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You are who you choose to be.
~ Hogarth Hughes
You can fly? YOU CAN FLY!
~ Hogarth's Hughes's famous line

Hogarth Hughes is the secondary protagonist of the 1999 animated science fiction film The Iron Giant. He is voiced by Eli Marienthal.

He's an energetic boy who acts as The Iron Giant's friend and mentor while trying to protect him from the authorities.

Personality

Growing up in 1957, in Rockwell, Maine, Hogarth is a pretty average kid; he is talkative, curious, and headstrong, however, he is also unusually smart for his age.

Growing up alone with his widowed mother, Hogarth spends much of his time exploring the woods and trying to find "pets" that he can be friends with, since he tends to be an outcast in school.

His energetic attitude generally causes him to get himself in trouble however, as his own exploration causes him to discover the Giant in the woods, putting his life at risk in the process.

Aside from his curious side however, Hogarth has a very headstrong and intelligent side as well. At nine years old, Hogarth has already moved up a grade and is bullied by the older kids at schools as a result.

Hogarth himself exhibits a surprising amount of maturity and intellect, as he already has a deep understanding of the people, likely stemming from losing his father to war.

He himself, acting as the giant's father, teaches the child-like Giant humanity and the concept of an inner soul, essentially teaching the giant that he possesses both the potential for great good and for horrible destruction.

In a sense, it is his own personality that shapes the person the Iron Giant becomes. Hogarth is also very confident in his own judgement and very headstrong, often not listen to others' orders and does what he believes is right instead, even if it means it jeopardizes his own safety.

When the Giant is most dangerous, Hogarth still approaches him to try and bring him back to his senses, even at the risk of his own well-being.

Hogarth is also shown to be a fan of Superman, Mad Magazine, and The Spirit, when he shows some of his comics to the Giant. Even though Hogarth is really just known as curious,talkative, and lovable.

Physical Description

Hogarth is a young boy, whose over all appearance could be considered as handsome for a kid. As a child, he is relatively short in stature for his age and has auburn hair that he appears to part to his right side.

He has fair freckless skin, dark blue eyes in contrast to his mothers green ones, and is quite lean compared to the other kids at his school. Hogarth noticeably does not have perfect teeth, and his face is somewhat rounder with a wide chin.

Through the film, Hogath's signature outfit is a scarlet jacket with a black collar and lower half, blue jeans that are rolled up at the ends, and red and white P.F. Flyers.

Hogarth does wear two variations during the film, however. On the night, the Giant eats his television antenna and attacks the power station, Hogarth dons a large maroon flight jacket with lining similar to sherpa fur, dark green combat boots, a striped shirt, and a helmet with goggles.

When Hogarth meets Kent Mansely the following night, he wears a white and red jacket with blue lining and two white stars.

He also wears varying shirts during the course of the film as a normal person would. It is implied that Hogarth's helmet and flight jacket belonged to his father, a fighter pilot.

Role in the Film

Sometime in the fall of 1957, following the launch of Sputnik, a harsh hurricane on the shores of Rockwell, Maine finally ends, revealing a beautiful bright morning in the small coastal town.

While the residents of Rockwell go about their businesses, down the middle of the hilly streets comes Hogarth on his bicycle. Ringing the bike's bell lightly as he heads down the hillside, the boy travels swiftly with a small green shoebox with holes punched in its sides mounted on the back of the bike.

Passing a few shops, Hogarth quickly comes to a stop at a local diner called the Chat'n Chew.

Removing the shoe box and heading inside the crowded and loud restaurant, Hogarth looks around, before being quickly called and waived to the counter by his mother, Annie, who works as a waitress at the restaurant.

Delighted to see his mother, Hogarth begins to tell her that he's found something, but she already knows from his words that he means an animal, and reminds him that she does not want a pet.

Hogarth attempts to plead with her to keep the pet, but Annie is not enthusiastic about the idea. With the main bread winner of the family gone, they have to rent out a room in their house to make ends meet, and she fears the upholstery would be ruined.

All at once, Hogarth's smile fades as she reminds him of the time they kept a raccoon, and Hogarth presumably freed it in the house. Still wanting to keep the pet however, Hogarth asks that she at least take a look at it which she complies. Unfortunately, to his shock, the lid of the box is open, and the box is empty.

While desperately searching for the squirrel, Hogarth overhears a fisherman talking about an "Invader from Mars" that came crashing down to Earth, though he and another customer named Dean are the only ones who support the story.

Shortly after, Dean finds and (rather indecently) frees the squirrel from his pants, causing mayhem throughout the diner. That night, while his mother works late, Hogarth ignores all three of her warnings and watches a scary B-movie, only to be interrupted when the TV suddenly stops working.

Finding that the antenna has been bitten off, Hogarth sets out to investigate the disturbance and discovers a 50-foot-tall robot with a huge appetite for anything metallic.

When the giant gets tangled up in electric lines while devouring a power station, Hogarth saves him from electrocution. He eventually attempts to find the giant with a piece of sheet metal and does, befriending the tall stranger and teaching him.

With help from an initially reluctant Dean, Hogarth hides the giant in his junkyard, having fun with the Giant away from prying eyes.

Later, when Kent Mansley and the military tries to destroy the giant, Hogarth gets knocked unconscious in the pursuit. The giant mistakes this for his death and snaps at the military, turning into a deadly war machine.

When Hogarth recovers, he is able to calm down the giant, telling him "you are who you choose to be." Kent, paranoid and frustrated, quickly orders the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to launch a nuclear missile at the giant soon after.

Kent attempts to flee after Rogard tells him what will happen, but is stopped by the Giant and held at gunpoint.

Soon after, the giant, saying goodbye to Hogarth, takes off into the sky and intercepts the missile to save the town of Rockwell from nuclear destruction, it remembers what Hogarth told him and says "Superman" before colliding with the missile.

Sometime later, a memorial statue has been dedicated to the giant that Dean (now dating Hogarth's mother) constructed at the park and Hogarth receives the only piece of debris recovered from the explosion, a jaw bolt.

That night, when the bolt starts to move on its own, Hogarth lets it roll into the countryside knowing the giant is repairing himself somewhere.

In the Langjökull glacier in Iceland, the giant is shown reassembling himself and proceeds to smile as the movie ends.

Trivia

  • If Hogarth was 9 years old in 1957, he would be 71 years old in 2019.
  • It is suggested that his deceased father was an air force pilot. From a scene in an early script draft, it is explained that his father died fighting in the Korean War which occurred before the start of the film from 1950 to 1953. When heading out to seek the Iron Giant for the first time, Hogarth wears a pilot's helmet similar to the one his father is holding in the photograph. This could be one of the few things he has in memory of his late father.
  • Hogarth is similar to Young Simba from The Lion King.
  • Hogarth is voiced by Eli Marienthal from Tucker.

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