Headscratchers / Arrietty
aka: The Borrower Arrietty

  • Arietty's Mom gets kidnapped. Eventually, Arietty rescues her. During this time, where was Arietty's Dad? He just disappears from the plot for awhile, without mention, until later when the family is walking through the forest towards their new home.
    • Maybe he was busy scouting another route at the time, and only returned to the house after Homilly had already been rescued?
    • He says before he leaves that he's going to make sure it's safe, so presumably he was checking the whole route, if it took him such a long time.
  • How did Sho find Arrietty's house location in the closet ?
  • Why were some of the names changed for the American English dub? I thought Studio Ghibli was against that.
    • Perhaps because the Borrowers have English names (Arrietty, Pod, Homily) as in the original book. Studio Ghibli approves any changes in dialogue made in the dub.
      • But they aren't the same names anyway as in the book.
  • Um, I don't want to sound harsh, but Hara is kind of right: the "Borrowers" are technically thieves. Sure, they steal only what is essential to them and what the humans wouldn't miss, but it's still theft.
    • True, but remember they only take things that "won't be missed"
    • Stealing things that won't be missed is still stealing. And things like missing thimbles, needles, and small vials can go noticed, particularly if they're of sentimental value. (the thimble/kiss from Peter Pan comes to mind)
    • This is discussed at length in the book, where the boy (who was named Sho/Shawn for the movie) points out to Arrietty several times that their "Borrowing" is technically stealing. She repeatedly blows him off, because Borrowers have basically come to believe that humans exist only to support them, and thus it can't possibly be stealing to take things from a human — it's what humans are for. While Arrietty does come to revise her opinion on humans, and realizes that they don't just exist for the convenience of Borrowers, she never quite loses the "it's not stealing if it's from a human" mentality.
    • There's a nice mini-essay here discussing the moral implications of what the Borrowers do and whether it constitutes "stealing".
    • I agree with the link. I see the entire issue as morally irrelevant. The Borrowers have to borrow in order to survive in a hostile world. They borrow in such small quantities that it's impossible for them to harm humans financially or in terms of required resources. As thinking, feeling beings, the Borrowers' need to survive far outweighs the issue of (very minor) theft, as far as I'm concerned.
      • Realistically, you think that someone would make contact with human civilization. Everyone could stop hiding and we'd work out some sort of agreement between the two groups. Maybe the humans could trade goods in exchange for services. (Borrowers would be great at anything that requires fine detail, like fixing watches or inspecting for termites or whatever.) And maybe some of them would live in borrower-sized villages, instead of always hanging out in human-sized houses where everything is far too big. But these sensible ideas never get explored, because the whole idea of the borrowers comes from the fact that things get lost in real life, so it's fun to imagine that tiny people have taken them away. And since we never see tiny people in real life, this suggests that the tiny people are all hiding for some reason. Hence the Borrowers and their take on humanity. But realistically, yeah, we could make this work without anyone needing to hide or steal.
      • Nowadays, maybe. If medieval people had discovered Borrowers they'd have called them devils or put them on display or something. Some people would even still do that now, I'm sure.
  • How did Sho get back into his bedroom after rescuing Arrietty's mother? The maid locked the door and he had to get out by the window. Did I miss something?
    • He probably went back the way he came, through the window.
      • OK, but there's something else. After the maid tells Sho's aunt that the kitchen from the doll's house was stolen, they go upstairs to Sho's bedroom and open his door without unlocking it first (the maid locked it with a key). Did I miss something?
    • Actually you're right - If Sho/Shawn climbed out the window, he had the kitchen with him... Sho had to have been very very careful to not fall off the roof. The only explanation is that maybe he locked the door... but how'd he know which key?
      • Maybe all the doors in the house are unlocked and locked with the same key. He dug out a spare one from the kitchen while he was there.
  • So if Sho/Shawn's aunt knows about the "little people" and wants to help them... why'd she get a cat? A species known for catching and killing small things?
    • First of all, she didn't "know" about the Borrowers. Her grandfather had only claimed to have seen them, but she, herself, didn't have any verification... By all means, she may have wanted to know if the Borrowers really did exist or not and, if they did, help them any way she could. That said, she knows for a fact that rats are real and may reasonably even be aware of the fact that some rats live in her walls (rats aren't necessarily silent when they crawl around). Frankly speaking, given her skepticism when Haru claimed she had found Borrowers, she had very little reason not to have a cat.

Alternative Title(s): The Borrower Arrietty