The Night Circus Read Along: Week 2

The competition continues as we see birth, death, and questions raised about the true nature of the Circus. And all of these things may be connected…

Let’s discuss The Night Circus. (Spoilers follow for Part 2, “Illumination”.)


Two figures, one suited and the other in a long gown with a flowing red scarf, silhouetted in white against a black background along with a dove in flight. Text reads: THE NIGHT CIRCUS / A WYRD & WONDER READ ALONG


As the circus establishes itself, so it attracts a special kind of enthusiast, the rêveur. The clockmaker Herr Thiessen is one of these ‘dreamers’ – he doesn’t want to understand how the magic is performed, instead he is happy to be enchanted by it. What are your thoughts and feelings about the rêveurs?

It’s a fandom with a dash of cosplay thrown in, when you get right down to it, and it delights me. As for Herr Thiessen, his viewpoint is an interesting one. He wants to keep his head in the clouds and not be troubled by the inner workings, but at least he’s self-aware. I think I’d like him a bit less if he was just bent on being oblivious, but he also has an appreciation for the mechanics of it all. His acceptance of the reality of magic makes him a curious sort of person to me, though I worry that his willingness to accept it might blind him to any trouble he’ll end up in because of his connection to the circus? He is precious and I want to protect him…

Bailey, on the other hand, seems to be developing a different relationship with the circus and through his budding friendship with Poppet and Widget we are able to see how the circus has expanded and developed over the 10 years between his storyline and Herr Thiessen’s. Do you think Bailey will become a rêveur, or do you think he will become involved with the circus in a different way as he grows up?

No, I think his connection to the circus is already more intimate than that, thanks to his friendship with two of its performers. Though, much like Celia and Marco, I think there’s something going on with Poppet and Widget that even they don’t fully understand and that this is going to put them all at risk somehow. Beneath all the charm and wonder of being part of the circus and, in Bailey’s case seeing it so intimately, there’s something that makes me uneasy. It’s pretty compelling, but I’m easily invested. I want them to be safe and to hug them and protect them, even while I’m curious about just what the heck is really going on!

“We are fish in a bowl, dear … watched from all angles. If one of us floats to the top, it was not accidental.” What do you think about Tsukiko’s statement, about Tara Burgess’ death, and about the ageless health experienced by the circus performers? Are these all part of the same thing, or are we seeing different magics at work?

A little bit of both? I think there are forces at work here that no one fully understands – I think something about the creation of this circus has created this unique circumstance that’s binding everyone involved in it. I also think that lack of understanding is dangerous for them. I don’t know/remember what exactly was behind what Tara saw before she died, or whether it’s directly linked to the circus, but it can’t be good. Right?

I think if anyone knows more than the rest about what’s going on, it’s Marco – but I suspect even he’s out of his depth, or will be by the end.

Even Celia and Marco are having to work out the parameters of the competition into which they’ve been thrown. Do you like their collaborations? Do you think they’re competing in the way A.H. and Hector intended? (And how do you think a winner will be chosen?)

Very yes, and very no, heh!

I love that they’re stepping out of what A.H. and Hector consider to be their boundaries, because of course that’s going to happen when you put two people in a situation like this and then don’t explain the rules. But that’s where the real sinister heart of the story lies for me – I think that Celia and Marco are just the human equivalent of pieces on a game board to these men. The real competition is going on between the two of them, and Celia and Marco are merely pawns. I’ve suspected strongly from the start that it won’t even matter if they both survive it. Which probably doesn’t say anything good about the conditions for victory, does it?



Week 1: Part One, “Primordium” – questions on or by Sunday, May 5th, hosted by Dear Geek Place
Week 2: Part Two, “Illumination” – questions on or by Sunday, May 12th, hosted by Bookforager
Week 3: Part Three, “Intersections” – questions on or by Sunday, May 19th, hosted by Athena at OneReadingNurse
Week 4: Parts Four and Five, “Incendiary” & “Divination” – questions on or by Sunday, May 26th, hosted by Dear Geek Place


1 comments On The Night Circus Read Along: Week 2

  • I found your comment about even Marco being out of his depth interesting. To me, Marco seems like he thinks he’s in complete control of the situation… but the reader, at a minimum knows that he is not. He’s not aware of that fact yet, though…

    (And about Tara, she saw the man in the grey suit appearing to argue with himself (or maybe a shadow?) on the train platform, stepped forward to investigate, and didn’t see the train that was coming. Poor thing. I think she, at least, was aware that she was in over her head, and just didn’t know what to do about it.)

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