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Sophie Hatter

Sophie Hatter

Kanji ソフィー・ハッター
Romanji Sofī Hattā
Nickname(s) Witch of the East
Characteristics
Age 18 (actual)
90s (cursed; physical)
Gender Female
Physical Characteristics
Hair Color Red (book; young)
Silver (book; cursed)
Brown (movie; young)
Silver (movie; cursed & aftermath)
Eye Color Blue-green (book)
Brown (movie)
Personal Status
Relationship Howl Jenkins Pendragon (husband)
Children Morgan Jenkins (son)
Other Relatives Lettie Hatter (sister)
Martha Hatter (sister; book)
Fanny Hatter (step-mother; book)
Honey Hatter (mother; movie)
Meghan Jenkins (sister-in-law)
Professional Status
Occupation Hat-maker, cleaning lady
Portrayal
Japanese VA Chieko Baisho
English VA Emily Mortimer (young)
Jean Simmons (old)

Sophie Hatter (ソフィー・ハッター, Sofī Hattā) is the female protagonist and heroine of the first book in the Castle Series, Howl's Moving Castle, and of the movie Howl's Moving Castle.

Sophie is a young woman living in the small town of Market Chipping in the kingdom of Ingary, and she is the eldest of three sisters. In the land of Ingary, this, of course, means that Sophie is destined to never find her fortune and live a dull life at home. She works in her late father's hat shop as her stepmother, Fanny Hatter's, apprentice.

Physical Appearance

Howl's Moving Castle Book

Eldest of the Hatter sisters, Sophie, age 18, has red-gold hair and blue-green eyes. She is considered to be rather pretty, although she doesn't perceive herself as such. She primarily wears the color grey, but this changes as her confidences grows.

Howl's Moving Castle Movie

Sophie's appearance in the movie depicts her as a young, innocent-looking girl with brown eyes and long brown hair worn in a plait that is tied with pink ribbons. She is typically seen wearing a sun hat with a red ribbon and a pink brochette, and a pastel green dress with a white collar and three buttons on the chest, all of which contribute to her plain appearance.

After Sophie is cursed, she retains her same hat and continues wearing her hair in the same fashion. Although her dress remains the same style, it is now pastel blue in color. However, she gains a significant amount of weight, and obtains both a wrinkled appearance and silver hair from age.

When the curse is lifted, Sophie retains the silver hair that she acquired from the curse and it is now styled in a short bob after being cut off during previous events. She returns back to her former, younger self.

Personality

Although Sophie is initially reserved and lacking confidence, she demonstrates herself to be a strong-willed individual after she is cursed into becoming an old woman, becoming less afraid of what others think of her. Dutiful, kind, and considerate, Sophie also has a tendency to be impulsive in her actions and often feels guilty when she does something wrong, though her attempts to rectify matters are usually disastrous. She is a very compassionate individual and often tries to help others, no matter who they are, going so far as taking the Witch of the Waste under her protection. It is eventually revealed that Sophie possesses magical abilities of her own - she is capable of talking life into objects, though she initially is unaware of her powers and uses them unwittingly. When developed, they become very powerful.

Story

Howl's Moving Castle Book

In the book, Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie is the eldest of three daughters of hat maker, Mr. Hatter, in the magical kingdom of Ingary, where many fairy-tale tropes are accepted ways of life. When Sophie's father dies, her step-mother, Fanny Hatter sets her to making hats in the family hat shop. She turns out to be a great hat maker.

Sophie's magical talents attract the attention of the Witch of the Waste. Mistaking Sophie for her sister, Lettie Hatter, and believing that Sophie was withholding some information she needed regarding Howl, the Witch of the Waste curses Sophie into becoming an old woman. With a desire to lift the curse, Sophie travels to the moving castle owned by the Wizard Howl, despite the rumors that Howl is renowned for stealing the souls of beautiful girls.

While in the castle, Sophie meets Calcifer, a fire demon, and learns of the contract that keeps him locked inside Howl's Castle. The fire demon promises to break Sophie's curse if she agrees to free him from the contract with Howl. Calcifer often tries to drop hints to Sophie of how to break their contract, but she typically misses the hints.

After the King of Ingary appoints Howl to a mission in search of his brother, Prince Justin, Howl attempts to use Sophie as a scapegoat and pleads with her to petition against his appointment. Howl happens to have his own reasons in avoiding the appointment, notably due to the Witch of the Waste and her being one of his many ex-lovers. Sophie soon learns that Howl is not a wicked wizard who steals the heart of beautiful girls, but rather a young man who takes great pleasure in breaking the hearts of beautiful girls. Despite this, Sophie ends up falling in love with him, albeit she is too stubborn to admit this.

Howl tries to avoid falling in love with Sophie because, if he falls in love, then he must return to the Witch of the Waste. However, Howl cannot help but follow his heart, falls in love with Sophie, and activates his curse. One the day the curse is said to come true, the Witch of the Waste informs Sophie that she has kidnapped Miss Angorian, a schoolteacher whom Howl has been courting. Believing that it is Miss Angorian who Howl truly loves, Sophie returns to the Waste and attempts to save her before Howl finds out.

When Sophie gets to the Waste, the Witch reveals that the scheme was all a trick to lure Sophie to the Waste. Proven successful, the Witch of the Waste captures Sophie, prompting Howl to return to the Waste to save her. Howl fights the Witch of the Waste, overcoming his own reluctance to do so out of his love for Sophie. However, the Witch of the Waste's own fire demon, Miss Angorian, attempts to steal Howl's heart as the Witch's heart was too old and weak. 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.

Howl's Moving Castle Movie

Sophiehowl

Howl and Sophie on the sky walking and flying

In the movie, Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie is the eldest of two sisters, and the daughter of an unnamed hat maker. She store is managed by her mother, Honey Hatter, of whom Sophie is a hat-making apprentice to.

On her way to visit her sister, Lettie Hatter, Sophie is stopped by two soldiers trying to flirt with her. A mysterious man intervenes the encounter, prompting the soldiers to leave. The man informs Sophie that he is being followed as some blob-like henchmen belonging to the Witch of the Waste appear. Using his magic, the man enchants himself and Sophie, allowing them to walk on air and escape the henchmen. He safely delivers Sophie onto the balcony of her sisters bakery where her sister informs her that the man was possibly the soul snatching wizard named Howl. Sophie claims she was never in any danger because she is not beautiful and that Howl only steals the souls of beautiful girls.

Grandma-sophie

Sophie- after being cursed by the Witch of The Waste

Later that evening, the Witch of the Waste breaks into Sophie's hat shop after hours. Unbeknownst to the Witch's identity, Sophie informs her that the shop is closed for the day. The Witch replies with an insult, stating both Sophie and the hat shop are 'tacky', to which Sophie again asks her to leave. The Witch, jealous of the attention Sophie had received from Howl, curses her to become old.

The morning after being cursed by the Witch of the Waste, Sophie leaves behind her life in search of a cure. On her journey, she meets a mysterious creature that she dubs Turnip-Head, who, unlike in the book, is actually helpful to her. Providing her with a walking stick, Turnip-Head leads Sophie to Howl's Castle.

With Turnip-Head's assistance, Sophie manages to get inside the castle where she meets a fire demon named Calcifer. Together, they agree to break each other's curses. Sophie falls asleep only to be awakened by a knock on the door where she meets Markl, an apprentice of Howl. Markl is a very young boy, opposed to his book counterpart Michael Fisher, who is much older. Sophie cooks them all breakfast, and once again meets Howl. Sophie, in an attempt to tell Howl about her curse, realizes that she is unable to speak about it and decides instead to say she is their new cleaning lady that Calcifer hired.

Howl-s-moving-castle-10

Sophie working as a "cleaning lady"

She takes her job very seriously, cleaning every room in the castle, minus Howl's. While she and Markl are shopping in the market, she sees one of the Witch of the Waste's henchmen. Surprisingly, no one else notices him. She and Markl go back to the castle, where Howl bursts out of his bathroom, his normally blond hair a bright shade of orange. Sophie admits that she reorganized his magic salts. His hair changes colors and settles on black, Howl begins to ooze green slime out of depression and releases dark energy, (which has happened once before, when a girl dumped him). Sophie and Markl clean him up.

The next morning, Howl tells Sophie that he's been summoned to the Royal Palace so he can defend the country in a war. He also tells her that he's a coward and all he does is hide. He then tells Sophie to go the Palace as his mother to convince Madame Suliman that he's too cowardly to show his face. Sophie goes to Kingsbury, along with a ring that Howl gives her, and on her way to the castle, she meets up with the Witch of the Waste.

From here on, the movie and the book differ greatly.

While they are climbing the steps to the palace, the Witch visibly grows older. When they make it inside, Sophie is led by a dog into a room where Madame Sulliman is. She tells Sophie that Howl has been taken over by a demon, and soon it will completely consume him. The Witch of the Waste loses her powers, and Howl arrives disguised as the King to save Sophie. Before they can get away, Madame Suliman shows Sophie what Howl really is. He transforms into a fierce bird, but before he loses himself, Sophie yells that it's a trap, and he flies Sophie out of the palace, along with the Witch of the Waste, and Sulliman's dog, Heen. Sophie flees the Royal City on a plane that Howl stole. Howl stays behind as a decoy so Sophie can safely get away. Sophie crashes into the castle, and she dreams that Howl is consumed by his demon. She admits that she loves him in her dream, where he roars that it's too late. Howl arrives the next morning, and moves the castle again. The castle transforms into Sophie's hat shop, along with a new portal, that leads to a beautiful field of flowers. Sophie becomes young again, and she asks Howl if he's leaving her. He doesn't answer, to which she responds, "Please, Howl, I know I can be of help to you. Even though I'm not pretty, and all I'm good at is cleaning." Howl responds, "Sophie... Sophie you're beautiful!" At that moment, Sophie grows old again, and an enemy warship approaches the field. Howl destroys the engine, and saves Sophie. Sophie turns the Hat Shop into a flower shop, and her mother visits her. Her mother secretly leaves a little spy blob behind, and the Witch throws it in Calcifer's mouth. He weakens, and is unable to defend the castle when the country is thrust into war. Sophie runs outside, fully young as she has unknowingly broke her own curse, and watches as Howl saves the shop from a falling bomb. He emerges from the wreckage unscathed, and the two embrace. Howl heals Calcifer, and Sophie begs him not to go out into the war again. He responds, "Sorry, I've had enough of running away, Sophie. Now I've got something to protect. It's you." He leaves and Sophie moves Calcifer from his hearth, breaking the connection the castle had to Market Chipping. The castle curmbles, and Sophie places him back in the ruined grate. Despite Sophie's curse being lifted, her hair remains silver, much unlike the book, where Sophie's hair turns red. She gives Calcifer her hair, and he grows strong enough to move the castle to find Howl and tell him that they are safe. Meanwhile, the Witch of the Waste realizes that Calcifer holds Howl's heart, and she plucks him from the hearth. She begins to burn, and Sophie throws a bucket of water on her. Calcifer goes out, causing the castle to fall apart. Sophie falls over a cliff, along with Heen. The ring that Howl gave her glows blue, and leads to the portal from the castle. She opens it up, and enters the black void that only Howl has been in. She ends up in the past, and witnesses Howl as a child. Stars are falling from the sky, and she runs out to stop him from making a pact with Calcifer. However, Howl swallows the star before Sophie can reach him, and Calcifer is born, with Howl's small heart beating within. Sophie calls out to him, telling him to find her in the future. She is then thrust back through the door, where Howl is waiting for her. He is unresponsive, but he brings her to the remains of the castle.

Sophie1

Sophie just before she puts Howl's heart back and frees Calcifer

She pleads with the Witch to give her Calcifer, and when she does, Sophie pushes him into Howl's chest. Calcifer flies out, once more a star, and flies away. The remains of the castle break apart once Calcifer leaves, and they shot down a hill towards a cliff, but are saved by Turnip Head, who loses his pole in the process. Sophie kisses Turnip Head, who turns into the missing prince. He explains that a curse turned him into a scarecrow, and the Witch of the Waste says that “a kiss from your true love breaks it,” revealing the prince’s affections for Sophie. At that moment, Howl awakes, complaining about a weight on his chest. Sophie then replies, "A heart's a heavy burden." Howl remarks that her silver hair is beautiful. Sophie, now full of confidence, tackles him and agrees. The Witch of the Waste tells the prince, “Looks like your true love is in love with someone else. You should go home anyway and tell your king to stop this dumb war.” The prince agrees, then leaves to end the war, promising to return. After the prince leaves, Calcifer returns, deciding to stay with the curse-free Sophie and Howl. The movie ends with the castle flying through the sky. Markl and Heen are seen playing in a small garden with the Witch and Calcifer watching over them. Sophie is last seen with Howl on a balcony, and the two share a kiss as the castle slowly floats away.


Castle in the Air

In Castle in the Air, Sophie and Howl are married and Sophie is pregnant with their first child, Morgan. When she is around eight months pregnant, Howl happens to be working on a divination spell for the King of Ingary when he discovers that a djinn plans to steal the Castle for itself. Howl sends Michael and the new apprentice away, but Sophie refuses to leave with them. She and Howl are arguing about that when the djinn comes, and Howl turns Sophie into a cat, and all of a sudden Sophie finds herself alone in the mountains north of Kingsbury. Sophie gives birth to Morgan while she's still a cat (approximately a week after the castle is stolen) so he is born a kitten. They meet the main character, Abdullah, and a Strangian soldier. While the soldier takes a liking to Sophie as a cat and names her Midnight, Abdullah hates her and is scared of her strange powers. Once Abdullah reaches Ingary in his quest to find Flower-in-the-Night, he learns who Sophie really is. Wizard Suliman turns her back into a human. The soldier runs away to the moving castle taking the genie and baby Morgan with him. Abdullah and Sophie take a magic carpet to the castle and discover that the djinns have kidnapped all the princesses from around the world, including Ingary's Princess Valeria and Flower-in-the-Night. Sophie finds Morgan, who has been looked after by the princesses. With the help of the other princesses, Abdullah, Sophie, Flower-in-the-Night, and the moody Genie, they manage to trick the robbers with the powers of the genie, Sophie's talking powers and Morgan's crying, and take back the castle. Sophie and Morgan are both reunited with Howl who was the Genie and Calcifer who was the magic carpet.

House of Many Ways

House of Many Ways takes place three years after Castle in the Air. Sophie is a sorceress who is invited to help in the search for the kingdom's missing treasury, mainly because she is Howl's wife and one kingdom cannot ask the help of another kingdom's Royal Wizard. So while they asked for Sophie instead, Howl chose to come along as well in the disguise of an adorable young boy named "Twinkle", claiming to be Sophie's nephew. In the end Sophie helps solve the crime from the prince, and Howl discovers the location of the mysterious Elfgift.

Sophie's Curse

  • Some people argue that the power of love was what broke the curse however that theory does not explain why Sophie's age changes frequently throughout the movie.
  • One theory is that the curse is heavily affected by Sophie's own confidence and emotions. In the beginning, she sounds like a 90-year-old grandmother as her mother put it and she acts as if she gave up on her own life. But as she finds some purpose cleaning the castle, she becomes slightly younger. When she pointed out Howl's good qualities to Sulliman, she was assertive and forward with her own thoughts. This caused her to go back to her own age. Later when she is introduced to Howl's secret flower field she is full of joy and youth but when doubt began to cloud her mind and she denied herself from being pretty, she went back to being an old woman.
  • There are other cases where what she did affected her age in the movie. When she slept however, she was back to her normal self. At the end of the movie, Sophie was ready to be assertive and move forward with her life instead of giving up which was probably what broke the curse.
  • Another theory says that the curse was weakened and started frequently changing Sophie's age until it could only change Sophie's hair color when the Witch of the Waste lost all of her powers. And stating that when she was seen the first time sleeping, Howl must have known of her curse and wanted to see her true youth, and that the second time was only a dream.
  • it is also possible that the spell weakens if Sophie is not focusing very much on it, whether actively or unconsciously. For example, Sophie was probably not dreaming about being old, so she returned to her proper age in sleep. Another example could be her visit to Sulliman, since she would then be thinking about Howl rather than herself.
  • Sophie was the winner of the beauty contest " MISS ANIME " in the 2014 edition.
  • In the novels, however, Sophie accidentally uses her own powers to perpetuate her own curse, partly because she prefers being old.

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