Hey guys! I honestly don’t remember the last time I did one of these posts, haha! It’s been A WHILE. This series is probably one of the hardest to write, for whatever reason, so my lazy butt often just ignored that it existed. But NO MORE!!! Inspiring Character posts every month!!! This month, I’ll be turning to one of my all-time favorite movies, Howl’s Moving Castle, to hit the spotlight on Sophie Hatter. Again, to clarify, this will not be on the BOOK version of Sophie (even though Book Sophie is JUST as amazing). Let’s get into it! MAJOR Spoiler Warnings!
Long Story Short
Sophie Hatter works at, wait for it…a hat shop. She makes hats all day long, and lives quite the boring life. In fact, she isn’t all that satisfied with it herself, even if she claims otherwise. She has one beautiful sister who owns a bakery, and is loved by everyone. Also, Sophie’s mother isn’t as horrible as she was in the book, but she still isn’t really there for her. All in all, Sophie needs some excitement and adventure.
Then there’s Howl, the talk of the town. The girls love him, but they’re also scared of him because of the rumors floating around about him. Like how he literally steals the hearts of pretty girls. Well, Sophie’s not worried about that, because it only happens to “pretty girls”. In fact, she doesn’t care much about the wizards and their magic…until the Witch of the Waste casts a spell on her, turning her into an old woman.
To find a way to break the spell Sophie leaves town and stumbles upon Howl’s moving castle, in which she spends the night. She meets Calcifer and strikes a bargain with him; if she can break the curse on Howl, Calcifer will break the spell on her. She also meets Howl’s apprentice, Markle.
Meanwhile, there’s a war going on. Howl is summoned by the king to fight in it, but, being the coward that he is, decides to hide away instead. Sophie is constantly on him about being a coward, but Howl gets onto her about calling herself ugly. One of my favorite parts of this movie is how Howl can see through the spell, so he knows what she really looks like. In his eyes, she’s beautiful (unless you read the book, because Book Howl is kind of a brat). Anyway, throughout the movie, Sophie helps Howl not to be a coward, and Howl helps her to believe in herself.
In the end, Howl and Sophie find a way to end the war, and Sophie finds out how to break the spell on Howl. And you know what? Calcifer didn’t have to break Sophie’s spell; she broke it herself. All she had to do was believe that she could.
What Makes Sophie So Inspiring
There’s something about this movie that hits me right in the feels. For a lot of my life, I related to Sophie in the sense that I believed for a long time that I was ugly and useless. In fact, my sister often compared me to Sophie (to prove that I needed to get my head out of the clouds, haha!) If you knew me in real life, I was a lot like her.
So when I watch this movie, it always makes me get emotional. In some ways, her story is also my story. She fought to gain confidence in herself and eventually came to realize how beautiful she actually was, and that she wasn’t useless at all. And she didn’t fight alone- she had friends to hold her up.
I think a lot of people might be able to relate to this story, even though there isn’t any moving castles or talking fires in real life! For some people, finding confidence might be easy. For others, not so much. It could be a learning process. But we were all created by God to be unique, and we all have our own beauty and talents. Just because we don’t see that right away doesn’t mean it’s not there at all!
Just like we saw with Sophie, we just have to find it.
Greatest Moment –
I’m going to say the part at the end where she saves Howl, because it came after one of her lowest moments. Even when she was about to give up, she chose to get up and do something about her situation.
Greatest Quote –
“They say that the best blaze burns brightest when circumstances are at their worst.” – Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Some Fast Facts About Sophie –
– Studio Ghibli’s film is actually an adaptation of a book by the same title, written by Diana Wynne Jones. In this book, Sophie inherits her father’s hat shop.
– In the novel, Sophie has two sisters, not one. There is a reference to Sophie’s other sister, Martha, in the movie near the beginning when they are talking about Howl eating a girl’s heart.
– Also in the novel, Sophie had the power to speak things into existence (though she didn’t realize it at first). This appears to be the case in the movie as well, since she was able to break her own spell.
– At the end of the movie, Sophie and Howl appear to be married. Actually, in the novel, the did get married. There are also two more books in the series which include the couple, so if you need more Howl and Sophie in your life, give them a read! Just know they aren’t the sweet, loving couple from the movie, haha!
– According to IMDb, the moving castle and it’s occupants symbolize Howl. The castle is a mess and oddly built. Calcifer has his heart, and Markl is Howl’s innocence. The entire movie appears to be a symbol, since Sophie ends up cleaning the entire castle and making it pretty, and she also becomes friends with Calcifer and Markl. In a sense, this symbolized her helping Howl overcome his faults and reconciling with his past.
And finally…another Inspiring Characters completed! I think it’s been over a year since the last time I did one, but I’m hoping to stick to my monthly schedule with these! As I said, for some reason these posts are a little difficult to write, but fun at the same time. Guess I better figure out who I’ll be doing next!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful week!
All media property of Studio Ghibli.