The Case of a Sleeping Heart

Characters are the backbone of any work. There could be a wonderful setting and a wonderful plot, but if your characters aren’t up to the same standards then the whole thing will fall rather flat. Kingdom Hearts, as a whole, has some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever come across. It also boasts the one character that, as a whole, has begun to puzzle me the most.

Sora–One Boy, Two Hearts

As everyone who’s played Birth by Sleep knows, Ventus’ heart resides in Sora. This might not seem like such a big deal in a universe where disembodied hearts seek to steal others and heartless bodies wander around, however, when I was thinking about Sora, and Ventus, and looking at the series as a whole, I realized one important fact – Sora has been harboring Ventus’s heart ever since he was quite young. That got me to thinking about the two characters and wondering: with such extended contact with someone else’s heart, is the Sora we know really the true Sora at all?

Thanks to Birth by Sleep, we now know that Sora has held a heart other than his own inside him for 10 years. No doubt that information will be a key part of the storyline for Kingdom Hearts 3.

When we were first introduced to Sora, we met a happy kid stuck with a crappy job. He had to save the worlds, beat the bad guys, and above all–rescue his best friends. Through it all, he kept his smile and persevered, and in the end he achieved his goal. He, Riku, and Kairi got back to the Islands. With the biography aside, Sora as a whole is a well-rounded character. He’s not perfect, he has his ups and downs, but had you not known about Ventus, you would think that what you saw was all there was to Sora.

And yet… now that we do know about Ventus, some of Sora’s motives are a bit questionable. What with having Ventus’ heart in him ever since he was nearly a toddler, what part of Ventus has made Sora, Sora? I can understand why Riku wanted to get off of the Islands–he met Terra in person, so he knew there was something beyond the worlds. Sora might have met Aqua along with Riku, but there was nothing to attract him to life beyond the Islands. But Sora did want to get away with Riku and Kairi, and was excited, too. I have to wonder if, really, it was Ventus that wanted to get away. Was Sora influenced by Ventus, by the latter’s desire to get back home? Or was it really Sora’s true wish to follow his friends?

Who Is Sora Without Ventus?

The waters become murkier once later games come into play. In Kingdom Hearts 2, it’s outright confirmed that Sora can be influenced by his inner selves. Sora cried when he was parted from Roxas’s friends, feeling a strong attachment to the blue crystal that had belonged to Roxas. If Sora’s behavior can be altered so drastically just by that, then who’s to say what would have affected him when he was young enough to meet Terra and Aqua? Children are growing, changing, and behavior that would have been unusual for him would just have been waved off as a normal change. By the time that Kingdom Hearts rolls around, Sora would have held Ventus’ heart for around 10 years. What, exactly, is normal for Sora by now?

We have yet to know whether or not Ventus’ presence within Sora has had any after-effects. Could the happy-go-lucky boy we’ve known since the first game be someone different than we’ve known?

On the other side of this, there’s Ventus himself. It’s not his fault that he ended up inside Sora. He lost his memory when he was young and was taken in by Eraqus, trained and raised to become an eventual Keyblade Master. He knew what he was training for, knew that there was danger beyond his little world, but his daily life seemed to be carefree. He trained with Terra and Aqua during the day and at night he would watch the stars. It seemed he never wondered where he came from or why, at least not until Vanitas showed up. It was only when he left the comfort of his home to chase after Terra that he learned the truth about himself and his heart ended up slumbering within Sora.

With that in mind, one has to wonder: if Sora has been affected by Ventus living inside him, how has Sora influenced Ventus? After all, Ventus has been sleeping inside Sora for years. The question is, will Ventus remember any of it? Is he having dreams of venturing out across the worlds, facing his old enemy in his friend’s body? When he finally awakens as his own self, what of his personality will remain? The easiest explanation for this would be that he probably doesn’t remember anything and will have to be told about it. After all, what does a sleeping heart know of the world around it? But then, there are several things that become unanswered. If Sora truly was not affected by Ventus, then how did Sora get a Keyblade? Why did a member of Organization XIII see Sora’s replica as Ventus?

Could Ventus have experienced his own changes from being inside Sora? If Ventus could experience Sora's life vicariously, perhaps he saw some things he wish he hadn't.

A Future Resolution for Ventus?

If Ventus does indeed remember Sora, then how much will his personality have changed? He’s probably still pretty traumatized about his friend Terra turning to darkness, so having the memories of killing his best friend (twice!) likely isn’t a good thing. If he does remember that, in what context will it be? Will he remember it as an out-of-body experience like a dream, or will he believe that he struck the fatal blows? Either scenario isn’t very good, but at the least the former will let Ventus avoid most of the guilt that the second would evoke.

If Sora and Ventus are so inextricably linked, then what will become of Sora when Ventus, inevitably, awakens? Will the Ventus-free Sora still be the same as ever, bright and happy and a beacon of light in the darkness? There is no way of knowing. All we can do is wait and see, and hope that Sora and Ventus, when the two are finally separated, will still be the characters we know.

This week’s blog was written by Quatre Winner.

Now it’s your turn to sound off–how do you personally see Sora as a character? As a separate entity who internalized his own experiences, or as an offshoot of Ventus? Is it possible that Sora is inextricably linked to Ventus in such a way that the actions of Sora are influenced by strong desires of Ventus?