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This page refers to the book Howl's Moving Castle and the anime version directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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    Sophie Hatter 
Sophie Hatter is the protagonist of the first book called Howl's Moving Castle. She is a young lady living in the small town of Market Chipping in the fictional kingdom of Ingary. She is the eldest of three sisters (Sophie, Lettie, and Martha Hatter). In the land of Ingary, this of course means that she is destined to never find her fortune, and live a very dull life at home. She works in her late father's hat shop as her stepmother, Fanny Hatter's apprentice. One day, she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste, and seeks refuge in Howl's castle, where she makes a bargain with the fire-demon Calcifer to break Howl and Calcifer's contract in exchange for Calcifer breaking her curse.
  • Berserk Button: People being exploited. It's enough to make her throw off her shyness at the beginning and snap at the Witch of the Waste when Martha tells her that her treatment in the hat shop is unfair, and she is genuinely angry on Michael and Calcifer's behalf when she thinks that they do all the work of the castle and Howl takes the credit.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's not quite as nice in the book as in the film, but she's still generally a decent, empathetic person, and she's still one of the primary causes of the Witch of the Waste's downfall and quite a powerful witch in her own right.
  • Character Development: Though Sophie is initially reserved and lacking confidence, she demonstrates herself to be a strong-minded individual after she is transformed into an old woman, becoming less afraid of what others think of her, although she shows some signs of this from the moment Martha suggests that she is being exploited — indeed, her mouthing off to the Witch of the Waste due to a confidence born of her anger at this is initially why she thinks she got cursed.
  • Cool Old Lady: As a granny, Sophie gains a lot more backbone than she was willing to display as a young woman.
  • Determinator: During the climax, while trying to save her family and Howl.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Howl certainly thinks so, and he's not wrong. Trying to save her friends and family (and Miss Angorian), she thinks it a very bright idea to go to the wasteland, unwittingly playing into the witches hands.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The Witch of the Waste gives her this reaction after Sophie tries to force her out of the store, though it wasn't part of distracting anyone.
  • Freeing the Genie: She does it to Calcifer by returning Howl's heart to Howl's body and giving him a thousand years of life.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Downplayed in the book. Sophie doesn't think she's quite as pretty as her sisters, and for a long time doesn't realise she's being exploited by working for nothing at the hat shop because she thinks that, as the eldest child, she'll never be a success at anything. She's also completely unable to consider that Howl is in love with her and not Miss Angorian.
  • I Am Not Pretty: This is why she sub-consciously recasts the old lady spell on herself.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Subverted. She is tough as nails while trying to keep the house clean and doesn't put up with Howl's garbage. She even out-sasses Calcifer.
  • Love Epiphany: With Percival's help, she realises that she has fallen in love with Howl.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Seriously, don't. The shy and mousy girl grew a spine when she aged.
  • Nice Girl: Most of the time, anyway, at least when Howl isn't pushing her buttons. She's quite empathetic about other people she thinks are being abused or exploited, and much of her initial harshness towards Howl is founded in disapproval of the way he treats young women, but she has a much pricklier side as well.
  • Oblivious to Love: Never even considers that Howl loves her and not Miss Angorian.
  • Rapid Aging: Due to the Witch of the Waste's curse.
  • Rescue Romance: She and Howl keep on rescuing each other over the course of the first book.
  • Shrinking Violet: Howl refers to her as a 'little grey mouse' when they first meet at a May Day celebration, when she's quite afraid of the press of people due to spending all her time in the hat shop making hats and not interacting with people very often, though this fades quite quickly even before the Witch curses her.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Watch her calmly attempt to force the Witch of the Waste out of the hat store.
  • Spanner in the Works: To the plans of the Witch of the Waste.
  • Team Mom: She tends to mother her sisters and even Michael, to a degree, though her interactions with Howl are a bit more complicated.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Her experiences stuck as an old woman help her gain quite a bit of backbone, to the point where she stands up to the monsters wrecking the city and takes it upon herself to get the castle (and by extension, Howl) out of harm's way.
  • Tsundere: Howl has a talent of bringing this side out of Sophie in the novel.
  • The Unfavorite: Seems to be one to her mother who arranged greater things for Martha than 'manage a hat shop'. On the other hand, Lettie's planned future of working at Cesari's bakery isn't especially glamorous either, and this seems more founded on the culturally-ingrained idea in Ingary that the first child of three will never succeed in making their fortune.
  • Uptown Girl: Howl, a Self-Made Man, is a gender-inversion, though precisely what class Howl is is left fairly ambiguous, as while he has a fairly grand customer base as 'Wizard Pendragon' in Kingsbury, his Porthaven house and customers are all relatively humble, and the Porthaven house is the base of the moving castle, at least at first.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Realizing that she can do more than hat making is part of her Character Development. During the climax Howl tells her so in his very unique, charming way.
    Sophie: "I'm the eldest! I'm a failure!
    Howl: "Garbage! You just never stop to think!"

    Wizard Howl/Howell Jenkins 
The terrifying wizard whom everyone in Market Chipping believes eats girls' hearts and is as bad as the Witch of the Waste. In fact, a rather vain, childish, but basically decent Welsh wizard who is desperately trying to slither out of his responsibilities and avoid the Witch of the Waste, whom he once jilted.
  • All There in the Manual: Many details about how he came to Ingary are found in interviews given by Diana Wynne Jones.
  • Agent Peacock: Flamboyant, theatrical and decidedly vain as he is, Howl is also an immensely powerful wizard, which takes Sophie by surprise early in the novel, when she had developed an impression that most of the work was done by Michael and Calcifer.
  • Berserk Button: Messing with his hair-care potions, which results in the entire house being covered in green slime.
  • Brainy Brunette: Reading between the lines suggests as much, as Calcifer describes him as being naturally 'a plain man with mud-coloured hair' and one line implies that Howl has a doctorate in charms on top of his magical studies in Ingary.
  • Brutal Honesty: He rarely uses it, as he usually prefers pleasant dishonesty, gentlemanly snarking, or not answering questions at all, but when he sees himself forced to tell the truth, he doesn't care too much about pleasantries.
    Sophie: "I'm not being nosy! That room —!"
    Howl: "Yes, you are nosy. You're a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman."
  • Can't Live Without You: If Calcifer dies, Howl dies with him.
  • The Casanova: Has a habit of seducing girls and then losing interest once they've fallen in love with him. This apparently happens so often that Michael and Calcifer regularly have to deal with angry family members showing up in his castle. Indeed, according to Diana Wynne Jones, he ended up in Ingary in the first place because he was running away from two large and formidable elder brothers of a girl he had slept with in Wales.
  • Cowardly Lion: Even though his magical powers rival those of the Witch of the Waste, Howl is incredibly cowardly and seeks to avoid her at all costs. He only engages in a fight with her if there is no other option or if she threatens people Howl cares about.
  • Deal with the Devil: Wizards and witches can make these with fire demons to gain greater power. The exchange involves the human's heart and therefore their continued existence. Howl made such a deal with Calcifer, though both of them regret it (implied to be because the Witch of the Waste and her demon have shown where it can lead) and he sternly warns Michael not to do the same.
  • Fish out of Water: Notably averted. Howl fits perfectly in his adopted world, probably because he loves the freedom and opportunities it allows him.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: His sister Megan seems to consider them this, with herself as the responsible one, as so far as she knows Howl is just a layabout who does odd jobs. She's not that far off, as Megan is a determinedly respectable person, and Howl is an incurably theatrical wizard.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Basically whenever Howl calls her 'Sophie dear' there is always a sharp bit of snarking coming Sophie's way.
    Howl (referring to the Witch of the Waste): "She is in some ways a very sad lady, very unloved. Every man in Ingary is scared stiff of her. You ought to know that feels, Sophie dear."
  • Gentleman Wizard: Played with. Howl gives off the impression of being a gentleman of leisure, but he does seem to do magic professionally, and much is made of his overcharging his wealthier clients and undercharging the poor ones. That said, he has the look and the attitude down pat for the role, and he's always appropriately dressed to appear in society.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be vain, selfish, and childish at first but through it all, he is a charming and kind gentlemen.
  • Ladykiller in Love: With Sophie. Much more focus is put on his womanising in the book than in the film, as Sophie first thinks he's courting her sister Lettie and later that he's genuinely fallen in love with Miss Angorian.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Played with. Howl likes his house messy, and is horrified when Sophie tries cleaning it, especially if it means hurting his spiders. It's also heavily implied that, if he felt like it, he could clean by magic.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Combined with Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. For some reason, Howl approached the Witch of the Waste, in spite of her terrible reputation (and the fact that she threatened the King's infant daughter!). Perhaps he thought the Witch and him were the same, since they were both vain, talented, and had a fire demon, but a lot of trouble could have been averted (and poor Mrs. Pentstemmon would still be alive) if he been more reasonable.
  • Parental Substitute: He allowed a 15 year old Michael to live with him after discovering him sleeping on his doorstep and began teaching him magic.
  • Self-Made Man: Sort of. His family in Wales don't seem to be especially well-off, and his home in Porthaven out of which he made the castle is also fairly humble, but it is still a castle, and his business in Kingsbury as 'Wizard Pendragon' is patronised by the King himself, who is considering making Howl his Royal Wizard, making it a bit ambiguous what Howl's status in society actually is.
    • It is implied that Howl would be quite well off in Ingary if he wouldn't spend his money so foolishly and if he would apply himself more. He is never shown seeking out rich customers, and seems to work on a "seek me if you need me" basis. And of course, he doesn't charge his poverty-stricken customers anything.
  • Trapped in Another World: Well, sort of. According to supplemental materials by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl actually ended up in Ingary by accident, where Mrs Pentstemmon decided to teach him because clearly that sort of outstanding magical talent needed training or he'd do terrible things by accident. So, more like 'emigrated to another world but sometimes comes back to visit', as there's no indication that he can't permanently move back to Wales, only that he doesn't especially want to.
    • This could be explained by the fact that Howl is simply more successful in Ingary than he is in Wales, where he is seen by his sister as a loser and a disappointment, and enjoys the bucolic setting and endless magical possibilities of his adopted country much more than Wales.
  • Vain Sorceress: A Rare Male Example, Howl at one point covers half the castle in green slime because Sophie messed with his hair spells, and according to Calcifer, the one way to know he's in love is if he doesn't spend hours in the bathroom making himself beautiful before he goes to see a girl.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: One of his many abilities as a wizard, and in House of Many Ways, he spends most of the book as the obnoxiously cute toddler 'Twinkle'.


Howl's fire demon and the driving force behind his castle. Originally a falling star, Calcifer was caught by Howl and entered into a contract with him: in exchange for Howl's heart, Calcifer would make Howl's magic more powerful. He is, however, rather unhappy with the way Howl is treating him, and wants the contract to be undone. He enlists Sophie's help for that purpose.

  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Inverted. The Japanese dub gives him a funny sidekick voice and a child-like behavior, while the English dub gives him a smouldering voice and a snarkier demeanor.
  • Glass Cannon: Calcifer is a very powerful fire demon, but he is confined to the hearth of the castle and cannot leave. If someone were to douse water on him for example, he would be easily killed.
  • I Choose to Stay: After Sophie frees him and gives him a thousand years of life, Calcifer returns to her and Howl - in the film, it's explicitly because he missed them. In the book, he just wants the opportunity to come and go as he pleases.
  • Meaningful Name: His name seems to be a mix of the name "Lucifer" (Latin for "bringing light") and the Latin word for heat, "Calor."
  • Noble Demon: He looks very scary, but is not that bad once you get to know him.
  • The Snark Knight: He is sarcastic, especially when it comes to Howl.
  • Technicolor Fire: He can burn very bright, and in a variety of shades. Justified because he is in essence a magical creature.

    Michael Fisher 

Howl's teenage apprentice, Michael is 15 years old in the beginning of the story. When he was kicked out of his old house in Porthaven because he could not afford to pay rent, a destitute Michael slept on Howl's doorstep. Eventually, Howl agreed to let Michael live with him and took him on as an apprentice. He is in love with Martha, Sophie's youngest sister.

  • Beta Couple: With Martha.
  • Lovable Coward: Understandable, since the world he lives in has very dangerous characters. In one particularly memorable scene, he plunges in a broom cupboard when he thinks the Witch of the Waste is about to break down the door, leaving Sophie alone in the middle of the room, right after telling her that he will protect her.
  • Only Sane Man: He is down-to-earth and reasonable compared to Howl, and much more responsible. He tries to save as much money as he can, which is not easy, taking Howl's reckless spending habits into account.
  • Put on a Bus: In every book after the first one, he is mentioned briefly, but not seen again after marrying Martha.

    Mrs. Pentstemmon 

Mrs. Pentstemmon is an extremely powerful sorceress who lives in Kingsbury. For many years, she has tutored apprenticing wizards and witches, and has taught some of the most powerful. Wizard Howl was her last apprentice, who left halfway through his tutelage and never returned to complete it. She is quite old and regal, giving off a more royal air than the King of Ingary himself.

    Wizard Suliman 

The court wizard of Ingary, who has gone missing before the start of the book.

  • Baleful Polymorph: Turned into two or three of these thanks to the Witch of the Waste.

    Lettie Hatter 

Sophie's second sister. She is very beautiful and interested in studying magic.

  • Brainy Brunette: Has dark hair and wants to learn witchcraft. As Martha puts it, "Lettie's got brains and she wants a future where she can use them."
  • Twin Switch: Via an illusion spell, Martha and Lettie trade apprenticeships.

    Martha Hatter 

Sophie's youngest sister. She is an apprentice at a bakery in Market Chipping and is in love with Michael.

  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Although she's sent to train as a witch, she'd rather settle down and have a big family and ends up the only Hatter sister not confirmed to be a powerful sorceress by the sequel.
  • Twin Switch: Via an illusion spell, Martha and Lettie trade places.
  • Youngest Child Wins: The expected trope in Ingary, though Martha has a different idea of winning that brings her sisters happiness, too.

     Fanny Hatter 

Fanny is the step-mother of Sophie and Lettie, and the mother of Martha. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Hatter married Fanny, who had been his shop assistant. Fanny helped Mr. Hatter run the shop until his death, after which she took over. She loves all the girls equally, and does her best to provide for them after Mr. Hatter's death.

  • Mama Bear: When Fanny thinks that Wizard Howl caused Sophie to age, she grabs her parasol and is ready to stab him with it. Sophie even has to hold her down.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Averted. She (apparently) tries to provide as best as she can for all three girls, but does not consider their interests when doing so - however, Sophie notes that each of her choices is following the culturally ingrained tropes of Ingary and trying to make the best of them. She’s supposedly jealous of the looks of her younger stepdaughter, though this comes from the youngest daughter (who's wrong about several other things). She does not pay Sophie at all when Sophie does the most work, but she is horrified when she finds Sophie as apparently a cursed servant and a) states that she wanted to take her with her when she remarried to a wealthy man, b) is quite prepared to attack Howl, a powerful wizard who is seen as The Dreaded (and intentionally so) with her parasol.

    The Witch of the Waste 

A beautiful-looking witch who terrorized the Land of Ingary before being banished to the Waste by the King.

  • Deal with the Devil: Wizards and witches can make these with fire demons to gain greater power. The exchange involves the human's heart and therefore their continued existence. The Witch made such a deal with an unnamed fire demon, and it ended up consuming her.
  • Dissonant Serenity: She is cheerful and chatty when she meets Sophie on the street, which adds to Sophie's shock when she finds out that the Witch has just murdered Howl's elderly teacher.
  • Evil Plan: Having once been close to Howl, (although the exact degree to which they were involved is never fully revealed) the Witch wants to claim Howl's heart, metaphorically. This is why she chases him and curses a rival (Sophie) into old age. The demon contracted to her, wants to claim his heart, literally. This is why she arranges a series of events that will allow her to get inside the castle and grab Calcifer.
  • Foil: To Howl. They are both vain, magically proficient and both have made a deal with a fire demon, but whereas Howl has a soft heart and cares about the people around him, the Witch is completely selfish and self-absorbed.
  • The Fashionista: She is always dressed very elegantly, and her hair has a different color every time Sophie meets her.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Combined with Psycho Ex. Once Howl abandons their liaison, the vengeful Witch begins to search for him tirelessly, curses a young woman whom Howl had shown interest in and kills his former teacher when she would not reveal Howl's whereabouts to her.
  • Vain Sorceress: She is kept young and beautiful by her fire demon, and enjoys wearing beautiful clothes and being admired. Howl mentions that she keeps the waste devoid of life because she imagines herself to be a solitary orchid, blooming in the waste.

    The Witch's Fire-Demon/Miss Angorian 



    Sophie Hatter 
Voiced by: Chieko Baisho (JP), Emily Mortimer (US, Young!Sophie), Jean Simmons (US, Old!Sophie)
"Well, a heart's a heavy burden."
"When you're old, all you want to do is stare at the scenery."

Sophie Hatter is the main character in the first book called Howl's Moving Castle. She is a young lady living in the small town of Market Chipping in the fictional kingdom of Ingary. She is the eldest of three sisters (Sophie, Lettie, and Martha Hatter). In the land of Ingary, this of course means that she is destined to never find her fortune, and live a very dull life at home. She works in her late father's hat shop as her stepmother, Fanny Hatter's apprentice.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Sophie had strawberry blonde hair. It's changed to brown in the movie.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the film, Sophie occasionally going young again seemed like a Deus ex Machina. In the book, it's because she's a witch who accidentally did so because she doesn't know she's one.
  • Badass Pacifist: Not initially; as a young girl she's timid and insecure. Her time spent as an old lady, however, causes her to be less afraid of things and more self-confident. By the end of the story, she's stood up the Witch of the Waste, fired off on Madame Suliman, dealt with Howl's magic-firing tantrums, made a pact with a fire demon, and even explored and discovered the magics of Howl's castle... all to save Howl.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Howl watches her while she sleeps. In this case, understandable because Sophie is inflicting the curse on herself subconsciously. Thus, the only time it's not active is when she's asleep.
  • Berserk Button: Being associated with the Witch of the Waste.
  • Brainy Brunette: Initially; she's definitely one of the more intelligent characters in the canon. She later gains Mystical White Hair.
  • Character Development: Though Sophie is initially reserved and lacking confidence, she demonstrates herself to be a strong-minded individual after she is transformed into an old woman, becoming less afraid of what others think of her.
  • Cool Old Lady: As a granny, Sophie gains a lot more backbone and sass.
  • Cry into Chest: Does it several times to Howl.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Before the whole fiasco, Sophie had brown hair and eyes.
  • Determinator: During the climax, while trying to save her family and Howl.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The Witch of the Waste gives her this reaction after Sophie tries to force her out of the store, though it wasn't part of distracting anyone.
  • Dude Magnet: While she believes she's not beautiful, Sophie attracts the attention of Howl, 2 guards in the beginning, and Turniphead.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Sophie begins the movie with waist-length dark hair done up in a simple braid. She still has the braid after being transformed into an old woman by the Witch of the Wastes, albeit grey and much shorter. However, at the climax of the film, she sacrifices her braid to revive Calcifer (who she'd just realized is Howl's heart), and even after breaking the curse Sophie's hair remains silvery-grey in color.
    • This is one of the many differences from the original novel. In the book, Sophie's hair was strawberry blonde (i.e. a very light red), and her hair went back to its former colour and style after her curse broke.
  • Flight of Romance: Has one with Howl in the beginning where they roof hop on air.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic; largely bored and listless for the bulk of the film.
  • Freeing the Genie: She does it to Calcifer by returning Howl's heart to Howl's body.
  • Friend to All Children: To Markl, sure, but when a young girl asks her if she's a witch...
    Sophie: I am the most horrible witch of all! *Slasher Smile*
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Sophie always describes herself as "ugly" and "dumb".
  • I Am Not Pretty: This is why she sub-consciously recasts the old lady spell on herself.
  • Important Haircut: She gives up her braid to empower Calcifer.
  • Indy Ploy: Her plan to save Howl. Destroying the castle and escaping with only a small part of it to stop Howl from fighting the main battle. It failed because the Witch of the Waste grabbed Calcifer, forcing Sophie to almost kill the demon.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Subverted. She is tough as nails while trying to keep the house clean and doesn't put up with Howl's garbage. She even out-sasses Calcifer.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Even after she becomes young again permanently, her hair remains white.
  • Love Epiphany: When Madame Suliman tells her "You are in love with Howl, Mrs. Pendragon."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After pouring water over Calcifer.
  • Mystical White Hair: The ending has Sophie learning about her own magical powers and retaining her short, grey hair.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Seriously, don't. The shy and mousy girl grew a spine when she aged.
  • Nice Girl: Dutiful, kind, and considerate.
  • Not So Above It All: Sophie really acts like a real grandma when she gets aged into an elderly woman even being sarcastic towards everyone she meets.
  • The Power of Love: She uses it to break Turniphead's curse.
  • Rapid Aging: Due to the Witch of The Waste's curse.
  • Rescue Romance: She meets Howl when he saves her from two soldiers that were coming on to her.
  • Shrinking Violet: The townspeople think she's one of these because she spends so much time in the hat store and no time outside with others her age.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Watch her calmly attempt to force the Witch of the Waste out of the hat store.
  • Spanner in the Works: To the plans of Suliman.
  • Team Mom: A mother figure for the (much younger in the film) Michael and more of a babysitter for Howl.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Confronting Suliman certainly counts.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Sort of. She really shows a wide variety of emotion after being aged into an elderly woman even being playful around Markl.
  • True Blue Femininity: Sophie changes from a green dress to a blue one when she goes to seek her fortune. Howl later spruces the dress up with magic to make its color brighter and clearer.
  • True Love's Kiss: She breaks the curse on Turniphead by giving him a kiss, but she's already in love with Howl. Turniphead is fine with this.
  • Tsundere: Howl has a talent of bringing this side out of Sophie in the novel.
  • The Unfavorite: Seems to be one to her mother who arranged greater things for Lettie than 'manage a hat shop'.
  • Uptown Girl: Howl, a Self-Made Man, is a gender-inversion to her.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Realizing that she can do more than hat making is part of her Character Development.

    Howl Pendragon 
Voiced by: Takuya Kimura (JP), Christian Bale (US)
"Now I've got something I want to protect. It's you."

Howl Jenkins Pendragon is a powerful wizard living in the land of Ingary. Originally Howell Jenkins of Wales, he was part of a loose fraternity of wizards on Earth. He made his way through a magical portal to Ingary, where he became known and respected as one of the most powerful wizards there was. He owns a moving castle, and spreads rumors about himself to retain his privacy, opting to be alone and hiding from all conflict.

  • The Ace: Is possibly the most powerful and renowned sorcerer in the world, deals with high-level curses like one would sweep away a spider, and can transform into a massive bird creature at will.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Some of Howl's more prevalent flaws in the books such as his womanizing behavior, chronic irresponsibility, and tendency to "slither-out" of things are omitted or downplayed. His anti-war attitude is original to the movie, as Book!Howl had no problem supplying the King of Ingary with magical devices for his troops, although no war actually occurs in the book.
  • Agent Peacock: He's a pretty prissy narcissist who kicks insane amounts of butt. The narcissism gets better, but he stays quite a girly boy.
  • Anime Hair: He changes his hair a lot; both color and style.
  • Bishōnen: The film makes him a very pretty man. It's definitely invoked on his end, as he's very vain and is implied to spend a lot of free time on improving his looks.
  • Body Horror: His transformation to bird-like thing to fight the armies of the war gets harder every time... to be specific, at one point he's going to be unable to turn back.
  • Can't Live Without You: If Calcifer dies, so does Howl. This is because Howl outsourced his heart to Calcifer.
  • The Casanova: His reputation is a womanizer but in the film the only person he romances onscreen is Sophie. Off-screen romanced the Witch of the Waste and that's it.
  • Chick Magnet: He is a well known womanizer, and there's also Sophie and the Witch of the Waste.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: After his Expository Hairstyle Change, Howl now has dark blue hair and sky blue eyes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zig-Zagged with this and Dark Is Evil. His transformations are for a good cause, but the "other Howl" can become very vicious, cruel and animal-like.
  • Deal with the Devil: Deal with a demon, to be clear. He gave his heart to Calcifer in exchange for certain powers.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Subtly, because he is always flamboyant and "happy", just not genuinely at first.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Only in the movie. After Sophie accidentally rearranged his several dozen hair products, his blond hair turned orange, then later bluish-black (the latter being his natural color). His decision to not re-dye it indicates his increasing willingness to drop his façade, as well as his growing trust of (and love for) Sophie.
  • Gentleman Wizard: Howl is an eccentric magic scholar who lives in a floating castle he made himself and always looks appropriate for polite society.
  • Hidden Depths: An interesting example. As shown under Mood-Swinger below, his initial appearance as a confident and immensely powerful wizard surrounded by an aura of mystery belies that fact that he is, at heart, actually just a temperamental and cowardly teenager.
  • Ladykiller in Love: In the film his womanizing is an Urban Legend Love Life because we don't see it. Nevertheless, he's in love with Sophie.
  • Love Epiphany: Howl finally realizes that his feelings for Sophie are romantic when she is threatened and he realizes that he is willing to fight to protect her.
  • Master of Disguise: He pretended to be the King and the only reason anyone found out was because the real deal showed up at random and laughed at him.
  • Martial Pacifist: He believes the war should end, but will do anything to stop the fighting parties from causing more harm, even if this means assuming a monstrous form and beating up soldiers on both sides.
  • Mood-Swinger: When he's introduced, he seems like a dashing, unflappably confident sort of person who's always got everything under control, and nothing can upset him, except maybe high-minded concerns about the war. Then he very suddenly has a huge Freak Out and sinks into a deep depression because someone messed with his hair potions.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's rather shameless about storming up to Sophie wearing nothing but a towel, and he's the only character in the movie to be depicted naked.
  • Noodle People: By the standards of the Studio Ghibli art style, yes; he's slender almost to the point of being downright scrawny, but towers over every other character except Turniphead.
  • One-Winged Angel: He can transform into a "bird-thing" that resembles a massive, monstrous griffon-like melding of lupine and bird attributes, though this full state is only seen at one point in the movie.
  • Partial Transformation: In addition to his wolf-headed bird-thing form, Howl can also transform into something that looks like either a giant bird with his own face, or simply give himself bird-like hands & feet and a full-body coating of feathers that allows him to fly.
  • Power at a Price:
    • He gave up his heart to Calcifer for more magical power.
    • His "bird-thing" transformation becomes increasingly hard to revert back from the more he uses it.
  • Refusal of the Call: He refuses to be part of Suliman's King's scheme of having all wizards fight for him.
  • Secondary Character Title: Although the movie is called Howl's Moving Castle, it's much more about Sophie than him.
  • Trash of the Titans: His house is filthy and he likes it that way.
  • Uptown Girl: Gender-inversion: Sophie is a worker in a hat shop, while he is a famous and powerful wizard.
  • Vain Sorcerer: He Wangsts about having the wrong hair color... yeah.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He fights in the war to destroy as many war ships as possible and diminish the threat the other wizards pose, disregarding loyalty to either side. As he said, it doesn't matter who to support — both are bad.

    The Witch of the Waste 
Voiced by: Akihiro Miwa (JP), Lauren Bacall (US)
"The best part of that spell, is that you can't tell anyone about it."
"It looks like your true love is in love with someone else."

The Witch of the Waste is an antagonist of Howl's Moving Castle.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Howl. Though, she eventually does step aside, and even later seems to approve of Howl's relationship with Sophie.
  • Adaptational Heroism: An extreme case — the book version of the Witch never undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, and even as a villain in the movie she's more of a petty bully whereas the book version was a serial murderer.
  • The Baroness: A vain sorceress who is a big, beautiful woman with a major jealous streak and always goes around wearing rather fine clothing. Then she gets drained by Madame Suliman at the halfway point and loses most of it, becoming a somewhat senile old woman.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Compared to the book, where she was traditionally beautiful, here she's extremely obese, but still possesses a fairly attractive face and an elegant outfit. Until depowered by Suliman.
  • The Bully: To Sophie. "You are by far the tackiest."
  • Dark Is Not Evil: After having her power drained. She's better than she was and even gets to stay in the castle by the end, but still wears her darker clothing compared to the rest of the cast.
  • Deal with the Devil: Like Howl, she sold her heart to a demon and no longer has one of her own.
  • De-Power: Suliman de-powers her as a punishment for losing her way and becoming selfish.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Post de-powering she spends her time lustingly looking at Howl and making love jokes to Sophie.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: She curses Sophie for "standing up" to her.
  • Evil Is Petty: In addition to cursing Sophie, she threatens the girl with dementia for snarking at her.
  • Evil Redhead: She's a redhead like in the book, though it's faded enough to look pink.
  • Fat Bitch: Her personality is as repulsive as her enormous rolls of fat. Notably, her Heel–Face Turn involves a physical transformation that simultaneously makes her lose a huge amount of weight.
  • Gonk: She is ugly post-depowering, and that's even comparing her to how she made Sophie look as an old woman.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She finalizes it after giving back Howl's heart to Sophie, since she's allowed to live with Howl afterwards.
  • Jerkass: Which manages to be an improvement from the book. Here, the Witch is just vain and petty, and most of her spells are done out of revenge for some perceived slight (namely taking Howl's attention away from her). Compared to the murderer of the book, it's pretty light for an antagonist.
  • Lust Object: She is obsessed, almost involuntarily, with collecting the hearts of handsome men. When she meets Calcifer, she is involuntarily attracted to him, repeatedly saying "what a pretty fire." This is because he actually contains Howl's heart. When she figures it out she steals it, even if it would kill Howl.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Once she's stripped of her powers, her true age comes back up and reveals her to be at least in her late 70s. Though she seems to be in mildly better shape as much of her excess weight also vanishes.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: While genuinely senile, she is still out after Howl's heart when she starts living with him, but she's nice enough to return it to Sophie after some convincing. She even becomes a bit more wise to Suliman's traps, and quickly uncovers and destroys the peeping bug spy planted by Sophie's mother the moment she can.
  • Older Than She Looks: As Suliman reveals.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Witch of the Waste" is a title.
  • Sixth Ranger: To Howl's family in the end.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the book, she remains evil and Howl casually takes away her life force in the climax.
  • Starter Villain: She kickstarts the conflict by transforming Sophie into an old woman. Eventually, she's depowered by Madame Suliman, the true villain.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Post de-powering, she is briefly this because she is still in pursuit of Howl's heart.
  • Too Important to Walk: Deconstructed, seems like she was a little too used to getting around in a palanquin. When Suliman's magical countermeasure dispel the henchmen carrying her from existence, she's forced to climb a lengthy flight of stairs, which exhausts her enough to set her up for the trap that depowers her.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After she gets de-powered, she's much nicer and friendlier, even if she does try to steal Howl's heart again. Plus, even then, she certainly wouldn't have agreed to give it back so easily if she was anything like the way she was before.
  • Vain Sorceress: A dangerously magical woman who constantly belittles common folk like Sophie, and conjures up minions just so they could carry her around town. We later find out that her selfishness came about after she sold her heart to a greedy demon, and had since used her powers to keep herself young forever.
  • Villain Decay: After she comes within the vicinity of Suliman (first starting when she has to walk the stairs), she becomes useless.
  • Woman Scorned: Howl used to "romance" her until he saw what she really was and ended it. She did not take this well and is still trying to get her revenge on him.

Voiced by: Ryonosuke Kamiki (JP), Josh Hutcherson (US)
"We're a family now, right?"

Howl's child apprentice.

Voiced by: Tatsuya Gashuin (JP), Billy Crystal (US)
"May all your bacon burn."

A fire demon who powers Howl's moving castle.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Illustrations for the book often portray him with a scary-looking demon face, a given since he's, well, a demon. In the film, he's an adorable little fireball.
  • The Big Guy: Though he is usually confined to his small form, he's the most powerful person in Howl's castle.
  • Butt-Monkey: By his second appearance, Sophie's able to bully him into doing whatever she wants him to do. Played with because some of it is genuinely funny, and some of it becomes Harsher in Hindsight when it's revealed Howl gave him his heart and how close some of those incidents came to killing Howl, even inadvertently.
  • Catch a Falling Star: In a very literal sense — he was a star that fell to Earth and was caught by a young Howl.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This is his relationship with Howl and later Sophie; exchanging witty remarks and insults.
  • Deal with the Devil: With the exception that he is a demon and not malevolent, he made one such deal with Howl to empower him, taking Howl's heart in trade.
  • Extreme Omnivore: He eats anything, from wood, to eggshells, to hair.
  • Human Resources: Howl's heart sustains his life — ordinarily, fallen stars 'die' on this world of mud and water. Later, he's able to gain a temporary power boost from Sophie's tresses.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: He wants freedom from Howl and his castle more than anything. When he actually gets it, he returns to Howl and asks to stay as a part of the new family.
  • Mythology Gag: When he unleashes his full power, he bursts into violent blue flames and bears a much more demonic-looking face. This is pretty much what he looks like in the original book.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire demon, Duh-doy.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    "Here's another curse for you: may all your bacon burn!"
  • Our Demons Are Different: While he does make a Deal with the Devil with Howl to increase his powers in exchange for his heart (rather than his soul), he's far from malevolent, and is actually pretty friendly once you get past his Deadpan Snarker tendencies.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: He's trapped inside Howl's castle because he ate Howl's Heart.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Billy Crystal in the English dub takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Soul Jar: He contains Howl's heart, so it's a bit more physical than usual for this trope.

    Madame Suliman 
Voiced by: Haruko Kato (JP), Blythe Danner (US)
"It's time to put an end to this idiotic war."

Madame Suliman serves as an antagonist in Howl's Moving Castle movie adaptation.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Neither of the characters she was composed from was particularly antagonistic.
  • Anti-Villain: She's not "evil", per se, but she is antagonist and her Well-Intentioned Extremist antics are causing war and misery.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: To Sophie, though it's more of a statement. "You're in love with Howl, Mrs. Pendragon."
  • Big Good: Kind of. In the end, she does make plans to meet with the Prime Minister and the Minster of Defense, as well as Prince Justin to stop the war. ...However... she may also simultaneously qualify as...
  • Big Bad: Again, kind of. Unless of course you interpret her exclusively as a Manipulative Bitch, in which case she's a successful antagonist, as there is also a mild hint she's secretly overthrowing/already overthrown the king.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Of the Good Is Not Nice variety.
  • Composite Character: She is composed of two characters in the book, namely Howl's kindly old mentor, Mrs. Pentstemmon, and Wizard Suliman, the male head sorcerer of the royal court. Her role in the plot later on is a bit different than either of them, though.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Remains serene and never raises her voice or loses her temper through the entire movie, even when she's planning unspeakable things or being challenged by Sophie and Howl.
  • The Dragon: To the King if you count the King as the main force of the war, but she's more of a Dragon-in-Chief if you interpret him as a villain.
  • I Have Your Wife: It's implied that Madame Suliman holds Sophie's stepfather (whom she's never met) hostage, forcing Sophie's stepmother to betray her by planting a Peeping Bug in the castle.
  • Karma Houdini: Her manipulation of Sophie and attempts to forcibly depower Howl go unpunished and are even implied to have been completely justified for the greater good.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Before her introduction, the film was a light-hearted romp in a cool castle. Then she attempts to steal Howl's magic with creepy shadow things while he's transforming into a bird monster.
  • Lady of Black Magic: She conjures familiars made of shadow to do her bidding.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In her attempt to trick Howl and take his power away, she forces him into an illusion world where demons surround him and hurls her staff at him. It's implied that she has considerably stronger powers than Howl, and may be more cunning as well.
  • Light Is Not Good: As The Witch of the Waste can attest.
  • Never Mess with Granny: This old lady has formidable magical and political power, and wields both while in a wheelchair.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Both when she de-powers the Witch of the Waste and tries to pull the same thing on Howl.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Says this about Howl, almost word-for-word. She is referring to his action of giving his heart to Calcifer.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The more prominent of the two characters she's based on, Mrs. Pentstemmon, dies midway through the book.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She does geniunely want to save Howl from meeting the same fate as the other wizards who couldn't retain their form or lost their way (such as the Witch of the Waste), and at the end of the day, she also wants to stop the war. It's just her methods at going about both goals are questionable at best and anti-altruistic at worst.

Voiced by: Yo Oizumi (JP), Crispin Freeman (US)
Turnip-Head is a cursed scarecrow who appears in both the book and movie versions of Howl's Moving Castle.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: He's a moving scarecrow.
  • Baleful Polymorph: He is actually a cursed prince. In the book, he's actually a scarecrow, but one filled with all of Suleiman's unused magic. The prince's body was put to other use.
  • Bishōnen: His delicate good looks rival Howl's.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The beginning of the movie mentions a missing prince as the cause of the war.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To Sophie and averted. When he finds out she's not interested in him, and indeed, interested in someone else, he bows out gracefully.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He jumps in front of the piece of wood Sophie and the rest are on to break their fall. It doesn't kill him, but it whittles his cane down to nearly nothing. It's strongly implied that if Sophie hadn't kissed him and broken the spell, he would have died.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Sophie's love (non-romantic love) breaks his spell, but as the Witch of the Waste soon points out, she's already in love with Howl.
  • In Name Only: Although referred to as Prince Justin in side material, he bears no resemblance to Prince Justin in the book who was an older military man and the King of Ingary's brother.
  • Modest Royalty: The outfit that generates when the spell breaks is stylish but no more than a prosperous merchant could afford.
  • The Power of Love: What will break his spell.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He keeps following Sophie around because he's in love with her... and True Love's Kiss can break the spell on him.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Turnips aren't known for their speaking ability. Once he's human again, he has dialogue.
  • The Voiceless: For the majority of the movie, he cannot talk.
  • Walking Spoiler: His true identity is a major spoiler, which is why nearly all of his entries above are hidden.

Voiced by: Dajiro Harada

Heen is a small and very ancient white and brown dog who appears only in the movie.

  • Canon Foreigner: Only appears in the movie version, though he appears to be a non-magical version of Perceval, a character from the book who was Frankensteined from Prince Justin and Suleiman's bodies by the Witch, then turned into a dog. He becomes a different sort of dog each time he changes back. Heen takes his part as the dog, but that's all.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: He's a dog with reptile/bird paws.
  • The Mole: Though he was Suliman's dog all along, the ending reveals she could see through his point of view.
  • Team Pet: Sophie adopts him into the Castle family.
  • Vader Breath: Instead of threatening, it only makes him cuter.

    Lettie Hatter
Voiced by: Yayoi Kazuki (JP), Jena Malone (US)

Sophie's younger half-sister.

    Honey Hatter
Voiced by: Mayuno Yasokawa (JP), Mari Devon (US)

Fanny (Honey) Hatter is Mr. Hatter's second wife who was once his shop assistant. She is only Lettie's biological mother, though cares for her and Sophie equally. After Mr. Hatter's death, she runs the hat shop for some time, with Sophie apprenticing. After Sophie leaves the shop, Fanny meets a rich man and marries him, and as a consequence sells the shop.

  • Abusive Mom: Her only scene, where she talks to Sophie, certainly implies this; working all the time, with the result that she's certainly neglectful, if not deliberately unkind. She also chose to rat out Sophie's location to Suliman after Suliman took her new rich husband hostage and feigned looking for Sophie after she left out of maternal love and selflessness. She also sold the hat shop immediately after remarrying with no care as to how much Sophie cared for it. However, at the end of the day, she does care for Sophie, as seen by her clear regret after selling her stepdaughter out, even begging forgiveness as she's driven away.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: While not an outright villain, she is far less sympathetic than her closest book counterpart, coming closer to the Evil Stepmother trope that her Mama Bear book incarnation averts. She doesn't fully cross the line, as she did care about Sophie's wellbeing after the curse was first cast and even showed regret on selling her out to Suliman.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the book, the only character resembling her is Fanny Hatter, Sophie's dad's second wife, mother to half-sister Martha and stepmother to Sophie and Lettie. While the film calls Honey Sophie's mother, the official artbook actually refers to her as her stepmother like her book counterpart, which would explain why Lettie bears a much stronger resemblance to her than Sophie.
  • All There in the Manual: Her name.
  • Alliterative Name: Honey Hatter.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: A selfish deconstruction. Fanny selfishly gallivants around town and has fun as a rich socialite because she has her stepdaughter Sophie spend days and nights making hats to keep her shop successful. She barely cares enough to visit her daughters, one resents her for having Sophie be the foundation for her success, and she's quick to sell out Sophie when she marries a new rich husband to mooch off. To be fair, she does geninuely love both her stepdaughter and biological daughter.
  • Gold Digger: After her husband died, Honey found a new love in the form of a rich husband (whom we never see).
  • It's All About Me: She's off having fun while Sophie does all the work.
  • The Mole: For Suliman, when she plants a bug in Howl's house while visiting Sophie. Though in fairness to the woman, it's implied that Madam Suliman is holding her new husband hostage and she's clearly bothered by what she's done. She even asks Sophie for forgiveness, albeit when she is being driven off to see her husband.
  • Nice Hat: Tries on a big fancy one.
  • Rich Bitch: Utterly averted considering how much she sincerely cares for Sophie.
  • Social Climber: This seems to be Honey’s major goal.