Howl Film

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Fri Aug 24 04:21:25 EDT 2001

Hallie, quoting Ven:

>>I suspect Howl isn't quite as posh as my friend but iirc he
>>did go to university.
> Well, I'm glad you put this in, because otherwise I'd have had to
> disagree with you. :)  Howl does not strike me as posh at all.

"Megan's jealous because she's respectable and I'm not"?

>>I also  think that he is proficient at code
>>switching (sociolinguistics speak for changing speech patterns to
>>suit the company). I take the "Megan bach" that Jennifer refers to
>>as indicating that his accent has become more Welsh. (it's
>>demonstrable that the less formal the speech, the further it drifts
>>from the standard and informal speech is usual amongst family).
> Umm, but...  If he was sounding more Welsh, it still doesn't explain
> why Sophie doesn't remark on the fact.   It's actually that he calls
> Mari "cariad", rather than Megan "bach",I'm pretty sure - and then

Well done for pointing that out, Hallie.  My memory agrees with yours.  I didn't
think to look it up last night, but as I was driving to work this morning, I was
thinking, "I can't imagine Howl ever calling Megan 'Bach', but I suppose I'll
have to take their words for it"...

> breaks into Welsh with Mari, while he always speaks English with
> Megan.  Could it be a snobbish thing on *Megan's* part not to be very
> Welsh?  Possibly - going into pure flights of speculation here - that

I think very possibly.  In some of the depressed areas of Wales, it often seems
that all the money is in the hands of immigrant English, who look down on the
native Welsh.

> came from their family, and Howl's mother was like Megan, and wanted
> the children to sound "refined", rather than Welsh.  (A Dublin joke

Hmm.  I think you're reading a bit too much between the lines there, Hallie.  It
doesn't require tension at the parental level - or even different backgrounds
for the two parents - to produce that sort of divergence.

Continuing the depressed area theme, maybe it merely illustrates the siblings'
different ways of coping - Megan by becoming posher and more English, Howl by
escaping to Ingary.

That said, if Megan is an anti-Welsh snob, why did she call her daughter Mari?

(Also interesting - Megan's married name, Parry, is more Welsh than her maiden
name, Jenkins, IMO.  It happens, I suppose, like the anti-Irish Daphne Duffield
ending up with the nickname Duffie...)

(Interesting point.  Howl is 27 in Moving Castle.  He's been in Ingary, off and
on, for at least 10 years, I think (does Mrs Fairfax or Mrs Pentstemmon mention
the exact length of time?).  So he discovered Ingary when he was 17 or younger.

So the obvious hypothesis - he discovered Ingary when researching his thesis on
spells - has to give way to a more interesting one: he discovered Ingary and
learned enough magic that he could come back and get himself into university
(difficult to do otherwise if we accept the depressed area hypothesis!), study
ASNaC, and do a PhD.  He then decided that he'd rather live in Ingary and work
as a wizard than in Wales and work as ... well, probably nothing.  In a
depressed area with high unemployment, a PhD in charms and spells doesn't give
you much edge...

There.  Now I'm speculating too.  Fun, isn't it...  (I like the idea of Mrs
Pentstemmon as a PhD supervisor, too.)

> This is all more than a little OTT, but it's fun to think of Howl's
> childhood.  :)  Can't you imagine what a handful he was?

Eek.  I wonder where he learned slithering out.  Home or school?  Or both?


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