Beauty and the Beast
"That boy is extremely dangerous, his powers are far too great for someone without a heart. If he stays selfish, I'm afraid he'll end up just like the Witch of the Wastes."
People are told to not judge a book by its cover. They are told not to make assumptions based of appearance alone. In reality, it is much harder to keep an open-mind and force yourself to look at what's truly important: the inside. Who is it, underneath eye grime of everyday life and work? Who is it, that is curled up inside, when the scars and experiences are smudged away?
In Beauty and the Beast, it is only the prince who's appearance had been altered, and he awaits for his beauty to fall in love with him, in a hopeless dream. However in Howl's Moving Castle, both beauty and beast are something they are not. The beauty is turned into an aged woman, and the beast risks becoming what he appears to be. They are two souls who have been turned by magic.
Perhaps that is why they fell into each other's arms so easily.
There will be spoilers for Howl's Moving Castle.
Howl did not have a heart. Whether it was a choice or a curse, there was not anything he could do about it. All he did was run. He ran away from the king, who wanted to summon him to fight in his war. He ran away from the Witch of the Wastes, who wanted his heart. He ran, until his legs ran sore, so Howl flew.
High above, Howl could see the cruel world for what it was. Fires burned from magical bombs. Cities became nothing in one night. What were humans? Were they really that different from the demons of midnight, even with a heart? Perhaps that's why it took a girl of starlight, the glow of a inky sky, to show Howl what heart is.
Howl's humanity felt like a burden, so he let his feathers cover his skin. He allowed his teeth to grow into fangs. He let himself become a monster, or rather a child without a heart, covered in feathers.
Maturity comes with age, but sometimes maturity is forced by outside forces. Except, well, in this case. Under a magical spell that changes her appearance to an old woman. Her body may have changed, but her mind was still young. Sophie was no longer a beauty, but she didn't believe she was in the first place.
Sophie was not pretty. Simple as that. If her friends joked that a magician would steal her heart, Sophie plainly replied that it was not possible for she was not pretty. If anyone attempted to tell her otherwise, she would not believe it. She could not recognize that beauty, often is not something someone can see.
Every day, we all take something for granted. Whether it be our home, family, friends, warm bed, we don't all give thanks to large and small things like we should. Perhaps us with healthy bodies are the ones who take it for granted. Who can blame us? There is no event in our life that emulates aging, except time itself. It usually takes years for us to truly appreciate our young bodies, only when it's too late. Maybe the aging spell on Sophie will open her eyes to her own, original beauty.
Beauty, requires grace, and eyes full of wisdom. With her old age, comes open eyes. Sophie saw an little child, in a seemingly slightly arrogant, yet kind-hearted adult. Though Howl looked as if he was a confident magician, she saw insecurity. Sophie saw his sore legs from running away from conflict. She saw a tired child. A very, tired child.
People often have moments. When they realize that not all is what it seems. That there's magic in certain places, and sometimes inside of others.
It happened when the old woman saw the creature that was Howl. When she admitted that he had his faults, but ultimately saw the hurt, and positivity in him. When the magic runs out, what is left is not a monster, but a boy, missing his humanity and heart. That is what love can see. It tears off the feathers and claws, and finds the tiny orb of light inside.
Howl noticed the subtle beauties in Sophie. How she commanded the household when she needed to. How perfect her care was for his apprentice and demon flame. when darkness came, out of the void, there was suddenly light. Beauty is a more accurate term, yet nothing could describe her. How could Sophie not see the prettiness that surrounded her? That was her. It was obvious on the outside, with the inside beauty just a little more hidden.
It was when they both realized how they wanted each other, was when everything was found. Sophie found her youth, and beauty. Howl found his heart, and something worth protecting. They both did not need to run from their insecurities anymore. They had no need to run from their problems anymore. They had everything they needed now: a heart, youth, love, a beauty, and a beast.
Thank you to Reina for the amazing tpl.