Note: If you’ve never read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, but plan to some day and don’t want things spoiled for you, in my chapter posts there could be spoilers.
Megan shook hands with both of them in a restrained, disapproving way. – Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie went the door and it’s really quite normal-looking on the other side. A path that leads to a garden-gate and houses. Howl walks up to the house with Michael following. There are different signs hanging about, including one that says “Rivendell”.
I don’t think I really noticed it the first time I read the book, but I think the fact that the sign says “Rivendell” is interesting. Rivendell is from Lord of the Rings, which is by J.R.R. Tolkien. And I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but when Diana was in college, she went to lectures by J.R.R. Tolkien. Is this why she included “Rivendell”? on a sign. I don’t really know, but it’s something interesting to think about.
Howl took Sophie and Michael into the house. Sophie could hear voices and soon realizes that they are coming from magical pictures! And this book was printed in 1986, so it was before Harry Potter came out and had all types of magical things, including talking pictures.
But there are people in the house as well – Howl’s sister and niece. Howl asks about his nephew, asking if lost a piece of homework. Perhaps that is the paper Michael thought was a spell?
It turns out that it was his nephew’s homework and when the paper came into Howl’s house, an actual paper of Howl’s left. It seems his nephew gave it to his teacher.
Howl’s sister has sold all of his books, and there was one he needed apparently. He told her that they weren’t hers to sell. She says she’s not a storehouse, that he is a disgrace, he hangs out with riffraff and brings them to the house, and other not very nice things. Maybe it’s not so surprising Howl is always looking for love.
But don’t worry; Sophie’s got Howl’s back. She says somethings that makes Howl seem very successful and Howl’s sister really doesn’t have anything to say in response.
Next they are visiting the teacher. I think Howl is hoping she has a copy of the book he needs and he wants his paper back.
The teacher does have the book and the second verse to the poem. Howl reads it and goes pale. Wonder why. And as usual, Howl asks the teacher out for supper. She refuses, saying that she considers herself still engaged, even though her fiance has been missing for a few years.
And it seems there is definitely a reason why Howl went pale. And it has to do with the Witch of the Waste.