Friday, June 10, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle

There is a rich, rich world of juvenile and young adult fiction out there, and among the offerings fantasy fiction holds gems. JK Rowling is just the most hyped among many talented authors. Diana Wynne Jones has written scads of great books and one of my favorites is Howl's Moving Castle.

Imagine my delight when I heard Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away, had produced a film version of this off beat fairy tale. I have reservations then when reading this and then this. How different is this version? In the book everyone has a lesson to learn. Sophie is a doormat in the beginning, letting people use her, meekly assuming her worth is far less than it is. Her curse turns into a blessing as she uses her new condition to act differently, to stand up for herself.

Howl is vain and fearful but is trapped in a the consequences of misusing power. Calcifer, a fire djinn, is sly and you are never quite sure he is trustworthy. Calcifer is Ariel to Howl's Prospero.

DW Jones' books are full of delight no one is quite who they seem and they often poke fun at the earnestness of adult concerns. I hope that fun and delight will be shown in this adaptation.

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