Howl's Moving Castle

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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle - Hardcover - USA - 1st Edition.jpg

Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.

Author Diana Wynne Jones
Published 1986-??-??
Type Fiction
Genre Fantasy
Themes Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Age Group Teen

Howl's Moving Castle is a young adult fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones and published in 1986. It was adapted into an animated movie in 2004.

The story revolves around a young woman named Sophie and her interactions with a free-spirited wizard named Howl. Sophie would normally be targeted by the womanizing Howl, but a witch has cursed her into looking like an old woman, so Howl has no romantic interest in her, but finds her fascinating none-the-less.


Read?Audiobook read by Jenny Sterlin.

I learned about this book after watching the film. After reading the book, I found it to be fairly different from the movie. Most of the books secondary characters have been removed or merged together for the film, the connection with the real world has been eliminated, and the ending has been substantially altered. Over all, I prefer the animated version because it does a better job at conveying the mystery of the magic, the danger of Howl's enemies, and the beauty of the land.




— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The idea of a castle that can move around is only made more exciting that it is also in several places at once!
  • Several of the magical characters (the turnip-headed scarecrow, Calcifer, the dog man, etc.) are very interesting and you're constantly wondering about their intentions or if they're evil.
  • Having a dimensional door that bridges the gap between a world of high fantasy and the modern world is a really cool idea.
  • Despite Howl being a lazy womanizing crybaby, I find his desire to remain a free spirit relatable.


  • There is little excitement in the book. It's mostly descriptions and conversations, and while there are a couple epic battles between the Witch of the Wastes and Howl, one of them is only described from a distance, lessening its interest.
  • I found it a little difficult to keep track of all the characters since they were often using spells to look like someone else, shape shifting, or amalgams of multiple people.


  • Nothing really.


Strong female character?Pass
Bechdel test?Unknown
Strong person of color character?Fail
Queer character?Fail


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