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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle


by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 16 Summary

In Which There Is a Great Deal of Witchcraft

  • Howl suddenly appears at the door to tell Calcifer that the Witch of the Waste has found him.
  • Howl and the Witch start fighting magically out at sea, in the harbor of Porthaven.
  • Calcifer is whipping around in his fireplace, lending his magic.
  • Sophie and Michael both throw on disguise cloaks (Sophie = red-bearded guy; Michael = horse) and walk out into Porthaven to watch the fireworks.
  • The dog who is occasionally a red-headed man comes with them.
  • The fight disturbs the mermaids in the harbor—which means that one out of the three remaining impossible things from the curse has come true. Gulp.
  • There's a huge action scene here: Howl looks like he's bobbing around in a tiny, sinking boat, and the Witch turns into a bird and dives straight at him.
  • But the boat is actually an illusion, and she plunges into the sea. (Well played, Howl.)
  • The two keep trading illusions, and Sophie and Michael have totally lost track of who is who.
  • Finally, in the distance, they see a huge ball of fire that gradually turns to smoke.
  • The fight ends, and the onlookers think that Howl and the Witch have just killed each other.
  • But when Sophie, Michael, and the dog-man get home, they find a stray cat—it's Howl in disguise.
  • Howl and Calcifer both seem absolutely exhausted.
  • And even Howl can't tell who has won.
  • Calcifer says that the Witch's fire demon is old and wily—tougher than Calcifer expected.
  • They've got no choice now: Calcifer has to move to the fireplace in the new house Howl just bought in Market Chipping.
  • Calcifer is clearly terrified at the idea of being physically moved.

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