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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 4 Summary

In Which Sophie Discovers Several Strange Things

  • When Sophie wakes up, she is stiff and, well, old.
  • She looks out the one window to see a totally unfamiliar dockside town—which is weird since last she saw they were in the hills above Market Chipping.
  • In the daylight, Sophie can see that there are four black doors on the other side of the room.
  • One leads to a huge bathroom filled with mirrors and jars of unknown stuff labeled "Skin" and "Eyes" and "For Decay" (4.6); as with the kitchen, there are crusts of slime in the sink.
  • The second door leads to stairs going up, which Sophie closes because she hears someone on the second floor.
  • The third door leads to a backyard filled with junk.
  • And then behind the fourth door is a broom closet.
  • The wall with the window also has a door, the door through which Sophie entered the castle the night before.
  • When Sophie opens this back door, she sees the hills of Market Chipping going by as the castle moves.
  • But when she looks out the window—on the same wall as the door, remember—she sees that seaside town.
  • Sophie is confused and upset. Everything is strange, and she is now so old.
  • She bullies Calcifer into letting her fry some eggs and bacon in the fireplace for breakfast with Michael.
  • As she's doing this, a man comes into the room: finally, it's the Wizard Howl.
  • He turns out to be that same guy who hit on Sophie back during May Day in Chapter One.
  • (Have you guys ever heard the phrase "meet cute"? It's a romantic comedy cliché where the first meeting between the two people at the center of the romance is cutesy, charming, and memorable in some way. The fact that Sophie meets Howl before she really meets Howl? Classic meet cute.)
  • Howl recognizes Sophie, but he can't figure out from where (which makes sense—she has gained about seventy years since the last time he saw her).
  • Sophie says that she's there as Howl's new cleaning lady, an offer that Howl accepts surprisingly calmly.
  • Michael explains to Sophie that there is no more castle beyond the parts she's already seen and two bedrooms upstairs.
  • The castle is really Howl's house in Porthaven (which must be the seaside city Sophie keeps seeing), and Howl has enchanted the castle to run around and look threatening because he wants to impress people.
  • After breakfast there is a knock from what Calcifer calls the "Kingsbury door" (4.57).
  • There is a knob at the door with four blobs of color. Howl turns the knob to red and then opens the door.
  • The man at the door pays Howl for two thousand pairs of seven-league boots for the King.
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