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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