The village is located far outside the city in a barren region known as The Hinterlands, which is basically the middle of nowhere. It has many ridiculous laws and rules, and severe punishments for those who break them such as getting burned at the stake. It seems to be quite isolated from the rest of the world, and quite “stuck in the past”, not only in its architecture but also with the mentality of its villagers.
In the TV series, the village is shown to be very small and quite run-down. In other words, it resembles an American Old Western-themed village. This differs from an illustration from the book which depicts the town as more contemporary.
It is often called "V.F.D." instead of its full name when written or spoken. The Baudelaire orphans mistook the town's identity for the organization, V.F.D., and decided to pick this village to adopt them despite the fact that it rests in the middle of a wide expanse of flat, dry land.
The village is called "Village of Fowl Devotees" because the entire village is devoted to the crows that populate the area. They are all over the village, which roost downtown in the morning, uptown in the afternoon, and then all fly to a gigantic tree, called Nevermore Tree, on the outskirts of town at night.
The Village of Fowl Devotees was founded 306 years before the Baudelaires' visit, by a group of explorers who were fascinated by the migratory patterns of the crows in the area, and established a settlement there in order to idolize them. In the TV series, its main founder was a fireman.
The sight of the crows migrating on a daily basis is a magnificent sight, but visitors to V.F.D. must be wary of the village's heaps of authoritarian rules for violating even one of them can lead to life-threatening consequences.
The Vile Village
The Baudelaire orphans were adopted by Hector, the timid village handyman. Duncan and Isadora Quagmire were revealed to have been hidden in the Fowl Fountain, but they were unable to attract the Baudelaires', much less the villagers' attention, because the sound of the water flowing constantly drowned out any noise that they made. To circumvent this obstacle, the Quagmires communicated with their trio of friends through cryptic couplets that Isadora writes on scraps of paper. The crows then unknowingly deliver the paper scraps to Hector's residence during their daily migrations. Each couplet delivered provided a clue that little by little revealed where in the village Isadora and her brother could be held captive. It wasn't until the Baudelaires' situation grew severely dire that they finally deciphered the hiding place by reading the first letter written on every line. The villagers unsuccessfully try to burn the Baudelaires at the stake after they are falsely accused of murdering "Count Omar". The village is not of relevance after children fled and the Quagmires are safe with in the self-sustaining mobile home from Hector.
- Town Hall - A gathering place for the Council of Elders and residents to discuss the city's direction, as well as a courthouse for trials.
- Fowl Fountain - A fountain built by Count Olaf to trap the Quagmires. Unknown to many, the fountain has a hidden mechanism in its eye, allowing the beak to open so at least two human-sized objects can be placed inside.
- Uptown Jail - A jail for prisoners. The Deluxe Cell is the filthiest cell out of many smaller ones. In the TV series, it is mentioned the Deluxe Cell is called the "Deluxe" Cell because it comes with a noose for suicide.
- Hector's barn - Located a mile away on the town outskirts.
- Hector's house - Located a mile away on the town outskirts.
Council of Elders
The Council of Elders is a group of elderly people who govern the Village. Each member of the council wears a hat with a wobbly crow on the top. The youngest member was The Woman Who Was About Eighty-One.
|“||I don't approve of children being burned at the stake, but it is the rules, and one must always follow the rules.||”|
— Mr. Poe in the TV series.
The Council of Elders made thousands of rules, which are described as "insane" throughout the book, and many of which are "contradictory" according to Klaus Baudelaire, who stays up all night studying them.
While some of the rules seem honorable such as "No murdering", "No villains allowed in the city" and "no harming crows", a lot of others are just plain strange and questionable, such as "no mechanical devices allowed", while others are pure insanity such as "Anyone who breaks a rule is burned at the stake". Because of this, someone may be burned to death for accidentally putting too many nuts on a sundae.
The council and its residents are overly pedantic about following these rules. It is implied that many of the residents don't care so much that someone breaks a rule, but rather, are trying to find every excuse imaginable to burn people to death at the stake, as it provides psychopathic entertainment.
Known numbered rules:
- 1: No harming crows.
- 2: Anyone who breaks a rule is burned at the stake. In the TV Series, the rule is changed to only require a "stiff but reasonable" fine, but further punishment may be imposed.
- 18: No pouring and serving of sarsaparillas. Added in the TV series.
- 19: The only pens that are acceptable within the city limits are ones made from the feathers of crows. This contradicts rule 39.
- 39: It is illegal to make anything out of crow feathers. This contradicts rule 19.
- 67: No citizen is allowed to build or use any mechanical devices.
- 108: The V.F.D. library cannot contain any books that break any of the other rules. If someone in a book uses a mechanical device, for instance, that book is not allowed in the library. Hector notes that this means the library has little books and most of them are boring. The Littlest Elf got through the censorship but The Pony Party! did not. Books that do not make it past the censorship process must be burned.
- 141: All prisoners receive bread and water.
- 201: No murdering. Contradictory to stake burning.
- 492: The Council of Elders will only discuss things that are on the platform.
- 732: A visiting banker is allowed to speak as long as he/she is acting in the role of a consultant. Added in the TV series.
- 902: No one may talk while on the platform. Added in the TV series.
- 920: No one may talk while on the platform unless you are a police officer.
- 961: The Council of Elders' hot fudge sundaes cannot have more than fifteen pieces of nuts each.
- 1,742: No one is allowed to escape from jail.
- 2,493: Any person who is going to be burned at the stake has the opportunity to make a speech right before the fire is lit.
- 4,561: Citizens are not allowed to use their mouths for recreation. In the TV series, it is changed to 8,675.
- 7,345: No selfies with crows, as seen on a sign in the TV series. Unnecessary as rule 67 already forbids the use of cameras.
- 19,833: No villains are allowed within the city limits. In the TV series, it is changed to 9,833.
- Buses carrying passengers heading to the town must let them off several miles away from the town.
- No extraneous remodelling. Added in the TV series.
- No wearing white after Yom Kippur. This was added in the TV series and was the rule that Hector's mother broke. She had to pay a fine.
These are additional prison rules for visitors in the TV series:
- NO BATHING SUITS
- NO FIREARMS
- NO OUTSIDE FOOD
- NO SMOKING
- NO CONSPIRING
- Larry Your-Waiter (revealed in TV series)
- Violet Baudelaire
- Klaus Baudelaire
- Sunny Baudelaire
- Chief of Police (murdered)
- The Vile Village
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)
- Its name is likely a dual reference to "foul", as "fowl" and "foul" are spoken the same. It could be thought of as the "Village of Foul Devotees".
- In the TV series, their flag resembles the flag of the Nazi Party, except instead of a swastika in a white circle, it's a crow in a white circle.
- Their rulebook also uses font resembling those seen on Nazi propaganda posters.
- In the TV series, the bloodthirsty villagers go to Caligari Carnival to watch someone be devoured by lions.