We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle


by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 17 Summary

In Which the Moving Castle Moves House

  • Howl and Michael race around preparing the castle to move.
  • Howl changes the colors of the blobs on the doorknob: blue for Porthaven becomes yellow; green for Market Chipping becomes purple; red for Kingsbury becomes orange. The black blob to Wales stays the same.
  • Then Howl gets a silver shovel and picks up Calcifer from the fireplace. (This sounds kinda dumb in summary, but in the novel, it's very tense.)
  • While Calcifer is in the shovel, Sophie spots something among his logs: a small, black, dented lump.
  • Howl walks through a series of chalk diagrams, the whole room seems to turn, and then Howl puts Calcifer back in the fireplace.
  • Sophie can see the outlines of her family's house before the castle settles into its new location.
  • Howl tests the door: the yellow blob now leads to Market Chipping.
  • The orange one leads to a mansion driveway (which doesn't happen to belong to Howl, of course).
  • And the purple one leads to a garden right at the edge of the Waste.
  • That evening as Sophie looks at Calcifer she suddenly gets it: he was a falling star.
  • Since Sophie guesses first, Calcifer can confirm—yes, Howl caught him in the Porthaven Marshes using his seven-league boots.
  • Calcifer was terrified, because when a star falls, it knows it's going to die.
  • Howl felt sorry for Calcifer and offered to find a way to keep him alive, so they made a contract on the spot even though neither of them knew what they were getting into. But they regret it now.
  • The next day Howl is being his usual drama queen self, flouncing around because Miss Angorian won't be nice to him.
  • Michael and Howl knock a hole in the wall to reach the broom closet, which is now "H. JENKINS FRESH FLOWERS DAILY" (17.39)—a flower shop, to replace the old hat shop.
  • The flowers for the shop come from the garden at the edge of the Waste—Wizard Suliman first planted this garden a year ago to try and defeat the power of the Witch.
  • It didn't work though, and the Witch got rid of him because she didn't like his garden.
  • Howl picked up the garden a few months later, since it seemed like a good idea, and that's how Howl and the Witch first met and had their extremely bad idea of a relationship.
  • Howl is trying to do what the Witch will really not expect by starting up that garden again.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...