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Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl's Moving Castle Chapter 9 Summary
In Which Michael Has Trouble With a Spell Back at the castle, Sophie asks Michael if there's any chance at all that Howl is actually in love with Lettie. Michael is like , sorry, no, no chance—did Howl forget to spend an hour on his looks in the morning? Nope? Then he's not truly in love—he's just feeding his ego. Michael tells Sophie his background story: When Michael met Howl, he was a homeless orphan who couldn't find a place to stay because everyone thought he was unlucky. He decided to camp out on Howl's porch in Porthaven, since no one would bother him on the doorstep of someone as dangerous as Howl. Howl found him on the doorstep and brought him inside. Michael bonded with Calcifer and tried to make himself useful to Howl. Still, even though he has been living with Howl ever since, Howl has never actually said, yes, you are welcome here. As they are talking, Michael is having a lot of trouble with the spell Howl has given him to learn. He asks Sophie for help with his homework. She takes a look at the spell… which doesn't look much like a spell. It mentions falling stars, mandrake roots, the devil's cleft foot, and mermaids, and it concludes with the instruction: "Decide what this is about/Write a second verse yourself" (9.37). Sophie and Michael bicker about how best to start with the assignment. Finally they decide that they should just do what the spell says, starting with "Go and catch a falling star" (9.37). Calcifer tells them he does not want them to go, but Michael and Sophie head out anyway. They go out to the Porthaven marshes with their seven-league boots to watch out for a falling star. They finally spot one after ages of waiting (and freezing) in the marshes. The star looks frightened of Michael and Sophie, since it absolutely does not want to be caught, and the star chooses to die rather than be caught by Michael. It falls into the marsh and fizzles out. They go home disappointed and sad.
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