|“||Well, if you're breaking out now, I'd better go. I don't want to get in trouble. I just want to say that if you don't make it and you are burned at the stake, it was very nice making your acquaintance.||”|
Hector is the handyman in the Village of Fowl Devotees appearing in the seventh book, The Vile Village. While the entire village could be considered the guardian of the Baudelaires, Hector is the one who shelters and cares for them.
|“||As I said, this village has been called V.F.D. for more than three hundred years. Scarcely anything has changed since then. The crows have always roosted in the same places. The meetings of the Council of Elders have always been at the same time every day. My father was the handyman before me, and his father was the handyman before him, and so on and so on.||”|
The men of Hector's family has been the handymen of the Village of Fowl Devotees for at least two generations, implying that Hector was likely born in the town. Scarcely anything changed, and Hector lived in a house just outside of town, beside a large barn and an even larger Nevermore Tree.
At some point, he was recruited into a different V.F.D, the Volunteer Fire Department. He knew of Kit and Lemony Snicket's plan to get apprenticeships in The City in order to break into the Museum of Items. Hector himself also begins an apprenticeship at eleven years old.
|“||She's not just your associate, Snicket. She's your sister.||”|
— Hector, Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Hector discovers that two other chaperones attempted to drug Lemony to keep him from leaving with S. Theodora Markson, who took him to Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Hector, through great difficulty, was able to acquire a jacket with a map of the city's waterworks sewn into the lining.
On his twelfth birthday, his chaperone gives him an assignment to take some aerial photographs of a distant part of the sea from his balloon. He will be alone for months due to this. Hector travels all day to reach Snicket, though the town seems eerie to him. He meets with Lemony in the lobby of The Lost Arms. Lemony explains what he's been doing in town, and Hector tells him that he's worrying everyone, including Monty and Haruki.
He gives him the jacket and warns him not to trust Ellington Feint, and informs him of his assignment. Hector also tells him to tell his replacement in Kit's plan to take the long way round to the museum, so that they don't tunnel into the wrong waterway. Lemony then informs him there is no replacement, and Kit will have to go alone. Hector is horrified, and scowls in disapproval as he leaves. Lemony wishes him a happy birthday, but it is unknown if Hector heard him.
|“||I agree with you, but I'm not going to argue with the Council of Elders. They make me too skittish.||”|
Hector seems to have stayed in V.F.D until adulthood, as Jacques Snicket mentions him in a letter to Lemony as adults. Jacques says that Hector is always talking about building a Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home.
At some point, Hector moved back to the Village of Fowl Devotees, and it seems that he either left V.F.D or is hiding from them, as he does not provide the Baudelaires any information about them.
His morning chores, as handyman, involved trimming Mrs. Morrow's hedges, washing Mr. Lesko's windows, polishing all the doorknobs in the Verhoogen Family mansion, sweep all the feathers out of the street, and take out everyone's garbage and recyclables. His afternoon chores involved making citizens' beds, washing townspeople's dishes, and preparing hot fudge sundaes for the Council of Elders' afternoon snack.
While living in the village, Hector is too scared of the strict rules and scary Council of Elders to speak during meetings or object to any of the laws. He becomes much more relaxed once out of sight of the elders. He also enjoyed the sounds of the crows in the Nevermore Tree, and leaves the windows open at night to remind him of the ocean and lull him to sleep.
He has little rebellions, though, as his isolated location allows him a bit more freedom. In his barn he hides the mechanical devices and books the Elders ordered him to get rid of, making an inventing studio and library in his barn. There, he began his dream of a Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home, though he had some issues with getting the engine to work.
When the Village decided to adopt the Baudelaire orphans, Hector was to be put in charge of them, though he's afraid they may not be able to do all the town's chores without complaining. He prepared three rooms for them in his house. The morning before they arrived, he found a couplet on a strip of paper under the Nevermore Tree.
|“||Here I am! And here it is, like a bolt from the blue! Violet, your improvements are working perfectly. Climb aboard, and we'll escape from this wretched place!||”|
Hector first meets Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they enter the town hall, and he is asked to bring the orphans to the platform for discussion. Too nervous to speak, he points them to the platform instead. As many villagers do not like the idea of orphans cluttering up their home, Hector is put in charge of the children, to feed them, clothe them, teach them the rules of V.F.D, and make sure they do chores for the entire town.
After the meeting, Hector leads them off the platform and outside the hall. Once the doors close, he sighs and smiles at the children, explaining his social anxiety to them. He takes them to watch the crows lift from the statue and fly to the Nevermore Tree, a sight he finds marvelous. He carries the children's suitcases as they have a discussion on the way to his house. He informs them of V.F.D's history, and that it stands for the Village of Fowl Devotees. Disappointed, the Baudelaires tell him that they were told there was a terrible secret to do with the letters V.F.D, and explain their whole story to him for the rest of the walk. The children begin to feel that Hector is helping them carry the weight of these events, as well as their suitcases, making them feel quite better. He tells them that they've been very brave and that he'll do his best to take care of them.
Unfortunately, he does not believe they will find any information about their V.F.D in this town, as the only thing that has changed in three hundred years was the fountain. He promises to help them find their missing friends though, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, and then trusts them with the secret of his storage shed and the Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home, and Violet offers to help with the engine. At that, they reach his home, and the Baudelaires are amazed at the tree. He offers to house the Quagmires once they are found, and when they mention Isadora is a poet, he gives them the couplet he found and sits them down in the parlor, before leaving to fix them some hot tea.
He later brings the Baudelaires to the kitchen for tea while he makes enchiladas, and they explain that the couplet seems to be from Isadora. While he believes the children, they cannot send a message outside of town, and he doubts the Quagmires are anywhere nearby, as there is nowhere for them to hide. While the Baudelaires wish to search the Nevermore Tree, it is a fool's errand to search at night, so they eat dinner on the porch to watch the tree, and the children take turns staying awake to watch it until the crows fly away.
A second couplet is found in the tree, and the Baudelaires awaken Hector, who had fallen asleep at the table. While he is as puzzled as them, it is time for them to leave and begin chores. He is too nervous to argue with the Council of Elders about it, so the children and Hector proceed to town to do their chores. While polishing the Fowl Fountain, the Council of Elders approaches and Hector hides himself and falls silent as they announce to the Baudelaires that they have captured Count Olaf. The group follows the Council to the town hall, with Hector remaining silent even as it turns out that "Olaf" is really Jacques Snicket, only noticed by the Baudelaires, and though they hope he will speak up for them, he remains quiet.
While they have a dinner of huevos rancheros, the Baudelaires plan; while Sunny waits under the Nevermore Tree to see how the couplets are delivered, Klaus will read VFD's rules to find a loophole to free Jacques, and Violet will work on repairing Hector's hot air mobile home, in case they need an escape vehicle. Hector escorts the older children to his barn, excited at the prospect of escaping VFD.
The next morning, the children awaken him to go uptown and try to use their plan to free Jacques. They explain their ideas to use mob mentality and an old rule to him as they walk, and also that Sunny discovered the couplets were delivered by crows, meaning that they were attached uptown, where the Quagmires must be hiding. However, as they reach uptown, they encounter a crowd around the jail, announcing that "Count Olaf" (Jacques) has been murdered. The real Count Olaf then arrives, disguised as Detective Dupin, and he and Officer Luciana frame the Baudelaires. While they have an alibi at Hector's house, Hector has hidden and cannot speak up for them, and thus they are arrested.
Hector does sneak to the jail window to talk to the Baudelaires. He informs them that he is preparing the self-sustaining hot air mobile home, and if they manage to escape by the afternoon, he will take them with him. He also has found the final couplet, which he gives to the children.
He does fire up his mobile home, flying into the air and away from the town. When the Baudelaires and recently-freed Quagmires reach the barn, he unfurls a ladder for them, explaining that the balloons are not designed to come back to the ground. Finally high above the Elders and mob, who have followed the children, he is able to talk back to them(Making him the only guardian the Baudelaires had, to learn from their mistakes and deal with them)while the Quagmires reach him. Officer Luciana begins shooting harpoons at the home and, afraid that they will not reach the home in time before all the balloons are popped, the Baudelaires volunteer to stay behind while Hector takes the Quagmires away to safety.
|“||I very much enjoy the company of you three children, and it would be delightful to share a mobile home with you. There's plenty of room in the self-sustaining hot air mobile home, and once we get it to work we could launch it and never come down. Count Olaf and his associates would never be able to bother you again. What do you think?||”|
Hector and the Quagmires float in the Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home for some time, until they are attacked by V.F.D. Eagles. They send a distress signal for help, presumably through V.F.D means, as it is intercepted by Kit Snicket and Quigley Quagmire.
Kit later claims that Quigley went in a helicopter to help, though the home sustains heavy damage from the eagles and crashed into the ocean, where they damage the Queequeg, aboard which are Kit, Captain Widdershins, Fernald and Fiona. Kit then says that the Great Unknown came towards them and she did not know whether it swallowed them up or saved them.
Whether or not the Great Unknown killed these characters is up for speculation. The Unknown has basically been confirmed as the Bombinating Beast, which is known to eat its victims. However, in Chapter Eight of The Penultimate Peril, Lemony claims that the triplets battled the eagles as well as Fernald, implying that Kit's story may not be entirely accurate, and that Fernald was still a villain. However, Fernald may have fought with the triplets, because they might have started to attack him. He also says that the Quagmires, who were with Hector, were in circumstances "just as dark although quite a bit damper than" the Baudelaires, who were alive at that time. This could imply that the group did survive.
Netflix Series Divergent Canon
|“||You should do your own chores! Or take turns according to a fair schedule. The aphorism is, "It takes a village to raise a child," not, "Three children should clean up after a village."||”|
— Hector, "The Vile Village: Part Two"
Hector's role is largely the same, with him getting assigned the responsibility of being the Baudelaire guardian and revealing his Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home along with his dislike at the many strict rules of the village. In the Netflix adaptation, he has a tendency to faint when nervous, instead of simply falling silent. Unlike the books, he does manage to speak up to provide the Baudelaires an alibi, though the Council does not believe him. He manages to launch his balloon but only manages to get away with Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, leaving the Baudelaires behind, who willingly sacrifice their escape.
One of final scenes of the series is Quigley Quagmire climbing up into the balloon, finally uniting the Quagmire triplets. Although Hector is not shown, he is presumably behind the Quagmires, which would change his fate from the books. Neither him nor the Quagmires are implied to have been swallowed up by the Great Unknown in this version, and never are even seen interacting with it in any way.
He is portrayed by Ithamar Enriquez.
Hector is described as a tall, skinny man wearing rumpled overalls. It is also said that his arms are long.
|“||So the butler did it?||”|
— Chapter Thirteen
|“||It seems like an awful lot of work just to get a little statue, particularly one nobody else was interested in. What does he want it for, anyway?||”|
— Chapter Thirteen
- Hector: And how much of this is going into your official report?
- Lemony Snicket: Practically none of it. As far as my chaperone is concerned, the case is closed. I simply wrote that our client hired us to discreetly find a stolen item and that both the item and the client have disappeared.
|“||I can't see it doing you any good way out here. It took me all day to get here from the city. This is a strange place, Snicket. Those strange inkwells, that shimmering forest of seaweed, the masks you need to wear if that bell rings—something seems very wrong in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. I bet there’s not a single decent Mexican restaurant.||”|
— Chapter Thirteen
- Hector: Don't get interested in that Ellington person. She's a liar and a thief.
- Lemony Snicket: She's just trying to help her father, and I promised to help her.
|“||You can't let her do this alone.||”|
— Chapter Thirteen
|“||I'm never truly relaxed until I have left Town Hall. The Council of Elders makes me feel very skittish. All those strict rules! It makes me so skittish that I never speak during one of their council meetings. But I always feel much better the moment I walk out of the building.||”|
— Chapter Two
|“||Who cares about the sunset? Just be quiet for a minute, and watch the crows. It should happen any second now.||”|
— Chapter Two
|“||You've been very brave, all three of you, and I'll do my best to make sure you have a proper home with me. But I must tell you that I think you've hit a dead end.||”|
— Chapter Three
|“||Give up? Who said anything about giving up? Just because the name of this town isn't helpful, that doesn't mean you're in the wrong place.||”|
— Chapter Three
|“||Once it's completed, I'll be able to fly away from V.F.D. and the Council of Elders and everything else that makes me skittish, and live forever in the air.||”|
— Chapter Three
|“||Judging by the angle of the sun, it's just about time to leave. We don't even have time for breakfast.||”|
— Chapter Five
|“||When the Council of Elders told me that the village was serving as your guardian, I was afraid that three small children wouldn't be able to do all these chores without complaining.||”|
— Chapter Five
- Hector: I know I should have said something, but I was far too skittish. The Council of Elders is so imposing that I can never say a word in their presence. However, I can think of something that we can do to help.
- Klaus Baudelaire: What is it?
|“||You're right. Those things are more important, even if they do make me skittish.||”|
— Chapter Seven
|“||It's another couplet. It doesn't make sense to me, but maybe you'll find it helpful. Good-bye, children. I do hope I see you later.||”|
— Chapter Ten
|“||Nobody's going to be burned at the stake. Burning people at the stake is a repulsive thing to do!||”|
— Chapter Thirteen
- Hector: I don't want to live in a place with so many rules, or a place with so many crows. I'm floating away from here, and I'm taking these five children with me. The Baudelaires and the Quagmires have had a horrible time since their parents died. The Village of Fowl Devotees ought to be taking care of them, instead of accusing them of things and chasing them through the streets.
- Elder: But who's going to do our chores? The Snack Hut is still full of dirty dishes from our hot fudge sundaes.
- "Goodbye crow hats! Goodbye rules! Goodbye punishments! Goodbye Town Hall where I always used to faint. Goodbye Uptown Jail where I was afraid I'd get locked up. Goodbye dry saloon and dry fountain and dry county. Goodbye crows. You were scary. Goodbye donkey. I'll miss you. Goodbye barn. Goodbye Nevermore Tree. Goodbye Baudelaires." (escaping in his mobile home)
- He despises picky eaters.
- He considers The Littlest Elf the most boring book ever written.
- He says that he doesn't approve of children staying up late unless they are reading a very good book, seeing a wonderful movie, or attending a dinner party with fascinating guests.
- The name "Hector" is likely derived from the Greek "hektor", meaning "holding fast." His name likely references Hector of The Iliad, who battled in the Trojan War and is killed by Achilles while attempting to flee, though he decides at the end to fight and die a warrior.
- He is likely of Mexican (or otherwise hispanic/latine) descent, as Mexican food is his specialty. In the first book of All the Wrong Questions, he complains that there is probably not a single decent Mexican restaurant in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. He is also portrayed by a hispanic actor in the Netflix adaptation.
- A major fan theory is that Hector is the H on the Snicket Clan family tree, making him the son of D. Snicket and the brother of G and I, as well as the cousin of the Snicket siblings.
- The theory usually concludes that G and I are Gregor and Ike Anwhistle, which would make Hector a member of the Anwhistle Family. As a member of the Anwhistle family, he would also be a second cousin of the Baudelaire Family. As Hector's surname is never revealed, it is possible that he is an Anwhistle, and he is known to be in VFD, as Gregor and Ike were.
- A disadvantage to this theory is that Hector never mentions the Snickets being his cousins when interacting with them, despite talking to Lemony about Kit as a child and staying silent while Jacques is ordered executed, though the latter could be explainable as he is too afraid of the Council of Elders to do anything.
Behind the Scenes
- Hector celebrates his twelfth birthday in Who Could That Be at This Hour? Chapter Thirteen; in the book and its sequels, Lemony describes himself as "almost thirteen."
- PROSE: The End
- PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- PROSE: The Vile Village
- PROSE: Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- PROSE: The Penultimate Peril
- TV: The Grim Grotto: Part Two
- PROSE: Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- TV: The Vile Village: Part One
- TV: The Vile Village: Part Two
- TV: The Penultimate Peril: Part One
- TV: The End
- PROSE: The Wide Window