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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:
- Arabian Nights Days: Abdullah's homeland is this.
- 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.
- Chekhov's Gun: Just about everything, really.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Pick a character, any character. Most importantly, the djinn admits to having a hand in everything the main characters go through. Naturally, he's in disguise for most of the important events.
- Distressed Damsel: Subverted. While the kidnapped princesses are being held captive, they do make several escape plans.
- Genie in a Bottle
- Harem Seeker: One of the djinn.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prophecy Twist: Flower-in-the-Night is prophesied to marry the first man besides her father she sees. Abdullah is prophesied that the sultan will raise him above all others. The first prophecy comes true, and the second turns out to be that the sultan wants Abdullah to marry to fulfill Flower-in-the-Night's prophecy, and then put Abdullah's head on a very high stake.
- 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.