Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I attempted to take my children to New Orleans to see Howl's Moving Castle at the Canal Street theatre, the closest place to my home that was showing it and that was about four hours away.  Unfortunately, when we attempted to go the 2nd night we were there the film had broken of the English dubbed version.  My kids were very young then and incapable of reading the subtitles as quickly as they went by.  We were crushed, needless to say and sat in the lobby of the old theatre trying to figure out what to do from that point on.  The ushers felt sorry for us and got the manager who let us see March of the Penguins for free.  It was great, but not what we had wanted.

When we finally got to see the film, I fell in love with it of course, like with all of Miyazaki's work.  Howl was a lovely-drawn character with a depth that was impossible to hit on in a short movie.  Events were hinted at that stuck with me, sparking my imagination to figure out what they meant and what was going on behind the scenes outside the main plot of the movie.  Of course I had no idea there was a book!

It was written when I was a child and was something I would have adored.  But I think I appreciated it more having discovered it at this age.  Isn't that the way it is with so much of what we see in life? True appreciation only comes with age, just as Sophie learned in the book.

The novel is written in a fast-paced, entertainingly worded prose that carried me through the novel at such a rapid pace that I don't remember much else of the three days I spent reading it between homework assignments and driving kids about.  It is the perfect supliment to the movie. Wait, strike that, reverse it.

While the basic plot of Howl, Sophie, and Calcifer trying to break curses remains intact, and a few of the subplots, there are even more! The movie weaves several threads of the story together so that we get a breathtaking view of the world in which Howl operates.  But the book takes us there.  Through all the doorways, across the Waste, and into modern day Wales!

Sophie's family even has a major plot line! Watching the movie does not spoil anything about the book! You may think you will know how it ends, but do not be so sure! I fell in love with Howl all over again, seeing him as even more of a womanizing rogue in the novel than they dare portray in the movie.  I would classify the novel as fantasy, but it is not the sort of fantasy that takes all your concentration attempting to envision alien lands, pronounce impossible names with too many vowels, and wading through chapter upon chapter of history and genealogy.  It is humorous, heartwarming, tense, scary, and romantic.  If you've seen the movie, you have not seen the whole story.  I am in the process of tracking down more of Diana Wynne Jones' work.

No comments:

Post a Comment