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Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, is a bit of a difficult character to pin down. Early in the book, he strikes fear in the heart of the people of Market Chipping. They believe that he’s there for evil purposes involving the hearts or souls of beautiful young women.
He’s obviously powerful. I mean, he lives in a moving castle, for goodness sake. He can exit into any of 4? 5? worlds out his front door just by turning a dial. But he can be awfully childish at times. When he gets a good fit of the sulks, he starts causing goo to ooze everywhere and other people have to run away or try to clean it up before it swallows them whole. Mature reaction there, right?
He’s got a good heart though and he can be counted upon to fight on the Good Side. It seems like his fights take an awful lot out of him and leave him a little closer to the Darkness than is strictly good for anyone though.
He takes in strays like they’re going out of style. He picks up Sophie, a young lady enchanted to look like an elderly woman, and kind of lets her run roughshod right over him. He puts up some fights, but mostly she does what she wants. His assistant is only 15, but he’s an orphan whom Howl picked up nonchalantly. He just sort of showed up and Howl never told him to leave.
I just looked through the quotes on GoodReads and here are some good ones about Howl.
“You must admit I have a right to live in a pigsty if I want.”
“I assure you, my friends, I am cone sold stober.”
“‘I feel ill,’ [Howl] announced. ‘I’m going to bed, where I may die.'”
“Meanwhile a certain amount of moaning and groaning was coming from upstairs. Sophie kept muttering to the dog and ignored it. A loud, hollow coughing followed, dying away into more moaning. Crashing sneezes followed the coughing, each one rattling the window and all the doors. Sophie found those harder to ignore, but she managed. Poot-pooooot! went a blown nose, like a bassoon in a tunnel. The coughing started again, mingled with moans. Sneezes mixed with the moans and the coughs, and the sounds rose to a crescendo in which Howl seemed to be managing to cough, groan, blow his nose, sneeze, and wail gently all at the same time. The doors rattled, the beams in the ceiling shook, and one of Calcifer’s logs rolled off onto the hearth.
‘All right, all right, I get the message!’ Sophie said, dumping the log back into the grate. ‘It’ll be green slime next.'”
“More about Howl? Sophie thought desperately. I have to blacken his name! Her mind was such a blank that for a second it actually seemed to her that Howl had no faults at all. How stupid! ‘Well, he’s fickle, careless, selfish, and hysterical,’ she said. ‘Half the time I think he doesn’t care what happens to anyone as long as he’s alright–but then I find out how awfully kind he’s been to someone. Then I think he’s kind just when it suits him–only then I find out he undercharges poor people. I don’t know, Your Majesty. He’s a mess.'”
I’ll let Sophie have the last word on this one.
Who did you connect with this week? Link your post on Mr. Linky, then be sure to go check out the other Character Connections!
Don’t you just love larger-than-life characters? The ones who jump off the page and grab you? Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t be indifferent to them.
I would love to know about the characters who just won’t leave you! Most of you will probably post about how much you love (or loathe) each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Write a love poem in elvish for Aragorn. Draw a picture of Harry obliterating Voldemort. The possibilities are endless.
Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.
Mr. Linky will be posted here on The Introverted Reader every Thursday.
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.