Kingdom Hearts: Why Is Sora So Special?

The events of the vast majority of the Kingdom Hearts series all seem to revolve around Sora, whether directly or indirectly. However, despite his prowess with a Keyblade, Sora doesn't have any kind of overt aura of heroism or specialness to him. At a glance, he's just a kindhearted, goofy kid, and even if you looked closer, that's still pretty much all he is.

So what exactly is it, then, that prompts so many major events to orbit around this single more-or-less ordinary young man? Well, it's not so much a matter of what Sora is that makes these things happen around him, but rather where he ends up. Let's see if we can't make this a little clearer. Be aware, we're getting into spoilers for most of the Kingdom Hearts series here.

The Right Place At The Right Time

The events of the original Kingdom Hearts imply that the wielder of the Keyblade is some kind of legendary prophesized hero, and that's how Sora was able to receive its power and go on to save the world. In actuality, Sora's ownership of the Keyblade wasn't due to any kind of prophecy or pre-ordained legend, he just… happened to receive it. The reasons for this can be traced back to the events of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and Sora and Riku's childhoods. When the two of them were very young, they were visited by a passing Terra, who performed the Keyblade inheritance ritual on Riku when he realized the boy wanted the power to protect his friends. This was how Riku received the potential to use a Keyblade.

Sora, meanwhile, had a brief encounter with Aqua, but when she noticed the spark of potential in Riku, she opted not to give it to Sora, as she didn't want them to be in conflict like she and Terra were. That should've been the end of it, but at the end of Birth By Sleep's story, after Ventus' heart is fractured in his duel with Vanitas, Sora unconsciously welcomes its wandering remnants into his own heart. He didn't really know what he was doing here, he was just being a nice kid and helping someone in need.

Fast-forward to Kingdom Hearts, Riku was supposed to receive the power of the Kingdom Key thanks to the potential passed to him by Terra, but when he was engulfed by darkness, the Keyblade couldn't find him. So, it went to Sora instead, latching on to the remnants of Ventus' Keyblade potential deep in his heart. This is why Riku was able to take the Keyblade away from him in Hollow Bastion, as it was technically his Keyblade to wield, not Sora's.

Of course, thanks to his resolve and the spark of Ventus' heart, Sora was able to draw on his brief connection with the Kingdom Key to forge a proper connection with it. This is why, in Kingdom Hearts 2-onwards, he can wield two Keyblades; one belongs to him, and the other belongs to Ventus.

Too Nice For His Own Good

Sora's tendency to take on the burdens of others, again, isn't due to any kind of heroic disposition. He's just a really nice kid, often to his own detriment. Sora has had every opportunity to bail out of the war between light and darkness. But to him, wielding a Keyblade is a chance to bring happiness to others, and that's what's most important to him. Sora will happily throw himself into danger in exchange for even a slim shot at the best possible outcome.

Of course, this tendency toward self-sacrifice was also what led to him releasing his own heart in Hollow Bastion to free Kairi's. This is what also led to the creation of Roxas and Namine, and even though Roxas was overtly antagonistic toward Sora on several occasions, he still saw it as his responsibility to ensure Roxas could be his own person. Sora brought Roxas into being, after all, and just like Sora himself, Roxas deserves his happy ending.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this came at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3 when Sora sacrificed his tether to reality in exchange for bringing Kairi back from the Final World. He was warned multiple times that using the Power of Waking like that could destabilize his existence, but he went and did it with nary a second thought anyway because he knew his friend needed his help. Along with Sora's inherent kindness comes a wellspring of optimism; no matter what, as long as he's got the backing of his friends, everything will just sort of work itself out. Nine times out of ten, he ends up being right about that, thanks to a bit of good luck and the inherent… flexibility, let's say, of the Kingdom Hearts universe.

Boundless Charisma

Speaking of Sora's friends, that's the last component of what makes him special: his ability to form bonds with people. Being friendly, helpful, and a bit nosy allows Sora to naturally form connections with just about everyone he meets. Even if all the people he meets in the various Disney worlds don't play a major role in the overarching narrative of the series, he's still able to befriend them with surprising ease, offering to help them with their problems even when there isn't anything obvious in it for him. These people, in turn, make Sora a stronger person, both in the metaphorical and literal senses, as they give him experience in all kinds of settings while also helping him to polish his magic and sword skills.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't mention all the bonds Sora made with more plot-relevant characters. His friendships with Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, Mickey, and all the others are what gave him something to fight for, what reinforces his desire for a happy ending. And when he, in turn, needs them, they feel that same urge to put everything on the line and ensure he makes it back safely. Almost immediately after Sora disappears at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, Kairi and Ienzo get to work combing through her heart to find any possible way to bring Sora back to them, because they know he'd do the same for them.

So what, exactly, makes Sora so special? Honestly, not much. He's just a good kid who was in the right place at the right time. He's not some grand hero or prophesized savior, just the owner of a kind hand, willing to extend it wherever he thinks it can reach. When you get right down to it, though, that's kind of what a hero is, isn't it?

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