64 pages 2 hours read

Rainbow Rowell

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Symbols & Motifs

Magical Fire

Throughout the novel, fire is often associated with magic, which is one of the most formidable and versatile forms of power. In Chapter 1, Simon recalls Baz’s advice about how to control magic: “Light a match inside your heart, then blow on the tinder” (6). Baz learned this metaphor from his late mother, who possessed tremendous magical and political power as the headmistress of Watford and the leader of the magical world.

A match represents potential. Once lit, it can be used to provide warmth and light or to cause destruction. In the novel, magical power likewise can be used either to help or to harm depending on the intentions of the person casting the spell. In Chapter 33, Baz observes, “Sharing a room with the person you want most is like sharing a room with an open fire” (177). In this appearance of the motif, Simon’s power over Baz stems not from his status as the Chosen One but rather from Baz’s love for him. The comparison of Simon to flames is especially significant because vampires are highly flammable: A fire spell gave Baz’s mother the power to destroy herself and the vampire who bit her.

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By Rainbow Rowell