Howl's Moving Castle

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Name: Howl's Moving Castle
Abbreviation(s): HMC
Creator: Diana Wynne Jones
Date(s): 1986–2008
Medium: books, film
Country of Origin: Britain, Japan
External Links:
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Howl's Moving Castle is a small fandom based on the Howl trilogy of young adult fantasy novels by British author, Diana Wynne Jones:

  • Howl's Moving Castle (1986)
  • Castle in the Air (1990)
  • House of Many Ways (2008)

as well as an anime film adaptation by Hayao Miyazaki, Howl no Ugoku Shiro (2004).

In Canon

In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie Hatter, a timid young hat-maker, falls foul of a malevolent witch and is turned into an elderly woman. After taking shelter in a magical moving castle and making a bargain with its fire demon, Calcifer, she enters the service of his master, the Not-So-Much-Evil-As-Adolescent wizard, Howl Pendragon, and finds that being old has paradoxically set her free. There's plot by the bucketload, but most fans are in it for the slow-burning Howl/Sophie rom com. The sequels follow various other characters in the universe, while including Howl and Sophie's later life together.


The first novel, Howl's Moving Castle, was loosely adapted into a popular anime film by Hayao Miyazaki. The adaptation centres around a war plot only mentioned in passing in Wynne Jones' novel; Miyazaki adds steampunk elements and his trademark flying machines. The film keeps Calcifer and the Howl/Sophie romance while significantly changing Howl's character to make him nobler (not to mention prettier). Diana Wynne Jones commented: I had grown used to young ladies regularly writing to me to say that they wanted to marry Howl. Now, Howl in the film is so plain stunning and sexy that I think I have joined them.[1] The film's popularity among Western fans was enhanced by an English-language version with well-known actors voicing the lead roles, including Christian Bale, Billy Crystal and Lauren Bacall.

The novel has also been adapted for the stage in 2011 by Davy and Kristin McGuire, with music from The Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield and narration from Stephen Fry [2]


The Howl series, especially Howl's Moving Castle, had a small Western fandom before the release of the Miyazaki film. Fanfiction in English has since risen somewhat in popularity. Book canon still has the edge, though many stories fuse elements from the book and film versions. Both book and film are perennial requests at Yuletide. One fic created for Yuletide, In Which Sophie Again Explains Things to Howl, is the source of the term Dewclaws.

Most fanfiction is het, focusing on the canonical pairing Howl/Sophie, though there's little erotica. Futurefic, often dealing with Sophie's taming of Howl and how the trio of Howl, Sophie and Calcifer get along is probably the most common type of fanfic; lashings of babyfic usually draw on Castle in the Air. Pre-canon stories are less prevalent; they often deal with Howl and Calcifer's early days together, but even before Sophie's appearance slash is unusual. Crossovers, particularly with other Diana Wynne Jones' novels, such as the Chrestomanci series, or with other magical sources, are relatively common. "Howl's Moving Castle" AUs are also common, frequently titled "[Main Character's] Moving Castle".

Example Fanfiction


Fanfiction Recs

Fan Art and Doujinshi

There is a little Western fan art, with artists including M. Starling and Dodus-Taichou. Icon-making is a popular pursuit, mainly from film images.

Over a hundred doujinshi based on the film are listed at The Doujinshi & Manga Lexicon.[3]

Example Art



Livejournal Communities