House of Many Ways

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House of Many Ways
Written by: Diana Wynne Jones
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Fantasy
Series: Howl's Castle
Preceded by: Castle in the Air
First published: June 7, 2008
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House of Many Ways is the second sequel to Diana Wynne Jones's novel Howl's Moving Castle.

It is set a couple of years after its predecessor. Again, a new protagonist is introduced as the book follows the story of Charmain, a sheltered bookworm who is assigned to caretake a cottage for her Great Uncle (who is also the Royal Wizard) but soon discovers the cottage is a magical labyrinth in disguise. The cast of the first book are given more involved roles than their cameo appearances in Castle in the Air, but still stay secondary to Charmain's plot.

See Howl's Castle for the list of tropes common to all of the books in this franchise.

Tropes used in House of Many Ways include:

"Yes, but I want to help you with the books!"

  • Deliberately Cute Child: Twinkle, who is actually Howl in magical disguise.
  • Face Full of Alien Wingwong: How lubbocks reproduce. If you're male, then you'll have the mercy of dying. If you're female... *shivers*
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: High Norland, in which House of Many Ways is set, is quite Switzerland-like--with the rolling, snowy mountains and meadows, the cuckoo clocks/sleds, tiny impish creatures, and all.
  • Gambit Pileup: Reading the last chapter, it's amazing how pretty much every single main character had a plan of their own in action, or was following someone else's, and how everything connected so well.
  • The Illegible: Howl's handwriting is frankly horrible -- Charmain wonders to herself if he uses a pen or a poker when he's writing.
  • Large Ham: Howl, and Melicot.
  • Lethal Chef: Peter is a terrible cook. Charmain gets so desperate, she asks her father, a baker, for a cookbook for him.
    • She is an even worse cook and still likes his food better than her own. She didn't even know how to cook.
  • MacGuffin Girl: And she's a dog.
  • Mama Bear: Sophie. Do NOT harm Morgan Jenkins if you know what's good for you. Howl also has a Papa Wolf moment when Prince Ludovic threatens Morgan, leading Howl to punch him in the face. Twice.
  • Our Elves Are Better: House Of Many Ways has a few brief appearences of elves of the "very tall, very beautiful" variety. They're also the best doctors! So although they're aloof, they aren't entirely stuck-up.
  • Portal to the Past: Among the house's many ways.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The King of High Norland. Not only is he willing to listen to Charmain and consider her opinions, but he respects her and is thankful to her for offering to help him in the library. Plus, he's just a generally good person.
  • Redheaded Hero: Charmain.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Waif the dog is originally thought to be male. Notable in that the third person omniscient narrator also makes the mistake until Peter points out that Waif is female.
    • Not a mistake. Waif pulled a Gender Bender after meeting (and effectively imprinting upon) Charmain.
  • Stable Time Loop: So, Wizard Norland specifically wants Charmain to watch his house because earlier in his life Charmain's friend whom she met while watching the house appeared to the Wizard and told him about Charmain?