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Carry On
By Rainbow Rowell

Discussed May 2019

Buy Carry On from Amazon.com

Characters

  • Simon Snow, the Chosen One
  • Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch (Baz)
  • Penelope Bunce
  • Agatha Wellbelove
  • The Mage (Davy)
  • Ebeneza Petty (Ebb)
  • Fiona Pitch
  • Mitali and Martin Bunce
  • Nicodemus Petty
  • Natasha Grimm-Pitch
  • Lucy Salisbury

Questions

  1. Did you read the whole book? Did you like it?
  2. Have you read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell? If you read it before Carry On, did that book make you want to read more about Simon? Did you come into Carry On with any expectations?
  3. Is Carry On a parody of fan fiction? Satire? Pastiche? Homage?
  4. The narrative jumps between characters, primarily Simon and Baz, but also Penelope, Agatha, the Mage, Lucy, and others. Does this narrative technique work for you as a reader? How does this compare with other young adult fantasy books you’ve read?
  5. The Simon Snow mythos is derived heavily from Harry Potter. What other works of fiction are reflected in this book?
  6. Because Carry On is a standalone novel and not the latest book in a series, a lot of worldbuilding exposition is explained at once. Is this effective or do you find it distracting?
  7. The magic in this world is powered by language and popular culture. Do you like this system? Does it make sense? Do you think you could create a new spell of your own, like older Watford students are required to do?
  8. The Harry Potter series has been criticized for its lack of queer content (despite the author’s insistence of its invisible presence). How do you feel about the queer content of Carry On? Is this what you like to read in genre fiction? Do you feel anything is lacking or could be improved upon?
  9. How do you feel about Simon and Baz’s relationship? Does it feel genuine? Or does the antagonism-turned-love come off as a cliché fanfic trope? Is that even a bad thing?
  10. Why do you think Simon is reluctant to label his sexuality while Baz is proud to call himself gay or queer?
  11. What do you think about Agatha and her relationships with Simon, Penelope, Baz, and the World of Mages as a whole? Does she have agency or is she written aside to make room for Simon and Baz? How do you feel about her decision to abandon magic?
  12. What do you think about The Mage? Did he have good intentions? Would he have been redeemable? How does he compare to similar magical leaders in fiction, like Dumbledore or Alma Coin?
  13. What do you think of Lucy and Davy’s relationship? Why did Lucy stay with him so long even when he ignored her?
  14. Are you satisfied by the ending? Do you intend to read the sequel, Wayward Son (out September 2019)?
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