Monday, May 14, 2012

Book #1: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

     Ok, the first book that I’ve successfully completed for this year’s summer challenge is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ll freely admit, this is not the first time that I’ve read this book (but that was never a part of the rules :P), or even the second, or even the third. In all honesty the number of times that I’ve read this book borders more on the side of twenty than it does ten. It is, in fact, my most favorite book. ever. in the world. period. I could try and review it, but it would be horribly biased, because I think that it’s wonderful. So, instead, I’ll just chat about what I like about it, and fill this with random quotes and pictures from the movie. 

     The story centers around one, Sophie Hatter, from the small town of Market Chipping, in the magical land of Ingary. Sophie is the unfortunate eldest of three (for as anyone can tell you, an eldest of three will never do anything exciting, and will never make her fortune) and is resigned to her fate of taking over her family’s hat shop while grooming her two younger sisters to set out and seek their fortunes. As luck would have it, Sophie has a nasty run-in with the witch of the waste and comes off the worse, having been cursed. Now, instead of the youthful, if not a bit dull, girl that Sophie was, she’s now an old woman! As a result of her curse Sophie sees no other course than to strike off on her own and try and remove it, and, as luck would grant her further, she runs into none other than the Horrible Wizard Howl, known to be just as bad as the witch of the waste! Hilarity ensues as Sophie now tries to break, not only her own curse, but Howl’s as well. :D

Sophie Hatter
     I really liked Sophie. She starts out kind of dull and uninteresting, but becomes a feisty sort of person. I also see a little bit of myself in her, which is always enjoyable.

Quotes from/about Sophie:

“Yes, you are nosey. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman.
 Control yourself. You're victimizing us all."    -- Howl

“I make that four horses and ten men just to get rid of one old woman... 

What did you do to the King?” -- Howl

“It is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair.”-- Sophie

             “By now it was clear that Howl was in a mood to produce green slime any second. 

Sophie hurriedly put her sewing away. "I'll make some hot buttered toast," she said. 

"Is that all you can do in the face of tragedy?" Howl asked. "Make toast?” 

The castle is really cool too. It looks huge, and also like it's going to fall apart as it rumbles around (but of course it won't). The neat thing is that it's really in four different places at once! In one place it's roaming around the hills near Sophie's town, it's also a disused stable in the capital of Inagry, and it's a little house in a place called Porthaven. The fourth place is secret ;) The inside of the castle is very small, having only four rooms, which, of course, makes it much easier for Sophie to clean!

The Castle around Market Chipping

The Street in Kingsbury

The door that opens to different places depending on what color is turned up! 

And then, there was Howl!

Howl is my favorite part of the books. I don't think I could describe him as well as the author, so here's Sophie's description as found in another book, Castle in the Air: 

“Tell me about this Wizard Howl of yours."

"He's the best wizard in Ingary, or anywhere else. If he'd only had time he would have defeated that djinn. And he's sly and selfish and vain as a peacock and cowardly, and you can't pin him down to anything."

"Indeed? Strange that you should speak so proudly such a list of vices, most loving of ladies."

"What do you mean vices? I was just describing Howl. He comes from another world entirely, you know, called Wales."

And there you have, that's Howl, in all of his beautiful, childish vain-glory!

Howl before and after his hair gets dyed.
Quotes from.about Howl:

“For a plain man with mud-colored hair, he’s terribly vain about his looks.” – Calicifer

                “Look. Survey. Inspect. My hair is ruined! I look like a pan of bacon and eggs!”

            “I see no point in living if I can’t be beautiful!”

            “You must admit, I have the right to live in a pigsty if I want.”

            “I’m dying of boredom… or maybe just dying”

            “I feel ill," [Howl] announced. "I'm going to bed, where I may die.” 

             “I''m delirious. Spots are crawling before my eyes."
            "Those are spiders.”

Another great thing about the book, beside the humor, is the way it folded in things from this world into the fantasy land.
GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
            And find
            What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
            And swear,
            No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
            Yet she
            Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
-- John Donne
This poem was the curse that the Witch of the Waste placed on Howl. As each of the impossible things was fulfilled she could come closer and closer to putting her hand on him. This also, happens to be my favorite poem, written by my favorite poet!
There were also several Tolkien and Shakespeare references, and a reference to the illustrious Welsh drinking/Rugby song sosban fach. 

All in all, it's a fantastic book, and I love it a lot. (for more conservative people wishing to read things, this book MAY not be for you. It is a children's book, but it is magical. There are witches and wizards in Ingary, and there are demons that serve some of them. It may be noted, however, that demons, and devils are differentiated. Demons are actually falling stars that are just called demons by people who don't know any better. 'Devils', so-called, are not really commented upon. Be ye warned, though, just in case.). It's my favorite, and I would most heartily suggest it to all the people of the world!!!!!! 

** All pictures are from the Hayo Miazaki film of the same name. It is also an excellent film, but is only VERY loosely associated with the plot of the book. 

Next Book: The Phantom of the Opera

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ok children, here are some ground rules. Keep all posts clean and polite. Flamers and Trollers (unless they are legitimately funny) will be hunted down and destroyed. You are allowed to have, and express, your own opinion but make sure to keep it respectful or else I shall get very cross :).