Sophie goes to the Royal Palace in lieu of Howl due to his fear of the Witch of the Waste's adoration and the evil Madame Suliman. At the palace, the Witch of the Waste is faced with climbing the royal stairs. Sophie encourages her after noticing the witch struggling. In the palace, Sophie learns of Madame Suliman's ulterior motives and, showing compassion, stands up for Howl's integrity. The spell is momentarily broken.