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The Baudelaire family (// BOH-də-LAIR) is one of several prominent fictional families created by American author Lemony Snicket for his novel series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, are the protagonists of the series.
- 1 Concept and creation
- 2 Background
- 3 Members
- 4 Relatives of the Baudelaire Family
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Concept and creation
Snicket named the Baudelaires after French macabre poet Charles Baudelaire. The French surname Baudelaire (// in English), historically also recorded as Badelaire and Bazelaire, refers to a short sword or knife used as a heraldic blazon: Thomas Nugent, in his Pocket-Dictionary of the French and English Languages (1808), translated baudelaire as a "short, broad, and curved sword" used in heraldry; Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, in his Encyclopædia of Antiquities (1825), described the baudelaire as a "little portative knife" used as a medieval English blazon; W. T. Cosgrave described it as a "short and broad backsword, being towards the point like a Turkish scymitar." The French word baudelaire comes from Medieval Latin bādelārius, bādelāris, or bādārellus, meaning a "kind of short sword" (ensis brevis species).
Despite the apparently Romantic origin of "Baudelaire," Snicket stated in February 2007 that "the Baudelaires are Jewish! I guess we would not know for sure but we would strongly suspect it," citing their "manner" as an indicator. Snicket elaborated: "I think there is something naturally Jewish about unending misery. […] I'm Jewish so, by default, the characters I create are Jewish, I think."
The Baudelaires were a wealthy family that lived in the Baudelaire Mansion. The Mansion has several secret tunnels leading in and out of the building, including one that could be accessed from the apartment of Jerome Squalor and Esmé Squalor. The Mansion was burned in an arson fire, which also killed Bertrand and Beatrice Baudelaire. The Baudelaire orphans believe that Count Olaf set the fire to claim the Baudelaire fortune, which the children were to inherit when Violet came of age. However, Olaf implies that he is not responsible. In the film adaptation, Olaf is confirmed to be the arsonist.
Bertrand Baudelaire is the father of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, the husband of Beatrice Baudelaire, and a V.F.D. member. Throughout the series, the children remember anecdotes about their father, such as him cooking at a dinner party. He was a childhood friend of Beatrice and a good friend of Dewey Denouement. As a member of the V.F.D., Bertrand helped train the V.F.D. lions. Count Olaf implicates that Bertrand and Beatrice murdered Olaf's parents. At the outset of the series, Bertrand died in the fire that destroyed the Baudelaire Mansion.
Beatrice Baudelaire is the mother of the Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, the wife of Bertrand, and a V.F.D. member. She is also the unrequited love interest of Lemony Snicket, one of her childhood friends. As a member of the V.F.D., she helped train the V.F.D. lions and may have stolen Esmé Squalor's sugar bowl, but Lemony Snicket states that he stole the sugar bowl, which caused a schism in the organization. Count Olaf implicates that Beatrice and Bertrand murdered Olaf's parents. In addition, Snicket admits that he "helped Beatrice commit a serious crime" in 13 Shocking Secrets you'll wish you never knew about Lemony Snicket. In The Beatrice Letters, Snicket writes six letters to Beatrice. At the outset of the series, Beatrice died in the fire that destroyed the Baudelaire Mansion.
In the film adaptation, Beatrice is played by Helena Bonham Carter who was uncredited for the role.
Violet Baudelaire is Bertrand Baudelaire and Beatrice Baudelaire's oldest child and is the older sister of Klaus and Sunny. She is an intelligent and skilled inventor, and she helps herself, her siblings and her dearest friends out of dangerous situations by creating devices from simple, commonplace objects. For most of the series, she is fourteen years old. While she is inventing she has a ribbon to tie up her hair to concentrate, this resource has helped them much throughout the series. As the oldest of the Baudelaire orphans, she is the natural leader that has promised her beloved parents that she will look after her siblings. She invented an ironing torch, bungee rope, big speaker, and has made many, many more inventions like a lock pick that saved all of their lives from serious danger.
In the film adaptation, she is portrayed by Emily Browning.
Klaus Baudelaire is Bertrand Baudelaire and Beatrice Baudelaire's second child and is the brother of Violet and Sunny. He is an excellent reader and a brilliant researcher. He is identified by his prominent glasses. Although he and Sunny did not initially enjoy each other's company, by the time Sunny was six weeks old, they became inseparable. At the beginning of the series, he is twelve years old.
Sunny Baudelaire is Bertrand Baudelaire and Beatrice Baudelaire's youngest of the Baudelaire siblings. She is fond of biting things with her four razor sharp teeth. She eventually develops an interest in cooking, in book nine "The Carnivorous Carnival." Which often eclipses her biting in later novels. Although she is still an infant and her speech is unintelligible, she develops better speaking as the series goes on. She demonstrates advanced problem solving skills, motor dexterity, comprehension, moral reasoning, and intelligence. One of her first real words is "Brilliant" describing Uncle Montgomery Montgomery's level of intelligence.
In the film adaptation, she is portrayed by Kara and Shelby Hoffman.
Beatrice Baudelaire II
Beatrice Baudelaire II is the daughter of Kit Snicket, who dies after giving birth. The infant Beatrice is adopted by the Baudelaire orphans, hence the use of the surname Baudelaire. At age one, "she looks very much like her mother," according to Chapter Fourteen. The younger Beatrice was named for the Baudelaire's mother Beatrice, at Kit's request and in keeping with the tradition of naming children after deceased friends. In the Beatrice Letters, which is set ten years after the main series, she is the second Beatrice Baudelaire. She is searching for her uncle Lemony Snicket and for the Baudelaire orphans, who have apparently disappeared. She stalks her uncle and writes him six letters. However, he constantly refuses to see her and actively runs from her. She writes that she attends a "secretarial school that isn't really a secretarial school", implying that she has found a V.F.D. training school. Her sixth letter is signed "Beatrice Baudelaire, Baticeer Extraordinaire."
Relatives of the Baudelaire Family
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In the series, Olaf is an eccentric actor and is known to have committed many crimes as a member of the fire-starting side of V.F.D., a Volunteer Fire Department that eventually branched into a massive secret organization, prior to the events of the first book in the series. Olaf is repeatedly described as extremely tall and thin and having a unibrow, a wheezy voice, and gleaming eyes. He is often distinguished by the V.F.D. insignia tattooed on his left ankle (as with most V.F.D. members).
Dr. Montgomery Montgomery or "Uncle Monty" (Introduced/Killed in: "The Reptile Room") is Bertrand Baudelaire's cousin's brother-in-law and Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire's second guardian, but he prefers to be called Uncle Monty. He appears solely in The Reptile Room. It is thought that his name is inspired by Monty Python, as he is a herpetologist (one who studies snakes) whose first name is Monty.
Uncle Monty is a "fat, short, chubby man with a round red face." He discovered the Incredibly Deadly Viper (which is in fact not deadly at all). When the Baudelaires first meet him, he gives them homemade coconut cream cake, and the Baudelaires instantly warm to him. He plans to take them to Peru with his assistant Gustav, but receives Gustav's apparent letter of resignation the day before (it is later revealed that Gustav was actually killed by Count Olaf), so Uncle Monty hires "Stephano" (Count Olaf in disguise) in his place. The Baudelaires quickly recognize Stephano as Olaf. Uncle Monty, on the other hand, thinks that Stephano is a jealous spy from the herpetology society, there to steal the Incredibly Deadly Viper, which he has not yet revealed to the society. When the Baudelaires tried to tell Uncle Monty Stephano's true identity, he misunderstood them, thinking that they were saying that Stephano's "plan to steal the Incredibly Deadly Viper" was as despicable as Olaf, rather than Stephano actually being Olaf. Then, he tore up Stephano's ticket. This does not stop Olaf, who murders Uncle Monty (using snake venom). Olaf then blames it on the Mamba Du Mal (the Incredibly Deadly Viper in the movie), another snake owned by Uncle Monty. The Baudelaires escape Olaf, but they never again find a nicer or more caring guardian than Uncle Monty. Uncle Monty also had some connection to the Quagmire family because there is a tunnel connecting the two houses.
Snicket's autobiography indicates that Uncle Monty's death may be partly attributable to his failure to learn Sebald Code, with which a message intended for him was hidden in the movie Zombies in the Snow, which he had taken the children to see.
In the film, Klaus sees Uncle Monty with a spyglass similar to the one he found in his father's desk drawer, and later finds one that belongs to Aunt Josephine. Klaus also found a picture with his parents, Aunt Josephine, Uncle Monty, and other presumably VFD members, all holding spyglasses. He is older and one of the more sympathetic characters in the movie. He gives the children a wonderful home, but faces the same fate as the other sympathetic guardians. In the book, Monty dearly wishes to have a family, but never found the right woman; in the movie Monty had a wife and children, but they were killed by yet another arson attack (possibly by Count Olaf).
On the book cover Monty's hair is red and in the movie it is grey. But in the video game his hair is black.
In the book "Who could that be at this hour?", Monty is mentioned by Hector in the final chapter.
In the film adaption, Montgomery Montgomery is played by Billy Connolly.
Aunt Josephine thinks that grammar is the greatest joy in life. She keeps many books about Lake Lachrymose under her bed. These books include The Tides of Lake Lachrymose, The Bottom of Lake Lachrymose, Lachrymose Trout, The History of the Damocles Dock Region, Ivan Lachrymose - Lake Explorer, How Water Is Made and A Lachrymose Atlas.
Ever since her husband Isaac (Ike for short) was devoured by Lachrymose Leeches, she has developed numerous fears. These include concerns about:
- Lake Lachrymose
- Welcome mat - Someone might fall and break their neck (decapitate themselves in the film).
- Radiator - It might explode.
- Couch (refrigerator in movie) - It could fall and crush a person.
- Cars - The doors could get stuck, leaving someone trapped inside.
- Doorknobs - It could shatter into a million pieces, one of which may get in someone's eye.
- Telephone - It could electrocute someone.
- Stove - It might burst into flames.
- The Lachrymose Leeches - This is one of her more rational fears. If they smell food, they swarm in and attack.
- Chandelier - If it falls, it'll impale someone (in film)
- Realtors could take her house.
- The Black Death
- Avocados - The pit could become lodged in your throat.
- Hair in her face
Ironically, many of the things she fears actually happen in the film when her home falls into the lake. As in the film when the orphans finally return home from shopping, they see that the Wide Window (the window that looks out onto Lachrymose Lake) has been broken. But Josephine stated that Hurricane Herman was coming and that they should prepare (although, it is not stated how a hurricane can effect a house on a lake, it is perhaps just a violent wind storm that ended quickly). So, as the wind picks up, Klaus goes to the kitchen to put away the food, but Violet notices the house shaking and she calls for Klaus who turns around. She then screams: Get away from the refrigerator! If it falls it could crush you flat! quoting Aunt Josephine's many fears. She tackles him aside and the fridge flies out the Wide Window. Klaus and Violet grab Sunny, falling to the floor, but rolling aside to avoid a falling chandelier, like Josephine said: Watch out for the chandelier, if it falls it could impale someone! They look up from the floor and see that the stove/oven have also broken away from the wall, leaving the gas pipe exposed and aflame (this is one of the few fears that isn't actually used, as Aunt Josephine said it would burst into flames, but it didn't). Then they see the gas pipe lands on the crystal doorknob, heating it red hot and shattering it to pieces when Violet says: Oh no... As they have their heads down, the radiator explodes, but they remain unharmed. When they finally lift their heads up they see that they are only suspended on a piece of floorboards held up by only a few suspension boards and a piece of wall that holds a decorative anchor. The orphans are about ten yards from the actual cliff, not jumping distance. Violet, tying her hair up in her red ribbon, gets the idea to use the anchor and a decorative fire extinguisher to roll the anchor over to the edge and break the board holding them up. As the board broke the floorboards rocked toward the cliff when they jumped off the boards onto the cliff. Then the boards fell into the lake and the children are safely on the stable ground.
In the end, Josephine pleads with Count Olaf (in his disguise of Captain Sham) to let her live by offering the Baudelaire children, the fortune, and the children's lives in exchange for her own safety, but instead pushes her overboard from a small sailboat after she corrected her own death sentence, literally. It is heavily implied that she meets the same fate as her husband; she is surrounded by leeches and her tattered life jackets are found later by fishermen at the time the orphans were in Prufrock Preparatory School, two books later. It is unknown if she is alive or dead. The Grim Grotto implies that she might still be alive. She is mentioned more times than any others of the Baudelaire's caregivers after her death (with the obvious exceptions of Count Olaf and Esmé Squalor). She and Esmé Squalor are the only female guardians the Baudelaires have in the series.
- ^ Josephine gets over this fear in the course of the Baudelaires' stay. However, this leads to her undoing.
- ^ This is given some credence by Captain Widdershins when he says "we were attacked by... leeches and realtors" and explained briefly by Kit Snicket in Chapter 2 of The Penultimate Peril. It was mentioned that a cave (presumably Curdled Cave) was attacked by treacherous realtors. Although it may be for comedic relief, the word treacherous may mean that the realtors were members of the evil side of the V.F.D., and an attack of theirs caused her irrational fear of realtors. Fictional film director Dr. Gustav Sebald is also credited (in The Unauthorized Autobiography) with a film entitled Realtors in the Cave, further suggesting a V.F.D.-related incident. Also, the film explains that Josephine's fear of realtors is the reason that she has not moved from her dangerous house.
In the film adaption, Aunt Josephine is played by Meryl Streep.
- McMahon, Regan (October 13, 2006). "Lemony Snicket fans rejoice that 'The End' arrives today". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Carpentier, Pierre; Charles du Fresne du Cange (1766). Glossarium Novum ad Scriptores Medii Ævi, cum Latinos Tum Gallicos. Paris. p. 418.
- Nugent, Thomas (1808). The New Pocket-Dictionary of the French and English Languages. London: J. Mawman. p. 36.
- Fosbroke, Thomas Dudley (1825). Encyclopædia of Antiquities and Elements of Archaeology, Classical and Medieval. London: John Nichols & Son. p. 799.
- Froissart, John (1839). Chronicles; or, England, France, Spain, and the Adjoining Countries. Thomas Johnes (trans.). London: Willam Smith. p. 662.
- Finch, A. J. (1997). "The Nature of Violence in the Middle Ages: An Alternative Perspective". Historical Research LXX (173): 267. doi:10.1111/1468-2281.00043.
- Nadine, Epstein (February 2007). "The Jewish Secrets of Lemony Snicket". Moment.
- LS to BB #5, Dewey is killed in book 13 The End. When Violet accidentally drops a harpoon gun causing Dewey to be shot. The Beatrice Letters
- The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition
- Snicket, Lemony (2006). The End. A Series of Unfortunate Events. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-441016-1.
- Snicket, Lemony (2006). The Beatrice Letters. A Series of Unfortunate Events. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-058658-3.