|“||Some day you will learn that some things aren't always black and white.||”|
— Charles to the Baudelaires
Although he is kind-hearted and tries to give the Baudelaires decent food like peaches and raisins at the lumbermill, Charles is a rather passive man with a penchant for being indecisive, and although he became friends with the Baudelaire children in The Miserable Mill, his lack of help left the three siblings in perilous situations at the lumber mill, in which they were forced to fend for themselves.
His duties involve ironing Sir's shirts, cooking him omelettes, and making him milkshakes.
Prior to The Miserable Mill, he was the one who insisted that the lumbermill have a library. This is one of the few things Charles has suggested which Sir agreed to do.
The Miserable MillHe can't believe Sir actually hired three children to work at the lumbermill, but gives into Sir's argument that it will teach them responsibility, the value of hard work, and how to make flat wooden boards out of trees.
In the TV series, it is revealed Charles was hypnotized by Georgina Orwell to dislike the Baudelaires and get rid of them, although it is unknown how successful this hypnotism was, and if he was hypnotized in other ways.
Hoping to get Charles out of the way and blame this "accident" on the Baudelaire orphans so that they wind up in the care of "Shirley", Charles is tied to a log and is almost sawed to death by Orwell, having been grabbed by Foreman Flacutono in the middle of the night. Fortunately, Charles is rescued by the Baudelaires at the last second, with only a small cut on his foot.
When Sir demands the Baudelaires leave the lumbermill, Charles attempts to defend the Baudelaires, but Sir says his word is final. Charles tells the Baudelaires he is sorry that he won't be able to see them anymore.
Between The Miserable Mill and The Penultimate Peril
After the Baudelaires left the mill, Charles, like Justice Strauss, began to do research about the Baudelaire orphans as well as their family, and because of this, became a member of V.F.D. In The Penultimate Peril, Kit says soon after she meets the Baudelaires, "I've scarcely looked at these maps, poems, and blueprints that Charles sent me." This is evidence that Charles is a volunteer and later confirms it himself.
The Penultimate Peril
Charles was seen as a guest at the Hotel Denouement with Sir. A disguised Klaus takes him and Charles to the sauna. While Charles tells Sir that he wants to apologize to the Baudelaires for what happened at the mill, they both talk about a cocktail party held by someone named J.S. Frank Denouement or Ernest Denouement comes in telling the two of them that they have to clear the sauna. When Sir stated his love for burning wood, Frank or Ernest asks a passing chemist (who was actually Colette in disguise) to take them to Room 547 where Organic Chemistry is.
When Sir claimed that the Baudelaires caused accidents at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill following the death of Dewey Denouement, Charles told Sir that Count Olaf caused the accidents as Mrs. Morrow incorrectly stated that Count Olaf was "murdered" by the Baudelaire children at the Village of Fowl Devotees.
During the trial of the Baudelaire children and Count Olaf, Charles submitted his environmental studies as evidence.
When the Hotel Denouement Fire was started, Sir and Charles were holding hands in order to not lose each other as they argue on if fires are good for the lumber business or not. It is unknown if Sir and Charles survived, or if they died together as partners until the end.
Charles and Sir's relationship
It has been theorized for many years that Charles is in a relationship with his boss and partner, Sir:
- Some moments in The Miserable Mill in combination with their chat in The Penultimate Peril have implications of romantic attachment.
- In The Penultimate Peril, they share a room when they travel together to the Hotel Denouement, share a relaxing sauna together there, and when the hotel is set on fire, they are holding hands as they attempt to escape.
- In The Beatrice Letters, Lemony Snicket tells Beatrice Baudelaire that he will love her until "C realizes that S is not worthy of his love". Though it is unconfirmed, the implication is that C and S stand for "Charles" and "Sir".
- They are mentioned multiple times as being "partners", which is initially dismissed as an implication of them owning a business together—but the lack of the word "business" in front of "partners" is unusual, and suggests they may be partners romantically as well as professionally.
The TV series adaptation made this relationship more explicit.
- Klaus: Doesn't "partner" mean "equal"?
- Lemony Snicket: Well, in fact, "partners" can mean several things. It could mean "two people who own a lumbermill together, or a cupcakery." Now, with the advent of more progressive cultural mores, not to mention certain High Court rulings, it could also mean...
- Sir: I do all the work. He irons my clothes.
- Charles: I also cook your omelette.
- Lemony Snicket: The definitions are not mutually exclusive.
At one point, while Violet is snooping around the library, she eavesdrops on Sir and Charles. Charles attempts to kiss Sir but Sir does not notice.
At the end of Episode 8, Violet asks what Charles plans on doing next. Charles responds that he plans on searching for Sir even though he's not a good person. He tells the Baudelaires, "Someday you will learn that some things aren't always black and white."
When asked about LGBT characters in his novels, Daniel Handler specifically mentioned Sir and Charles despite there being no prior mention:
|“||I grew up in an environment of queerness of every stripe, and I'd like to believe my work reflects such a world, even if the romantic and sexual lives and preferences of many of my characters are not explicit, as they aren't in life. (After all, we don't know what Sir and Charles do when we're not around, as we don't know, and thank goodness, with many friends; my new forthcoming YA novel has already ruffled the feathers of both queer and straight readers for scenes portraying certain flexibilities.)||”|
— Daniel Handler
In another interview, when Daniel was asked about who is LGBT in A Series of Unfortunate Events, he replied he wanted to leave it up to speculation, but said, "More than you probably think, as in real life."(25:00)
Behind the scenes
He is portrayed by Rhys Darby in the TV series.
- "You must be Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. Why, you're covered in pieces of bark. I hope you haven't been hanging around the lumbermill. That can be very dangerous for small children."
- "Well, I don't understand how three people as young as yourselves were put to work in the lumbermill, but please accept my humblest apologies, and let me tell you that it will not happen again. Why, you're children, for goodness' sake! You will be treated as members of the family!"
- "No. I can't do any of those things. Sir would get mad at me, and we can't have that. But tomorrow, I will try and sneak you some raisins at lunchtime, okay?"
- "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I won't be seeing you anymore. But I guess Sir knows best. It wasn't your fault."
- Charles: "I know Sir can be pricky, but you have to understand he had a very terrible childhood."
Klaus: "I understand. I'm having a very terrible childhood right now."
Charles: "...Okay." (shuts door)
- Many years before the TV series came out, there was a lot of speculation on Sir's and Charles' relationship. Many people did not believe they were a couple, thinking that Daniel Handler would not insert gay characters into his stories, especially those which young readers would read.
- Charles is not Chas. Snicket (Chas. is an abbreviation for Charles) because Charles (of TMM) and Kit Snicket exist in the same time, and Chas. Snicket is supposed to be the grandfather of Kit. It is probably merely a naming coincidence.
- The creators of the TV series were excited to reveal Charles as Jerome's new partner and depict an explicit and healthy same-sex relationship, but due to Rhys Darby being stuck in Fiji due to a typhoon and unable to make production, Charles could not appear. He was replaced with Babs, forcing a rewrite. The original version of the script can be found near the end of The Penultimate Peril: Part One article.
- In the final version, Jerome Squalor mentions he met his current partner at a group for people who had escaped bad relationships, but he was unable to make it to the Hotel Denouement as he was busy with his lumber mill. Although Charles is not name-dropped, it was intended to be him, meaning Charles left Sir and began a relationship with Jerome, while continuing to run Lucky Smells Lumbermill, probably in a more humane and ethical manner.
- The Miserable Mill
- The Penultimate Peril
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)