Books to the Sky

“Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.” ― Arnold Lobel

Howl’s Moving Castle

on May 5, 2015


From the very first sentence you know that you are in for a magical story with it’s roots firmly in fairy tales.

“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 worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”

Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three girls. Although disappointed that her future will thus lack adventure, Sophie has been fairly happy in her role. When her father dies, the family discovers that he spent far too much on the girls’ schooling and has left the family in dire straits. Her sweet stepmother arranges apprenticeships for each girl to ensure their future success. For Sophie, this mean resigning herself to inheriting the family hat shop. Little does she know that her natural talent for making hats will draw the unpleasant attention of the Witch of the Waste. Sophie is unable to speak of the curse which follows. She must strike out on her own regardless of the chance of success. Sophie’s journey finds her meeting a fire demon, working for the infamous heart-stealing wizard Howl, and going to places that she never knew existed all while hoping for a way to break the curse put on her.

Although nominated for an Oscar, iconic director Hayao Miyazak’s film version of “Howl’s Moving Castle” was met with trepidation by long time fans of the novel.  It is one of my favorite movies and the reason I read the book, but it is a very loose adaptation of the novel. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad that I saw the movie before reading it, rather than after. The book is more complicated and has a decidedly different plot. The overall visuals of the movie, from the backgrounds to the characters, fit beautifully with the book. I do want to stress again that the stories have many deviations from each other, including the fact that some characters (eg. Wizard Suliman) are the same in name only. That said, I highly recommend both the book and the film.


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