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Howl's Moving Castle

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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