My Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.5/ 5
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye. (Goodreads)
“A heart’s a heavy burden.”
This novel is about a girl who gets turned into an old woman by a witch. She eventually ends up finding the wizard Howl and his moving castle. She helps Howl, strikes a deal with his fire demon, and goes against the witch, all in an attempt to make herself young again.
There is a lot of symbolism in this book if you look closely. One of the most important symbols is of Sophie’s trusty and handy walking stick. She finds this stick on the way up the hills to Howl’s castle when her back starts to ache. She is not used to being an old woman at this point. Luckily she finds staff with a dog tied to it by a rope. She then uses the stick as a walking stick. She then heads back up the hill relentlessly, the dog now free behind her. Little does she know that 1) the dog is actually Lettie’s dog man and 2) her powerful talking magic that she doesn’t even know about at this point had actually turned her stick into something magical and supernatural. Mrs. Pentstemmon finally points out later in the book that she admires Sophie’s talking power, which has evidently turned her stick into what the layman would call a magic wand.
There are many wonderful and amazing characters in this book. One of them, which is the arrogant and dramatic Howl. Howl is a major character in the book because without him the story wouldn’t be complete. Sure he is annoying, and as Sophie calls him a slitherer-outer, but he is actually a good person underneath his many layers and aliases. At the beginning of the book Howl is described as a savage man who steals young women’s hearts. Later on in the book when Sophie enters the moving castle she begins to see Howl as not much of a savage after all. I mean sure he falls in love with girl after girl, and never seems to be satisfied, but she sees he isn;t all that bad. Sure he throws slimy temper tantrums like a kid, but Sophie does many favors for him such as visiting the king to blacken Howl’s name. Towards the end of the book we find that Howl comes from another country called Wales, and without Sophie, he would have been the Witch of the Waste’s prisoner. At the end of the book Sophie breaks the contract between Howl and Calcifer the also arrogant and tempered fire demon, and they start a peculiar family.
I actually really loved this book. It was written so charmingly and was full of witty characters that you couldn’t help but make friends with. I decided to read this book because I had watched the movie the week before, so I thought that I really needed to enjoy the original content. If the movie was that good then I would surely love the book… and I did. My favorite character out of the whole book was the fire demon Calcifer. Sure he seemed to be arrogant at the beginning, but there was something about Sophie that he liked. Maybe the people who live in the moving castle make such a good family because they are all different in so many ways.
© Boundless Daydreams 2016
Author: Diana Wynne Jones