Mythos of the Keyblade: Present, Past and Future

By Quatre Winner

When the Keyblade was first introduced, its origins were a mystery. Sora received the Keyblade after a prophetic dream whose origin may or may not be the Keyblade itself. It was treated as an important object by the characters around him who knew of its existence. Leon, Donald, and Goofy were all looking for the mysterious “key”, while King Triton decried it as an object of destruction. However, in all that time it was treated as a singular entity – one Key, one character, and Sora was the one to wield it against the Darkness. This gave the Keyblade a mythical feel. No one was scared of Sora himself, but of the weapon he wielded. It was implied that a person had to be a very special sort in order to use it, and that the Keyblade could in fact choose again if it felt that its owner was sub-par. Remember the scene in Hollow Bastion when Riku claimed the Keyblade for himself? In the final cutscene at the end of the game, when Mickey was revealed to have a Keyblade, it was treated as a special occurrence. In short, Keyblades were rare and precious and powerful.

With the arrival of KH2, suddenly everybody and their grandmother had their very own Keyblade. The thrill was gone.

Then Kingdom Hearts II arrived. A mysterious kid suddenly had a Keyblade, and then two Keyblades. Riku had a Keyblade, and then pulled out one for Kairi as well. In the space of one game, Keyblades are suddenly becoming more common and losing their original mystic nature. The Keyblade itself is only treated as a tool, not a powerful MacGuffin. It certainly still has all of the powers that it held in the first game, the main purposes are to defeat Heartless and opening the paths between worlds–all of that is not lessened. However, how the Keyblade is treated has changed. Is it because the characters have grown in their power and no longer seen the Keyblade the same way? The fact is that the Keyblade is now treated as something that can be given away and traded, not as a rare weapon whose power was to be treated with reverence. However, this game also added a new dimension to the Keyblade – it didn’t have to start out looking just like a giant key. With Riku’s Way to Dawn and Kairi’s Destiny’s Embrace, the Keyblade gained a bit of variety only seen otherwise with the Keychains Sora collected on his journey.

The next major game to change the Keyblade was Birth By Sleep. As a prequel, it establishes that the Keyblade originally started out as a weapon to be handed down from Master to Apprentice. In ancient times, there were whole armies of Keyblade wielders who went to war for Kingdom Hearts and shaped the world of the first two games. In this game’s timeline, there are only three known Masters – Eraqus, Xehanort, and Yen Sid, as well as five known Apprentices – Terra, Ven, Aqua, Vanitas, and Mickey. It’s implied that these are the only Keyblade users in all of the worlds. All of their Keyblades are different in appearance, matching their personalities strongly. This shows how the Keyblade is supposed to be. Rather than being rare and mysterious, as it is when Sora gets his later on, it’s instead supposed to be common. Anyone could be chosen to wield a Keyblade, provided their heart was strong enough, and it wasn’t the Keyblade’s choice entirely. This also strips a level of character from the Keyblade, however. It makes the Keyblade less of a character and more of a tool.

The Keyblade is still powerful, but is it mystical at this point? Or is it just a weapon now?

Has the Keyblade undergone a decline? That’s a matter of opinion. In some ways its character has expanded from what it was–no longer is Sora the only one tasked with saving the worlds. If he wanted to, he could pass his Keyblade on and go back to a quiet life on the Islands. However, looking at it chronologically, it could be said that the Keyblade’s history and mythos had been on a decline and is starting to come back. Going from hundreds of wielders in the distant past, to eight to ten years prior to Kingdom Hearts 2 or to only Sora and Mickey in Kingdom Hearts I, is quite the fall for a mystical weapon. The fact that more characters are starting to wield Keyblades is a sign that the Keyblade itself is regaining what it had lost before. It’s hinted and teased that Aqua, Terra, and Ventus are going to come back, and from there even more Keyblade Wielders and Masters can arise. Sora’s role in the series may even shrink since he’s not the only one using the Keyblade anymore.

If the Keyblade truly was supposed to be used by everyone, then there’s only one logical step for the series to take. A Kingdom Hearts MMO would be the true pinnacle of what the Keyblade is supposed to be – thousands of characters running around and using the Keyblade to protect the worlds.

Our question to you is: how do you personally feel about the history and mythos of the keyblade, given your game-to-game impressions? Then, following Quatre Winner’s bold two cents on a KH MMO, how would you like create your own character and take part in a keyblade war of the future?

Quatre Winner is the author of one of the top read guest blogs of the year. Read her other work, A Case of a Sleeping Heart, that talks about how Ven’s heart exerts its influence within Sora.

47 Responses to “Mythos of the Keyblade: Present, Past and Future”

  1. Kode_b Says:

    When I played KH1 I was feeling UBERAWESOME and on top of the world, thill I saw Riku’s Keyblade and looked at mine and was like “why the fuck is his cooler than mine?”(yes, even Oblivion)… Still I don’t mind that as the games progressed, so did the history of a keyblade. 

    You could think of it as the embodiment of one’s heart and strength. Thus since everyone has a heart, I Wouldn’t mind that everyone has one. Just make shure that the ones for the main char are as awesome as the ones from the NPC.

    As for me, mine would probably either look like a drawingpen mixed with wings and stars (I’ll draw it out somethime ;-) )

  2. Kevinwebber16 Says:

    I think that would be really cool but at the same time i wouldnt want to cause i want the story to continue then after the story is over hell yeah add a mmo to kingdom hearts

  3. Megamasterblade Says:

    noooooo not an mmo. kh would never be the same. keep it like this a straight storyline and no mmo

  4. Hor'Yu Says:

    Okay, first: The Keyblade never was a MacGuffin. A MacGuffin, simply put, is nothing. Just an object which is used by authors to get the story into motion but without a deeper meaning. For example, The Ark of Covenant from Indiana Jones is a typical MacGuffin. The hole movie is about the *hunt* for the ark, but for us the ark itself had no deeper purpose. The Keyblade always had an important role in KH and since KH1 it had something of a Swiss Army knife. It brought the main characters together, it locked worlds, opened chests, defeated heartless, closed the Kingdom Hearts. It’s rather the direct opposite of a Macguffin.
    (I’d say, it’s rather the Kingdom Hearts itself, which is definitely a Macguffin in the series. Even the second biggest MacGuffin I’ve ever seen, next to the Ring from Lord of The Rings.)
     
    Second: I never felt a change in how the Keyblade is treated. Sora’s Keyblade is and always was something unique. It is the Keyblade of the Realm of Light. It had especially chosen Sora as its wielder and there’ll never be a second one.
     
    Third: As Terra said in BBs about the Keyblades: “They are picky about their owners.” Sora ccouldn’t just give the Keyblade to someone else. Therefore, a level of mastery is needed, a special ceremony, and most important, the Keyblade must accept the pupil. Besides, I’m not sure if the pupil really inherits the Keyblade later, as Riku definitely never gained Terra’s Earthshaker.
     
    And last but not least: Since when is every Keyblade-wielder chosen to “save the worlds”? I’ve read in one of the Xehanort-Reports, that most Keyblade-wielders either just travel around the worlds (like Master Xehanort), protect their homeworld (like Mickey, I guess) or train pupils (like Master Eraqus). But thus far, Sora was the only one who was chosen for a certain destiny, as far as we know. (Perhaps, except for Mickey.)

  5. Kevin_Keyblade Says:

    Will be great if KH will be to future ages a MMORPG :D

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with you on this. And not all keyblade wielders are good, Xehanort and Vevitis, so they could be used as wepons of good and peace as well as evil and destruction.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Sweet!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    So, if a Keyblade reflects one’s heart, ya gatta wonder what your own would look like in real life.

  9. Bloom4815 Says:

    Umm… not to start this comment on a bad note, but I really don’t think the Keyblade was meant to be used by everyone. And I don’t think you think that, either. It was meant to be used by those worthy to safeguard the Light.

    Anyway, here’s my feelings on it all. Originally, I think Sora (for the most part) was supposed to be the only wielder. But for the sake of the story, that had to change. Here’s what I think is canon now. Sora is still special (not just because no one performed the Rite of Succession on him). Sora’s still the chosen one. I believe Kingdom Key and Kingdom Key D are the Keyblades from legend. And Sora, at least, is ther hero the legend spoke of. Or one of them. Personally, I believe Kingdom Key may have special properties and abilities because of this that no one else has. In that, the Kingdom Key is much like the Elder Wand in Harry Potter. It’s the most powerful Keyblade in the world, and the other Keyblades are just like how lesser wands chose people, but they didn’t compare to the Elder Wand. So as you can see, Sora’s role is still quite pivotal.

    Now do I think the Keyblades are still mystic? Yes. In some ways, I think the more added to them makes them better. After all, they now have other abilities we never would have guessed before; and each master can bring something different to the table with their Keys. For instance, we now know people of Darkness can have them.

    And I really don’t think you can say everyone has a Keyblade. The people that do have them make sense, and even then it’s mostly people’s connection to Sora that gives them Keyblades (like Roxas and Xion). That shows even more that not many people are capable of having one. And originally, as you said, tons of warriors had them. Now very few are worthy. That says a lot. It also says a lot about Sora’s role; by all rights he shouldn’t even have a Keyblade, but somehow he does, and can even give the power to his Replica and Nobody. That definitely shouldn’t happen (as I believe you have to have a heart to wield, that may explain Roxas but not Xion).

    Anyway, the idea of the Keyblade may have changed, but I still think it’s an amazing weapon everyone would want. I still think it’s unique. When you compare who doesn’t have a Keyblade with who does, and how there used to be thousand of weilders, I think you’ll see it’s not as traded around as you think. And I also don’t think Sora can ever quit. He’s so much more than any Keyblade master. He’s the key that connects everything, but this is all just my two cents.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    That pretty much nailed it! Good detail and rememberance.:)

  11. KkngdomheartsFTW Says:

    wow, this made me realize that bleach and kingdom hearts are quite similar. in bleach, the characters mostly have zanpaktos, or powerful weapons that are made to resemble based on ones soul. and in kingdom hearts the characters have keyblades that are based on ones heart.

    (on topic) in kingdom hearts 1, we get a special boy chosen by a mystical weapon. and was destined to traverse the worlds, sealing keyholes and battling the darkness. in the end, he closes the door leading to the innermost darkness that can devour all worlds. and we were revealed that he wasnt the only one to possess the key. as we were told that mickey was chosen by one too. in kh2 we get more weilders. however the keyblade’s reputation seemed to be increasing rather than fading. then in bbs we get a shitload of keys everywhere along with wielders. actually all the main characters have a keyblade. but that still just increases its popularity. the keyblade was meant to select those with hearts of potential, its their choice alone to do whatever the hell they want. sora was special because he was the only one who actually utilized its power to protect the worlds and tried to defeat the darkness. he was also possessing the keyblade of the realm of light (theory). he also is the one connected to pretty much everything in kh. if it wasnt for him, all the worlds would’ve  been lost in the darkness.

  12. Josh Isaac Says:

    No KH MMO. It would destroy what got it this far. No, maybe a multiplayer game would be the farthest they would go but if they made to big a jump it would only upset most of the fans.

  13. Joshua Bolin Says:

    I believe that at one time, keyblades were common and because of that were used as weapons of war. (Or, misused.) After this great war, the few keyblade wielders that were left (for the most part) decided that keyblades should be kept scarce and only given to those who were on the side of light, so they wouldn’t get misused (except, Xehanort didn’t see it that way).

  14. Pedro B. Says:

    You know, this article is great, but, IMO, the heroic and legendary Keyblade isn’t the “weapon” Keyblade, but the Kingdom Key, since Sora and Riku (only for a little bit) were the only ones able to carry it (well, Roxas is Sora’s nobody and Xion and Data Sora’s keyblades are copies just like tehmselves.

  15. Sea-Salt Says:

    If they were to ever make an MMO out of KH, it’d definitely have to be set before or around the Keyblade Wars. It’d just make sense; and at the inevitable end of the game’s run, there could be a final large-scale battle in the world that becomes the Keyblade Graveyard.

  16. Khtriston Says:

    I was actually feeling the same way. And wasn’t the keyblade suppose to chose his master by the strength of light in the character’s heart? If that was to be true then why does Master Xehanort, Vanitas, and Riku (In 358/2 days) Have keyblades of darkness? Doesn’t that tug at the wholereason for a keyblade? THe designers and creators of Kingdom Hearts have officially lose the whole concept of the Keyblade.

  17. Jimathy Says:

    its easy to create new ways to make the keyblade more accessable to other characters and enhancew the stroyline. But i strongly believe that the creators are now making it up as they go along and that is no way to tell a story, They have lost the whole concept of the keyblade and trying to link everything together in a series of incontinuities and unlinkable connections. Kingdom Hearts isn’t the story i loved at the beginning and its started to become tedious. Spread across different platforms across pointless side stories just trying to rinse the story for everything its worth.

    Kingdom Hearts could’ve been KH1, KH2 and KH3 and been a pretty little package. But they have sold out and the originality is wearing very thin. It is no longer an original idea, just a shambles of a series.

    Been a massive fan of Kinmgdom hearts for years, in fact a whole decade…. But now officially bored and this makes me sad a little.

  18. Jalyn Says:

    MMOs normally don’t have the best game play, and  I can never finish them but if they can still make it feel like kingdom hearts game with maybe BBS game play then it would be pretty amazing. If they approached like a normal MMO it would properly ruin it ><

  19. guest Says:

    Yes, I find that it’s very similar to Star Wars and the Lightsabers. Without getting in to too many details, Keyblades are given to those worthy and strong enough to create and uphold peace throughout the universe. And similarly, there were many who wielded the keyblade in the past, they fought in a war and perished (pre-BBS). Then later the keys came about again, and soon the number of wielders grew (BBS), but they were all defeated and/or forced into hiding. (I liken Mickey to Obi wan). And now the savior comes into the picture (Sora is like Luke), and starts to bring peace by defeating the source of the chaos (ansem, xemnas, maleficent, etc./ darth vader and other dark apprentices), (xehanort/the emperor). And along the journey, the keyblade is passed on to others to help protect the peace. And soon the number of keyblade wielders grow again (KH II).  I still believe the keyblade is a mystical weapon, and not everybody can have one. And what I believe to be the reason why even those like Xehanort, Vanitas, and Riku were able to wield keyblades are because of the universal theme of having a balance of light and darkness. Anyways those are my thoughts on this. And about the MMO, I don’t want it. It would not work out, within the storyline. I think it would only work if it was set before/during the keyblade war.  

  20. KkngdomheartsFTW Says:

    they’re not really making it up as they go along. they had this idea since kh1. the reason why people like riku and xehanort have the keyblade, is because they were destined to be chosen in the past BEFORE they succumbed to darkness. is true i could’ve just ended in with only 3 games. but i would’ve been disappoined. each little side game however is not at all pointless. they have roles that provide to the story.

  21. KkngdomheartsFTW Says:

    they’re not really making it up as they go along. they had this idea since kh1. the reason why people like riku and xehanort have the keyblade, is because they were destined to be chosen in the past BEFORE they succumbed to darkness. is true i could’ve just ended in with only 3 games. but i would’ve been disappoined. each little side game however is not at all pointless. they have roles that provide to the story.

  22. theking Says:

    you got 1 thing wrong kingdom key is the kingdom hearts key 1 and the only key that well you see and i say they maybe every one have key but 1 thing no one can get it kingdom key 

  23. Sorageroxas Says:

    Indeed its the way you said it. I still remember the high impression we had over the keyblade back on KH1.It was a legend.It was one and only one.Even its power was more obvious.More pure.We emphasized both on the wielder and on the Keyblade itself.I know I liked that I played as “the only one to wield the mighty key”. But now its not like this. I know its nice when you see another person wield the weapon, and you might get excited, but still the keyblade becomes just a specially designed weapon.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, here’s a question out of the blue. Has anyone here beaten Sephiroth in the first KH game? Because I can only beat him in the second one, which was still as hard, but no matter how many times I try, I just cannot beat him! so if anyone here has beaten him, PLEASE give me some pointers!

  25. Jack Mowat Says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. A Kingdom Hearts MMO based on the original Keyblade war is a brilliant idea.
    Choose to fight for the light, the darkness, or follow your own path. Design your character and your keyblade. It would have a plot that shows how it all happened before, with records that explain even more history to the worlds. That would be awesome!

  26. Anonymous Says:

    So like another vesion of warcraft but KH style?

  27. Jack Mowat Says:

    Yeah, or Star Wars The Old Republic.

  28. Jack Mowat Says:

    To be fair, if you jumped from Kingdom Hearts 1 to Kingdom Hearts 2 like I did, you would be a little lost. Similarily, jumping from Kingdom Hearts 2 to Kingdom Hearts 3 will leave you totally clueless.
    They aren’t spin-offs, they’re important parts of the main storyline.

  29. Nightmare-len Says:

    I think that the fact there used to be ALOT of Keyblade Masters, reminds of the many green lanters in the Green Lantern Corps. xD

  30. Ashley Says:

    just keep kingdom hearts alone!

  31. Daydrianlewis Says:

    Sort of like Star Wars Jedi Academy. Choose your type of keyblades. Dual keyblades or how about staff keyblades? lol

  32. Guelito Xtarz Says:

    sora is the choseen one by the legendary keyblade, the x blade was divided in 2 parts the kingdom key and the kingdom key d and sora is the choseen one cuz that is the most powerful keyblade i think lol God bless ya all :)

  33. IRS95 Says:

    One thing that helps put it in a better perspective is that a good number of the keyblade wielders we currently know of can only wield it because someone else had the ability and it was passed down to them. ie Terra gave the power of the keyblade to Riku, which was later given to Sora after Riku submitted to darkness, Roxas can wield it because of Sora, Xion because of Roxas, Kairi because of Aqua, Mickey because of Yen Sid (just a theory based upon the fact that Yen Sid was his master), and Vanitas because of Ventus, and so on. 

    When you look at the grand scheme of things, even in the keyblade war eluded to in KHBBS there had to have been a bunch people who couldn’t wield the keyblade for every one person that could wield it.

    Now I will admit that the keyblade’s exclusive image has started to fade due to the unveiling of the keybalde wars and all these other events, but Sora still wields the Kingdom Key, which in my opinion, is still a very exclusive keyblade and not to be taken lightly because of its nature.  Thus it is still a very special privilege.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    I thought so. Now would this be an online thing?

  35. Vinicenz Says:

    It’s just something very small but regarding “Dark Keyblades.” Light & Darkness exist equally, you can’t have one without the other

    So, if there are keyblades of light, it would only make sense to keep the balance of light and darkness to have a Keyblade of Darkness.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    True that.

  37. jake_sama Says:

    1) ultima weapon is totally worth it
    2) you can hit him to stop casting “descend heartless angel”
    3) if he does cast it, use an elixer STAT
    4) strike raid, strike raid, strike raid. It’s cheap, but gets the job done 
    5) you NEED second chance and aeroga

    good luck! I just beat him last week after my last play through of kh1 :)

  38. Xagzan Says:

    Ultimately what happened with the keyblades is the same thing that happened to lightsabers, for better or worse.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you!

  40. Anonymous Says:

    So like a staff for walking or like a naginata, a staff with a sword blade on the end, it’s like a japanese wepon or something…but you mean something like that?

  41. Quatre Winner Says:

    Hi~ I read your post several times thinking on how to formulate a response. Now that I have, I’ll address each of your points.

    When it comes to Sora originally intended as the only wielder, that is debunked in the very first game with Mickey’s appearance at the end, as well as the secret movie. At the time it was first shown we had no knowledge that the BHK was connected to Sora, so it was another character that had two Keyblades.

    There is also no indication that the Kingdom Key is intended as some sort of One Ring to the other Keyblades – why else would Mickey have the Kingdom Key D? In much the same way that the people connected to Sora can wield the Keyblade, Sora is able to wield the Keyblade because of Ventus. That begs the question of whether, when Ventus awakens, Sora will be able to continue to use the Keyblade. Given that Sora’s Keyblade is much different than Ventus’s, it is up for debate.

    When I said “everyone” at the end, I intended it to be read as I’d mentioned earlier in the article – that is, “everyone with a strong heart”. I purposely didn’t mention Roxas or Xion at the end of the article, as they aren’t active Keyblade wielders. It may be true that Roxas was only able to wield Sora’s Keyblade, but Xion, as a Replica of Sora and not Roxas, may or may not have a heart of her own. It was never made clear whether Replicas had hearts  or not, but Riku Replica was certain he had one. If Xion had a heart, then the Keyblade she wields may be her own, much the same way as Sora got his Keyblade through Ventus. This, however, is just speculation. That is why I didn’t mention her.

    As far as Sora being the key that connects everything – it is true that he is the central character in the current plot, which revolves around Xehanort. He is not, however, the central character to the Keyblade itself. The Keyblade existed long before he did and it will long after he has passed. It is made clear that Masters can pass on the Keyblade to new Apprentices. One Master trains two-three Apprentices, and all three Apprentices are capable of passing on the Keyblade. Its existence will continue whether or not Sora chooses to fight, as there is nothing stopping any of the other Keyblade  wielders  from passing on their Keyblades.

    I hope this clears up what I intended to get across with this article!

  42. Cobwebkid Says:

    But the kingdom key is a special keyblade. its part of the broken X-blade…

  43. Quatre Winner Says:

    I haven’t heard anything about that at all. Is there a source for this? I base all my information on the games themselves and, in all of the games, there was nothing saying that the Kingdom Key or the Kingdom Key D were special. Unless this is a BBS Final Mix thing…

    I know that the X-Blade looked like two Kingdom Keys fused together, but just looking similar doesn’t prove that it is the same as the Kingdom Key that Sora wields.

  44. Nick Says:

    Technically only a handful of people use one. It works within the context of Kingdom Hearts 2 and is refreshing to see. Sorta like how in the original Star Wars all the Jedi are  dead, but the prequels let us see how things were in the old days. *shrugs*

  45. Jenalak821 Says:

    I believe that you may be right. Not everyone got to be chosen by the Elder Wand in the story of Harry Potter, but somehow, Dumbledore did get chosen by the Elder Wand because he defeated Grindelwald, and Draco did get chosen in nearly the same way, but didn’t realize it. Harry disarmed Draco when he took Draco’s wand and was chosen by the Elder Wand as a result. Lord Voldemort, on the other hand, didn’t get chosen by the Elder Wand because he killed the wrong person, and as a result, he was killed by the backfiring of the Elder Wand.

    Kingdom Hearts, in a weird sort of way, mirrors that of Harry Potter, but with Disney characters and the prologue to Kingdom Hearts I and with strange creatures called the Heartless and the Nobodies. However, the Kingdom Key chose Sora because he was very special, not only because nobody performed the Rite of Succession upon him, but also because his light was strengthened by the light of Ventus when he was just a small kid and the fact that he was kind and caring to others, sort of how Ventus was. The Kingdom Key, however did not choose Master Xehanort because his heart was full of darkness and the fact that he was obsessed over the legendary X-blade. So in a weird sort of way, the Kingdom Hearts series sort of mirrors that of the Harry Potter series.

  46. Jenalak821 Says:

    I think that your type of Keyblade would be based upon your personality, depending on your heart and strength. (Just my theory, anyway.) For my Keyblade, I would probably get a writing pen with some puzzle pieces on the writing pen, a mouse arrow on the computer as the teeth of the Keyblade, and a heart resembling the ones from the Beanie Babies Collection as the Keychain. I like Beanie Babies, anyway, and I think that the heart for the Keychain would be so cool.

  47. Nothinglord Says:

     You’re close, but it isn’t the strength of LIGHT in someone’s heart, it is just the strength of their heart itself. Also, Riku technically didn’t obtain a keyblade until his Soul Eater transformed into Way to the Dawn. Soul Eater had similarities to a keyblade, but was not really one itself. This was probably due to Riku’s heart being corrupted by the darkness of Maleficent and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. If the light in his heart wasn’t so strong (as while he was corrupted by darkness, he still attempted to save Kairi, and eventually Sora, after Ansem had taken complete control over his body) he might have obtained a keyblade sooner, as his heart would have been mostly darkness.

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