List of supporting A Series of Unfortunate Events characters
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, 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 part of the Baudelaire family.
- 1 Siblings and families
- 2 Other characters
- 2.1 Babs
- 2.2 Mrs. Bass
- 2.3 Carmelita Spats
- 2.4 Charles
- 2.5 Friday Caliban
- 2.6 Hal
- 2.7 Hook-handed man
- 2.8 Ishmael
- 2.9 Jerome Squalor
- 2.10 Justice Strauss
- 2.11 Mr. Lesko
- 2.12 Mrs. Morrow
- 2.13 Vice Principal Nero
- 2.14 Olivia Caliban
- 2.15 Dr. Orwell
- 2.16 Phil
- 2.17 Mr. Remora
- 2.18 Sir
- 2.19 Colonists
- 2.20 Taxi driver
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Siblings and families
Duncan and Isadora
Duncan and Isadora Quagmire are students at Prufock Preparatory School in The Austere Academy. They may have been named after Isadora Duncan, a dancer who was strangled to death when her scarf became caught in the wheel of her car. They become friends with the Baudelaires: both families lost their parents in a fire and will inherit a large fortune upon coming of age. The Quagmires attempt to help the Baudelaires work out Count Olaf's plan, but end up being kidnapped by him. They return in The Ersatz Elevator and The Vile Village and the Baudelaires try to help them escape Olaf's clutches; in the latter, they end up escaping in a hot-air balloon house with Hector. In The End, Kit Snicket tells the Baudelaires that she briefly met up with them, but does not know what happened to them as she abandoned them when threatened by the Great Unknown.
Quigley Quagmire is the brother of Duncan and Isadora, who was thought to have died in the fire which killed his parents. He escaped and eventually managed to find the Baudelaires in The Slippery Slope, where he helped Violet and Klaus rescue their sister. He was then separated from the Baudelaires; he managed to meet up with his siblings, according to Kit Snicket in The End, although she does not know what happened to him after that.
Frank and Ernest, identical brothers, are managers of the Hotel Denouement. Frank is a "volunteer" while Ernest is a "villain". The Baudelaires work in the hotel as concierges and meet managers on several occasions, but fail to tell Frank and Ernest apart.
Dewey is also a manager of the hotel, but far fewer people are aware he exists: Count Olaf describes him as a "legendary figure". He calls himself a "sub-sub-librarian", and has spent his life cataloguing evidence hidden within the pool of the Hotel Denouement. When he refuses to tell Olaf the passwords to unlock a door (which supposedly led to a room containing the sugar bowl), Olaf threatens to shoot him with a harpoon gun. The Baudelaires try to save Dewey but Olaf drops the gun and it goes off, killing Dewey.
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. This was likely to secure the influence of the newspaper for the villainous side of V.F.D.
Edgar and Albert Poe
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Carmelita Spats is a pupil of Prufock Preparatory School and a Snow Scout, appearing in The Austere Academy, The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto and The Penultimate Peril. She dislikes the Baudelaires, taunting them for being orphans and calling them "cakesniffers". Her uncle Bruce is the leader of the Snow Scouts; she hikes up the Mortmain Mountain every year with the group, which celebrates the False Spring by crowning her queen. One year, she meets Olaf and Esmé at the peak of the mountain and they unofficially adopt her. In The Grim Grotto, she claims to be a "tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian" and performs a recital; Esmé finds this adorable while Olaf is annoyed by it. In The Penultimate Peril, she dresses as a "ballplaying cowboy superhero soldier pirate" and has a pool and a ship brought to the roof of the Hotel Denouement.
Charles is Sir's partner at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in The Miserable Mill. Charles was kind to the Baudelaires but not very helpful; he organized a library to be set up at the mill but it only contained three books.
Charles makes an appearance in The Penultimate Peril, staying with Sir in the 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.
Friday Caliban is a young island girl who quickly befriends the Baudelaires, giving Sunny Baudelaire a whisk as a gift, and making enemies with Count Olaf by abandoning him. She is the daughter of Thursday and Miranda Caliban. 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. Friday was forced to leave the island on a boat with the other islanders, all of them infected by the Medusoid Mycelium, leaving the Baudelaires behind.
She is named after the character 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. 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 first appears in the eighth novel, The Hostile Hospital. Working at the Library of Records in the Heimlich Hospital, he is one of the oldest men that the Baudelaires have ever met. 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. Although he owns the restaurant, Hal is a terrible cook. He forgives the Baudelaires and apologizes for believing Geraldine Julienne's stories in The Daily Punctilio.
Fernald, commonly known as the hook-handed man, is an assistant of Count Olaf. First appearing in The Bad Beginning as part of his theatre troupe, he reappears disguised as a doorman in The Ersatz Elevator. He appears in The Hostile Hospital, assisting Olaf's surgical attempt to murder Violet; he is seen travelling around as part of Olaf's troupe following this. In The Grim Grotto, Fiona meets him and it is revealed that they are siblings: Captain Widdershins is his stepfather. He joined Olaf and left Captain Widdershins after burning down Anwhistle Aquatics. Fiona convinces him to steal Olaf's submarine; their fate is unknown, as Kit Snicket reports in The End that she abandoned them in the face of the Great Unknown.
Ishmael appears in The End; he is the leader in a small colony of island inhabitants. He uses peer pressure and the sedative of fermented coconut cordial to influence the islanders; while claiming to be unable to walk, he often sneaks off to the island's arboretum, writing diary entries and organizing shipwrecked objects. The Baudelaires, when on this island, discover that he used to know their parents and forced them off the island when their mother was pregnant with Violet. When they ask him why he keeps so many secrets from the islanders, he says that he is trying to keep them safe. He is last seen on a boat leaving the island, surrounded by poisoned islanders but having previously consumed an antidote.
|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; together, they adopted the Baudelaires briefly. As his wife's name is a 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. He is less of a follower of fashion than Esmé. He is rich and successful, as is his wife. He is perhaps the most caring guardian of the Baudelaire children since Uncle Monty. At the end of the novel, Esmé leaves Jerome to become a member of Count Olaf's troupe and Count Olaf's girlfriend; the Baudelaires leave Jerome behind as he does not wish to help them rescue the Quagmires.
In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, there are two letters concerning Jerome.
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. Jerome also meets his wife Esmé at the hotel, and when she dumps Count Olaf publicly Jerome urges her to rejoin his side. Esmé refuses his offer.
|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 unwittingly marries Violet to the Count. 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 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 the Baudelaires follow the two. They end up ascending to the roof of the Hotel Denouement after setting fire to the building. Justice Strauss attempts to prevent the escape of Count Olaf, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, but they leave her behind.
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 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.
Vice Principal Nero
Vice Principal Nero is the vice principal of Prufrock Preparatory School in The Austere Academy. It has been suggested that his name is an allusion to the Roman Emperor Nero, who is often said to have "fiddled while Rome burned;" Vice Principal Nero plays the violin.
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 strict and unusual punishments for his students; he is a vain egotist.
Olivia Caliban appears in The Carnivorous Carnival: posing as a fortune teller, she runs Caligari Carnival. She promises to answer questions Olaf has about V.F.D., using a hidden library and guesswork to make him believe her. She also hires the Baudelaires, disguised so they will not be recognized by Olaf, as "freaks". When the Baudelaires discover her library, she admits she was a member of V.F.D. and agrees to go with the Baudelaires to search for their parents in the Mortmain Mountains. However, she accidentally falls into the carnival's lion pit and dies, after telling Olaf about the Baudelaire's disguises.
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.
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. 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.
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.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2014)|
- Alonso (named after a character in Shakespeare's The Tempest)
- Ariel (named after a character in Shakespeare's The Tempest)
- Jonah and Sadie Bellamy (named after the biblical Jonah; a character in The Adventures of Sadie, aka Our Girl Friday, a 1953 film about a shipwrecked girl; and Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy, an 18th-century pirate who was shipwrecked off Cape Cod. The surname may also refer to Edward Bellamy, author of the utopian novel Looking Backward)
- Rabbi Bligh (named after Bounty captain William Bligh)
- Brewster (named after Maud Brewster, a character in Jack London's The Sea-Wolf)
- Byam (named after Roger Byam, a fictional character in the novel Mutiny on the Bounty)
- Calypso (named after the sea nymph Calypso from Greek mythology)
- Erewhon (named after the utopia in Samuel Butler's book of the same name), which is also an anagram of Nowhere
- Ferdinand (named after a character in Shakespeare's The Tempest)
- Professor Fletcher (named after Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian)
- Finn (named after Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn)
- Dr. Kurtz (named after a character in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness)
- Larsen (named after Wolf Larsen, a character in Jack London's The Sea-Wolf)
- Ms. Marlow (named after a character in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness)
- Madame Nordoff (named after Charles Nordhoff, co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty)
- Omeros (possibly named after the Greek epic poet Homer, whose Iliad and Odyssey deal extensively with sea voyages and shipwrecks; another possibility is the 1990 poem of the same name by Derek Walcott, which is partly a retelling of the Odyssey set in the Caribbean)
- Mr. Pitcairn (named after the Pitcairn Islands where the Bounty mutineers eventually settled)
- Robinson (named after the title character in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe)
- Sherman (named after General William Tecumseh Sherman, who survived two shipwrecks; or from William Pène du Bois’s The Twenty-One Balloons)
- Thursday, islander for a short time before the events of book, probably a reference to Thursday October Christian, from Mutiny on the Bounty, Fletcher Christian's son, on Pitcairn Island, or a spin-off of the character Friday from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe
- Willa (possibly named after writer Willa Cather who refers to a shipwreck in a notable)
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.
- Melody Joy Kramer (October 12, 2006). NPR http://www.npr.org/2011/07/15/6253438/a-series-of-unfortunate-literary-allusions. Retrieved November 30, 2014. Missing or empty
- Snicket, Lemony. "Lemony Snicket: The Unauthroized Autobiography". HarperCollins, 2002, p. 140-141.
- McLaughlin, Maureen; Overturf, Brenda (November 7, 2012). The Common Core: Teaching K-5 Students to Meet the Reading Standards. International Reading Assoc. p. 92. ISBN 0872078159.
clearly a reference to the Roman Emperor Nero, who allegedly fiddled while Rome burned