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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 384

You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.

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I imagine a lot of people have some sort of image of what they want their life to be, as well as some kind of plan for bringing that vision about. Sometimes, your life is on track and closely resembles your vision, while other times, parts of it careen off-course for a while and we struggle to regain control and bring back them into alignment with our goals and vision. Here, by "endgame," the author may mean the important goal of reaching our imagined life. By hoping we get an "endgame," life holds possibility and meaning. Getting a girlfriend is an important endgame prize in the mind of young Simon, but of course, no girlfriend wants to be thought of in this way.

At Watford, magic is just the air we breathe.

Watford is an exclusive magic school where the protagonist, Simon Snow, is in his final year before graduation. He is remembering all of the intrigues and exploits of the many years he has been there and considering the current magical crisis. Simon has a sort of double that looks like he did when he was eleven and first experienced his magical powers, but this negative alter ego destroys magic and will have to be dealt with.

Words are very powerful,” Miss Possibelf said during our first Magic Words lesson. No one else was paying attention; she wasn’t saying anything they didn’t already know. But I was trying to commit it all to memory. “And they become more powerful,” she went on, “the more that they are said and read and written, in specific, consistent combinations."

The belief in the power of words is as old as civilization. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Hellenes, and Romans believed certain words had the power to influence outcomes. This belief formed the basis of spells, incantations, and prayers. The author, instead of using Latin (as in the Harry Potter novels), uses everyday English from nursery rhymes to song lyrics as the basis of the magical incantations and spells used at Watford. The title "Carry On" itself is reiterated throughout the book and is humorously derived from the 1970s Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody."

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