Howl’s Moving Castle: Diana Wynne Jones

I asked my girlfriend what her favourite film was ages ago and she told me about Howl’s Moving Castle, a Studio Ghibli/Disney presentation. We watched it together and I really enjoyed it! The way that anime and fantasy combine intrigues me, along with it’s animation and very interesting story lines. Howl’s Moving Castle, of the Ghibli releases comes a very close third, behind The Wind Rises and Spirited Away. When I realised it was a book. I had to read it!

The book lacks the traditional Ghibli approach of combining time periods and fantastic flying machines but that isn’t a bad thing. What I did love was how the oldest of time periods merged with modern day Wales. I was pretty gobsmacked when Sophie ventured through the castle door, black blob facing down and found herself in modern day Wales! I loved how she was mortified by the noisy, horseless carts (Cars) and fascinated by the picture frames of moving pictures, connected to the wall by a white, flexible cord (TV)!

Reading the book took a little getting used to at first, as I had just finished Romeo & Juliet, with it’s totally different focus on audience and, obviously, totally different style of writing. Howl’s Moving Castle is a children’s fantasy book so the language was much less complex and the sentence structure very punctual. Even so, though, it was very easy to be whisked off into the worlds she was describing.

It’s actually difficult to explain what the book is about without giving the plot away, because of the interconnecting worlds, time periods and characters so here is the blurb from the book itself:

“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.”

I highly recommend this read!


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