The Night Circus Read Along: Week 3

Tensions are winding tighter within the circus, as the magics that hold it all together seem to be unravelling…

Let’s discuss The Night Circus. (Spoilers below for Part 3, “Intersections”.)


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


So we have seen Marco and Celia grow up learning and using two very different styles of magic. Marco has what boils down to an anchor and amplifier while Celia is holding it all together with her own will. Have you changed your mind on who is stronger? 

This is interesting because they’re both fascinating to me; Marco uses an external battery of sorts for his illusions, while Celia is keeping them going on her own, without one. Is one approach better, or stronger, than the other? Not necessarily. Are they both risky to the person maintaining them? Probably, and that’s what keeps the tension going for me. Both Celia and Marco are proving themselves remarkably capable and powerful, but they’re also both putting themselves at risk; if one of them loses control of their magic, what happens to the circus and everyone in it?

We are now seeing that Marco has his magical threads woven into pretty much everything and everyone in the circus. He seems to me to be a rather dark character as in influencing people’s sanity and clearly causing Chandresh to lose his marbles. Do you have any thoughts on this? Is Celia also to blame since she seems (so far) less hands-on with destroying people than AH and Marco?

This is a good point about Marco – I definitely get the sense that he views the circus less as a gathering of people bringing something to life, and more a construct to be maintained that just happens to involve other people. I don’t think he has as much of a care for those people as Celia seems to. When Marco encounters any sort of pushback or problem involving another member of the circus his response seems to be to make the problem go away, whereas Celia at least seems to want to look out for any trouble before it begins, hence her keeping Poppet and Widget so close and telling them to come to her if anything bad is going to happen. And given the ending of this section of the book, it seems pretty clear that if either of them are willing to put an end to the circus or to walk away, it’s Celia, not Marco.

(Though to be fair, it’s unclear what might happen if Celia attempts to destroy the circus at this point…)

I always thought The Night Circus was a young adult novel, but as the years go on and the characters tear each other’s clothes off after only 1.5 kisses, it’s clearly an adult novel. On that note, do you think Celia’s feelings are genuine or do you think she’s playing Marco for an advantage?

Ah, the “logic” of marketing, heh!

Regarding Celia’s feelings… honestly, I’m undecided. I think her feelings are genuine, but I also think she wants to be free of this competition, and that she’s more willing than Marco to do whatever it takes to be able to walk away. At this point I’m pretty sure a bloodless victory is impossible, though I don’t think either Celia or Marco are to blame for that. It makes the question of what they’re willing to do to free themselves a very interesting one…

Lastly…. I think we are finally about to learn what the game is. After Mr A H said the last one lasted for 30- something years, what is your best guess now as far as how a winner is going to be declared? With the rest of the book catching up to Bailey’s timeline, do you think he’s going to play into it – Or was Isobel breaking the scales the penultimate straw?

This is the really interesting part of the book for me, because I have no recollection at all of how it ends! But as I said, I don’t think any sort of bloodless victory is going to happen. And, much like I’ve noted previously regarding the dangers of pitting people against each other without explaining the rules, it’s becoming clear that the other people involved in the circus, if not the competition, are starting to chafe at their restraints.

I think what Isobel did is going to be the start of the dominoes falling, so to speak – if the safeguards against chaos break down, then no one is safe anymore. As for Bailey … I don’t think he’s going to enjoy his next encounter with the circus quite so much.


1 comments On The Night Circus Read Along: Week 3

  • I have a very vague memory of the ending… but I remember enough that it’s hard for me to answer that last question without spoilers. But on the other hand, I have no idea how long Celia and Marco’s competition has been going or will go on. I haven’t been paying attention to the years listed, and with no one really aging the sense of time is just not very immediate for me.

    I do agree with your comments about Celia being more personally invested in the circus, since she travels with it and knows the other performers so much better than Marco does.

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