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.
But since she felt more like raising her stick and beating the King over the head with it, she shook the King’s hand and gave a creaking little curtsy. – Howl’s Moving Castle
They go to the palace to see the King. Sophie and Michael are pushed about. Sophie finally makes it to the king and is a bit overwhelmed. She’s actually speaking to the king. I think that could overwhelm anyone.
Sophie is trying her best to blacken Howl’s name. And the king joins in on blackening Howl’s name, which is odd, if you ask me. He’s the one that wants Howl to find his brother after all, and if the king thinks Howl is so horrible, why hire him?
And blackening his name didn’t help anyway. The king is glad Howl didn’t accept just to show off or for money. Everything Sophie said has confirmed to the king that Howl is the man he is looking for. Howl is now Royal Wizard, which is exactly what he didn’t want.
And in her annoyance, Sophie went out through the wrong doors. Sophie was moved about again, until she was taken to the stairs and Michael was not there nor was Howl, but she was actually a bit relieved by this.
Sophie feels quite tired and decides not to wait for Michael. She just wanted to get back to the castle, sit in the chair in front of the fire and talk to Calcifer. But Sophie is lost and now she can’t even find her way back to the palace. But she sees that she is close to Howl’s old teacher’s house and decides to go there. And coming right towards her is the Witch of the Waste. She looks different, but Sophie knows it’s her.
Sophie thought the Witch of the Waste wouldn’t remember her, but she did and she came from doing something terrible.
Sophie knows the Witch must be looking for Howl. And she definitely can’t give away that she knows Howl. She tells the Witch she is going to the palace and the Witch informs Sophie she is going the wrong way. The Witch of the Waste helps Sophie to the palace and I really think Sophie is dreading the stairs. Can’t say I blame her. But she has to make it seem as if she is going to see the king, so she will have to go up them once again. Luckily the guards remember Sophie and let her back into the palace.
I feel bad for Sophie. Her old body isn’t up to all the walking (and stairs). What she was sent to the palace for didn’t work, she ran into the Witch of the Waste and she still can’t find Michael or Howl. If I were Sophie, I think I’d be tired too, and probably annoyed.
But it is a good chapter. You find out more about Howl and such.