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The Marvelous Marriage was a play written by Count Olaf under the alias Al Funcoot, which later turned out to be an anagram of his own name. It is featured in all adaptations of The Bad Beginning.


In the play, Olaf's character is a "very handsome man" who marries Violet Baudelaire's character, a beautiful bride, at the end. Justice Strauss played the "walk-on role" of judge adjudicating the marriage.[1][2]

According to at least one source[3], it took place on January 12th.

It was not an entertaining play to attend because it was actually a front for Olaf to legally marry Violet, and become eligible for a claim to the Baudelaire fortune. Snicket himself wrote that the play was insipid and probably as a result, does not even bother going into detail about the synopsis.[1]


It became clear from Klaus's research that he cited from a book on inheritance law that the fortune was Olaf's main incentive for the play. He may, in fact, actually preferred a legitimate marriage to Violet. For example, after he boasted his true intentions to the audience, he stated, "Now, if all of you will excuse me, my bride and I need to go home for our wedding night." Before the play took place, Violet offered to work backstage to help with the setup only for Olaf to reply, "Build the set? Heavens, no. A pretty girl like you shouldn't be working backstage." This implied that he is attracted to her. A conversation Olaf had with his troupe in The Carnivorous Carnival supports this claim: when they voted on who to keep alive, Count Olaf answered, "...Violet. She's the prettiest." It is also possible that Olaf enjoyed the idea of being Violet's husband and he seriously planned on living with her for the rest of his life. In the Netflix adaptation, Olaf also goes in to kiss Violet, although he stops and states "okay" when Violet abruptly refused. However, this gesture could just be his way of mocking her because Count Olaf had been known to do such things to others.

To guarantee that nothing will go wrong and force Violet and Klaus to participate, Olaf blackmailed them both by hanging Sunny from his tall tower in his birdcage, threatening to drop her to her death if the two refused to comply. He kept a walkie-talkie with him onstage in order to contact one of his associates at the tower to carry out the deed in the event that either sibling defied him during the performance.[1]

Violet signed the marriage certificate exactly as Olaf planned, his true intentions supposedly succeeded. Due to this, he blatantly told the audience his intentions to gloat, although his pride was quickly turned to embarrassment when Violet and Klaus pointed out the complication that nullified the marriage's legitimacy. Before Olaf was arrested, one of his associates turned off the lights in the theatre, leaving the audience in a state of panic as they scrambled to catch Olaf. On his way out, he secretly whispered to Violet in the darkness that once he obtains her fortune, he will kill her and her siblings, sending a chill up her spine. Olaf and his associates then flee the scenery moments before the lights came back on. No known records indicated that the play was performed ever again.

Adaptation differences


In the book and Netflix series, the play was performed at a theater near Count Olaf's house. In the film, it was performed in his backyard. Every version of this story took place at nightfall.

Violet's hand

Klaus explaining why the marriage should be void.

In the book and Netflix series, Violet was able to foil Olaf's scheme by signing the marriage document with her left hand despite being right-handed, resulting in the document not being legally binding. In the TV series, Klaus also had to give a long-winded explanation about philosophy about how the marriage is void, and how someone should have the freedom to choose their own destiny.

In the film, however, when Violet attempts to sign using her left hand, Count Olaf quickly noticed and asked her to use her right hand, which she does as slowly as possible. While Olaf was gloating, Klaus used a magnifying glass to burn the marriage certificate at a distance in his attic. It is unknown why this change occurred, although it may have been done to make the scene more suspenseful for those who already read the first book.

The Marvelous Marriage (Netflix TV series)

In the Netflix series, The Marvelous Marriage centers on Count Olaf portraying various characters throughout history, such as a Pharaoh and a Duke, while declaring how handsome he is. He is flanked in both scenes by the white-faced women, who declare: "He's so handsome!" - The wedding ceremony is presided over by a nervous Justice Strauss and concludes with the white-faced women saying, "Mazel Tov!" and throwing flowers.

The Marvelous Marriage (film)

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The following article or section concerns information that is considered even less canonical than the chance of a happy ending. Any information following should not be used as a source for the canon of the book series.

In Brad Silberling's film adaptation of the first three books, The Marvelous Marriage occurred after what would have been The Wide Window.

The poster in the Movie.

In the movie, the play was originally titled The Marvelous Carriage, and the plot involved the real deaths of the Baudelaire children by being fatally struck by a carriage in an "accident". After finding out from Mr. Poe that the children's death would not deem him eligible for a claim to the Baudelaire Fortune, he renamed and completely rewrote the play. The plot of the new play, The Marvelous Marriage, told the story of two Counts fighting for a girl they both loved. Promotional materials for the original play featured a painted red M covering the C of "Carriage" in the original title.

The play was deemed moving by a judgmental critic and the impatient detective.

The Marvelous Marriage begins with the white-faced women signing that "Nothing in the world will keep the Count from his beloved bride!". They then deplore a mannequin, whom they describe as a "Quiet, bald-headed suitor" for stealing "the bride's affections". Count Olaf makes his appearance in what one of the white-faced women describe as his "auto-giro", which is a small plane that flies above the audience. Count Olaf is lowered onto the stage and warns the audience that "this next scene could get a little graphic." He then dismembers the mannequin and kicks its head into the audience.

The marriage between Count Olaf and Violet was prevented by Klaus, who slipped away and used the eye magnifying glass in Olaf's tower to focus light onto the marriage certificate, causing it to catch fire.

The Marvelous Marriage (video game)

The play acts as a "final boss" of sorts, in both the PC and console versions of the game. Klaus needs to aim the magnifying glass at the marriage certificate to burn it.




Olaf touching Violet in the TV series.

  • The play and Olaf's plot to marry Violet for real during the performance caused The Bad Beginning to become a controversial book. It's because it depicted an older man attempting to marry a minor who was his adoptive daughter coupled with the fact that it contained overtones of incest and pedophilia. Olaf claimed to be the Baudelaire children's distant relative, although it is ambiguous if this claim was merely a fabricated lie so he could adopt the children as their "closest living relative". At least one school district in Decatur, Georgia attempted to ban the book and restrict children from having access to it. Parents were disgusted, although this was exactly the intention: to set Olaf up as a disgusting character.
    • Daniel Handler responded to this criticism by stating, "I'm at a loss for how to construct a villain who isn't doing villainous things."[4]



The Catastrophic Card Game


TV series