And this is where things really started to go weird for me I think on my first read-through, as the movie version, which I saw first, was a fairy-tale fantasy story through and through (with the usual Miyazaki weirdness), and now here all of a sudden we're veering into the Real World. And Wales, no less.
(Although it's mean of Howl to be sniping at Sophie about "nosing" when she's just found herself in a whole other world...)
This seems a good place to mention that the "saucepan song" that has come up now and again (and is mentioned here again) is Sosban Fach, a traditional Welsh song.
Also, now that we know the poem is from the real world, it's pretty easy to identify it as one of the older-generation copied papers. At least, if you ever had them in school... we had those questionable quality ones, and also the old mimeograph types that ended up purplish.
I also find it weird and interesting that magic seems to work just fine in the real world, here, as well. I guess it's just a matter of people living here not having found the right way to do it? Then again, Miss Angorian seems to be familiar with spells, and it seems to be common knowledge that Howl did a thesis on charms and spells, so... maybe this is a different version of the real world? Or maybe Howl/Howell did his work on the old charms, etc., that people *tried* to use in ye olden days, and it's not expected they'd work, it was just historical interest. Or something.
I do think it's fairly stupid of Sophie to be "wondering at the familiarity of" the game that the boys are playing now, since while she's not used to this world, she's also not stupid, and should recognize the moving castle quite easily.
I'll admit, the little we're hearing/seeing of Megan here makes ME want to slither out, as well.
And while we're doing links, this is the full version of the poem, "Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star)" by John Donne. *puts the link down slowly and backs away...*
Doing a quick search on the web (yeah, I'm being lazy), 10,000 days equals 27 years, 4 months, 15 days. Which gives us an idea of Howl's age.
Also, since Howl was Mrs. Pentstemmon's last student, and she gave up teaching about three years ago, he's apparently been a wizard around that long. I do enjoy this more round-about way of learning things, rather than the much more clunky "as you know, Bob" or info-dumps or whatever. Wynne Jones seems to have been very good at that type of craft.
And here we get more interesting bits dropped - Ben Sullivan mentioned again, and connected to Suliman. And just in case we hadn't picked up on it from the hints before, we have it spelled out flatly that Sophie can do magic, bringing life to things, as Mrs. Pentstemmon puts it.
It is at least nice of Howl to be worried about Sophie, and suggest she skip seeing the king, since it's obviously important to him. But we'll have to wait a couple days to see how that goes. :p (Or at least to discuss it!)
And remember, chapters 13 and 14 on Friday!