Howl's Moving Castle Explained (also the curse and ending) (2023)

If you've come across this, chances are you've seen Howl's Moving Castle and are thinking, "Huh?" Well don't worry buddy because I was pretty confused too when I first saw what it is of my favorite movies. Here's an overview of the plot and maybe a few things you may have missed and gotten confused about.

Part 1: Sophie the Hatter

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The film opens with Sophie quietly creating beautiful hats in her shop as she watches Howl's Castle go by. She's an average girl and doesn't think much of herself (that scene where she tries on the hat and recovers is honestly in real life). As the other ladies prepare to leave the shop, one of them comments that Howl once ripped out a woman's heart.

Sophie gets tired of working (immediately) and goes looking for her sister. As she moves through the city, we see that she is having some kind of military celebration. She then gets attacked by 2 soldiers when Bae shows up.

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A very quirky-looking Howl comments that he was looking for her (This is very important) and that she's with him, so back off you bitches. He offers to accompany her to her destination and here we learn that for some reason they are following him.

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Here we have the most iconic scene in the movie, with no plot relevance, but it shows Howl is the most attractive Ghibli man. Everything about this scene is perfect, take a moment to respect that.

Sophie finally meets her sister Lettie, the local hottie, and we see once again that Sophie has low self-esteem. She doesn't even like to make hats and she just feels like the oldest in charge of the shop. Lettie informs him that thewaste witchbeen on the road lately too. We then see that, according to Howl, things come from a person being carried in a palanquin (!!).

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Sophie returns to her shop and a mysterious and strangely terrifying woman appears. She turns out to be quite the bitch, so Sophie tells her to get off her. She reveals herself to be the witch of the debris and we see that.Figures loading their rubbish at the door. She curses Sophie and part of her curse is that she can't reveal to anyone that she's been cursed. But what is the curse? SOPHIE'S ALTER AF.

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The next day, Sophie's mother comes to visit, but Sophie is not in the store. She pretends to be sick and this is where we really see that Sophie is old. She says things like "it's not easy being old" and "my clothes finally fit me"; We don't condone the hatred of granny chic aesthetics in this house, Sophie. She then heads to the hills to find a way to break the curse. In the city thereGossip of a brewing war.

(Video) The TRUE MEANING of Howl's Moving Castle

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While eating, he finds a large cane that he thinks would make a good walking stick. When he pulls it out of the bush it's stuck in, we see that it is indeed asensiblescarecrow (because why not). Again we are shown battleships signaling an imminent war.

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The sensitive scarecrow literally brings Sophie Howl's moving castle as a thank you when she asks him to find her a place to sleep, what an action-packed king. Throughout this process we see Sophie accepting that she is old.

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Could we also take a moment to appreciate how much work it must have taken to animate this colossal mess Howl calls a castle? Sophie manages to get on board and sit by a small fire.

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But it's not just a flame in the fireplace, it's asensibleCall who can tell that Sophie is under a curse, hmm. Calling himself the Fire Demon (very cute for a demon), Calcifer offers Sophie a deal: break the spell that keeps him trapped in Howl's Castle, and he will break the curse on her. But to do that, she has to make a choice.Secret contract that Calcifer has with Howl, MMM.

Part 2: Cleaning War

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The next day we are introduced to Howl's apprentice, Markl. We are also presented with a very important plot point: the door is actually a portal to 4 different doors.bedrooms& Black ones 'howl gate'. The authorities knock on the door to inform Howl (and his various aliases) that they must submit to conscription, Big Boss Lady's orders.

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BREAKFAST SCENE, I love it. Howl comes back from the black door and makes breakfast, LOOK AT THESE EGGS. Anyway, Howl can tell Waste Witch that he left a spell in Sophie's pocket, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that he can also tell Sophie under a spell. The saying goes "Whoever catches a shooting star, oh heartless man, your heart will be mine“.

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CLEANING SCENE, this scene is so satisfying. Anyway, during Calcifer's broadcast we can see that he has one.elongated rear (core)Yeah, that's important, right? Notice how it moves when Howl blows on it.

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calcifer sagtif he dies, Howl dies. We also see that Sophie, who previously even had trouble walking, suddenly has no problem cleaning the whole house after getting upset. Scarecrow also returns at this point and we see that the war has started and Howl is not fighting on the same side as the rest of the wizards. While she sleeps, Sophie reverts to her original form.

(Video) Howl's Moving Castle Makes So Much Sense

Part 3: Circumventing the law

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Howl completely breaks down when Sophie mixes his potions and spells, causing his hair to turn orange, alright, drama queen. Sophie has a fit and it seemsphysically youngeras she cries, but she soon realizes that Howl is just having a tantrum. We see Howl's obsession with beautiful things and that he is a bit of a hoarder.

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As with all meltdowns, there was something else bothering Howl: he was trying to avoid the queen (technically the king's main wizard, but I call her queen) who was after him for conscription.ythe witch of the waste, whose heart seems to have broken in the past.

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That's when Howl comes up with the brilliant idea of ​​sending Sophie to impersonate her mother to reject the Queen's involvement in the war, as if that would make a difference.

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Along the way, he comes across a dog that he thinks is a howler in disguise. The Queen also seems to have summoned the Witch of Apostasy to participate in the war, and the two have a comical argument on the stairs.

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Sophie is led to the Queen, who turns out to be Howl's teacher, while some sort of spell is cast on the Waste Witch. The queen claims that a demon stole Howl's heart and that if he works for her, he can teach him how to break the contract. She reveals that she has removed all of the Waste Witch's powers and threatens to do the same to Howl if she doesn't submit. It seems that taking care of him came at a price, she wants returns.

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But Sophie realizes that doing so would cost Howl's freedom and force him to commit war crimes. While defending Howl, Sophie returns to her younger self in a truly magical sequence.Every time she becomes passionate or full of life., she always seems to turn back time.

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Howl shows up in the dumbest costume ever (as the king) and the queen sees right through it. She begins by draining his powers, but they manage to break free and escape.Howl's ring shows the way to Calcifer.

When Howl finally returns home from the fight, Sophie reverts to her younger self. She looks for him in her man cave and confesses that she wants to break her spell because she loves him, but he notices her.she is very late.

(Video) Sophie's a Witch?! - Howl's Moving Castle | Hayao Miyazaki | Studio Ghibli Breakdown

Part 4: Starlight

Sophie threatens to kill Calcifer, but he refuses to reveal what Howl gave him, alright asshole. The next day they have so much fun eating and cleaning again omg I love this movie. Howl also reveals that the Scarecrow is under a spell.

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Howl gives his castle a much simpler and cleaner look and moves it to where Sophie's shop is to avoid the queen! As the film progresses we see howHowl goes from being a superficial lover of pretty things to someone who more deeply loves and appreciates substance., artfully illustrated by the design of the castle and its outfits. He then shows Sophie his present: he takes her to her BEAUTIFUL secret garden.where did you spend your childhoodrunning around. While playing, he becomes young again, but when his negative mindset kicks in, he returns to old age.

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When a battleship flies past them, Howl decides to deal with it, leading to side effects. The two quickly run away, and Sophie returns home. Then, out of the blue, Sophie's mom finds her at Sophie's house, leaving behind a small bag as directed by the Queen (that bitch). The Waste witch finds a magical snail inside her and feeds it to Calcifer (Psycho-Lady, she's the only character I still don't like), reducing her powers and channeling the magic through the ward her.

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As air raids bombard the city, Howl returns and restores the integrity of the castle and Calcifer. Sophie asks him to run away, but Howl refuses because he wants to protect the home from her (Melting). To get him out of the war and flee the queen, Sophie pulls Calcifer out of the castle and it collapses.

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After successfully losing the queen, Sophie asks Calcifer to move the castle once more, but a weakened Calcifer demands that she do so.give him some of her in exchange for power.She gives him her hair and Calcifer goes berserk. He says, "Imagine what you could have done with your heart," and the damn old woman grabs Calcifer as she realizes she did it.howling heart.

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This, along with Sophie splashing water on him, further weakens Calcifer and the remaining lock collapses completely, dropping Sophie. The ring Howl gives her leads her through the black door of the castle and into Howl's secret garden. She sees shooting stars and a young howl -She has traveled back to her childhood.. Why? – Because that is the door where Howl isHertz(Mind/Soul - both figurative and literal) lies. It is Howl's door, after all.

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Luego vemos el trato entre Howl y Calcifer: salvó una estrella moribunda al darle su corazón. El anillo se rompe y ella se tira, pero les dice a los dos que la esperen en el futuro y dice que volverá a buscarlos.

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When he returns, he sees Howl scruffy, war-weary, and barely holding his own because his heart is badly weakened. She apologizes for keeping him waiting and asks him to take her to Calcifer.

(Video) Howl's Moving Castle - an Underrated Masterpiece

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Sophie questions Calcifer if giving Howl's heart back would kill him, but Calcifer realizes that they were fine even when Sophie sprayed him with water and that she could probably be the one to give him his heart back (maybe because the ownership of his heart is unconditional💖). She then says what sounds a bit like a spell wishing both Howl and Calcifer a long life as she returns his heart.

The contract falls apart, and as they fall, they are saved one last time by the Scarecrow. Sophie kisses him in thanks and that breaks her spell too! It turns out to be the prince of the neighboring country and promises to end the war. Calcifer and Howl are finally free and they all live happily ever after as one big family.

How fitting that in a movie about giving and receiving hearts, pure, selfless love is what sets everyone free.

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What was Sophie's curse anyway?

Throughout the film, we see that his physical appearance changes with his state of mind. When she is full of life, happy or passionate, she reverts to her younger self. But when negativity consumes her, when she talks bad about herself to others, or when she thinks she's not worth it, she seems older. As I come to the interpretation, I get the feeling that her curse was that her physical appearance reflected her mental state. Over the course of the film, she learns to be kind to herself as she is to others, and not to talk to herself. She is also worthy of love and happiness. If she finally gains real confidence, she will remain the same young woman from then on.

I love Howl's Moving Castle and, as with all Ghibli movies, I urge you to rewatch this movie if you haven't. All Ghibli movies, and this one in particular, gets better on rewatching, trust me.

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(Video) How Small Details Completely Change Howl’s Moving Castle (Studio Ghibli)


Is Sophie's curse broken at the end of Howl's Moving Castle? ›

Sophie manages to break the contract between Calcifer and Howl, and returns Howl's heart to him. Sophie defeats Miss Angorian, breaking her own curse, and freeing both Wizard Suliman and Prince Justin. After the preceding events end, Howl and Sophie admit their feelings for one another and agree to live together.

What was the curse of Howl in Howl's Moving Castle? ›

What is Howl's Curse? Howl makes a bargain with Calcifer in the flashback scene. Calcifer gains Howl's heart but is bound to serve Howl (heating water, moving the castle, etc). The problem with the deal is it strips Calcifer of his freedom and leaves Howl heartless (in the emotional sense as well as physically).

What is the meaning of the ending of Howls Moving Castle? ›

He is revealed to be the Prince of the neighbouring country and promises to end the war. Calcifer and Howl are both finally free and they all live happily ever after as one big family. How fitting that in a movie all about giving and taking hearts, pure selfless love is what sets everyone free.

What exactly is Sophie's curse? ›

She was cursed with old age. However, the curse actually did not last that long, but it is her mind that still maintains her appearance as an old lady due to the lack of confidence. Spoiler alert!!!! At the end, it is Sophie herself that breaks the curse with her confidence that grows with many adventures.

Did Howl know it was Sophie the whole time? ›

In the book, Howl knew Sophie was cursed the whole time. The real reason he sent Sophie to see Mrs. Pentstemmon was to see if she could break the curse, so it didn't matter whether it was plausible.

Is Howl Sophie's true love? ›

It Shows How Love Can Change the World

When Sophie shows her gratitude to Turnip Head with a kiss on the cheek, the power of her love breaks his curse and reverts him into his human form. Though he claims that Sophie is his true love, he understands her relationship with Howl and instead sets off to find his family.

Does Howl break his curse? ›

Howl collapses but Sophie saves him by giving him his heart back. After breaking Howl's and Calcifer's contract, Calcifer breaks the spell on Sophie and Sophie returns to her true age. Howl destroys the Witch's fire demon, which restores Suliman and Prince Justin to their true forms, and asks Sophie to marry him.

Why did Howl get cursed? ›

A year before the events in the novel, Wizard Howl pursued her, and later jilted her. Out of fury and the need of his head for her human puppet, the Witch cursed him so that he would be forced to return to the Waste.

Why is Howl obsessed with beauty? ›

Howl's self-obsession, however, isn't simply vanity: it's self-protection. The more beautiful he is, the safer he is, the further he is from those monsters of war. Howl's narcissism is his armor. Sophie's presence begins to soften Howl.

Why was Howl turning into a monster? ›

The Witch of the Waste is punished by Sulliman, leaving her a harmless old woman and she warns Sophie that if Howl refuses to fight he will meet the same fate. Howl arrives to save Sophie and Sulliman attempts to trap him by turning him into a monster.

Did Sophie and Howl have a child? ›

Morgan is the son of Howl Jenkins Pendragon and Sophie Hatter. He appears in Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways.

Why did Howl turn into slime? ›

Sophie is mystified by the castle and the magic, but when Howl returns, he is angry at Sophie for barging into his castle and organizing his belongings. Howl is so mad that he uses his magic to create green slime, mess up the house, and enrage Sophie and Michael.

Who is the real villain in Howl's Moving Castle? ›

Madame Suliman is the main antagonist in Howl's Moving Castle movie adaptation. She is a combination of Mrs. Pentstemmon and Wizard Sulliman in the book.

Why did the witch turn Sophie old? ›

Sophie Hatter was under a spell casted by the Witch of the Waste. It was cast when the Witch of the Waste entered Sophie's 'tacky' hat shop. The spell made Sophie look and probably behave like a 90 year old lady. She always thought of herself as not beautiful, she was not confident enough.

What is the age gap between Howl and Sophie? ›

At present there is about a seventy-year age difference between Howl and Sophie, but be that as it may, they squabble like an old married couple. Howl can't resist the opportunity to tease her, and Sophie is always ready to give it right back to Howl.

Was Howl in love with Lettie? ›

Michael returns in the evening, thrilled to announce that the girl Howl is in love with is not his Lettie, who works at the bakery. Sophie realizes that Michael is actually in love with Martha, and the real Lettie must be warned not to give in to Howl's attentions.

How did Sophie's curse break? ›

When the wizard said “ Oh I get it. You're in love with Howl!” Embarrassed by the revelation, Sophie turned into an old woman again. When Howl and Sophie declare their love for each other, the curse was broken with the residual effect Sophie had beautiful silvery hair like “starlight”.

Why did Howl eat Calcifer? ›

When Howl was young, he gave Calcifer his heart in order for the fire demon to continue living because he felt sorry for him - this is implied to have sapped his humanity somewhat, and will continue to do so till he ends up like the Witch of the Waste.

Who was Howl's ex girlfriend? ›

Witch of the Waste. As the jealous ex-girlfriend of Howl, this witch is the initial antagonist before Madame Suliman and is the woman who not only curses Sophie but Howl as well.

Why did Calcifer let Sophie in? ›

He allows Sophie to enter the castle because he can sense her ability to talk life into things, which makes her a perfect person to lift the contract between himself and Howl.

What is Howl's weakness? ›

Sophie soon learns that Howl is a powerful wizard who is nevertheless tormented by the weakness of his heart and is struggling to live in the midst of warring countries.

Why did Howl have black hair as a child? ›

In the beginning-middle of the movie, Sophie accidentally made Howl paint his hair black instead of his natural blonde color.

Why did the Witch of the Waste want Howl's heart? ›

She's so lonely and isolated that she seems to think the entire world resolves around her, as though she is the only real person left in her world. So when she wants to find true love she resolves to get it by taking apart Prince Justin, the Wizard Suliman, and Howl to assemble the perfect man out of their parts.

Did turnip head love Sophie? ›

He appears to have fallen in love with Sophie, though she is in love with Howl. Free of his curse, he returns to his home to help negotiate a truce with Ingary.

What's the point of living if I can't be beautiful Howl's Moving Castle? ›

Old Sophie : You should look at it now, its shade is even better. Howl : [inconsolable] I give up. I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful.

Who was the demon that stole Howl's heart? ›

It's Calcifer. Howl gave the dying star a second life as a fire demon through the act of eating, and in turn, Calcifer took his heart.

Is Markl Howl's son? ›

Markl is Howl's apprentice in the movie. Not much of his background or past is revealed, except for his first name and that he is training under Howl to become a wizard. He manages Howl's affairs while he is away, dealing with customers in the different towns linked to by the portal.

How old is Howl Pendragon? ›

Howl turns 10 000 days old when the Witch's curse catches up with him, making him 27 years old. This also places his birthday (calculating backwards from the average date of midsummer) sometime around January 27th. Howl is married to Sophie Hatter and is the father of Morgan Jenkins.

Did Howl flirt with lettie? ›

The grudge of a jilted lover results in mistaking Sophie for her sister, Lettie, who she had seen Howl flirting with (Howl never seems to learn). After cursing Sophie, she disappears, stoking her grudge against Howl in the background.

What is Howl's reaction when Sophie accidentally causes Howl to dye his hair pink? ›

Howl comes home in a bad mood and immediately goes into the bathroom to dye his hair. When he comes out, he is wailing with misery and rage. With all her cleaning, Sophie ruined Howl's hair dye—and now his hair is red instead of blond. Howl's magic starts to send out loud moans of despair.

Why does the Scarecrow follow Sophie? ›

The scarecrow was first enchanted by the Wizard Suliman, and eventually, when the Witch's curse ends, the parts of the scarecrow that belong to the wizard (mostly his magic and his skull) rejoin the rest of Suliman's body. So in a way Sophie accidentally helps to save Suliman's life.

Is there going to be a Howl's Moving Castle 2? ›

There's already a part 2 of Howl's Moving Castle in real life action. It's called, Howl's Mortal Engines.

Is Madame Suliman evil? ›

Personality. Like other Miyazaki films, antagonists are not really evil villains. Suliman is no exception. She is clever and at times manipulative, she doesn't want to cause any harm but often has to seem antagonistic to Howl and that spreads to Sophie and the others as well.

Why does Howl turn into a bird? ›

Like these wizards, Howl transforms himself into an animal in order to fight, but he does it of his own volition. Howl continues to use his animal form – a black feathered bird of prey – to fight, even when Calcifer warns him that the transformation could become permanent: “You shouldn't keep flying around like that.

What does Howl look like in the book? ›

But this also appeared in the original book. In both versions, Howl is described as blond when he first meets Sophie. Said to be naturally mud-colored, Sophie's machinations accidentally cause Howl's hair to become a pinkish ginger color, much to the wizard's dismay.

Is Howl a woman? ›

Howl is a young, handsome man with bright blue eyes and hair that reaches below his chin. At the beginning of the film, his hair is blonde, but because of an incident while Sophie is cleaning Howl's bathroom, he briefly comes to have orange hair, before it finally turns black.

Did Calcifer break Sophie's curse? ›

Sophie uses her ability of bringing things to life to free Calcifer, thus breaking the contract between him and Howl. With his heart restored, Howl destroys the witch's fire demon, freeing Suliman and Justin. Calcifer, as promised, breaks Sophie's spell and she returns to her proper age.

Why does Sophie's age keep changing in Howl's? ›

She was cursed with old age. However, the curse actually did not last that long, but it is her mind that still maintains her appearance as an old lady due to the lack of confidence. Spoiler alert!!!! At the end, it is Sophie herself that breaks the curse with her confidence that grows with many adventures.

Why did Howl's hair turn black? ›

Thanks to Sophie's cleaning, Howl's potions got mixed around, leading his hair to change from blond to ginger. Howl accuses Sophie of ruining him and proceeds to throw a tantrum as his hair changes to black.

Is Suliman Howl's mother? ›

She is the King's Royal Sorceress and former teacher of Howl.

Why did the witch curse Sophie? ›

She cursed Sophie out of jealousy towards Howl's interest in her. She turned Sophie into a 90 year old woman and is capable of some form of telekinesis, as seen when she opened the locked door to Sophie's hat store.


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