Thoughts On “Castle In The Air” and Falling In Love

Abdullah is a hopeless-romantic, humble man making his living in the Zanzib bazaar selling carpets. He is given a chance to turn his life into a big adventure when a mysterious traveler sells him a magic carpet. The carpet takes him on a journey where he meets the beautiful and clever princess, Flower-in-the-Night, and all his dreams start coming true… including the nightmares.

“Castle In The Air” is the sequel to “Howl’s Moving Castle”. It is just as wonderful and clever, even if Abdullah is not quite on Howl’s level. (But honestly, who is? Howl is simply charming, in his cowardly-and-cunning sort of way. We’ll get to Howl later though.) I adore how witty Diana Wynne Jones’ writing is, and I am once again reminded of how poetic children’s books can actually be. I especially enjoyed how Abdullah would flatter the person he was talking to, even when he was using casual speech.

Even more so I loved Abdullah’s devotion to Flower-in-the-Night and their naive conversations. It is a very fairy-tale like love; with them falling in love at first sight and Abdullah going to the ends of the world to save her. Nevertheless it is not a shallow relationship, Abdullah does try to understand Flower-in-the-Night as a person and accepts that her beauty is not all she is. And Flower-in-the-Night has less spotlight than Abdullah but we also get to see that she has a big personality of her own. And when they are together, Abdullah uses the expression “just walking on air,” which is a lovely phrase to describe being in love and being loved back.

More on love… My favorite scene in the book is where Sophie and Abdullah are talking about the wizard Howl.

Sophie’s teeth chattered, but she said proudly, “He’s the best wizard in Ingary or anywhere else. If he’d only had time, he would have defeated that djinn. And he’s sly and selfish and vain as a peacock and cowardly, and you can’t pin him down to anything.”

And what I love about this is, Sophie never once thought of Howl as someone he was not. She knew about all his vices and loved him for them. I think of this as the realistic side of love.

Dearest reader, I haven’t been posting for a long time now. The reason I have is simple: I fell in love. Let me pull a dirty move and continue with a book quote that keeps bugging me all the time nowadays:

“What about you? Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.” – Nicole Krauss, History of Love

For me, this quote is the definition of love. There’s always that person on your mind. And the same person can make you feel elated one moment and gloomy the next. Sometimes they have no clue that they did so. And perhaps you are doing the same things to them and aren’t really aware of it.

What is the strangest to me is that I am learning something new about myself everyday. I am learning about courage, or more specifically, that fearing rejection never gets you anywhere. And that the fear of rejection still exists, even if you are together and happy. I am learning that patience is very difficult, that jealousy is an emotion difficult to control, and that no matter what happens, it won’t get any better until you talk it out somehow. And I’m still at the very beginning…

This thing called love. Am I in for an actual adventure?


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