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Living Hat

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A piece of headwear with a mind of its own.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
ScroogeMacDuck on Feb 9th 2018 at 4:14:44 AM
Last Edited By:
ScroogeMacDuck on Apr 28th 2018 at 1:32:30 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/harry_potter_sorting_hat_2.jpg
The Living Hat is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a piece of headwear with a mind of its own. Unlike many Animate Inanimate Objects, the Living Hat is most likely unable to move about on its own and has to rely on his wearer... but that doesn't mean it can't spell trouble. After all, as a magical object that goes on a person's head, the Living Hat is very likely to be some sort of Mind Reader.

Naturally, a subtrope of Living Clothes, itself one of Animate Inanimate Object. Likely to be a Nice Hat, because if you're making a hat a character, you want it to be distinctive. Also see Head Pet, for pets who just happen to prefer to nestle where a hat would go, but don't particularly resemble hats. Unrelated to Planet of Hats.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Fan Works 

     Film (Animated) 
  • In Disney's Make Mine Music, the segment Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet is a love story about two hats who are separated when Alice is purchased.
  • In The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, Frosty's magic hat is depicted as this.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, the Bowler Hat Guy's bowler hat, Doris, is sapient and mobile, actually serving as the Hypercompetent Sidekick to her wearer while she waits for a chance to take over the world.

     Literature 
  • The Archchancellor's Hat in Discworld is the malevolent token of authority of the Archchancellor of the Unseen Academy for Wizards. It progressively gained sentience after being worn by over two hundred powerful wizards over hundreds of years, and seeks power at all costs, manipulating new wearers to its own ends.
  • The Sorting Hat from Harry Potter provides the page image. Every year, at the Sorting Ceremony, all the students try on the Hat, who reads their mind to see what House would suit them best based on their personality. The Sorting Hat is one of Hogwarts's most prized possessions, and, fortunately, a "good" character.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, the Crown of Sorcery was an ancient artifact made by Nagash, the first necromancer. It's vaguely sentient and tries to dominate its wearer so it can be reunited with its creator. Its most famus appearance was when it halfway succeeded in possessing the orc warlord Azhag the Slaughterer, whispering plans and tactics into Azhag's mind that brought him great success, but orcs are highly resistant to psychic powers and thus spent of lot of time appearing to argue with himself.

     Video Games 
  • The ghost-like Bonneters from Super Mario Odyssey have hat-like shapes, and can take on the form of various hats. The most notable Bonneter, Cappy, spends the whole game serving as Mario's hat.
  • The Extraordinary and Judgemental Hats from Fallen London can speak. The Blemmigan Hat is a walking mushroom creature that rides on your head and tries not to wriggle when anyone is looking. Polythreme is a Genius Loci where everything is animate; if you go there, all of your clothes will try to rebel against you.
  • In Guilty Gear series, there's I-no, a servant of That Man that fights with an electric guitar, and she also wears a pointed witch's hat that can fire projectiles, which also looks like a skull.
  • In Skullgirls, Cerebella's Vice Versa is a living hat with arms that assists her in attacks.
  • In Yo-kai Watch, Wazzat is a Yo-kai who is a living hat. He was once an ordinary hat, but after being neglected the negative energy of his abandonment ended up giving him a mind of his own. He tries to perch on other people's heads which had the side effect of erasing memories.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Ezlo (the titular hat) is one of these. He also serves as Link's hat over the course of the game, able to shrink him down to the size of a Picori whenever needed, and as the game's Exposition Fairy. Midway through the game, he reveals that he's actually a Picori mage, but was transformed into the hat by his apprentice Vaati.
  • Kirbys Return To Dreamland's Master Crown is at least implied to be sentient, with it visibly wobbling on Magolor's head. It also grows when its user decides to take on its power, and later Magolor Soul is mentioned to be "a sad shell, nothing more than a manifestation of the Master Crown itself.

     Webcomics 
  • In Charby the Vampirate, Kavonn's hat is a sentient entity that is the source of his power and can communicate with him. She prevented him from growing any taller than he was when he first acquired her and provides him his outfits while trying in vain to also control his haircut.

     Western Animation 
  • Wander's hat in Wander over Yonder is implied to be sentient. Mostly it acts as a Bag of Holding that gives the owner what they need for a particular situation. This is highlighted in the episode "The Hat", where Wander goes missing and Sylvia has to use the hat to find him, but everything the hat gives her results in her almost being eaten by a giant worm which is what the hat wants, since Wander had been swallowed by the worm. When Sylvia argues with the hat, it appears to smile or frown as a response.
  • In the Mickey Mouse short "Mickey's Grand Opera", Pluto finds a magician's hat that moves on its own.
  • Goof Troop: The episode "Talent to the Max" features a talking magician's hat that makes Max a talented (and narcissistic) magician.
  • Darkwing Duck had a species of Puppeteer Parasite aliens who looked like hats.

Feedback: 22 replies

Feb 9th 2018 at 4:17:36 AM

Do you think the trope should also cover anthropomorphic hats who don't really fit the "worn by people" thing (e.g., the anthropomorphic hats of Series/Lidsville?)

Feb 9th 2018 at 6:12:05 AM

Western Animation

  • Wander's hat in Wander Over Yonder is implied to be sentient. Mostly it acts as a Bag Of Holding that gives the owner what they need for a particular situation. This is highlighted in the episode "The Hat", where Wander goes missing and Sylvia has to use the hat to find him, but everything the hat gives her results in her almost being eaten by a giant worm which is what the hat wants, since Wander had been swallowed by the worm. When Sylvia argues with the hat, it appears to smile or frown as a response.
  • In the Mickey Mouse short "Mickey's Grand Opera", Pluto finds a magician's hat that moves on its own.

Feb 9th 2018 at 7:06:52 AM

Film -- Animated

  • Make Mine Music: The segment Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet is a love story about two hats who are separated when Alice is purchased.
  • The Legend of Frosty The Snowman: Frosty's magic hat is depicted as this.

Western Animation

  • Goof Troop: The episode "Talent to the Max" features a talking magician's hat that makes Max a talented (and narcissistic) magician.

Feb 9th 2018 at 7:13:33 AM

  • The ghost-like Bonneters from Super Mario Odyssey have hat-like shapes, and can take on the form of various hats. The most notable Bonneter, Cappy, spends the whole game serving as Mario's hat.

Feb 9th 2018 at 3:24:50 PM

Also see Head Pet for living creatures that just happen to like sitting on your head.

  • The Extraordinary and Judgemental Hats from Fallen London can speak. The Blemmigan Hat is a walking mushroom creature that rides on your head and tries not to wriggle when anyone is looking. Polythreme is a Genius Loci where everything is animate; if you go there, all of your clothes will try to rebel against you.

Feb 9th 2018 at 3:38:02 PM

  • Touhou fandom gives this treatment to Suwako Moriya's hat (named Pyonta). In some works it's an extension of her body, in others it's a pet, and in others it's an outright malevolent lifeform controlling Suwako via tentacles in her brain.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Crown of Sorcery was an ancient artifact made by Nagash, the first necromancer. It's vaguely sentient and tries to dominate its wearer so it can be reunited with its creator. Its most famus appearance was when it halfway succeeded in possessing the orc warlord Azhag the Slaughterer, whispering plans and tactics into Azhag's mind that brought him great success, but orcs are highly resistant to psychic powers and thus spent of lot of time appearing to argue with himself.

Feb 9th 2018 at 3:51:13 PM

Video games:

  • In Guilty Gear series, there's I-no, a servant of That Man that fights with an electric guitar, and she also wears a pointed witch's hat that can fire projectiles, which also looks like a skull.

Feb 9th 2018 at 11:13:23 PM

In Meet The Robinsons, the Bowler Hat Guy's bowler hat, Doris, is sapient and mobile, actually serving as the Hypercompetent Sidekick to her wearer while she waits for a chance to take over the world.

Feb 10th 2018 at 11:22:32 AM

Skullgirls: Cerebella's Vice Versa is a living hat with arms that assists her in attacks.

Feb 12th 2018 at 9:25:37 PM

  • Charby The Vampirate: Kavonn's hat is a sentient entity that is the source of his power and can communicate with him. She prevented him from growing any taller than he was when he first acquired her and provides him his outfits while trying in vain to also control his haircut.

Feb 13th 2018 at 3:48:41 AM

  • In Yokai Watch, Wazzat is a Yo-kai who is a living hat. He was once an ordinary hat, but after being neglected the negative energy of abandonment ended up giving him a mind of his own. He tries to perch on other people's heads which had the side effect of erasing memories.

Feb 18th 2018 at 11:40:14 PM

Fanfic:

Feb 19th 2018 at 7:21:31 AM

Video Games

Feb 20th 2018 at 8:13:56 AM

I'd also advocate using an image of Ezlo as the page image. While the Sorting Hat is fine, Ezlo being a bit more cartoony would make it far more obvious he's alive.

Like this image, for instance.

Feb 22nd 2018 at 1:52:05 PM

@Rytex: but the Sorting Hat is more visibly just an anthropomorphic hat, whereas Ezlo has this whole bird-head that's not typical of living hats (whose "face" tends to be on the hat itself). I don't know. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

Feb 22nd 2018 at 1:55:54 PM

At the very least, I'd suggest finding a better angle of the hat, or maybe one of the illustrations that give it a very clear mouth and/or eyes, like the Pottermore illustration

I don't know why, even though I know where the eyes and mouth are, I can still kind of mentally see it as just a frumpy old hat.

Feb 22nd 2018 at 1:57:08 PM

Ahh, if only we could use GI Fs as trope images, because then it'd be easy to get the GIF of the Sorting Hat shouting "GRYFFINDOR!" and this would all be moot.

Feb 26th 2018 at 2:57:41 PM

@Rytex: About the Hat still looking like a frumpy old hat: well, that's really the genius of that design, see. As to your suggestion… Hm… the Pottermore illustration doesn't have eyes. (Which I always found creepy, for the record.)

Perhaps, if we're branching out of the Sorting Hat altogether, this Deviant Art picture might be appropriate:

https://coolness-god.deviantart.com/art/The-Living-Witch-Hat-568861021

Feb 27th 2018 at 6:49:40 AM

Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, I like the design of the movie hat, because it works so well in universe. I guess I'm more thinking of someone who doesn't watch Harry Potter and doesn't know what the Sorting Hat is, coming to the page, so it wouldn't immediately be obvious to them. We could use the Sorting Hat from A Very Potter Musical (or the Scarf of Sexual Preference) since it's a gag puppet that fills the same role though.

Apr 27th 2018 at 5:28:55 PM

  • Kirbys Return To Dreamland: the Master Crown is at least implied to be sentient, with it visibly wobbling on Magolor's head. It also grows when its user decides to take on its power, and later Magolor Soul is mentioned to be "a sad shell, nothing more than a manifestation of the Master Crown itself.

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