He who hesitates is lost.
— Widdershins' personal philosophy

Captain Widdershins, captain of the Queequeg, is a V.F.D. Volunteer introduced in The Grim Grotto.

He claims to be the stepfather of Fernald and Fiona, although it is possible he is lying and that he is their biological father. He continually tells Fiona that her mother died in a "manatee accident," though Fiona doesn't believe it was an accident; indeed, towards the end of the book, it is revealed that Widdershins was wrong (or lying) about this.


He is described in the book as being an enormous man dressed in a shiny suit made of some sort of slippery-looking material with equally slippery-looking boots on his feet. On the front of the suit was a portrait of Herman Melville. Widddershins had no beard, merely a very long mustache curled up at both ends like a pair of parentheses.

In the TV series, he does have a white beard and seems to have been modeled after Barry Sonnenfeld.


He has a rather peculiar way of speaking, often making redundant comments and interjecting them with the word "Aye!"

He feels a great need to remain in control, objecting when anyone makes a statement that could be even slightly construed as a command.

He cares very much for Fiona and refuses to discuss any of V.F.D.'s secrets in front of her. This, he believes, will keep her from harm. It is clear that he knows many of said secrets, and it is known that he taught Olivia Caliban (Madame Lulu) how to read coded stains on maps.

He is a kindhearted man who plans a small party for Violet's fifteenth birthday before he disappears.



Fiona, Captain Widdershins and Fernald.

He once worked with Jacques Snicket on the Queequeg, and Kit Snicket helped him build the Queequeg. It is mentioned in The Grim Grotto that he helped burn down Anwhistle Aquatics.

Widdershins mentions that he was friends with Josephine Anwhistle and that he patrolled the waters of Lake Lachrymose for years.

The Grim Grotto

He rescues Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire after they are stranded on the sea, inviting them into his submarine.

He disappeared when a woman came and convinced him (and Phil) to leave with her.

Later books

In The Penultimate Peril, Kit Snicket mentions she intends to meet him at a certain clump of seaweed, and if she does, both of them will be at the Hotel Denouement on Thursday. She waterskiis towards Captain Widdershins, then later, waterskiis away from him.

In The End, he was last heard from when Kit said he was aboard the Queequeg when Hector's Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home crashed into it. Widdershins chose to take his chances with the Great Unknown and nothing else has been heard of him.

In The End, Ishmael mentions that Captain Widdershins searched the wreckage of the Baudelaire Mansion and discovered the Duchess of Winnipeg's ring, only to lose it later in a storm at sea.

TV series

Captain Widdershins does not physically appear in the TV except in a portrait and a family photograph. According to The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations: An Utterly Unreliable Account of Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events, he was removed because a major theme in season 3 is that next generation of V.F.D. must take up the torch in the absence of parental figures. Fiona mentions he left one day to answer a distress call from a manatee and never came back. Instead, Fiona has taken over his role.

After Fiona reunites with Fernald, they go on a mission to locate their missing stepfather. While having dinner with their stepfather's portrait, they hear his voice on a radio. However, the person voicing him is uncredited.


  • He is possibly Friday Caliban's father. Due to this rumor, the assumption can also be made that his first name may be Thursday, and that he and Miranda Caliban were together and broke up.
  • He wholeheartedly believed and shared the false news report of Lemony Snicket's death to Beatrice Baudelaire and several other members of V.F.D.
  • Widdershins is a rare word for going counterclockwise or something unlucky.