By the end of the movie, Sophie herself was the one who broke her curse through her newfound confidence as well as Howls. Sophie Hatter, the main character in the Studio Ghibli film adapted from Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Howl’s Moving Castle, finds herself cursed by the Witch of the Waste and transformed into an old woman. She seeks refuge in the castle of the wizard Howl, who is also under a curse.
How Did Sophie’s Curse Work?
Sophie’s curse was placed on her by the Witch of the Waste, who was jealous of Sophie’s beauty and youthful energy. Ultimately, the Witch did this as a way to get back at Sophie for being with Howl during their encounter. The curse turned Sophie into an old woman, making her feel useless and unattractive, furthering her self-doubt about herself. The curse also prevented her from talking about it or seeking help.
How Did Howl’s Curse Work?
Howl’s curse was self-inflicted, and it was caused by his fear of growing old and losing his magical powers. He made a pact with the demon Calcifer, giving him his heart in exchange for eternal youth and magical powers. The curse made Howl constantly change his appearance to avoid being recognized, which made him appear fickle and untrustworthy. However, the curse had a downside, as it made Howl vulnerable to the Witch of the Waste, who wanted to use his powers for her own purposes.
Sophie realized that the only way to break the curse was to confront the Witch of the Waste and ask her to remove it. However, Sophie had no idea how to find the witch or how to face her. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands and try to break the curse herself. She embarked on a journey through the wastes, hoping to randomly stumble upon the Witch’s lair. On a break from her long trek, she decided to look for a branch to act as a cane. Buried beneath the bushes, there she met a scarecrow who she named Turnip-Head. Turnip-Head’s understanding of the human language made Sophie realize that it was also cursed like her.
As it was about to be nighttime, Turnip-Head guided a frail Sophie into a shelter he found. As it turns out, it was Howl’s very own moving castle. Once inside, she made a plan to use her newfound status as an old woman to her advantage. She would pretend to be a cleaning lady and infiltrate Howl’s castle. She hoped to find some clues that would help her break the curse.
How Did Sophie Undo Her Curse?
Sophie was able to break her curse by learning to love herself and accepting her appearance. This allowed her to regain her confidence and youthful energy. However, Sophie’s curse was not completely broken until she helped Howl break his curse as well. She did this by reminding Howl of the love he had for his friends and family and convincing him to face his fears and regain his heart from Calcifer.
Though it was not explicitly explained in the movie adaptation, the book revealed that Sophie actually had undiscovered powers of her own. It helped her break free from the curse and help Howl be rid of his as well. The fact that the Wicked Witch of the Waste had her powers drained also helped in weakening the curse.
Breaking Howl’s Curse
Howl broke his curse by confronting his fear of growing old and accepting that it was a natural part of life. He was also able to realize that his magical powers came from his heart, which he had given to Calcifer in exchange for eternal youth. With Sophie’s help, Howl was able to regain his heart and break the curse. In the process, he also learned to accept his true identity and become a more compassionate and caring person.
Sophie and Howl’s journey to break their curses was a testament to the power of love, self-acceptance, and facing one’s fears. By confronting and accepting themselves for who they were, Sophie and Howl were able to break their curses and regain their youth and magical powers. Their story reminds us that we can overcome even the most challenging obstacles if we have the courage to believe in ourselves and the people we love.