I’ve seen several people complain that the adults of A Series of Unfortunate Events are “too stupid” and that it damages the story. Please allow me to clarify something:
No adults in ASOUE is stupid. 100% of them are willfully ignorant, and it’s an important distinction.
Justice Strauss is too timid and needy to critically think about the red flags around her.
Mr. Poe cares more about his job than the people it affects.
Uncle Monty is so self-involved that he assumes that Stephano is after him.
Aunt Josephine is simply too afraid to consider the idea that terrible things may be nearby.
This is not a story of “Adults are dumb”. It is a story about how people can contribute to evil and cruelty simply by being passive or refusing to confront it.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke
That is what the series is about. It’s an important distinction. The Baudelaires do not suffer from random fools that happen to be near them. The Baudelaire Orphans are receiving the sum total of the failings of society crashing upon them.
Violet Baudelaire was the eldest Baudelaire child. She was 14 years old, right-handed, had a real knack for inventing and building unusual devices. When Violet Baudelaire tied up her hair like that, it was a sure sign the pulleys, levers and gears of her inventive mind were working at top speed.
Klaus Baudelaire was the middle child and only boy. He was a little older than 12 and wore glasses, which made him look intelligent. He was intelligent.
Sunny Baudelaire was an infant, a word which here means “a person of the age at which one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks”, so most people had trouble understanding what she was saying. What Sunny lacked in communication skills, however, she made up for with the size and sharpness of her four teeth.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair. I’m sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.
Anyone who knew Violet well could tell she was thinking hard,
because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her
eyes. Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange
devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers,
and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial
as her hair.