Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 18 Summary
In Which the Scarecrow and Miss Angorian Reappear
- While Howl continues his intense pursuit of Miss Angorian, Sophie, Michael, and the dog-man gather flowers to sell in their new shop.
- The shop soon becomes super-popular since it contains flowers that no one has ever seen before.
- Sophie starts talking to the flowers to encourage them to keep growing and to change their shapes.
- Sophie gathers some roots from a blue rose bush that she enchanted, puts them in the ground, and they produce lots of different plants—including a plant with pointed, spotted leaves and a long stalk with a flower bud.
- Of course it turns out that the plant is a mandrake root.
- So now there's only one impossible thing from the Witch's curse on Howl left: the wind to advance an honest mind.
- One morning, Sophie hears a familiar thump. Thump. Thump.
- She knows what it is even before she looks out the window: it's the scarecrow, coming down the street in Market Chipping towards their flower shop.
- Sophie mutters we're not here, go away… and the scarecrow hops past the flower shop without stopping.
- Howl and Michael are both out, and Sophie and the dog-man are alone in the shop.
- The dog-man concentrates hard to turn into his human self, and manages to for just long enough to tell Sophie that he was the red-haired guy with the Witch that day when Sophie got cursed.
- The dog-man has also told Lettie about Sophie's condition.
- The dog-man transforms back into a dog before he can say more.
- Then something totally inexplicable happens: Miss Angorian comes through the door from Wales.
- She says she's there because she believes that Howl might know something about her disappeared fiancé, Ben Sullivan.
- Sophie is immediately suspicious of this story, but Miss Angorian shoves her way in anyway, snooping all around the house.
- Miss Angorian sees Howl's guitar and grabs it, saying that it belongs to Ben, and Sophie tugs the guitar away from Miss Angorian, who won't let go.
- Finally Sophie just pushes Miss Angorian back out the door to Wales.
- Sophie is horribly grumpy. Why? Because Miss Angorian is prettier than her even when she was young.
- As for now, Sophie is just an old woman. (Someone seems jealous—is Sophie finally admitting her obvious feelings for Howl?)
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