The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 3, Chapters 1-2 Summary

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All of those involved with the circus have been invited to Chandresh Lefevre’s home in London to celebrate the circus’s thirteenth anniversary. It is 1899, and Poppet and Widget, at age the same age as the circus, are the youngest guests.

Celia arrives in a spectacular gown that changes color like a chameleon, depending on whatever color the person standing nearest her is wearing. Marco cannot take his eyes off her. After dinner, while the other guests are dancing in the ballroom, Marco grabs Celia’s hand and they escape the crowd. He tells her how much he has missed her and how sad it makes him that they cannot dance together because no one is supposed to know they are beginning a relationship together. The closer they stand together, the more the heat in the ballroom rises, causing several guests to complain that the room is too hot. When Celia notices that her dress is changing from green (matching Marco’s clothing) to gray, she suddenly pulls away. That is when Mr. A. H. enters the room in which Marco and Celia are standing. He asks to speak to Marco alone, so Celia leaves.

Mr. A. H. tells Marco that he does not recommend Marco’s involvement with Celia. In turn, Marco is angry with his teacher because Mr. A. H. has known all along that Celia was his opponent in the challenge. Marco wants to know why Mr. A. H. did not tell him from the beginning who she was. Mr. A. H. responds that it would not have made any difference. Then Marco wants to know how long the challenge will last. Mr. A. H. says that the last one went on for thirty-seven years. Marco insists that he and Celia cannot keep the circus going for that long. Marco wants to quit, but Mr. A. H. reminds him that this would be impossible. Both Celia and Marco are bound to the competition. In their youth, before their training began, both Marco and Celia were asked if they wanted to learn magic. Upon agreeing to commit to their training, both were given special rings that melded with their skin after being placed on their fingers. The ring would cause excruciating pain if they were to stop the competition prematurely. Therefore, they are bound to doing as their teachers tell them, which in their case is to continue with the competition. The competition cannot end, Mr. A. H. reminds Marco, until one of them wins. He then suggests that Marco stop seeing Celia so he can better focus on his work. Then Marco tells Mr. A. H. that he is in love with Celia. Mr. A. H. tells Marco that he is sorry to hear this.

Marco can listen to his teacher no more. He storms out of the room and goes quickly to the ballroom to find Celia. He takes her into his arms and kisses her. Although everyone stares at them, after Marco leaves the room no one but Celia can remember what just happened.

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Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary

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Part 3, Chapters 3-5 Summary