Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The second, and probably last, of my October castle series is more fantasy than horror. I’ve seen a lot of recent praise for Howl’s Moving Castle. Since I’ve fallen asleep during every Miyazaki film I’ve attempted to watch, I figured I might be better off reading the book. I was surprised to learn that this story was written by a British author. It’s supposedly a children’s book, but honestly I had to google a good number of words. There will always be random objects – especially plants – that I’ve never cared to memorize before.
1) “Either she could not find the time, or she could not find the energy, or it seemed a great distance to Market Square, or she remembered that on her own she was in danger from Wizard Howl.”
Life is just one excuse after another.
2) “‘Mother knows you don’t have to be unkind to someone in order to exploit them.’” – Martha
The theme of exploitation of others throughout was somewhat weird.
3) “As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.”
I’m looking forward to naturally acquiring the ability to DGAF as I get older. It’s definitely already happening.
4) “The main magic box had a glass front like the one downstairs, but it seemed to be showing writing and diagrams more than pictures. All the boxes grew on long, floppy white stalks that appeared to be rooted in the wall at one side of the room.”
It took me so long to figure out what the floppy white stalks were.
5) “‘Have you heard of a land called Wales?’ ‘No, is it under the sea?'” – the Witch, Sophie
This reminded me of a rainy day trip to Wales back when I was in England.
6) “‘Apply your fiendish mind to the matter, or even think, if you know how.'” – Howl
Are we supposed to like Howl? Sometimes when I read older books, I get the sense they wouldn’t get published nowadays.
7) “‘Calcifer, were you ever a falling star?'” – Sophie
Calcifer is Olaf.
8) “His blue face was always leaning eagerly out of the grate when Sophie and Michael came in with their flowers. ‘I want to see what it’s like out there,’ he said.”
And because he is Olaf, Calcifer is my favorite character.
9) “For as the scarecrow fell across the bench, there came the fizzing jolt of strong magic and the skull melted into the scarecrow’s turnip head.”
Towards the end, we really ramp up on the ridiculous magic and everything goes haywire.
10) “‘I think we ought to live happily ever after.'” – Howl
This came out of nowhere, and of course Sophie says yes.
How many years has it been since I last read a fairytale? Even though this is a children’s book, I actually had some trouble following the plot and the characters. Maybe magic has lost its charm on me.