Hocus Pocus 1’s Winifred Sanderson Would Hate Her Hocus Pocus 2 Ending
BY ILANA ZAHAVA ABUSCH
October 5, 2022
Winnie’s Choice – The Perfect Ending: During Disney+’s highly anticipated, newly released Hocus Pocus 2’s final moments, Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) chooses her sisters whom Hocus Pocus’ Winifred would have despised. During the climactic scene of Hocus Pocus, Max Dennison drinks the Sanderson Sisters’ Life Potion to save his sister Dani from having to do so. Winnie reacts to this selfless act by saying, “What a fool to give up thy life for the sisters.” Yet in the sequel movie, Winnie’s outlook seems to be the opposite.
Warning: Spoilers Below For Hocus Pocus 2!
In both Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2, Winnie treats her sisters Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) poorly, throwing minor verbal and physical abuse at them throughout the movies. However, the small moments of true sisterhood shown in the first movie are elaborated upon in Hocus Pocus 2, which begins with a flashback sequence to the Sanderson Sisters’ childhood. When they escape into the woods and come into contact with an older witch (Hannah Waddingham’s Witch Mother), she tells them, “A witch is nothing without her coven.” This is a lesson that is learned throughout the movie by the new younger characters – Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) – but Winnie herself is confronted by this lesson again at the end of the movie.
Despite continuing her selfishness and harsh treatment of her sisters throughout the movie, when Winifred loses the other two Sanderson Sisters at the end of Hocus Pocus 2, she is distraught. Winnie begs Becca and her spell book, Book, to do something to bring her sisters back, even if it means giving up her magic. When Book tells Becca how to reunite the sisters by making Winnie die alongside them, Winnie not only accepts her death, but she laughs and thanks Becca and Book for sending her back to her sisters. Despite Disney hinting at a Hocus Pocus 3, this seems to be the end of the Sanderson Sisters. In the two Hocus Pocus movies, Winnie’s two endings are entirely opposed to one another, and in the original Hocus Pocus‘ Winnie would have hated the way that Hocus Pocus 2‘s Winnie’s story ends.
Why Winifred’s Hocus Pocus 2 Ending Is Ironic
Among the many ways that Winnie disparages her sisters throughout the two Hocus Pocus movies, she often calls them fools or idiots. Winifred does not take kindly to fools. Whenever she thinks her sisters are being foolish, she often accompanies the insult with a slap. Winnie also doesn’t like to look like a fool, so she reacts dramatically to the many times a teenager manages to trick her. It is quite a departure from character for Winnie to make a choice that she deemed foolish just a day earlier (to her – though 29 years passed while she was dead).
In the first Hocus Pocus, Thackery Binx tells Max about Dani, “You’ll never know how precious she is until you lose her.” While Max doesn’t lose Dani, it seems that Binx’s words are true for Winifred Sanderson. Winnie from Hocus Pocus would hate that Winnie from Hocus Pocus 2 gives up her life for her sisters, but that’s only because she doesn’t know how precious her sisters are to her. Once Winnie loses Mary and Sarah, as part of Hocus Pocus 2’s end, she learns that she truly is nothing without her coven, making giving up her life for them seem far less foolish. While the end of Winnie’s story in Hocus Pocus 2 is in direct opposition to her ending in the original movie, it is still a fitting end for her and the Sanderson Sisters.