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.
“We can’t all be Mad Hatters,” said Howl. – Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie doesn’t really know why it’s important to blacken Howl’s name to the king now that the Witch of the Waste has caught up with him. And you’d really think blackening his name would be the least important thing right now. But Howl said it is because he can’t have the king after him too.
Sophie was waiting for Michael and Michael was waiting for Howl to get out of the bathroom. But Calcifer was very interested in where Sophie visited with Howl. And Calcifer is worried about the Witch of the Waste catching up with Howl because if she does, he will suffer too.
They all left, Sophie dressed in the fine clothes Howl gave her, so she can blacken Howl’s name to the king. She is to pretend to be Howl’s mother.
But first they make a stop to visit Howl’s old teacher. She says that Howl was her best pupil and she worries about him. As she puts it she is worried Howl is “going the way of the bad” like the Witch of the Waste. But she is happy to have Howl’s mother (Sophie) there so she can find out what is wrong with him. Sophie explains that Howl has made some sort of contract with Calcifer and his teacher feels that must be it. She tells Sophie that she has to break the contact.
And of course, Sophie knows this. Calcifer has already asked her to break the contract, but the only problem is how. That’s what Sophie is still trying to figure out. The teacher does give Sophie some advice, but I don’t want to give everything away in this chapter. I will say that I think she definitely is right about the Witch of the Waste and what happened to her.
And in this chapter Sophie finds something out that she feels she has probably already known. And it seems she doesn’t have any bother accepting it. In fact, it would explain some things. I won’t reveal this either since I don’t want to spoil everything.