Howl's Moving Castle

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Howl's Moving Castle is a novel by Diana Wynne Jones and published in 1986. The story revolves around a young woman named Sophie and her interactions with a free-spirited wizard named Howl. Sophie would normally be targeted by the womanizing Howl, but a witch has cursed her into an old woman, so Howl has no romantic interest in her. I learned about this book after seeing the animated movie. While they're both about the same theme, the movie is very different from the book. Most of the books secondary characters have been removed or merged together, the connection with the real world has been eliminated, and the ending has been substantially altered. Over all, I prefer the animated version because it does a better job at conveying mystery and fear.

Review

Good

  • The idea of a castle that can move around is only made more exciting that it is also in several places at once!
  • Several of the magical characters (the turnip-headed scarecrow, Calcifer, the dog man, etc.) are very interesting and you're constantly wondering if they're evil.
  • Having a dimensional door that bridges the gap between a world of high fantasy and the modern world is a really cool idea.
  • Despite Howl being a lazy womanizing crybaby, I find his desire to remain a free spirit relatable.

Bad

  • There is little excitement in the book. It's mostly descriptions and conversations, and while there are a couple epic battles between the Witch of the Wastes and Howl, one of them is only described from a distance, lessening its interest.
  • I found it a little difficult to keep track of all the characters since they were often using spells to look like someone else, shape shifting, or amalgams of multiple people.

Ugly

  • Nothing really.

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