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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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