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Lemony Snicket

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Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events character

Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket and Snicket's signature from the books
First appearanceThe Bad Beginning
Created byDaniel Handler
Portrayed byPatrick Warburton (TV series)
Voiced byTim Curry (video game, audiobook narrator)
Jude Law (film)
Daniel Handler (photography, audiobook narrator)
In-universe information
FamilyJacques Snicket (brother)
Kit Snicket (sister)
Beatrice Baudelaire II (niece)

Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American author Daniel Handler (born February 28, 1970).[1][2] Handler has published various children's books under the name,[3] including A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has sold over 60 million copies and spawned a 2004 film and Netflix TV series from 2017 to 2019 of the same name. Lemony Snicket also serves as the in-universe author who investigates and re-tells the story of the Baudelaire orphans in A Series of Unfortunate Events.[4]

Snicket is also the subject of a fictional autobiography titled Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.[5] Further telling of Snicket's adventures can be found in the four-part children's series All the Wrong Questions, as well as a pamphlet titled 13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket (released in promotion of The End).[6] Other works by Snicket include The Baby in the Manger, The Composer Is Dead, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, The Lump of Coal, and 13 Words.

In the 2004 film, Lemony Snicket is voiced by Jude Law while James Henderson plays him physically,[7] who documents the events of the film on a typewriter from inside a clock tower.[8] In the video game based on the film, his voice is provided by Tim Curry.[9] In the Netflix series, Snicket is interpreted as a mysterious and omniscient narrator chronicling the events of the Baudelaire children, and is portrayed by Patrick Warburton.[10]


Within A Series of Unfortunate Events, the narrator Lemony Snicket is given his own backstory. He is said to have come from a family of three children. His brother Jacques (who was murdered in The Vile Village) and sister Kit were V.F.D. members and friends of the Baudelaire parents. Both Jacques and Kit appear as supporting characters in the books. He also knew Count Olaf in his early life, as the two attended school together. As a child, he was kidnapped and inducted as a "neophyte" into V.F.D., where he was trained in rhetoric and sent on seemingly pointless missions, while all connections were severed from his former life, apart from his siblings Jacques and Kit (who were also kidnapped and inducted). Consequently, Snicket attended a V.F.D.-run boarding school in his youth with several other characters from the series. He received later tuition at a V.F.D. headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains and was employed by a newspaper called The Daily Punctilio after graduation as an obituary spell-checker and theater critic.

As a character, Snicket is a harried, troubled writer and photographer who is falsely accused of various felonies and continuously hunted by the police and his enemies, the fire-starting side of the secret organization V.F.D. (Volunteer Fire Department). In the organization, he met and fell in love with an associate named Beatrice, to whom he got engaged. He was falsely accused of murder and arson. Eventually, the fallacies grew so much that The Daily Punctilio reported his death. Beatrice later moved on and married Bertrand Baudelaire, becoming the mother of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, the protagonists of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Fourteen years thereafter, Beatrice and Bertrand were supposedly murdered in a house fire, leaving the Baudelaire children orphaned and then pursued by Snicket's former associate, Count Olaf. Snicket feels indebted to his former fiancée and embarks on a quest to chronicle the lives of the Baudelaire children until they become old enough to face the troubles of the world on their own.

A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.

– Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket has charged himself with the task of researching and documenting the story of the Baudelaire orphans for "many personal and legal reasons". He traces their movements and collects evidence relating to their adventures. Though he is never specified to have met the children in the book series, in the Netflix adaptation of The Penultimate Peril he is confirmed as the taxi driver trying to take the children away from the hotel.

As the series progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Snicket had known the Baudelaire orphans' parents well through their connections to V.F.D. However, as mentioned in The Hostile Hospital and The End, despite all of Lemony's research and hard work, he still does not know the current location, position or status of the Baudelaire children. Additionally, it is unclear if he ever met them in the books.

Snicket is frequently disparaging of himself; he has described himself as a coward, and at various points in his novels comments that he would not have been as brave as the Baudelaire children had he been in their situation. He also confesses that he has done things that were not noble, such as the original theft of the sugar bowl from Esmé Squalor. He implied he had a part in the murder of Count Olaf's parents, and that Beatrice was involved as well.

In the narration of the books, Snicket describes doing many unusual things in his free time, including hiding all traces of his actions, locating new hiding places, considering suspicious dishes, and researching the perilous lives of the Baudelaire children. He claims to often write himself citations for bravery in an attempt to cheer himself up, but these attempts are always in vain.

Daniel Handler in 2006

As pen name[edit]

The name Lemony Snicket originally came from research from Handler's first book The Basic Eight. Handler wanted to receive material from organizations that he found "offensive or funny" but did not want to use his real name, so he invented "Lemony Snicket" as a pseudonym.[11] The name's similarity to Jiminy Cricket was "likely a Freudian slip".[12] Handler told NPR in an interview that "the character of Lemony Snicket, this man who speaks directly to the reader and also who is tangentially involved in the stories that he's telling is really more of a character. We just thought it would be fun to publish the books under the name of this character."[13] Handler has also written or contributed to other works under the Lemony Snicket persona that are not related to A Series of Unfortunate Events. He has stated "there's a chance some other matters may take up Mr. Snicket's attention, that he may research and publish, but I'm always wary of making such promises".[14]

Handler publishes most of his children's novels under the pen name, including the thirteen-book A Series of Unfortunate Events series, the four-book All the Wrong Questions series, The Baby in the Manger, The Composer Is Dead, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, The Lump of Coal, and 13 Words.[6][15][3][16]

As Snicket, Handler wrote an introduction and endnotes for The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily by Dino Buzzati, his favorite children's book,[17] that referenced A Series of Unfortunate Events. Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out, a 2005 McSweeney's short story compilation, has an introduction and unfinished short story attributed to Lemony Snicket.[18]

Snicket also wrote The Composer Is Dead, a murder mystery designed to introduce young readers to the instruments of the orchestra; it was previously produced as an orchestral work by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, with Handler narrating as Snicket, and a recording of the performance is to be included with every copy of the expanded book.[19]

In 2013, Snicket wrote the introduction to the 1989–1990 edition of Fantagraphics Books' The Complete Peanuts series.


  1. ^ Cruz, Lenika (October 23, 2014). "The Postmodern Brilliance of "A Series of Unfortunate Events"". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "Daniel Handler". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "'Who Could That Be at This Hour?': Lemony Snicket's new book discusses his childhood". The Christian Science Monitor. October 19, 2012. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Eloise, Marianne (October 3, 2019). "Wicked wonder: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events at 20". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  5. ^ "Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Beckett, Sandra L. (November 24, 2010). Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives. Routledge. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-135-86130-8.
  7. ^ "Patrick Warburton to Star as Lemony Snicket in Netflix Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. March 14, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)". The Independent. December 19, 2004. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events". IGN. November 16, 2004. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  10. ^ "Fortunately, Netflix's 'Lemony Snicket' is a hoot". The Boston Globe. January 11, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  11. ^ The Beatrice Interview, beatrice.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Handler biodata Archived February 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Lemony Snicket stuff. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Man Behind Lemony Snicket Talks About Writing For Kids And His Childhood Fears". NPR. January 13, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  14. ^ "Newsround interviews Lemony Snicket". BBC News. May 30, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Sunday Conversation: With Daniel Handler". Los Angeles Times. June 20, 2010. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Faust, Susan (September 26, 2010). "'13 Words,' by Lemony Snicket". SFGate. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "Q&A with Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), Bestselling Novelist and Upcoming Speaker at Rutgers University". Rutgers University. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  18. ^ "All this, and Lemony Snicket too". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  19. ^ HarperCollins Children's Books – Parents Book Buzz Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, harpercollinschildrens.com. Retrieved January 5, 2017.

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