|“||Why? Because we're going to help you, that's why! You don't think we'd just sit here while you tried to escape from Olaf's clutches, would you?||”|
— Isadora Quagmire, The Austere Academy
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, Isadora's fate is left ambiguous.
Isadora is a poet who composes couplets to help assess the various dilemmas that the family finds itself in, or to assist in undermining one of Olaf's schemes. She admires the poet Lord Byron. In the TV series, she mentions she read all of Ogden Nash's work.
Isadora proves to be brave and resourceful on multiple occasions, such as when she and Duncan go in disguise as Violet and Klaus respectively to run laps while the Baudelaires studied for their exams. Additionally, she shows kindness when she befriends the Baudelaires along with Duncan and empathizes with their situation. She shows intelligence in The Vile Village when she arranges her couplets in order to spell the location of herself and Duncan; the fountain.
- Duncan Quagmire: Read the Baudelaires the poem you wrote about her.
- Klaus Baudelaire: You write poetry?
Isadora was born as one of three identical triplets, her other siblings being Duncan and Quigley; they were unknowingly born into a family related to VFD. She took an interest in poetry, specifically rhyming couplets, from a young age, and was given a poetry teacher who may have been tied to VFD.
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, and Isadora and Duncan were sent to Prufrock Preparatory School where they lived in the Orphans Shack until the Baudelaires arrived. Isadora was placed in Mrs. Bass's class.
|“||It may not be particularly wise,
but it's a thrill to be disguised.
— Isadora Quagmire, The Austere Academy
After Duncan scolds Carmelita Spats for bullying the new students, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, he invites them to sit at their table. Isadora informs them of her hatred for Carmelita, including the poem she wrote about her. Klaus is interested to meet a poet, and he recognizes her couplets from a book on literary criticism. She asks to borrow his book, which is when the Quagmires find out that the Baudelaires' home was also destroyed in a fire. They then invite the Baudelaires to join them in the school library.
Isadora is in the same class as Klaus where the two of them stick their tongues out at each other on occasion to mitigate the boredom. She also tries to get the hang of Sunny's peculiar way of speaking. She and Duncan also distract Vice Principal Nero and the Cafeteria workers by dropping their trays on the ground so the Baudelaires can sneak saltshakers into their pockets to use on the fungus in the Orphans Shack.
When Sunny mentions to them that Nero is having her make staples by hand, Isadora suggests that Sunny steal some metal rods for them all to make staples with, and also that she is trying to write a poem about the Baudelaires' tormentor, Count Olaf, but can't think of anything that rhymes with his name other than pilaf.
At that moment, 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. She and Duncan 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 a frustrated Isadora argues with an exhausted Klaus until Duncan breaks up their fight. When Carmelita arrives to deliver a message and demands a tip, she threatens to dump her scrambled eggs on her head.
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, Isadora and Duncan disguise themselves as Violet and Klaus 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 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 grabs onto Isadora. She tries to give him their notebooks, which contain secrets they discovered about "something dreadful", but Klaus is pushed away from them and all Isadora and Duncan can do as they are driven away is shout "VFD!"
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.
- Duncan Quagmire: Once he has our fortune, he says, he'll take us and-
- Isadora Quagmire: Don't say it. He's told us so many horrible things. I can't stand to hear them again.
Isadora and Duncan are held hostage by Olaf and Esmé Squalor in an empty elevator shaft at 667 Dark Avenue. While Olaf is with the triplets, he brags about his plans, including 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; this severely traumatizes Isadora. 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."
When the Baudelaires climb down and find them, the two Quagmires are so traumatized that they immediately assume the Baudelaires are hallucinations. Isadora tells Duncan about a poet she once read about a poet who would see six lovely maidens in his kitchen on Tuesday nights, but it was just a phantasm. Their clothes are tattered, and their faces are completely smeared with dirt; they are described as looking exhausted, hungry, frightened, and most worryingly, haunted.
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, which excites Isadora, who knows her friend will invent 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.
They are temporarily kept at Count Olaf's house, locked in his forbidden tower.
|“||Take our notebooks, Baudelaires! And maybe someday we'll meet again!||”|
— Isadora Quagmire, The Vile Village
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. They 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. Isadora and Duncan 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.
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 Snicket 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.
Netflix Series Divergent Canon
Isadora first appears in The Miserable Mill episodes, welcoming home her parents upon their return from a "work trip." She and Duncan 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 go to at least one guardian, who owned a copy of The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations, before they are dropped off at Prufrock Prep.
She is still incredibly annoyed with Carmelita Spats, and she is constantly frustrated that her songs don't rhyme. She and Duncan also seem to be close with the librarian, Olivia Caliban.
She and Klaus are both very interested in the two halves of the spyglasses they have both found in the ruins of their homes, and they discuss the mysteries surrounding their families. 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. She also recognizes a picture of their parents in front of Lucky Smells Lumbermill, with the Baudelaire parents and several other members of VFD.
She and Duncan 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, before being captured by Fernald.
Their role in The Ersatz Elevator is relatively the same, though they are noticeably less distressed. Isadora's role in The Vile Village is also almost completely the same.
The Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home does not fall, like in the books, and she and Duncan 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, she has an explicit crush on Klaus Baudelaire, and she kisses Klaus on the cheek before she and Duncan take their place in gym class.
She is portrayed by Avi Lake.
Isadora keeps her information in a black commonplace notebook. It contains her couplets and notes from Mrs. Bass's class. The following is a collection of her poetry:
- I would rather eat a bowl of vampire bats
- than spend an hour with Carmelita Spats.
- It would be a stroke of luck
- if Coach Genghis were hit by a truck.
- Don't worry, Baudelaires. Don't feel disgrace.
- The Quagmire triplets are on the case.
- It may not be particularly wise
- but it's a thrill to be disguised.
- On Auction Day, when the sun goes down,
- Gunther will sneak us out of town.
- For sapphires, we are held in here.
- Only you can end our fear.
- Until dawn comes we cannot speak.
- No words can come from this sad beak.
- The first thing you read contains the clue:
- An initial way to speak to you.
- Inside these letters, the eye will see
- Nearby are your friends and V.F.D.
- And Duncan's research was right!
- The paper dried, and fell at night.
- In photographs, and in each public place,
- Snicket rarely shows his face.
- Celebrate when you're half-done,
- And the finish won't be half as fun.
- Someone at the newspaper changed the story once again,
- It was not coffee, but black ink, that made the jacket's stain.
- I don't think anything will go wrong.
- We'll see you Baudelaires before long.
- Two sets of friends, just out of reach
- Will meet again on Briny Beach
- Isadora and her brother Duncan are named after Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), an American-born modern dancer from the Victorian era. Duncan 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.
- Due to her and her brothers being born between Violet and Klaus, it can be assumed that the triplets are thirteen or fourteen during the events of the series.
- In The Austere Academy, Sunny says sappho! when Isadora mentions she writes poetry. Since Sappho was historically famous for being the first lesbian poet, many fans have speculated Isadora to be LGBTQ+. Adding to this, her supposed namesake, Isadora Duncan, was famously bisexual. This, however, has not been confirmed.
- The main fan theory is that she is transgender, as in the books she is described as nearly identical to her brothers, and identical triplets are always the same assigned gender at birth.
- "Sappho" may also be short for "Sapphire", the name of Isadora's inheritance, which may imply Sunny's parents to have mentioned Isadora's habits and family at home, though not knowingly to their children; or, alternatively, may have no in-universe explanation at all.
- Her commonplace book is black.
- According to a trading card, her favorite book is Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire, and her least favorite food is thousand island dressing.
- As of the Netflix adaptation, Isadora is the only Quagmire triplet to have blue eyes, as both Duncan and Quigley have hazel eyes.
- In the books, she was shown to have the exact same hairstyle as Duncan. However, in the Netflix version, her hair appears to be way longer.
- Isadora is the only Quagmire triplet to have four syllables in her first name.
- She appears to have received her love of poetry from her mother. In the Netflix series, Olaf tells both Duncan and Isadora that their mother loved "reading Italian poetry and activating trap doors".
- Her initials "I.Q." coincidentally reference a person's intelligence, otherwise known as an IQ.
|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 Slippery Slope
- Isadora and her 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 Isadora 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 Vile Village
- Trading Card
- The Austere Academy: Part One