ask snicket

lyeekha  asked:

Hi Sleuth! First off, well done for all the great work. I'm presently embarking on my own Snicketverse examination and your blog is invaluable for that much-needed alternate POV and fact checking. My approach is more about thematic and artistic choices rather than fact study, so I tend not to cross your answered territory and also miss the stuff you're laying out. Sincere thanks!

Thank you for these kind words, @lyeekha! Most of this blog’s content concerns the plot but I have to dabble in stylistics and literary theory from time to time. Daniel Handler is the type of writer who makes a jury wear blindfolds just to make a visual pun about the “justice is blind” aphorism. This is what separated “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” from a lot of other Young Adult series, actually. The narration wasn’t just a device to advance the story or convey an atmosphere: style actually influenced the plot as much as the vice-versa, and the two very often intersected. This is one of the reasons the series had such a distinctive, easily imitable voice.

I copied the second part of your contribution below. It’s a reference to an earlier Q&A about Ellington’s favorite song (Link):

Secondly, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that the track Ellington is always listening to is Take The A Train, probably the version without vocal. It seems to me like it fits the description of the music better, fits the atmosphere of the scenes in which it’s played better and is more ‘signature’ than Black Brown And Beige (therefore more likely to be in a music box and also more instantly recognisable from a whistle). Also, the importance of trains. Any thoughts?

Hmm. Interesting. I’m kind of on the fence about this. I would say it’s simpler to think that the song is “Brown, Black and Beige” because Ellington directly reacts to the title of the associated book. But I suppose she could have reacted to the book because she’s a huge Duke Ellington fan, not specifically because it’s her favorite song.

Of course we also have to consider that other songs mentioned in the series (such as “Caravan” and “Parfait (a little max)”) could also be Ellington’s faovrite song. But it’s assuredly a Duke Ellington song she listening to, no doubt about it.

I actually consider “To Take the A train” a more upbeat song than “Black, Brown Beige”. Then again, “Black, Brown and Beige” is a significantly longer piece: it has sadder and happier moments. It’s difficult to pick which exact part of the song Daniel Handler would be referencing here.


vfd boys + character posters

“When we drive away in secret, you’ll be a volunteer; so don’t scream when we take you: the world is quiet here.”

aflookie  asked:

The news paper clippings on Snickets wall in the miserable mill, what do they all say?

Hello! I’ve broken them down just to make it easier to read:

Noted Scientist Dies of Snake Allergies- Dr Montgomery Montgomery Hated the Slimy Creatures

  • There has been much speculation in the media this week as world renowned herpetologist Dr. Montgomery Montgomery was found dead in his Reptile Atrium in the late afternoon. Police and a coroner did confirm that he died from a snake bite that contained very deadly venom. It has been speculated that Montgomery died from snake allergies
  • … being allergic to the snake. It is due from the deadly venom that is injected by the snake and into the blood stream that causes death. Many believe that ‘allergies’ however he said if that was the case then everyone in the universe would then be ‘allergic’ to snakes. He claims many are confused by this and he isn’t sure why. The herpetologist refused to try and explain it
  • … investigating the fire even though they are sure it was nothing more than just a terrible fire leading to a series of unfortunate events for the children. It has been a short time since the Baudelaire’s parents tragically perished in a blazing fire that took their lives and also their home. 
  • Veronica, Klyde and Susie still remain orphans. Mr Poe the husband of the great Eleanor Poe our Editor-In-Chief here at the Daily Punctilio is currently looking after the children till their closest living relative is found for them to live with. The children were seen standing in the ruins of their home. Sifting through ash and rubble looking for their belongings they can take with them on their new adventure as orphans. It looks like the children are trying to find reminders of their past life and parents.

Lakeside Home Destroyed- Authorities Blame Cabal of Real Estate Agents: 

  • Reported by Special Correspondent Bo Wilch. 
  • However we are finally not reporting about another house fire instead many are speculating that this disaster was much worse. Josephine Anwhistle and her house tore apart and crashed into the jagged cliff rocks below into Lake Lachrymose where the leeches were waiting and ate Josephine alive. Perishing in a fire would have been much better compared to being eaten alive by deadly leeches. She succumbed to the same death as her husband who also died by the leeches. 
  • Again another caretaker of the Baudelaire children has died. Somehow these children seem to be in the middle of a series of unfortunate events. Many speculate that somehow Count Olaf is also involved, police have yet to confirm this. Josephine was an Aunt to the Baudelaire children and now she is a distant memory just like her house. Police have now started to investigate the children seeing as they are always involved in their guardians death. They keep insisting that Count Olaf is the one to kill their guardian in order to kill them in order to kill them in order to steal their fortune. 
  • Perhaps the children killed their parents, killed Dr Montgomery Montgomery, and now killed their Aunt Josephine to protect their fortune from anyone trying to steal it.

Snicket, Author and Fugitive, Dead!

  • … And eventually turned to murder. Though there has not been enough evidence to support these claims police are more than sure like pretty sure it was Snicket.
  •  … this afternoon” - Klyde. 
  • “Our mother Beatrice has suggested we go to Briny Beach to enjoy the sunshine as if she knew we shouldn’t be in the house. I would never have thought that those would be our last words spoken to each other. I wish I could have hugged her for just a moment longer before letting go of her”- Veronica
  • We are not sure … Susie the children’s in a very exciting night has occurred at the Grand Theatre this evening. Count Olaf a local performer at the Grand Theatre staged the Marvelous Marriage. The play featured Count Omar as the Groom, Veronica as the bride, and some other folks as extras! What seemed to be a very boring play at the beginnign it sure sure turned out to be more exciting in the end in the final act, Count Locations where Snicket has been hiding out had been found with an alarming amount  of research on the Baudelaire children. It is unclear at the time what his research…

Accident At Lucky Smells

  • One of Paltryville’s ctizen has gone missing inside Lumbermill believe to have been an accident
  • One of Paltryville’s citizen has gone missing inside the Lucky Smells Lumbermill detectives believe foul play may have been involved. 
  • Due to circumstances surrounding the incident the victim’s name cannot be released at this time. Trouble in Paltryville began when three orphaned children Baudelaire showed up in town young may guessed it the Baudelaire children. After countless troubles with the children they were given an opportunity of a life time and were given the chance to work alongside Sir at world renowned Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Lucky Smells has received praise all around the world for the quality of lumber they supply and the outstanding customer service…
  • … Indeed if a snake killed him however another popular theory are the Baudelaire children were somehow involved. 
  • They were later taken and given to their Aunt Josephine who also has perished due to her falling off a cliff she had lived on with her late husband that succumbed to the Lake Lachrymose leeches. as you can guess the…

So I suppose the real question is what don’t they say? 

mermaids-indians-pirates  asked:

Hi! I don't know if you've answered this, I was wondering what was your opinion of the Netflix show, given that you have such extensive background knowledge on the actual books. Are they being loyal to the real VFD? Or are they inventing too much? I myself am a little confused about my feelings toward it. I am super interested in the VFD background they are showing us because it was my favorite part of the books. Are they being loyal to it? (in your opinion) thank you!

Hi! As other reviewers have pointed out, this is less of an adaptation than a reboot. Daniel Handler had already gone on record, several years ago, that he hadn’t incorporated any mysteries in the first 4 books because his original contract only went so far. He had no guarantee the series would be published in its entirety and didn’t want to introduce plotlines which would have to be left uncompleted. So basically he wrote the first 4 books as Chekhov’s guns and plot coupons and introduced V.F.D. later. So the Netflix show, in a way, gives us a flavor of what the plot would have looked like had Handler been “allowed” to introduce V.F.D. from the very beginning.

It’s definitely fascinating to look at the way Handler is essentially changing his own plot. For example the way Arthur Poe handles the Baudelaire parents’ will is a messy mystery in the books, but episode 2 of the Netflix show retcons Arthur’s actions in a much more satisfying manner. The only downside is that the plot is being changed in such as significant manner that the books and the show now exist in two separate continuities. We shouldn’t rely on the show to explain away the books or vice-versa.


A Series of Unfortunate Events Meme (x)

Six relationships: Siblings - the Baudelaires, the Quagmires, the Snickets

ASOUE/ATWQ themed asks
  • The Bad Beginning: Where were you born? What is one event that changed your life forever? Who do you rely on when you need support?
  • The Reptile Room: What are your favorite animals? If you could study anything, what would it be? Have you ever travelled out of the country?
  • The Wide Window: What are your greatest fears? Do you know any codes? What is the scariest situation you've ever been in?
  • The Miserable Mill: Do you wear/need glasses? Do you believe hypnotism is real? What is the worst job you've ever had?
  • The Austere Academy: Who were/are your best friends in school? Who is the worst teacher/principal you've ever had? Did you go to public school, private school, boarding school, or were you homeschooled?
  • The Ersatz Elevator: What is the most ridiculous thing you've ever done for the sake of fashion? Do you tend to follow or ignore trends and styles? How far would you go to protect a friend?
  • The Vile Village: Do you like birds? Have you ever written poetry? How many rules would you say is too many?
  • The Hostile Hospital: Have you ever had surgery? Are you good at solving anagrams? Have you ever snuck into a place you weren't supposed to be?
  • The Carnivorous Carnival: If you could have a job at a carnival, what would it be? Do you believe people can truly change? Do you believe in ESP or sixth senses, or is it all smoke and mirrors?
  • The Slippery Slope: Did you ever belong to a scouting troop? Do you know anyone with an aura of menace? Have you ever travelled through the mountains?
  • The Grim Grotto: Do you like mushrooms? Do you enjoy swimming or being underwater? Have you ever very narrowly avoided disaster?
  • The Penultimate Peril: Do you enjoy staying in hotels? If you could have a harpoon gun, would you? Have you ever been in court?
  • The End: Do you keep many secrets? Do you trust the government? Have you ever ventured blindly into the unknown?
  • "Who Could That Be At This Hour?": Are you good at imitating others' voices? What is the worst restaurant you've ever been to? Do you prefer to be a reporter, or be the one making the news?
  • "When Did You See Her Last?": Do you know how to make invisible ink? Do you enjoy doing experiments? Would you like to be able to be in two places at once?
  • "Shouldn't You Be In School?": Do you trust the education system? Do you enjoy being in libraries? Do you like coffee?
  • "Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?": Have you ever ridden on a train? Do you like mysteries? If there's nothing out there, what was that noise?
Lemony Snicket Sentence Meme

“Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.”

“I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies.”

“The sad truth is the truth is sad.” 

“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”

“This is my knife. It is very sharp and very eager to hurt you.”

“As I am sure you know, when people say ‘It’s my pleasure,’ they usually mean something along the lines of, 'There’s nothing on Earth I would rather do less.'”

“There is no worse sound in the world than someone who cannot play the violin but insists on doing so anyway.” 

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” 

“Criminals should be punished, not fed pastries.” 

“This toast feels raw. Is it safe to eat raw toast?” 

“I never want to be away from you again, except at work, in the restroom or when one of us is at a movie the other does not want to see.” 

“Can’t we sleep ten minutes more? I was having a lovely dream about sneezing without covering my mouth, and giving everybody germs.” 

“I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday.” 

“How can someone so wonderful do something so terrible?” 

“There are many difficult things in this world to hide, but a secret is not one of them.” 

“Normally it is not polite to go into somebody’s room without knocking, but you can make an exception if the person is dead, or pretending to be dead.” 

“Every night I give a violin recital for six hours, and attendance is mandatory. The word 'mandatory’ means that if you don’t show up, you have to buy me a large bag of candy and watch me eat it.” 

“It has been said that the hardest job in the world is raising a child, but the people who says this have probably never worked at a comb factory or captured pirates on the high seas.” 

“Friends can make you feel that the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is, because you know people who have similar experiences.” 

“Don’t repeat yourself. It’s not only repetitive, it’s redundant, and people have heard it before.” 

“Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you, is even colder.” 

“I’m happier than a pig eating bacon!”

“I am so tired, I can hardly type these worfs.” 

“You’re just jealous of me because I’m a tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian!” 

“The last time I saw you, I was trying to throw thumbtacks into your cradle!” 

“Get out of my way, you cakesniffers!”

“Nobody wants to hear that you will try your best. It is the wrong thing to say. It is like saying 'I probably won’t hit you with a shovel.’ Suddenly everyone is afraid you will do the opposite.”

“When things don’t go right, go left.” 

uberwekkness  asked:

Hi! I was wondering if all of Olaf's fake names in the series refer to the fact that he's in disguise. Captain Sham is obvious, "Shirley you can't be serious" is an old joke, and Coach Genghis seems like it would be finished as Genghis Khan (Con.) Detective Dupin would presumably be "dupe," but then I couldn't figure out if Stephano, Mattathias, and Gunther had any joke like that tied in.


Stephano is an allusion to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (because the Prospero appears in the same book). Gunther is a stereotypically German name Olaf uses because he’s playing a foreigner. Genghis Khan was a Mongol, which is supposed to show how sloppy the disguise is because Olaf is clearly impersonating a Sikh and Mongolia has almost nothing to do with Sikhism. Dupin is an allusion to Detective Dupin from Poe’s “Double Murder in the Rue Morgue”, the first crime novel. Sham and Shirley are indeed puns on the topic of sincerity. Handler does that again later with Frank and Ernest (Frank and Earnest). Mattathias is an allusion to the biblical character, a high priest of Judaism mentioned in the Old Testament. Because Mattathias is never seen and obeyed without question, the religious subtext is quite astute.

I don’t think there’s a common theme to Olaf’s aliases, Handler just seems to pick what he likes depending on the occasion.

  • Jacques Snicket : Olaf asked me how to get into my sister's pants. I advised him to try striking up a conversation about literature first. Hemingway, maybe.
  • Lemony Snicket : ...Kit HATES Hemingway.
  • Jacques Snicket : Romance is nothing without a good challenge. If Olaf can survive her "Hemingway was a sexist pig" lecture, it's meant to be.

expihelladopeness  asked:

Hey man, really enjoy your work, I've been getting back into the series since the Netflix adaption has come out and your theories are amazing and really add another level to the already great story Lemony Snicket has written for us. Anyway, my question is; is there an unanswered question/mystery that you would really like a concrete answer to? I'm sure you probably have a theory for every single one of them anyway haha. Thanks again for all your great work

Hey, @expihelladopeness​! That’s a really good question. Some of the series’ mysteries are supposed to be left unanswered because Handler was making a point about the unknowable nature of the universe, the importance of doubting one’s conclusions and the crushing realization you can’t know everything when you reach adulthood. Part of the Baudelaire orphans’ character arc is the acceptance that they’re not going to make sense of it all and the world is extremely complex. So Handler were to reveal everything, it would just undo the moral themes of the last thirteen books.

That being said, he’s also said that the entire sugar bowl mystery is solvable and that some readers did guess the solution. So at this point maybe he should just make the explanation official in an interview or something. Less migraines for us!

On a more personal note, I’d say the mysteries which trouble me the most are the ones which affect the characters’ motivations and actions. It’s difficult to care about these people when you never hear WHY they do the things they do:

  • Why did Beatrice eventually choose not to marry Lemony?
  • What would drive Beatrice, Kit and Bertrand to assassinate Olaf’s parents?
  • Why does Esme care about getting the sugar bowl so much? Why does she feel it’s “hers” and not anyone else’s?
  • Why did Olaf and Kit’s relationship start? Why did it end?

I’m perfectly okay with narrative ambiguity but it shouldn’t get in the way of character development. There’s so much basic information we never got about these important players… After a certain point it crosses the line from “intriguing” to “frustrating”.

doubleohbehave  asked:

What do you make of SIr's pajamas being monogrammed L.S., "presumably for 'Lucky Smells,'" according to Snicket's narration in TPP? Could his initials be LS? Or are they Lemony's pajamas for some reason??

Hello @doubleohbehave​!

A ripple of astonishment went through the pajamaed crowd, and the children wished they had thought to put their sunglasses back on. “The Baudelaire orphans?” cried Sir, whose pajamas had the initials L. S. stenciled over the pocket, presumably for “Lucky Smells.” “I remember them! They caused accidents in my lumbermill!”
[The Penultimate Peril, Chapter Ten]

The idea that Sir stole Lemony’s pyjamas amuses me. I mean, it IS canonical that Lemony had asked Kit to book him a room at Hotel Denouement that night… So it’s actually possible that Lemony’s luggage was mistakenly delivered to Sir’s room because they share the same initials?

I am on my way now to the Valley of Four Drafts, in order to continue my research on the Baudelaire case. I hope also to retrieve the aforementioned evidence at last. It is too late to restore my happiness, of course, but at least I can clear my name. From the site of V.F.D. headquarters, I will head straight for the Hotel Denouement. I should arrive by/ well, it wouldn’t be wise to type the date, but it should be easy for you to remember Beatrice’s birthday. Meet me at the hotel. Try to get us a room without ugly curtains.
[The Slippery Slope, Chapter Five]

The case of the elusive pyjamas. Forget the sugar bowl, this is what the fandom should just focus on right now.

On a more serious level, I think the occurence of the L.S. initials is a clever joke on the author’s part. The Baudelaire orphans just met a mysterious taxi driver but didn’t realize he was actually Lemony Snicket (Link). So one chapter after that they come across the initials “L.S.” and fail to see what else they could stand for.

harrvwells  asked:

in part 1 of the bad beginning for the Netflix show, the lamb Justice Strauss brings over has a mint jelly, something they found necessary to have her state. Mint and peppermint are closely related, and as they both have menthol (the usual allergy inducing element), I was wondering if it is significant in any way? Especially since this was a scene not in the books. love your theories <3

Ah! That’s hilarious, Olaf wasn’t being rude, he had to eat the lamb by himself so the Baudelaire orphans wouldn’t get terrible allergies!

I don’t know whether that “allusion” was intentional because roast lamb with mint is a very common recipe. Are the Baudelaire orphans allergic to mint in general or just peppermints? It’s never made clear.

But Justice Strauss serving the Baudelaire orphans a mint-based recipe would tie in with the running theme of guardians providing the children with well-intentioned yet inappropriate education (such as Jospehine offering toys they wouldn’t like).

Thanks for your readership, @harrvwells! Come back anytime.

brutalite  asked:

Hi, I've been reading through your theories for a few days now - great work, I'm immensely impressed I'm aware that the Netflix series operates on a different level than the books but there's one thing that has been bothering me - during The Miserable Mill episodes on the Paltryville VFD photo - shouldn't Beatrice stand together with Lemony? Why was she associated with Bertrand and this point when Lemony - literally - was still in the picture?

Good tidings to you, @brutalite!

Well, this is actually similar to the books. In “The Hostile Hospital”, the Baudelaire orphans find a photograph of their parents with Lemony, back when he was still dating Beatrice: 

The first person in the photograph was Jacques Snicket, who was looking at the photographer and smiling. Standing next to Jacques was a man who was turned away from the camera, so the children could not see his face, only one of his hands, which was clutching a notebook and pen, as if the obscured man were a writer of some sort. The children had not seen Jacques Snicket since he was murdered, of course, and the writer appeared to be someone they had never seen at all. But standing next to these two people were another two people the Baudelaire children thought they would never see again. Bundled up in long coats, looking cold but happy, were the Baudelaire parents.
[The Hostile Hospital, Chapter Seven]

“This photograph must have been taken a long time ago,” Violet said. “Look how much younger they look. They aren’t even wearing their wedding rings.”
[The Hostile Hospital, Chapter Eight]

Given the context, it appears that Lemony and beatrice were put in the middle of the picture, as a couple. However Lemony felt the need to hide his face, which meant their relationship wasn’t obvious to the oblivious Baudelaire orphans. Apparently Lemony’s tendancy to hide his face long predates his inculpation for arson. In “All The Wrong Questions”, all the illustrations fail to show his face. In the un-Authorized Autobiography, Lemony can’t find a single photograph of him as a child.

“And on this page,” Violet said, picking up a page I cannot bear to think about, “it reads, “In photographs, and in each public place, Snicket rarely shows his face.
[The Hostile Hospital, Chapter Five]

The Netflix series uses a vastly different continuity and we’ll have to see how it deals with Lemony’s and Beatrice’s break-up. In the books it’s implied they rarely (if ever) saw each other after that because Lemony was on the run (and, later, because she married Bertrand). Perhaps Netflix’s writers have something else in mind because in this picture the Baudelaire parents are clearly holding each other in a romantic manner and Lemony is on the sideline:

It’s either a plothole or a change in Beatrice’s storyline. Let’s hope for the latter rather than the former!

orestes-bxudelxire  asked:

Did any of the asoue characters read the asoue books? (expect kit and lemony)

That’s an excellent question, @orestes-bxudelxire. All we know is that Olaf’s allies made sure that Kit was fired from Prufrock as soon as she started handing out ASOUE books to her students. One of Olaf’s allies uses excerpts from “The Reptile Room” to track down Monty’s surviving reptiles.

It can be assumed that some of the students read them, and the Baudelaire orphans do recognize some of their old classmates in the slave crew of the Carmelita… Is it possible that they were kidnapped because they knew too much? Kit also kidnapped/recruited two orphans for special V.F.D. training before she was fired, so it can be assumed that they read some of them as well. This all happened some time between “The Austere Academy” and “The Carnivorous Carnival”.

I would argue that Mrs Bass read these books as well, there’s a big theory on that (Link).

Another possibility to consider is that the the Snicket file was actually the working draft of the series. Lemony sends several rough drafts of “The Bad Beginning’” to Bass. Given that the Man With Beard But No Hair and the Woman With Hair But No Beard end up getting their hands on the file, it’s highly probable that they know the ASOUE books exist.

All in all the first publication of the earlier books was, in Lemony’s own reality, pretty rough. But it can be assumed that a good number of people did read them. The Baudelaire orphans didn’t know somebody was writing a book about their lives… but hey, they’re always the last ones to learn anything.

Kit’s daughter has also read several of the ASOUE books, according to “The Beatrice Letters”, but that happens years after the end of the series.