Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publishing Information: April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Adventure
Series Information: Book one in the Howl’s Moving Castle Trilogy
Format: Paperback, 429 pages
Source: Borrowed from my public library
Recommended For: Readers looking for a fun and quick read that will bring them back to their childhood.
Related Reviews: Check out Amy’s post and Brittany’s post
Hi friends! Here again for our On the Same Page post! This month we read a classic that we had all neglected to read while growing up! Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those books that I have always regretted not reading, not to mention the fact that people keep telling me that I absolutely needed to see the movie – and we all know that I can’t watch it before reading! So that is just what I did, I set out to read Howl’s Moving Castle and I devoured it in a day! I loved this book so much, it reminded me of growing up reading The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which I think is my go to highest compliment! Okay so let’s get into the comparison…
The first thing that I should tell you is that I am finding that those who watched the movie prior to reading the book enjoy the movie a lot more, and vice versa. Actually, multiple people have told me that they were unable to even finish the book because they were not enjoying it as much as the movie! I read the book first and found that I enjoyed the book so much more than the movie. I don’t really see how I can write this post without ruining some of the plot so, spoilers ahead!
I felt like some of my favorite parts of the novel were missing from the movie. There was a lot missing from everyone’s personalities, which means that their interactions were not as special and it was much harder to relate to or cheer for their relationships! I loved Sophie and Howl in the novel. Their relationship grew and felt real, Howl admitting his love for Sophie was sweet and long coming, I did not get this from the movie at all. Sophie was not as “angry” as she was in the novel, and she was missing her magic which is actually a pretty integral part to the plot of the novel. The Witch of the Waste was extremely disappointing to me in the film. I understand that in changing the entire plot for the film, then the characters have to change as well but in the film the Witch is old, harmless, and rather silly. Also, I definitely pictured Calcifer as a little more demonic and not so juvenile which was a little disappointing for me since he was one of my favorite characters. The biggest change, however – and the thing that I disliked the most – was that the movie focused around a war, and Howl’s efforts to interfere. He changes into a bird-like creature in order to interfere and of course, if he stays in this form for too long then he won’t be able to return to human form. So I’m sure that you can figure out that Sophie ends up saving him a la Belle and the Beast and all loose ends are nicely tied up! I really didn’t enjoy the war aspects as they completely took away from the whimsical nature of the story, and overall I was a little disappointed.
I feel like I am having a hard time saying good things about the film so let me tell you about the things that I loved. I loved seeing the characters that I adored in the novel brought to life. Calcifer especially made me laugh though that was mostly due to his being voiced by Billy Crystal. Speaking of voices, I absolutely loved that Lauren Bacall was the Witch of the Waste and Peeta was Markl, how fun! The romance was also very sweet and Howl was dreamy, even though every time he spoke all I heard was Batman (thank you, Christian Bale!) and I thought it was adorable that Sophie’s hair turns the color of starlight at the end, it was a very sweet addition!
So to sum up, despite my negative reactions, I did really enjoy the film and I definitely want to see more films by Miyazaki. However, I enjoyed the novel so much more, I found it to be so much more fun and whimsical and I honestly was reminded of my childhood while reading it. I can’t tell you how excited I am to continue on with the series, and I recommend the novel and the film version of Howl’s Moving Castle as they are both wonderful. I enjoyed both immensely, though without separating the two and viewing them as two separate stories and not as a novel and film adaptation, I got a bit caught up on the differences. Happy reading AND watching, friends!