As both a lifelong gamer and Disney fan, I’ve always felt that the Kingdom Hearts series was made just for me. The juxtaposition of the lighthearted, happy-go-lucky Disney films and the serious and introspective Final Fantasy games make for a strangely engaging narrative.
As ridiculous as the premise may be, the Kingdom Hearts games have always taken their stories and thematic elements seriously. As such, there are several moral lessons that I’ve taken from the series and implemented into my own daily life.
You Are Who You Are Because of the People Around You
Our personalities and ideals, for better or worse, are shaped by those around us. Sora, the series’ cheerful protagonist, brings out the best in every person he meets. He also has the support of a few friends for times when he can’t do things alone.
Conversely, we should also be wary of letting potentially negative influences get too close to our hearts. Characters like Riku and Terra go through some truly tumultuous situations as a result of hanging around the wrong crowd. The only way to pull themselves back up is through the help of those important to them.
Independence and a Strong Heart
It’s important for us to surround ourselves with positivity, but we shouldn’t neglect the need to nurture our own independence. This idea is the crux of Ventus’ story in Birth By Sleep. He starts off simply tailing after his older brother figure, Terra. But Ven decides to see the world with a new perspective and grow into a person independent of those who used to protect him.
Strength of heart will carry you through the toughest of times, and the trials we are forced to conquer on our own are amongst the most harrowing. The people we love the most won’t always be there to help us. The lessons they taught us, in conjunction with our own independence, should be more than enough to weather the storm.
Helping Others Should Always Come Before Asking Others for Help
Sora’s most defining feature is his kind heart. No matter what world he visits, Sora always does his best to assist those in need in any way he can. Although his efforts are usually rewarded, Sora never expects anything in return.
Sora taught me the virtue of pure kindness. We shouldn’t help people because of some weird sense of karma. We should, rather, help people because it’s the right thing to do. If doing so makes even one person’s life a little bit better, then it’s definitely worth it.
Balance and Moderation
Kingdom Hearts’ dual elements of light and darkness taught me the importance of balance. Darkness isn’t inherently bad, but submerging yourself in it for too long is corrosive to the heart. Light isn’t inherently good either, as walking too close to it can blind you to the truth. The relationship between Master Xehanort and Master Eraqus best exemplifies these ideas.
Living life in extremes on either side is dangerous, something that Riku wholeheartedly believed. He wanted to live in the warmth of the light, but couldn’t ignore his growing darkness. As such, he took the middle road, the twilight road to dawn. Taking a little bit from two opposing sides can often result in a fairly equal compromise, but only if both parties are mature enough to accept it.
If You Have a Dream, Don’t Wait, Act
Words without action are just that, words. It’s easy to sit and daydream about what you wish could happen, but it is difficult to actually take steps to make your dreams a reality. Kairi longed to reunite with Sora, but rather than wait for the Keyblade-wielding hero to return home, she sets out to find him on her own, ready and willing to confront all sorts of danger.
My dream is to tell stories even better than the ones that have inspired me. I used to brainstorm all types of fun ideas. For the longest time, that’s all they were, just fleeting thoughts. To achieve my dream, I strive every day to improve my writing and storytelling chops. Meaningful actions are the only way to get results.
The lessons feed into the main points of being a good-hearted person and cherishing those that are important to us. These themes aren’t unique to Kingdom Hearts, but the series’ characters present them in a way that resonates with me. I’ve become a stronger person because of the lessons these meaningful games have taught me.