Howl's Moving Castle
Author Diana Wynne Jones
Cover Artist
Publication information
UK Release Date 1986
US Release Date
Series Wizard's Castle
Preceded by '
Followed by Castle in the Air

Plot[edit | edit source]

This is really a very unusual novel. Written when Diana Wynne Jones was in her fifties, it turns many of the classic fairy tale elements on their heads.

The young heroine isn't enchanted in one of the classic ways -- sleeping (beautifully), impoverished (she's a nice middle class girl), or victimized (her stepmother is a kind, loving young widow).

Instead, she's just suddenly old, which naturally makes her slow, cranky, somewhat bossy, and fully herself. Instead of meeting her prince in a far-off castle, the ponderously puffing castle comes to her. Instead of vanquishing a demon, she makes friends with one. And instead of depending on a magical fairy godmother to help her out of difficulties, she becomes one.

The second time one reads this book, hundreds of details leap out at you that you didn't notice the first time. It's no wonder that the master of Japanese animation was himself enchanted by this book and chose to turn it into a marvelous film. It's worth it.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Main Characters[edit | edit source]

Minor Characters[edit | edit source]

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

Studio Ghibli film[edit | edit source]

Howl's Moving Castle (film)

Arguably the most famous adaptation of Jones’ work, the film adaptation is arguably more Miyazaki’s vision than Jones’. Miyazaki was influenced by his reactions to the Gulf War to expand on the war between Ingary and Strangia (a conflict only mentioned in passing in the novel).

2011 Southwark Playhouse Production[edit | edit source]

A theatrical adaptation of the novel premiered in London at the Southwark Playhouse from 28th November 2011 to 7 January 2012, and received mixed reviews[1]. It was adapted for the stage by Mike Sizemore[2], and was directed by Davy and Kristen McGuire. It was narrated by Stephen Fry and starred Daniel Ings as Howl.

2017 Seattle musical[edit | edit source]

A musical adaptation of the novel then premiered in Seattle in 2017. Similarly to its 2011 predecessor, it received mixed reviews, praising its production values and charm but with much criticism directed at its convoluted narrative, its runtime, forgettable melodies and lack of intricate special effects.[3][4][5][6]

Folio Society Edition[edit | edit source]

An illustrated edition of the novel was released by the Folio Society, a British publisher known for illustrated editions of classic novels. It was illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel, the winner of the company’s 2019 Book Illustration Competition.[7]

References[edit | edit source]

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