|“||This is sort of exciting. I know that we're doing this for serious reasons, but I'm excited anyway.||”|
Caught in a similar plight to that of the Baudelaires, the Quagmires are heirs to a large fortune of the Quagmire sapphires, which Count Olaf is determined to claim for himself. He captures Duncan and Isadora at the end of The Austere Academy and keeps them in his clutches until the end of The Vile Village, where they escape with Hector in his Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home.
After the crash of the home, Duncan's fate is left ambiguous.
He loves journalism and hopes to become a renowned journalist or reporter. He admires Dorothy Parker. Duncan, like his sister, always carries around a notebook to write down thoughts and discoveries. As his siblings, he is clever and well-read.
In the TV series, he is shown to be more sensitive and shy than his sister, such as when Olaf refers to him as "The one who cries all the time". However, when the situation arises he can be very brave. He is loyal and cares a lot about his siblings and the Baudelaires. He also has a large vocabulary due to being a researcher.
|“||I use my notebook to take notes on things. I plan to be a newspaper reporter when I get a little older and I figure it's good to start practicing.||”|
Duncan was born as one of three identical triplets, his other siblings being Isadora and Quigley; they were unknowingly born into a family related to VFD. He took an interest in reporting and journalism, and takes notes in his dark green commonplace book.
Their estate, including the Quagmire Sapphires that made their family rich, was put under the care of Esmé Squalor until the two triplets could come of age. Duncan and Isadora were sent to Prufrock Preparatory School, where they lived in the Orphans Shack until the Baudelaires arrived. Duncan was placed in Mr. Remora's class, and he took notes on all of his boring stories in his commonplace book.
After the death of his parents, Duncan became afraid of fire, at times even disliking stoves.
|“||Leave them alone, Carmelita! You're the cakesniffer, and nobody in their right mind would want to eat with you anyway!||”|
Duncan tells Carmelita Spats to leave the Baudelaires alone, as she starts bullying them for being orphans. He and his sister invite the Baudelaires to sit with them, where they become fast friends. Duncan reads some of his notes on the crabs in the Orphans Shack, including that they disliked loud noises, and offers to help them research the fungus inside the shack as well. He and Isadora are distressed when Violet calls them twins, and upon finding out that they are triplets, the Baudelaires apologize, and the Quagmires take them to visit the library.
Duncan's teacher is the same as Violet's, and they pass notes to each other on particularly boring days. Violet fashions noisy shoes for all the orphans, and Duncan helps Klaus find a book on fungus that helped them learn to use salt against them; the Quagmires distract the Cafeteria workers by dropping their trays on the ground, and while they are yelled at by Vice Principal Nero, the Baudelaires slip saltshakers into their pockets.
Sunny mentions to them that Nero is having her make staples by hand, and Duncan looks through his commonplace book to see if he has any notes on them, though he doesn't think anyone made staples by hand since the fifteenth century. He and Violet fantasize about making a printing business, when the group is interrupted by Vice Principal Nero, who introduces them to their new gym teacher, Coach Genghis- who is Count Olaf in disguise, sneaking into the school to find a way to steal the Baudelaire fortune.
The Quagmires swear to help the Baudelaires, though their friends are apprehensive about the triplets putting themselves in danger. He and Isadora try to investigate to see if his troupe is around.
Coach Genghis makes the Baudelaires run in circles all night as part of his S.O.R.E. program, and Duncan and Isadora sneak out of Nero's violin recitals every night to watch and make sure nothing happens. The running makes the Baudelaires incredibly tired, and Duncan has to break up a fight between Klaus and Isadora.
They also do some research into Count Olaf, by going through the old newspapers in the Prufrock library. They find a person matching his description who was arrested for strangling a bishop but escaped prison in ten minutes, and a man with a tattoo on his ankle that threw a rich widow off a cliff. When the Baudelaires have an important test in the morning but Coach Genghis does not allow them to skip gym class, Duncan and Isadora disguise themselves as Klaus and Violet and tie a bag of flour to a string to imitate Sunny. They go to gym class instead while the Baudelaires study but are caught when the string breaks and Olaf kicks the bag of flour and discovers that Sunny isn't present.
The Quagmires are whisked away by Olaf and the White-Faced Women. As they are pushed into a car, Klaus manages to catch up to them, and Duncan manages to say that they found out "something dreadful", which they took notes on. He and Isadora scream "VFD" as Klaus is pushed away and Olaf drives off with them.
Lemony Snicket mentions that Count Olaf would eventually force the Quagmires into puppy costumes so he could sneak them onto an airplane without anyone noticing.
|“||I know what he's calling himself, and I know what he's up to. Every second we spend with him, all he does is brag about his horrible plans, and when he's not looking, I write down everything he tells us so I don't forget it. Even though I'm a kidnap victim, I'm still a journalist.||”|
— Duncan Quagmire, The Ersatz Elevator
He and Isadora are held prisoner by Olaf and Esmé Squalor in an empty elevator shaft. While Olaf is with the triplets, he brags about his plans, and Duncan takes notes on everything he says so he doesn't forget it. Olaf tells the triplets his plan to sneak them out of town, and then hide them on an island until they come of age and he can steal the Quagmire sapphires. He also tells the Quagmires several terrifying secrets, including "all the treachery [he had] done in the past, all he [was] planning to do in the future." Duncan also took notes on secrets Olaf told them about VFD.
When the Baudelaires climb down and find them, the two Quagmires' clothes are tattered, and their faces are completely smeared with dirt; they are described as looking exhausted, hungry, frightened, and most worryingly, haunted. They are so traumatized that they immediately assume the Baudelaires are hallucinations. Duncan tells Isadora that he once read about a journalist who was reporting on war and imprisoned by the enemy for three years, and each morning for three years she thought she saw her grandparents coming to rescue her.
Upon realizing that the Baudelaires are really there, the two of them inform the Baudelaires that Olaf plans to sneak them out of town during the In Auction by hiding them in one of the items for sale and having his associate bid on it. Violet ties up her hair, and Duncan says that he and Isadora had been dreaming of her inventing something to save them. She and her siblings have to return to the penthouse and promise the Quagmires they will be right back. Duncan attempts to give Violet his commonplace book and tell her about VFD, but Violet leaves before he can.
The Quagmires are then taken away and stuffed into a red herring statue, where they are auctioned off while the Baudelaires are distracted by a box labeled VFD. They are then snuck out of town.
The Quagmires are temporarily kept at Count Olaf's house, locked in his forbidden tower.
- Violet Baudelaire: That was a risky plan.
- Duncan Quagmire: No riskier than breaking out of jail, and putting your lives in danger to rescue us. You saved our lives- again.
Duncan and Isadora are hidden in the inside of a hollow crow fountain known as Fowl Fountain in the Village of Fowl Devotees while Count Olaf attempts to have the Baudelaires killed; though they can hear everything outside, nobody can hear them from the sound of the fountain's water. Isadora manages to write couplets that hide their location, and Duncan remembers research he'd done on the migration patterns in large black birds, realizing that the crows on the fountain would go straight to the home the Baudelaires were saying in, so they would wrap the couplets around their legs.
After the Baudelaires escape jail, they free the Quagmires, but their reunion is cut short by an approaching Count Olaf. Duncan pulls out his notebook to try and tell the Baudelaires about VFD and Jacques Snicket, but they have to start running to avoid the angry mob.
They reach Hector's home, to find that he had already set his Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home into the air. Duncan and Isadora manage to climb inside, but the Baudelaires are unable to follow without Esmé shooting harpoons into the balloons and dropping the device. The Quagmires are distraught, though the Baudelaires promise to meet up with them.
Duncan and Isadora toss their commonplace books to their friends, in hopes it will help them learn the secrets of VFD, but Esmé shoots a harpoon through them, breaking the notebooks apart.
After The Vile Village
Duncan and Isadora remain in Hector's Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home until the Firestarters of VFD send trained eagles to attack the airship.
Kit claims in The End that Quigley arrived in a helicopter to help them fight the eagles, only for the balloon to drop onto the Queequeg, holding Captain Widdershins, Fiona, Fernald, and Kit, underneath them. She says that "The Great Unknown" came towards them and she did not know whether the massive creature if that is what it is, swallowed them up or saved them. Interestingly, in Chapter Eight of The Penultimate Peril, Lemony Snicket claims that the triplets battled the eagles as well as Fernald, implying that Kit's story may not be entirely accurate. All that is said is that, while the Baudelaires were traveling to the arboretum of the island, the Quagmire triplets were "in circumstances just as dark although quite a bit damper than" theirs.
TV Series Divergent Canon
- Duncan Quagmire: I'm sure you already know.
- Violet Baudelaire: What?
Duncan first appears in The Miserable Mill episodes, welcoming home his parents upon their return from a "work trip." He and Isadora are suspicious of their parents quietly discussing fires. After the fire, Isadora found a spyglass in the ruins of their home, and the two of them are sent to at least one guardian, who owned a copy of The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations, before they are dropped off at Prufrock Prep. He and Isadora both seem to be very close with the librarian, Olivia Caliban.
His journalism interest is only briefly mentioned, and most of his screentime is devoted to him and Isadora trying to help the Baudelaires solve the VFD mysteries. They encounter Count Olaf, who mistakes them for the Baudelaires, and only realizes his mistake when he notices the lack of Sunny. Duncan calls him a "miscreant," and Olaf recognizes them, mentioning that their mother used to call him the same thing. The triplets escape, and try to warn the Baudelaires, but are unable to before Olaf arrives disguised as Coach Genghis.
He and Isadora proceed to help the Baudelaires with their gym class in the same way as the book, though they manage to run away from Olaf before being captured. They hide in the library, where they discover The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations and learn about VFD taking down everything, before being captured by Fernald.
Their role in The Ersatz Elevator is relatively the same, though they are noticeably less distressed. In The Vile Village, instead of remembering the migration patterns of crows, Duncan comes up with the idea to tie couplets to the crows to signal the Baudelaires.
The Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home does not fall, like in the books, and he and Isadora reunite with Quigley as they pick him up at sea.
It is heavily implied via a secret message (delivered in couplet form) that the Quagmires (and possibly other allies of the Baudelaires) reunited with Violet, Klaus and Sunny on Briny Beach sometime after The End.
Unlike in the books, he has a crush on Violet Baudelaire, first noted when he and Violet's staring is met with Sunny telling them to "get a room." While trapped in the Red Herring, Duncan scratches his and Violet's initials into the wall and is a bit embarrassed when he realizes Violet may have seen it.
Behind the scenes
- Duncan is portrayed by Dylan Kingwell in the TV series, who also portrays Quigley.
- Due to him and his siblings being born between Violet and Klaus, it can be assumed that they are thirteen.
- Duncan and his sister Isadora are named after Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), an American-born modern dancer from the Victorian era. She died tragically when her long, flowing scarf became caught in the open-spoked wheel of a car in which she was a passenger, breaking her neck.
- His commonplace book is dark green.
- According to a trading card, his least favorite food is rhubarb and his favorite book is The Portable Dorothy Parker. 
- Duncan is the only one out of the Quagmire triplets to have a six letter first name.
- Quigley and Isadora each have seven letters in their first names.
- In the tv show, out of the triplets, Duncan appears to be the most sensitive. Olaf refers to him as "the one who cries all the time", revealing that he tended to get emotional during the time he was kidnapped.
- Dylan Kingwell has stated that he tried to portray Duncan and Quigley differently, as an easier way to tell the difference between the two.
- For example, he played Duncan as more of an optimist, while Quigley was a little more saddened because of what he faced.
- His initials "D.Q." coincidentally also stand for Dairy Queen, a frozen treats shop.
|Mr. Quagmire †||Mrs. Quagmire †|
|Duncan Quagmire||Isadora Quagmire||Quigley Quagmire|
- PROSE: The Austere Academy
- The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations, page 79: "When asked in a fan interview what year the story takes place, Daniel Handler replied with characteristic Snicket dryness: "The Year of the Rat." Violet turns fifteen during the Year of the Rat, and Klaus thirteen, and as the Quagmires are stated to be inbetween Violet and Klaus's ages, it is likely they are fourteen, meaning they were born fourteen years prior to the Year of the Rat; according to the Chinese Zodiac Signs, that would mean they were born in the Year of the Dog.
- PROSE: The Vile Village
- PROSE: The Slippery Slope
- PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- Duncan and his siblings were taken by the Great Unknown. Many readers believe the Great Unknown is the Bombinating Beast though this has not been confirmed.
In Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?, it states that Lemony killed Hangfire when he pushes the villain into the mouth of the Bombinating Beast. If the two entities are the same and Lemony did actually kill Hangfire, then Duncan would likely also be deceased.
However, at the end of the eighth chapter in The End, Lemony Snicket wrote that the Quagmire triplets "at this very moment were in circumstances just as dark although quite a bit damper than the Baudelaire's," suggesting that the Quagmires might be alive inside the Great Unknown.
Also, noteworthy, while Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? was published after the The End, in-universe it is the report Snicket wrote as a teenager versus A Series of Unfortunate Events was written by Snicket as an adult. This means Snicket had more knowledge (about what happens to someone eaten by the Great Unknown/Bombinating Beast) when writing The End then when he wrote Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- PROSE: The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations
- PROSE: The Ersatz Elevator
- Trading Card
- DYLAN KINGWELL CHATS ABOUT ASOUE, THE 100 AND MORE – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW