The Light Won’t Follow Xehanort’s Rules

The Light Won’t Follow Xehanort’s Rules

Now that we’re done with our month-long celebration of Saix, let’s get back to that exciting extended TGS trailer for Kingdom Hearts III.

In particular, let’s discuss the chess scene at the beginning.

The first TGS trailer showed a brief, ominous image of the chess piece that represents Sora completely surrounded by Xehanort’s golden chess pieces. The extended trailer continues that scene.

“Checkmate,” Xehanort says, as he completes the circle around the sole silver piece. “Just like the legend. Darkness prevails, and light expires.”

But Eraqus calmly respond with, “My move, isn’t it?” and reaches for his piece.

The chess scene has had symbolic meaning ever since we first saw it. It represents the Guardians of Light facing off against the Seekers of Darkness, and it seems to tie into Xehanort’s belief in destiny and that the future has “already been written.”

So while this exchange is tiny, it might hold great significance.

In chess, “checkmate” means the game is over. If the king is in danger, you declare “check,” and the other player must move their king to safety. If there is no place the king can be moved, it is “checkmate” and the game ends.

Xehanort did not say “check,” but “checkmate.” Eraqus has lost the game. Xehanort won. Yet Eraqus picks up his piece to make another move, even though there are no moves he can make. He even casually comments that it’s his turn, even though it is not his turn if it’s checkmate.

This clip has prompted jokes about Eraqus not knowing how to play chess, but what if the deeper meaning here is that Xehanort thinks they’re playing by rules that don’t actually apply?

Leading up to Kingdom Hearts III, Xehanort appears to believe his plan is infallible. During Dream Drop Distance, he dismisses several things as being the work of destiny. In general, he seems to assume everything will work out the way he’s planned it, because it must go that way. The pieces are in place and the game is over. Just like “checkmate” means the opponent has no moves left.

What if Sora and the others break the rules Xehanort is playing by? They change a future that is set in stone, do something that should be impossible, or otherwise show Xehanort that what he sees as an unchangeable truth is actually false.

Of course, this could tie back into our earlier theory that Xehanort is fighting destiny, especially since his suspicious line about hoping the Light surprises him comes at the start of this same chess match where Eraqus will seemingly refuse to accept that Darkness has won.

On the other hand, maybe Eraqus’s move just symbolizes that Sora won’t give up even against great odds… but I think it’s significant that Xehanort actually declares “checkmate” in the scene.

What do you think? Does the chess scene symbolize an outcome Xehanort believes is against the rules?

Tags: eraqus, guardians of light, xehanort
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