DWJ: Howl's Moving Castle question

Sally Odgers sodgers at tassie.net.au
Sat Mar 9 21:26:25 EST 2002

> but--this is Ingary!  OF COURSE the heart is more than a blood pump! (at
> least I think so).  Things are Magic!

Splutter away! However, the Heart is Life to Calcifer.

 Onn the other
> hand, he obviously cares for his family in Wales, for Mrs. Prendergast
> (sp?), and takes in Michael and Old Sophie.  He obviously isn't without
> emotion (wonder how he compares to Mark in DS?), but I'm pretty sure that
> the book even says that he lacks the ability to acheive a certain depth of
> emotion while the bargain's in place

Right. And given DWJ's interest in self-delusion for her characters, I'm
pretty sure he's inapable because he *believes* himself incapable. Remember
he can be brave only by going sideways and pretending to be cowardly? Love's
the same. He can love (i.e. care for) others only by slithering sideways and
pretending he doesn't.

> interesting--I wonder how Calcifer and her demon got along.  The more I
> think about it, Sally, the more I think you've got a good point--but I do
> think that the actual getting-back-of-the-heart was neccesary for him to
> love Sophie.  I remember especially the description of how his eyes
> changed--there was defintaely something gone.

Yes, but he *knew* the heart was back! If it had been replaced in his
sleep... would he have changed? I doubt we can disentangle "real" effect
from "perceived" effect anyway. After all, look at placebo effect in the
real world! I hold that it is *real*. It doesn't matter a bit to me whether
I imagine (say) a copper bracelet makes me feel better or if it has some
genuine effect. It works! (Or would work if it did make me feel better,
which it doesn't :-(  )

Stroking a cat, if you like cats, lowers the blood presure in some people.
Now, say you're hypnotised and convinced you're stroking a cat even if it's
really a bit of cloth? I bet the physical effect is identical.

I just wish I was susceptible to the placebo effect. 'twould make life *so*
much easier.

> . . . though I daresay he used not having a heart as an excuse a time or
> two.  To slither out.

Oh, of course! Don't we all use whatever excuses we have?


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