Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Book - 1986
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Eldest of three sisters in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.
Publisher: New York : Greenwillow Books, [1986]
Copyright Date: ©1986
ISBN: 9780688062330
Characteristics: 212 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

"The book has barely anything in common with the Studio Ghibli movie based on it; the audiobook version, is, however, outstanding. Some of the chapter titles: 1- In which Sophie talks to hats; 3- In which Sophie enters into a castle and a bargain; 5- Which is far too full of washing; 6- In ... Read More »

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Aug 11, 2020

This is my ‘go to’ book. Whenever I’m wondering what to read next, and I can’t think of one, I say to myself, ‘well then, Howl’s Moving Castle’!
This is one of my favorite books.

Apr 03, 2020

Completely different from the film, but still so very magical. Both the book and the film are wonderful and are like a breathe of fresh air. All the characters are amazing and if you pick this up you're in for an amazing time!

Mar 28, 2020

Sophie Hatter finds herself thrust into an adventure against her will when the evil Witch of the Waste transforms her into an old woman. Unable to tell anyone of her curse, she sets out on her own, imposes herself as the housekeeper for the notorious wizard Howl in his moving castle, helps a friendly fire demon named Calcifer, and ends up saving the kingdom of Ingary.

I've loved this book, and its sequels, since well before I saw the also wonderful (but very different) film by Hayao Miyazaki. Jones's quirky, humorous style of narration, clever re-purposing of cliches, and powerful storytelling speak to me and keep me coming back for more. Themes include self-acceptance and taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences, so while this YA book has very few young characters, it has a lot for young readers to take from it.

Jan 28, 2020


Sep 20, 2019

ARbookfinder BL 5.4

Apr 25, 2019

This was so much like my reading experience with "Stardust." I saw "Stardust" the movie before reading the book. I love the movie. After seeing it I decided to read the book (especially since it's written by Neil Gaiman). The book was just okay, it had a lot of extra stuff that was not necessary. With "Howl's Moving Castle" I also saw the movie before reading the book. I would say the movie is better but the book is still a good read. I'm glad I finally picked it up!

Mar 24, 2019

Sophie Hatter knows she’s not cut out to be a heroine or have adventures: in the fairy-tale land of Ingary, the eldest sister is never destined for greatness. Instead, she is resigned to inherit her father and stepmother’s provincial hatshop while he sisters are apprenticed to sorceresses and popular merchants. When the Witch of the Waste, who has been threatening Ingary, invades the shop and curses Sophie into an old crone, Sophie must flee town. She takes refuge in the terrifying moving castle of the Wizard Howl, hoping he can remove her curse or that she can make a deal with his demon Calcifer to do so. As she lives in the castle, Sophie learns about who Howl and Calcifer really are—and that she and her siblings might be more magically entangled than she originally suspects.

While the premise might seem like a massive fairy tale cliché—unlikely, snarky heroine; mysterious, brooding wizard—Howl’s Moving Castle manages to turn all those on their head. Howl is a drama queen. Sophie invades the castle and appoints herself Howl’s cleaning lady with terrifying ferociousness. The final sorcerer’s battle is intense without being over-the-top. At the same time, the magical world of Ingary and the Moving Castle is beautifully described, with a magical system that’s complex and enchanting (no pun intended).

I’d argue that one of the most compelling aspects of the book is that it goes into detail and immerses the reader in the world, but the pacing can be slow. There’s not much of an overarching plot; instead, most of the conflicts are represented in episodic format. If you’re not a fan of world- and character-based stories, you might be disappointed.

Nov 09, 2018

Witty, imaginative, and descriptive. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Sep 23, 2018

Like many before me, I came to this story first through the film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's one of my favorites of his movies, so when I discovered the book I knew I had to read it. I didn't pick the book up immediately (I first saw the movie ten years ago, or so), but I'm glad I did. Overall, it's obvious why Miyazaki wanted to adapt the book: from page-to-page it features countless themes and stylistic flourishes perfect for the Ghibli-Miyazaki treatment.

Howl is frustrating and charming, Sophie is clever and independent, Calcifer is mischievous and caring, and Michael is childlike and helpful. None of the characters are particularly drawn very deeply in this book, but it's rather how the author, Jones, pulls them all together and consistently shows their interactions. At first there's a lot of tension between everyone except Sophie and Calcifer, but slowly, over the course of the whole novel, a familial relationship becomes very evident among those who live in the Castle.

The book just feels homey, and this quality is it's greatest charm.

It's not very complex at all, and some of the plot details are a tad bit underdeveloped. But overall the book is a huge success, and I can't wait to read the next two.

CMLibrary_Greyson Mar 24, 2018

This was a reread for me and I still loved it as much as I used to. It's just a lot of fun and the characters are so enjoyable. Sophie, a young girl, gets turned into an old woman by a witch and sets off on an adventure which leads to the wizard Howl. She manages to find a way to stay with Howl until she can get her curse taking off her. She also meets Calcifer, a fire demon who is tied to Howl in some way. Sophie's interactions with Howl are hilarious and it's so much fun to read!

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Apr 03, 2020

spiritedaway thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jan 18, 2018

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Apr 06, 2017

Sabinlerose thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 26, 2017

fadisi thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

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Jul 07, 2014

joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12

Feb 12, 2013

Love_Legolas_111 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Nov 15, 2012

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Add a Quote
Apr 22, 2019

"Yes, you are nosy" said Howl. "you're a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. control yourself. you're victimizing us all."

Apr 22, 2019

,she set off like an elderly avenging angel to clean Howl's bedroom.

Jan 27, 2014

"Despair!" he yelled. "Anguish! Horror!" ~ Howl on his hair, pg 116

Jan 27, 2014

"It's just a tantrum," Sophie said. Martha and Lettie were good at having tantrums too. She knew how to deal with those. On the other hand, it is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair. ~ pg 122

Aug 19, 2013

"We've had lawsuits, and suitors with swords, and mothers with rolling pins, and fathers and uncles with cudgels. And aunts. Aunts are terrible. They go for you with hat pins."


Add a Summary
Jul 07, 2014

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.

Jun 06, 2014

Sophie, the eldest daughter of a hatter lives in Market Chipping. One day, a mysterious costumer enters the shop. She doesn't like what she sees and turns Sophie into an old women of ninety. Sophie, whose father had recently passed away, wanted to go out and seek her fortune (and get this dreadful spell removed). So she set off on a gran old adventure full of magic, wizards, witches, demons, spells. Read Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones to find out just how active a ninety year old can be when they set their mind to it.


Add Notices
Mar 22, 2013

Coarse Language: Howl ejaculates "Hell's Teeth!", "Great Gods Above!", and "Damnation!" once each. Michael is mentioned swearing and Sophie angrily saying a bad word, but the words are not put in print. Calcifer says "Curses!"

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