death in front of his pride even though it was an accident.

Rescue from without

Closest thing to a rescue from without is the rain falling to put the fire out that threatens them.

Master of two worlds

He has defeated Scar, shed the guilt which didn’t belong to him and will rule the Pride lands as King.

Freedom to live

Life has returned to Pride rock, he is King and Nala his Queen. The circle of life continues with their cub.


I’ve included a link here for another interpretation of the Hero’s journey in The Lion King. The main differences between my breakdown and the one on the link stems from two key decisions. Firstly that the Call to adventure in the link is attributed to Nala telling Simba that he must return to Pride rock because Scar’s rule has destroyed it. (which is far too late in the film to be considered the Call to adventure) and secondly the Ultimate Boon is interpreted as Simba taking back the rule. I also consider this a misinterpretation as the Ultimate Boon is the moment where the hero is prepared to take on the challenge of the third act rather than the common misinterpretation that the Ultimate Boon is the climax, it’s not.

3 Replies to “The Lion King – The hero’s journey breakdown.”

  1. The hero’s archetype is 1.The call to adventure, 2. Refusal of the cal, 3. The Beginning of the adventure, 4.The Road f Trials, 5. The experience of unconditional love, 6.The ultimate boom, 7.Refusal of the Return, 8.The magic flight , and 9. Rescue from without

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