Yes, I know exactly what you were thinking when you read that title. Wizards are people like Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, or Merlin, but “gay” is probably not a word you would associate with them. The thought of “gay wizards” probably paints a quite interesting picture in your mind. On one hand, there are these people with wands who are blasting each other or are turning teapots into toads. On the other hand, there are two people of the same gender kissing. Putting them together, is.….kind of peculiar. Although the idea of “gay wizards” seems to be very weird, and possibly even frowned-upon, Rainbow Rowell was brave enough to venture this realm of imagination by creating the book Carry On, about the experiences of Simon Snow at the magical school of Watson.
The two main characters, Simon Snow and Basilton (Baz) Pitch were actually a fan-fiction of the Magical World of Mages from another of Rainbow Rowell's books, Fangirl. Fan-fictions oftentimes are fictional stories written on the basis of actual fandom subjects by fans, and Rowell took this fan-fiction to another level by elaborating upon it and creating this book.
Simon originally was from an orphanage, and did not know there was such thing as the magical world. Meanwhile, there was a dark force named the Insidious Humdrum who was constantly wreaking havoc in the magical world by creating “dead spots,” which are literally places where wizards and magical creatures could not use any power. There was a “Chosen One” who was prophesized for many years in being the one who will be able to stop the Humdrum. One day the Mage, who is a leader in the magical world and the headmaster of the magic school, Watson, finds Simon and finds out he is the Chosen One. Afterwards, the Mage deems Simon the Mage’s heir, and takes him to Watson where he learns skills in magic. Simon makes a close friend Penelope who he is able to communicate with on school and life, and an enemy who happens to be his roommate, named Baz Pitch. Baz is part of one of the original families, in this case the Pitch family, who held much power before the Mage’s reform. Since the originally powerful families still oppose the Mage, it only makes sense that Baz, the Pitch’s heir, and Simon, the Mage’s heir, are enemies. Now as Simon and Baz enter their eighth and final year at Watson, they learn powerful lessons in societal pressure, trust, and forgiveness.
Simon and Baz have a really rough history that involves a lot of serious issues no other teenager probably experiences. Not even mentioning the fact that they are roommates and are practically made to be enemies, Simon actually broke up with his girlfriend, Agatha, because he spotted her holding hands with Baz. Baz apparently tried to kill Simon once by making him face the Chimera that nearly got both of them killed. He even tried to steal Simon’s voice, which is the worst thing anybody could ever do to a mage. Without his voice, Simon would no longer be able to cast spells, but Baz failed in this scheme. Throughout Simon’s experiences at Watson, Baz always seems to be plotting against Simon. (Spoiler Alert!!!) Actually, Baz was doing all this to hide his actual feelings towards Simon. In fact, Baz always had feelings of love towards Simon ever since he was twelve. Baz’s actions can be understood as human nature. In the beginning when Simon and he were arranged to be roommates, they both knew their identities. Before even getting to know each other, they are already categorized to be known as enemies. Baz’s mom died when he was four at a nursery disaster with vampires who actually bit Baz and made him a vampire. The trauma after his mom’s death and the fact that he was a vampire left him emotionally troubled and devastated. Baz can be considered as confused because he knows he likes Simon, but shows the opposite. Like in the real world, homosexuality is constantly disapproved in society. Many disapprove of homosexuality because of religion or just the fact that being attracted to someone of the same gender cannot be understood by many. In fact, Baz’s family are among the people who just think that being homosexual is wrong. They constantly bug him about making sure he carries on the Pitch name. If the social and expectational barriers are not present, Baz and Simon would be able to be together. Baz’s circumstance can be seen in the real world today. Homosexualness and gay marriage was always a constantly debated topic, but oftentimes is not allowed because of social barrier and expectations that Baz also faces. Baz, bearing the stress of his family expectation, society, and reputation fails to express his feelings to Simon.
As Baz does more and more bad deeds to Simon and vice versa, they just make it much harder to accept and forgive one another. During their eighth year, the ghost of Baz’s mom visits Simon and tells him information to transfer to Baz. When Simon does, Baz reacts negatively, but ends up getting moved by his mother. The idea of trust is present because Baz only decides to trust Simon because his mother was willing to trust Simon by giving him important information. This shows that people often trust others if a close one decides to trust. The beginning trust they build helps resolve some of their previous misunderstandings because they are willing to sit down and listen to each other explain. Finally, they forgive one another. They come to an agreement of helping each other solve their issues. Simon helps Baz in finding the vampires responsible for Baz’s mom’s death, and Baz helps Simon defeat the Insidious Humdrum. The theme of how people are stronger together is present. If Baz and Simon chose to ignore each other and continue on like they were before, none of them would be successful in solving their problems. In fact, the problems would only magnify. Trusting and forgiving each other was a smart move they both took to make their lives easier.
Many themes in life about trust and forgiveness are present throughout this. Homosexuality, and the societal pressure against it are also important themes. This gives readers a new feeling apart from the stereotypical fantasy and romantic genre books. Hungry for fresh air in romantic fantasy? Check this out!Please comment below and give your thoughts on Baz and Simon. What questions do you have regarding Baz and Simon? Is there something about homosexuality that you think should be played out better? If you would not want to read the book, why?