Why did Sophie’s age keep changing in Howl’s Moving Castle? Someone has been curious about this question recently, so in this article, we will find out the reason for this.
In the book , Sophie was released from the spell by Calcifer as part of the deal they’d made. In the movie adaptation, her appearance varied with her awareness of her love for the Wizard Howl. When she confronted His Majesty’s Chief Sorcerer and spoke up for Howl, she became a teenager again. Suliman hadn’t been the least bit fooled with that story about Sophie being Howl’s mother. She figured out Sophie’s angle when Sophie turned younger as she defended Howl. 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”.
Someone pointed out in the book that the curse was horrific. A 19 year old girl was instantly turned into a 90 year old woman complete with arthritis. Anyone with any magical sensibility knew this was a curse even the apprentice. He wondered why a 90 year old woman would have a perfect set of teeth? Howl noted it and said nothing. But he did use magic to control her pain and boost her energy. You see this in the movie when she cleans up the house and climbs the stairs into the palace. In the book, while cursed she continued to look like an old lady until Calcifer released her. Also in the book, Sophie was a witch. She was the rare case that practiced magic unconsciously. Her magic was woven into her hats and her sales pitch to her customers spoke it into being. “ This hat is perfect to attract the man of your dreams.” This is what infuriated the Witch of the Waste. She was jealous of Sophie’s obvious power even though Sophie was unaware of her gifts.
The reason her age changes is because of the nature of the spell that was cast on her by the Witch of the Wastes. However, when Sophie slept, she seemed to revert back to her regular self. And when she was talking to Madame Suliman, her body was slowly reverting and her hair was changing color in the film in the book it was not the case. The spell was only short-term, and wore off very early on. The reason Sophie didn’t recover was because she had some magical talent and she unwittingly allowed the spell to remain due to her lack of confidence. There was a time in the book when Howl tried to break it more than once more and failed, commenting that Sophie must like being an old lady. She breaks when she frees Calcifer and returns Howl’s heart.
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