Speculah:Prior Lives of Witches

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This article is an unconfirmed theory. Please do not treat it as a fact.
For other analysis and articles, see Articles. For speculations and theories, see Theories.

With witches are fallen magical girls theory proven true, the fan base has moved to speculate the prior lives of the girls and the nature of their wishes prior to their witchification. This page is dedicated to such speculations*:

  • Please keep in mind that the wishes of the girls do not explicitly and directly shape their barrier/labyrinth. For example, despite using a wish to heal someone, Oktavia's barrier has nothing to do with healing, arms, or hospitals, and instead everything to do with the target of her wish and the Witch's "favorite things" before transformation, in other words, music and violin. Therefore, any speculation made by looking at a Witch's barrier is more likely to reflect on their personality than on their direct wish.
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Albertine

It's possible that this witch was a very young girl. She is described as a scribbling witch: "scribbling" is an activity associated with young children, and her familiars are suitably crudely-drawn. Furthermore, she is stated to love hide-and-seek, a popular game among children.

Her familiar Anja provides further proof. Apart from being crudely drawn, as stated above, it has the appearance of a very young girl flying around in different vehicles: planes, boats and cars, that transform into one another. It's common to see children playing around with vehicular toys by "flying" them around, with their hands. The familiar apparently got "lost while playing alone" while daydreaming, an unfortunate, but common occurrence to children. It's further tragic that this happened to a "girl" that was already a creature spawned by a witch. Anja also attacks humans by turning them into balls and bouncing them around once for each lie they have ever uttered. In addition to ball games being a universal activity for children, they are also usually lied to, be it to make them happy or to protect them from things they cannot understand. Furthermore, children tend to react badly to being lied to, much more so than adults. Finally, this familiar is described as being naïve, an innate characteristic of children: in fact, being naïve is stated to be her "duty." This can be connected to the relatively modern idea of children needing to be raised in a purer, more innocent environment.

As her familiars (namely, Anja) resemble young children, Albertine might have not been able to make friends at kindergarten or school, and thus wished to make friends with her classmates. Her friends might not have been what she hoped: maybe they were too friendly and meddlesome, too many to handle, or just plain bad friends. However, being a young girl, emotional reasons for her demise are difficult to determine: young children can have unpredictable mood swings. Kyubey's recruiting of a human with more volatile mood swings than his normal target demographic of pubescent girls suggests that he was once willing to experiment with his subjects, in turn indicating a looser organization of his species' plan to reduce universal entropy.

As Albertine's nature is ignorance, she may have become a witch because she didn't know she had to recharge her Soul Gem. While Kyubey ordinarily tells new magical girls about the use of Grief Seeds to purify Soul Gems, he may have chosen not to tell Albertine due to her not being particularly useful in fighting witches; she may also have expended her Soul Gem before Kyubey could have her recharge it.

Due to her ignorant attitude and the speculations she might be a young child, it's speculated that she might be the witch form of Yuma Chitose, from Oriko Magica, explaining her absense in the anime.

Candeloro

See: Mami Tomoe.

Artist rendition of Charlotte as normal girl

Charlotte

Based on her lair that splices hospital and dessert imagery, the fanbase speculated that Charlotte was a young terminal cancer patient whom contracted with Kyubey in order to recover, But due to evidence found written throughout the lair reveals that it was actually her mother that was sick in the hospital,as shown by a line in the design for Charlotte's labyrinth in the Official Guidebook says "It's really a delicious cheese cake. My dying mother wanted to eat it, but maybe I should have cured her disease instead. However, that surely wasn't possible."[1]

A number of fans suspected that the title character of the prequel manga Oriko Magica would become Charlotte. The girl on the cover, who many assumed to be Oriko but is actually Yuma, is clearly a young girl, as many speculate Charlotte was, and it seems that she will be associating with Kyoko and Mami. Since Kyoko loves food, and Mami gets killed by Charlotte, Yuma becoming Charlotte would then be ironic. Furthermore, since Homura is stated to appear in Oriko, it's possible that the events of the manga will occur while Homura is still in the hospital. If that is true, then it's also possible that Homura will appear because Yuma herself is in the same hospital, matching the speculation of Charlotte being a cancer patient. This particular idea was debunked, however, as Charlotte appears in her witch form in the third chapter of Oriko.

There may actually be some evidence that Charlotte was someone who knew Mami and Homura, though. The runes in Episode 3 refer to Mami by name and Homura as "Homuhomu" (which seems to be the origin for Homura's fan nickname). All runes appear to be messages from the witch or her familiars, which then implies that Charlotte actually knew their names.

With the release of the third film, it is revealed that Charlotte's form as a magical girl is actually Nagisa Momoe.

Elly

Artistic creation of Elly as a Puella Magi

Judging from the imagery within her barrier (in particular the silhouette of a girl with twintails within the TV-body of Elly; it must be noted that the witch herself also has twintails) and the statement that the witch is a shut-in, she may have been a recluse who wished for popularity as an idol and eventually broke down under the pressure (of being an idol, a magical girl, or both.) H.N. may thus refer to not just her nickname on the internet, but her handle name as an idol. Her covetous nature here would imply that her captives are people she wants to have as her fans.

Her personality description refers to her as someone who collects things in glass boxes; more than likely, and given the fact her familiars are dolls, she had a collection of dolls. (Though one can doubt they looked as creepy as her familiars). Alternatively since familiars are projections of the magical girl before she became a witch (combined with the fact that she has a doll-like body inside the monitor), as an idol she could have felt as if she was being "toyed with" and manipulated like one would with a doll or a puppet.

Her barrier is loosely themed after a carousel; it's possible she enjoyed riding on them, or that the carousel is a way to symbolize something about her life, for example, ever spinning and never being able to stop. The full design, however, reveals that her barrier is actually based more around a snowglobe and has Christmas Lights. The words "I have only one wish. Box up that memory" are on it, leading to a much more interesting picture. It might imply that she has a memory she is afraid of, the memory of some horrible event that she wished away. However, given her covetous nature, it may be more accurate to suggest that she had a night that was the best of her life and wished never to forget it. Given the Christmas Lights and snowglobe motif, it is reasonable to suspect that it might have involved a Christmas night with a boy she loved, perhaps a ride on a carousel with him (Christmas is seen more like Valentine's day then anything else in Japan).

Elsa Maria

Possibly a similar story to Kyoko (young girl belonging to a Christian family or community, made a wish possibly related to her environment and loved ones and became a magical girl, had a mind-shattering event that sunk her into despair) or possibly Kyoko's younger sister, Momo. (A huge strike about the second one is that it would've been almost impossible for Kyoko to not realize that her sister, apparently dead, had been contracted.)

As she seems of a religious bent and her shadow takes humans and animals alike without discrimination, her wish could have been a vaguely-worded one to help others (which the Incubators' plan already does) or to bring salvation to all, and she might have devoted her life as a magical girl to the destruction of the "demonic beings" witches appear to be. (Many Christian demons have unusual forms, so thinking witches as agents of Hell is presumably an easy mistake to make.)

Elsa Maria's own transformation into a witch might have been initiated by the reveal that witches are former magical girls, leading her to realize that the witches she had been slaying without question until now were other magical girls instead of servants of the Devil, and consequently fall into despair. If that is the case, her intentions are ironically fulfilled after she is transformed into a witch, as her shadow now liberates any and all. Her praying posture may be as a result of her regret for inadvertently slaying witches: she seeks redemption by constantly praying for their souls as well as the rest of humanity. Her thematic links to the Tree of Knowledge might come from her belief that she made the same mistake as Eve when accepting to become a magical girl, with Kyubey taking the role of the Serpent.

Interestingly, Kriemhild Gretchen -- the most powerful witch in the series -- is the only other witch known to absorb life with the intent of "saving" it.

Gertrud

Her rose and mustached minions led one to believe that she may once been a "ojou-sama" that fell in love and made a wish similar to Sayaka's.

Another hypothesis is that, given the roses, her butterfly wings and hideous appearance, she might have been an aesthetically unpleasant girl, with an interest for insects, particularly butterflies. She might have made a wish to become beautiful, like her beloved butterflies emerging from a chrysalis.

The mustachioed minions could also represent her male servants (like a butler) if she was a true ojou-sama, and the flowers and butterflies motif may have represented a love for her garden that may or may not be connected to her actual wish.

Given her distrustful nature and fondness for roses, there is some speculation that Gertrud might be Oriko's witch. The evidence beyond those things, however, is fairly shaky.

Gisela

Gisela may have been interested in the natural sciences, or wished for intelligence. She may also have wished for entry into a prestigious university and excelled there ("her body was once dazzling with silver"), only to break down under stress ("her body has rusted") caused by an inability to keep up with the fast-paced life of academia. The fact that she alone is dull in her quickly-moving barrier suggests that no-one reached out to her or tried to help her.

Alternatively, given her nature being a "liberal" one, her focus might have been interested in areas leading to one of the so-called "liberal arts," such an law, economy, sociology, and other human sciences. Thus, stating that she cannot use any sort of scientific power may be a play on the rivalry that usually exists between universities of science and human sciences, and even between professionals of both.

Using another definition of the word "liberal," Gisela may have been strongly in favor of governmental or social reforms. If we connect this to her becoming a Witch, then her speaking out against the status quo could have caused her to be persecuted at school or at work, leading her to ultimately break under the emotional pressure. The fact that her familiars' duty is to declare opinions strengthens this theory.

Another speculation is that, due to her having a "motorcycle" form, she may have had something to do with the Bōsōzoku (Japanese motorcycle gangs). Perhaps she was caught up in the world of underground gangs, but wished for more (perhaps a life of academic achievement).

Homulilly

See: Homura Akemi.

Izabel

May have wished to be an artist, based on all the references to Picasso and other artists in her barrier.

This gains more evidence from her official description, which calls her an artist witch, with the nature of vanity. Perhaps she desired to be famous.

The witch's card remarks that her barrier art draws strong influence from more famous works. Izabel may have been an artist suffering from a creative block, and she wished for new ideas which warped her perception of reality.

In that sense, it is possible that this witch is actually Umika Misaki from Kazumi Magica, as she is a talented writer, wished for an editor who would recognize her works and be famous and suffers from mental blocks. However Umika is a novelist, not an artist. In addition, it isn't known whether Kazumi Magica takes place before or during the anime.

Some fans have speculated that Izabel may be the witch form of Joan of Arc, who is shown in the historical flashbacks as a former Magical Girl. Isabelle Romée was the name of Joan of Arc's mother. Additionally, Izabel's form resembled the Arc de Triomphe, a monument honoring those who fought and died fighting in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, which may reflect her military leadership and patriotism in the earlier Hundred Years' War. It also may act as something of a visual "pun" (Joan of Arc, Arc de Triomphe). The Arc is in Paris, and is part of a route of monuments that terminates at the Louvre, the most visited art museum in the world (thus: "within her barrier only exist works that you have probably seen somewhere before"). The Picasso painting Guernica that forms the ground of Izabel's maze was painted for the Paris International Exposition in the 1937 World's Fair in Paris-- further reflecting a pride of France--and depicts the horrors of war (she was captured in battle and eventually burned at the stake).

This theory is unlikely considering Joan of Arc's real-life death (which would have destroyed her Soul Gem if it was with her, and if not, either her body not dying from the burning, or her witch transformation, would have likely been noticed by those around her), as well as the fact that she lived more than half a millennium ago and it's unlikely that her witch would have survived that long without being defeated by another magical girl. Witch lairs seem to form shortly after the Magical Girl's transformation, and close to the site of it, so it also doesn't explain why a witch from northeastern France would have her lair in Japan. (The only witches shown with the ability to travel are super-powerful ones without lairs, like Walpurgisnacht and Kriemhild Gretchen.) But if she was Joan of Arc, then her nature of vanity is a justified warping of how famous the The Maid of Orléans has become. Izabel's despair at her fate, helpless to protect herself--much less her country--likely fueled her own encouragement of Homura in to 'just die'.

Actually, Witches can travel, see Gertrud, whose lair was found first on the mall and later on an abandoned building, and also Oktavia von Seckendorff, who hatched in the train station and was later found at the oil refinery. If they were stationary, they wouldn't have to be searched for by Mami and Kyoko, respectively, once they supposedly knew their location.

Kriemhild Gretchen

The gang's all here.

See: Madoka Kaname.

Oktavia von Seckendorff

See: Sayaka Miki.

Ophelia

See: Kyoko Sakura.

Patricia

Artistic depiction of Patricia

Up this witch's skirt appears to be some sort of infinite orifice. Given the uniforms, the above fact that witches originate from young girls, and the odd position the Witch appears to be in, it is likely that Patricia was someone who fell to despair and turned into a Witch because of sexual abuse. The uniforms on clotheslines could symbolize her constantly washing her uniform due to her feeling "dirty". Judging by the length of her skirt, it may be possible that Patricia was a member of a Sukeban gang, who often modify their uniforms such as lengthening of the skirt. Punishments given to members of the gang include cigarette burns on the body - sometimes on more intimate/sexual parts of the body for the more graver "crimes".

The official descriptions says she is a "class representative witch." She thus may have wished for the position, but considering the relative ease behind becoming a class representative (all one has to do is volunteer and receive a majority vote), it's more likely that her classroom role simply played a defining role in her life. It's also possible that Patricia was a very controlling person, based off the spider and spider-thread imagery, and the fact that her familiars are entirely controlled by the witch's threads. This in turn suggests that Patricia may have fallen out of popularity or lost the respect of her fellow students, causing her to question her role and fall into despair.

Roberta

The official description for this witch suggests that she lived a life of debauchery, constantly getting drunk and flirting with men. Roberta may have wished for a more beautiful appearance or simply the ability to attract the attention of others -- something which, unfortunately, caused her to attract much unwanted attention from men who didn't value her for much more than her body (as indicated by the Witch's appearance being reduced to a pair of garter-clad legs and lingerie). She thus could have felt as if she was constantly on display, as if in a birdcage. The fact that she is the only witch we know whose familiars are in no way benefiting her (Anja may be too dumb to seek out Albertine when they play hide-and-seek, but at least she'll try) and instead frustrating and annoying her also indicates that she probably felt she had little control over the situation.

As the witch was shown in an alternate timeline, it is speculated that this witch was Mami. The reasons for this speculation are as follows: a flower pattern is seen on Roberta's clothing and the floor of her barrier (although the pattern also resembles a gear), she seems to explode into muskets (Mami's weapon) when killed, and of course, the witch has no head. The cage she appears in, as well as the general emptiness of her barrier, would then symbolize Mami's isolation. Also, the witch's name coincides with the likely inspiration for Mami's musket summoning, Roberta from Black Lagoon. The main strike against this theory is that if Mami transformed into a witch in that timeline, she wouldn't have lost her head against Charlotte. The official description of the witch also seems to contradict this theory, suggesting instead a party girl who desired attention from others. The final nail in the coffin is Mami's witch having been revealed as Candeloro.

Roberta may have also been a victim of abuse. Puella Magi are traditionally young girls, but she wears more provocative clothing, is lusted after by her own familiars (who she disgusts), and has a noted weakness for alcohol. It's possible that she was pressured into a relationship, or even drugged, by an older man; the fact that her familiars have bird heads could allude to them being cuckolds, AKA unfaithful married men, and she takes her rage out on these representations of her abuser(s). Alternatively, she could have been a participant in 'enjo kosai', also known as compensated dating.

One description of her says this: A witch who lived for a long time as a magical girl. She is weak, as she was no longer a girl when she became a witch (mid-20s to 30s?). The form she takes in her barrier is how she would've turned out in the future (around 40s). What she desires is life. Enjoys alcohol and books. She may have been addicted to alcohol and partying, had problems with anger that got her into fights, and felt trapped by her issues (hence the cage) so maybe she wished for better self-control. That would explain how she managed to avoid becoming a witch for so long. When she was on the verge of becoming a witch, perhaps her last thought was how she regretted giving up her life of hedonism for an even worse life of being a Puella Magi, so her witch form represents how she would have turned out if she hadn't made her wish (she'd still be a party girl, and she'd get to live a little longer).

There is even some speculation that she was Kazuko Saotome, who is also fond of alcohol, never has much luck in romance, and complains about men only flirting with her for her looks.

Suleika

She has a "delusional nature." This might mean the magical girl suffered from some sort of mental disorder. Her wish could have been to cure it, or even to make her delusions into a reality.

Given her theme of darkness and "delusional nature," she might have been a girl who developed blindness and used her wish to regain her sight. During her time when she was still blind, she had plenty of time to imagine what the world looked like, and thus developed all sorts of expectations. After she gained her sight through the wish, however, she saw that the world was in actuality a place where sad and ugly things were a common occurrence. Realizing that all her expectations were just mere delusions and losing faith in the world, she fell into despair and becomes a Witch. The fact that she reigns in darkness is testament to the time when she was blind: in darkness, one can let one's imagination run wild.

Uhrmann

She may have been an dog-lover, or made a wish relating to animals. The fact that she wishes to be loved may indicate that she was a lonely girl who found comfort in animals. Her demise might have be caused by witnessing the cruelty other humans practice toward animals (e.g., beating up abandoned dogs, animal testing, animal fighting, etc.). Her witch form might be one of a dog because she experienced their pain, and because she then probably despised anything human.

In that sense, it is possible that this witch is actually Satomi Usagi from Kazumi Magica, as she loves animals, wants to be a vet, and wished to be able to talk to them.

A strike against this: Satomi seems more like a cat person than a dog person.

It is also possible that she actually was a dog with a very primitive wish to be loved, leading Kyubey to give her magical powers (presumably in an experiment to see if species other than humans could provide emotional output); that her familiars take the form of will-less humans suggests that her powers of thought and imagination are far less than those of the other Witches. The fact that she and her familiars were given family names instead of given names indicates a further level of dehumanization.

However, her informational card states that she has taken the form of a dog (Japanese: inu no sugata o shita, lit. "turned into the form of a dog"), indicating that she was not one originally. The original Japanese text could also be translated as "wore the form of a dog," a reference to fairy tales in which heroines literally wore the skins of animals to take on their forms (though rarely of their own free will).
Taking this alternation translation further, Uhrmann's having "worn" a dog form could actually confirm her being a dog, as the perfect aspect suggests a finished action: she may once have lived as an animal, but is now an entirely different being altogether.

It may also be possible that she was often neglected or ignored by her family, and the pet dog received more attention. This made her become jealous, so she may have wished either to become the dog or take the "place" of the dog. (Receiving attention from her family)

Walpurgisnacht

Some fans speculate that this is the witch form of Homura. Evidence supporting this theory are mechanical gears on the witch's body, also seen in Homura's shield. This would imply that Homura becoming a witch is a meta-timeline event, thanks to her time travel-related wish.

Others speculate that Walpurgis is the witch form of Kazumi, from Kazumi Magica, because of her powers and appearance.

Other people have stated that this witch may in fact be Madoka, whose association with Homura led to its bearing similarities.

It's speculated that Walpurgis is the witch-form of a magical girl who defeated a previous Walpurgis. Some go as far to suggest that Walpurgis is of extraterrestrial origin.

These theories, however, have all been disproved. Homura, Madoka and Kazumi's witch forms have all been revealed, and with the confirmation that Walpurgis is a combination of witches, we can safely assume that while Walpurgis Night may use the first one to defeat it as a base for the next, she is not JUST the girl who defeated her.

Another line of speculation is that Walpurgis is actually a composite being formed from a number of witches fusing into one super-witch. This comes from the fact that Walpurgis Night is, in German folklore and Goethe's Faust, a gathering of witches. According to this theory, the witches are "gathering" into one. If true, Walpurgis technically has no prior existence as a magical girl. It also offers an explanation for the subtle differences between the Walpurgis seen in episode 1 and the others seen in episode 10, 11 and 12; they're formed from different combinations of witches. Add to this how, at the end of Madoka Magika portable, if Walpurgis is defeated and the story continues afterwords, it makes note of how there are fewer witches in Mitakihara. All that was needed was confirmation of god, and with that the speculation now turns to how and why she appears.

In episode 11, Walpurgis summons familiars that strongly resemble the outlines of other Puella Magi (seen in both paintings at Homura's house and the end card lineup). More of these figures surround her when she is close to defeat at Madoka's hands. It may be that Walpurgis has some form of control over past Puella Magi/witches, or draws her power from their despair upon defeat. An easy pill to swallow, now that we know she's made from many witches.

Also see Speculah:Walpurgis Night.

Production Notes

  • Rose Witch / Distrust
  • Dark Witch / Delusion
  • Dessert Witch / Regret
  • Box Witch / Wanton
  • Bull Witch / Ignorant
  • Prayer Witch / Self-Righteous
  • Sayaka Witch / Attachment
  • Dog Witch / Cravings
  • Artist Witch / Vanity
  • Sky Witch / Onlooker
  • Foot Witch / Anger
  • Walpurgisnacht / Helplessness
  • Madoka Witch/ Mercy
  • Giant Space Witch / Despair

Fanart Gallery

This section contains fanart images

Everything in the following fan gallery is created, or the comments accompanying them are created, for entertainment value and should not be confused with actual canon events of the Puella Magi franchise.

Notes