#FaeFriday: Simon vs. the Intolerant Sorcerer’s Agenda

Page Two

WARNING:  This page contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell.

GIF image of Moriarty, from BBC Sherlock, making a mock-surprise face.

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First:  I LOVE those stories where I, the reader who’s familiar with Fangirl, can see a romance blossoming before one of the parties even realizes it.  And I LOVE, on the other hand, that if I hadn’t read Fangirl, Simon’s obsession with Baz wouldn’t necessarily read like a sign of romantic feelings.  Like, it’s entirely possible to read his rants and conspiracy theories and midnight wanderings as merely concerns for his and his friends’ safety.  After all, that’s how Harry’s obsession with Draco in The Half-Blood Prince officially turned out.

I can easily see myself doing an epic gasp-of-delight when Baz declares (to us) his love for Simon.

Although…I did start to roll my eyes at the umpteenth time the book showed that it wasn’t aware bisexuality exists.  Simon keeps fretting over whether liking Baz automatically cancels out any feelings he thought he had for Agatha.  Like, yes, it’s possible you weren’t truly in love with the first girl you ever dated because you’re not into girls at all, but you could also be bisexual.  That’s a thing.  It exists.  #minorsoapboxmoment

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Second:  Besides the debatable Bechdel performance and the tacky commentary on Real World horrors, the third element that put a dent in my rating was the way Ebb’s story arc ended.  On the one hand, I LOVE that she’s portrayed as the most powerful-yet-non-egocentric mage in the world, who gives her life to save another woman.  On the other hand, I HATE how quickly she agrees that it’s her job to die for the World of Mages.  Like, she’s supposed to be one of the most powerful mages in existence and yet she somehow can’t defeat The Mage without sacrificing her life?

I know, I know, the book is trying to make a big point about how Ebb’s sacrifice is so tragic because, as Agatha muses later, it was the only way to get the World of Mages to finally leave her alone.  All she wanted was to spend her days herding goats, and the World of Mages was like, Noooo, you HAVE to participate in our ridiculous politics!  It’s  your DUTY to use your talents for our most destructive purposes!

But, on the other hand, she’s the only known transgender character in the book and she has to die in the end???  Besides that, it feels a bit too much like (GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8 SPOILERS…skip to the next paragraph if you want)… the Daenerys ending.  Like, a woman with Too Much Power has to either be super humble about it and/or be killed off???

GIF image of Lindsay Ellis, formerly the Nostalgia Chick, saying "Thanks! I hate it."

I AM glad that Penelope’s mum gets to be headmistress, but why couldn’t Ebb also stay at Watford and peacefully herd goats for the rest of her days?  Or move with her goats to California, like Agatha (Watford doesn’t need all those goats, does it)?

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Third:  this is totally random, and didn’t lower my rating at all because it’s not a flaw, but I just want to note that, dear Crowley, that scene between Lucy and Davey was the unsexiest sex scene in all of YA literature.  It’s clearly intended to be unpleasant, and thank snakes it doesn’t last long.

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Ok, one more tiny thing that gave me a frowny face:  YOU DON’T STEAL SOMEONE’S DOG AND THEN JUST DROP IT IN THE SNOW AND FORGET ABOUT IT.  I mean, ok, I can mostly forgive Rowell because the dog ends up living happily (I assume) with Agatha in California, but STILL.

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Anyhoo, what do you think, fellow Simon fans?  How might Ebb’s arc have ended better?  Why couldn’t Simon have insta-healed her the way he healed the Mage?  And will that poor Normal guy be able to fill the hole in his heart where that adorable King Charles Spaniel used to be?

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Page Two Credits:

Moriarty gasp GIF from Refinery29.
“Thanks! I hate it.” from tenor.

9 comments

  1. The first trip I want to take is to LA to see my son (that was also the last trip I took at the beginning of March). We were planning a trip to Italy, so that’s the first place I want to go if I can travel again. We’ll have to see if Americans are ever going to be allowed out.
    I really, really like your point that when we deny that normal humans are capable of evil we end up underestimating evil even when we see it coming. I think we’ve just seen that in the U.S. (or as I’ve been calling it, the formerly united States).

    • L.A. is one of the first places I want to go, too! I only lived in that area for a few years when I was little, but sometimes I feel like I’m a California Gurl at heart 🌴🌺 🌊

  2. Sounds like an amazing read! I’ve avoided the spoilers for now, but it may be something I come back to…perhaps after I read the book? You’re so good at adding books to my pile!

  3. What a great review! Your list of examples makes me want to go back and read some of my favorite Harry Potter fanfics that make the same points. So many terrible decisions made by the adults in the wizarding world!

    I’ll have to add this to my TBR pile too. 🙂

    • Oooh, great idea! For some reason, I didn’t read many HP fanfics back in the day (I was more obsessed with Sherlock and Labyrinth fics), but there was one called “Fox Ears,” by Starhorse, that I really liked. It’s a post-Hallows story, and it’s pretty sweet.

  4. I love this review so much – it captures all my feelings about the book perfectly. I almost DNFd it because like you said, it felt like I picked up the last book in a series and had no idea what was going on. I was so confused! And the bisexual erasure was so frustrating to me – I wanted to reach in the book and shake Simon! And a lot of other characters for their questionable choices.

    And the part where Simon was confused because Penny was a brown girl named Penny 🤦🏻‍♀️ but there’s something about the series that makes me keep reading for some reason? I dunno

    • Yeah, Simon is a bit of a git. He learns from some of his mistakes, which I love, but then he does things like carelessly question Ebb about her brother — obviously a very sensitive topic for her. Like, hey, I know he’s your beloved twin and all, but I’m on a time crunch, so do you think he might be a murderer who also threatens little kids? 🙄

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