Did the Baudelaire orphans survive “Chapter Fourteen”?

“The End” left us with a literal question mark: the Baudelaires took to the sea, and Lemony Snicket ended the series abruptly. What became of them once they left the Island? A coded sentence in “The Beatrice Letters” gives us the answer: their ship, the Beatrice, sank. End of story: the Baudelaires died in the depths of the ocean.


Except their foster daughter, Beatrice Baudelaire Jr, somehow survived this shipwreck. If a baby can survive that, why not the three other Baudelaires? Is there still some hope of finding proof of their presence on the mainland?

And if there is, why is Lemony not doing anything about it?

Let’s unravel the series’ final mystery after the cut.

Keep reading

Did Beatrice survive the Baudelaire fire?

Did anybody actually survive the fire which destroyed the Baudelaires’ home? In “The Hostile Hospital” and “The Carnivorous Carnival”, this possibility becomes the driving force of the plot, as both volunteers and villains aim to enquire about the Baudelaire parents’ whereabouts. Then, in “The Slippery Slope”, this question is abruptly answered and never brought up again:

[Klaus] reached through his layers of clothing until he found his pocket, and pulled out page thirteen from the Snicket file, which he had been carrying with him since the Baudelaires had found it at Heimlich Hospital. The page had a photograph of their parents, standing with Jacques Snicket and another man the Baudelaires had been unable to identify, and above the photograph was a sentence Klaus had memorized from reading it so many times. ’“Because of the evidence discussed on page nine,’” he recited tearfully, “‘experts now suspect that there may in fact be one survivor of the fire, but the survivor’s whereabouts are unknown.’” […]
“I think the survivor is here,” the scout said quietly, and removed his mask to reveal his face at last. “I’m Quigley Quagmire,” he said.
[The Slippery Slope, Chapter Eight]

…for Heaven’s sake, Quigley. Not every single conversation revolves around YOU.

The reader is supposedly expected to believe the Baudelaire orphans just saw what they wanted to believe in the thirteenth page of the Snicket File, and that the sentence had actually refered to Quigley Quagmire all along. This is framed as an act of maturity: the Baudelaire must abandon the delusions and wish-fulfillment of childhood and accept the reality of death.

But could this not, conversely, be interpreted as an act of despair? Did the Baudelaires drop the case too early? We’ll reopen the investigation after the cut.

Keep reading

Did Lemony stalk the Baudelaire orphans from his taxi?

The very first discovery readers make about the mythology of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” is, naturally, the purpose of its semi-fictional narrator:

  • Who is he?
  • What does he want?
  • When did he start recording the lives of the Baudelaire orphans?
  • Why do they matter to him?

We do get an answer to all of these mysteries, in “The End”.

But these are all the wrong questions.

The real question is: “Can we, as a reader, trust the benevolent image he tries to project?”

There is indeed a difference between giving the facts and telling the truth. And when it comes down to it, there is something unseemly about the idea of a grown man exposing these children’s darkest turmoils for the benefit of complete strangers. Without apparent consent, no less.

Let’s embark together on a troubling journey and retrace Lemony’s investigation, step by step. We will analyze his methods; we will question his motives. And we will paint a very different picture of Mr Snicket’s works than the one he wants us to believe… after the cut.

Keep reading

Did Mr. Poe forge the Baudelaire parents’ last will and testament?

Stranger things have happened. In fact, Lemony Snicket seems to imply the very thing.

On the day Mr. Poe came to tell the Baudelaire orphans of their parents’ death, the banker was suspected of hiding something in his top hat, and Violet’s suspicion that he was a dangerous figure in their lives is heavily analyzed in the text:

p.5 She felt the slender, smooth stone in her left hand, which she had been about to try to skip as far as she could. She had a sudden thought to throw it at the figure, because it seemed to frightening.
Please see my note on page 7.

[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, Notes]

p.7 Violet, with some embarrassment, felt the stone in her left hand and was glad she  had not thrown it at Mr. Poe.
Please see my note to pages 9-10.

[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, Notes]

pp.9-10 …Violet had to drop the stone she was holding.
Dropping a stone you had been thinking about throwing at someone might mean that you believe violence to be an immoral and ineffective way of solving problems, which instead increases the amount of strife, turmoil, and bruises in the world, which in turn only encourages other people to pick up stones.
Tomorrow afternoon I am interviewing a semi-retired amateur geologist to see if this dropped stone is the same as the one Violet picks up at her second visit to Briny Beach.

[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, Notes]

But what would Mr. Poe have hidden in his top hat? Well, let’s ask the guy who directly benefited from the Baudelaire parents’ death and the subsequent handling of their estate:

“No,” Olaf said with another frown. “There was some argument about his name, actually, as a baby adopted by his orphaned children also bore the same name.”
“Bertrand,” Omeros said.
“No,” Olaf said, and frowned yet another time. “The adoption papers were hidden in the hat of a banker who had been promoted to Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs.”
“Mr. Poe?” asked Sadie.
“Yes, ” Olaf said with a scowl, “although at the time he was better known under his stage name. But I’m not here to discuss the past.

[The End, Chapter Eleven]

Was Mr. Poe hiding the original will from the Baudelaire orphans? Did he forge a new one so they would end up in the claws of their parents’ mortal enemy?

No. That would be crazy, right? But there is a story there. Find out more after the cut.

Keep reading

post-transport  asked:

Hi Sleuth, love your blog! Question about the Baudelaire parents: at some point in the series, the Baudelaires mention that their parents hosted dinner parties with their friends that the siblings were allowed to attend if they helped clean up afterward. Because they don’t seem to recognize any of the VFD associates or friends of the parents throughout the series - except for Mr. Poe - who are the people at the dinner party??

Thank you for your support, @post-transport! It means a lot.

p.6 One of the things Violet, Klaus, and Sunny really liked about their parents was that they didn’t send their children away when they had company over, but allowed them to join the adults at the dinner table… The Baudelaire table was not used exclusively for dinner. Its surface was handy for unrolling maps, completing jigsaw puzzles, and tracing the faces of people from photographs. One thing I remember from my time at the table was that it was always necessary to use a coaster underneath one’s beverage so as to not leave an unsightly ring on the wood.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, pp.171-172]

This is a good question but Bertrand and Beatrice, all in all, were pretty good at keeping their V.F.D.-related activities on the downlow. They also sent their children away on the day they invited Olaf into their home (Link). They also hosted a party where the sugar bowl was being exchanged, some time before their death (according to “The Dismal Dinner”, see the link above for the quotes).

Because volunteers are used to speaking in codes and exchanging information discreetly, it’s understandable that Violet, Klaus and Sunny never caught on to anything. They did pick up some stuff about the organization without realizing it, however (Link). They weren’t part of the organization but were very much part of the VFD culture, so to speak.

Whoever the Baudelaire parents usually invited into their homes must have been “lesser” members of the V.F.D. circle who mainly acted as messengers, I suppose. Inviting Jacques, Kit, or any of the people they knew from their time with Lemony would have put the children in too much danger. All in all the most relevant members of V.F.D. are very scattered, doing important stuff in their own part of the world. It’s understandable that Monty was always abroad for scientific expeditions, for example.

Interestingly Jerome claims to have been a close friend of the Baudelaire parents yet the children don’t recall him ever being invited. It’s actually pretty likely that Beatrice was cross at Jerome (Link).

How did VFD manipulate Justice Strauss into joining them?

Justice Strauss appears to have been recruited by VFD to find the Baudelaires and put a stop to the crimes of Olaf and his allies:

“And I’m afraid I wasn’t a guardian at all,” Justice Strauss said. “As soon as you were taken away in that automobile, I knew I had done the wrong thing, and when I heard the dreadful news about Dr. Montgomery I began searching for you. Eventually I found other people who were also trying to battle the wicked villains of this world, but I always hoped I would find you myself, if only to say how sorry I was.”
[The Penultimate Peril, Chapter Eight]

But clearly the implication of such an important character couldn’t limit itself to watching birds with sunoculars or caring for three orphaned children. No, Strauss’ recruitment is part of much more important plan designed by VFD; “saving” the Baudelaires is more of an incentive the organization uses to motivate her.

When did this recruitment scheme start? How was Jacques Snicket involved? And what does it teach us about VFD’s actual plan during the events of “The Penultimate Peril”? Learn more after the cut.

Keep reading

doubleohbehave  asked:

Two questions: Did the person who burned down the Baudelaire mansion use the secret passageway to do so, or were Jacques' fears unwarranted? Also, how do you imagine Beatrice surviving the Baudelaire fire? Via the secret passageway, and then doubling back and emerging from the ashes when the time is right? Or maybe volunteers set up a means of navigating the elevator shaft (since otherwise the passageway is almost useless)? I realize this is likely all speculation. This blog is my favorite!

Good evening, @doubleohbehave! I’m honored.

I think it definitely makes more sense to think that the passageway was used by the survivor to escape, rather than by the arsonist to burn down the building.

There were actually quite a few people around the Baudelaire mansion just after the fire: firefighters, of course, but according to the un-Authorized Autobiography Brett Helquist was also on the scene. So the survivor would have been spotted. Besides, there wouldn’t really be a reason for the survivor to hide for so long if he/she was out in the public daylight, and for V.F.D. to take so long figuring out there even was a survivor.

The idea that the survivor used the passageway to escape does address these difficulties. Because the elevator shaft is so high, it’s perfectly possible the survivor got stuck at the bottom of it (we have to account for possible fire injuries). Which would explain the delay. By the time V.F.D. had even inspected the elevator shaft and found the survivor, the Baudelaire orphans were already in Olaf’s custody.

The Snicket file also seems to suggest that, since the sentence about a possible survivor of the Baudelaire fire is written right under a photograph of the Baudelaire parents in front of 667 Dark Avenue. This is evidence that they were probably aware of the secret passage and could have used it.

p.18 They passed the Fickle Fountain… Please see my note to page 62.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.18]

p.62 …the Fountain of Victorious Finance…
Readers of Book the Seventh will remember that fountains are like top hats in that they provide hollow spaces in which things can be hidden (please see my note to page 6), and I imagine the damp surroundings of a fountain’s innards would be comforting if the person hiding inside had recently survived a fire.

[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.62]

Chronologically, this also fits better with Esme’s behavior. The only reason she married Jerome was to get access to the penthouse and its secret passageway. According to Geraldine Julienne’s letter in the un-Authorized Autobiography, this happened right after Jacques Snicket had been fired from his job as dramatic critic for reporting Foreman Firstein’s murder. So it seems Esme only got access to the penthouse after “The Wide Window”.

anonymous asked:

I've read ASOUE but I haven't read any of the other books that you've mentioned. I really enjoyed the books I've read so should I read the others or are they very different? Thanks!

Once you’ve read “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, you should probably move on to “All the Wrong Questions”, which old readers seem to have enjoyed immensely (I know I did). Then peruse the supplementary materials:

  • “Lemony Snicket’s un-Authorized Autobiography” is a collection of letters, reports, articles related to Lemony Snicket’s past and the conspiracy surrounding the Baudelaire orphans. It sheds the entire “A Series of Unfortunate Events” under an entirely new light.
  • “The Beatrice Letters” tells the story of Beatrice and Lemony. Half of it is written more than fifteen years before “The Bad beginning”, the other ten years after “The End”.
  • “File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents” is probably the most accessible of the supplementary materials. It’s a collection of short mystery/crime stories happening between book 2 and book 3 of “All the Wrong Questions”. It also crossovers with another of Snicket’s works.
  • ‘The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition” is out of print but you can still find second-hand copies with a bit of luck. It just adds a supplementary chapter where Lemony reveals supplementary information about the events which transpired. The entire text is available online (Link).

I liked all of them, though be warned that they really work as companion pieces to the two book series rather than separate works!

lil-gideons-big-abode  asked:

Hey, I really loved your essay on My Silence Knot, but I'm a bit confused. You wrote about how Olaf finally got revenge on Bertrand for the murder of his parents by killing him. But I thought during Olaf's final moments during The End he implies that he wasn't the one responsible for the fire at all? I was wondering what your theories concerning the culprit of the fire are? P.S. Really love reading your ideas about the series! :)

Your praise motivates me towards greater good, volunteer! Thanks!

You’re right about me assuming that Olaf started the Baudelaire fire; this plot point is left ambiguous in the books. I was simplifying things for the sake of argument.

To be fair, Olaf neither denies nor implies he started the fire:

Klaus knelt down beside his sister, and stared into the villain’s shiny eyes.
“You’re the one who made us orphans in the first place,” he said, uttering out loud for the first time a secret all three Baudelaires had kept in their hearts for almost as long as they could remember. Olaf closed his eyes for a moment, grimacing in pain, and then stared slowly at each of the three children in turn.
“Is that what you think?” he said finally.
“We know it,” Sunny said.
“You don’t know anything,” Count Olaf said. “You three children are the same as when I first laid eyes on you. You think you can triumph in this world with nothing more than a keen mind, a pile of books, and the occasional gourmet meal.” He poured one last gulp of cordial into his poisoned mouth before throwing the seashell into the sand. “You’re just like your parents,” he said, and from the shore the children heard Kit Snicket moan.

[Lemony Snicket - The End, Chapter Thirteenth]

I’m starting to guess he deliberately left the Baudelaires with a doubt before he died. Just to mess with their minds one final time, out of spite. I’ll explain why after the cut.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I've only read the 13 main series books. I what order do you recommend I read the other books? (Mainly, Autobiography and Beatrice Letters before or after ATWQ and 13 Suspicious?)

An interesting question. Here’s the chronological order:

  • “29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy”,
  • “Who Could That Be At This Hour?” & “When Did You See Her Last?”,
  • “File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents”,
  • “Shouldn’t You Be In School?”, & “Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?”
  • “The Dismal Dinner”,
  • “The Bad Beginning” and the notes from “The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition”,
  • From “The Reptile Room” to “The Hostile Hospital”,
  • “The un-Authorized Autobiography” and “Calendar of Unfortunate Events”,
  • From “The Carnivorous Carnival” to “The End”,
  • “The Beatrice Letters”.

And here’s my prefered, recommended order:

  • From “The Bad Beginning” to “The Grim Grotto”,
  • “The un-Authorized Autobiography”, “The Dismal Dinner”, “Calendar of Unfortunate Events” and the notes from “The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition”,
  • “The Penultimate Peril”,
  • “The Beatrice Letters”,
  • “The End”,
  • “29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy”,
  • “Who Could That Be At This Hour?” & “When Did You See Her Last?”,
  • “File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents”,
  • “Shouldn’t You Be In School?”, & “Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?”

A lot of the supplementary material can’t really be enjoyed if you don’t have a basic knowledge of what happens during most of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. This also applies to “All The Wrong Questions”, which is admittedly difficult to understand if you don’t have any idea of  what VFD actually involves.

anonymous asked:

Hello! First, congrats for the good work! Now the question: When was the asoue books published? I mean, how long after the facts ocurred? I've always thought it wasn't so long after but I remembered that there are some passages where Lemony... (1/2)

You reward me with your compliments, volunteer. Thanks a million!

Tumblr seems to have eaten your question, but I see what you’re getting at.

The only way to answer your question satisfyingly is to subscribe to the idea that “A series of Unfortunate Events” is essentially a palimpsest. It’s made up of parts that were written at completely different points of time from Lemony’s perspective.

The theory goes that there used to be older, shorter, less accurate first editions of the books. What we are reading are essentially newer, updated editions where Lemony eventually added the other research he made later in life. The issue is that Lemony kept adding new material but didn’t discard the old, outdated passages. Which creates an atmosphere of vague temporality. This idea is supported canonically since there exists a newer edition of “The Bad Beginning” called “The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition”, which contains an additional chapter where Lemony added supplementary research.

In-universe, we can ascertain that Lemony wrote the first editions of the books very early on:

  • Kit Snicket put Lemony Snicket’s “A series of Unfortunate Events” on her required course curriculum before she died.
  • A villainous volunteer tracks down the survivors of Dr Montgomery’s collection using passages from “The Reptile Room”, shortly after his death.
  • Lemony tries to contact his sister while narrating “The Slippery Slope” and tells her to join him at the Hotel Denouement.

So yes, this does confirm that when the Baudelaires first set foot inside the Hotel Denouement, there were already books in circulation written about them. One wonders what they would have thought of that.

This means that Lemony was writing “The Slippery Slope” while the Baudelaires were in the Queequeg and expected it to be published before they got to Hotel Denouement. But then again, Kit clearly watched out for Lemony’s publishing history so it could have worked.

This also means that the edition of “The Reptile Room” we are reading is a newer, updated version. Otherwise this passage would not exist:

Of course, it is perfectly understandable that Klaus and his sisters were too surprised to act so quickly, but Klaus would lie awake in bed, years later, thinking that maybe, just maybe, if he had acted in time, he could have saved Uncle Monty’s life.
[The Reptile Room, Chapter Four]

So, to answer your question succintly, I’d say that “A series of Unfortunate Events” was initially published VERY shortly after the events it described (a few days, give or take) but that the versions we are reading have been heavily revised and edited over several years.

anonymous asked:

do you have any idea why count olaf had such a creepy fascination with violet? did she remind him of someone?

Violet looks very much like her mother:

In the darkness, Violet looked like a ghost, her quite wedding gown moving slowly across the stage. My commonplace book contains at least seventeen interviews with people who remarked that due to the facial resemblance, the white dress, and the dim lighting, Violet Baudelaire looked quite a bit like a woman who is no longer alive. Please see also my note to page 124.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.157]

Olaf clearly uses the Baudelaire orphans as substitutes for their parents. He can’t hurt them anymore, so he’s moved on to the persons they cared about the most. Plus he’s a villainous criminal with no inhibition whatsoever, so the perverse part of him is probably fantasizing about all the depraved things he could do to Beatrice through her daughter. Or maybe pedophilia is just one of his many usual vices.

anonymous asked:

What's the Bad Beginning Rare edition? Did it came out recently? Does it differ from the first print a lot?

It’s a limited re-edition of the first book with bonus material which came out in 2003. It’s sadly out of print nowadays though dedicated fans can still buy second-hand copies on some corners on the Internet. Some online retailers also sell rare brand-new copies at higher prices. The Snicket Sleuth (yours truly) found his on Amazon some five years ago.

“The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition” differs from the first edition in two ways:

  • Different packaging: the cover is made up of eyes on a green field.
  • A supplementary chapter containing Lemnoy’s additional notes on the events of the book.

Please note that there’s about a gazillon different re-editions of “The Bad Beginning” made by the publishers, so do be careful when buying one: the “Rare Edition” is the only one which has this supplementary chapter. It’s also available in Kindle format, thankfully.

For the poorest amongst us, the supplementary chapter can also be read in its entirety at 667 Dark Avenue (Link).

EDIT: The supplementary chapter has also been integrated into Egmont’s Modern Classics Edition of “The Bad Beginning” !

anonymous asked:

Hi! I LOVE this site and I've been reading all of the theories and discussions on here. I have a question: Do you think there's any chance Olaf didn't set the fire to the Baudelaire Mansion? He implies that he really didn't in his final words to the kids in The End, and Lemony implies in the autobiography that he actually had something to do with the fire, when he mentions the list of pretend book titles and fires. So, I was wondering if Lemony did it, do you have any idea why he would have?

I love hearing from you too, volunteer! Thank you for your appreciation.

The question you ask is possibly the most important mystery of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events”, both on a factual and philosophical level.

“You’re the one who made us orphans in the first place,” he said, uttering out loud for the first time a secret all three Baudelaires had kept in their hearts for almost as long as they could remember. Olaf closed his eyes for a moment, grimacing in pain, and then stared slowly at each of the three children in turn.
“Is that what you think?” he said finally.
“We know it,” Sunny said.
“You don’t know anything,” Count Olaf said. “You three children are the same as when I first laid eyes on you. You think you can triumph in this world with nothing more than a keen mind, a pile of books, and the occasional gourmet meal.” He poured one last gulp of cordial into his poisoned mouth before throwing the seashell into the sand. “You’re just like your parents,” he said, and from the shore the children heard Kit Snicket moan.

[The End, Chapter Thirteen]

Let’s start with the facts, which are less ambiguous than you might suspect. There are indeed clues which point out that Count Olaf was actually inside the Baudelaire mansion on the morning the fire occured:

Incidentally, the Royal Gardens had several ornate wooden benches ideal for sitting and reading, or for contemplating the more exotic plants contained in the Poisonous Pavilion. All of these benches where lost in the destruction except one, which has since been moved to the lobby of a hotel. It is easily recognizable due to a small unsightly ring, left by someone who did not use a coaster underneath his or her beverage.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.175]

One thing I remember from my time at the [Baudelaire table] was that it was always necessary to use a coaster underneath one’s beverage so as to not leave an unsightly ring on the wood.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.172]

Curiously enough, Mr. Baudelaire’s brandy bottle was found on the remains of the dining table, with no coasters nearby. This would indicate that either the coasters were burned beyond recognition, or the Baudelaires had received a visitor who had no manners whatsoever.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.174]

p.98 But Count Olaf just sat there as calmly as if they were discussing the weather. Certain kinds of weather-severe rainstorms, for instance-have a dampening effect on fires, which is displeasing to arsonists. There have been reports of alleged arsonists so reportedly displeased with the weather that they have been rumored to pound their beverages on an unprotected wooden table.
[The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, p.179]

You can also consider reading “The Dismal Dinner” (Link): its canonicity is disputed but it seems to imply that Olaf was lurking around the Baudelaire mansion the day before the fire. So the assorted evidence piles up neatly in favor of Olaf’s guilt. Of course it’s never said explicitly he started the fire or that he was the only villain inside the Baudelaire mansion that day… But since he didn’t report the actual arsonist, that would at least make him an accomplice to the murder.

No, the real reason to doubt Olaf’s responsibility in the arson is that the Baudelaire parents had so many enemies:

  • The Man With Beard But No Hair and the Woman think that Sunny “caused almost as many problems as her parents did” (”The Slippery Slope”, Chapter Six).
  • Esme mentions she hates Beatrice’s guts on several occasions.
  • The Baudelaire parents worked for the “noble” side of the Schism and Beatrice was apparently the owner of the Sugar Bowl. So ANY member of the “villainous” side of VFD would want them dead, too. So people like Georgina and Ernest can also be considered as suspects.

…honestly, it’s a wonder the Baudelaire parents managed to survive for as long as they did. Had Olaf decided not to kill them, someone else within his associates eventually would have.

And I think, on a philosophical level, that this is the reason for Olaf’s ambiguous answer: though he did take part in the arson, he doesn’t see himself as fully accountable. Olaf and the Baudelaire parents were involved in a very large war whose reasons neither of them completely understood, and wars produce casualties. The Baudelaire fire cannot be reduced to Olaf’s personal vendetta.

Another reason Olaf might deny true responsibility is that he just sees this double murder as mere retribution. The Baudelaire parents made him an orphan, so he made sure their children would become orphans. In his eyes, the Baudelaire parents “brought it on themselves” and are solely responsible for their children’s misery.

A big theme of “The End” is that no event in history can be completely understood, because each human being has his/her own secret motivations. This is exemplified by Ishmael, who tries to explain the history of Beatrice’s ring to the Baudelaires, which quickly devolves into a long-winded, tangential story.

The message of “The End” is that we cannot learn everything and that some mysteries unfortunately have to be left unresolved. This acceptation of one’s powerlessness and ignorance is very similar to grief: once someone is dead, we can never hear his/her own version of the truth. The Baudelaire orphans had to accept the fact that they would never truly know what happened on the morning of the Baudelaire fire. So must we.