List of supporting A Series of Unfortunate Events characters

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The children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events features a large cast of characters created by Lemony Snicket. The series follows the turbulent lives of the Baudelaire orphans after their parents, Bertrand and Beatrice, are killed in an arsonous structure fire.

The author of the series is Lemony Snicket (the nom de plume of Daniel Handler), who plays a major role in the plot himself. Although the series is given no distinct location in the English-speaking world, other real persons appear in the narrative as well, including the series' illustrator, Brett Helquist, and Daniel Handler himself.

The following is a list of supporting characters who are not considered among the major characters (Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, Count Olaf, Lemony Snicket, Arthur Poe, Esmé Squalor, and Beatrice Baudelaire) and are not members of Count Olaf's theater troupe, members of V.F.D., or part of the Baudelaire, Snicket, or Quagmire families.

Primary supporting characters[edit]

Charles[edit]

Charles is Sir's partner at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Charles was the person who recommended that Sir have a library at the mill. There have only been three books in that library ever since he suggested it. He cares for the Baudelaires but is too afraid of Sir to help in a useful manner. In The Penultimate Peril, Kit Snicket says that Charles sent her maps, poems, and blueprints, so it is possible that Charles is a friend of Kit Snicket. Later on in the book, Kit tells the children that Charles has been searching for the Baudelaires, and that he has joined the good side of V.F.D. Charles makes an appearance in the same novel, staying with Sir in Hotel Denouement. He explains to Sir that he wants to apologize to the Baudelaires for their treatment, and he is sent a letter by J.S., which assists him in his search. It is unknown if he escapes the hotel when it is burned down by the Baudelaire children and Count Olaf.[1][2][3][4]

Friday Caliban[edit]

Friday Caliban is a young island girl who quickly befriends the Baudelaires, giving Sunny Baudelaire a whisk as a gift, and makes enemies with Count Olaf by abandoning him. She is the daughter of Thursday and Miranda Caliban, and was born on the island. She also may be Hugo, Colette the contortionist and Kevin's cousin. Her mother told her that her father was eaten by a manatee in the storm which shipwrecked her on the island, but the truth is that Miranda and Thursday were separated by the schism and Miranda did not want her daughter to know this. Unfortunately, Friday had to leave the Baudelaires stranded on the island by leaving with the other islanders, all of them infected by the Medusoid Mycelium. It is mentioned that Ink, the Incredibly Deadly Viper, had brought them an apple on the water to save them, but it is unknown whether the other islanders were eventually saved, however, it's stated in the Beatrice Letters that Friday was saved. She had many secrets that island facilitator Ishmael would not approve of, including learning how to read, giving Sunny a whisk, and keeping Ink.

She is named after the characters Friday from the book Robinson Crusoe, who was Robinson's friend and assistant, and Caliban from Shakespeare's The Tempest, who was a native of Prospero's island. Since she was born on the island, it is likely she has no idea of V.F.D.

It is possible that she is related to Olivia Caliban, as they have the same last name, and Monday, who is mentioned by Count Olaf.

Hal[edit]

Hal first appears in the eighth novel, The Hostile Hospital. Working at the Library of Records of the hospital, he is described as one of the oldest men that the three orphaned children (Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire) have ever met, "with the tiniest pair of glasses they have ever seen." Hal is the eighth guardian of the orphans, and the first unofficial guardian. However, when the Library of Records is burned down by Count Olaf, Hal is quick to believe that the Baudelaires are responsible, and so turns against them.

In The Penultimate Peril, he reappears as the owner of an Indian restaurant at the Hotel Denouement. In this novel, it seems that he is possibly a member of V.F.D., because he says a V.F.D. code sentence, "I didn't realize this was a sad occasion", to Mr. Remora (who fails to understand). Hal is probably on the good side of V.F.D. because he was angry about the fire at the Library of Records, and states that 'he should know' that the Baudelaires are not criminals.

Although he owns the restaurant, Hal is a terrible cook, as Dewey Denouement says, "All bad food tastes horrible, but bad Indian food is perhaps the worst." In contrast to his behavior in The Hostile Hospital, he forgives the Baudelaires and apologizes for believing Geraldine Julienne's stories in the sensationalist newspaper The Daily Punctilio.

It is unknown if Hal survived the Hotel Denouement Fire.

Jerome Squalor[edit]

Jerome Squalor
A Series of Unfortunate Events character
First appearance The Ersatz Elevator
Last appearance The Penultimate Peril
Family Esmé Squalor (wife)

Jerome Squalor first appears in The Ersatz Elevator. He is married to Esmé Squalor, who decided to adopt the Baudelaires because orphans were "in." As his wife's name is a clear reference to J.D. Salinger's book For Esme with Love and Squalor, it is widely assumed that Jerome's name is in reference to the same author (Jerome David Salinger). Jerome is kind to the Baudelaires but completely submissive to Esmé and other characters due to his distaste for arguments. The phrase he consistently uses throughout the book is "Well, I don't want to argue..." He is less of a follower of fashion than Esmé and dislikes the idea of buying superfluous items simply because they are "in." He is rich and successful, but this position is abused by Esmé, who wants to gain access to the Baudelaire Fortune. He is perhaps the most caring guardian of the Baudelaire children since Uncle Monty.

He also suggests he was friends with the Baudelaires' parents, hinting that he is or was part of V.F.D. When the Baudelaires first come into the apartment, Jerome tells Violet about their mother:

"You’re adventurous! I like that in a person. Your mother was adventurous, too. You know, she and I were very good friends a way back. We hiked up Mount Fraught with some friends - gosh, it must have been twenty years ago. Mount Fraught was known for having dangerous animals on it, but your mother wasn't afraid. But then, swooping out of the sky.."

He is then cut off by Esmé. The same occurs when he tries to tell the Baudelaires about their mother's love of auctions. This may be because Esmé didn't want Jerome to tell the children of Beatrice's past for fear that even though he may not know of V.F.D., (it is never stated he was involved), he may tell the children something about V.F.D. activity without knowing what he is talking about.

At the end of the novel, Esmé leaves Jerome to become a member of Count Olaf's troupe and Count Olaf's girlfriend. In keeping with his timid and non-confrontational disposition, Jerome tells the Baudelaires that he wants to take them "far, far away from here, so far away that you’ll forget all about Count Olaf and the Quagmires and everything else." The Baudelaires refuse because they think that the act of finding Count Olaf and the Quagmires is more noble.

In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, there are two letters concerning Jerome: one to Jerome from Jacques Snicket and the second from Jerome to Jacques. The first begs Jerome not to marry Esmé, saying

"The reason you should not marry Esmé is the same reason I begged you to buy the penthouse apartment at 667 Dark Avenue and never, ever sell it, and the same reason people should never get tattoos."

It is unclear from this letter whether Jerome was part of V.F.D. knowingly and willingly.

It is implied in the second letter that the first never reached Jerome because the doorman - one of Count Olaf's henchmen, the hook handed man - never gave it to him. In the second letter, it is obvious that Esmé is working against V.F.D. at this point, as the letter says

"She (Esmé) says that she can't wait to meet you so she can finally give you what you deserve. I assume she means a present of some sort."

This letter suggests that Jerome, because of his optimism and submissiveness, was used as a pawn by Esmé to secure the tunnel in the elevator at 667 Dark Avenue.

Jerome returns in The Penultimate Peril. Feeling guilty at his desertion of the Baudelaires, he has been researching their case and writing a book about injustice entitled Odious Lusting After Finance (a backronym of "Olaf"). He gives the book to Justice Strauss to be used as evidence at Olaf's trial in the lobby of Hotel Denouement. Jerome also meets his wife Esmé at the hotel, and when she dumps Count Olaf publicly Jerome urges her to rejoin his side, that he has faith that she still has nobility left in her. Unfortunately Esmé replies that she can't, because justice is out at this time ("that's why it's called injustice"). When the time for the trial comes Count Olaf kidnaps the judge, escapes, and uses the only copy of the book as kindling to set fire to the hotel. It is unknown whether Jerome survives the fire.

Vice Principal Nero[edit]

Vice Principal Nero is the vice principal of Prufrock Preparatory School in The Austere Academy. His name is probably an allusion to Emperor Nero, who, like the character, was said to be fixated on his musical instrument and refused to acknowledge the perils of the community that he was supposed to protect.

When the Baudelaire orphans are sent to Prufrock Preparatory School, they find themselves under the thumb of Vice Principal Nero. Right away, the children are sent to his office. This makes the children not able to eat with forks, spoons, or even cups; such a punishment is given because children are not allowed to enter his office without an appointment. Nero is extremely strict, and it seems to the Baudelaires that he lacks a sense of reality because of such actions as making Sunny his secretary. She is made to manufacture her own staples because the original supply had run out and Nero refuses to purchase more. Although he clearly cannot play the violin properly, it is nonetheless mandatory for every student to attend nightly six-hour concerts of his own compositions. He repeatedly refers to himself as a "genius". Despite this claim, he is useless at mathematics and believes triplets are four babies that are born at the same time.

Nero dresses in a brown suit with a necktie patterned with pictures of snails. In The Austere Academy, his hair is tied into four pigtails, but by The Penultimate Peril, they have grown into four long braids that dangle behind him.

Nero often mimics what others have just said in a high, mocking tone and has numerous methods of strict punishment for his students, including buying him a bag of candy and watching him eat it when they fail to attend his concerts. Other punishments involve the removal of silverware at mealtimes (incurred by entry into the administrative building which is off-limits to students) and eating with their hands tied behind their backs (for being late to lessons).

Like most of the Baudelaires' previous guardians, Nero still maintains that Olaf is not Coach Genghis (Olaf's disguise), despite the Baudelaires unmasking him. Shortly thereafter, Violet, Klaus and Sunny are expelled from Prufrock Prep because Nero sees them as bad students.

Nero re-appears in The Penultimate Peril when he, along with Mr. Remora and Mrs. Bass, are invited to Esmé Squalor's cocktail party. Nero is never stated to be part of either side of the V.F.D schism, and when asked a coded V.F.D phrase - "I didn't realize this was a sad occasion" - in The Penultimate Peril, Nero does not appear to understand. If Nero is a member of V.F.D., however, he is likely on the villainous side; during The Penultimate Peril, he sets a glass down without using a coaster, a recurring theme in the series, labelled by the narrator as something only a villainous person would do. At the end of the book, a large fire consumes the hotel with Nero inside it, and it is unknown whether he escaped or perished.

Phil[edit]

Phil worked at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in The Miserable Mill. Phil was one of the friendlier mill workers, and helped the Baudelaires adjust to their new home. During the Baudelaires' stay at the lumbermill, Phil was injured by a mill machine, operated by Klaus, who was hypnotized at the time. On the bright side, Phil is an eternally optimistic character who is not upset about the accident, by saying things such as "at least no one would ask whether I'm right-handed or left-handed."

In The Grim Grotto, Phil worked as a cook at a submarine manned by Captain Widdershins (who calls him Cookie) and his stepdaughter, Fiona although all he can make are damp casseroles. Klaus believes that Phil is still being affected by the stamping machine accident, but Phil claims it to be a shark bite. He, along with Captain Widdershins, abandons the Baudelaires and Fiona during the middle of the novel for unknown reasons, (or had been captured), and does not appear in The Penultimate Peril or The End. It is suspected that Phil may have left his work at Lucky Smells Lumbermill due to a lack of sufficient pay; in The Miserable Mill he states that he has read law books and learned that being paid with coupons is illegal, and despite bringing this up with Sir it is stated in The Penultimate Peril the workers at the mill are still being paid in coupons. In The End he is taken by The Great Unknown, but it is unknown if he is alive or not.

Sir[edit]

In The Miserable Mill, Sir is the owner of the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, located in Paltryville. His real name is not known, although it has been described as hard to pronounce. Mr. Poe has attempted to pronounce the first syllable of the name, using a radically different syllable every time (Wuz, Qui, Bek, Duy, Sho, Gek, etc.). Equally obscure is Sir's appearance. Sir's entire head is hidden by the thick smoke of his ever-burning cigar. He shows little or no concern for either the Baudelaire orphans or his employees, whom he pays in coupons and provides with an unsatisfying meal of chewing gum. His partner, Charles, mentions that he has had a terrible childhood. For some reason, he says "I'm not an idiot" frequently.

He later appears in The Penultimate Peril. On the cover of that book, a man can be seen with smoke in front of his face. It was speculated that this might be Sir, although this is probably false because the man is smoking a pipe rather than a cigar, and because his face is visible. Lemony Snicket also stated that neither the Baudelaires, the reader, or himself, would ever see Sir's face. The initials on his nightwear in The Penultimate Peril show 'LS' "presumably for Lucky Smells" - it could mean Sir is actually Lemony Snicket himself or has stolen his clothing. His partner Charles however is also seen wearing the same nightclothes.

It is thought that he is on the fire-starting side of the V.F.D. schism, if any, possibly hinted at by the fact that he enjoys the smell of hot wood.

It is unknown whether he died in the Hotel Denouement fire.

Justice Strauss[edit]

Justice Strauss
A Series of Unfortunate Events character
First appearance The Bad Beginning
Last appearance The Penultimate Peril
Portrayed by Catherine O'Hara
Occupation High Court justice

Justice Strauss is a judge who lives next to Count Olaf's house. The Baudelaires take a liking to her as soon as they meet in The Bad Beginning, and her library also comes in handy in the foiling of Count Olaf's plot to get the Baudelaire fortune. At the mock wedding that Count Olaf sets up, she plays the judge and almost marries Violet to the Count (Violet prevents this). At the end of the book, Justice offers to look after the Baudelaires, but this is not possible due to legal obligations on the part of Mr. Poe.

Justice Strauss is a member of V.F.D. as said in The Penultimate Peril she said to the Baudelaire's "I became a V.F.D. member when you left in Mr. Poe's car" because she has a large library, and one of the V.F.D. official disguises is a "Judge Disguise." In The Slippery Slope, the Baudelaires find a message left for a J.S. using Verbal Fridge Dialogue. It is not known whether the message was intended for Justice Strauss, Jacques Snicket or Jerome Squalor. Justice Strauss reappears in The Penultimate Peril. She has been researching the Baudelaire case and attempts to bring Count Olaf to justice. Her two fellow High Court judges turn out to be Olaf's associates, the man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard. Olaf kidnaps Justice Strauss and threatens to harm her unless the Baudelaires open the Vernacularly Fastened Door leading to the laundry room of the Hotel Denouement. She also mentions that when she was about Esmé Squalor's age, she had been a horse thief for years before realizing it was the wrong thing to do.

Klaus opens the door, but the sugar bowl Olaf is looking for is not inside, and Olaf ascends to the roof to escape after setting fire to the hotel. Justice Strauss attempts to prevent the escape of Count Olaf, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, but Sunny bites her hand gently so that she lets go of the boat they are escaping in. It is not known if she survives the hotel fire; regardless, Snicket states that the children never see her again.

In the film, she is portrayed by Catherine O'Hara.

Secondary supporting characters[edit]

Babs[edit]

Babs also first appears in the Hostile Hospital. She is the Head of Heimilich Hospital's Human Resources Department. She is never seen but is heard over an intercom, which distorts her voice and makes it sound 'scratchy.' She seems to believe that the Baudelaires should be 'seen and not heard' which is ironic since she can't see them anyway. Count Olaf, disguised as Matthias, later stole her position to take control of the hospital and hinted that he pushed her off the roof of the hospital, as he said she had 'decide to pursue a career as a stuntwoman' and had 'started jumping off buildings immediately.' This means that Olaf probably pushed her off a roof or forced her to jump off one.

Mr. Remora[edit]

Mr. Remora is a teacher at Prufrock Preparatory School, in The Austere Academy teaching Violet Baudelaire. He loves bananas and is constantly seen eating one, smearing banana pulp on his moustache. In his class, students are forced to listen to tiresome and extremely short stories he dictates, after which he gives examinations on various objective aspects of the stories. He thinks that the Baudelaires are good students, and when Vice Principal Nero orders their expulsion, he suggests that Carmelita Spats be expelled instead; he also argues that skipping gym class to study is good time management. Lemony Snicket also reveals that Mr. Remora later retired from his teaching job because he choked on a banana.

Whether retired or not, Mr. Remora reappears in The Penultimate Peril with his fellow teachers, having been invited to a cocktail party at the Hotel Denouement, and makes a brief reference to running from the law (possibly a reference to Mrs. Bass's bank robbery). Hal also tries to communicate with him using a V.F.D. coded phrase; however, Remora fails to understand, meaning that he is probably not part of V.F.D. It is not clear if he survives the fire that destroyed the hotel.

Mrs. Bass[edit]

Mrs. Bass is Klaus Baudelaire's teacher in The Austere Academy. She is obsessed with measuring in metric and all of her lessons are on measuring certain items. She and Mr. Remora only agree that Violet and Klaus are good students after their final examination that would determine their expulsion from Prufrock Prep. Prior to this, however, they were under the impression that Violet and Klaus were the two worst students in the history of the school. Mrs. Bass at this occasion states that she dislikes Carmelita Spats.

She reappears in The Penultimate Peril, having been invited to a cocktail party at Hotel Denouement, wearing a thin black mask and a small white wig as a disguise; it is implied, as foreshadowed in The Austere Academy and Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, that she has robbed a bank, having in her possession several bags of money marked with name of Mulctuary Money Management. It is also implied that the money she stole is none other than from the Spats Fortune. She makes no attempt to conceal her crime from her co-teachers, Vice Principal Nero and Mr. Remora, and they in turn do not judge her, seeming to look on her robbery as an everyday occurrence. She also reveals that her invitation to the cocktail party asked her to bring all her valuables, and since she did not earn enough as a teacher to have valuables she was forced to turn to a life of crime. Despite her defense of the Baudelaires in The Austere Academy, when their own identities are revealed at the Hotel Denouement, she is quick to accuse them of bank robbery. It is assumed that she survives the fire, as in the Austere Academy, it is mentioned that she was arrested for bank robbery.

Mr. Lesko[edit]

Mr. Lesko is a citizen of V.F.D. from The Vile Village. The Baudelaires first meet him at a meeting in Town Hall where he is shown wearing plaid pants. He, and several other citizens, do not want the Baudelaires to live with him and describes them as "noisy" children. He is very mean to them and makes them and Hector clean the windows of his house. He is the one who suggests the Baudelaires be burned at the stake because he thinks they killed Count Olaf (who was actually Jacques Snicket).

He returns in The Penultimate Peril as one of the hotel guests in the lobby after Dewey Denouement is killed. At the Baudelaires and Count Olaf's trial he hands in rule books for evidence. It is not said if he survives the fire or not.

Mrs. Morrow[edit]

Mrs. Morrow is a citizen from the Village of Fowl Devotees in The Vile Village. She is seen at Town Hall when the Baudelaires arrive wearing a pink bathrobe. She is one of the several people who doesn't want the Baudelaires living with her. She shows her dislike for them by making them and Hector trim her hedges. She is the one who delivers the news about Jacques Snicket's mysterious death, whom she thinks is Count Olaf. She also is the person who demands that the Baudelaires be burnt at the stake.

She (along with Mr. Lesko) reappears in The Penultimate Peril as one of the guests at Hotel Denouement who is in the lobby after being woke up by a shot from a harpoon gun that killed Dewey Denouement. She submits constitutions to be used as evidence at the trial for the Baudelaires and Count Olaf. Her death is a mystery because she either escaped from the fire at the hotel that had been set by the Baudelaires and Count Olaf, or perished in it.

Eleanora Poe[edit]

Eleanora Poe is the sister of Mr. Arthur Poe, who is in charge of the Baudelaire orphans' affairs. Eleanora is the editor in chief of The Daily Punctilio.

She is first mentioned as "a tiresome woman named Eleanora" who was in an elevator at the Hotel Preludio with the Baudelaire family one day when Bertrand played a prank that forced her to stop at every floor on the way to her hotel room.

It is implied that Eleanora and Arthur are not part of the V.F.D. organization, because at The Anxious Clown, the waiter uses a code for V.F.D. members, and neither Eleanora nor Arthur seem to understand it or decide to ignore it.

She was eventually locked in the basement of the newspaper building by Geraldine Julienne, her "star reporter", on the orders of Esmé Squalor.[5] This was likely to secure the influence of the newspaper for the villainous side of V.F.D.

Her name is a reference a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, Eleonora.

Edgar and Albert Poe[edit]

Edgar and Albert are Mr. Poe's two sons. They are only mentioned in The Bad Beginning when the Baudelaires stay with Mr. Poe following their parents' death. Their names are allusions to Edgar Allan Poe, though they may also be derived from Edgar Albert Guest (who is mentioned in The Grim Grotto).

Polly Poe[edit]

Polly Poe is Mr. Poe's wife. She is mentioned in The Bad Beginning when the Baudelaires stay with the Poe family, and at the theater for Count Olaf's performance of The Marvelous Marriage. While the Baudelaires stay at the Poes' she buys a lot of itchy and ugly clothing. In The Ersatz Elevator, Mr. Poe says that he will tell his wife that dark is in, indicating that she is interested in fashion. What happens to her after the first book (The Bad Beginning) is unknown.

Colonists[edit]

Taxi driver[edit]

Taxi driver(s) may be involved with V.F.D. as a disguise or may pick up people who are involved in the organization. Snicket's narration suggests that a taxi driver had picked up the Sugar Bowl at the Hotel Denouement. The taxi driver is described as 'a skinny man with a skinny cigarette', exactly the same as the taxi driver who took the Baudelaires to Aunt Josephine's house in the third book, so it is likely that they are the same person. It had been suggested that taxi driver was Snicket himself. In The Penultimate Peril, as a crowd is gathering to catch the Baudelaire orphans under the illusion that they deliberately shot Dewey with a harpoon gun (in fact the gun fell out of their hands and hit the floor, releasing a harpoon that killed Dewey), the taxi driver comes up and offers to take them away, saying that money is no objective. He also says what a lot of people have said in the Hotel Denouement - "Are you who I think you are?"

The Baudelaires think about whether to go with him - on the one hand they should not, as he is a strange man, but on the other hand, he has said no money is not a problem, he quotes American poetry, and smokes cigarettes, causing Snicket to write that therefore he was probably "in between" villainous and noble. Snicket adds that even if the children had gone with the taxi driver, that would not have been the end of their troubles, only the start of a new set of troubles. In any case, whether or not the Baudelaires wanted to go with the man in the taxi, after Sunny replies, "We don't know," to his question of "Are you who I think you are?" Mr. Poe arrives and takes the children away, and presumably the taxi driver leaves with the sugar bowl, "a small damp wet object sat on the seat beside him having been retrieved from its hiding place." The taxi driver plays no further part in the series. Part of this disguise includes a picture of a baby, mentioned in The Unauthorized Autobiography. When Count Olaf arrives at Uncle Monty's house in the second book as Stephano, he refuses to give his taxi driver a tip on account of his talking too much about his new baby. He may be Lemony Snicket.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ginny (November 29, 2006). "The Grim Grotto and The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket". The Leninist Lemon. Blogspot.com. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ ChaoticDreams 7 (March 4, 2010). "HoYay: Literature: A Series of Unfortunate Events". TV Tropes. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  3. ^ Remember (June 22, 2007). "Play 21 Questions with Lemony Snicket". 667 Dark Avenue. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ Jman (September 22, 2006). "The Official Beatrice Letters DISCUSSION thread". 667 Dark Avenue. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ Snicket, Lemony. "Lemony Snicket: The Unauthroized Autobiography". HarperCollins, 2002, p. 140-141.