[DWJ] Hello again, and beards

Eleanor Joslin eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk
Sun Sep 14 18:17:06 EDT 2014


OK, the Witch of the Waste's curse on Howl is based on that John Donne 
poem, one line of which is "Ride ten thousand days and nights".  This is 
where I use my inborn talent for opening books at exactly the right page 
without trying, and find the end of chapter 11, just after Miss Angorian 
has been reading him the poem:

	"Oh, nothing," Howl said airily, leading the way back to the yellow 
house called RIVENDELL.  "The Witch of the Waste has caught up with me 
with her curse, that's all."  He seemed to be calculating or doing sums 
in his head while he opened the garden gate.  "Ten thousand," Sophie 
heard him murmur.  "That brings it to about Midsummer Day."
	"What is brought to Midsummer Day?" asked Sophie.
	"The time I'll be ten thousand days old," Howl said.  "And that, Mrs. 
Nose," he said, swinging into the garden of Rivendell, "is the day I 
shall have to go back to the Witch of the Waste."

Now 28 years is 10,227 days (the number of leap years is fixed at 7 - 
since the Wales bit is clearly modern, we can ignore the 100-year rule). 
  Midsummer Day is defined in different ways - I picked 23 June.  Howl's 
28th birthday falls 227 days after that, which takes it to 5 February 
the next year.

Eleanor


Jameela Lares wrote:
> Actually, I do not ask about your geekiness.  (What answer could one return?) I do ask you to explain and or remind me of the chronology.
>
> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 118 College Drive, #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> 601 266-4319 ofc
> 601 266-5757 fax
> ________________________________________
> From: Dwj [dwj-bounces at suberic.net] on behalf of Eleanor Joslin [eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk]
> Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2014 4:29 PM
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Hello again, and beards
>
> Book-Howl is one of the most precisely age-specified characters in all
> of DWJ.  On Midsummer Day he is 10,000 days old.  That makes him 27,
> with a birthday round about 5 February, depending on exactly when you
> think Midsummer Day is, and assuming the calendar in Ingary is the same
> as in Wales and that time moves at the same rate in both worlds...
>
> (Yes, I am a geek.  Why do you ask?)
>
> Carol Carr wrote:
>> If Michael were depicted as the boy of 15 or 16 that he is, instead of a
>> child of 10, it would have been better. I have seen some awful
>> illustrations that suggested Howl was about 16 and Michael about 8. Poor
>> Sophie, she needs Howl to be at least 20!
>>
>> On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:55 AM, Philip Belben<philip at axeside.co.uk>   wrote:
>>
>>> Watching the Miyazaki *Howl* on Sunday got me to wondering whether
>>>> Markl/Michael's habit of donning a beard before greeting visitors to the
>>>> Porthaven and Kingsbury entrances of the castle might be a subtle nod to
>>>> *Dark
>>>> Lord*. Though in truth it made him look more like a dwarf than a wizard.
>>>> Any thoughts?
>>>>
>>> Did anybody answer Cathy's question?
>>>
>>> It's many years since I saw that film, but I would connect the beard with
>>> those two cloaks of disguise that Michael and Sophie used in the book - one
>>> made you look like a man with a beard, the other like a horse.  I think
>>> Howl even told Sophie to "take off that awful beard" or something at one
>>> point.
>>>
>>> Philip.
>>>
>>>
>>>
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