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Headscratchers / ParaNorman

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  • Norman tries to prove that he has been speaking to his dead grandmother and fails. Later, Norman doesn't seem to realize the potential of Grandma Babcock being able to subtly influence her environment, i.e. making sheets move by passing through a bed.
    • Or, y'know, asking her for details about his dad only she would know, rather than use stuff he could know if he were sneaky (Courtney's hidden pics.)
    • To be fair, they would probably assume Norman found out things in some mundane way and is still lying.
    • That's exactly what he did in the beginning with the pictures. They just found a more rational excuse for how he'd know, and they probably would assume that Grandma would have told him before she died.
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    • Some of their denial of his ability to talk to his deceased grandmother might be more of a defensive denial. They don't want to accept that he can talk to the dead because that ruined his uncle and has apparently caused other problems in the past (Agatha was a distant relative of his), so they might just not be willing to accept that it's true despite the evidence.

  • Also Why didn't Mr Prenderghast try to tell Norman about the witches curse being real, you know, maybe a month or at least an extra week before the anniversary of her death? The kid didn't have much time to think about it! Not to mention he actually FORGOT to tell Norman where the witch was buried. This could actually be a case of Fridge Horror if the guy only realized he was dying the day before he tried to talk to Norman. But then again when he actually DID die he seemed too happy about moving on to really care.
    • He also seemed to have some kind of insanity, possibly caused by his isolation. He might not have been able to ration that far into the future.

  • If my understanding of the rules for ghosts is correct — and don't say "because then we wouldn't have a movie" — why exactly was Agatha's mother able to move on? Not only was her young daughter sentenced to death, it was also carried out. On second thought, maybe this question belongs in Horror.
    • As far as we know, Agatha's mother lived a long life. Yes, what happened was horrible and probably stayed with her, but it's simply not healthy to dwell on things like that, and since Norman is related to Agatha her mother probably had other children to think of.
    • Plus, if she believed in the afterlife, she would've thought that death would reunite her with her daughter, and that thought brought her peace, even if she ended up having to wait a while.
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    • There's also a disturbing chance that she actually believed her daughter was a witch and that what happened was right, because her daughter actually did have powers that Puritans would have considered sinful. The ability to converse with the dead would be disturbing at any period in time, but for people living in the 17th century in an extremely religious community, it would have almost certainly been regarded as evil. We never see enough of her to know her opinion of the outcome of the trial. If true, it's probably a very good thing that Agatha didn't know, given the fact that remembering her mother's love for her is the only thing that kept her from destroying the entire town in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
      • Considering the fact that Agatha is related to Norman and Mr. Prenderghast, it's quite likely that the book-reading began as a mourning ceremony started by Agatha's mother.

  • If Agatha killed the 7 people who sentenced her right then and there (as most people on this page seem to believe,) who carried out her sentence? And why didn't she kill them, too?
    • This troper assumes a few different possibilities. Maybe the curse had a slight delay, allowing other witnesses to hear of the details of the curse, since "I'll make you sorry!" is too vague to become the legend it is in the present Blithe Hollow. Barring that, the curse was either too draining or too difficult to be used a second time. Not to mention being a child at the time, the trauma of it all could have left her resigned to her fate or too stunned to try again remember the butterfly she incinerates when she gets emotional.
    • I don't think she killed them right there. She didn't get her powers until after her death. That scene was just symbolic.
      • If you pause the movie when Salma is on the webpage for the witch, it says that when Aggie died, so did the witnesses and the judge.
      • Which would make it a case of Karmic Death. After all, Agatha died because they hanged her, and the burst of energy might have represented the creation of the Psychic Link that established Synchronization between her and her accusers.
      • It looks like she may have killed herself, the judge and the witnesses. She seemed to explode with the green lightning bolts she uses later in the film at the end of the flashback. Perhaps it's a case of Cast from Hit Points, explaining why she only uses it then and when she's already dead?

  • So, what was with the owl at the school play. I don't remember an owl being used anywhere else in the movie.
    • It was implied to be part of Norman's wood hallucination, as he assumed Aggie's POV when they were chasing her in the woods.

  • Can ghosts interact with one another? They all seem to be in their own little world unless Norman talks to them.
    • Maybe not. None of them seem aware of Aggie, despite her enormous power and influence over the physical reality of the town.
    • A cut scene shows that they are aware of each other and that the reason they weren't around to help for the rest of the film is because "the witch" scared even them into hiding.

  • Can the zombies understand humans who can't speak to the dead? Norman's the only one they respond to throughout the film.
    • Their bodies are pretty decayed. It's possible that they cannot hear very well, much like they cannot speak clearly either. Since they are subject to a curse intended to alienate them from the townspeople, it only makes sense that the curse hinders their ability communicate.

  • Mitch Downe being gay bother's me for one reason, the plot holes the so-called joke makes. If he's in a relationship, why doesn't he bring it up until the end? For most of the film the town is being invaded by what seems to be dangerous zombies. You think he'd be worried about his boyfriend getting attacked. The fact that he's gay could still be a twist by using a gender neutral name like Chris, making the viewer think it's short for Christine instead of Christopher.
    • Mitch is old enough to drive and has a van. It's entirely possible that his boyfriend doesn't live in Blithe Hollow. He himself may not go to school there because he apparently plays football, but Courtney, a cheerleader, doesn't know him. So at the very least he likely attends a different high school. As for the gag itself, having a girlfriend would only make Mitch partially unavailable to Courtney. Teenage romances come and go all the time. But being gay makes him utterly unattainable for her and the fact that she finds out only after their adventure makes it a bigger comedic letdown for her.

  • Why did Judge Hopkins claim in the witch trial that Aggie was playing with fire?
    • Well, in the beliefs of Puritan New Englanders, the only way to become a witch was to sell your soul to the Devil. So he's presumably referring to Fire and Brimstone Hell.
    • It's merely an expression that means someone is engaging in risky behavior that is likely to cause harm; in Aggie's case, speaking with the dead.
    • This was long before pop culture had created Sufficiently Analyzed Magic and rigidly codified Psychic Powers. To a Colonial era Puritan, any supernatural abilities were perceived as the tip of the iceberg. If Aggie could talk to the dead, what else might she have been able to do with her "witchcraft"?


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