dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #731

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Nov 5 04:20:45 EST 2003


Sarah:
*^.^* It's a funny thing, but I have never really imagined Howl
*sounding* Welsh (except when drunk). I always think he would be the
type to conscientiously lose his accent in the process of higher
education (he does mention doing his doctoral thesis on spells and
charms - I have never been sure whether this would be true or a
plausible excuse for Miss Angorian's benefit. But someone who fibs and
slithers out as much as Howl would probably know that the most
convincing excuses and the ones easiest to keep consistent under
cross-examination are the ones with some basis in truth. So, assuming
he had the stamina to complete the degree, I like to think of him as
*Dr* Howell Jenkins. Close parenthesis!). Perhaps simply because a more
'educated English' type of accent is so well suited to being
supercilious in, and Howl does like to be supercilious. Also because he
so much enjoys  false names and disguises and reinventing his own
image. Choosing an accent might be almost like accessorising.
'Right, the blue and silver suit, the verbena cologne, my silver
death's-head cufflinks, and today my voice is from Edinburgh!'

Me:
I quite see that last bit, but for myself I always hear Howl as Welsh, and
(Old) South Welsh at that. It is quite a good accent for sounding
supercilious in, really, and what with Howl keeping up his rugby playing and
I doubt that he would have ditched the accent of his fathers - he'd have
been wiping away more than a tear of hiraeth if he'd scrummed down with his
Welsh team mates sounding like Peter Wimsey.

(I agree that his degree is real, though - and I think he got it at
Aberystwyth.)

Charlie

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