For everyone out there who’s never actually read ASOUE and have only seen the movie, here are thirteen things that might surprise you about the series:
1. Klaus is not the main character. There are three main characters, with Violet Baudelaire arguably being the leading protagonist. It might also interest you to know that Violet is just as intelligent and resourceful as her brother, that she never, ever gives up, and that she has never and will never spend a single second of her life as a damsel in distress. Sometimes Klaus does save the day, definitely. And sometimes Sunny saves the day, and sometimes–a lot of the time–Violet saves the day.
2. The world is not split into two groups of people–fire starters and fire stoppers, good and evil, volunteers and villains. The world is not black and white. VFD–everything in the entire ASOUE-verse, really–is much more complected than the movie portrays them to be. Also, the spyglasses are irrelevant.
3. Every character that you saw in the movie is a million times better in
the books. And there are dozens characters you never got to meet
who are even better.
4. Count Olaf is not a joke. Count Olaf is a very scary, very real villain who abuses and attempts to murder children for revenge on their family. He’s a very complex character and he’s fucking terrifying.
5. Beatrice and Bertrand really did have no plan for their children. The Baudelaire will literally says that the children “should be raised in the most convenient way possible.” The Beatrice and Bertrand of the books wouldn’t have even written that letter. Beatrice and Bertrand loved their children very, very much, but they did not prepare for their eventual deaths despite being involved in a very dangerous line of work, and their children suffered for it. Nor were they innocent victims of that fire. They were victims, yes, but not quite innocent. And the letter never came.
6. Klaus is the most intelligent, sensitive, polite, kind-hearted boy in
the world. He would not knock Captain Sham upside down to look at his
peg leg. Klaus has manners. Also, he wears glasses.
7. Violet climbs the fucking tower.
8. Lemony tells you that the story is about the Baudelaires. One could argue with that. The story is about one woman, but due to unfortunate circumstances the narrative had to be focused on her children instead.
9. Fernald was not an idiot. Fernald is a really cool character, and a fairly intelligent one at that.
10. Olaf didn’t start the Baudelaire fire. I mean, he might have, but there are other possible culprits too. Nobody solves the mystery of the Baudelaire fire. Practically no mysteries are solved, and the few that are put to rest are replaced by a hundred more. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s the way life works, and the books are nothing if not honest about the nature of life and people.
11. The Baudelaires don’t live in Boston, Massachusetts. I have no idea why
the people in charge of this movie decided to fuck with the wonderfully
ambiguous setting of the series. But they don’t live in Boston, or at least no more than they live anywhere else.
12. Justice Strauss doesn’t run off stage when she realizes that Olaf and Violet’s marriage is real and legally binding. She sticks around and helps Violet prove that it’s void. This matters because Justice Strauss is actually a really important character in the series.
13. There aren’t answers to every question. The letter does
not come. Not everything happens for a reason. People are poisoned by
mushrooms, and harpoon guns fall to the floor, and streams carry noble
cartographers away. The world is cruel and
unfair and you can be the most wonderful, most intelligent orphan who does everything right and still end up in worse and worse
situations without ever knowing why. In the real world, your questions
are not going to be answered. The ending is always going to be
If you’ve only watched the ASOUE movie and never picked up the books, I really encourage you to give them a try! They’re well worth it and don’t even take that long to read. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are certainly people you’d want to spend thirteen books with, and I think you’ll be surprised at how much better, in literally every way, the books are than the movie version. They’re full of codes and secrets and literary allusions and Queen Debby and her boyfriend Tony and stiletto shoes that are made of actual stiletto knives, and they should be mandatory reading for anyone currently residing on this planet.