Read Along: Howl’s Moving Castle, Week 1

Misfit group? Check. Exasperating wizard? Check. Old lady goals? Check.

Let’s discuss Howl’s Moving Castle.




It’s been a long time coming, but today I am finally diving into Howl’s Moving Castle and sharing my thoughts on it! If you missed the schedule announcement for this Read Along, you can find it here.

This week we’re covering chapters 1 through 7, so again – please beware of spoilers if you’re not up to date or haven’t yet read this book and want to!

Without further ado:

For those who have seen the film adaptation/first time readers: these opening chapters already make it clear how much of a difference there is between the two versions of this story. How do you feel about that difference? Are you curious to read on, or has it thrown you?

Definitely curious! I’m fascinated enough by this story to want to keep reading, which is always a relief when I’ve got different versions of something to compare and contrast – and let’s be honest, that comparison is inevitable, at least on a base level. But I’m finding that I really enjoy the author’s style – the almost dry-voiced, ‘sly wink to the adult audience’ feel of it delights me, in the best Pratchett-esque way. But at the same time, we still get a great sense of childlike wonder in the narrative, which also delights me. If there was ever a time to have comfort reads on hand, it is now, and the more the merrier in my view. I’m hoping this will become one, the way Studio Ghibli films have become some of my favourite comfort viewing.

In terms of tone and/or subject matter, this is perhaps not your average young person’s book. How are you finding these factors – do they work for you as a reader?

… I basically just answered my own question while answering another of my own questions, heh! But yes, it all definitely works for me so far. I am a fan of anything that doesn’t talk down to young readers, so if this tone and handling of delicate subjects is typical of the author’s work, I’m here for it already.

Sophie has quite the ordeal dropped on her early on – or does she? She seems to be handling her sudden transformation surprisingly well. What do you make of Old Lady Sophie so far?

I LOVE OLD LADY SOPHIE. RIDE OR DIE. She is peak Old Lady Goals and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Except for the ‘making deals with fire demons’ thing.

Well. Maybe except for that. Who knows, am I right?

But really. It takes her zero minutes to drop right into that mindset of “well I’m old, I have no time to give any fucks” that the best old people seem to have. I love that journey for her. (And for me, one day.)

Perhaps less admirable (advisable?) is the way she wanders so blithely into a bargain with a demon, even one as entertaining as Calcifer. Do you think Sophie ought to be a bit more wary of Calcifer, or can she handle herself?

And I kind of did it again, ha!

I mean. Deals with demons are never a good idea. Don’t try this at home, kids. But … I dunno? I don’t think Calcifer is really as devious and untrustworthy as he seems at the moment. But we’ll see! Either way, though, I think Sophie can handle herself. She’s taking some hard truths (lessons?) already about people she believed were decent, so maybe she’ll learn to tread with at least some caution?

Or not. Honestly, I’m here for whatever is going to happen.

The Wizard Howl: Lovably misguided, or dangerously ignorant? Discuss.

I … don’t know? I want to say lovably misguided, because wizards and ignorance rarely go hand in hand, and when they do it never ends well. Howl seems awfully flippant and dismissive for someone who’s supposed to be wise. (And to that point, I do see similarities between Book Howl and Movie Howl!) Maybe all he needs is a young old lady to set him on the right course.


And I’m going to stop there before I go off on a heart-eyed tangent, but please feel free to share your thoughts! And look out for our end-of-week Quest Logs, where we will be rounding up posts from others for this Read Along!



Howl’s Moving Castle | Art: ©2004 Nibariki TGNDDDT




2 comments On Read Along: Howl’s Moving Castle, Week 1

  • I agree that stories that don’t talk down to young readers are the best!! It reads like a story that is meant for everyone. Like, the subject matter is appropriate for children but also relevant for adults.

    And Howl is hard to dislike. I find him so funny especially alongside Sophie “I’m too old for Howl’s shit” Hatter. They make a great pair.

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