[DWJ] House of Many Ways

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Aug 7 09:32:22 EDT 2008

>On Thursday 07 August 2008, Jenny Schwartzberg wrote:
>> Yes, I've read it.  It's fun though I preferred the first two.

*House of Many Ways* is fun but I prefered *The Pinhoe Egg* and *A Sudden
Wild Magic*.  :-)

and Irina wrote

>My daughter who doesn't usually read fantasy --no, who is just now starting to
>read fantasy after ten solid years of reading everything in sight *except*
>fantasy, she started at four and is now fourteen-- loved it, and then read
>the first two and loved them slightly less. She does think Howl's Moving
>Castle is better than the film, "more to the point images".

The pictures are better on radio, and best of all in unillustrated books,
aren't they.

>I love it too; it's different from the first two, more leisurely and perhaps
>slightly less intricate, but that's one of the things that make it uniquely

This 'sequel' business is a bit awkward really.  As with the 'Chrestomanci'
books not really being sequels in any particular way, just books about
quite different things that happen either to be set in the same world as
Chrestomanci, or to have Chrestomanci appearing in another world so he can
be a convenient deus ex machina (as in *Witch Week* or *The Magicians of
Caprona*), this book includes a male person who happens to be called Howl,
and a castle that can move, but is about different people and their growth
and learning rather than about Howl or his castle or his world.  And
*Castle in the Air* is a story in its own right that really doesn't need
one to have read HMC in order to enjoy it or understand it.

I'd've said that for something to be properly a sequel, it needs either to
continue or to follow on from the events in the previous book, to be a
continuation of *that* story, rather than being a story that is really
nothing to do with the first book.  Otherwise all Georgette Heyer's regency
romances would be sequels because they are all about the same invented

(This leads to me feeling that Ursula Le Guin's *The Tombs of Atuan* isn't
really a sequel to *The Wizard of Earthsea* even though it has a world and
a character in common with the earlier book and an artifact that turns up
again.  I don't get into arguments about this feeling, I just have it:
nothing against either book, just that they are connected without the sort
of causality I feel needs to be involved for something truly to be a

I think Irina's comment about 'uniquely itself' is justabout right, and
HoMW *is*, whereas 'sequels' are in some way all part of the same long book
really.  Like the Harry Potter books, of which it would be difficult to
read one in isolation because each relies on knowlege of the rest really,
or the Swallows and Amazons or Narnia or Marlow Family books, perhaps, or
the various Malory Towers ones.  Those are part of one big creation,
whereas I think HoMW can stand alone as readily as eg *The Ogre Downstairs*
or *Cart and Cwidder*, each of which is set in the same world as other
books by the same author -- but I wouldn't say TOD was a 'sequel' to
*Wilkin's Tooth* or vice versa, nor that one needed *Drowned Ammet* in
order to make sense of CAC.

Incidentally DWJ is quoted in the forward of HoMW writing about it as a
sequel, but she says she didn't think of it as one when she had the idea or
while she began writing the book, she just found the Howliverse useful for
her idea so she used it.

Also (hurrah!) she's three chapters from the end of the second draft of her
next book, which she was prevented for some time from getting on with by
being physically unable to sit and write for more than about half an hour
at a time, and that, she says triumphantly, can't be called a sequel to
*anything* (though I wouldn't bet it won't be by some publicist somewhere:
the publishers seem to be in love with continuing series).  It has mutated
during the second draft and she refuses to say anything about it in case
discussing it makes it change some more; she wants to get it finished
because she has a vague idea for the one after and she'd like to pin that
down before it escapes.

I think that next one might be set in the Chrestomanci series of universes
and have the working title 'The Thirteenth Enchanter'.  :-)  But it may
take the bit between its teeth before it gets there and become something
quite different.  Either way I want to read it.

Minnow (stirring a bit in the hopes the list will get busy again)

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