The Kingdom Hearts series has quite the convoluted storyline knocking around, now Sora is connected to a plethora of different people and the ambiguous conversations about light and darkness have become commonplace. It’s not to be worried over, oftentimes the protagonists are hardly in the loop either and ever since the first game it has felt as if Sora doesn’t really know what’s going on around him; all the important events and decisions are happening in his absence. However the denizens of the Disney worlds are as blissfully ignorant as our hero allowing us to concentrate on the impact their familiar storylines have on the Keyblade wielder. Yet perhaps there is a society of Disney characters, ones who do not abide by the law that the Disney properties remain separate, and while they may rarely appear onscreen at the same time, they know their world is not alone and they know that these Keyblade wielders are important. But who are these characters?
For starters there is Yen Sid to consider, a former master himself, he is of the same level as Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort, perhaps even higher in respect due to his retired status. Eraqus tells his students that “his counsel serves as signposts on the road we wielders of the Keyblade must walk” revealing how revered the magician is in this universe. However because of this it is to be expected that Yen Sid knows a great deal about the mythology of the Keyblade and the scattering of the worlds, ultimately suggesting he is unique in his status as a Disney character, rather being more involved in the Kingdom Hearts mentality than in his original source material. Considering the guy never had a speaking role until this series (that’s 65 years a mute) it’s not surprising his allegiances lie elsewhere.
Next up we there’s King Mickey and his loyal subjects in Disney Castle/Disney Town; these characters (being the mascots of the entire Walt Disney conglomeration) are represented as main characters in the Kingdom Hearts series. Donald Duck and Goofy are Sora’s trusted companions and it’s true to say any release without them fighting by your side hasn’t felt quite the same. Then there’s Mickey Mouse, king of his world and a Keyblade Master himself. After being absent in almost all of the original Kingdom Hearts, his appearance at the end revealed he knew a lot more about what was going on than our protagonists, who had barely scratched the surface of the darkness waiting in store for him. Thus perhaps Mickey and his subjects are a part of this society? However yet again their status is somewhat more unique; it is clear that whatever Mickey has been doing in the background of the series, it has not been with the help of any of the Disney characters, rather he sends Donald and Goofy to Leon to begin their journey and whenever he has required counsel it has always been from Yen Sid or DiZ. Furthermore his subjects are out of the question also because, while Donald and Goofy have been following their King since the beginning in Birth by Sleep the fact they are sent to find Leon in Kingdom Hearts reveals that Mickey has decided there is a lot they do not necessarily need to know, leaving his true intent a mystery for much of the series. Yet despite Yen Sid and Mickey remaining heavily invested in their missions, perhaps they have not left their Disney brethren entirely in the dark and there are specific characters they have informed, at least to some degree, about the state of the worlds and the keys that tie them together.
These characters seem to be the rulers of their respective worlds however some appear as helpful advisors along the way. For instance Merlin, who has taken up a residence in a world not his own has been shown to be a helpful friend to all. He is part of the Hollow Bastion restoration committee, is called upon by Queen Minnie when darkness seizes Disney Castle and teaches Lea how to use his Keyblade. He seems to be an indispensable ally and one who, while never surpassing his status as supporting cast member, has access to travel between worlds and knows a great deal about what is going on overall. Then there are the three fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty who not only give Sora his new clothes with the ability to use Drive transformations, but also are helping Merlin train Lea too. The Fairy Godmother gives Sora access to Summons in the first Kingdom Hearts suggesting she is of a similar ilk. These characters appear to be recruited by Yen Sid and King Mickey in order to assist in the training and sustainability of the Keyblade wielders and are therefore informed to some degree of the worlds’ predicament. Thus this would make them similar to the citizens of Disney Castle who have developed somewhat their own stock of knowledge due to their desire to help their King. And yet while this all suggests that Yen Sid has recruited a band of Disney characters to help him, this cannot simply be the case.
There is still a sense that these characters have been in the know from the very beginning. Merlin already lives in Radiant Garden during Birth by Sleep and Scrooge McDuck already has access to travel wherever he chooses. The Fairy Godmother upon meeting Terra tells him to follow Cinderella so that “you’ll know that she believes, and that will help you to believe, too.” Sure this sounds vague enough, but its evidence to suggest she already senses something stirring in Terra’s heart, revealing that perhaps she knows the Keyblade wielder is in a delicate frame of mind. Then there’s Queen Minnie who possesses awesome powers of light as witnessed when Sora is enrolled as her bodyguard during the siege on Disney Castle. Indeed she is Mickey’s queen but it reveals that, unlike the other characters in this world, she has a power of her own that is separate from the king suggesting she possesses an understanding greater than the others of her kingdom. And let’s not forget King Triton from The Little Mermaid who calls Sora out saying “as the key bearer, you must already know one must not meddle in the affairs of other worlds”. Furthermore it is his trident which reveals the key hole in his world. Indeed it seems the king of Atlantica is well informed on the role of the Keyblade wielders and the existence of other worlds. Perhaps he too has a greater grasp on light and darkness than he’s letting on. Indeed there seem to be plenty of Disney characters who have certain power and knowledge of this universe, and yet where did they all get this somewhat vague shared knowledge from?
Perhaps Yen Sid thought it his duty to inform certain members of each world about such information as the safety of each one is clearly in jeopardy more often than one cares to mention. And with Maleficent gathering the Disney villains in the original Kingdom Hearts it would be foolish to think that something similar hasn’t already been done with those we can deem to be the protector of their worlds. It wouldn’t be too hard to believe that absent rules such as the Sultan of Agrabah and Zeus on Mount Olympus are keeping the worlds safe behind the scenes, or someone like the Grand Council Woman is privy to a greater knowledge, recognising that only Aqua can defeat the enemies on her ship. And finally the protection of the Princesses of Hearts is a large concern even during Birth by Sleep and perhaps the necessity to keep them protected spurned on the beginning of this Disney society, its main purpose to protect everyone from the worst forms of darkness.
Ultimately there must be more informed characters in each world than one initially expects and that while Sora, Donald and Goofy travel between each world on their quest, it wouldn’t be surprising to believe that they are in a sense being watched over too as the darkness of Xehanort grows ever more each and every day. With the Xehanort saga set to end in Kingdom Hearts III perhaps it is time this society comes to the foreground in some way or another, because I can imagine at this point, Sora is going to need all the help he can get to defeat the darkness.