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Monday, June 16, 2008

Howl's Moving Castle - Dianna Wynne Jones

Read for the Once Upon a Time II Reading Challenge

I decided I needed to read this book after catching the movie version again recently on Cartoon Network. I think I may have read it before long ago, but I’m not sure if that sense of familiarity is from a prior reading, or having seen the movie.

The book is the story of Sophie, the oldest of three daughters of a hatter, who as the oldest feels that she’s doomed to a life or coming in last, since everyone knows it’s the youngest children who always go out and make their fortune. That’s until she insults the Witch of the Waste, who turns her into an old woman. That’s when Sophie decides to leave her home, and ends up taking up with the strange company in wizard Howl’s moving castle. It’s well known that Howl eats the hearts of young women. You can imagine what takes place when Sophie finally meets Howl and the other people that call the castle home.

It’s at this point that the book and movie diverge. The book is definitely a fairy tale turned on its side, a story to poke fun at convention, but also sort of work within it. (Howl and Sophie are as unlikely a hero and heroine as you’ll find, but you can’t help but root for them.) I think the movie is a purer fairy tale in its way. The scope is larger, and also somehow grander. The book is about a quieter sort of journey. I’m not sure if I can say I like one better. I think I’d be perfectly happy to love both.


Nymeth said...

I'm happy to love both too :)

Carl V. said...

Your comparisons make me want to read this. I really loved the movie and you make the book sound very intriguing.

Megan said...

It's definitely worth reading. It's one of those books where it's fun to go through and ponder the differences.