October 08, 2019 11:34AM


I loved "Howl's Moving Castle", the movie by Hayao Miyazaki. So I read the book "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones and a few of her other books besides. But the thing that struck me most was the liberties they had taken with the movie. Ok, maybe it wasn't surprising that the movie did not slavishly follow the source, but it struck me as being more of a fan fiction than a retelling of the same story in another medium.

One thing that stood out to me in the book was the role birth order played in determining your life. The main character was the eldest, so it was assumed she inherit the business and live a dull, boring, uneventful life. Younger siblings didn't have much more control over their lives, and there's a side plot in which the main character's younger sisters switch identities so they can each pursue the life they would prefer rather than what was chosen for them. This struck me as something Austen would appreciate -- the lack of life choices.

But anyway.

I wrote this when I was going through writer's block for a P&P story, which I started because I was going through writer's block for something else, so this is kinda meta in that respect. But I also wrote it pretty quickly and tried to keep it short so I wouldn't give myself time to lose the thread. That meant a lot of characters and plot spurs got ignored, so I'm sorry if your favorite from HMC didn't make it, and I hope you still enjoyed it.

Catherine is supposed to be slowly discovering her magical abilities so I mentioned the doors opening a lot, how it goes from a rattling noise to seeing the light under the door, etc, until she can figure out how to get a door to take her where she wants to go. Her bespoke hats are all enchanted which is why she's the only one who can pull off the combinations of fabric and decorations, but she also learned the non magical side of the craft from her mother so she can train underlings. And since she learned potions from her father, she's not really an untrained magician, it's just a matter of her now realizing the hidden meaning behind what her father had taught her. (For the record, her father was a hedgewizard but had slowly wised up to the fact that things always working out in his favor was more than just being naturally lucky. But there was a stigma associated with being magical so he never sought a master to hone his skill, and he married and had kids, so no time for that either. And he did accidentally kill himself with magic when he was traveling, so the rest of the family wasn't hurt and didn't get the real details of his death.)

Master Errol is obviously General (gen-Errol) Tilney. I kept him separate from being the actual father in this story so he's easier to never see again. It's an undramatic defeat, but I didn't want it to be very actiony.

In the book, there's this little arc in which Sophie discovers that Howl isn't from their world; he's actually from ours and his real name is Howell. I used the shortening of the name for Master Tiln and eventually Mistress Morl. I have no idea what Errol's name is short for (other than General).

I had initially intended to use Isabella Thorpe as the Witch of the Waste, and there's a line in the first chapter about how John Thorpe is related to a witch which sets that up, but then I thought two villains was too many in a short story so I dropped her.

I used Eleanor as the fire demon Calcifer. In the source, the demon has the wizard's heart, but that would technically make the love interest "heartless" and I just couldn't write it. Plus, it felt too much like a copy than an homage. Plus, it felt like a more complicated and longer story than I wanted to write.

For the apprentice, I went with Allen. I was hoping for more opportunities to make Allen clueless/useless, because Mrs Allen is so comically worthless in Bath. But then there'd be some time with Allen (or Allen and Eleanor) and I couldn't make him too stupid because he needs to give Catherine valuable information. But I did rewrite a little to make Eleanor the better of the pair even tho she's not human and is therefore at a disadvantage.

As for the questions about the original hat and whether the bonnet is cursed, my thinking was that Catherine imbued her hats with magic drawn partly from the inherent magical properties of the materials she used (which she partially learned from her father) and from her own natural talent. This is why she can use the same materials as others and create completely different hats. This is also why, if you commissioned her to make you a hat for a successful businesswoman, her hat would truly make your business more successful. Her own hat had so much magic (originally put there by her father) layered over years and years of different enchantments as she updates the decorations.

At the start of the story, she's got a shy flower in the crown. (Currently, she had wrapped a band of springy green colored silk around the crown and had adorned the front with a sprig of Peeking Ginny and a few feathers she had found in the hat shop's back courtyard. The little flowers had an outer layer of petals nearly the same shade as the silk with a dark purple heart at the center. Peeking Ginny had always struck her as a shy flower, reluctant to claim notice and hiding its glory, and that was close to how Catherine felt now.) The hat was enchanted to help her avoid attention, which worked against John Thorpe until Tiln in his bird form knocked it off her head.

Out of all the enchanted hats in town, it was the layers and layers of magic that drew Tiln to Catherine. From then on, his fascination with the bonnet is really just his way of tracking it back to the source (Catherine).

Catherine did put some magic into the bonnet to extend her life (unintentionally) and the longer she wears it, the more dependent upon it she becomes. She was able to take it off after an hour or so the first evening, but after falling asleep in front of Eleanor and wearing it for a solid 24 hours, she was stuck with it as a crutch.

It was actually the magic of sharing their real names that broke their respective curses, by the way. True love's kiss is very nice, but I'll save that magic for another story.

And I enjoyed the coincidence of the tea theme for Sept and Catherine's potions. I have one more NA story for Halloween and then I think I need to write something not-NA, maybe finish one of the longer projects.

House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

NN SOctober 08, 2019 11:30AM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

PetraOctober 23, 2019 08:26PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

MichaOctober 16, 2019 10:53PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

EmelynOctober 14, 2019 11:11AM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

Maria VOctober 11, 2019 12:04PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

NN SOctober 14, 2019 01:49AM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

Lucy J.October 11, 2019 07:13AM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

MarciOctober 09, 2019 11:48PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

Maria VOctober 08, 2019 08:55PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

NN SOctober 08, 2019 10:45PM

Re: House with Kaleidoscope Doors, END

NN SOctober 08, 2019 11:34AM


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