A harpoon gun is a weapon which has a recurring role in the book and TV series versions of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The TV series implies it is some sort of traditional V.F.D. weapon, as its eye insignia can be seen on one in The Vile Village: Part Two.
A harpoon gun is a gunlike weapon which shoots long, pointed, spear-like arrows upon the trigger being pulled. Being shot by a harpoon gun is, generally, an unpleasant experience for most people, as it usually involves physical pain, bleeding, and potential organ puncture.
In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the harpoon gun appears various times:
- In the Netflix adaptation of The Reptile Room, it is used by Jacquelyn, a member of V.F.D., to threaten Count Olaf aboard the Prospero.
- In The Vile Village, it was used by Esmé Squalor in the alias of Officer Luciana to destroy the ladder on Hector's self-sustaining hot air mobile home, as well as the Quagmires' research. Though a crow was injured in the process causing the villagers to get angry with Officer Luciana as well as the fact that she used a mechanical device in violation of the rules.
- In The Penultimate Peril, a harpoon gun is intended to be used on the roof of Hotel Denouement to shoot down a V.F.D. crow to obtain The Sugar Bowl. As part of her concierge disguise, Violet Baudelaire has little choice but to give it to Carmelita Spats as part of her disguise. Count Olaf takes it from Carmelita and threatens to kill Dewey Denouement. The Baudelaires beg him not to, he forfeits it when surprised by Arthur Poe, and tosses it into the Baudelaires' hands. They accidentally slip it and it kills Dewey. Its sound wakes up the other hotel patrons.
- It is implied a harpoon gun kills Arthur Poe. Lemony Snicket says "it wasn't Mr. Poe's destiny to be killed by a harpoon gun, at least not this evening in particular." This could mean that Mr. Poe will eventually be killed by a harpoon gun on a different occasion or simply, he just did not die on this particular evening.
- In The End, on the Island, it was used by Ishmael to lethally wound a "pregnant" Count Olaf who would later succumb to this wound. However, in doing so, Ishmael poisoned the Islanders with the Medusoid Mycelium.