‘The Portable Door’ Ending, Explained: Was Paul Able To Stop Humphrey Wells From Stealing Souls?


Directed by Jeffrey Walker, “The Portable Door” boasts a cast led by Christopher Waltz and Sam Neil, and it takes us back to the familiar world of witchcraft and wizardry. The film does not have anything unique to offer, but it still qualifies to be an entertaining watch, mostly due to the performances and the comic relief it aims to provide. “The Portable Door” tells us the tale of a boy named Paul who believed himself to be an ordinary individual until he found that he had certain superpowers that made him an extremely valuable asset. The film is based on a novel by Tom Holt of the same name. So, let’s find out what Paul discovers on his journey and if he is able to solve the mystery.

 Spoilers Ahead

‘The Portable Door’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Paul was going through a rough patch, and he was trying his best to be financially independent and get some stability back in his life. Paul knew that he didn’t have a lot of options, so he was ready to take on any job that came his way. He was standing in a queue to give an interview for a job at a coffee shop when a person named Monty Smith Greg came out of nowhere and greeted him as if he had known him for a long time. Paul had no recollection of who he was, and before he could ask him anything else, the man left, and Paul again went back and stood in the queue.

A dog came out of nowhere, took Paul’s scarf, and ran away. Paul chased the dog, and he reached an alley where he found a door with the word “applicants” written on it. Paul was desperate for a job, and he didn’t mind going inside and asking if there was any vacancy there. Paul went inside and found a girl named Sophie Petinger, who had also come for a job interview. Paul tried asking Sophie what kind of job they were offering, but she curtly replied that she was not interested in talking to him. Just then, an old man walked in, called Paul by his name, and took him inside a meeting room where all the board members were waiting for him to arrive as if they knew in advance that a dog would snatch his scarf and lead him to their building.

The company was called J.W. Wells and Co., and Paul, even after the interview, didn’t understand what kind of work they did. The board consisted of Humphrey Wells, the owner; Dennis Tanner, his second-in-command; Countess Judy; Casimir Suslowicz; and Nienke Van Spee. Paul was mostly clueless about everything that his interviewers asked him, but there was one thing that caught their attention. Paul said that it was a sheer coincidence that had brought him to J.W. Wells and Co. Paul told them that in his free time he liked making paintings of soldiers and fantasy creatures like goblins, and once again, a lot of eyebrows were raised in the conference room, as Paul had said some keywords that made them know that he was the right guy.

Paul went back home, and he had no hope that he was going to be selected by J.W. Wells and Co., but the unthinkable happened, and he got an offer letter from the company. Everything about J.W. Wells and Co., from their employees to the kind of work they did there, was extremely strange. Nobody was telling him exactly what he was supposed to do. Paul met a woman named Rosie at the reception, and she asked him if he wanted to change his mind about taking the job. Paul didn’t take the warning seriously, and Rosie informed Mr. Tanner that the interns had arrived.

What Does Paul Learn About The Portable Door?

Paul and Sophie were given maps on which they had to pinpoint the sites that had bauxite deposits present. Paul was once again confused about how, just by looking at the map, he would get to know what elements lay beneath the soil there. Just then, the Countess came and took them out on a field mission, where Paul was just an onlooker, and Sophie worked her magic to make the “coincidences” happen. The Countess told them that her department specialized in hijacking the client’s instincts, and what they perceived to be mere coincidences, or their gut feeling or intuition was actually her employees guiding them to make the right decision.

Sophie was told that she was a seer who could perceive what was going on inside another person’s mind. Humphrey Wells came and taught Paul to use his powers and told him that he was a diviner and that he was the key that would help them launch the biggest influence campaign in the history of the company, called Operation Fine Print. Humphrey Wells told Paul that he liked him because he believed that they had a lot of similarities. Paul’s parents didn’t care much about him, and Humphrey’s parents had a similar attitude. When Humphrey Wells was a child, his father had made him sign a contract in which it was mentioned that if he ever betrayed him, his soul would belong to him forever.

After listening to his sad story, Paul had nothing but sympathy for what his boss had endured during his childhood. Humphrey gave Paul a task and told him not to tell anybody about it. He asked him to find a magical portable door that had gone missing and had a will of its own. Humphrey told him that the door didn’t want to be found, which is why it was hiding somewhere in the facility. Paul, for the first time, felt that he amounted to something, and he was ready to deliver whatever was asked of him. But the problem was that Paul didn’t know where to begin, and he needed someone to guide him. Paul met Nienke, keeper of the magician’s code of conduct, and she indirectly tried to warn him about the implications of dealing with Humphrey Wells, just like Rosie had done earlier. Later that day, Casimir Suslowicz also paid a visit to Paul in his dreams, and he did end up taking out the information that Humphrey had lost his portable door, and he had asked Paul to find it.

What Was Operation Fine Print?

Humphrey Wells’ father had mysteriously disappeared a few years earlier, and coincidentally even Dennis’s father, Arthur Tanner, had gone missing on the same day. A few people believed that Humphrey had a role to play in his father’s disappearance, but there was no solid evidence to prove it. The Countess, Casimir Suslowicz, Rosie, Nienke, and every other person knew that Humphrey and Dennis were up to something, and they had realized that Paul had been hired for the same secretive purpose. In the meantime, Paul kept on searching for the portable door, and after looking for it in the entire facility, he finally struck gold. Paul found the portable door in the same basement that Dennis had prohibited him from entering.

Paul realized that the magical door could lead him anywhere he wanted, provided he just spelled out the destination before opening the door. Paul found himself standing in front of the conference room where Humphrey was conducting a meeting with some influential members of society. That was the first time Paul got to know what Operation Fine Print was all about. Humphrey said that his company had served the clients for years and changed their lives. He said that he found it a sheer waste of talent because they were not getting anything in return. He showed his guests how he was able to influence Sophie’s mind and make her act according to their whims and fancies. That’s when it struck Paul why Sophie had been acting strange of late and doing all those things that she had told him that she didn’t like. Humphrey emphatically declared that he was selling the “will of people” and giving his buyers a chance to influence their gut feelings. Humphrey had planned to steal people’s souls by tricking them into entering into an agreement with J.W. Wells and Co. The contract was kept in the Bank of the Dead, and unless and until the contract was nullified, the desires, instincts, and every aspect of an individual’s behavior could be tampered with by the company.

Humphrey was making a devastatingly lucrative offer, and Paul knew that the power brokers who were standing in that room would be willing to pay any price for it. Paul immediately went to Sophie after that and told her to take out her identity card, which she was wearing on her neck, as Humphrey was using it to control and film everybody. Paul, for a moment, thought about escaping to an unknown place with Sophie and staying there forever. The thought was way too alluring for both of them, but they knew that they had to come back and finish what they had started.

‘The Portable Door’ Ending Explained: Was Paul Able To Stop Humphrey From Stealing Souls?

Paul and Sophie came back to the company headquarters to find the latter’s contract so that she could free her soul from Humphrey’s captivity. They felt like they were being stalked by some unknown entities, and Sophie decided to go and find out who was following her. Paul and Sophie were shocked to learn that Dennis was a goblin and Humphrey was a wizard who considered himself to be one of the greatest of all time. Paul and Sophie tried to escape from the portable door once again, but Humphrey caught the doorknob before it got shut. The rule said that whoever closed the door got its possession, and finally, Humphrey had what he desired. Paul and Sophie were trapped inside the portable door, and they met Humphrey’s father, John Wells, inside the enclosed space that he referred to as the Nether. John told Paul that there was nowhere out of the Nether, and they would have to stay there until somebody opened it from the outside. John still had the contract according to which his son’s soul belonged to him, but now that he was trapped, it was of no use to him as he couldn’t take it to the Bank of the Dead.

When all hope seemed lost, Paul did something that John didn’t think he was capable of: he found a door that led them outside the Nether. John was elated, and he told him that he was much more than a normal diviner, though he didn’t tell him exactly what he was. As soon as John arrived on the premises, the workers who didn’t have the courage to speak against Humphrey got motivated. We got to know that Rosie, the receptionist, was actually Dennis’ mother and that Arthur was her husband, who had gone missing with John.

Humphrey and his father came face to face, and both entered into deadly combat. Humphrey captured him using his powers, as years of captivity had made John a bit rusty. Humphrey also overpowered Sophie and asked Paul to return his father’s contract if he wanted to see her alive. Paul would have done as Humphrey had asked of him, but Sophie was able to communicate with him using her power of Telepathy. She told Paul that if he was able to find a doorway that led them outside of the Nether, then he could surely create a door that led him to the Bank of the Dead. Paul was able to transcend and reach the Bank of the Dead. He submitted Humphrey’s contract and, in exchange, took Sophie’s contract and made sure that her soul was free.

After sending his son inside the Nether, John made sure that nobody could ever open the portable door in the future. He gave Paul a junior position in the Lost and Found Department, and Sophie was made the V.P. in the Department of Coincidence. Though the towel that led people to the portable door was believed to have been destroyed, it was still somewhere out there, and the possibility of someone finding what it was capable of, could not be denied.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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