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Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 7 Summary
In Which a Scarecrow Prevents Sophie From Leaving the Castle
Sophie wakes up in a rotten mood, worried over Martha and her own aches and pains. Howl seems much more cheerful, though—he loves that gray-and-red suit Sophie mended for him. Sophie keeps trying to leave the house to see Martha, but she gets interrupted over and over again. She hears a knock on the door and opens it. It is the scarecrow that she saw on the road in Chapter Two. The scarecrow is somehow alive and trying to get into the moving castle, so Sophie gets Calcifer to speed up so that they can get rid of the freaky scarecrow. Eventually they lose the scarecrow, but the whole thing leaves Sophie's old heart feeling weak. Michael comes home and starts dancing Sophie around the room. It turns out that Michael has just been to Market Chipping to see "Lettie" (really Martha, of course) at the pastry shop—and she hasn't even heard of Howl. Michael tells Sophie that he's in love with Lettie, and that she is in love with him too. Sophie is glad to hear all this: Michael is around the right age for Martha, and he's also an apprentice with good job prospects for the future. But now she's worried about the real Lettie, who must trust Howl enough to have told him her real name. Howl comes home worried that the King is going to appoint him Royal Magician. Why exactly is he so against the idea of getting this job? He knows that the King wants him to find Prince Justin. And Prince Justin's argument with the King was over the Wizard Suliman. And the Wizard Suliman disappeared after going up against the Witch of the Waste. Howl really doesn't want to fight the Witch of the Waste. They may have had a nasty break-up somewhere along the line… Sophie is horrified: Howl broke the Witch of the Waste's heart? Is he suicidal? Worry not, though, because Howl has a brilliant idea: since Sophie is so great at bullying Calcifer, she can bully the King. Howl wants her to go to Kingsbury the next day pretending to be his mother, so that she can convince the King that Howl is a thoroughly bad man.
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