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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle


by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 6 Summary

In Which Howl Expresses His Feelings With Green Slime

  • Sophie continues to make herself busy mending and cleaning things in Howl's house—without something to do, she feels depressed and useless.
  • The King's messenger stops by again to ask Howl to come up with another spell.
  • Howl worries that now that the Wizard Suliman is lost, he's going to become the King's new wizard.
  • When Michael goes to deliver a spell to the King and Howl leaves the house with his guitar, Sophie jumps at her chance.
  • Remember how we mentioned that the door to the outside of the castle has a dial on it with four colors—green, red, blue, and black?
  • Green = Market Chipping, Red = Kingsbury, and Blue = Porthaven. But what about black?
  • Sophie turns the knob to black and opens the back door.
  • It opens out onto a blank space that not even Calcifer recognizes.
  • Howl has also locked his bedroom door, so Sophie can't snoop in there.
  • Michael comes back and sees that Howl's guitar is gone.
  • He knows what that means: Howl is still trying to win this girl who keeps refusing him.
  • Sophie is outraged: how can they be so relaxed about the fact that Howl eats girls' hearts and steals their souls?
  • Michael and Calcifer both protest—Howl doesn't literally eat their hearts; he's just really fickle and unfaithful.
  • Sophie is a little embarrassed that she believed Howl is literally a heart-eater, and she talks to the gray-and-red suit that she is mending for Howl to relieve her feelings.
  • Howl comes home in a bad mood and immediately goes into the bathroom to dye his hair.
  • When he comes out, he is wailing with misery and rage.
  • With all her cleaning, Sophie ruined Howl's hair dye—and now his hair is red instead of blond.
  • Howl's magic starts to send out loud moans of despair.
  • Michael drags Sophie out to Porthaven, where the whole town is echoing with Howl's sobs over his bad dye-job. (This guy defines the term "drama queen.")
  • They wait for the sobs to die down.
  • When Michael and Sophie creep back into Howl's castle, they find him covered in green slime.
  • Howl is annoyed because his current girl just won't give him the time of day.
  • In fact, the girl has told him that there is someone else.
  • Howl is feeling sentimental about "lovely Lettie Hatter" (6.99).
  • Abruptly, Sophie's sympathy for him drops to zero: Howl is making the moves on her baby sister Martha.

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