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Howl's Moving Castle (1986)

by Diana Wynne Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Howl's Castle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,254401557 (4.29)1 / 587
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.
  1. 221
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (DeltaQueen50)
  2. 150
    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. 120
    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (Anonymous user, rosylibrarian)
  4. 121
    Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Also features Howl and Sophie
  5. 100
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (infiniteletters)
  6. 80
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (LCoale1)
  7. 104
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  8. 51
    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.
  9. 40
    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. 30
    Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog by Ysabeau S. Wilce (foggidawn)
  12. 10
    The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (mysimas)
  13. 10
    The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: sweet romance
  14. 22
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (tralliott)
  15. 00
    Tellos, Vol.1 by Todd Dezago (FFortuna)
  16. 00
    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (lottpoet)
  17. 00
    Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (mysimas)
    mysimas: Playful, humorous fantasy with a strong focus on the developing romance.
  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. 00
    Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (kkisser)
  20. 11
    Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez (SunnySD)

(see all 23 recommendations)

1980s (3)

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» See also 587 mentions

English (395)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (400)
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
5 stars

Wonderful magical tale!

Howl's Moving Castle, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, was the one that introduced me to the book. More like, led to it really. What can I say? I like to dig up books behind the screentime. It serves me well, because so far I've enjoyed myself every time.

But the book! The Book! Oh how I love it! It's so much sweeter and more wonderful and simply MORE. I'm bad with words when wonderful things befall me.

Treasure! That's what this is.
Go on, READ IT. =D ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
I had no idea that “Howl’s Moving Castle” was a book first, let alone a series. I was really taken with plucky, pragmatic Sophie who is transformed into an old woman by The Witch of the Waste. She accepts her new situation without feeling very sorry for herself and decides to set out on her own, climbing into a magical castle and basically stumbling into her own adventure.

This was quirky and fun. Diana Wynne Jones does a great job describing scenes but leaving enough gaps that allowed me to fill in the rest with my own imagination.

There were a few occasion where I was tired of all the back and forth of characters entering the castle and leaving only to knock on the door seconds moments later – seemingly, for no reason at all. Or characters making great treks across fields or palace grounds for the sole purpose of staging a run-in with another character. Even so, it’s a charming fantasy tale and a great one to breeze through. ( )
  MC_Rolon | Jun 15, 2022 |
I set out to read - and hopefully love - this because it came with high praise by most of my GoodReads friends and my daughter (who loves the film, though).

Thus prepared, I set out on this literary journey and quickly got confused: Sophie gets cursed by the Witch from the Waste? Whatever for? And she just gets up, moves out without thinking and stumbles upon the eponymous Howl’s Moving Castle? Huh?

She accepts any crap coming her way because »Sophie was a failure anyway. It came of being the eldest.«?

Sorry, what? Every ridiculous and absurd situation that goes on to arise can be summarised as Howl does near the very end of this book:

»“I’m the eldest!” Sophie shrieked. “I’m a failure!”
“Garbage!” Howl shouted. “You just never stop to think!”«

Some of you might think me too old for this - but for one thing, I still love the Moomins for example. Plus: I can tell you right here and now that as a child I would have despised this even more strongly.

The entire story is just too wild and fantastic for my taste. It’s a glorified fairy tale, akin to other wild rides without much substance.

Still, it’s not entirely bad and, thus, it’s still getting three stars out of five from me.

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Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam ( )
  philantrop | Jun 3, 2022 |

There are a lot of differences with the film, and I guess it made me more conscious of what DWJ was reaching for as a writer. For a start, the novel is very English, and also Welsh, in a way that the film is not. The suburban streets are definitely not Continental, in a way that's difficult to describe but impossible to mistake. But also, DWJ is much more into complex family dynamics than into spectacle. Howl's apprentice Michael (rather than the Alpine-sounding Markl) is a grown young man rather than a boy. Sophie has two sisters and a stepmother. There is a lot (as usual with DWJ) about family dynamics, both Sophie's birth family and her adopted household in the moving castle. There is a distinct lack of spectacular flying scenes. The plot is still a bit tangly, and the resolution is just about better than the film, untidier than usual for DWJ. However, it's great fun. ( )
  nwhyte | May 10, 2022 |
I’ve owned the sequel (middle book) to this trilogy for years, so when I realised it wasn’t the first book, I picked up books 1 and 3. Although it’s essentially a children’s book, I’m not above re-reading books I loved as a child or reading famous ones which I missed out on and this is one of those. I loved this. Yes, not all the characters are exactly likeable, but I could name more than a few characters from my childhood books that are far from perfect. There’s a lot of plot here, surprisingly so. The story gets a little snarled up in its own cleverness, but had I come across this as a child, I’m sure it would have been one of those I kept all these years. Howl is a bit of an egocentric, but not as clueless as he first appears to be. The castle is perhaps the best character in the book. I will say I’m uncertain what age group this is for. I could have read it aged around 8, but there are long words, some dated, that I’m unsure children today would know. A book some children may need help with. But this is a fabulous story that will stay with those who love it for years. (Side note: there are some notable differences between the book and the film; I prefer the book.) ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | Mar 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sessions, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jos. A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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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.

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Average: (4.29)
0.5 1
1 12
1.5 3
2 64
2.5 25
3 323
3.5 106
4 973
4.5 137
5 1388

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