The end of Xehanort *SPOILERS*



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Soldier

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Hello, Also, spoilers, you've been warned, the game might've been out for months now, but can't take any risks.

After a while of relaxing on vacation up north, i got to thinking, "why did Nomura end things off the way he did with Xehanort considering everything this man has done?". Think about it, this is a man who would grow into a selfish old man capable of mass genocide and interplanetary obliteration to gain the hearts necessary to summon kingdom hearts. True, he would fail multiple times at this, but it doesn't ignore what he's done. Forcing youths to fight dangerous creatures of the dark, taking over a young man just to live a few more years, and ruining countless lives. And how does his story end?
Ascending into the KH version of heaven, his crimes essentially forgiven.
You know, in a series where death is a minor inconvenience at best, it's honestly shocking that Nomura couldn't come up with a better punishment for this old geezer. Can't they create a prison where he'd never be able to die? magical restraints? ANYTHING better than a "get out of jail free" card?
 

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If Xehanort was just put in restraints or prison that would leave a window for his return just as dying would have.
 

Ballad of Caius

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I'm of the opinion that, within the organic logic of each character that MX affected one way or another, an expression of complete rage and destruction of Xehanort would have been OOC.
 

AR829038

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I've said this in another post, but I'll say it again here. I think people are grossly misunderstanding what the writers were going for with Xehanort's ending scene. They weren't trying to redeem him, they were trying to show him finally letting go of his lifelong obsession and ambition. Everyone keeps saying that they hate that everyone forgave Xehanort, but if you go back and watch the scene, nobody actually forgave him for anything. Nobody except Eraqus, who doesn't seem like the type to hold grudges, and who seemed genuinely concerned mainly with just getting his old friend back the way he used to be.
The purpose of the ending was to show us the underlying motivations behind Xehanort's ambitions: he is a picture of a man whose initial good intentions become corrupted by his self-righteous nature and his disregard for other people. Xehanort is analogous to Thanos from Infinity War in many ways, namely that both are people who believe that their ends are so righteous and so ultimately good that they justify any means necessary to attain them. And just as with many real-life historical tyrants, their proclamations often contradict their actions. Thanos wanted to bring about peace and happiness and an end to suffering by killing trillions of people. Xehanort wanted to make a world free of darkness by using darkness as a method of achieving his ultimate goal, because in his mind, light was too overabundant to be useful for his purposes, i.e. forging the X-Blade.
The final scene was not meant to imply that Xehanort had redeemed himself, but to show that at the end of his life, and after having everything he worked and struggled for be ripped from his grasp at the last minute, he finally understood how much he had thrown away in his pursuit, and that he had been misguided and arrogant. He wasn't redeeming himself, he was merely letting go of his ambitions, which then allowed him to ascend untethered to the afterlife (note: in the Kingdom Hearts universe, it is important to remember that the ultimate afterlife, which is Kingdom Hearts itself, is the final end of all hearts whether they belonged to good or bad people. Only those fully corrupted by the power of darkness go elsewhere, that is to the Realm of Darkness, when they become Heartless or Darklings).
I know I'm in the minority on this, but I actually think this redesign of Xehanort's character and his ending is brilliant upon reflection, and much more fitting of the central themes of this series. Granted, the transition between his BBS incarnation, which was clearly more about his being an acolyte of the darkness who just wanted to spread its power more throughout the universe, was handled somewhat sloppily. But overall, I actually think KH3's incarnation of Xehanort is much deeper and more nuanced than his BBS version.
 

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Like...it rubbed me off that Kairi was murdered by Xehanort (no reactions from the others other Sora and Riku meh) yet he still was ascend to heaven-esque or like with Eraqus. He got off so easily and that literally hurt me because Kairi is my favorite female character. Kairi does not deserve this treatment from her own creator whatsoever and it crushed every hope I had for her
 

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Xehanort’s fate was always death. It was just a matter of how. On one hand, I think all of the cast should have had a hand in his death but whatever.

And I don’t think his end was meant to be one of redemption.

The problem is that we missed something in the middle of what was established in BBS and what we learn in KH3. It’s clear Nomura had wanted to do more with Xehanort and intended to show how he went from the youth we see with Eraqus to MX but didn’t have the chance to do that and also kinda just got bored with this existing saga.

Xehanort dies giving up his dream and his entire life’s work. The fact that he got to leave the living world with his friend doesn’t negate the wrong that he did or the fact that he lost and ends his life a failure.

Not every defeat of a villain has to be about punishment as the end result. His life being wasted was punishment alone. His other selves die knowing that their existences were futile, empty ones filled with regrets and fear. Xehanort took all of that into death with him.

So while he left the world of the living with a smile on his face and reunited with his dearest friend, he didn’t actually LIVE his life. He spent it chasing after something he could never have for a goal he could never achieve.

That’s fucking sad enough.
 

Face My Fears

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You know, going into KH3 I was like "We need to kill this guy!" Xehanort was one of the villains in media that I actually genuinely hated because of the things he did. It'd be pretty generic for us to reach the last boss and have everyone beat him up until he (an old man) died. I actually like the lengths that Nomura went to give Xehanort a unique/memorable ending. I mean Ansem and Xemnas we just killed, but Master Xehanort - the guy behind everything - realizes that after dedicating his whole life to this and allowing himself to be corrupted for his cause, finding every loop hole possible, he still wasn't able to accomplish his life's work and has to leave it all behind for good. I don't think Xehanort was forgiven of anything by anyone except Eraqus.
 

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I'm of the opinion that, within the organic logic of each character that MX affected one way or another, an expression of complete rage and destruction of Xehanort would have been OOC.
I can agree with that for the most part. But remember, Terra fought Xehanort in a fit of rage, and either intended to beat the man within an inch of his life, or (more likely) kill him in revenge for murdering his master & "father" in cold blood right in front of him. It says a lot that Lingering Will was created from Terra's sole drive to take down Xehanort.

That said, Eraqus was mostly guiding his actions by the time he saw Xehanort again, so that likely quelled his anger at the moment.

Also, let's not forget that for as nice as Sora is, he's incredibly ruthless. He flat out murders most of the original Organization members on the spot, without even batting an eye or caring about their personal struggles (at the time), and they all did far less damage than Xehanort by comparison. Huh... Kinda makes me wonder why he didn't do the same to the old man in their fight. 🤔 Too tired maybe?
 

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I can agree with that for the most part. But remember, Terra fought Xehanort in a fit of rage, and either intended to beat the man within an inch of his life, or (more likely) kill him in revenge for murdering his master & "father" in cold blood right in front of him. It says a lot that Lingering Will was created from Terra's sole drive to take down Xehanort.

That said, Eraqus was mostly guiding his actions by the time he saw Xehanort again, so that likely quelled his anger at the moment.

Also, let's not forget that for as nice as Sora is, he's incredibly ruthless. He flat out murders most of the original Organization members on the spot, without even batting an eye or caring about their personal struggles (at the time), and they all did far less damage than Xehanort by comparison. Huh... Kinda makes me wonder why he didn't do the same to the old man in their fight. 🤔 Too tired maybe?
He did technically kill Xehanort though. The old man was already dying from the finishing laser beam by the time the other Guardians arrive
 

Twilight Lumiair

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He did technically kill Xehanort though. The old man was already dying from the finishing laser beam by the time the other Guardians arrive
Was he really? I thought he was still ready to fight up until Eraqus showed up and told him 'checkmate', but maybe I'm just misremembering. I never really understood what exactly was going on with Xehanort in that scene tbh.
 

Zettaflare

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Was he really? I thought he was still ready to fight up until Eraqus showed up and told him 'checkmate', but maybe I'm just misremembering. I never really understood what exactly was going on with Xehanort in that scene tbh.
Yeah. After he handed over the X-Blade to Sora he stumbled and grumbled in pain before Eraqus caught him. He looked ready to keel over
 

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The main issue I had with it was Eraqus's supposed forgiveness of him. You forgive those who are actually sorry about what they've done, not those who just stop doing it because they can't anymore.

Some people think of it as kindness, I see it as making light of the suffering that everyone, especially TAV, endured at Xehanort's hands.
 

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The main issue I had with it was Eraqus's supposed forgiveness of him. You forgive those who are actually sorry about what they've done, not those who just stop doing it because they can't anymore.

Some people think of it as kindness, I see it as making light of the suffering that everyone, especially TAV, endured at Xehanort's hands.
I don't really think of it as making light of anything. It wasn't like the conversations when people like Vanitas, Xemnas, or Ansem died. Were they all supposed to yell at the dying Xehanort "you deserve this for ruining our lives!" because after reading this thread, I actually thought about this and never really knew what I was expecting in Xehanort's final moments.
 

Zul

 
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I consider Eraqus making light of TAV's suffering by forgiving the man who inflicted that suffering upon them when MX didn't show an ounce of remorse or regret(regret at the harm his actions caused, not just failing to succeed at his plans).

I don't know about "yelling" at him, but Eraqus shouldn't have called him friend, or lent him a shoulder to lean on.
 

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I consider Eraqus making light of TAV's suffering by forgiving the man who inflicted that suffering upon them when MX didn't show an ounce of remorse or regret(regret at the harm his actions caused, not just failing to succeed at his plans).

I don't know about "yelling" at him, but Eraqus shouldn't have called him friend, or lent him a shoulder to lean on.
Especially considering Xehanort was the one who killed him. And honestly, has Eraqus ever been that patient or forgiving with anyone? He failed Terra after catching the slightest glimpse of darkness (which he suppressed), later threatened to kill Ven at the mere thought of him forging the Keyblade, and then attempted to kill both of them on the spot for resisting his attempted murder. I should think he'd hold more than a passing grudge for the man who scarred him, manipulated his students, and killed him while his back was turned.

Mmm... but then, Eraqus was quick to forgive Xehanort after he suddenly showed up at his doorstep along with Ven crying crocodile tears. And then he was trusting enough to allow Xehanort to plant those seeds of doubt in his mind regarding Terra. Maybe he just has a soft spot for his old friend? But even if he did, I mean.... The guy still killed him at the end of the day.
 
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Oracle Spockanort

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I consider Eraqus making light of TAV's suffering by forgiving the man who inflicted that suffering upon them when MX didn't show an ounce of remorse or regret(regret at the harm his actions caused, not just failing to succeed at his plans).

I don't know about "yelling" at him, but Eraqus shouldn't have called him friend, or lent him a shoulder to lean on.
Like I definitely don’t disagree at all with that point of view because in a way it does, but I don’t think that we were really meant to take much of anything from these interactions at all except for what was shown in its most literal sense.

Nomura wasn’t thinking about TAV’s suffering at the hands of Xehanort as he wrote the ending. He likely wasn’t thinking much about anybody’s suffering and was only thinking of how to portray Xehanort’s death and reunion with a friend.

Remember that Nomura struggled to write the end and wasn’t happy with how it turned out.
 

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Nomura wasn’t thinking about TAV’s suffering at the hands of Xehanort as he wrote the ending. He likely wasn’t thinking much about anybody’s suffering and was only thinking of how to portray Xehanort’s death and reunion with a friend.

Remember that Nomura struggled to write the end and wasn’t happy with how it turned out.
It seems he wrote it as he intended in accordance with his original plan of having an additional game explore "Innocent Xehanort". But since that additional game didn't come out, Xehanort's ending feels out of place. He wrote it taking into account something we never really got to see.
 

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I think a lot of people sort of miss that Nomura never treated YX, Chessnort, Xemnas, Ansem, and MX as truly unique individuals of their own but rather all extensions of one guy. They are just the same one guy but at different stages of life and who manifest slightly different parts of their personality based on their own individualized experiences. To fully understand Xehanort's story you have to look at him as a whole character.

YX is the arrogant boy who is drunk on the idea of getting to live this grand role in the world out, getting to live a full life, getting to make a new world, etc.. and believes strongly in the idea that fate can't be changed which means all his atrocities are justified. This boy forms the core Xehanort and is what Xehanort becomes when he's influenced by others like the MoM and his own future selves, easily corruptible. He goes out refusing to acknowledge his losses or even that things could potentially be changed, he goes out basically flaunting how HE is the real winner because he gets to go back and live his life to its end while Sora is done in this world. Woody also roasts him by making it clear one of his issues is that he's hollow brat no one loves, of course it's not entirely accurate as there are a few people who did but he largely grow up alone and so his love was minimal not to mention he ultimately shed his loved ones which factors into later. But it's critical in keeping in mind as a child he already threw away his home once.

Chessnort is brighter and happier because even though he's easily influenced, at that moment his influence are people like Young Eraqus and their master, people who are good and fight for the forces of light. However you can see in him the troublesome signs that will lead to his fall, his curiosity that leads to his corruption, his feeling that time can't be changed, and his admiration of Eraqus. He admired Eraqus and was a bit star struck by him, he wanted to be his equal and right by his side, but according to him Eraqus was just better. The only way he could see himself keeping up is if he tapped into the power of darkness, wielding light and darkness is how he believed he could keep from falling behind. This is also where we see the early signs that Xehanort has a power obsession, a belief that power is the answer to problems and being strong is necessary. Finally we get an interesting little note, according to Chess Eraqus Xehanort doesn't admit when he loses.

We fast forward 70-ish years to Master Xehanort and he is pretty much the same person as he was when he was a kid, and that's the problem. He still believes destiny is set in stone, his friendship with Eraqus has soured because Eraqus grew up into a light Xealot instead of the hero and leader he believed he would be...and that's the key here. Because he had so much faith and trust in Eraqus when Eraqus let him down it was devastating, so he kept waiting for the world's leader to appear but it never did and in the meantime saw the world as increasingly unbalanced and ruined. Likewise his curiosity only continued to grow it was never sated and his questions were never ending. These two factors ultimately came to a peak when he realized "oh crap I'm old, my life is almost over" he wasted his whole life waiting for a leader that never came and was going to die with the view that the world was a hopeless doomed wreck and plagued by questions without answers. He couldn't accept that, he decided even if he wasn't the one meant to do it he would become the leader of the world himself and he would find the answers he is seeking. He convinced himself to take up a role he knows wasn't meant for him and he justified it to himself as being okay because he had the power to do it, in his mind the strong have a natural right to lead and shape the world and those that are weak should follow. (this is the core that leads to Xehanort as Xemnas just casually tossing any org members he views weak)

This leads us to his plans in BBS where he tries to gain the ultimate source of power, Kingdom Hearts and it's X-blade, and buy himself more time by stealing Terra's youthful body. On top of all this because he knew the X-blade required hearts of darkness and he himself was okay with darkness he decided he would play the role of the side of darkness, believing no one else really would. He would be the darkness to bring back the light and restart the world over, he's like Riku but so much more extreme.

Ansem and Xemnas are a two fer, after losing his memories and living a year as young man his mind set was changed a bit by that and his new influences Ansem the Wise and his apprentices. He found himself a kindred spirit with Subject X who was like him but then he lost her, blamed her loss on his master and had his precious experiments trashed and forbidden. These raised spite and regret in addition to regaining his old memories in the process of all this. This is a particular dark area of his life as this is where his obsession with power takes full hold. The heart is the source of all power and to that end he seeks to gain full control over it, his two halves go about this in different ways. AnsemSoD focuses on the darkness of the heart viewing it as the true source of the heart's strength, while Xemnas focuses on using the mind to completely dominate the heart. Both see the heart in this sterile robotic manner and in their obsession for power and in their beliefs they lose sight of everything else. Like when he was a boy and later again in life, before the split Apprentice Xehanort threw away everyone and everything and then after the split they did it again.

However after failure and lose again and again, and interacting with Sora and Riku, these two start to change. It's subtle but it's there and even if it's the past versions of them in KH3 they are still aware of their losses and the journey their lives take...as well as their ends. So when K3 comes they are already aware of how their story ends and pretty much how pointless their lives on this borrowed time is, they can help their self achieve their goals but they themselves can never benefit. They each realize this in their own time this and in exact opposite ways. AnsemSoD realizes this when the dusks attack, instead of feeling anger or passion he felt nothing but apathy and he also couldn't bring himself to change his fate since as far as he knows he can't. AnsemSoD ends up emotionally burnt out and his time with Riku and Sora has both disproven his theories and shown a strength vaster than darkness. In the end AnsemSoD has lived so long and instead of being excited or taking pride in his destiny he is just ready to play his role so he can move on and be done. Xemnas meanwhile won't have the realization hit him till he is bested by Sora one last fight and where as AnsemSoD feels emotional burnout Xemnas feels overwhelming emotion, the weight of what he has thrown away and sacrificed and how he has gotten nothing in return hits him like a ton of bricks and there is a sense if he could keep his memories of this he might change but he knows he won't. However this shows us the capacity to change if he is shaken enough exists inside Xehanort.

This takes us back to Master Xehanort the one who can still benefit so he's still gung ho about what he's doing but he loses, he loses utterly and completely and still just like when he was a kid he couldn't admit he lost. He is dying, there is no hope for him now but as long as he manages to hold onto life just long enough for the world to reset he still wins. Sora and Xehanort enter a battle of wills and Xehanort loses out, that's when he starts to think back to Eraqus and not long after Eraqus appears. Instead of make things better he is initially hostile to Eraqus and insists HE can do this, he can be the leader Eraqus failed him to be. Eraqus looks sad because he understands why Xehanort is like this but he tries to make him see reason that while both of them failed it's not too late for the kids behind them to build a better world. When he walks over to MX and says checkmate that makes Master Xehanort think back to his time as a kid, of the person he used to be, and that's when he remembers there was a time in his life he wanted to be there supporting Eraqus. Now it's too late for Eraqus and him but he CAN still be there for their replacement, and so that's what he does he walks over to Sora congratulating him on the utter defeat he dealt him and hands over the X-blade. This is that capacity for change if shaken that we saw in Ansem and Xemnas manifesting here, as well as the desire to be done, and as her perishes he turns back into the chessnort because in his heart that's who he is. It's not a redemption but rather his arc coming in full circle.

He wasn't redeemed as he never really stopped thinking he was right and no one forgave him, but he did find peace in his loss and failure...a release and return to a promise that actually mattered to him. To the one friend who despite throwing away never really left, the one guy who showed Xehanort a form of love. Maybe it feels a better end than he deserves but this is also a disney fairytale so this kind of ending with the bad guy dying but rekindling a lost friendship is right up the alley.
 

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If Xehanort was just put in restraints or prison that would leave a window for his return just as dying would have.
It's similar to how anything other than getting rid of Thanos would be catastrophic for everything involved. Xehanort and Thanos (MCU Version) are very similar in that their aim is to create a balance in the universe. Their ideologies are the core issue, and if they're allowed to roam free, they're bound to try again sooner or later.

Mickey apparently put Pete in a separate dimension (though we learn later that it was Minnie) because he was causing too much mischief, and Maleficent rescued him without breaking a sweat. And that's Pete, somebody who isn't a threat to anybody except for maybe himself. Xehanort could probably just walk out if given the opportunity. Plus let's face it, the guy is old. That's why he was in such a hurry, it was literally do or die for him, and he was gonna get taken out either way. He didn't have much time, and him dying was the way that made the most sense.
 
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