The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: FAQ [2024 Edition]

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Fanart for The Night Circus

The Night Circus is a fantasy romance book written by New York Times bestseller, Erin Morgenstern. 

The Night Circus was published back in 2011 and has quickly gained its place amongst modern classics in fantasy literature.

In this article, you can find answers to some of the most common questions regarding this book.

What is the opening line of The Night Circus?

“The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

What is The Night Circus about?

This book follows a competition between age-old rivals and their chosen competitors. 

The venue for this competition is a magical circus that is only open at night. 

As the competition goes on, bizarre things start to happen inside the circus that are out of everyone’s control. 

This story is full of imagination and will make you feel fully engrossed in the story.

In fact, the reader gets to visit the circus and is one of the characters in the book. 

Who are the main characters?

First, we have Celia Bowen.

She is a lovely down-to-earth woman who is curious about life. She is clever and kind. 

As we learn in the first chapter, Celia’s magic enables her to manipulate matter and affect items’ features.

Next, we have Marco Alisdair.

He is a book-loving person who is very good at observing others. 

His magic stems from symbols and written spells. He is also excellent at directing people’s eyes and thoughts where he wants them.

Another important character is Bailey Clarke. He is a young boy dreaming of a different life. He is also hopeful and curious about the world.

Bailey falls in love with the circus and represents the readers in a way. 

Bailey’s journey is an eventful one. He never stops thinking and dreaming.

Who is Isobel?

Isobel Martin is a fortune-teller who meets Marco early on in the book.

She is his associate in the circus. 

Isobel knows about the competition but not much about the details surrounding it. 

She is worried about various things throughout the book.

And she feels very nostalgic for the past.

Who is Chandresh?

Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre is an ambitious man who is passionate about his projects. 

Chandresh is looking for something new and came up with the idea of a circus.

He collects an array of talents to help him design and plan this new feat. 

Marco ends up as his assistant. 

Chandresh is also a wealthy man who hosts extravagant dinner parties with exquisite foods.

Who is Poppet?

Poppet Murray is a member of the Night Circus. She is a happy and humorous girl with gorgeous red hair. 

Poppet, along with her twin brother Widget, were born in the Night Circus on its opening night. 

Together they train kittens for their show in the circus. But just like the circus itself, the twins are not what they seem.

Who is Hector?

Hector Bowen, also known as Prospero the Enchanter, is Celia’s father. 

He is a very old man who has lost his humanity. 

Hector competes with his associate and chooses Celia as his trainee for the contest. 

But he doesn’t want to be an actual father to Celia. Rather, her abilities are what interest him.

Is The Night Circus YA?

The Night Circus is not a young adult book. 

It is purely adult fiction, with characters over 18-years-old and mature scenes. 

It also has a lot more descriptive writing and symbolism, which is less common in the young adult genre.

What are the themes in this book?

The very prominent themes in this book are love, family, community, and mortality.

Whose point of view is The Night Circus written in?

The Night Circus features pages in-between the actual story. These pages are from a second-person point of view from the reader’s perspective. 

Otherwise, third-person narrative is present throughout. 

The character whose point of view we are following the story from changes frequently. 

I think this aspect of the book makes it more interesting.

How long is The Night Circus?

The Night Circus is 490 pages long with five parts.

Does The Night Circus have romance?

Yes, the Night Circus does have romance and a swoon-worthy one at that.

In fact, this book actually features two romances between two couples. However, the romance between Marco and Celia is the primary romance. 

The second romance is not introduced until halfway through the book.

Is The Night Circus an enemies-to-lovers story?

Yes, the Night Circus is an enemies-to-lovers story, given how Marco and Celia are rivals and supposed to be enemies.

However, this romance isn’t necessarily the enemies-to-lovers trope you might expect.

Enemies-to-lovers brings to mind characters who go from hating to then loving each other. 

Our main characters are only supposed to hate their opponents.

Is The Night Circus LGBTQ+?

No, the Night Circus is not LGBTQ+. 

The couples featured are both heterosexual couples. 

However, the story mentions a character who has been in love with a person of the same sex.

Does The Night Circus fall into the category of magical realism?

Magical realism is a branch of fiction, where the magic is still within the real world.

Books that are magical realism blur the line between fantasy and reality. 

The Night Circus is magical realism and is a fine example of it.

Is there a sequel to the Night Circus?

The Night Circus is a stand-alone book, so there is no sequel. We can always hope though!

Is there a movie of the Night Circus?

There is no movie of this book yet. 

Although, a movie is on the way.

Some movie executives claimed the movie rights before the book was even out. However, the production has been slow.

But it is still coming and fans are hoping to see it on the big screen soon.

The Night Circus and NaNoWriMo

There are rumors going around that Erin Morgenstern wrote the Night Circus during NaNoWriMo (aka NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth). 

This is partly true since Morgenstern completed the first and second drafts a year apart during NaNoWriMo.

However, Morgenstern rewrote the story numerous times after that.

What are the rêveurs?

Rêveurs is French for dreamers. 

The fans of the circus call themselves that in the books. 

They wear a splash of red in their otherwise black-and-white outfits to set them apart.

Where does The Night Circus take place?

The circus itself travels all around the world and so we get to go along with it. The story takes place in cities like London, New York, Paris, and others. 

Is The Night Circus good or worth reading?

Obviously, everyone has their own unique taste. But if you like fantasy, magical realism, and/or romance, I bet you will like this book.

In my opinion, it is completely dazzling, amazing and breath-taking! 

In fact, this is my favorite book of all time. 

Erin Morgenstern describes her work as being “fairy tales in one way or another.” This book feels like a fairy tale all the way through and will be sure to leave an impression on you. 

It features beautiful writing and will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Moreover, this novel spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated to 37 languages.

Plus, it has a 4,03 rating on Goodreads.

In short, give it a try if you feel even slightly intrigued!

Other books by Erin Morgenstern

Unfortunately, Morgenstern has not put out many pieces of writing following this one. 

In 2014, she published Flax-Golden Tales online. This work is a collection of ten sentence stories inspired by photographs taken by her friend. 

And in late 2019, Erin Morgenstern published her other full-length novel, The Starless Sea. It is a young adult fantasy and just as gripping as the Night Circus!

Is The Night Circus sad?

There are some sad parts to this book that will probably make you tear up a bit if you are an emotional reader. 

As the circus continues to evolve, many characters are swept up with it and not always in a good way.

Although overall, this story is a hopeful one.

Memorable quotes from The Night Circus

“People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.” 

“You’re looking for Poppet.” “What’s a poppet?”

“There may be decisions to make, and surprises in store. Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”

“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well.”

“I remember the people who look at me the way you do.” “What way might that be?” “As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me.”

“It frightens me how much I like it. How tempting it is to lose myself in you. To let go.”

“I would have written you myself if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a dreamer.” “There is not. But dreams have ways of turning into nightmares.”

“I made a wish on this tree years ago.” “What did you wish for?” “I wished for her.”


How does The Night Circus end?

Chandresh accidentally kills Herr Thiessen instead of the man in the grey suit as intended. 

As a result, Celia tries to find a way to end the game while still keeping the circus and its occupants going.

Celia learns that the game ends when one of the contestants dies, she tells Marco about this. And they both try to persuade their mentors to no avail. 

Tsukiko sees that the competition is dangerous for the circus and its members. Therefore, she comes up with a solution to magically kill Marco by encasing him in the fire.

At the last moment, Celia rushes to save him. They both end up becoming incorporeal beings still bound to the circus. 

With Celia not tangible anymore, her hold on the circus is breaking. So, the bonfire goes out and the circus starts to crumble down. 

Bailey then arrives at the courtyard. After speaking to Tsukiko, he enters the tent where Marco is waiting. Marco tries to explain his and Celia’s current state to him. 

Marco leads Bailey into a tent where the circus members are frozen motionless. 

Then they head to Celia’s location. Marco and Celia explain to Bailey that the circus needs a caretaker for it to go on. They explain that Bailey would be tightly bound to the circus and it would be something he would have to carry always. 

After agreeing, Bailey rushes to relight the bonfire. He succeeds. Celia and Marco survive and will continue to haunt the circus as ghosts together. 

Poppet and Widget then take hold of the remaining circus properties after negotiating with Chandresh and Mr. A.H-. 

We are left with the knowledge that the circus continues on existing just as it was.

Who wins the competition in The Night Circus?

The competition is won when the other opponent cannot continue. This often means their death. 

As neither Celia nor Marco can continue the competition as beings in-between realities, the game ended. And it ended without a declared winner. 

Let me know in the comments if you have any remaining questions!

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