|“||In the words of a very wise and surprising talkative Tibetan monk snake: Life is a conundrum of escoterica.||”|
— Monty Montgomery, "The Carnivorous Carnival: Part One"
Dr. Montgomery Montgomery was a brilliant herpetologist. He had a lifelong interest in snakes and reptiles given that he had a large collection of them in his house inside a huge sunroom that is famously known as the Reptile Room. He was the Baudelaire orphans' second guardian until his untimely death.
In the books, Montgomery was described as a short chubby man with a round red face; both the feature-film and the TV series make him taller and slenderer, and furnish him with a moustache. He was a kind-hearted, resourceful, and passionate individual who loved caring for reptiles and various unorthodox pets, and seemed equally to enjoy caring for Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. The Baudelaires' experience living with him was probably the most pleasant in the series.
In the book, it is implied he has a bit of a vengeful side, saying he hopes Count Olaf is torn apart by wild animals someday before asking the Baudelaires, "Wouldn't that be satisfying?".
Uncle Monty reveals he never had children or a wife because he had no time for it and was leaving the idea for later, but he said it kept slipping his mind. This is different from the film canon in which he had a wife and children, but they died in a fire.
He discovered the Incredibly Deadly Viper, which was completely harmless, but he deliberately gave it a misnomer to play a prank on his associates at the Herpetological Society, showing a mischievous sense of humor.
Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography reveals that many of Monty's reptiles were trained to communicate coded messages. A ripped page from the book "The Mamba du Mal: A Snake That Will Never Kill Me" (written by Monty under his anagram pen-name Tony "Mommy" Eggmonteror), describes some phrases used by the Mamba du Mal. The Unauthorized Autobiography also contains a partial transcript of a V.F.D. meeting in which two attendees named 'M' appear. It is possible that Monty is one of these.
The Reptile Room
Upon first meeting the Baudelaires, he gave them homemade coconut cream cake, and told them to call him "Uncle Monty". He mentioned how he had planned to take them to Peru with his assistant, Dr. Gustav Sebald, who had mysteriously "resigned" the day before the trip (actually drowned in the Swarthy Swamp by Count Olaf). Montgomery mistakenly hired Count Olaf, disguised as a lab assistant named Stephano, as Gustav's replacement. Monty also spent the initial days of his guardianship treating the children to one entertainment after another. Most of these centred on his scientific interests, or theirs, but the children also watched a film called Zombies in the Snow, directed by Gustav Sebald. The movie, written in Sebald Code, warned them about an impostor (Stephano), and a survivor of a fire, but neither the Baudelaires nor Dr. Montgomery had ever learned Sebald Code, and as a result they did not realize this. The Baudelaire orphans were aware that Stephano was Olaf in disguise, but they were unable to convince Montgomery.
In the TV series, Montgomery does notice the code, and received a message saying, "Danger. Take the children to Peru on the S.S. Prospero".
Montgomery does, however, notice that Stephano is not a very good herpetologist, and believes he is a spy from the Herpetological Society. He rips up Stephano's ticket to Peru and plans to tell Stephano to stay at the house to look after the specimens. Sometime during the night, Montgomery is murdered by Olaf who uses the snake venom of the Mamba du Mal to divert suspicion, making it seem as if Montgomery died from an accidental snakebite.
The next morning, the Baudelaires wake up and find their uncle's body in the Reptile Room. The children are extremely upset, yet they are determined to prove the death was a murder. They expose Stephano's true identity, but Olaf manages to escape again.
Both the villains and volunteers want possession of Montgomery's collection of reptiles and amphibians. After Dr. Montgomery's death, a man named Bruce retrieves the animals for use by the Herpetological Society. It is stated in The Slippery Slope that Count Olaf later tricked Bruce into letting him take possession of the animals. This is the last mention of them in the books.
In The End, Montgomery is mentioned as "my herpetologist comrade", by Lemony Snicket, confirming he is a member of V.F.D. Kit Snicket mentions that he taught her to apply the Vapporetto of Favorite Detritus.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation, he was portrayed by Billy Connolly.
- In the video game, he was voiced by Jay Gordon.
- In the Netflix series, he was portrayed by Aasif Mandvi.
It is unknown where the name Montgomery came from, as there are many stories of its origin.
It is possible that the name "Montgomery Montgomery" is a reference to Monty Python, a British comedy group. The children call him uncle "Monty" and his herpetological interest in snakes may refer to "Pythons".
It is also possible that the dual name, "Montgomery Montgomery" relates to Vladimir Nabokov's seminal novel, Lolita, in which the narrating character's name was Humbert Humbert.
It is possible that the name "Uncle Monty" is a reference to the 1987 British cult film Withnail and I, in which there is a character named Uncle Monty, also portrayed as a fat, short man with a round, red chubby face.
- “I promise that if you take time to learn the facts, no harm will come to you here in the Reptile Room.” (to the Baudelaire orphans)
- “Life is a conundrum of escoterica.”
- “As I was saying, the Mamba du Mal is one of the deadliest snakes in the world, which is why I'm training them to send and receive secret messages.”
- In the TV series, Montgomery Montgomery's mustache resembles that of Clash Royale's Electro Wizard.
- In the TV series, it is revealed Monty was locked in a piano with the Baudelaire parents, and Count Olaf took a picture of it.
- In the TV series, The Daily Punctilio publishes lies, claiming Montgomery Montgomery had "snake allergies" and died from them, and "hated snakes". It also tries to push the narrative that the Baudelaires murdered their parents, Montgomery Montgomery, and Josephine Anwhistle because they want their fortune all to themselves.
- In the TV series, Montgomery was also shown to have a ticket taker ally who spliced the footage of Zombies in the Snow so that he can copy down the remaining message. In addition, Count Olaf had the White-Faced Women try to capture him, to no avail.
|Unknown if adoptive or biological||Unknown|
|Unknown||Unknown||Unnamed Guardians||Biological Parents †||Unnamed Mother †||Unknown|
|Monty Montgomery †||Monty Montgomery's Sister||Bertrand's Cousin||Bertrand Baudelaire †||Beatrice Baudelaire †||Gregor Anwhistle †||Ike Anwhistle †||Josephine Anwhistle †|
|Violet Baudelaire||Klaus Baudelaire||Sunny Baudelaire|
|Beatrice Baudelaire II|
|Wife †||Monty Montgomery †|
|Violet Baudelaire||Klaus Baudelaire||Sunny Baudelaire|
- 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. This confirms that the accident that killed Georgina Orwell occurred on that date. The Baudelaires spent only a few days at the Lumbermill meaning that Josephine died on the 21st. Monty mentions that they're going to Peru "in a week" and dies on the day they were supposed to leave, meaning that the Baudelaires came to stay with him, at the latest, eight days before Josephine died - that being August thirteenth - to accommodate for the week and at least one day to find them a new guardian, placing Monty's death no later than August 20th - assuming there's only one day between his death and their arrival at Josephine's.
- PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- The Hilarious Made-Up Tabloid in A Series of Unfortunate Events Is Fake News That's Worth Reading, Slate