Why Did Master Xehanort Split Himself Into Heartless/Nobody?



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Face My Fears

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While thinking about the events of KH2 (because again I'm dealing with people saying that KH2's story is the best), I could never understand (even before BbS/Days were a thing) why "Xehanort" chose to become a heartless/nobody? Which is why I never really felt for Xemnas when he was moaning about not having a heart and how he just wants it back, it never made sense to me because they tried to make the Organization seem tragic, but most of them willingly allowed themselves to become nobodies.

Now I thought it had something to do with research Xehanort needed for a future plot, but turns out that Master Xehanort already knew how to transfer his heart into another vessel. Was he just trying to get more personas (Ansem and Xemnas) for his backup plot in KH3? Did he need two forms to execute his two plans (capture princesses of heart and assemble vessels)? I mean, surely he could have just found the Organization members and forced them to become nobodies -- why did he himself have to split into heartless/nobody?
 

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Its a possibility Xehanort didn't plan for turning into a heartless/nobody and made the most of it.

Or because of his time travel shenanigans, he learned of him being a nobody/heartless and just rolled with it.
 

AR829038

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While thinking about the events of KH2 (because again I'm dealing with people saying that KH2's story is the best), I could never understand (even before BbS/Days were a thing) why "Xehanort" chose to become a heartless/nobody? Which is why I never really felt for Xemnas when he was moaning about not having a heart and how he just wants it back, it never made sense to me because they tried to make the Organization seem tragic, but most of them willingly allowed themselves to become nobodies.

Now I thought it had something to do with research Xehanort needed for a future plot, but turns out that Master Xehanort already knew how to transfer his heart into another vessel. Was he just trying to get more personas (Ansem and Xemnas) for his backup plot in KH3? Did he need two forms to execute his two plans (capture princesses of heart and assemble vessels)? I mean, surely he could have just found the Organization members and forced them to become nobodies -- why did he himself have to split into heartless/nobody?
It's important to remember that Xehanort likely still didn't remember who he was when he chose to do that. At that point in time, Xehanort was just a curious scientist trying to figure out the mysteries of the heart as well as those of darkness and his own past. When Xehanort turned himself into a Heartless, it was merely so that he could seek a greater understanding of its power, and perhaps use it to gain access to Kingdom Hearts, which he assumed to be a trove of infinite knowledge and wisdom. It's possible that, insofar as Master Xehanort's plans were concerned, Apprentice Xehanort simply channeled those plans subconsciously into action, not fully understanding the import behind turning himself into a Heartless and Nobody. That is, Apprentice Xehanort likely had no intentions of utilizing his Heartless and Nobody selves as pawns in bringing about the Keyblade War—that was just the unconscious driving force behind what he did, an unconscious force influenced by Master Xehanort's heart within him but not fully comprehended by him at that time.
 

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Its a possibility Xehanort didn't plan for turning into a heartless/nobody and made the most of it.

Or because of his time travel shenanigans, he learned of him being a nobody/heartless and just rolled with it.
If KH1's Ansem Report 13 is any indication, he found out about Xemnas after discarding his body and likely before his time travel crusade.
 

Face My Fears

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It's important to remember that Xehanort likely still didn't remember who he was when he chose to do that. At that point in time, Xehanort was just a curious scientist trying to figure out the mysteries of the heart as well as those of darkness and his own past. When Xehanort turned himself into a Heartless, it was merely so that he could seek a greater understanding of its power, and perhaps use it to gain access to Kingdom Hearts, which he assumed to be a trove of infinite knowledge and wisdom. It's possible that, insofar as Master Xehanort's plans were concerned, Apprentice Xehanort simply channeled those plans subconsciously into action, not fully understanding the import behind turning himself into a Heartless and Nobody. That is, Apprentice Xehanort likely had no intentions of utilizing his Heartless and Nobody selves as pawns in bringing about the Keyblade War—that was just the unconscious driving force behind what he did, an unconscious force influenced by Master Xehanort's heart within him but not fully comprehended by him at that time.
Apprentice Xehanort lost all his memories? I thought it was all an act. When Braig asks him if it was Terra or Xehanort, I thought the look Xehanort gave him was confirmation that it was Xehanort.

KH2 made it seem like this guy named Xehanort was dangerously curious about the heart and ended up having this vendetta against Ansem The Wise prohibiting the research, but now that we know all the time travel stuff and "real Organization" etc. I just don't get how/why Xehanort would even do the split... unless Xehanort was genuinely learning about nobodies for the first time and thought the concept could help him achieve his goal. I mean, Xehanort knew how to transfer his heart into another body, but he still had the body issue (which explains why he needed to research the split). But that STILL doesn't explain why he split himself, especially considering that he was wary of Terra's resilience. What if Terra had fought back or been released? How was Xehanort so sure that the split would bring back Terra?
 

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Apprentice Xehanort lost all his memories? I thought it was all an act. When Braig asks him if it was Terra or Xehanort, I thought the look Xehanort gave him was confirmation that it was Xehanort.

KH2 made it seem like this guy named Xehanort was dangerously curious about the heart and ended up having this vendetta against Ansem The Wise prohibiting the research, but now that we know all the time travel stuff and "real Organization" etc. I just don't get how/why Xehanort would even do the split... unless Xehanort was genuinely learning about nobodies for the first time and thought the concept could help him achieve his goal. I mean, Xehanort knew how to transfer his heart into another body, but he still had the body issue (which explains why he needed to research the split). But that STILL doesn't explain why he split himself, especially considering that he was wary of Terra's resilience. What if Terra had fought back or been released? How was Xehanort so sure that the split would bring back Terra?
Again, Apprentice Xehanort was amnesiac when this happened. He did not remember who he was or what MX's intentions were for splitting himself in two. All of the reports that Xehanort wrote (the Ansem reports from KH1) confirm his thought process behind his actions, and all we have as evidence to the contrary is that Braig became suspicious that Xehanort was feigning his amnesia. In reality, all Xehanort's actions, including the testing of Subject X, which was a way for him to try and better understand his own amnesia, point to his being unaware of his original self's true intentions.
 

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It was a happy accident.

Again, Apprentice Xehanort was amnesiac when this happened. He did not remember who he was or what MX's intentions were for splitting himself in two. All of the reports that Xehanort wrote (the Ansem reports from KH1) confirm his thought process behind his actions, and all we have as evidence to the contrary is that Braig became suspicious that Xehanort was feigning his amnesia. In reality, all Xehanort's actions, including the testing of Subject X, which was a way for him to try and better understand his own amnesia, point to his being unaware of his original self's true intentions.
Yup!
 

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Apprentice Xehanort lost all his memories? I thought it was all an act. When Braig asks him if it was Terra or Xehanort, I thought the look Xehanort gave him was confirmation that it was Xehanort.
Well, not quite. Braig always had his suspicions about Xehanort, still questioning Xehanort's amnesia as he was getting his heart extracted (not like we got a straight answer out of Xehanort, anyways). What is for certain is that Xehanort always acted like...Xehanort, which is how I reasoned Braig's difficulty in discerning if Xehanort was acting subconsciously or playing coy (in an ironic twist, it was Braig playing coy the whole time, but I digress).

KH2 made it seem like this guy named Xehanort was dangerously curious about the heart and ended up having this vendetta against Ansem The Wise prohibiting the research, but now that we know all the time travel stuff and "real Organization" etc. I just don't get how/why Xehanort would even do the split...
Ultimately this is my opinion, but I think you're better off understanding the story of KH1-2 within its own context than as parts of the bigger picture; whatever Nomura had intended to imply then should be as true as it is now as it was then. Although he certainly has a history in changing the context of older material with new plot development (eg. Braig/Luxu), the motif of "following the heart's etched path" is pretty consistent among all Xehanorts (even Xemnas you could make a case for within the context of KH1/2).

unless Xehanort was genuinely learning about nobodies for the first time and thought the concept could help him achieve his goal. I mean, Xehanort knew how to transfer his heart into another body, but he still had the body issue (which explains why he needed to research the split). But that STILL doesn't explain why he split himself, especially considering that he was wary of Terra's resilience. What if Terra had fought back or been released? How was Xehanort so sure that the split would bring back Terra?
With all Xehanorts, all roads led to Kingdom Hearts; every choice they made, be them subconscious or conscious, was done in pursuit of KH. Transcending his existence was necessary for Xehanort to summon KH by plunging the worlds into darkness and to pass on the ability to time travel to Young Xehanort, which subsequently set in motion the final attempt to summon KH.

As for Terra's dilemma, perhaps Xehanort's tendency to veer closer to the darkness (combined with Braig's guidance) could have given MX more confidence in this master plan.
 

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Apprentice Xehanort lost all his memories? I thought it was all an act. When Braig asks him if it was Terra or Xehanort, I thought the look Xehanort gave him was confirmation that it was Xehanort.
I honestly don't think it matters. Everything that happened was destined to happen. That would mean that his amnesia was real, but he was subconsciously acting on MX's desires, because fulfilling those actions was what he was supposed to do. And even if the amnesia was fake, which evidentially, doesn't seem to be the case (rather that it was real at some point, but he got his memories back and acted coyly) he's still acting on MX's desires, which he (again) was supposed to be doing.
 
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