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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 12 Summary

In Which Sophie Becomes Howl's Old Mother

  • Sophie gets all dressed up for her meeting with the King; she, Howl, and Michael head to Kingsbury.
  • They're going to visit Howl's old tutor first before going to the palace.
  • Mrs. Pentstemmon's house is very grand and beautiful, and though Mrs. Pentstemmon is elderly and frail, she is also very grand and imposing.
  • She sends Howl off so that she can talk to his "mother," Sophie.
  • As soon as Howl is out of the room, Mrs. Pentstemmon warns Sophie that Howl is going bad.
  • For one thing, he's wearing a suit with a subtle charm sewn into it to attract ladies—and that's black magic.
  • Sophie is confused: How could she have missed a charm in the suit she spent all that time sewing?
  • Mrs. Pentstemmon has always been impressed by Howl's smarts, but something has happened to him, something that is corrupting him into a bad magician like the Witch of the Waste.
  • Sophie suddenly realizes what Mrs. Pentstemmon is sensing: Howl's contract with Calcifer is hurting him.
  • Mrs. Pentstemmon tells Sophie that it's her responsibility to break Howl's contract.
  • After all, with her strong magic gift—
  • Sophie is like what?
  • Mrs. Pentstemmon finally explains: Sophie's gift is to bring things to life by talking to them.
  • Sophie finally gets it: it's her sewing-and-talking routine that enchanted Howl's gray-and-scarlet suit.
  • Sophie feels responsible for Howl's power over Lettie and Miss Angorian.
  • Next up, it's time for Sophie to badmouth Howl to the King of Ingary.
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