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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 2 Summary

In Which Sophie Is Compelled to Seek Her Fortune

  • See, Martha may be the youngest daughter in a family of three sisters, but she doesn't want to be a great success in the outside world—what she wants to do is settle down, get married, and have ten children.
  • Lettie is beautiful, brainy, and ambitious, and she would make a much better apprentice to the witch Mrs. Fairfax than Martha would.
  • So after Martha learns enough magic to change her appearance, she and Lettie trade places.
  • Martha levels with Sophie: Fanny is taking advantage of her.
  • Sophie's hats are making the shop a fortune, and Fanny isn't sharing any of that cash with her hard-working stepdaughter.
  • Sophie gets up the courage to ask Fanny for a salary after talking to Martha.
  • Fanny says sure… but then never brings it up again. (Pro tip: if someone promises to pay you more and never mentions it again, they're taking advantage of you.)
  • One day, a richly dressed woman walks into the shop with an upset-looking red-headed young man.
  • Weirdly, the woman seems to recognize the things that Sophie told the hats they were when she was working on them—youth and mysterious allure (2.46).
  • The woman announces that she is the Witch of the Waste, and she is here because she wants to get rid of any competition Sophie might present to her.
  • She makes a motion in Sophie's face, and something happens—Sophie can't tell what, but the man with the Witch of the Waste looks horrified.
  • (Considering all the things he has probably seen with the Witch, this is definitely a bad sign.)
  • The Witch leaves, but not before magically enchanting Sophie so that she cannot tell anyone about her curse.
  • Sophie looks in a mirror and sees that the Witch has transformed her into an old woman.
  • Since Sophie doesn't want her family to see her like this, she sets off on the road out of Market Chipping.
  • She walks by a scarecrow in a hedge, and wishes it luck.
  • Sophie passes a dog caught in a rope tied to a post and frees the dog, even though it growls and snaps at her.
  • Sophie spots Wizard Howl's castle, which is moving toward her.
  • Sophie commands the castle to stop so that she can speak to Howl. After all, at this point, what has she got to lose?
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