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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.

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