Literature: Castle in the Air

A companion piece to Howl's Moving Castle, written by Diana Wynne Jones. The story centers on Abdullah, a moderately successful carpet merchant who daydreams of adventures and beautiful princesses. That is, until a stranger sells him a magic flying carpet and all his dreams begin coming true.

Like Howl's Moving Castle, the story lampshades, subverts and plays with various tropes related to the Arabian Nights.

The book provides examples of:

  • Achilles in His Tent: Prince Justin is apparently in the habit of doing this.
  • Arabian Nights Days: Abdullah's homeland is this.
  • Babies Ever After: Both Sophie and Lettie give birth during the book - to a son and a daughter, respectively.
  • Badass Princess: All of the princesses. No exceptions.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A large number of Abdullah's daydreams come true - including his most horrible ones that include merciless villains and the like. Turns out Hasruel did this on purpose.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A number of the main characters from Howl's Moving Castle turn out to have been trapped in the form of various creatures.
  • Beta Couple: Abdullah and Flower in the Night are the main couple, with Justin and Beatrice as the Beta Couple. The alpha and beta couples from Howl's Moving Castle also appear in supporting roles.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Hasruel to Dalzel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Just about everything, really.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Pick a character, any character. Most importantly, Hasruel admits to having a hand in everything the main characters go through. Naturally, he's in disguise for most of the important events.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Princess Valeria's screeching.
  • Cool Old Lady: The Princess of Tsapfan, a magic-user and mother to fourteen boys.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The Strangian soldier goes completely gooey over the cats. Abdullah, on the other hand, is firmly convinced that Cats Are Mean.
  • Cute Kitten: Whippersnapper.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted. While the kidnapped princesses are being held captive, they do make several escape plans.
  • Evil Feels Good: Hasruel admits to it.
  • Forced Into Evil: Hasruel...but he's thoroughly enjoying it.
  • Genie in a Bottle
  • Harem Seeker: Dalzel. He settles for all of the highborn ladies in the world because no female djinn will have him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Hasruel's life is under his nose.
  • I Choose to Stay: Abdullah and Flower-In-The-Night stay in Ingary.
  • Jackass Genie: He grants only one wish a day and thinks up ways to specifically screw whoever makes the wish over. His justification is being stuffed in an old bottle makes him cranky. Toward the end, the genie is revealed to be Howl, cursed to be a genie by the djinn.
  • Kid with the Leash: Dalzel to Hasruel.
  • Magic Carpet: Turns out to be Calcifer, changed into a carpet by the djinn.
  • Mama Bear: Sophie. Do NOT harm Morgan Jenkins if you know what's good for you.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Strangian soldier finances his tour of Ingary by flashing a few gold coins in a village and waiting until the local toughs attack him.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The djinn's hideout. Turns out to be none other than Howl's moving castle, transformed by magic.
  • Our Genies Are Different: Played with — the two djinns mentioned are powerful, but one has control over a host of angels, which is in line with some mythology, but they also have more of a demonic shape. There is also a genie, which is the normal granter of wishes.
  • Pair the Spares: The two fat cousins from Abdullah's stepfamily are married off to Dalzel.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Prince Justin of Ingary and Princess Beatrice of Strangia.
  • Pet the Dog: All of Abdullah's actions toward Jamal.
  • Prophecy Twist: Abdullah is prophesied to be raised above all others in the land. At first, he assumes this means he will become famous and powerful. After he attracts the ire of the sultan — who has a penchant for impaling people he dislikes on forty-foot stakes — Abdullah faces the prospect of the prophecy coming true in an unpleasantly literal way. Ultimately, the prophecy is instead implied to have been fulfilled by Abdullah reaching the floating castle, which is a lot higher up than forty feet.
  • Rags to Royalty: Given that Abdullah is a common carpet merchant in love with a princess, this should be obvious. It's averted entirely. Instead, Abdullah and Flower-In-The-Night are given diplomatic titles and live well, but certainly not as King and Queen.
  • Save the Princess: Abdullah's quest. Later on, the djinn admits that he's tried to bait many princes into trying to rescue their beloveds; but Abdullah has so far been the only one to try.
  • Talk About the Weather: One of the princesses in the castle complains that, since it's up above the clouds, there isn't any weather to talk about.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Among her other virtues, Beatrice can darn socks. And mend boots.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The final plan to defeat the djinns.

Alternative Title(s):

Castle In The Air