1. Sophie's character arc is a reflection of her growing self-confidence. To be cursed and start working on Howl's Moving Castle, the hat making was sloppy and not very pretty. Even the soldiers called him a mouse to annoy him. At the very beginning of the film, the witch of West cursed her, although Sophie herself could not talk about this curse with anyone. In this way, things take a turn for the worse, and Sophie becomes an old woman with a host of physical problems.
It gradually becomes clear that when she is strong enough to stand on her own two feet, the curse becomes weak Sophie the Hatter finds enough energy to clean the castle and is slowly able to climb the stairs of the king's palace while carrying Hein. It is also mentioned for the first time in this same palace when Sophie confronts Madame Saliman that Sophie will return to her younger self.
As the curse weakens throughout the film, Sophie's true appearance is revealed. She can finally overcome the belief that she is not beautiful or important by helping others. This complete manifestation of self-love in Sophie makes her finally succeed in breaking the spell.
2. Metaphors Abound
Like many Studio Ghibli films, symbolism and metaphor are present throughout the film. Howell's Moving Castle is included. The castle itself is a symbol of Howl's personality: he is a very powerful and chaotic person who is always on the go. The castle's magic door opens to several different places, such as the red door that opens to Sophie's place, which Howell created for Sophie after he fell in love with her. Or the black gate, which for several reasons was forbidden to anyone except Howl.
The black gate is actually a portal to Howl's psyche and subconscious that Sophie can finally access and save him in the end. . In Sophie's victory over Markle and Calcifer, who were interpreted as Howl's innocent soul and heart in the film, a metaphor of Howl's rekindling of love can be seen.
There are other cases, such as Sophie walking and Howell in height in the same opening sequences of the film. Or when Sophie had to go back in time to reconcile Howl's heart with her own. The anti-war messages of the film, despite having the shape and image of the First World War, were inspired by Miyazaki's critical view of the Iraq war.
3. Anti-War Messages
Again, like many of Miyazaki's films, Howl's Moving Castle It also has an anti-war theme. Although the war is only in the background of the story, there are many images of how terrible it really is. The parade and maneuver of tanks and soldiers at the beginning of the film seems like a normal patriotic show, but the truth of the matter is shown prominently. It will be given. For example, in the scene where the soldiers are harassing Sophie. The ugliness of these armed men is depicted in the form of inky, black creatures that chase Sophie and Howl.
Or the attacked and broken ship that barely makes it to port in the first third. The movie is seen. It is also shown when Sophie's hometown is destroyed in an air raid and subsequent fire, and Sophie watches from afar as houses are destroyed and people run away screaming.
4. Suleiman's servants
The king who enters the room in the middle of Suleiman's meeting with Sophie Seeing Howl, who has changed his appearance to look like him, he declares that Howl is the best replica that Suleiman has ever made of him. This story is strange enough, but to be expected. Because usually in times of war to leaders The countries involved in an assassination attempt and for this reason they prepare alternatives for them. But what is even more strange than the king is the servant boys that Suleiman has around him.
These boys are almost like young Howells but with different hair. This suggests a few things, including that Saliman may still have feelings for his former student. He keeps these boys around as nostalgic reminders.
During a question-and-answer session, the film's producer Toshio Suzuki revealed that Miyazaki is making a short prequel about He made the story of Howell's past life, called "The Day I Bought a Star". As a summary of the story, both the Witch of the West and Madame Saliman claim possession of Howl's heart. But Howell finally rejects both of them, and for this reason, the Witch of the West pursues him, and Madame Saliman keeps servants like her for herself.
5. The story actually took place in a time loop
One of the first things that Howell He told Sophie in "Howl's Moving Castle" that he had been looking for her everywhere. This is because he knows Sophie somehow. Or does he think she is beautiful at first sight? The movie makes it clear that Howell goes after girls with pretty faces and is rumored to steal their hearts.
However, as it turns out, this is just a random storyline to save Sophie from being bullied and It does not bother the soldiers. At the climax of the film, Sophie enters the forbidden black door of the castle to save Howell's life. Entering this darkness, he sees Howl's childhood and realizes how he met Calcifer and what their relationship is. In fact, Howell saved Calcifer, who was a falling star, devoured him and gave him his heart so that Calcifer could survive.
Sophie saw these falling stars in the middle of the film A dream of Saliman is a witness. In this scene, Sophie tells Howl to remember him and find him in the future. This one scene turns this love story into a time travel story with a happy ending where both Howell and Calcifer can continue to live.
6. Condition of Howell's Moving Castle
With the amount of stuff in Howell's Moving Castle, it is expected that Howell will take care of it properly. But unfortunately, that is not the case at all. Howell is away from the castle most of the time, either looking for beautiful girls or simply traveling and experiencing new things. Usually when she comes home she is dying of exhaustion from overusing her bird form.
When Sophie first entered the castle, it was quite dirty and messy. There were huge cobwebs in every corner, and dust and insects covered the floor of the castle. In general, the castle was more like a cave of a wild beast than a place of residence of a great witch. Until Sophie starts cleaning the place.
It is also shown that Howell's own room It is full of debris. Some birds, especially owls, are known to collect small objects to build nests and the like. It is true that throughout the film it is not clear what kind of bird Howell turns into, but the collection and preservation of a collection of small and useless objects confirms this fact.
7. The turnip story
The turnip scarecrow that Sophie follows around Howell's Moving Castle is actually the prince of the enemy country. At the beginning of the movie, when Sophie's country prepares for war, it is said that the prince of the enemy country is missing.
At the end of the movie, it turns out that only the kiss of true love can restore the prince to his true form. But the only definite thing in this movie is that Sophie was infatuated with Howl. When the lost prince realizes this, he goes to his country to stop the war between the two nations. This could definitely explain why the scarecrow followed Sophie around and was overly kind to her.
From his dialogue, it seems that the Witch of the West has cursed this prince. The only question left is why? Fans have put forward many theories about this: from her trying to prevent the war to rejecting West's affections towards her.
8. The True Nature of Calcifer
When Sophie first starts cleaning Castle Howell, It almost causes Calcifer to shut down and Howl turns it back on. When Howell picks up the extinguished Calcifer, Calcifer is depicted as a smoldering beating heart. This shows the true connection between Howl and Calcifer.
Calcifer is not only the heart of the castle, but also, as mentioned before, the true heart of Howl. When Calcifer meets Howl as a child, he captures Howl's heart, explaining the same point to many things. Gives. For example, this point showed that Howell really fell in love with Sophie, because Calcifer is his heart and Sophie warmed it. Many times, Howell also pointed out the distinctions that Calcifer made between Sophie and others.
9. The villains and their movements
Howl in this movie is a charming prince in the form of a black crow. And he turns ugly and it is said that he preys on beautiful girls and steals their hearts. You are never sure throughout the movie whether he is a monster or a good character. But Sophie trusts what she sees inside her.
The Witch of the West is a rather large woman with a beautiful face and dressed in dark clothes. This is the usual dress and behavior of villains in stories. Despite the fact that this character played the role of the villain in "Howl's Moving Castle" at the beginning of the movie, but still after the terrible disaster that Suleiman brings on him, Sophie is kind to him and shelters him.
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Unlike the Witch of the West, Madame Saliman is the head sorceress of the king. She is a powerful sorceress and her demands are simple: put yourself in line to be sent to war, or if you are not killed, you will be forced to become a soldier. Other than that, his calm demeanor and appearance don't reveal anything wrong with him until the Witch of the West is brought to him. He speaks angrily and does not show any signs of anger. This point makes him a very effective villain.
10. Beauty, prideand age
During the story of Feather Throughout Sophie's ups and downs in Howell's Moving Castle, themes of beauty and pride resonate throughout. At first, Sophie considers herself a boring-looking woman, although she has many suitors. But the old saying "with age comes wisdom" is also true about Sophie, and she gains self-confidence after being enchanted and getting older.
Of course, the discussion about pride And the beauty would not be complete without mentioning the name of Howell. Howell, who always wears flashy clothes, believes that when he accidentally turns his hair red, he is no longer beautiful and that life is pointless. For this reason, he summons the spirits of darkness. He seems content and happy with his appearance, but he's never truly happy until the end of the movie when he's saved by Sophie. Exactly where he stops dyeing his hair and wearing flashy clothes and falls in love with Sophie.
That said, one thing is certain about the film's message: when you fall in love, age doesn't mean anything. In many scenes of the film, we often see Sophie oscillating between old age (gray hair that never returned to its former color) and youthful vigor (when her face is free of wrinkles and then turns old again): this The fluctuations are related to the time when his feelings for Howell are stronger.