[DWJ] Howl's birthday and question

Janet Eastwood janet.eastwood at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 5 22:42:19 EST 2015

Sophie left school because there wasn't money and because she was old enough - "Mr Hatter died suddenly just as Sophie was old enough to leave school for good" (p. 12/ch. 1); in the next paragraph, Fanny tells the sisters that they'll all have to leave school because of the debts Mr. Hatter ran up. She is an apprentice by the end of winter, if that helps: "Maybe it was Fanny's sales talk or maybe it was spring coming on, but the hat trade was definitely picking up" (p. 18/ch. 1) and is doing so well by April that Sophie starts to work in the shop (p. 18/ch. 1). We know that Sophie is 18 before Midsummer's Day, because "[Mrs. Fairfax] had last seen Sophie a year ago as a girl of seventeen" (p. 116/ch.8), if "a year ago" means a full year or nearly a full year. For simplicity's sake, I assume that Sophie is 18 before April, since nothing is said about her birthday during her apprenticeship in the hat shop or her time in the castle. 
I'd rather have a separate day for Sophie and keep August 16th for DWJ - the more celebrations the better, right? Beer will definitely have to work its way into the Midsummer celebration, good idea! Howl's Midsummer Eve Rugby Club Reunion and the "cone sold stober" chaos :) It'll be fun celebrating Howl's birthday, May Day/beginning of the adventure, Midsummer Day/end of HMC, DWJ's birthday, and an undetermined Sophie Day.
And then there's Abdullah, Flower-in-the-Night, and Prince Justin, not to mention Charmain, Peter, and Waif. But there aren't specific dates in the latter Castle books, are there? Bluebells and hot buttered crumpets! 


> We could assign Sophie DWJ's birthday, August 16th.
> Except I can't remember, did she leave school because the money ran out or because she was old enough to leave anyway? If the latter, an August birthday is fine. In the British school system (I'm going to assume Ingary is the same) the oldest kids in each year group are usually the ones born on 1 September. Sophie would be one of the youngest in her year, and would still be 17 when she left. That leaves about 9 months before 1 May next year for her father to die and the apprenticeships to be sorted out. That feels, if anything, too long to me. But if she needs to leave school in the middle of the year, she needs to turn 18 in September or later so that she falls into a year group that is still at school at that point.
> As for a Howl birthday celebration, it should probably involve lots of beer.
> Eleanor


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