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Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's…
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Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Castle) (original 1986; edition 2012)

by Diana Wynne Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,893235709 (4.31)345
Member:calmclam
Title:Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Castle)
Authors:Diana Wynne Jones
Info:Greenwillow Books (2012), Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Collections:Kindle
Rating:*****
Tags:children's, kindle: children's

Work details

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)

adventure (59) British (30) castles (46) children (64) children's (164) children's fiction (39) children's literature (55) curses (42) diana wynne jones (39) fairy tale (32) fairy tales (52) fantasy (1,430) favorite (32) favorites (35) fiction (552) Howl (47) humor (75) magic (306) novel (65) own (32) read (98) romance (82) series (50) sff (60) to-read (161) unread (34) witches (112) wizards (148) YA (218) young adult (309)
  1. 120
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (DeltaQueen50)
  2. 110
    House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Another in the same series featuring Howl and Sophie Pendragon (nee Hatter)
  3. 100
    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (Anonymous user, RosyLibrarian)
  4. 80
    Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Also features Howl and Sophie
  5. 80
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (infiniteletters)
  6. 50
    The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Despite a castle being in the titles of both books, each novel is really about the human stories contained within and the characters' interaction with the magic they come in contact with.
  7. 73
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  8. 40
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (LCoale1)
  9. 30
    A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style of writing - whimsical and magical
  10. 30
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (bell7)
  11. 10
    Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez (SunnySD)
  12. 10
    The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: sweet romance
  13. 10
    Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce (foggidawn)
  14. 00
    The Chocolatier's Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Although Howl's Moving Castle is considered YA, this book reminded me of it in the whimsical and quirky way the story is written and the romance and magic involved. Both books are delightful!
  15. 00
    Tellos, Vol.1 by Todd Dezago (FFortuna)
  16. 00
    Ithanalin's Restoration by Lawrence Watt-Evans (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: When reading these books it seems that they have a great deal that would be make each compliment the other.
  17. 00
    Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (kkisser)
  18. 11
    Jinx by Sage Blackwood (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar in style and tone, both books are filled with magic and wizards, spells and rumors about mysterious and dangerous beings to be avoided.
  19. 06
    The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey (Anonymous user)
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» See also 345 mentions

English (231)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
La película es excelente, el libro es mucho mejor. Me lo quedo. ( )
  darioha | Jul 7, 2014 |
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
  • Howl, the shameless coward, full of vanity and secret cares.
  • Sophie, the cranky old woman, unnaturally aged.
  • Calcifer, the fire demon, at the heart of the castle.
  • Michael, the ever faithful apprentice and friend.
  • Witch of the Waste, wicked, heartless, and cruel.

SETTING
  • Castle here.
  • Castle there.
  • Castle there, too.
  • Castle ever moving and stationary.
  • And, Wales.
Miyazaki’s film diverges significantly from mid-story to the end, deflating the Witch into a doddering old fool. Miyazaki adds his magic touch—whimsical air machines, his wonderfully creepy blob monsters, and a fantastic walking steampunk castle. Diana Wynne Jones’ tale is more familiar and in some ways more satisfying. Both charm and delight. ( )
1 vote Tuirgin | Jun 23, 2014 |
Some people just don't "get" fantasy. They are unable to comprehend the appeal of stories full of people who never existed and never could have, genealogical tables composed entirely of unpronounceable names, and endless endpaper maps portraying craggy coastlines that look like Wales, but aren't, quite. They prefer to stay within the known world, with names which somebody, somewhere, can pronounce, and lands reliably mapped by National Geographic.

There's plenty of great reading in the realms of realistic fiction, to be sure; but there is nothing quite like the pleasure of opening a book and stepping into a world that is purely of the imagination, yet inwardly coherent and recognizably real. Something in the human mind and spirit, something of its boundless possibilities, can perhaps best be expressed thus. Some authors, we can feel, are not so much painstakingly inventing a world full of cumbersome accoutrements, but discovering one that reveals a hidden aspect of ourselves.

Such a world is given to us by Diana Wynne Jones in Howl's Moving Castle, one of her blithest and most enchanting novels. "In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three," she begins, and immediately we are caught up in the realm of fairy-tale logic, where everyone knows the eldest of three is doomed to failure, should three siblings set out to seek their fortunes.

Sophie Hatter, who happens to be the eldest of three sisters, never questions this law of existence. She resigns herself to a mundane existence in the family hat shop (not even being "the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success"). Her determination to be ordinary is disrupted by a call from the wicked Witch of the Waste, who casts a very inconvenient spell on her; and by the fearsome Wizard Howl, who, in spite of his reputation for sucking out the souls of young girls, allows her in to his mysterious moving castle, and seems to be in need of some saving himself.

As Sophie puzzles through the riddle posed by witch, wizard and castle, she finds that all is not as it seems, including her assumptions about herself. Is magic all about showy transformations and fiery battles? Or is there even more power in the stories we tell ourselves?

Creating a fairy-tale pastiche that brings something new to the old tales in a satisfying way is not so easy. Jones succeeds brilliantly with a comic tone from somewhere between Charles Dickens and Terry Pratchett, starting with the chapter headings: "In which Sophie talks to hats." "In which a Royal Wizard catches a cold." "In which Sophie expresses her feelings with weed-killer."

Jones is a master at creating fast-moving stories full of surprises. Unlike some of her rivals, though, she never leaves us feeling empty or cheated at the end. Her books have a quality I can only refer to as "heart," not in any cheaply sentimental sense, but springing from shrewd and compassionate observation of human relationships. Howl and Sophie are one of my favorite examples of this. Their bickering could rival that of Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick.

'By the way,' Howl said, 'Mrs. Pentstemmon will call you Mrs. Pendragon. Pendragon's the name I go under here.'

'Whatever for?' said Sophie.

'For disguise,' said Howl. 'Pendragon's a lovely name, much better than Jenkins.'

'I get by quite well with a plain name,' Sophie said as they turned into a blessedly narrow, cool street.

'We can't all be Mad Hatters,' said Howl.

How they work through to an understanding of themselves and each other is literally the "heart" of the story. (Read it to find out why.)

Once you enter the land of Ingary, I'm sure that you won't want to leave. Fortunately, Jones has obliged us with a sequel, Castle in the Air, in which tales from the Arabian Nights are given the same lovingly irreverent treatment.

Originally posted on The Emerald City Book Review
emeraldcitybookreview.blogspot.com ( )
1 vote withawhy99 | Jun 22, 2014 |
Sophie is the eldest of three girls and her father wasn't even a poor woodcutter, so she's always known she would never have adventures - her step-mother isn't even evil. When her father dies just as she's about to leave school, she takes on her responsibilites in the family buisness (a hat shop) with a resigned heart. However, when the Witch of the Waste comes by the shop and casts a spell that ages her, Sophie decides that it's time she set out to find her fortune. Maybe the Wizard Howl (who is rumoured to eat the hearts of young girls) will be able to help - if the Witch of the Waste doesn't get him first...

A firm favourite - challenges all those fairy tale rules and turns preconceptions on their head with her trademark understated humour. It doesn't matter how many times I read this, it always makes me chuckle out loud and Howl, Sophie and Calcifer the fire demon are probably my favourite DWJ characters.

A note to anyone who has seen the Miyazaki film: really, beyond the basic storyline of Sophie being turned into an old lady, going in search of her fortune and bumping into Howl, there is very little similarity. Howl is much more brilliantly arrogant and flamboyant and much less petulant in the book than the film, the Witch of the Waste much more vicious and less mischevious. I will add that I still very much enjoyed the film and think that Miyazaki's Witch is absolutely brilliant. It's just a shame that Howl and Sophie become a bit drippy and that Howl becomes some sort of bird thing rather than just Welsh! ( )
  flissp | May 6, 2014 |
Well, it was better than "The Last Unicorn", which I consider to be its contemporary in "post-modern fantasy" (which means it was part of that weird eighties fantasy influx). But it sags in the middle, just like the old lady main character.

Nothing happens. There is no action. There are no stakes. Characters talk, but no one moves a plot forward. Sophie turns into an old lady, but then she doesn't really care about getting a cure. She's more comfortable as an old lady than as a young'n. They fall in love at the end, but there's nothing leading up to that. Sophie is a nag, and Howl is an emo git. They don't fall in love, they just get used to each other.

And then to give the semblance that there's a story in all this, the ending is a huge deus ex machina of making stuff up. "Oh, yeah, um, how do I end this... OK, I'll make this guy show up from nothing and say that this this person was the bad guy all along and... and Sophie's "talent" will suddenly do something important. And this scarecrow who did nothing, I'll turn into a main character."

I don't want to disrespect Diana Wynne Jones -- there's a lot of good ideas in here. But I liked the Miyazaki movie better. ( )
1 vote theWallflower | Apr 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sessions, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This one is for Stephen
The idea for this book was suggested by a boy
in a school I was visiting, who asked me to
write a book called The Moving Castle.
I wrote down his name, and put it in such a safe
place, that I have been unable to find it ever since.
I would like to thank him very much.
First words
In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worse, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.
Quotations
She was not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success! Her parents were well to do and kept a ladies' hat shop in the prosperous town of Market Chipping. -- Chapter 1 (p.1)
It was odd. 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.  -- Chapter 5 (p.83)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This record is for the book, not the movie. Please do not combine this with the movie or the DVD.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006441034X, Mass Market Paperback)

In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?

Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:25 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Eldest of three sisters, in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared Wizard Howl.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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