Document Sample
          By Diana Wynne Jones
When the quiet Sophie is rescued from a group of
soldiers by a mysterious wizard named Howl, she
arouses the jealousy of the Witch of the Waste, who
transforms her into an old woman. Unrecognizable
in her enchanted state, Sophie leaves her village
and seeks out Howl in his magical moving castle.

    Blooms Taxonomy Literature Plan

    T. Shaw May 2006
Film Reviews
Howl’s Moving Castle: Animated. Starring (as voice talents) Christian
Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal.
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. (Rated PG. 120 minutes.)

The computer-generated films such as the ones pioneered by Pixar are
the present and future of animation, and there's nothing wrong with

But in a world dominated by slick, pixelated entertainments such as
"The Incredibles" and the self-referential mockery of "Madagascar,"
there's something engagingly quaint about the films of Japanese master
Hayao Miyazaki. They seem like little treasures out of the past,
something handcrafted and imbued with a depth of character and
creative ideas that hark back to the early days of Walt Disney.

"Howl's Moving Castle," based on a British novel by Diana Wynne
Jones, is not a masterpiece, as was "Spirited Away" or "Princess
Mononoke," but it's a wise and wonderful parable of the passing
moments of life, and dealing with both the advantages and burdens that
make us individuals. When Sophie, a young girl who has been changed
into a 90-year-old woman thanks to a witch's spell, takes a moment and
stares at the scenery, she says to herself, "Being old means you move
slower -- you can see more of what is around you."

Not the usual stuff of animated fare, but that's Miyazaki, as humanistic
a filmmaker as there ever was.

Sophie (Emily Mortimer as a young girl, the great Jean Simmons as a
nonagenarian), who works in her family's hat shop in a land that has
just gone to war, is saved from attack by evil spirits by Howl (Christian
Bale), a handsome wizard. A jealous wicked witch (Lauren Bacall)
turns Sophie old, and in an effort to lift the curse, Sophie becomes a
passenger aboard Howl's castle, which drifts across the land like a
giant zeppelin and is powered by a talking energy flame named
Calcifer (Billy Crystal). A young boy, Markl (Josh Hutcherson), is
Howl's assistant.

Howl and Calcifer have their own curses they wish lifted; they are
unable to help themselves, let alone Sophie.

There's more than a passing resemblance to "The Wizard of Oz," with
Sophie as Dorothy and Howl as the tin man who has no heart, and
there's even a scarecrow and a Toto-like dog. But Miyazaki's
originality shines through, most notably in the various ways Calcifer
       keeps himself lit, and the dogged loyalty of the wordless scarecrow,
       who boinks along like a pogo stick.

       Miyazaki always has something to say about modern times, and this
       time is no exception. "Princess Mononoke" was about the environment,
       and "Spirited Away" took note of a materialistic, greedy society and
       the disconnect between parents and children. "Howl's Moving Castle"
       is certainly anti-war, but while the conflict is often referred to, it is
       never really explored, and that triteness as well as the hasty and rather
       murky ending, keeps this film a bit short of greatness.

       But Miyazaki's visuals (backed by another great score by Joe Hisaishi)
       and real feel for the characters are more than enough to recommend it.

       Disney, apparently learning from its bungling of the "Spirited Away"
       release, is putting good marketing muscle behind "Howl's Moving
       Castle," so it could be Miyazaki's breakthrough in this country. The
       Bay Area's John Lasseter of Pixar pushed for Disney to purchase the
       rights to Miyazaki's films, and has supervised their English dubbing
       with loving care.

       "Spirited Away" is the highest-grossing film in Japanese history,
       became the first film to have grossed $200 million before opening in
       the United States, and it shocked everyone when it beat "Lilo & Stitch"
       and "Ice Age" to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2002 despite
       little promotion.

       Yet Disney dumped "Spirited Away" into theaters with a minuscule
       advertising budget. That sparked an outcry among fans and an open
       letter to Disney in Newsday from critic John Anderson.

       Now, it appears, Disney knows what it has: a very special series of
       films that will last for a long, long time.

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Movie fans everywhere rejoiced to hear that Japanese master animator Hayao
Miyazaki was putting off retirement one more time to personally oversee the
animation of the latest Studio Ghibli film, Howl's Moving Castle, based on the novel
of the same name by noted British fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones.

From the opening scene, the audience can have no doubt they are watching the work
of one of the most brilliantly creative minds in the world today, as the indescribably
wondrous moving castle shambles across the screen, cobbled together out of all
manner of odd architectural elements, replete with smoking stacks, whirring gears,
and spinning flywheels, and propelled by four robotic chicken legs as if Baba Yaga's
house met the Industrial Revolution. To top it all off, the castle's various garrets,
portholes, and cupolas bear a remarkable resemblance to a face, which shifts and
shudders to reflect the mood of the characters. The moving castle is the film's most
jawdroppingly imaginative creation, and indeed is surely one of the most wonderful
contraptions ever to be projected upon a movie screen. Unfortunately, however, the
rest of the movie has some trouble matching up.

As is usual for Miyazaki, the movie follows the story of a young heroine in a world
almost like our own but suffused with subtle but pervasive strains of naturalistic,
almost elemental magic. In this case, the twist is that young Sophie is drawn away
from her ordinary life working in a hatter's shop by a witch's curse that turns her into a
90-year-old woman. Her quest to reverse the curse leads her to the wandering castle
and its quirky inhabitants - the fire demon named "Calcifer" that powers it, the
apparently friendly but mute animated scarecrow that follows it around, the boy
apprentice Markyl who lives there, and of course, the castle's master, the dashing
young wizard Howl, who has mighty powers but is troubled by personal demons.

The plot is complicated by trouble brewing on all sides. As the roving castle wanders
through the mountains, two neighboring nations are jingoistically preparing for war
with marching soldiers, cheering crowds, and mighty battleships drawn in the style of
World War I imagery but which Miyazaki openly admits was inspired by the present-
day Iraq War. Meanwhile, Howl is being chased by the maleficent and corpulent
Witch of the Wastes and is being hounded by the governments of the two warring
nations, who will stop at nothing to secure his magical services for their causes, even
if they have to use force.

As always, Miyazaki's plot and pacing are idiosyncratic and unconventional. He
clearly feels completely unconstrained by the storytelling conventions that less
creative filmmakers fall back upon. The foremost example is Miyazaki's decision to
tell a story about a heroine who acts and behaves like a 90-year-old for most of the
film, and indeed, some of the film's most moving moments are the silent visual
meditations on just how it feels to be really, really old, a condition for which
Miyazaki shows a remarkable sensitivity and understanding. As the tale unfolds,
Miyazaki crafts a delectable puzzle box of interlocking mysteries and loose ends, that
gradually build tension and suspense that keep the viewers leaning forward for the
next revelation.

But perhaps the puzzle box is too well crafted, because it is rather disappointing when
all the loose ends are suddenly wrapped up into a tidy, simple solution over the course
of about five minutes at the end of the film, in a break from Miyazaki's usual fondness
for deeply ambiguous endings. While the story is always interesting, and has its share
of memorable moments and meditations on social issues and the human condition, it
never approaches the depth of some of Miyazaki's past masterpieces, such as Spirited
Away, Princess Mononoke, and Nausicaa. Moreover, while the movie delivers the
expected feast of stunning visuals, other than the amazingly original moving castle,
much of the other imagery will seem familiar to Miyazaki fans, especially the airships
which seem to pop up in every other movie he makes.

Howl's Moving Castle is certainly not Miyazaki's best film. Nevertheless, it is truly a
tribute to his genius and the magnificence of his previous work that a film this good
could be considered a disappointment. Compared to virtually any other animated
feature by someone not named Hayao Miyazaki, it is breathtakingly beautiful film
with a refreshingly original story and more emotional depth than five or ten lesser
works, and is a pure delight to watch.
Japanese model of the Castle as depicted in the movie and the DVD case.

Internet Bibliography




About the Book
Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which
anything could happen, and often did — especially when the Witch of the Waste
got her dander up. Which was often.

As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father's
hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in
to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old
lady. Which was spiteful witchery.

Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the
lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a
blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more
than Sophie bargained for...
About the Author
Detailed biography

Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, in Essex, England. She has
been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember enjoying most ardently
those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. Ms. Jones lives in Bristol,
England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have
three sons and two granddaughters. In Her Own Words...

"I decided to be a writer at the age of eight, but I did not receive any encouragement
in this ambition until thirty years later. I think this ambition was fired-or perhaps
exacerbated is a better word-by early marginal contacts with the Great, when we were
evacuated to the English Lakes during the war. The house we were in had belonged to
Ruskin's secretary and had also been the home of the children in the books of Arthur
Ransome. One day, finding I had no paper to draw on, I stole from the attic a stack of
exquisite flower-drawings, almost certainly by Ruskin himself, and proceeded to rub
them out. I was punished for this. Soon after, we children offended Arthur Ransome
by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat. He complained. So likewise did
Beatrix Potter, who lived nearby. It struck me then that the Great were remarkably
touchy and unpleasant (even if, in Ruskin's case, it was posthumous), and I thought I
would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.

"I started writing children's books when we moved to a village in Essex where there
were almost no books. The main activities there were hand-weaving, hand-making
pottery, and singing madrigals, for none of which I had either taste or talent. So, in
intervals between trying to haunt the church and sitting on roofs hoping to learn to fly,
I wrote enormous epic adventure stories which I read to my sisters instead of the real
books we did not have. This writing was stopped, though, when it was decided I must
be coached to go to University. A local philosopher was engaged to teach me Greek
and philosophy in exchange for a dollhouse (my family never did things normally),
and I eventually got a place at Oxford.

"At this stage, despite attending lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, I did not
expect to be writing fantasy. But that was what I started to write when I was married
and had children of my own. It was what they liked best. But small children do not
allow you the use of your brain. They used to jump on my feet to stop me thinking.
And I had not realized how much I needed to teach myself about writing. I took years
to learn, and it was not until my youngest child began school that I was able to
produce a book which a publisher did not send straight back.

"As soon as my books began to be published, they started coming true. Fantastic
things that I thought I had made up keep happening to me. The most spectacular was
Drowned Ammet. The first time I went on a boat after writing that book, an island
grew up out of the sea and stranded us. This sort of thing, combined with the fact that
I have a travel jinx, means that my life is never dull."

Another review of the book
Some people just don't "get" fantasy. They are unable to comprehend the appeal of
stories full of people who never existed and never could have, genealogical tables
composed entirely of unpronounceable names, and endless endpaper maps portraying
craggy coastlines that look like Wales, but aren't, quite. They prefer to stay within the
known world, with names which somebody, somewhere, can pronounce, and lands
reliably mapped by National Geographic.

There's plenty of great reading in the realms of realistic fiction, to be sure; but there is
nothing quite like the pleasure of opening a book and stepping into a world that is
purely of the imagination, yet inwardly coherent and recognizably real. Something in
the human mind and spirit, something of its boundless possibilities, can perhaps best
be expressed thus. Some authors, we can feel, are not so much painstakingly inventing
a world full of cumbersome accoutrements, but discovering one that reveals a hidden
aspect of ourselves.

Such a world is given to us by Diana Wynne Jones in Howl's Moving Castle, one of
her blithest and most enchanting novels. "In the land of Ingary, where such things as
seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be
born the eldest of three," she begins, and immediately we are caught up in the realm
of fairy-tale logic, where everyone knows the eldest of three is doomed to failure,
should three siblings set out to seek their fortunes.

Sophie Hatter, who happens to be the eldest of three sisters, never questions this law
of existence. She resigns herself to a mundane existence in the family hat shop (not
even being "the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance
of success"). Her determination to be ordinary is disrupted by a call from the wicked
Witch of the Waste, who casts a very inconvenient spell on her; and by the fearsome
Wizard Howl, who, in spite of his reputation for sucking out the souls of young girls,
allows her in to his mysterious moving castle, and seems to be in need of some saving
As Sophie puzzles through the riddle posed by witch, wizard and castle, she finds that
all is not as it seems, including her assumptions about herself. Is magic all about
showy transformations and fiery battles? Or is there even more power in the stories
we tell ourselves?

Creating a fairy-tale pastiche that brings something new to the old tales in a satisfying
way is not so easy. Jones succeeds brilliantly with a comic tone from somewhere
between Charles Dickens and Terry Pratchett, starting with the chapter headings: "In
which Sophie talks to hats." "In which a Royal Wizard catches a cold." "In which
Sophie expresses her feelings with weed-killer."

Jones is a master at creating fast-moving stories full of surprises. Unlike some of her
rivals, though, she never leaves us feeling empty or cheated at the end. Her books
have a quality I can only refer to as "heart," not in any cheaply sentimental sense, but
springing from shrewd and compassionate observation of human relationships. Howl
and Sophie are one of my favorite examples of this. Their bickering could rival that of
Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick.



    Make an illustrated timeline of events from the story.
    Complete a crossword and word search based on the story.
    Make a list of quotations from the story and link them to the
     character that said it.
    Prepare a thumbnail sketch of the following characters including
     both appearance and character. (Howl, Sophie, The Witch of the
     Waste, Michael, Calcifer) Prove the character traits you’ve
     attributed to characters by citing events from the story.
    Children devise 2 quiz questions after reading a chapter of the story
     and test each other after the book is completed.
    Re-tell the story as an infant picture story book


    Create a for sale advertisement for a moving castle
    Make an illustrated bookmark based on one of the characters from
     the story.
    Act out a scene from the story and video-tape it.
    Draw a cartoon of where Michael has trouble with a spell (Chapter
    What emotions was Sophie feeling at pivotal points in the story
     (Children determine the pivotal points)
    Ask children to determine what was the most important event or
     personal attribute that helped Sophie to survive?
    Complete an events and motives chart.
    Complete a literature web for Sophie


    Design a map of Sophie’s journey.
    Make a travel brochure for a moving castle (What features does it
     have? What exciting places does it visit? Why is it preferable to
     staying in a normal castle? )
    Relate a personal experience similar to an event in the story. (Do
     you have vivid memories of a special place, or friend like someone
     in the story?)
    Design a newspaper front story as if Sophie were relating her
     experiences to a journalist.
    Make a board game about the story.
    Design a poster for the library to illustrate Diana Wynne Jones’s
     books. (Find out about the author.)
    Create a model of a ‘moving castle’.
    Create a PowerPoint project about castles.
    Develop a personal Emergency Plan in case of a curse being placed
     on you.
    Use a ‘wheel book’ to create a story sequence.


    Visit Werribee Mansion or Sovereign Hill and experience life in a
     manor house of the 19th Century or 19th Century mining town.
    Make a list of conflict situations from the story. (Such as the
     conflict between Calcifer and Sophie.) Were they resolved? If so,
     how? If not, why not?
    Create a ‘Y Chart’ of an event from the story. (Sophie’s first
     impressions of the castle?)
    Create a Venn diagram comparing the book and the movie.
    What five questions might Sophie have asked Howl when they first
    Complete a Literary Sociogram (How do the characters relate and
     interact with each other throughout the story)
    Complete ‘Active reading’ activities.

       Change the ending of the story.
       Design a new dust jacket for the book and include a personal
         review of the book as well as a blurb.
       If you included yourself in the story, who would you be? Why?
       Create a conversation between 2 characters from the story.
       Draw a pivotal episode from the story on a puzzle grid.
         Compare what other children considered an important event.
       Write a postcard as if you were Sophie or Howl to another
         member of class.

   Write a review of the film.
   Study Tim Stevens’s illustrations from the 2005 Harper Collins
     edition. Draw a series of alternative illustrations.
   Write 5 alternative story chapter titles from those in the book.
   Write a list of 5 rules for Sophie to help her cope with life as a
     ninety-year-old ‘girl’ or living in a moving castle.
   Put together a collection of herbs and list how they can benefit you.
     Create your own mini herb garden.
   Write a short story / sequel for Howl’s Moving Castle.
   Children list favourite fantasy stories and compare one of them
     (Harry Potter?) to Howl’s Moving Castle.

          Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones, Harper Collins,
           2000. (Originally published in 1989)
          Activities For Any Literature Unit, Hawker Brownlow, P.
           Carey, 1998 (Some worksheets were scanned from this
          Howl’s Moving Castle, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Studio
           Ghibli, DVD, 2004
  Howl’s Moving Castle Timeline
The                     .
of the
puts a
curse on
her into
a 90
year old
Howl’s Moving Castle
Word search
N   E   J   P   L   V   E   T   E   R   T   W   O   F   C
G   C   J   L   O   I   M   H   R   E   O   Q   H   A   H
V   N   E   D   H   R   G   R   B   V   G   L   L   M   A
N   P   I   P   H   C   T   I   W   O   N   C   M   E   T
S   O   O   V   I   K   J   H   B   H   I   G   K   E   T
D   S   M   H   O   V   I   T   A   F   K   B   I   L   E
O   I   V   E   E   M   V   N   E   V   W   B   N   T   R
O   Q   C   R   D   A   W   R   G   A   E   J   G   S   Y
R   N   J   B   O   R   R   E   S   D   Y   N   S   A   X
L   E   A   H   C   I   M   T   L   N   H   P   B   C   S
A   K   W   C   K   U   E   F   S   V   J   O   U   B   Y
G   U   D   B   F   A   I   Y   P   I   M   N   R   P   C
D   A   D   O   J   N   D   I   G   M   P   E   Y   H   Z
O   D   D   O   V   V   T   W   I   Z   A   R   D   Z   E
H   O   W   L   B   L   T   Q   S   Q   F   I   P   L   O

Moving Castle

By: ……………

Black Beauty
Howl’s Moving Castle
5 rules for living in a ‘moving castle’.
        Howl’s Moving Castle
        Literature Web

  Key Words


                                                         Images or symbols


Howl’s Moving Castle
Event and motive Chart (Chapter 1-2)

   EVENT / CAUSE                        EFFECT
     Martha decided she                Martha and
     wanted to get                     Lettie changed
     married and have                  bodies.
     children and Lettie
     wanted to be a witch.
     (Page 22)
                                       (Page 25)

     Sophie was working
     very hard and being
     exploited in the hat

     (Page 29)

     A customer
     complained to
     Sophie about a hat

     (Page 30)

     The Witch of the
     Waste didn’t care for
     Sophie’s competition
     or her attitude.

     (Page 32)

     As a girl Sophie was
     afraid of dogs.

     (Page 34)
   Howl’s Moving Castle                   ‘Y’ Chart

                   What would you hear?

                                              What would
                                              you see?

What would you feel?
Howl’s Moving Castle

  December 23rd 1873   5 Pence
 Howl’s Moving Castle   Literary Sociogram


Witch of the



Howl’s Moving Castle
Crossword (Chapter 5)
1. Howl didn't like it when Sophie swept
away the cobwebs and scared off
4. In Porthaven the people called Sophie
Mrs. ........
6. Michael and Calcifer called sophie a
terrible old ........
7. Calcifer drained hot water from the hot
....... for Sophie.
11. She wrapped this around her waste as an

1. Sophie told Howl that he would
.......away from anything unpleasant
2. The small girl wanted a ...... spell for
her dad's boat.
3. Howl yelled "You're a dreadfully nosey,
horribly ....., appallingly clean old
5. Michael was Howl's ......... wizard.
7. It seemed that Calcifer did all the....
Magic in the castle and Michael did all the
hackwork while Howl gadded off.
8. The little girls coin was hidden under a
...... in the hearth.
9. The spiders kill ...... said Howl.
10. Sophie ............. her cubbyhole
under stairs which made the room seem
 Howl’s Moving Castle
 Read these quotes from the story and attribute them to the correct character. (Chapter

 Choose from these characters- Sophie, Michael, Calcifer

    Open up! Very well I’ll                        She’s got all her teeth.
    find your back door!                           She’s not the Witch of the
                                                   Waste is she?

I’m a fire demon; I’m
bound to the hearth by
contract. I can’t move                                     Sailing into shops and
from this spot.                                            turning people old! Oh wait
                                                           what I won’t do to her!

          Howl’s the only one who
          can cook!                                          Now Calcifer lets have no
                                                             more of your nonsense.
                                                             Bend down your head!

   Howl’s pretty useless at
   most things. He’s too
   wrapped up in himself
   half the time see what’s at                It’s a strong spell. It feels like
   the end of his nose.                       one of the Witch of the wastes
                                              to me
Howl’s Moving Castle
Some of the traits in the list below fit Sophie and some do not. Select 4
traits that best describe her and write them on the chart. Then for each
trait, list one action in which Sophie exhibits the trait.

 Intelligent   funny   responsible             caring
 Honest              hardworking         problem solver confident
 generous        Co-operative          loyal        brave

Trait       Actions that demonstrate the trait.
Hardworking Sophie cooked and cleaned up
            the messy castle.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Design a poster advertising your book. Include a review. Alternatively design a
wanted poster for Howl or the Witch of the Waste or a missing persons poster
                            for Sophie or Michael.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Venn Diagram


(Enlarge to A3 size)   BOOK
Howl’s Moving Castle
Alternative Book cover
Howl’s Moving Castle
Comparing Fantasy books
Write the titles of three of your favourite fantasy stories on the spines of
these books

Create a graphic organiser of your choice comparing your favourite
fantasy book with ‘Howl’s Moving Castle.’
Howl’s Moving Castle

Write the name of a character of your choice from the book. Think of 4
traits for that character. Write one in each box. Look through the story to
find a sentence or quote used by the character, which shows that trait, and
write it down.

(Enlarge to A3)
Howl’s Moving Castle

Write a telephone conversation between 2 characters from the story.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Draw what you believe is the most important scene from the story on the puzzle out
line. Cut it out and have a friend piece it together. Discuss with others what they
thought was the most important event. (Graph the results) Use the puzzle pieces in an
interesting display or game.

(Copy onto cover paper or cardboard)
Howl’s Moving Castle
Sequence wheel
      Print 2 copies of the wheel
      Cut the slice out
      On the one you don’t cut out, rule 8 segments
      Use split pins to join them
      On the front disc write a heading and colour in.
      Draw events from the story in the correct sequence in each segment.

Materials needed: cardboard, markers, split pin.
Howl’s Moving Castle

Creative writing/ art ideas
(Complete at least 3 of these)

Writing Ideas
      Create a for sale advertisement for a moving castle
      Re-tell the story as an infant picture story book 9Consider a lift
       the flap or feel the texture book)
      Make an illustrated bookmark based on one of the characters
       from the story.
      Design a map of Sophie’s journey.
      Draw and discuss a picture of you gradually aging from a baby
       to an old man/woman. For each picture write what you were
       able to do or not do at that age.
      Make a list of conflict situations from the story. (Such as the
       conflict between Calcifer and Sophie.) Were they resolved? If
       so, how? If not, why not?
      Make a board game about the story.
      Design a poster for the library to illustrate Diana Wynne Jones’s
       books. (Find out about the author.)
      Create a model of a ‘moving castle’.
      Develop a home or school Evacuation Plan and Emergency Plan
       in case of a curse being placed on you.
      Create a PowerPoint project about castles.
      Change the ending of the story to make it sad or funny.
      Write a postcard as if you were Sophie or Howl to another
       member of class.

  Art Ideas
     1. Study Tim Stevens’s illustrations from the 2005 Harper Collins
        edition. Draw a series of alternative illustrations. Write 5
        alternative story chapter titles from those in the book.
     2. Create a Moving Castle Collage and or a lift the flap scene
        showing the different places Howl can get to through his door.
     3. Create a diorama of Calcifer in his fireplace.(Draw a before and
        after scene of howl’s house after Sophie started cleaning.)

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