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The Grim Grotto is the eleventh book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, written by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler).

The book was later adapted into the TV series produced by Netflix as the third and fourth episodes of season 3.

In this book, the Baudelaires stay in a submarine and become entangled in the plight of V.F.D., as they search for a sugar bowl.

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer not to be damp. You might also prefer not to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.

In fact, the horrors they encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn't want me even to mention the worst of it, which includes mushrooms, a desperate search for something lost, a mechanical monster, a distressing message from a lost friend, and tap dancing.

As a dedicated author who has pledged to keep recording the depressing story of the Baudelaires, I must continue to delve deep into the cavernous depths of the orphans lives. You, on the other hand, may delve into some happier book in order to keep your eyes and your spirits from being dampened.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket


For Beatrice
Dead women tell no tales.
Sad men write them down.


The book begins immediately after the events of The Slippery Slope with the Baudelaires traveling on a collapsing toboggan down the stream of the Mortmain Mountains. The fire that they helped Count Olaf begin at Caligari Carnival is spreading through the hinterlands, and the children have trouble avoiding it, even on the stream. Just as hope seems lost, they are caught on a submarine which rises from the waters. Climbing over to the hatch a voice within asks if the orphans are friends or foes. They declare that they are friends. The same voice asks for the password, and Violet guesses correctly the V.F.D. motto: The world is quiet here. The children descend into the submarine, which they discover is the Queequeg captained by Captain Widdershins, a V.F.D. member and old friend of the Baudelaire parents. Also on board is Widdershins' stepdaughter Fiona and the ship's cook, Phil, (or Cookie) the optimist, who met the children while working at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in Paltryville.

Fiona, a mycologist who becomes the Baudelaires' new ally.

The Baudelaires are welcomed on board, where they discover that the crew wears uniforms with a picture of Herman Melville on them - are searching for the mysterious sugar bowl that was thrown downstream. They have less than a week before the meeting at the Hotel Denouement which contains certain people that could destroy the V.F.D. forever. Widdershins runs on the moral. He who hesitates is lost and Fiona, an expert mycologist, begins to fall for Klaus, who returns the favor. Sunny, meanwhile, helps Phil cook dinner for everyone. Violet also learns that Fiona and Widdershins have learned of the Baudelaires' plight via their telegram device, which is now broken. Although she tries to fix it, she realizes that someone - likely Olaf - is disrupting V.F.D. communications, explaining why the Baudelaires' telegram to Mr. Poe in The Hostile Hospital went unread. (The story of this is explained in Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.)

Klaus, meanwhile, has examined the tidal charts to estimate the location of the sugar bowl given the water cycle. He suspects it to be in the Gorgonian Grotto, located near Anwhistle Aquatics. Widdershins explains that that aquatics center was founded by Aunt Josephine's brother-in-law, Gregor Anwhistle. At this time, the group are interrupted by an approaching submarine vessel on the sonar. It is a ship in the shape of a giant octopus with many tentacles, and inside they can see Count Olaf. Luckily, due to quick thinking, all the engines on the Queequeg are turned off and Olaf does not notice them. Before long, however, a third shape appears on the sonar, a mysterious object shaped like a question mark that the crew do not see, but which clearly scares off Olaf's vessel.

Over dinner, Widdershins attempts to match make Klaus and Fiona, to everyone's discomfort. Fiona explains her family situation - her brother Fernald has been missing for many years. Her real father left when Fiona was small and Widdershins claims her mother died in a manatee accident, although this may be untrue. Widdershins mentions the Snicket siblings, who fought on the noble side of V.F.D.: Jacques Snicket, whom the children saw murdered in the Village of Fowl Devotees, was a researcher similar to Klaus; Kit Snicket, who helped build the Queequeg; and briefly mentions the third sibling before being cut off by Fiona.

Fiona asks about the message Violet and Klaus found for the mysterious J.S. at the former V.F.D. headquarters. Widdershins doubts it would be for Jacques, who is dead, which gets the group wondering about whose initials J.S. stands for. Fiona then looks in her mycological textbooks to discover information about the Gorgonian Grotto. It is a cone-shaped cave which houses a rare species of poisonous mushroom, the Medusoid Mycelium. They wax and wane periodically, but when waxing - as a poet says in her text - A single spore has such grim power/That you may die within the hour. Because the Grotto is so remote, it acts as a quarantine for the Medusoid Mycelium which would otherwise be unstoppable, although Fiona suspects there is an antidote. Widdershins sends the children off to get some sleep, but steadfastly refuses to tell them about the sugar bowl's purpose in the plot.

The Baudelaires and Fiona swim to the Gorgonian Grotto.

Later, the children wake to find the submarine has arrived abruptly at the Grotto, and has been damaged on the journey. Widdershins and Phil are too tall to fit into the smaller areas of the grotto so Fiona, Klaus, Violet and Sunny (who cannot fit into a diving suit but instead floats in a diving helmet) are sent in. Inside the grotto, the children find an area without water, an undersea cave that appears to have belonged to someone in V.F.D. It is filled with items, mostly junk and various food items, but is also - as Fiona discovers - the breeding ground of the Medusoid Mycelium, which send the children scurrying into the far corner where they are safe while the mushrooms rise out of the earth. The children start fighting over what to do next, which gets the Baudelaires remembering their parents again.

At last, Klaus finds a poetry book - Versed Furtive Disclosure - and begins going through it to see if it relates to V.F.D. As the three older children begin researching while they wait for the mushrooms to die down, Sunny cooks a meal–pesto lo mein. Later, over dinner, they discuss their findings. Klaus has found partial information of a code used by V.F.D. but not enough to figure it out. Violet has found a letter to the now deceased Gregor Anwhistle from Kit Snicket. It seems Gregor was going to use the mushroom to poison the enemies of V.F.D. Kit was working on a way to dilute the poison, in a factory in Lousy Lane, but Gregor insisted on cultivating them as they were in the Grotto. The mushrooms apparently poisoned the entire Aquatics center. The children contemplate for a while how everything links together. But when Fiona asks Violet about the newspaper article, Violet pretends it is too blurred to read. She can read it perfectly, and whatever is on it concerns her.

On returning to the submarine, the children find Phil and Widdershins gone. In their place are three balloons tied to chairs, with the letters "V", "F" and "D" on them. But this is little horror compared to what happens next, as the children discover a spore of the mushroom has infiltrated Sunny's helmet and she is trapped within it. Fiona stops Klaus from opening the helmet, as in order to keep themselves from being affected themselves, for the moment they must keep Sunny quarantined. She goes to work on an antidote while asking the others to fire up the engines. Violet is suspicious but Klaus obeys orders. Just as the ship starts up, Olaf's submarine returns and engulfs the Queequeg in its "jaw". Olaf comes down to the children and tells them that he has been at the Hotel Denouement preparing for his final scheme, but had to return to search for the sugar bowl himself, which is the only thing he needs to complete his nefarious plans. He is overjoyed to find he has also captured Fiona, and shows little concern for Sunny's condition. He is also working on perfecting a villainous laugh. As he leads the children through to the brig, he marvels at the octopus submarine, which he stole, which can apparently be used to destroy all of V.F.D.'s armies.

Children being forced to power the ship in fear of being slapped by a giant noodle.

As the children enter the next room they see how the ship is powered, by dozens of children rowing the "tentacles". Among them are children from Prufrock Preparatory School, the Snow Scouts, and other children the Baudelaires do not recognize. Esmé Squalor, wearing an octopus costume, is in charge of the children. She is stunned to see the Baudelaires alive, but happy to have another chance to celebrate their deaths. Olaf's group wear uniforms bearing images of Edgar Guest, whom Lemony Snicket disparages in his narration, and Klaus ealier stated he hates. It is here that we learn the ship is named the Carmelita, after Carmelita Spats who is also onboard and being spoiled by Esmé.

Fiona and Fernald reunite.

The children are taken to the brig where they are to be interrogated by The Hook-Handed Man, until Fiona drops a surprise on them all; he is her brother Fernald. Fiona is stunned that her brother is working as a villain, but Fernald defends his work saying that Olaf isn't all evil, that no one is entirely evil. Violet confesses that the newspaper article - by Jacques Snicket - proved that Fernald burnt down Anwhistle Aquatics, and that Gregor died in the fire. Klaus realizes that one half of the V.F.D. schism wanted to put out fires, while the other started them. Fernald hints that there is a good reason for why he now has two hooks instead of hands, and that there are few differences between the Baudelaires and Olaf. Fiona begs him to help them get back to the Queequeg, for Sunny's sake, and Fernald finally agrees, but asks for them to take him with them.

Violet is firmly against Fernald's involvement but Fiona defends him, asking if Violet would ever abandon a sibling. So, the Baudelaires, Fiona and Fernald plot their escape, aided unwittingly by Carmelita, who is doing a song and dance routine that distracts Esmé and the rowing children. The Baudelaires return to the Queequeg, but Carmelita spots Fiona and Fernald trying to leave. Fernald, whom Esmé calls "Hooky", pretends that Fiona has joined the team, and they need to borrow Esmé's "tagliatelle grande" - the giant wet noodle she uses to whip the children - to torture the Baudelaires in The Carnivorous Carnival. Esmé gives in, but changes Fiona's name to "Triangle Eyes" because of her glasses shape. Back on the Queequeg, Sunny is close to death. Klaus and Violet read Fiona's texts, and Kit's letter, and realize that the antidote being made on Lousy Lane was horseradish. Although they have none, they discover a surprise Sunny and Phil had made - a birthday cake for Violet who turned fifteen without even realizing it. The balloons stood for "Violet's Fifteenth Date". Violet breaks down but Sunny saves her own life when she manages to blurt out one word, the culinary equivalent of horseradish: wasabi, which she still has from their trip into the underwater cavern.

While Sunny recovers, Klaus and Violet are stunned when the telegram machine starts back up again. The Voluntary Factual Dispatch they receive is from Quigley Quagmire, which touches Violet as she remembers their romantic involvement. The letter is also sent to the mysterious J.S. Quigley needs the Baudelaires at a certain coded location by Tuesday, the very next day and just two days before the meeting at the Hotel. The Verse Fluctuations Declarations code is similar to the one Klaus discovered in the grotto and references poems by T.S. Eliot and Lewis Carroll. Although they haven't read the poems, Klaus and Violet discover the secret poetry books that Widdershins has hidden away, which he used to read with Fernald. They also find a photo of the family, when Fiona's mother was alive and when Fernald had hands. Violet suggests that answering the code and finding Widdershins are more important than freeing Fiona, who likely might not do the same kindness to them, and Klaus reluctantly agrees. Sunny, recuperated, joins her siblings. Klaus is first to solve the riddle, when he learns that the code in the Carroll poem asks the Baudelaires to meet Quigley at Briny Beach. As Violet begins decoding the Eliot poem, they are interrupted by Olaf, Esmé and Carmelita, who have found them. Olaf announces triumphantly that they are just minutes from the Hotel Denouement and, even worse, Fiona has joined their team. The girl herself enters, with Fernald, in the uniform of the Carmelita and tells the Baudelaires that it is true.

Olaf triumphantly tells the Baudelaires that, once they arrive at Hotel Denouement, he will finally have won. While he, Esmé and Carmelita search the Queequeg for things to pilfer, Violet and Klaus attempt to reason with Fiona. They offer her the mushroom sample still inside the helmet, which she could use to research. She is clearly tempted but Olaf returns and takes it, overjoyed with the people he could extort and murder. Fiona is horrified. Esmé finds a ruby ring that belonged to Fiona's mother, whom she went to school with, and decides to keep it for herself. Suddenly, on the radar, the mysterious question mark appears again. Olaf clearly knows what it is, as he orders everyone to battle stations to get away from it. He tells Carmelita not to tap dance so that the octopus submarine will not show up on "their sonar" Fiona, knowing that she is wrong, allows the Baudelaires free access to the Queequeg to escape. But she cannot go with them, out of loyalty to her brother. Before she rejoins Olaf, however, she kisses Klaus. Violet powers up the Queequeg, as Klaus navigates her out of the Carmelita. Sunny, using the chewing gum Phil brought with him from Paltryville repairs a porthole Olaf broke, and the Queequeg is freed from Olaf's clutches.

As the Queequeg escapes, Lemony Snicket himself provides a few more questions: he states that Fiona was right in her suspicions that her mother did not die in a manatee incident. He states that Widdershins believed a certain article in the Daily Punctilio that was false, which he showed to the Baudelaire parents, the Snicket family, and Beatrice - which was possibly the reason Beatrice refused to marry Snicket himself. He explains that, in the darkness, the Baudelaires could scarcely see the giant monster, which was shaped like a long eyebrow, and which vanished back into the depths of the sea as quickly as it appeared. The children sit and eat Violet's cake as the long Monday night passes. When Tuesday comes, they find themselves at Briny Beach - back where all of their troubles began. Surprisingly, from the fog, comes Mr. Poe. He received a message from J.S. - whom he naïvely assumes is The Daily Punctilio reporter Geraldine Julienne - that he had to meet them at the beach. He tells the children to come with him to the police station to resolve all of their troubles.

Violet, however, has decoded the Eliot message, which states: "violet" "taxi" "waiting" and has concluded that a taxi will be at the beach for them. The children say goodbye to the startled Mr. Poe and walk up the beach where they find the waiting taxi. Inside is a woman they have never seen before. Even though the children remember being instructed not to get into cars with strangers, they decide that taxi cab drivers are different - and as the car starts off, the driver introduces herself as Kit Snicket, and begins driving them to the Hotel Denouement.


Final Picture

The Baudelaires ditching Mr. Poe at Briny Beach, about to enter a taxi with Kit.

In the last picture of The Grim Grotto, Mr. Poe is seen waving to the Baudelaire orphans as they climb into a taxi. On the beach, there is a hat, half-buried in the sand, that reads "Hotel D------." The rest is in sand. This is a reference to the Hotel Denouement.

Letter to the Editor

There are six letters to the editor. Each is ripped in half, and missing text is denoted by (...).

To My Kind Editor,

My enemies, I fear, are (...) with extremely long fingers (...) so that you might never r (...)

Lousy Lane ends in cul-de-sac (...) gas station attendant, who (...) the complete manuscript, (...) anywhere near a match!

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

To My Kind Editor,

I must apologize (...) completely in (...) but I doubt it (...)

Instead of dri (...) field of daisies (...) If you dig straight (...) book the twelfth (...)

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

To My Kind Editor,

I must once again (...) "third time's the charm" (...) without anyone ri (...)

The alleyway behind (...) an excellent hiding (...) the dreadful story (...) Do NOT USE THE ete

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

To My Kind Editor,

How many apologies (...) "fourth time's the charm" (...) continued treachery (...)

One of the curviest (...) a cup of very bitter (...) The twelfth book, entitled, THE PENULTIMATE PERIL

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

To My Kind Editor,

Please accept yet another (...) This time I am ce (...) impossible to destroyed (...)

The Galway Kennel (...) barks the loudest, (...) chapter in his te (...)

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket

To My Kind Editor,

The last safe (...) laundry of (...) title of the (...)

Her name, (...)

Remember, you are my last hope that the tales of the Baudelaire orphans can finally be told to the general public.

With all due respect,


Lemony Snicket


Major Characters:

Minor Characters:

Word Definitions

  • An excellent villain: a phrase which here means "someone particularly skilled at villainy" rather than "a villain with several desirable qualities"
  • A fool's errand: a phrase which here means "errand performed by a fool"
  • At a fast clip: a phrase which here means, "straight toward the Queequeg"
  • Acted contrary to her personal philosophy: a phrase which here means "hesitated for a moment, and faced the middle Baudelaire"
  • Affinity for arson: a phrase which here means "enthusiasm for burning down buildings, no matter how many people were inside"
  • Agree to disagree: "Let's just agree to disagree," the hook-handed man replied, using a tiresome expression which here means "You're probably right, but I'm too embarrassed to admit it."
  • Alternate strategy: a phrase which here means "would terrorize the Baudelaires in another way."
  • Aye: "Aye," Klaus explained quietly, "is another word for 'yes'"
  • Belting out: singing in a particularly loud and particularly irritating voice
  • Brought her up to speed: told their sister what happened while she was suffering inside the diving helmet
  • Brig: the official seafaring term for "jail"
  • Bugaboo: any kind of monster
  • Byline: name of the person who wrote the article
  • Byzantine in design: so complicated that perhaps even Violet Baudelaire would have trouble working them
  • Conversational: having to do with conversations
  • Convoluted: complicated
  • For naught: for nothing
  • Porthole: round window through which the Baudelaires could see the filthy waters of the Stricken Stream
  • Practicing piracy: stealing the treasures of others
  • Stupefaction: amazement at seeing a man for the first time since their stay at Lucky Smells Lumbermill, when his kindness toward them had been one of the few positive aspects of that otherwise miserable chapter in their lives
  • Only by reputation: I don't know him personally, but I've heard of the work he does
  • Recede from view: disappear from the porthole as it hurried away from the Queequeg
  • Conversational opener: an interesting sentence to say out loud in order to get people talking
  • Harrowing: frantic and extremely distressing
  • Uncharted waters: underground locations that do not appear on charts; any place that is unknown
  • Sideboard: a piece of furniture in the dining room, with shelves and drawers to hold various useful items
  • Minutiae: obscure facts
  • Grotto: cave
  • Quarantine: when something dangerous is isolated, so the danger cannot spread
  • Impassioned oratory: emotional speech that the Baudelaires found utterly convincing, even if they did not quite agree with every word
  • Shut-eye: sleep
  • Barracks: a type of bedroom that is usually uncomfortable
  • Indispensable item: the sugar bowl, although the children did not know why it was so important
  • Nodded off: fell asleep without considering even one of the books he had recently read
  • Rise to the occasion: one will be strong enough for a particular situation
  • On the spur of the moment: while traveling through the Gorgonian Grotto
  • Up and running: not destroyed under suspicious circumstances
  • Waiting in the wings: coming up more quickly than you'd like
  • Lousy: bad; infested with lice; abundantly supplied
  • Flew off the handle: became extremely angry
  • Of all stripes: both good and bad
  • Furtive: secretive
  • Disclosure: to reveal something
  • Whet one's appetite: refers to one's hunger, usually for food, being awakened
  • Wasabi: a very spicy Japanese condiment, often served with fish
  • Volatile: unstable; likely to cause trouble
  • Fungus: mushrooms
  • Deportation: moving something from one place to another
  • Playing with fire: refers to any dangerous or risky activity
  • Suited up: prepared their helmets for an underwater journey
  • Enormous presence: large physical size, combined with a vibrant personality and loud voice
  • Of their own volition: by choice
  • Tureen: a wide, deep dish used for serving stew or soup, instead of a small, terrified girl curled up in a piece of deep-sea equipment
  • Her voice faltered: sounded as if she weren't so sure
  • Furtive journey: sneaking
  • Children with whom the Baudelaires had had no prior experience: who had probably been kidnapped by Count Olaf or his associates on another occasion
  • Tutu: a skirt used during ballet performances
  • Lay their cards on the table: reveal themselves honestly to Olaf's wicked henchmen
  • Inscrutable: either pleasant or nasty, but it was hard to tell
  • Hemming and hawing: muttering, and clearing of one's throat, used to avoid making a quick decision
  • Vibrato: the Italian term for a voice that wavers as it sings
  • Scram: slip out of the room unnoticed and walk down the shadowy hallway Olaf had led them sown just a little while earlier
  • Wheeze: to make a hoarse, whistling sound indicating that her throat was almost completely closed up
  • Pantry: place where antidotes are hopefully stored
  • Provisions: cooking supplies
  • Steeled themselves: summoned up as much strength as they could
  • Salvation: something that would save her life; something that would rescue her from the Medusoid Mycelium; an item the eldest Baudelaire still had in the waterproof pocket of her uniform, sealed in a tin can Sunny had found in an underwater cavern
  • The tables have turned: refers to a situation that has suddenly been reversed, so that those who were previously in a powerless position could suddenly find themselves in a powerful one, and vice versa
  • Rallied: regained her strength, and ability to breathe
  • Shelved the discussion: temporarily stopped their conversation
  • Resigned: as if the mycologist had given up entirely on defeating Count Olaf
  • Whimsical: full of comic nonsense
  • Opaque: unnecessarily complicated
  • Downcast: looking sadly at the floor
  • Rivulets: tiny streams of water
  • In the final analysis: after much thought, and some debate with my colleagues
  • Standing vigil: keeping nearby, to make sure everyone is safe
  • Tinted: darkened, so the children could not see who was inside


V.F.D. References

  • Captain Widdershins mentions Volunteer Factual Dispatches, telegrams from the volunteers of V.F.D.
  • Captain Widdershins mentions that he used to work on the Voluntary Fish Domestication mission.
  • Violet's Fifteenth Date is also mentioned, with V.F.D. balloons.
  • Violet reads The Daily Punctilio article titled "Verifying Fernald's Defection".
  • Klaus uses a poetry book entitled Versed Furtive Disclosure to decode a message.
  • The Hotel Denouement stationary letters to editor has the eye insignia at the bottom left-hand corner.

References to the Real World

Main article: References and allusions in Lemony Snicket's works

Name Allusions

Setting Allusions

  • The Gulag Archipelago is a reference to the Gulag, a U.S.S.R. Government Agency.
  • The Gorgonian Grotto is a reference to Greek mythology. A Gorgon is a dreadful female creature. While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it to stone.

Plot Allusions

  • A portrait of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, can be found on the front of the Queequeg crew's uniforms.
  • Captain Widdershins's short monologue, which is as follows, is a reference to Plato's Allegory of the Cave: "That screen is nothing. It's just a piece of equipment, aye? There was a philosopher who said that all of life is just shadows. He said that people were just sitting in a cave, watching shadows on the cave wall. Aye–shadows of something much bigger and grander than themselves. Well, that sonar detector is like our cave wall, showing us the shape of things much more powerful and terrifying."
  • Captain Widdershins continues on to say, "There used to be volunteers with P.G. Wodehouse on their uniforms, and Carl Van Vechten. There was Comyns and Cleary and Archy and Mehitabel. But now volunteers are scarce!" Here, he references P.G. Wodehouse, an English humorist; Carl Van Vechten, an American writer and photographer; William Comyns Beaumont, an English journalist, author, and lecturer; Barbara Comyns Carr, an English author and artist; Beverly Cleary, an American author; and Archy and Mehitabel, a series of newspaper columns written by Don Marquis.
  • While the Baudelaires and Fiona are in the Gorgonian Grotto, they discuss their "Hobson's choice." A Hobson's choice is something that's not a choice at all, and refers to Thomas Hobson, who lived in Britain in 17th century. According to legend, Hobson was in charge of a stable and always told his customers they had a choice: they could take the horse closest to the door, or no horse at all. Apparently, Beatrice Baudelaire often gave all three of her children Hobson's choices: Violet could clean her room or her mother would stand in the doorway and sing her least favorite song over and over; Klaus could do the dishes or read the poetry of Edgar Guest; and Sunny could take a bath or wear a pink dress.
  • Snicket takes a jab at Edgar Guest during the Hobson choice discussion, when Klaus refers to Guest as his least favorite poet.
  • While the children are searching through the rubble in the Grotto, Violet finds "an odd, square stone with messages carved in three languages," which sounds much like a description of the Rosetta Stone.
  • The poem "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning is discussed as Klaus relates his findings from the book he found, Versed Furtive Disclosure.
  • One of Olaf's villainous laughs, "Ha ha Hepplewhite," proceeded by the statement that "V.F.D. will be reduced to ashes forever," refers to George Hepplewhite, a cabinetmaker.
  • Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Simic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Franz Wright, and Daphne Gottlieb, all poets, are mentioned. Books of their poetry were found in the top cabinet of the sideboard in the Main Hall of the Queequeg.
  • Snicket takes another jab at Edgar Guest, when Klaus notices his portrait on the uniforms of the Carmelita's crew. Apparently, "every noble reader in the world agrees" that he was "a writer of limited skill, who wrote awkward, tedious poetry on hopelessly sentimental topics."

Sunny's Allusions

  • Sunny uses the word "Procto" to say "The other end." Proctology is the the branch of medicine concerned with the anus and rectum.
  • When Sunny asks about how the children would be able to see their way through the Gorgonian Grotto, she utters the word, "Hewenkella", a likely reference to Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf.
  • Sunny says, "Mamasan," when referring to her mother. A "mama-san", or "mamasan" is usually a woman in a position of authority, especially one in charge of a geisha house or bar in Japan and East Asia.
  • When the children first come across the submarine she shouts downs the hatch, 'Shalom', which is Hebrew for 'Hello'.
  • Later, when discussing the surprise dessert Sunny has planned, Sunny says 'Yomhuledet.' 'Yom huledet' is Hebrew for 'birthday.' Sunny is referring to a birthday cake for Violet's birthday.


The Grim Grotto has a 4/5 on Goodreads.com.[1]


  • The following quote may explain the disappearance of the Queequeg's crew:
    • They might have gazed upward, and seen the sharp angles of various Vertical Flame Diversions, and other secret passageways, that once led all the way up to the marine research center and rhetorical advice service, or even spotted the person who was using one of the passageways now and probably for the last time, as she made her dark and difficult way toward the Queequeg.


Book Editions

Several editions of The Grim Grotto have been published. Some of these include foreign editions or re-prints such as: The Grim Grotto (UK), The Grim Grotto (UK Paperback) and La Grotte Gorgone.

The Grim Grotto (UK)

This edition has the same content as in the original one. The main difference here is the cover, which is black, has different fonts and a turquoise spine. Brett Helquist's illustration also differs slightly, notably also featuring Fiona in the background. The book is published by Egmont. On each of the UK versions, between the coloured spine and the black cover there are narrow images depicting a reference to each books content. The Grim Grotto features a row of mushrooms referencing the Medusoid Mycelium. This is repeated on the back cover.

The Grim Grotto (UK Paperback)

This is a paperback version of The Grim Grotto released in the UK by Egmont Books in 2010. It has Lemony Snicket written on the top with A Series of Unfortunate Events written below it in an eye shape.

La Grotte Gorgone

La Grotte Gorgone is the French edition of The Grim Grotto, published by Nathan Poche. It has a very different cover, Brett Helquist's illustration is not seen here, apart for a portrait of the Baudelaires. It is almost entirely black, with a white illustration of the helmet of a diving suit.