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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