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"How about a Bargin? I'll remove the spell on you, if you break the contract on me!"
- Calcifer to Sophie, In which Sophie enters the Moving Castle and a Bargin.

Complete walk through of 'Howl's Moving Castle'
Written by Diana Wynne Jones, 1986
Walkthrough by Sophie-Lou, 2005-2008
 
 
Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters, born to a well-to-do family who run a hat shop in Market Chipping. At the age of two, her mother died leaving Sophie to look after her younger sister Lettie, who is one, despite the fact that their father re-marries a young woman called Fanny. From Fanny, came Martha. However, this didn't make Sophie and Lettie ugly sisters as both girls grew into beautiful young women like Martha, although Lettie is supposedly the prettiest.
 
When Mr. Hatter dies, Fanny sends the two younger sisters away. She sends Lettie to the bakery in Market Square, and Martha to learn witchcraft from a family friend, Mrs. Fairfax. As for Sophie, she is forced to stay in the shop and make hats while her stepmother goes off gadding with the money Sophie's making.
 
It seems that the world Sophie lives in is full of surprises. For example, there is a strange Moving Castle that roams the hills of Market Chipping, known as the Folding Valley. It was first feared that it belonged to the Witch of the Waste, who used to bring havoc to Ingary fifty years before. She had killed Wizard Suliman, who had been sent out to the Wastes to deal with the Witch when she threatened the King's daughter. This prompts the king's brother, Prince Justin, to go and look for him as they were good friends. Now he has disappeared too.
 
However, the castle doesn't belong to the Witch of the Waste, but to Wizard Howl. He is bad enough; despite the fact that he is supposedly charming and dashing, he is also ruthless and heartless who takes pleasure in capturing young girls and eating their hearts. Hence, Sophie (and her sisters) are warned by everyone in Market Chipping never to go out alone; they are just the sort of thing Howl would go for.
 
Lacking someone to talk to Sophie begins talking to the hats she is making. Unwittingly, her talking to them bespells them so they take on the traits she assumes them. Though she doesn't know she's doing it, she manages to charm the hats so that the Mayor's wife looks like a school girl, and helps the plain Jane Farrier find love and elope with the Count of Catterack. Within time, Hatter's hat shop is the talk of the town, hundreds of women begin rushing into the shop to get these charmed hats. As Sophie always says nice things to each one of the hats, including the plain ones as she feels sorry for them, nobody will gets in trouble.
 
Although she quite likes making the hats at first she dislikes being stuck inside with nothing to do. It also annoys her that she is still trapped in her unlucky place as the eldest sister and she never gets to go out as her work keeps her busy.
 
On May Day, Sophie decides to bite the bullet finally and visit her sister Lettie at the bakery. On her way there despite the fact that she is dressed in a frightful grey dress and shawl, the best dressed and most charming man in the square singles her out in the crowd, and approaches with the kindest intentions. He sees that she is scared and offers to see her safely to the bakery. Sophie quickly declines and flees, ashamed of the pity the man shows her.
 
After reaching the bakery, she finds out that Lettie is in fact Martha. They had used one of the many honey spells that Mrs Fairfax (whom Martha was meant to stay with) uses to switch identities. The spell would wear off slowly and no one would notice the difference. Sophie swears to keep it a secret. Then, Martha informs her of Fanny's plan to leave the hat shop for Sophie (well whoop-de-do) and use the money to by a house in the vallay. Martha tells Sophie's that Fanny is taking advantage of her so she can use the money herself.
 
It finally comes to Sophie that she is being exploited terribly. This makes her very angry. She begins to dream of running away to seek her fortune, until she remembers she's the eldest and would just end up back making hats. Sophie accidently takes out her anger on a plain faced girl who complains to Sophie that the charm on the "Jane Farrier" hat didn't work. She snaps saying and points out the girl's plainness, before the girl storms out.
 
Straight after this another, beautiful, older woman enters the shop with a sad looking man who Sophie suspects is her son. The woman opens with: "Miss Hatter, I hear you make the most heavenly hats. Show me!" Sophie straight away begins to show her all the hands she can despite the fact she doesn't have anything that would suit the woman. The man with her also stares at Sophie throughout that makes her uncomrotable. So, she shows her the wrong hats hoping it would make the woman go away. The woman insults the hats, managing to see through the "sweet" charms on them, including the one hat Sophie didn't charm which she says "does nothing for anyone". She insults Sophie, saying that she is wasting her time. Sophie answers back and tells the woman it is her fault for coming in and just asking for hats.
 
The woman finally tells Sophie who she is: The Witch of the Waste. She tells Sophie that she has heard of her and appears to be jealous of Sophie's talent with charming things just by telling them what she wants. Seeing her as competition, she had dropped in to see her to put a stop to her. Sophie's strong-mindness and attitute has also annoyed the Witch.
 
The Witch curses Sophie turning her into an old woman. She also makes it so that she is unable to talk about her curse unless they already know. Sophie remains surprisingly harm, but is ashamed of the way she looks, and feels compelled to leave vowing to get back at the Witch later.
 
She runs away to the Folding Valley, with the intention of finding a way to lift her curse. On the way she meets a dog who is trapped in the bushes. She lefts the dog out but he ungratefully leaves although she manages to get a good cane out of it. She also meets a scarecrow, whom she felt sorry for being stuck in a hedge and puts him up once again.
 
Far into the Folding Valley she begins talking to her stick about her meeting with the dog and scarecrow. She then sees a shepherd of forty years and is shocked at how young she thinks he is. As a young girl she had thought the man who had offered his help on May Day as 'old' and he was only in his late twenties. The shepherd nervously moves away from Sophie, thinking she is a witch. Having a bad image of witches (Especially since she had been cursed by one) Sophie is tempted to yell things at the shepherd but decides it would be too unkind.
 
Suddenly she comes across the Howl's Moving Castle at the top of a steed hill. After yelling at the castle to let her in, she manages to find the front door and does inside, seeing Howl as no threat to her any longer. Once she enters, she decides the shelter there for the night and leave before Howl gets back. Despite young the apprentice Michael's attempts to make her go away, Sophie ignores him and goes to sleep.
 
Later that night, she wakes up and wonders if she should ask Howl to help her take the spell off, but then worries that he'll eat her heart at first look at her. It is then she notices the fire she is looking at is alive. He straight away sees that she's under a spell and Sophie asks him to take it off. The fire demon decides to make a bargain with Sophie; he'll lift the spell off her, if she breaks the contract that binds him to Howl. Calcifer can't just tell her how to break it as it is the same principles with her curse that neither Howl nor Calcifer can tell people the exact details of the spell. However, Calcifer can drop hints on how to break the contract, so he tells Sophie that she'll have to watch and listen carefully. She agrees to the deal, but is worried about what possible excuse there would be for her to stay in Howl's castle. Thinking about it she falls asleep again, hopeful that she will be free from her curse soon.
 
The next morning, she wakes up wondering where she is, thinking that she had just fallen asleep making hats and dreamt that she had left home to seek her fortune. This is sort lived after she looks at herself in the mirror and Calcifer blazes up to remind her that they have a bargin. Sophie is furious with the Witch now. As well as that is very upset at the fact she is old, and starts crying.
 
Michael wakes up and sees she is still there. After seeing she is crying he feels sorry for her and offers her some breakfest. Pulling herself together, Sophie decides that she is going to make herself useful around the castle and her first try is to cook breakfest for Michael and herself. Michael explains that Calcifer only bends his head down for Howl to cook on, so while Howl isn't here, no one could eat or drink anything warm; just bread, cheese and milk.
 
Sophie sees that Michael is being exploited by both Calcifer and Howl, much like Fanny had done so with her. With that Sophie orders Calcifer to bend his head down, or else she'd throw water on him, take away his logs or tell Howl about their bargain. Seeing no other way, Calcifer bends his head down.
 
As Sophie is cooking, Howl returns from his night on the town. Turning around to see him Sophie realises that it is the same man who had tried to accost her on May Day. When Howl sees her, he is certain he has seen her before but he can't remember how and where. Sophie denies she has ever met him before and says she is a stranger. Howl pushes her out of the way to cook the rest of the breakfeast.
 
When he asks her why she has come to the castle, Sophie says that she came because she was his new cleaning lady. The castle was a tip and needed a good clean. Not sending her away or protesting, Howl just leaves her to get on with things.
 
Sophie tries to establish herself more in the castle by telling a customer in Porthaven that she was now a witch working for Howl. As a young girl she believes she would never behave the way she is, but as an old woman she doesn't care. As she cleans, Sophie starts to fish around for clues to how to breaking the contract. While she does so, she notices the strange colour marked knob above the door. It seems that what ever colour is turned downwards, the place of the door changes.
 
Red knob down: Kingsbury
Blue knob down: Porthaven
Green knob down: Upper Folding
 
There is also a black blob, but when Sophie asks what it is, Howl refuses to tell her what is there. Sophie assumes it is his secret hold where he keeps all the stolen hearts. As she cleans, Michael and Calcifer both complain that she is making them miserable. Howl only cares whether she has killed any spiders, to which Sophie says she hadn't. She asks if they're the girls whose hearts he'd stolen. He laughs and says they're just spiders.
 
Because Howl doesn't even notice Sophie is cleaning. Michael and Calcifer assume he is after a lady. As well as cleaning, Sophie keeps the food stocked up, and decorates her cubbyhole, which Michael sets up for her under the stairs. Sophie begins to worry that Howl will soon kick her out. People start to come and see her, now rumours have gone around Howl has a new witch working for him, and Michael begins to get used to her as a 'natural disaster'.
 
It is only when Sophie makes her way to clean Howl's room, thinking there must be clues to the contract in there, that Howl decides to notice her. "You're a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman!" he tells Sophie. He says he is happy with the way his room is and tells her to clean elsewhere. Sophie protests that "It's a pigsty... I can't help what I am!" Then she tries to clean out in the back garden, but Howl tells her to stay out of there too. Sophie and Howl argue with each other for the first time, and Howl nearly loses his temper with her, but restains his feelings telling her to find something else to do before he gets angry; "I hate getting angry".
 
Sophie tells him that he dislikes anything unpleasant, that he is a "slitherer-outer".
 
Howl forces a smile, "Well, now we know each other's faults."
 
In this moment, that quote pretty much seals their fates at the end of the novel.
 
Sophie is surprised that Howl doesn't throw her out. Michael says it is probably because of Calcifer; very few people notice him, and if they do, they are scared of him. When people understand Calcifer, Howl is impressed, and since Sophie had bullied him into complying with her it is clear she understands him.
 
Sophie is a little upset about this; while Howl thinks Calcifer likes Sophie, she knows he only wants her to stay to break his contract, and begins to think she has let Calcifer down. Howl decides to stay in the castle for a while, Sophie realises just how angry she is at the Witch of the Waste, and decides to get her back when the time comes.
 
Rather than cleaning and getting on Howl's nerves, she decides to fix all of Michael's clothes with her old hat-making-tools. Howl even gives her his old grey and scarlet suit to fix. "Goodness you're a fine suit!" Sophie exclaims as she darns it, "Built to pull in the girls, aren't you?"
 
She asks Calcifer to give her a hint about the contract, to which he says he has given her a hint, and that she'll have to listen carefully. He can't give infomation.
 
Sophie decides to get up and have a look at the black blob to see where it led, seeing as Howl and Michael couldn't stop her while they were out. There is nothing there, and Calcifer says he doesn't know what it was either. When Michael comes back home as discovers Howl is out courting the girl again when he thought Howl had done with her,
 
Sophie snaps, thinking it was wicked of them to wish he'd capture the girl, and asks what he does to the girls. It turns out that Howl doesn't eat the souls or hearts of young girls, he just steals them. Howl is fickle and courts young girls until they fall in love with him, then he can't be bothered any more. Only trouble was, he won't quit until he's made them love him, and until he has, you can't get any sense out of him, so it was always better to hope that he'll win her over, then he'll become 'sensible' again. Until they track him down, then Michael is the one who has to deal with them while Howl goes out the back door. They had had suitors, fathers, uncles, mothers, and the worst were aunts with the sharpest hatpins. Or even the girl turning up in tears.
 
Sophie is shocked by it all: "It's heartless and pointless!"
 
"He's made that way," says Calcifer
 
When Howl comes home and goes into the bathroom, he asks Sophie if she had tidied the shelves of potions there (which she has), but Sophie, not having the nerve to admit it, says that she hadn't touched a thing. Minutes later, Howl comes running out of the bathroom asking what "that one-woman force of chaos" had done to his spells. He points to his hair, which is still blonde but with a very slight tint of red, making it a strawberry blond colour.
 
Sophie thinks it is nice as it was her own natural hair colour. But Howl reacts in total anger, proclaiming that his hair wasn't nice but ginger. It is then that he starts to make the worst of Howl's bad qualities; green slime.
 
After having to abandon castle, Sophie and Michael return from the safety of Porthaven and find the entire castle covered in green slime and Calcifer in danger of drowning. Howl, sitting on a stool having a tanturm. Sophie takes charge of the situation and with Michael's help, they get Howl into the shower. While Michael cleans him off, Sophie helps Calcifer and cleans out the castle and decides to leave the ruined blue and silver suit in the bath to soak.
 
Sophie gets Howl talking and finds out that Howl was upset because the girl he was after said that she liked someone else and couldn't understand why because they normally got rid of the others when he came along. Sophie at first feels sorry for him butthat goes when turns out that the girl he was after was none other than her sister, "Lettie Hatter".
 
Sophie straight away decides to go back to Market Chipping and tell Martha that her suitor was none other than Wizard Howl, knowing it would scare her off. On the day that she plans to go and see Martha, Michael goes out to Market Chipping too, therefore making it hard for Sophie to go without meeting Michael. Howl is also out at Kingsbury. It also turns out that today would the day when the scarecrow she had helped comes back to haunt her. When she goes to the door, she finds the scarecrow trying to get into the castle, very much alive.
 
Sophie panics, and the affects of old age over come her heart. She asks Calcifer to speed up the castle so the scarecrow can't get in. Calcifer, feels sorry for her, and chooses to do as she asks. They end up going very fast all day until the scarecrow finally gives up.
 
It ends up leaving Calcifer very tired and he goes to sleep while Sophie, feeling much better decides to start dinner.
 
Michael comes home to in a good mood too, saying that "Lettie" loved him and that she'd never even seen Howl. After questioning Michael about his Lettie, she realises that Howl must have met the *real* Lettie, and not Martha.
 
Howl confirms that it can't be Martha he met when he states he had never been to the bakers in Market Chipping. When he sees that Calcifer has nearly been put out being to tired he falls out with Sophie again. He tells her that the King wants him to find Prince Justin. He then comes up with a plan to send Sophie to Kingsbury to plead for him. He gives her a look, which charms Sophie deeply, and prompts her not only to go and warn Lettie about Howl but leave altogether. She decided she had had enough of Howl.
 
The next day the scarecrow tries to get into the castle again. Howl fights it off after seeing Sophie is still scared of it, and tells her he is sorry for being so nasty about it the other day, now understanding why she was so scared. Howl makes Michael promise to keep an eye on Sophie before going to see Lettie. Sophie also decided to set off to see Lettie. When Michael sees she is determined to go, he says he'll go with her in seven-league-boots
 
Both of them put a boot on and go in them. Sophie is unable to keep control of the boot and ends up leaving the castle in several different directions as she keeps putting her foot down and zipping off three-and-a-half leagues each step down. Finally after several trips to several different places, Michael manages to grab her before she can jet off again. 
 
The two of them go to Mrs Fairfax's house. Sophie introduces herself as Lettie's great-aunt. Just as they're about to come in, a dog runs out of the house and around to the garden. Mrs Fairfax and Sophie try to catch it. When Michael finally catches up with her, they see Lettie and Howl together, and Lettie looking quite lovingly at him. This makes Sophie very worried.
 
Sophie decides to leave. Before she and Michael leave they ask Mrs Fairfax who the other man who Lettie is fond of was. Mrs Fairfax says he is someone who she feels sorry for. As for her and Howl, Mrs Fairfax has pushed them together so that Lettie could become his student as well as a potienal wife.
 
Once they get back to the castle, Michael starts asking Sophie questions about her. She manages to divert them onto her own questions, and asks Michael and Calcifer if there is a chance Howl is properly in love this time. They both say there was no chance because he had spent over two hours getting ready in the bathroom. It is here that Michael explains the facts to Sophie, another fateful quote: 
 
"The day Howl forgets to do that will be the day I believe he's really in love, and not before."
 
Michael is trying to do a very hard spell and asks Sophie to help:
 
Go catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot,
Teach me to hear the mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
     And find
     What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
 
Decide what this is about, write a second verse yourself.
 
Despite Sophie's attempts to help him, Michael says suggestions are wrong, until Sophie suggests them doing what the spell says. They both decide to go and catch a falling star. Calcifer blazes up as they're about to leave and begs them not to go.
 
They go anyway to Porthaven Marshes. While there they see a falling star and chase it in seven-league-boots. Michael tries to convince the star to let him help it, but the star says it would rather die and throws itself into a pond of water.
 
Sophie and Michael decides to go home and tell Howl the trouble they had with the spell. Upon returning, Howl is there and ready to pick bones with Sophie for following him to Upper Folding when he told her to stay at home.
 
Howl goes to see the King, and Michael goes out to see Martha. Sophie is left to deal with the people in need, including an undersized man who is fighting a duel. Sophie pretends to turn pepper into magic powder that would make it a fair fight. When Michael comes back, he laughs at the 'fake' spell Sophie used to help that man just as Howl comes back. He explains to Sophie that he wants her to go and blacken his name to the King. He tells her (while Michael tries to ask about the spell) that he's firstly going to take her to see his old tutor, Mrs. Pentstemmon, who is grander then the king. Sophie says no; but Howl charms her, with his smile, into saying yes.
 
When he finally gets around to talking to Michael, it turns out that the spell wasn't a spell after all, but the first verse of a poem called Song Howl worries that the next half was very important. He then makes Michael promise never to try and catch a falling star again, blaming Sophie for putting the idea in his head.
 
Upon finding that he doesn't have the book with the poem in, Howl decides to take all of them black knob down to whatever is beyond there is to look for the spell he left for Michael and the book with the poem in it.
 
Black knob down is a strange place, where Howl's family lived; his sister Megan, his niece Mari and his nephew Neil. After bribing Neil, Howl finds out what the poem is. It turns out that the poem was Neil's homework, and he'd given the funny piece of writing (the spell) to his English teacher, Miss Angorian.
 
Howl, Sophie and Michael all go to visit Miss Angorian at the flat above the tea shop. It turns out that she is very young, and good-looking. Howl, over his open flirting, asks for his spell back and what the rest of the poem was. Miss Angorian reads it to them:
 
If thou beest born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs grow on thee,
Thou, when returnest, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
     And swear
     No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.
 
Howl quickly leaves at this point, and the three of them return to the moving castle. Howl explains everything he has to avoid doing to Calcifer and eveyone gets ready to go to see Mrs Penstemmon and the King.
 
Sophie is to claim to be Howl's old mother. When they go to see Mrs Pentstemmon, she asks to talk to Sophie alone. She tells Sophie that Howl was going to the bad. Assuming that Howl had gone to the bad ages ago, Sophie listens to what Mrs Penstemmon has to say. She says that she understands Howl being careful about his appearence, but it is unacceptable to walk around with a charmed suite that makes him almost irresistible to girls. This was black magic. Sophie won't argue with her, but Sophie had fixed the grey and scarlet suit and didn't notice anything wrong. It was then that Mrs Penstemmon announces that her life is nearly over, and that she had desperatly wanted to meet Sophie.
 
Mrs Penstemmon explains that Howl was her last and best pupil. He came not long after she finished with Ben Sulivan (Wizard Suliman) and he became royal wizard. But when she saw Howl was smarter, more talented and with much more imagination then Ben, she had to help him. He was a force for good... But now he was going to the darkside... And he can't help it. Something had happened to him, and now he was going the same way as the Witch of the Waste. After being asked, Sophie says she thinks that it has something to do with the fact that he made a contract with a fire demon... Just like the witch had.
 
Mrs Penstemmon tells Sophie to break the contract and praises her on her special magical gift. It brings life to things. Even her stick had become a magic wand. She knows new talent when she sees it and tells Sophie to use her talents to help Howl. She promises just before she leaves. When she goes to meet Howl and Michael, Howl says that maybe he should blacken his own name to the king but Sophie says she'll be fine, so they go.
 
When Sophie meets the king, everything she says goes wrong and she finds that she can't say anything bad against him because there was a reason for his bad ways and without knowing it, Sophie had convinced the king to make him royal magician. When she leaves, she bumps into the Witch who has just left Mrs Penstemmon's homes. She had murdered her! Sophie is horrifyed and realises that the Witch is looking for Howl. Should she find him, she'd kill him and if she killed him, Calcifer might die too and that ment goodbye to Sophie's hopes for being young again. She asks the Witch why she had cursed her.
 
The Witch explains that Sophie was getting int he way and preventing her from getting infomation she needed, though Sophie had no idea about it as she'd never met the person she was trying to get the infomation from and then asks if Sophie knew about Wales. Of course she doesn't, only to find out it was the strange land she went to when the Witch explains that it's Howl's homeland. The Witch then asks if Sophie knew Wizard Howl. To which Sophie lies and says he's evil just like the Witch... leaving her feel very cruel.
 
When they go home, Sophie finds Howl very depressed because of Mrs Penstemmon's death. Sophie claims that at least blackened his name to the king... But the king still made him royal magician. Iit's also very alaming for Michael to find out that the Witch nows about ever sigle enterance, except to Portheaven one... Despite the danger, it seems that Howl is more interested to go to Wales, possibly to go and see Miss Angorian. This makes Sophie very angry, the way he's dumped her sister was horrible. Howl catches a cold from visiting Wales when it was raining... Despite his attempts to get sympathy, he talks about moving the castle away from the Witch, so he won't have to find Prince Justin. Around this very time, the dog who was with Mrs Fairfax comes to live with them, Lettie sent him. Sophie believes it's because he's a bespelled human (dog-man) but the dog-man tells Sophie not to tell Howl, and even the mention of his name makes to dog growl.
 
When Howl makes a huge effort to get her attention, Sophie goes up stairs to see him. Howl claims he's dying from boredom, and Sophie admits to him having a fever. The spiders have even began to turn on him as they're maing him feel dizzy. He's also worried about the Witch's curse, as each part of the spell seems to be coming true and the Witch gets him on Midsummer day when it does. He then remembers the final and most important part of the spell: "And swear, no where, lives a woman true and fair". Howl explains that the reason he treats girls the way he does is because he's trying to find a girl who he can love properly, and that's why he loves spiders. 'If at first you don't suceed, try and try again!' but because of the deal he made many years ago (Calcifer's contract) he will never love anyone for real... And he even cries. Sophie feels very sorry for him.
 
Howl decides to go to the funieral to Mrs Penstemmon in disguise and goes as a dog, exactly the same looking dog as dog-man. Though he planned to go in the gray and scarlet suit, Sophie chops it up to try and stop the spell from working and gives him the blue and silver suit back, which she had been fixing since he messed it up with green slime. However, the day when the funieral is, the blue and sliver suit (which had been too small so they used a enlarging spell on it) was huge, trailing for a mile up the stairs and snatches the gray and scarlet one back from Sophie (despite the fact it's in pieces) as Howl comes down to fix himself up in the bathroom.
 
As for the moving castle, they're planning to move the castle to a shop in Market Chipping, and it happens to be Sophie's old hat shop. Fanny must be selling it. Howl asks Sophie what she thinks they should sell in the old shop. She just says that it can't be hats. Howl also asked her what the other entrances should be. Sophie requests a place with lots of flowers.
 
Later that day, Howl calls out to Calcifer telling him that the Witch had found him(she would if he walked around looking like dog-man!), while Calcifer starts to panic. Sophie and Michael grab the disgusing cloaks (Sophie turns into a red bearded man and Michael into a horse). They run out into Portheaven and watch Howl and the Witch battling out. While they do so, Sophie sees that several mermaids singing because of all the battling. While Howl starts panicking, he and the Witch start battling into the distances and out of sight...
 
Thankfully, Howl's okay. He turned himself into a cat in order to escape the Witch. He starts drinking lots of brandy and decides that tomorrow they will move the castle. Despite Calcifer objecting, Howl tells him it's either move or Witch. So the next day, Howl and Michael do all kinds of spells and diagrams and five pointed stars. Sophie decides they'll sell flowers in the shop and Howl changes the colours on the door so now they are: Orange, Yellow, Purple and Black. New locations: Mansion Door, Market ChippingEdge of Waste and Wales. The Edge of the Waste was where all the flowers would come from for the shop, it's also something that the Witch won't expect.
 
It turns out that Howl disappears off to Wales nearly everday, to see Miss Angorian. This makes Sophie very angry and annoyed. She decides to take her time out in the new flower shop and tells herself that had never been happier, but that's a lie. The seven-league-boots were back and being used as vases in the shop. Sophie sees then that Howl has lost interest in Lettie and didn't care if Sophie followed him anymore. Howl also refuses to tell Sophie which suit he was wearing. Sophie knows that if it's the grey and scarlet suit then that means he is using it charm Miss Angorian. Sophie tries to take her mind off things by talking to the flowers, she even makes new ones.
 
Then, she grows a mandrake root. Another part of the curse has come true, and now Howl's hair is back to blond, it looks white. That's another part that has come true. The scarecrow also turns up again, but she manages to "talk it off". All of these things together make her very upset. "It comes of being the eldest of three!"
 
The dog man then turns into a human long enough to tell Sophie that he was the dog she had helped in the bushes, and was the man with the Witch that day when Sophie was cursed. She realises that Percival must know she is under a spell and asks if Lettie knows too. He says yes. Sophie wonders again why Lettie sent to dog to the castle if it wasn't to have Howl change him back.
 
When Sophie tries to ask Calcifer about it all they are interupted by Miss Angorian calling in. Sophie tries to keep her out of the castle, stubbornly refusing her to let her stay. Miss Angorian claims that she was looking for her fiance, Ben Sulivan. Sophie doesn't believe her as Suliman settled in Ingary years ago. Miss Angorian then grabs Howl's guitar, claiming it was Ben's. Sophie snatches it back and backs her out of the door, and back into Wales.
 
Afterward, Calcifer laughs saying he had never seen someone got rid of so quickly. Sophie is annoyed by this and is distressed at the back that even when she was young and fresh, she was not as beautiful as Miss Angorian. Angrily she rams dead flowers into a bucket and sulks, screaming: "Be daffodils in June, you beastly things!"
 
Howl comes back later that evening and sees Sophie is in a mood. Fianlly, Sophie demands to know what suit he is wearing. Howl doesn't see why it matter but shows her nonetheless: it is the blue and silver suit. This annoys Sophie even more who grumps angrily. Then, the dog man rushes int to get between Howl and Sophie. Howl notices the dog looks different, thinking there are two. Sophie corrects him, telling him that he is under a spell. Howl blames Calcifer for not telling him "This is twice you've let me down!"
 
After taking the spell off, they question Percival, and Sophie storms off to check on her daffodils. She discovers that in her anger she had created weed-killer. Howl suggests she uses it on the drive of the mansion, and sends Percival with her.
 
Sophie gets Percival to confess everything. He explains that the Witch had heard of her talents for making hats, and was jealous of her. She had tried to get information about Howl, but Percival had been thinking of Lettie when she tried to find out how he knew him, and had mistaken Lettie for being the witch who worked in Market Chipping. After turning Sophie into an old woman, the Witch turned Percival into a dog. Sophie came along, freed him, and went to Mrs Fairfax's house to find Lettie.
 
Howl began calling around not long after that and Lettie kept asking Percival to bite him, but then Howl started asking about Sophie. This worried Lettie because Sophie had gone missing and she wondered if Howl had something to do with it. He finally told her after a while that Sophie was an old woman. Lettie was worried now because she knew Sophie would think she was safe from Howl. Percival then turned back into a human long enough to tell Lettie that he would keep an eye on Sophie.
 
Sophie says she is grateful to her sister but she does not need a watch dog. Percival says she does, or rather did; he had arrived far too late. This angers Sophie who has something of an ephiphany. She realises why she had been feeling so strange since the moving castle moved, and why she could face her sisters, and it tied in with why she had been so quick to try and mess up Howl's relationships with Lettie and Miss Angorian.
 
Although she won't admit it, she has fallen in love with Howl.
 
After another encounter with the scarecrow, who she "talks off" again, she storms back into the castle realising that Howl had been listening in on her talking to Percival. She asks how long he had known she was under a spell. He says there was a time when everyone seemed to be telling him; Michael told him, Calcifer told him, Mrs Fairfax confirmed it, but he had guessed almost straight away that she was a young woman. Howl tells her that he had tried several times to take it off but failed because Sophie was clasping on to her old lady looks. "I came to the conclusion that you liked being in disguise... It must be since you're doing it yourself. What a strange family you are! Is your name Lettie too?"
 
Sophie takes this badly; he not only knew all about her but was now making fun of her. Howl leaves for the Rugby Club reunion half-hearted, seeing that Sophie was still angry with him.
 
She decides that she is leaving for good this time.
 
On Midsummer Day, Howl returns home from a night of drinking drunk and singing the saucepan song. He goes to sleep but his banging wakes Michael up, stopping Sophie from leaving the castle. Then, once all the flowers were in the flower shop, she tries to sneak away only to be interupted by Fanny coming to visit her! In the time Sophie had been gone, Fanny had married a wealthy man called Smith and was now living near the mansion door. After Fanny, follows Michael with Martha, and after them come Lettie and Mrs Fairfax. Sophie is amazed and decides to leave later that evening once everyone had gone.
 
As everyone is celebrating, Miss Angorian once again turns up at the door. This time Sophie decides to be nicer to her as Howl's behaviour towards her the previous night, in Sophie's eyes, proved he preferred Miss Angorian to her. Miss Angorian goes out to the place of flowers to get some fresh air, refusing to let Sophie wake Howl up. Just as Miss Angorian goes out, Calcifer shouts to Howl that the Witch was attacking Megan and her family in Wales. Howl crashes downstairs and out of the door to Wales to save them. Sophie rushes up to Howl's bedroom to see what was going on. Looking out of the window she sees him chase the Witch over the garden fence while Megan takes the children back inside.
 
Michael tells Sophie that they're all going to look around the mansion. Fanny and Mrs. Fairfax see Howl's room and straight away decide to clean it. Sophie goes down stairs and remembers that the knob is turned purple down, not orange down. As they open the door, the scarecrow is out there, standing at the door. Sophie begs them to shut it before remembering that Miss Angorian is out there. Calcifer then tells her the scarecrow means no harm, and it goes inside to take the human skull Howl had on the bench. The scarecrow is then able to speak. Lettie and Fanny threaten to faint, and Percival does faint. The scarecrow tells Sophie that he is grateful to her for turning him the right way up. He explains that when Ben Suliman was captured he cast his last spell on the scarecrow.
 
Then suddenly the Witch's voice appears out of nowhere and tells Michael to give a message to Howl; Miss Angorian has been taken captive and that she will only be released if Howl comes to save her.
 
The scarecrow runs away and everyone rushes after it, thinking the Witch had sent it. Sophie runs the other way to find the seven-league-boots. Believing now that Howl must love Miss Angorian, she realises that he will go to the wastes and may even be killed by the Witch. 
 
 
 
MORE TO COME SOON

‘Howl's Moving Castle’ 1986-2008, Diana Wynne Jones. 'Hauru no ugoku shiro' AKA 'Howl's Moving Castle' 2004-2008 Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli Studios. Text/Website Sophie Withall, 2004-2008. Based upon Diana Wynne Jones' novel ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli animated film 'Hauru no ugoku shiro'. Layout Tripod. All characters are entirely fictional. 

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