Unpopular Opinion: The Key to All (Xehanort's Theme)



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nyctodarkmatter

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Alright, WOO, unpopular opinion time. The Key to All is composed of 3 parts: Destati, Rage Awakened, and the theme of Armored Xehanort.

I've heard a lot of discussion about why Rage Awakened doesn't fit in this fight and why this theme is mediocre because of it, but I'd like all of you who dislike this theme to look at it in another light.

The best argument I've heard people say is that "Rage Awakened plays when people are pissed off", and sorry, but that wasn't satisfying enough for me. So I've been thinking about this song for a long while, and I think I've finally figured out why they would choose to use this in the final fight against Xehanort.


First, let's take a look at Rage Awakened as a whole. It plays only a select few times throughout the series:
- Against Xehanort whose heart is possessing Terra
- Against Xehanort, whose heart is possessing Terra, again
- Against Lingering Will, who thinks you're Xehanort
- Against the final Xehanort


Rage Awakened as a song shares similarities with Darkness of the Unknown (Xemnas), L'Impeto Oscuro (Young Xehanort), and plays against Xehanort specifically, except for one specific instance (more on that later). It does not, however, bear any similarities to Terra (the theme), which is a strange coincidence since Kingdom Hearts as a series likes to drop bombs for characters whose tracks tie them together. As an example, let's look at Vanitas, whose theme uses Ventus' and Sora's themes because he is part with them. But look at Rage Awakened: There's no hint of Terra anywhere. In fact, Darkness of the Unknown has more of Terra's theme hidden in it than Rage Awakened does. Makes sense; Xemnas is Terra-Xehanort's Nobody, so the theme fits here. So where is Terra's theme? Simple: It's not there, because Terra is irrelevant to Rage Awakened.


The reason it plays against Lingering Will is because Lingering Will is being treated as the protagonist in that fight, hence why he is arguably the hardest fight in the whole series. You are playing against the willpower of a seeker of light known for his pure strength; the willpower of someone who is hellbent on defeating Xehanort. And Lingering Will, if I'm remembering correctly, mistakes Sora for Xehanort, which is why the fight takes place at all. If Lingering Will saw Sora for who he was, he would have zero interest in fighting him.

This takes me to my final point: this means that the reason this plays against Xehanort in the final fight is because this IS Xehanort's theme, not Terra's, and not Lingering Will's. Terra already has his theme, and if it were Lingering Will's, it would bear similarities to Terra's theme, but it doesn't, it bears similarities to the other Xehanort-related themes instead. Rage Awakened has the same progression and ultimately resembles the other Xehanort themes more than Terra's theme because this theme is Xehanort's theme. And yes, Rage is a small part of this theme. You heard it against Lingering Will as he mentions Xehanort's name and rises in anger to defeat it; you heard it against Xehanort in Birth by Sleep when your final act of willpower is to take him down and save your friends; you heard it again against Xehanort in the secret chapter, attacking Xehanort in spite, attempting to release your friend's heart from the grasp of Xehanort; and finally, Sora, the only fight that requires you to go into Rage Form to defeat Xehanort, because Sora knows everything Xehanort has done.

Rage is a part of Rage Awakened, and Xehanort is the other half; the theme of Rage Awakened represents a character's rise to the occasion, their desperation and need to defeat Xehanort. It is NOT Lingering Will's theme, nor is it Terra-Xehanort's theme; however, Lingering Will uses it to rise against Xehanort just as Sora and Aqua do in their respective moments.


So if we look at it under that light, suddenly the final boss themes near the end all make sense:
- You fight Ansem, Xemnas and Young Xehanort at the same time, which gives you the theme of Ultimate Darkness.
- You fight 13 Darknesses in Scala ad Caelum, followed by Armored Xehanort, giving you the original theme of Armored Xehanort and the army of darkness.
- Then Rage Awakened kicks in, and you are faced with the theme that truly represents triumph over Xehanort, Rage Awakened. And this theme, as a whole, gives you the confidence you need to defeat him in this final clash to end the Xehanort saga.
- And then Destati kicks in to do the simplest task that the theme needs to be final: It calls back to how all of Sora's journey began.

To all of you who believe that Rage Awakened has no purpose being in this final fight, I hope this allows you to shed a new light and see what Rage Awakened was always meant to represent. Music has never been something Kingdom Hearts struggled with, and this is no exception; the community may not have followed what they were doing at first, but they had this planned from the beginning. I truly believe THIS is what Rage Awakened was supposed to mean in this fight to all of us.
 

WhinyAcademic

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It’s a good analysis. I wouldn’t have minded a few more themes in there either. Honestly I was so happy that Destati was used for the final boss theme that I was willing to overlook Rage Awakened.
 

nyctodarkmatter

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Absolutely. I'm not trying to argue that Key to All is better than Ultimate Darkness (cuz that would be a lie), HOWEVER I'd like to give people something to chew on about WHY Rage Awakened was used in this fight and why I think it fits in really well now.
 

Detronilizer

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One nitpick I have with this: Rage Awakened DOES have Terra's theme buried in it. I made this theory video over a decade ago before BBS came out, pointing out similarities between Terra's and Xehanort's various themes (granted, I was off-the-mark with Master Xehanort's theme), but check out the identical leitmotif that pops up between these tracks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3wI87ThJpg
 
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