Howl's magic

Tanaquil2 at Tanaquil2 at
Tue May 30 15:23:02 EDT 2000

In a message dated 5/30/00 11:57:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
sodgers at writes:

> Hey, I'm getting vague. I know I intended to ask on the list if Howl really 
> did any magic but can;t remember if I did.
>  So - Howell Jenkins - how did he find his way to Ingary?
>  Did he have magic talent or not? When Sophie comes into our world, she 
> assumes the car and computer are magic; are there equally "normal" 
> explanations for the things Howl does in Ingary?
>  I can't make up my mind. The pepper spell to give the Count an equal 
> in his duel is a natural substance, and the mending sleeve could (I 
> be Velcro or something...  However, the 7 league boots seem to be "real" 
> magic.

I *think* (can't find my copy of Howl because my daughter has run off with 
it) (again) that Howl really could do magic.  Mrs Pentstemmon calls him one 
of the most powerful magicians she ever taught, doesn't she? (twice the 
imagination and abilities of Suliman?)  And he does summon Despair, Anguish 
and Horror and do the green slime.  And the castle in four dimensions.  And 
he turns into a cat.  On the other hand, stuff like the 'drying power' could 
be silica?  And I like that he cooks bacon in the usual way.  (Well, 
relatively usual way.  I guess people don't generally cook over a fallen 

Hmm.  Does it perhaps tie in somehow to the way that magic and reality blur 
or co-exist in DWJ's stories, so that magic becomes equated with possiblities 
and creativity instead of being something that can only happen in stories or 
imagination?  If magic exists in their world and science in ours, but magic 
is possible in our world, then science should be possible in theirs so that 
it's balanced.  Then there'd be no need to do magic every time in a magic 
world if something as simple and practical as pepper will work just as well.  
I don't know; it seems to make it more credible somehow I think.  And takes 
away that sense of magic only belonging to 'special' people that you can get 
from some stories.  It makes this world seem more full of possibilities too, 
if something we take for granted can be seen as magical, like computers.  
Which *are* magical anyhow!  How else can I be tapping plastic buttons over 
here, and have you over there know what I'm thinking!

More thoughts?

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