— Georgina in The Carnivorous Carnival
Orwell can be viewed as a greedy psychopath and a twisted and evil woman, willing to manipulate others by using hypnosis and exploit their lack of free will.
The optometrist disguise described in Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography matches her appearance, however, it appears that Orwell is an actual optometrist.
She wrote a voluminous book on optometry titled Advanced Ocular Science, which she donated to Charles' library, and was a great help with Violet's research on hypnotism. Interestingly, the book contains 13 segments, the twelfth of which is about hypnotism. The book uses extremely complicated words, words which Violet guessed the meanings in order to get information.
Life in Paltryville
Not only was she an optometrist, she was also a skilled hypnotist in mind control, having hypnotized many people including Klaus Baudelaire in order to get what she wanted. Although it is likely that she was a genuine optometrist, it is unclear how often she works as a hypnotist as well.
While the books leaves it ambiguous, it is possible that she hypnotized all the workers of Lucky Smells Lumbermill into becoming monotonous working drones who are complacent with earning gum and coupons instead of actual income. She tells her victims that they are extremely lucky to be working at such a wonderful lumbermill, and uses "lucky" as a trigger, hence the "lucky" in Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Because of this, one could theorize she is in cohoots with Sir. It is left ambiguous if they did conspire or not.
She sides with Count Olaf, as they had agreed to split the Baudelaire fortune equally, before the Baudelaires arrived at the mill. Count Olaf disguises himself as a female receptionist Shirley.
Dr. Orwell was killed when she accidentally backed into a scrolling sawblade used for cutting wood. This buzzsaw was meant to kill Charles.
The TV series adaptation makes it explicit that Dr. Orwell was a part of V.F.D. She once visited the V.F.D. Headquarters and hypnotized Gustav Sebald to go on a date with her. She was once a love interest of Count Olaf, although he apparently left her to drown, causing her to resent him. She also mentions a "lawsuit", likely meaning she had a lawsuit against her, and strongly implies she got plastic surgery to assume a new identity in a faraway town.
It is revealed that she hypnotized all the workers of Lucky Smells Lumbermill into becoming monotonous working drones who are complacent with earning gum and coupons instead of actual income. It is also revealed that Orwell and Sir conspired as he gets free labor and they split the profits, however, Sir simply thinks that Orwell simply does "weekly eye exams to boost worker morale" instead of hypnotism.
During the Baudelaires' final confrontation with her, she is willing to throw Sunny Baudelaire into a furnace just so she can obtain the Baudelaire Fortune, which she attempts to do after claiming she has no maternal instincts happening while holding Sunny.
The series attempts to give reason to her actions. Just before her death, she reveals she knew Beatrice and Bertrand Baudelaire. They told her things like, "You can't hypnotize people!" "What about free will?" "We're going to kick you out and have your license revoked and if we ever have children, we're never gonna let you anywhere near them!" She claims it was not really about the fortune, but rather about getting revenge at the Baudelaire parents, who had some sort of falling out with her. However, she is killed before she can go into any more detail by accidentally falling into a furnace, due to being startled by the revolting ex-hypnotized lumbermill workers.
In the novel, she was described as tall woman with blonde hair in a tight bun with big black boots on her feet. She wore a long white coat with a name tag that reads 'Dr. Orwell' and held a long black cane with a shiny red jewel on the top. In the same novel, she and Sunny had a swordfight in which Georgina pushed the red jewel on her cane, whereupon it instantly transforms into a sword.
In the TV series, she is brunette instead of blonde. She mentions she was formerly blonde, a nod to the books. She wears large amounts of eyeliner. She uses the same cane as Olaf does as Gunther in The Ersatz Elevator. This cane has a metal V.F.D. emblem on it and has a blade which can retract on the end.
Behind the scenes
She is portrayed by Catherine O'Hara in the TV series, who previously portrayed Justice Strauss in the film. This is quite the dynamic, as Catherine O'Hara went from portraying a supportive character to portraying a villain.
- "Hypnotized? Goodness, no. Hypnosis is only in scary movies."
- "They are stupid, aren't they? They must have very low self-esteem." (insulting the Baudelaires)
- "It is a terrible thing, I know. But it's a terrible thing that the Baudelaire fortune goes to you three brats, instead of to me and Shirley. We're going to split the money fifty-fifty... after expenses, of course."
- "I do believe that there will be an accident at Lucky Smells Lumbermill after all!" (trying to stab Sunny to death with her sword)
- "You left me to drown." (to Count Olaf)
- "Sorry, I have my own life now, with my own evil scheme, which I've put a lot of work into and I don't need you ruining, like that bar mitzvah." (to Count Olaf)
- Orwell: "Well, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
Klaus: "Actually, you catch the most flies with manure."
Orwell: "Aren't you smart? It's just an expression. A fancy way of saying you're more likely to get what you want by acting in a sweet way, than in a distasteful way, like vinegar."
- "Now focus here, Klaus, and tell me what you see. An E or an A? An A or a C? A sea or a lake? A reptile or an amphibian? Fire or accident? A blonde or a bottle blonde? A parent or an arsonist? Tell me what you see, Klaus!"
- "You know, they say holding a baby can make all these deep, primal parenting instincts kick in. I don't see it." (while holding Sunny)
- "You think you're so clever, but you only see in black and white. Just like your parents. They were shortsighted, too." (to Violet and Klaus)
- Dr. Orwell's full name is Georgina Orwell, based on that of author George Orwell. The Big Brother eye and the hypnotism plot are links to Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
- In the books, she has a swordfight with Sunny, which was likely removed in the TV series due to the sheer absurdity.
- The Miserable Mill
- The Carnivorous Carnival (mentioned)
- The Slippery Slope (mentioned)
- Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (mentioned)
- File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (mentioned)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)
- ↑ In the reprise of That's Not How The Story Goes in The Penultimate Peril: Part 2, a copy of the Daily Punctilio on the accident at Lucky Smells Lumbermill is labelled as "LOCAL CITY NEWS AUGUST 23 ACCIDENT AT LUCKY SMELL" with the rest of the words cut off.