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Children, there is no worse sound in the world than somebody who cannot play the violin who insists on doing so anyway.
— Bertrand Baudelaire, The Austere Academy

Bertrand Baudelaire was the husband of Beatrice Baudelaire, the father of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire and a member of V.F.D.


Early Life

Theodora was still talking. She was talking about Bertrand, her previous apprentice. He was a saint. He never gave her any trouble whatsoever. He was a decent person who never gave anyone reason to lose any sleep. He'd end up married to a wonderful woman and have very charming children, while I languished alone and lonely. I sat in my towel and agreed that was likely.

Bertrand was an orphan[7] who was adopted by orphaned children and named after their father.[2] He was eventually recruited into V.F.D.

As a child, he attended classes with Beatrice and young V.F.D. members.[8] Bertrand was one of the volunteers who trained the Volunteer Feline Detectives[9] and was good friends with Dewey Denouement.[6] He first met Beatrice in a candlelit restaurant.[2]

As an apprentice in V.F.D., Bertrand trained under S. Theodora Markson before Lemony Snicket.[10] She considered him a much better apprentice, as Bertrand never gave her any trouble.

Unknown Points in Time

Bertrand and Beatrice received a box of poison darts from Kit at an opera performance of La Forza del Destino; though it is never outright said, it is heavily implied that they used the darts to kill Count Olaf's parents, leaving him an orphan.[6]

Eventually, Bertrand proposed to Beatrice, unknowingly using the same ring that Lemony had used to propose to her earlier.[2]

Bertrand was one of the few people who knew of Dewey Denouement, and the two of them would signal each other with the poetry of an American humorist of the nineteenth century.[6]

Pre-A Series of Unfortunate Events

Ishmael's fearmongering has stopped work on the passageway, even though we have a plethora of horseradish in case of any emergency. We're attempting a botanical hybrid through the tuberous canopy, which should bring safety to fruition despite its dangers to our associates in utero. Of course, in case we are banished, Beatrice is hiding a small amount in a vess-
— Bertrand Baudelaire's journal entry into A Series of Unfortunate Events, The End

About 14-15 years before the series, he lived on The Island with Beatrice when she was pregnant with Violet. They turned the island into a wonderful place where the castaways could still further their study of the world, and to act as a place of recuperation for volunteers deeply affected by the schism. The Baudelaire parents also created a hybrid between the large apple tree and horseradishes, to be a solution to the threat of the Medusoid Mycelium. Bertrand had a few castaway construction workers install a periscope in a tree to search for storms.

Beatrice and Bertrand on the Island.

Eventually, an older man named Ishmael washed up on the island and began criticizing the various decisions of the Baudelaire parents, such as their construction project, a tunnel between the island and Anwhistle Aquatics. Ishmael took over, and they were banished from the island, escaping in a boat that Bertrand named after his wife. They left a commonplace book of the island's history on the island, although Ishmael kept it hidden away from the others in the arboretum.[2]

After returning to the city, Beatrice and Bertrand moved into a mansion, where they raised their children- Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. They appear to not have had much contact with VFD after Klaus was born, as Violet only has the barest memories of VFD-related phrases, and Klaus has none at all.[11]

The Baudelaire parents hid several books that they wanted to keep secret from their children on the top shelves of the library. When they found out that Klaus used a stepladder to take an atlas, which he and Violet ruined by leaving the window open on a rainy night, they yelled at their children and then hid their books elsewhere.[12]

At some point, the Baudelaire parents took their children to a vineyard to spend the weekend, but while transferring trains in order to reach the vineyard, Beatrice and Bertrand were separated from their children. They eventually found them, as the two had gone to a row of shops to ask the storekeepers for help. While relieved, Bertrand told his children that if they ever lost their parents again, to stay put, and they would come to find them.[13]

When Beatrice was pregnant with Sunny, the Baudelaires remember Bertrand fetching her lemonade and pumpernickel toast and adjusting her pillows for her, and sometimes him playing her music to dance to.[6] After Klaus and Sunny were born, Bertrand and Beatrice made Violet promise to always look out for her younger siblings. It was that she deeply took to heart whenever one of them was in grave peril.[14]

Violet remembers that he would sometimes call her "Ed", after Thomas Edison,[15] and he used to take Klaus to the Akhmatova Bookstore as a special treat to buy an atlas or volume of the encyclopedia.[16] The Baudelaires also remember their parents teasing each other while playing backgammon.[6]

Bertrand is noted to have sometimes gotten into a whimsical mood, where he would grab his nearest Baudelaire child, bounce them up and down on his lap, and recite "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe. Eventually, Violet and Klaus found this embarrassing, so Sunny became his primary audience, and she remembered the poem best.[6] Sometimes, Bertrand would come into Klaus's room in the mornings to wake him up and find him asleep with a book in one hand and a flashlight in the other; sometimes he would come at night, and when Klaus asked about the mysterious noises outside his window, Bertrand and Beatrice insisted it was nothing more than the wind, even on windless evenings.[2]

At some point, he and Beatrice attended the Sixteenth Annual Run-a-Thon, and they were so tired upon returning home that he prepared dinner sitting on the kitchen floor instead of standing, meaning he could only make them a salad.[16]

On Beatrice's birthday, Bertrand and his children awoke early to make her a cake. Bertrand mixed "his famous cream-cheese frosting", to spread thickly atop the cake. The electric can opener broke, just when Bertrand needed to open a can of condensed milk for the frosting. While Violet couldn't fix it at the moment, Sunny uttered her first word- "Bite"- and bit holes into the can lid to pour the milk out. This greatly impressed her family.[15]

Bertrand took his family to a picnic at the Rutabaga River, and he was so excited about the meal that he forgot to pack silverware. They ate sweet-and-sour shrimp with their hands and washed their hands in the river.[17]

One hot day, while waiting for Beatrice to come out of the bank, Sunny began to cry. So, Bertrand let her dip her feet in the Fountain of Victorious Finance,then began to put her more in, until she was very wet, and the other two Baudelaire siblings with Bertrand began to splash and jump in the fountain. When Beatrice finally came out, to see her husband and three children splashing in the fountain, she very quickly removed her shoes to play with them as well. When the family returned home, they sat down on the front porch to dry.

Bertrand and Beatrice once took their children to Hotel Preludio for the weekend, where they had carrots for breakfast, and Sunny first learned to blow bubbles in the pool. There, Bertrand taught his children a prank, where right when they were about to get off the elevator, they would push every button in order to delay the other passengers. Beatrice found this undignified, but Bertrand reminded her that she'd done magic tricks with dinner rolls that morning.[6]

A few months before his death, Bertrand and Beatrice returned early from an orchestra performance, interrupting their children's routine. He informed them that there was no worse sound in the world than somebody who cannot play the violin but insists on doing so anyway.[17] 

While their children were at Briny Beach, Bertrand and Beatrice perished in a fire in their mansion.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

After Beatrice and Bertrand's supposed deaths, the Baudelaires are sent to live in various places, often discovering various information about their parents.

After seeing page thirteen of the Snicket File the Baudelaire children thought he or Beatrice may still be alive, but later changed this opinion when they decided that the "survivor of the fire" was Quigley Quagmire.

One subtlety that the reader may not pick up on is how Violet, Klaus, and Sunny handle their parents' death, as they go through a somewhat warped and unusual view of the "five stages of grief" (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). The Baudelaires are sent from location to location and become so busy in a series of unfortunate events that they do not properly process their parents' deaths until The End when they finally complete their emotional catharsis:

"They cried for the world, and most of all, of course, the Baudelaire orphans cried for their parents, who they knew, finally, they would never see again. Even though Kit Snicket had not brought news of their parents, her story of the Great Unknown made them see at last that the people who had written all those chapters in A Series of Unfortunate Events were gone forever into the great unknown and that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny would be orphans forever, too."

Potential Survival

Attention! Hidden in the snowman is a survivor of the fire. Meet us in the town where this film takes place. Bring the three children. Your new assistant is not one of us. Beware!
Gustav Sebald's message hidden in Zombies in the Snow[8]

In the rare edition of The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket writes "They passed the Fickle Fountain… Please see my note to page 62." On page 62, he writes, "Readers of Book the Seventh will remember that fountains are like top hats in that they provide hollow spaces in which things can be hidden (please see my note to page 6), and I imagine the damp surroundings of a fountain’s innards would be comforting if the person hiding inside had recently survived a fire."[14] Bertrand, as a Volunteer, could have easily escaped through the passageway between his home and 667 Dark Avenue but may have been injured from the fire and hidden in the Fickle Fountain.

It is known that Gustav Sebald hid a survivor of a fire in the snowman in Zombies in the Snow, and sent a message to Monty warning him that Stephano was an imposter and to bring the children to the set. The snowman was left standing for several days until it was realized that the message was never received.[8]

The mystery of the fire survivor is never solved, so it is possible that these were misdirections or misattributions. The major fan theory is that the survivor is Beatrice, who later perished at the Duchess of Winnipeg's Masked Ball.

2004 Film Divergent Canon


In the film, the Baudelaire parents were still active members of VFD and described by Josephine as the leaders of the organization. They went to Europe once, presumably on a mission, and upon realizing that they would be returning late, they have sent a letter to their children, as well as a VFD spyglass. The following passage was transcribed;

Dearest children;

Since we have been abroad we have missed you all so much. Certain events have compelled us to extend our travels. One day, when you're older, you will learn all about the people we've befriended and the dangers we have faced. At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey. We hope to have you back in our arms soon, darlings; but in case this letter arrives before our return, know that we love you. It fills us with pride to know that, no matter what happens in this life, you three will take care of each other with kindness, and bravery and selflessness as you always have. And remember one thing my darlings and never forget it: that no matter where we are, know that as long as you have each other, you have your family and you are home.
Your loving parents

The Baudelaire children ended up receiving the letter late after their parents perish in a fire.

Netflix Series Divergent Canon

Beatrice and Bertrand leaving the Island.

He is not present for the opera in the Netflix show, though it's implied that he may be the admirer who snuck Beatrice her poison dart. 

He helped extinguish the Paltryville fire. Violet may have inherited her inventing skills from her father, as he repurposed a large cowbell, a hammer, and a ten-foot pole to create a makeshift fire alarm.[18]

In The Endinstead of being banished from the Island, Bertrand and Beatrice decided to leave on their own, in order to face the world. 


  • Bertrand is noted to have been a fan of American humorist poets of the nineteenth century and had several poems committed to memory.[6] 
  • His silhouette appears in the movie and its video game adaptation.
  • In the TV series, he was portrayed by Matthew James Dowden.
    • In the TV series, the photo of himself in Paltryville shown in The Penultimate Peril: Part Two was updated to show Dowden who joined the cast near the end of production. He is also wearing glasses, perhaps as an allusion to his son, Klaus.


Unknown if adoptive or biological
Unnamed Guardians
Biological Parents
Unnamed Mother
Monty Montgomery
Monty Montgomery's Sister
Bertrand's Cousin
Bertrand Baudelaire
Beatrice Baudelaire
Gregor Anwhistle
Ike Anwhistle
Josephine Anwhistle
Violet Baudelaire
Klaus Baudelaire
Sunny Baudelaire
Beatrice Baudelaire II




Netflix Series