Title: Howl’s Moving Castle

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Series: Howl’s Moving Castle #1

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Published: April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1986)

Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

“I’m a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”


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.


4 of 5 stars to Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


True to its name, Howl’s Moving Castle is one non-stop adventure of the strangest proportions! Old and new world collide in this classic tale of magic and curses, of witches and wizards, of purpose lost and then found, and perhaps the most important of allㅡmoral values and life lessons.

Howls-Moving-Castle_Sophie Hatter

Let’s talk about Sophie, the leading girl, with all the traits we hate about ourselves. She’s the eldest of three daughters and therefore has deep sense of responsibility. This trait would be seen as noble but Sophie continuously abuses it that it has become an obstacle for her. Sophie is also a big pessimist. She doesn’t believe in herself and is always resigned to what she thinks is her fate as the eldest. She’s self-deprecating not to fish for compliments but because it’s simply the truth for her. Isn’t she frustrating? But along that frustration is the feeling of affinity with her. I, personally, relate to Sophie’s “bad traits” a lot. I think all those things she thinks of herself. I see myself in her. It is ultimately this reason why I love Sophie. She started out so much like me but ended up so much like how I wanted to be.

Onto Howl, our leading guy, who is probably the most vain character I have ever encountered, but, is also the most endearing. Why? Because for all of Howl’s vanity, he is never self absorbed. He’s very subtle about it but Howl is actually so thoughtful to all of his friends. He comes off as carefree but you can see in his small actions that Howl takes notice of his friends’ needs and provides it for them before they even know they need it. Sophie and Howl together are the most entertaining pair. For all of Howl’s drama queen tendencies (throws tantrums like no other, dresses in the most extravagant get up, flirts with all the pretty ladies), Sophie is there to have none of it. This dynamic is what makes the story so fun!
The fascinating characters do not end there, however. Calcifer and Michael, the other two tenants of Howl’s castle, are just as interesting. Calcifer is particularly intriguing because he is an integral part of Howl. Michael adds an amusing banter to the other three as he is the youngest and most naive. He says clueless things with good intentions that effectively endears him to readers too.

I’m glad I saw the movie first because it was easier to imagine the scenes in the book with the movie as my visual reference. Also, Hayao Miyazaki captured Sophie and Howl’s character as best as he could that it’s them I see in the book. In a way, it felt like reading the book after seeing the movie was a sequel of some sort because I get to see new sides of Sophie and Howl, new moments that weren’t in the movie. Because I can’t get enough of this two, I’m glad that I have more than the movie or more than the book to look back on moments that really stuck with me.

On a side note, Michael in the book is actually a teenager so here is a fanart I found on the internet. I can’t find the real owner so I’m just gonna link the search result here.