Howl's Moving Castle

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Wed Mar 16 03:16:56 EST 2005


Forgive me for being slightly monomaniacal over here, but I've just reached
another bit that screams Ozziness at me. I don't see how I could have failed
to notice this before:

major SPOILER for "Howl's Moving Castle"

which

if

you

haven't

read

yet

you

really

ought

to

and

stop

reading

now



Here's Howl, turning the dog back into Percival:

"'Sit there and take it easy, and tell us what you do remember. By the feel
of you, the Witch had you for some time.'
'Yes,' said Percival, rubbing his face again. 'She took my head off. I - I
remember being on a shelf, looking at the rest of me.'"

This, of course, is the Tin Woodman's head sitting in the cupboard of
Ku-Klip the tinsmith, in "The Tin Woodsman of Oz". The Tin Woodsman's
subsequent conversation with his old head is one of the best segments in all
the Oz books.

Back to HMC, where Calcifer explains: "This man is incomplete, and he has
parts from some other man too."

Percival is just like Chopfyte, also in "The Tin Woodsman of Oz": Chopfyte
was made of bits of the old Tin Woodsman and bits of the old Tin Soldier,
glued together with the witch's meat glue. (And one tin arm, I recall,
because the tinsmith couldn't find enough meat arms).

Nick Chopper/Tin Woodsman's quest in "The Tin Woodsman of Oz" is to find his
old sweetheart and do his duty by marrying her, though he no longer loves
her, having lost his heart. The cloth heart given to him by the Wizard is
apparantly incapable of romantic love. Now let's think, who in HMC has lost
his heart and cannot love? Hmm, I wonder...

How could I have possibly missed this before. Duh.




-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dwj at suberic.net [mailto:owner-dwj at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
Gili Bar-Hillel
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2005 2:19 PM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: RE: Howl's Moving Castle


Here's two more bits of "Howl's Moving Castle" that flashed me back to when
I was translating "The Wizard of Oz":

"[Sophie] said the only other thing she could think of. 'I'm going to see
the King,' she said.
The Witch laughed disbelievingly. 'But will the King see YOU?'"

reminded me of:

"'Where are you all going?'
'To the Emerald City,' said Dorothy, 'to see the Great Oz.'
'Oh, indeed!' exclaimed the man. 'Are you sure that Oz will see you?'"


And the bit where Sophie is sweeping Howl's slime out the door: "...mumbling
and grumbling, she fetched more hot water. She turned the doorknob
green-down and swept all the slime out on to the moors" reminded me of how
Dorothy dealt with the witch: "Dorothy drew another bucket of water and
threw it over the mess. She then swept it all out the door".

I know these quotes are hardly significant on their own, but every little
bit adds up, so that I wonder if it can only be an coincidence.

Gili



-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dwj at suberic.net [mailto:owner-dwj at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
Gili Bar-Hillel
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 11:39 AM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: Howl's Moving Castle


Now that I'm translating "Howl's Moving Castle", so soon after translating
"The Wizard of Oz", I'm once more made acutely aware of the little homages
to Oz scattered throughout Howl. The Wicked Witch of the Waste is such an
obvious play on the Wicked Witch of the West, it hardly needs mentioning.
Several other hints and parallels are clear, such as the animated scarecrow,
the dog companion, the journey to see a mysterious wizard, the significance
of colors as geographical markers. But I'm discovering new bits I hadn't
been aware of before. Compare the following two excerpts, descriptions of
Sophie and Dorothy setting out on their respective journeys:

Sophie: ..."'This grey dress is quite suitable, but I shall need my shawl
and some food.' ... She hobbled to collect her shawl, and wrapped it over
her head and shoulders, as old women did. then she shuffled through into the
house, where she collected her purse with a few coins in it and a parcel of
bread and cheese. She let herself out of the house, carefully hiding the key
in the usual place, and hobbled away down the street, surprised at how calm
she still felt."

Dorothy: "Dorothy had only one other dress, but that happened to be clean
and handing on a peg beside her bed. It was gingham, with checks of white
and blue; and although the blue was somewhat faded with many washings, it
was still a pretty frock. The girl washed herself carefully, dressed herself
in the clean gingham, and tied her pink sunbonnet on her head. She took a
little basket and filled it with bread from the cupboard, laying a white
cloth over the top. ... She closed the door, locked it, and put the key
carefully in the pocket of her dress. And so, with Toto trotting along
soberly behind her, she started on her journey."

Note how matter of fact and calm they both are, both careful about the key,
both with a mind to practicality. Dorothy has a blue-and white dress,
because she was previously described as the only spot of color in her grey
surroundings. Sophie is just the opposite: the only patch of grey in the
multi-colored May Day celebrations of Market Chipping. I've always though
"Howl" to be the Ozziest of DWJ's books, and being a big Oz fan, I find this
very endearing.

Gili





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