|“||We didn't lose our family. Only our parents.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Grim Grotto
Violet Baudelaire is the eldest of the three Baudelaire orphans and one of the main protagonists of A Series of Unfortunate Events. She is the daughter of Beatrice and Bertrand Baudelaire as well as the elder sister of Klaus Baudelaire and Sunny Baudelaire.
Like her siblings, Violet is intelligent, charming, innovatory, kind-hearted, resourceful and polite, but is most well-known for being an incredibly talented inventor. Lamentably, Violet is extremely unfortunate, a phrase which here means "having a continuous streak of bad luck."
Violet is fourteen years old at the beginning of the series, turns fifteen in The Grim Grotto, and is sixteen upon leaving the Island during Chapter Fourteen. She would inherit the Baudelaire fortune upon her coming of age at 18.
|“||Anyone who knew Violet well could tell she was thinking hard, because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial as her hair.||”|
Violet is an intelligent inventor whose wits and skills have saved her and her siblings countless times from death. She has a habit of tying her hair back with a ribbon when concentrating to keep it out of her eyes.
Violet is possibly the greatest inventor of her time. Before the demise of her parents, she liked to visit the Verne Invention Museum and its many exhibits, including one of the mechanical demonstrations that inspired her to be an inventor when she was just two years old. When Violet was five years old, she won her first invention contest with an automatic rolling pin, which she made using a window shade and six pairs of roller skates. The judge praised Violet, saying she could invent anything with both her hands tied behind her back. When Violet was around ten, she invented a new kind of pencil sharpener. She also built a telephone from scratch and created a device to soothe her sister's teething pains. Her favorite inventor is Nikola Tesla.
Though she is incredibly bright and intelligent, many things modern 14-15 year olds would know are unfamiliar to Violet, mostly because the series is set in an era in which access to information is more limited than it is today. For example, in The Wide Window, Violet does not know what leeches are, likely due to her assumption that there was no need to read about them. Later, Klaus mentions there's "something funny" about Josephine's suicide note, but Violet misinterprets this as "humorous" instead of "odd" and tries to dismiss Klaus' point about a secret message in the letter (in the live-action versions, Violet catches on to his suspicions faster). During these moments, Klaus' passion for reading comes in handy since he shares his knowledge in a wide range of subjects, allowing his older sister to become more aware of the world around her. Despite such occurrences, Violet is still committed to learn about the world and is willing to admit she does not know much about something.
After her parents' deaths, Violet was forced to take charge. Though she often collaborates with Klaus, she always feels the weight of being the oldest sibling. Her parents said to her when Klaus was born, and again when they brought Sunny home from Pincus Hospital, "You are the eldest Baudelaire child, and as the eldest, it will always be your responsibility to look after your younger siblings. Promise us that you will always watch out for them and make sure they don't get into trouble." This is why she invents the grappling hook to free Sunny from the tower; she risks her safety and well-being to help her siblings and honor the promise she made her parents to always keep her siblings away from harm. This promise is mentioned in all thirteen books.
However, Violet occasionally struggles with keeping herself and her siblings safe. She can be reckless on occasion, even when there are more sensible and safer alternatives. For example, upon learning that Aunt Josephine was hiding in Curdled Cave, she sailed across Lake Lachrymose in the middle of a hurricane with her siblings instead of waiting for it to settle. What's more is that she wasn't wearing a life jacket. Another example is that after learning the Quagmires were trapped in a cage at the bottom of an elevator shaft, she decides to take her siblings with her down twice using a handmade rope (even carrying hot irons the second time), which Lemony Snicket notes is a three-hour climb. She also encourages Hector's idea of building and living in an mobile air house, despite all the risks involved. These instances of her impulsive behavior are likely due to her great distrust of adults and authority figures, as well as still being 14 years old. This was indicated when she almost threw a rock at Mr. Poe in The Bad Beginning because his approaching figure looked frightening in the fog.
Violet has a backbone, and can be stern and/or exhibit an attitude at times, especially when angered. For example, when Violet complains to Mr. Poe about how Count Olaf slapped Klaus' face and Mr. Poe could not care less, Mr. Poe says, "'Now, I hate to usher you out posthaste, but I have very much work to do. Posthaste means—' '—means you'll do nothing to help us,' Violet finished for him, shaking with frustration". When Aunt Josephine threatened to give her and her siblings to Count Olaf, Violet retorted, "You're supposed to be caring for us, not putting us up for grabs!" When Mr. Poe ordered her to come with him to the police station at the end of The Grim Grotto, Violet replied, "No," and walked away. She can also be very rebellious when faced with corrupt authority figures, often calling them out and refusing to go along with them, such as when she removed her blindfold during the trial in the Netflix series, saying, "Maybe this court deserves contempt." In the film, she interrupts Olaf just to call him "pure evil." As the series progresses, she questions others more and becomes more outspoken about her beliefs, and less being persuaded by adults and trying to avoid confrontation.
While Klaus is brasher with his actions, Violet works in secret or tries to manipulate a situation to her advantage. For example, instead of refusing to star in The Marvelous Marriage, she suggests to Count Olaf that's she not that great of an actress. Violet said, "'Count Olaf,' and then stopped herself. She wanted to argue her way out of playing his bride, but she didn't want to make him angry. 'Father, I'm not sure I'm talented enough to perform professionally. I would hate to disgrace your good name and the name of Al Funcoot. Plus I'll be very busy in the next few weeks working on my inventions—and learning how to prepare roast beef,' she added quickly, remembering how he had behaved about dinner".
Violet is stereotypically unfeminine in some ways, though not completely. She is a poor cook and mentions she can only make toast - sometimes, she even burns it in the attempt. She knows how to create a Molotov cocktail, however. Mr. Poe once admonished Violet for picking a lock, chastising her that nice girls should not have such knowledge. Klaus defends his sister by stating, "My sister is a nice girl... and she knows how to do all sorts of things." Aunt Josephine once gave her a doll called Pretty Penny in spite of the fact Violet dislikes them. To be polite, she forces a smile and pats its plastic head to appease Aunt Josephine, eventually giving it to Sunny to bite on. Instead, Klaus gives her his toy, a model train that she can tinker with for engineering. Despite her dislike of the color pink, Violet is frequently illustrated with pink hair ribbons, and she often wears pink outfits in the Netflix adaptation.
Beatrice Baudelaire was pregnant with Violet when she and her husband Bertrand were banished from The Island; Violet was born soon after they arrived on the mainland. She and her younger brother, Klaus, were raised in a luxurious mansion located in the city. Violet barely remembers some V.F.D. phrases, implying that her parents may have had contact with the organization that was cut off when she was a little girl. Notably, she remembers the phrase "the world is quiet here" being sung to her, and taking a strong disliking to Row Your Boat, possibly implying she was sung "The Little Snicket Lad."
Violet was inspired to become an inventor when she was two years old. Back then, she visited the Verne Invention Museum and saw the mechanical demonstrations. Years later, when she was seven, she built her own telegraph machine. When Klaus was young and read Anna Karenina with their mother one summer, Violet skipped out on the activity and spent her time studying the laws of thermodynamics and building a miniature helicopter out of an eggbeater and some old copper wiring.
At some point, Beatrice taught Violet how to apply stage makeup. She also remembers her father giving her the nickname, "Ed", after Thomas Edison, due to her incredible inventing abilities. Bertrand used to recite poetry to her and Klaus, but they eventually grew old enough to find his whimsical moods embarrassing. At some point, Violet had a friend named Ben who gifted her elevator blueprints for her birthday one year.
Violet used to drop her ribbon on the floor, using it as an excuse for eavesdropping. If she were to be caught, she would say she was picking it up.
The family spent a weekend at a vineyard, but in order to visit it, they had to transfer between two trains. Violet and Klaus were separated from their parents in the crowd and decided to search for them in a row of shops that were outside the station. The local shoemaker, blacksmith, chimney sweep, and computer technician helped them search for their missing parents. The family was reunited shortly afterwards. Their parents told them that if they ever got separated again, they should not wander around looking for them, but instead to stay put so that they could easily find them.
When Violet was ten, she had shorter hair and invented a new kind of pencil sharpener. The family went to the country fair to see a pig that their Uncle Elwyn had entered in a contest, but they got bored by that so they watched the Biggest Lasagna Contest instead.
Her youngest sister, Sunny was born about a year or two before the infamous fire burned down their mansion. Not long afterwards, both Beatrice and Bertrand made Violet promise to always look out for her siblings, which she took as her responsibility as the eldest. She always looked back at that promise whenever either Klaus or Sunny were in grave peril.
On Beatrice's birthday, Violet, Klaus, Sunny, and Bertrand woke up early to bake her a cake. Violet beat the eggs, butter, and sugar with a mixing device she had invented herself. When the electric can opener broke, Violet discovered that she didn't have the proper tools to fix it so Sunny opened a can of condensed milk for them with her teeth. In the process, she spoke her first word- "Bite"- which impressed the Baudelaire family immensely.
Sometime after that, the family all stayed inside on one boring, rainy afternoon so they all painted their toenails bright red to pass the time. Violet spilled some polish onto the yellow chair, leaving a stain that never really came off. At some point, the children watched a horror film one night. As a result, they spent the rest of it being terrified that every noise they heard were vampires breaking into the house with the intent to kidnap them - however, Klaus later hypothesizes that perhaps someone had broken into the house after all, though he did not state anything to back up his claim.
Later on, the family once had a picnic at the Rutabaga River, for which Bertrand was so excited that he forgot to pack silverware. This forced everyone to eat sweet-and-sour shrimp with their bare hands and wash them in the river. Violet would then use this outing as an opportunity to find a place for a fishing rod she had invented. The children also went to the Hotel Preludio with their parents for a weekend, where Bertrand taught them an elevator prank; to press all the buttons right before exiting, so everyone who were left inside would end up going to every floor whether they liked it or not.
Whenever their parents went out to the orchestra, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny had a routine that they followed. First, Violet and Klaus would play a few games of checkers while Sunny ripped up old newspapers for her own amusement. Then the children would read in the library until they fell asleep on the sofas. The events described would later be fond memories that the children looked back on to get them through somber moments or discover solutions that would allow them to escape life-threatening situations.
|“||I hate it too. I hate everything about our lives right now, Klaus, but we have to keep our chin up.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Bad Beginning
Violet was at Briny Beach with her younger siblings, thinking of how to construct a device that could retrieve skipping rocks when Mr. Poe approaches them in the mist; before she recognizes him, she considers throwing a rock at the mysterious figure in the fog. Poe regretfully informs them that their parents have perished in a terrible fire that burned their mansion to the ground. Violet assumed Poe was kidding at first, but once the news sank in, she drops the rock and takes Klaus's hand as they follow Mr. Poe.
They go to the mansion to see if anything can be retrieved, but the children discover that they have lost everything. Her "inventive brain [seems] to stop" with grief for a while. The children were taken to Mr. Poe's house, where they lived with his wife, Polly, and their two beastly children, Edgar and Albert, who disliked the orphans for being so glum. The following day, Mr. Poe announced that they were to be taken to their closest living relative, Count Olaf. He interpreted this phrase as the orphans' third or fourth cousin who happened to live closest in the city. He likely had a bit of help from the Count himself, which should have sounded some kind of mental alarm.
Mr. Poe drives the Baudelaires to the street where Count Olaf resides, but not before stopping by the home of Justice Strauss. The children cheerfully introduce themselves, thinking they will be living with the High Court judge. They were soon corrected when Justice Strauss revealed that she was actually Count Olaf's neighbor and were instead directed to his house, which was in severe disrepair. Violet privately thinks she would rather live in Justice Strauss' house and then proceeded to wonder why Olaf would carve a large eye on his front door.
Olaf menacingly greeted them before inviting them into the dirtiest house they've ever seen. When Olaf suggested that he could use the Baudelaire Fortune to fix it up, Mr. Poe sternly corrects him by stating that the money remains inaccessible until Violet comes of age. For a second, Violet believes that Olaf may strike the banker out of spite, but instead, he escorts him outside. The children then notice an eye tattooed on Olaf's ankle. This very eye would come to haunt their thoughts for years to come.
Olaf forcibly places the Baudelaire children in one small bedroom with only one worn bed. Violet and Klaus take turns sleeping on it, though they discover that the bed was just as uncomfortable as the floor. Violet designs a bed for Sunny out of the dusty curtains. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of letting the sun stream into the room every morning. Though he isn't around much, Olaf turned out to be an unkind, strict figure. Over the next several days, he left them with a lengthy list of strenuous chore list in addition to lumpy oatmeal for breakfast on a daily basis. The chores are indeed difficult. For example, Violet and her younger siblings had to repaint the back porch and repair the windows, but they did their best. Violet was able to get the chimney cleaned and the windows fixed due to her inventive interests.
One morning, Violet and her siblings stumble across an added chore to their list. It had stated that the children must prepare dinner for all ten members of his troupe, along with a small sum of money for ingredients. None of the children knew how to cook, causing Klaus to become hysterical. Violet comforts him, reassuring him that she also hated living in Olaf's house, but they had to keep their chin up for the time being, as their father would have said. The siblings then searched the kitchen to find a cookbook that contained an easy recipe but are unable to find one. At that moment, Justice Strauss paid a visit to see how the children were settling in. Violet and her siblings took the opportunity to ask if they could borrow a cookbook, much to Strauss's surprise. When she pointed out how unusual Olaf's request was, Violet shrugged off the absurdity by simply stating that Olaf gives them a lot of responsibility. This was because the young inventor was too well-mannered to complain.
They followed Justice Strauss to her library and once they entered, they became fascinated by her wide collection of books. Violet requests a mechanical engineering, though she and everyone else agreed that finding a cookbook first should be their number one priority. After searching for half an hour, her brother Klaus found a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca, leading to Strauss to take the children to the market to shop for ingredients. They were thankfully able to buy what they need and Violet thanked Strauss when they returned to Olaf's mansion. She was unsure if they were expected to return the favor so she offered to help Strauss with chores as recompense, but she politely assured them that it will not be necessary.
Violet and her siblings prepare the pasta by following the recipe. Violet does her part by roasting the garlic and chopping the anchovies. As they worked together, they began to feel less miserable, allowing them to speak of memories they had of their parents and of Justice Strauss. This joyful moment of reminiscing was short-lived for just as they placed the pudding (for dessert) in the fridge to cool, Olaf barged into the kitchen, infuriated that the children didn't prepare roast beef. He threatened Sunny, holding her up high until his troupe asked for him. As they leave, a Bald Man with the Long Nose took Violet's face and told her not to anger Count Olaf, or he "might wreck that pretty little face." Violet shudders and trembles with fear and revulsion, possibly at the thought of Olaf actually doing so.
Terrified by the thought of angering Olaf a second time, the children carefully serve the dinner they made. While they set the table, Violet finds herself wishing that they'd bought poison at the market as well. When the troupe finished eating their dinner, Olaf told them that they're excused from the troupe's performance in order to clean up and then go straight to their beds. Klaus angrily corrected him by stating that they only have one bed and can't use their fortune to purchase another, causing Olaf to angrily slap him across the cheek. Afterwards, the troupe left the room and Violet gave Klaus a hug to help him feel better, but she and Sunny end up crying with him.
The next morning, Olaf's note instructed the children to chop firewood. As they do so, Violet and Klaus discuss whether they should stay with such a horrible man or take their chances on the streets. They also imagined what they could buy with their parents' fortune if they had it now to pass the time and bring back their sense of optimism. Violet finally decided to go and talk to Mr. Poe, believing that if he is told how horrible they were being treated, he'll take them out of Olaf's custody. They couldn't find a map of the city so they wandered through the banking district until they find Mulctuary Money Management and Mr. Poe's office. To their chagrin, he refused to listen to them. Instead, he simply explained that Olaf is acting in loco parentis, meaning he can do what he pleases as their parent. As expected, he also ignored Klaus's bruise because to him, Olaf's treatment was justified. Violet, angry and frustrated, leads her siblings back to the neighborhood, wishing she could invent something that would take them out of there. Instead, the children spent the rest of the afternoon at Justice Strauss's library.
The children are surprised to find Olaf waiting for them at breakfast the next morning, with raspberries in their oatmeal. Olaf tells them that Poe called him about their meeting and that he wants the three of them to feel at home with him as their father. He tells them that they will participate in his next play, called The Marvelous Marriage. Klaus and Sunny will be extras, while Violet will play the bride. Violet, who would much rather build the sets, feels horrified at the idea of marrying Count Olaf, even if just for pretend, and tries to get out of it with flattery. Olaf instead strokes Violet on the chin and threateningly tells her that he can order them to participate as their guardian.
Violet is convinced Olaf is up to something, but they are afraid to directly ask Justice Strauss, as Olaf has also cast her in the play, or Poe, who might call Olaf again. They decide to go to Strauss's library and read up on the law, but after reading boring law books for hours, they find nothing useful, and Violet leaves to help Strauss in the garden until the Hook-Handed Man comes to fetch them and orders them to not return to the library.
Klaus smuggles out a book on nuptial law, and the next morning awakens Violet in a panic, explaining that Olaf is planning to marry her for real; the only requirements for marriage are that the groom and bride say "I do" and sign the certificate in their own hands in the presence of a judge, and though Violet is underage, she can marry with the permission of her legal guardian- Count Olaf. The two of them decide to get Sunny and tell Poe, but find their sister missing. Olaf then leads them outside and shows that he has dangled Sunny in a birdcage from his tower window, and will drop her unless Violet agrees to marry him. Violet, though terrified, agrees, but ties up her hair while thinking of ways to rescue Sunny.
Violet uses the curtains, a metal rod, some wire, and some rocks to make a grappling hook, though she cuts her hands in the process. She ties the curtains to the hook with the Devil's Tongue knot in order to make her hook and goes outside to try and throw it into the tower window. She fails several times, with one time resulting in the hook cutting her shoulder and causing it to bleed, but she finally manages to hit something and climbs up the tower. However, when she reaches the top, she finds that her hook caught onto the hook of the Hook-Handed Man, who captures her.
Her and Klaus are locked in the tower room until the performance, and they try in vain to find something that could help them escape. Violet suggests Molotov cocktails, but they don't have any kerosine or breaking bottles to use as knives, but she's afraid they'd be overpowered. Olaf then arrives to take them to the play, and as they descend the stairs, Violet starts to come up with a plan.
Though filled with dread, Violet and Klaus are fascinated by the backstage of the play, but they are taken and forced into costumes. They try (and fail) to convince Justice Strauss to mess up the legal ceremony, and are forced on stage. Violet participates in the ceremony and signs her name on the certificate with her left hand. Olaf then announces his marriage to Violet to the audience of witnesses, and Violet demands he release Sunny. He tells the Hook-Handed Man to bring the infant down to finish her chores, intending to take Violet back "for their wedding night"- however, as soon as she's assured Sunny is safe, Violet announces that the marriage is not legal, as she did not sign with her dominant hand. Strauss agrees with her, and Poe takes custody of the orphans away from Olaf for dangling Sunny out of a window. However, the lights shut off and Olaf escapes and vows to Violet that he will destroy her and her siblings. Though Violet is terrified, she finds the lights and turns them back on, finding Olaf and his troupe gone.
Justice Strauss offers to adopt the orphans, but Poe refuses, as she is not a relative. The children hesitantly say goodbye to her and are taken away to go to their next guardian.
- Violet Baudelaire: It was an emergency, so I picked the lock.
- Arthur Poe: How did you do that? Nice girls shouldn't know how to do such things.
Mr. Poe drives the children down Lousy Lane to meet their new guardian, Monty Montgomery. Violet puts her hair up to try and think of an invention that would block the smell of horseradish, but her nerves prevent her from focusing. She asks what sort of scientist Dr. Montgomery is, and finds her answer as they pull into the driveway and see numerous hedges styled after snakes. The children are unnerved, but upon meeting their Uncle Monty, they find him very kind.
Monty explains to them that he is a herpetologist and that in ten days they are all to leave on an expedition to Peru. Violet volunteers to learn about snake traps and test theirs so as not to harm the snakes they hope to catch. The children show Poe to his car, and then excitedly return to Monty can show them his Reptile Room. The children are amazed, and Monty decides to show them his newest discovery, the Incredibly Deadly Viper. It escapes and bites Sunny, which terrifies Violet and Klaus, but Monty quickly assures them that its name is a misnomer and the snake is perfectly harmless. Violet asks if there are snakes in the room that are dangerous, and he tells them that there are, but that they are kept safely locked up.
Violet picks a room with an enormous window overlooking the hedges, hoping it may inspire her while inventing, and she tacks up large pieces of paper on the wall so she can sketch out her ideas should they come to her in the middle of the night. Over the next week, she studies the snake traps, repairing the broken ones, and making her own improvements, while Monty teaches them about the reptiles.
After the week, Monty leaves a note explaining that he's gone into town for the last of their supplies and that his replacement assistant, Stephano, will arrive that day by taxi. The children, relaxed and happy in Monty's house, eventually hear a taxi approach and go outside to greet Stephano, only to find that he is Count Olaf in disguise. While they initially refuse to allow him into the house, he threatens them into dragging his suitcases into the house, and once inside, he pulls out a knife and threatens them again. Violet angrily tells him that he will soon be evicted from the house and marches into the Reptile Room with her siblings, where they then collapse in fear. She suggests calling Poe, but Klaus reminds her that he will not listen and instead suggests they run away. She reminds him that Olaf will just find them again. Monty arrives, but before Violet can tell Monty who Stephano is, Olaf takes Klaus outside and threatens him with the knife, so Violet remains silent.
Stephano acts threatening all night, and over dinner, he rubs the blade of his knife against Violet's knee. Stephano also spends the night waiting in the hallway, keeping watch so that they don't warn Monty. The next day, Monty takes the children outside and tells them that he believes Stephano to be a spy from the Herpetological Society, and does not listen when they insist he is Count Olaf. He tears up Stephano's ticket to the S. S. Prospero, which will take them to Peru, and explains his plan to leave Olaf behind. Stephano fails to drop a heavy lamp onto Monty's head, which puts the blame on Klaus. Klaus, infuriated, accidentally informs Stephano that Monty tore up his ticket.
Monty takes the group to see Zombies in the Snow, but the children cannot focus, and hurry up to bed afterward. Klaus and Sunny spend the night in Violet's room, scared of Stephano, and they try to figure out his plan. They huddle together until Stephano arrives in the morning, and tells them to get to the jeep to go to Peru, and that Monty isn't going. The children run to the Reptile Room, where they find Monty's corpse. Despite them knowing that Stephano murdered him, Olaf claims it was a snakebite and threatens them with his knife to get into the jeep.
Before they can leave the driveway, Poe, with the rest of the Baudelaires' luggage, crashes into them, but he buys Stephano's story and disguises. The Baudelaires keep insisting that he is Count Olaf, so Poe has Stephano show his ankle, which is blank. The children are confused, and even more so when a "Dr. Lucafont" quickly arrives and diagnoses Monty's death as from the Mamba du Mal. The children argue with the adults on how they are to leave the house, as they know Olaf is trying to get them all into his jeep, where he will take them away.
The three leave the adults and go into the Reptile Room, and Violet realizes they must find evidence of Stephano's crime. She assigns Klaus to research the Mamba du Mal in the Reptile Room, while she goes to Stephano's room to look for clues. She listens to the kitchen door for a while and finds they are still arguing, giving her enough time to go to Stephano's room. Though she's afraid, she enters the room and surveys the disgusting room, but unfortunately finds nothing.
Klaus has found that the Mamba du Mal's method of killing is not via snakebite, but Poe will not listen to them. Violet realizes that she needs to break into Stephano's suitcase, where his murder weapons will likely be and tell Klaus and Sunny to stall the adults as long as they can. Violet quickly retreats to her bedroom and takes out the prongs of the electrical plug of her lamp, prodding the metal with a thumbtack until one is hooked around the other, before forcing the tack between the two pieces so the sharp end stuck out, making a crude lockpick.
Violet hurries to the jeep and picks the lock of Stephano's suitcase, though she has to use a bar of soap to make the lock looser. She digs through and finds the supplies he used to make the murder weapon, which would inject poison into Monty and look like a snakebite, and goes back inside, presenting her findings to the adults. Poe uses his handkerchief to wipe away the makeup on Stephano's ankle, revealing him as Olaf. Olaf admits to the murders of Monty and Gustav Sebald, Monty's previous assistant, but Dr. Lucafont is revealed as the Hook-Handed Man, who escapes with Olaf. The Baudelaires, distraught and exhausted, fall asleep at the bottom of the steps.
When they awaken, they see men taking the reptiles away. One of them, Bruce, explains that the collection will be split up now that Monty is dead. The children say goodbye to the Incredibly Deadly Viper and other reptiles, and then reassure each other as they Poe once again drives them away.
|“||We're all afraid. We were afraid when we met Captain Sham in the grocery store. We were afraid when we thought that you had jumped out the window. We were afraid to give ourselves allergic reactions, and we were afraid to steal a sailboat and we were afraid to make our way across this lake in the middle of a hurricane. But that didn't stop us.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Wide Window
Poe drops the Baudelaires off at Lake Lachrymose to meet their next guardian, Josephine Anwhistle. They are to take a taxi to her house, and Poe gives them peppermints as a gift- unaware that they are allergic. Violet thinks of ways to improve the engine of the Fickle Ferry before they duck into the taxi and get a good view of the lake as they go up a large hill.
Their new guardian greets them and then shows them everything in the house that she is afraid of and that they should not touch. She mentions the phone, which she is afraid will electrocute her. Violet informs her that she has built a telephone from scratch and could take hers apart to show her how it works, but Josephine refuses. Josephine also informs them of her love of grammar, and shows them their room, where she's given Violet a doll; Violet is not fond of dolls but takes it to be polite. After Josephine leaves, Violet gives her doll to Sunny to chew on, and Klaus gives her the model trains he received so that she can take it apart.
Josephine serves them cold soup- as she is afraid to turn on the stove- and talks about her late husband, Ike Anwhistle. They go to her library, where she shows them the window they can view the lake from, and explains that Ike was killed by the Lachrymose Leeches. Violet suggests that if she's so afraid, she could move somewhere else, but Josephine explains that she's terrified of realtors.
In the next few days, the children, though miserable, try to look on the bright side, as they are with Josephine and not Count Olaf. She tries to dismantle the gears and switches from the model train set, hoping to invent something to make hot food, but she ends up just wishing that Josephine would turn on the stove.
After a few days, the children go with Josephine to the market, and Violet goes to get cucumbers and runs into Count Olaf. Josephine finds her and is fooled by his disguise as Captain Sham, and does not listen to the children who insist he is Count Olaf. She is quite taken by him and insists the children be polite.
At dinner that night, the children once again fail to convince Josephine that Sham is Olaf. The phone rings and Violet answers it. Upon realizing it's Sham, she promptly hangs up, but he rings again and an emboldened Josephine answers and tells the children to go to bed while the adults talk. The children fail to figure out a plan as they sit in their room for several hours until they hear breaking glass. They run to the library to find the window broken, and a suicide note from Josephine, leaving them in the care of Captain Sham.
Violet calls Poe to pick them up, but Klaus keeps reading the note, suspicious of how many grammatical errors there are. Violet, distraught by Josephine's suicide, argues with him until Sunny interrupts them, and they decide that Sham must have forged the note. Poe arrives, and Violet, overcome with grief, bursts into tears and Mr. Poe tries his best to comfort her and her siblings. They eventually manage to tell him their suspicions, but he compares Josephine's grocery list with the note, showing the handwriting is the same. He is to take them to brunch with Sham in order to present the paperwork for guardianship, and Klaus begs Violet to figure out how to stall them so he can figure something out with the note. Violet comes up with a plan as she puts on her coat.
At the restaurant, the children once again fail to show Poe that Sham is Olaf or to make him suspicious at all. Violet then unpacks the peppermints Poe had given them from her bag and gives them to her siblings, and they all eat them. Their allergies give them reactions, and Violet, who has broken out in hives, suggests that they return to the house to lie down. Poe allows them to go, and they quickly return.
Violet tries to make her and Sunny a baking soda bath to clear their hives, but cannot find baking soda in the house. However, Klaus has deciphered a code in the note; the grammatical errors spell out "Curdled Cave." The children find an atlas of Lake Lachrymose under Josephine's bed and find that the Ferry can take them to the cave. However, at that moment, the house begins to collapse. Violet bangs her knee against a bedpost but manages to grab Sunny, and the children run to the front door as the house destroys itself. They escape and watch the house tumble into the sea.
They find that the Fickle Ferry is closed due to the weather, and find Sham's sailboat rental, which is guarded by the Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender. Sunny sneaks in and steals the keyring, but they awaken. Violet tries to distract them while Klaus unlocks the dock. The Henchperson lifts up the children, and almost takes them away, but slips on the atlas Klaus had brought with them, and the orphans escape and steal a sailboat. Violet, who had studied naval blueprints, and Klaus, who had read books about sailboats, manage to work the boat, and though the frightening storm rages around them, they manage to reach Curdled Cave, under the Lavender Lighthouse, just as the storm dies.
They realize the lake is actually very pretty, as they enter the cave. Josephine is excited to see them, but it turns out she thought they were there to move in with her, too afraid of Olaf to return. After failing to make her braver, Klaus informs her that Curdled Cave is for sale and soon realtors will arrive, so she joins them on the sailboat to return.
On the boat, Josephine realizes that she had recently eaten, and the group is attacked by the Lachrymose Leeches. Violet rips the sail and ties it and Josephine's hairnet to an oar to try and make a signal out of the fire. They use a spyglass to light a fire on the oar, and she waves the oar and pounds on a bucket to attract attention. This works, but unfortunately, Olaf is the one who arrives. He takes the children and pushes Josephine to the leeches.
The children fail to convince Poe that Sham murdered Josephine, but Sunny manages to bite his peg leg to prove he is Count Olaf. He escapes, and while Poe yells after Olaf, the children thank each other for their part in the reveal of Olaf, realizing they are fortunate to have each other.
Poe takes the children on the train through the Finite Forest to their next guardian, whose name he does not try to pronounce. Violet watches the trees, which look more like metal pipes, and thinks about a mechanism that could allow one to climb any tree, though the view is a bit uninspiring. Poe drops them off at Paltryville, and the children wander through the desolate town until they reach Lucky Smells Lumbermill, with a sign made out of chewing gum. They also spot the Optometry office, which is shaped exactly like the eye tattoo on Count Olaf's ankle.
They find a letter from their guardian- Sir- that tells them they will be staying in the dormitories of the lumbermill and working there. Though confused and upset at this news, the children head to the dorms, and Klaus cheers up Violet by suggesting that she might be able to study the complicated machines. At the dorms, Phil welcomes them inside and the workers, though confused at children working there, warn them about the new foreman, Flacutono, and show them their dinner, a casserole.
The next morning, they are awoken by Foreman Flacutono banging metal pots together, and they get to work debarking the logs. Violet tries to figure out how the inventions work, but Foreman Flacutono orders them to work faster. The work is hard and boring, and at lunch, Violet is horrified to discover that they are only provided with gum and that they are paid in coupons. The Foreman then informs the Baudelaires that Sir wants to see them.
The children reflect on their unfortunate circumstances before meeting Sir's partner, Charles, who is horrified that they are working at the lumbermill. However, Sir tells the children that the deal he made with Poe was that the children would work in the lumbermill until they came of age, and he would keep Count Olaf away. The Baudelaires do not think this fair, but Charles's protests don't work, and he quickly stops arguing. Sir leaves and Charles gives them a peach, before telling them that Sir had a terrible childhood. Violet remarks that she is currently having a terrible childhood herself. Charles shows them to the library, which is almost empty, only including a town constitution, The History of Lucky Smells Lumbermill, and Advanced Ocular Science.
The Baudelaires spend the next several days miserably at the lumbermill, wondering how Count Olaf will arrive and try to get their fortune. One day, Charles brings them beef jerky for lunch, but before Violet can ask about the eye building, Flacutono orders them to work some more, and trips Klaus, causing him to break his glasses. Charles takes him to the Optometrist office.
Violet and Sunny are terrified while Klaus is gone, and spend a long time waiting for him outside the dorms. At night, they slip out of the dormitory to find him and run into him in the courtyard. He is quiet and confused, and doesn't remember what happened, and refers to Violet as "sir." Violet is scared but takes him back to the dorms to get some sleep.
The next morning, Klaus forgets his shoes, and Violet runs after him, though Phil warns her not to make trouble. They fail to get Klaus to respond to them, and he is put in charge of the stamping machine, accidentally breaking Phil's leg. However, Klaus seems to come back to normal, though he has no memory of the entire day. The Foreman trips him again, causing his glasses to break, and this time Violet and Sunny insist on going to Orwell's with him.
On the way over, Klaus hypothesizes that he may have been hypnotized, though he can't remember how to break hypnosis. They meet Georgina Orwell, who acts very sweet and tells the girls to wait in the waiting room. There, they meet her receptionist, Shirley- Count Olaf in disguise. Violet realizes that he's hypnotizing Klaus with Orwell in an attempt to get their fortune, and quickly leaves with Klaus- though, too late, as he is re-hypnotized.
They receive a memo from Sir, saying that they will be given to Shirley if they cause another accident. Violet asks Phil to keep a close eye on Klaus while she and Sunny go to Sir. He does not listen, and Charles is of no help, so they instead go to the library, where Violet pulls out the book on ocular science. She remembers how Klaus goes to the table of contents first, and finds the chapter on Hypnosis and Mind Control, though the book is written very confusingly. She eventually finds out that there is a word that will snap him out of his hypnosis, though she doesn't know what it is.
In the middle of the night, the sisters hear the lumbermill's saw start working again and they race across the courtyard to find that Flacutono is trying to have a hypnotized Klaus push Charles, tied to a log, into a saw, in order to make Sir abandon them. Violet figures out that the word that makes Klaus obey is "lucky", and fights with Flacutono as she orders Klaus to push the log away from the saw. Orwell arrives with Shirley and tells Klaus not to listen to his sisters, but Violet realizes that the word to break the hypnosis is "inordinate," and she shouts it to alert Klaus. He breaks from his trance, and while Violet is held back by Shirley and Flacutono, he manages to invent something to pull the log out of the saw's path. Sir barges into the room, and in shock, Orwell falls into the saw.
Traumatized by the sight of Orwell being cut up by the saw, the children are silent as Sir and Poe argue, and Sir reveals that he's relinquishing guardianship. Shirley and Flacutono pretend to have been hypnotized, but Poe soon realizes Shirley has an eye tattoo. Olaf and Flacutono (the Bald Man) escape out the window. As Poe and Sir call the police, Phil reminds the Baudelaires that they are lucky to still be alive, to which they reluctantly agree.
|“||To tell you the truth, Duncan, our lives have been very topsy-turvy for quite some time.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Austere Academy
Nervous about entering a new school, Violet imagines an invention to prevent moss from growing on sidewalks; Klaus puts a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. Poe informs the children that an advanced computer will keep Count Olaf away from Prufrock Preparatory School, though he does not tell them how. He drops them off at the administrative building before returning to the bank, and the children meet Vice Principal Nero, who is horribly practicing the violin. He explains the ridiculous school rules, also does not explain the computer and tells Violet that she'll be studying with Mr. Remora in Room One. Violet is aghast that he expects Sunny, too young for a classroom, to work as an administrative assistant, but Nero doesn't listen to her. When she asks where they will live, he tells them about the dorms and then informs them that they will be living in the Orphans Shack instead, until more orphans come to take the space.
The Orphans Shack is tiny, with bales of hay instead of beds, an infestation of small crabs, fungus dripping from the ceiling, and unsightly wallpaper. Though distressed, Violet hopes she'll be able to invent something to keep the crabs away, and is excited to meet children their own age. As it is lunchtime, they head to the cafeteria, where they see a giant lasagna being served. Carmelita Spats bullies them until she is interrupted by Duncan Quagmire, who invites the Baudelaires to sit with him and his sister, Isadora. They quickly befriend each other over shared academic interests and a similar past- Duncan and Isadora's parents and brother also had perished in a terrible fire. Duncan informs her that the shack crabs are afraid of loud noises, and Violet comes up with an idea to invent noisy shoes to scare them. The group then heads to the library to research the fungus and find metal for their shoes.
For several days, the children go to class, and Violet hates her class so much that she would almost rather stay in the Orphans Shack all day; all Remora does is eat bananas and quiz them on meaningless stories from his life. She does, however, sit beside Duncan, and they can pass each other notes on particularly boring days, though an issue is that Carmelita sits behind her and sometimes pokes her to irritate her.
While the Quagmires and Baudelaires are hanging out, they discuss how to help Sunny make staples and the idea of combining their fortunes to make their own printing business. Vice Principal Nero interrupts to introduce the children to their new teacher- Coach Genghis, who is Count Olaf in disguise. Violet, though worried, decides to play along and pretends to fall for it, in hopes of figuring out Olaf's plan. The Quagmires resolve to help, and though the Baudelaires are nervous about that, they resolve to see Nero in the morning. At that night's violin recital, Duncan distracts her by telling her about other terrible concerts he'd attended.
The next morning, the Baudelaires reminisce about their previous lives, before entering Nero's office. They claim they are worried that Olaf could have snuck in, and when Genghis enters, they sneakily try to remove his turban and gym shoes- his disguise- but fail. Nero dismisses them, and they go to the cafeteria for breakfast with the Quagmires. Carmelita then arrives with a message from Coach Genghis, telling the Baudelaires to report to the front lawn after dinner.
After a nervous day, the Quagmires inform the Baudelaires that they will sneak away from Nero's recital to spy on them and make sure nothing happens. At the lawn, Genghis makes them paint a huge circle on the run, and then run laps around it all night. The next several nights, he continues to make them run laps all night, which makes the Baudelaires incredibly tired and frustrated, causing them to flunk their tests in class. Nero informs them that they will be given comprehensive exams, and if they flunk, they will be sent to Genghis for homeschooling. Though Violet snaps and they finally admit they know Genghis is Olaf, Nero doesn't listen to them and sends them away.
Duncan and Isadora, to help the Baudelaires, plan to disguise themselves with Violet's ribbon and Klaus's glasses, so that they can study and Sunny can make staples. The Baudelaires are scared that Olaf may do something to their friends, but they see no other way, and the Quagmires are insistent, so they stay up all night studying for their tests.
The next morning, Nero, Remora, and Klaus's teacher, Mrs. Bass, arrive, and the children manage to swiftly pass their exams, while Sunny staples Nero's papers. Though they passed, Genghis arrives with their ribbon and glasses and announces that they skipped gym, causing Nero to expel them as Poe arrives. However, the Baudelaires do not care and are convinced Olaf did something horrible to them. They manage to reveal him as Olaf, and as they run after him, they see that Duncan and Isadora are being dragged into a car by the White-Faced Women. The triplets only manage to shout "VFD!" before being taken away. The Baudelaires then collapse sobbing onto the ground.
|“||If we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Ersatz Elevator
Poe drops the children off at their next guardians' apartment building- 667 Dark Avenue, the home of Jerome Squalor and Esmé Squalor. He informs them that he has now been promoted to Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs and that he will be leaving for a few weeks to search for the Quagmires in the mountains. The Doorman helps them find the door on the dark street and explains that dark is in, and elevators are out, so they will have to climb several flights of stairs to the penthouse apartment. Violet and Klaus take turns carrying Sunny after she tires of crawling. After a very long time, they reach the Penthouse apartment and are greeted by Jerome, who serves them aqueous martinis, and Esmé, who seems less interested in their well-being and more interested in them remaining in.
Over the next week, the Baudelaires have a mixed bag with their time with the Squalors. Violet has a room with a workbench, but no tools because tools are out. While Jerome takes them out in the mornings to their favorite places in town- for Violet, the Verne Invention Museum- in the afternoons they have to return to the large, confusing penthouse and find their way around themselves, usually getting lost. And overall, they are anxious about the kidnapped Quagmires.
Esmé informs the children about the In Auction that she is preparing, and tells them that Jerome is to take them out to dinner so she can discuss the auction with Gunther, an In Auctioneer. She gives the children pinstripe suits as gifts, though Jerome had wanted to give them a tool kit, an almanac, and a bronze square, and the children leave to get changed. The suits fit horribly, and as they exit again, they run into Gunther- once again, Count Olaf.
Esmé refuses to listen to the children's claims that Gunther is Olaf and makes Jerome take them out. Jerome, not wanting to argue, also dismisses the children's claims, as they slide down the railing and exit to Café Salmonella. Jerome still does not listen over dinner, suspecting that the children are being xenophobic towards Gunther, and upon returning, the Doorman informs them that he'd had orders not to let them up until Gunther left the penthouse. Jerome points out that he may be heading down the stairs, and they are allowed up. However, they do not run into Gunther, though Esmé claims he left.
The next morning, Violet ties her hair up and sits at her workbench in hopes of thinking of a plan. She and her siblings are eventually left alone in the penthouse, which they search for Gunther to see if he is hiding there. After failing to find him, they listen to the doors of other apartments, but still to no avail. When they reach the lobby, the Doorman again refuses to let them up, as he never saw Gunther leave, but something he says seems to interest Klaus.
The children eat in the lobby until Esmé and Jerome arrive and Esmé insists they all be allowed up. After being allowed to go to bed, Violet asks Klaus about what he's thinking of, and he asks her about elevators. She recalls how they work, and he informs her that there are two elevator doors outside their penthouse, but only one outside all other apartments- meaning that one of the elevators is likely ersatz. They believe Gunther may be hiding there, and so they sneak out and investigate, indeed finding only an empty shaft.
Feeling that they don't have time to argue with the Squalors, Violet instead instructs her siblings to help her build a rope. After doing so, they climb down the shaft and find the Quagmires, traumatized and locked in a cage. They explain that Gunther is going to smuggle them out in an item at the In Auction, and Violet and her siblings climb up to get something to melt the bars with. However, when they return with her fire tongs, the Quagmires are gone. Violet is distraught that they left their friends alone for so long.
They go to the Squalor Library and find that one of the auction items is labeled VFD and decide that must be where the Quagmires will be hidden. They explain to Esmé, who agrees to help them, taking them to the stairwell to go down and call the police. However, she then turns on them and throws them down the elevator shaft, where they land in a net. She announces that she's in on Olaf's plan and that she wants to steal from them the way Beatrice stole from her, before leaving.
Sunny climbs up the shaft and manages to return with a rope that Violet uses to help them climb to the bottom of the shaft without falling. They find a tunnel entrance and travel down, where there is a locked trapdoor. Violet uses her tongs to pry open the door, and they exit into the ruins of their own home, getting covered in ash.
They reach the auction house and are seated with Jerome and Poe, who they doubt will listen to them. They insist on bidding on VFD and then run to the box to open it, finding only Very Fancy Doilies. However, Olaf slips and his tattoo is revealed, and he and Esmé run away, taking the Quagmires out of town in a Red Herring statue.
Jerome asks the children to come home with him and let the police handle Olaf, but they refuse, stating that they will never forget about him while he has their friends. Not brave enough to go with them, Jerome relinquishes custody and leaves them.
|“||I don't care what that horrible man says. We're not going to choose which one of us will escape and who will be left to burn at the stake. I absolutely refuse to entertain the notion.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Vile Village
The Baudelaires are waiting in Poe's office for their next guardian, infuriated by a misleading article in The Daily Punctilio about Olaf, Esmé, and the Quagmires. Poe enters and then informs them that he has run out of guardians willing for them, so they will be placed under the "it takes a village" program, where an entire village will be their guardian. After going through several options, they find a town called VFD, and, believing this to be connected to the word shouted by Duncan and Isadora, they agree to that town. The children travel by bus, discussing what VFD could mean. The bus stops soon and the driver informs them that he cannot go any closer to the town without infuriating the Council of Elders, so the children will have to walk the rest of the way. Violet places Sunny atop a suitcase with wheels and the children begin walking.
After several hours of walking through harsh winds and heat, the children reach the town and realize it is covered in crows. They enter the town hall, where they are quickly introduced to the absurd town customs, such as not being allowed to speak on the platform and the Council of Elders who create insane rules; they also see the new Chief of Police, Officer Luciana. The Council decides that the children will do chores for the entire town and live with Hector, their repairman.
They leave town hall, and Hector explains that he is too nervous to speak in front of or argue with the Council of Elders, and instead shows the children the crows taking flight and heading for the Nevermore Tree, beside his home. They find out then that this is likely not the VFD they are looking for, and is instead the Village of Fowl Devotees. While they walk there, he explains that the Council has banned several items that he has secretly hidden in the barn next to his house, such as mechanical devices and inventing materials that will interest Violet. She is interested in the fact his barn has become an inventing studio, and that he is building a Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home, which she agrees to help with.
As they reach Hector's house, he mentions that he has room for the Quagmires when they arrive. Upon hearing that Isadora is a poet, he provides the children with a couplet he found on the ground that they recognize as Isadora's, though they cannot figure out the message. The children quietly wonder if Hector is working for Count Olaf before they decide he wouldn't have shown the poem if he was. Hector informs them that the paper was tangled in the branches of the Nevermore Tree, so the children conclude that the Quagmires may be there. They cannot climb or search it while the crows roost there for the night, so instead, they take turns keeping watch of the tree.
In the morning, the children find another poem but no Quagmires and conclude that the triplets must be sending messages with the crows. They then are tasked with doing chores for the whole town, and as they are cleaning the Fowl Fountain, the Council arrives and informs them that Count Olaf has been captured. The children, ecstatic, go to the town hall to see Officer Luciana present him. Their hopes are crushed, though, as they see that it is not Count Olaf but a man named Jacques. He attempts to talk to them, but Luciana stops him and drags him away.
That night, Violet helps Hector with his mobile-home while Klaus researches VFD's laws. They eventually decide to use mob mentality to get the citizens of VFD to demand Jacques's release, but as they arrive into town, they find that Jacques was murdered in his cell. Count Olaf arrives just then disguised as Detective Dupin, producing a hair ribbon to claim Violet was in the cell and is an accomplice to Sunny murdering Count Olaf. Violet and Klaus try to call for Hector to provide an alibi, but he is too nervous to help. The children are arrested, to be burnt at the stake the next day.
While in jail, Dupin informs the children that he will smuggle one of them out of the fire to keep as a hostage, and they can decide which one of them it will be, something that infuriates Violet. Her and Klaus snap at each other before apologizing, the stress catching up to them. As Luciana brings them bread and water, Klaus remembers that it is his birthday. Violet then is able to grant his birthday wish for a deus ex machina by using the bread, water, and bench to erode the wall. As they work, Hector arrives and provides the final two couplets, which Klaus uses to determine the Quagmires are in Fowl Fountain.
The children escape jail and free the Quagmires from the fountain; however, they have little time to escape, as the mob, angry that they can't find the children to burn at the stake, begins pursuit. The children escape to Hector's Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home, already in the air, and allow Duncan and Isadora to climb up first. Officer Luciana begins shooting the balloons, causing it to start to fall, and Violet realizes that they cannot all escape, so the Baudelaires allow the home to leave without them.
Olaf is revealed to the mob as Luciana shoots a crow, infuriating the townsfolk. Olaf and Luciana (Esmé) escape on a motorcycle while the townsfolk rush to a veterinary office to save the crow. Alone, the children realize they will have to be on their own from now on and find answers by themselves- they must be self-sustaining. Sunny takes her first steps as the children walk off into the desert.
|“||It worked. We fooled them. We're as good at tricking people as Olaf is.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Hostile Hospital
The children arrive at the Last Chance General Store, where they desperately send a telegram to Poe to tell their side of the story. However, they never receive a response, and they are chased from the store by employees who read that they are murderers in The Daily Punctilio. They run into a van labeled "VFD", which is, once again, the wrong VFD- the Volunteers Fighting Disease. The children join the group, as they do not read the newspaper and do not know they've been framed for murder, and go with them to Heimlich Hospital.
At the hospital, Babs asks for Volunteers to head to the Library of Records. The children go and meet Hal, who shows them how to organize the confusing library, which they are not allowed to read. He mentions that the Baudelaires are mentioned in the Snicket File, which piques the children's interest. They sleep outside that night in the unfinished wing of the hospital, and after failing to find information in the ripped notes of the Quagmire triplets, they decide that they need to look in the Snicket File, hoping it will have answers. The next day, they fail to think of a plan to read the file, and they hear on the loudspeaker the voice of Count Olaf, disguised as Mattathias, who has taken over the hospital and is searching it for the Baudelaires. Desperate, Violet uses her hair ribbon to make a fake keyring as they steal the real one. They break into the library and search for it for a long time before they find the file under "Baudelaire." There is only one page left, claiming there is a survivor of the fire. Esmé then arrives and gives chase to the children, knocking down filing cabinets. They find a chute that will take them outside, but only Sunny and Klaus will fit. Violet tells her siblings to leave without her, assuring them that she can invent a solution and insisting they run.
After her siblings leave, she is captured by Esmé and Olaf and drugged into unconsciousness. Olaf changes her into a hospital gown and threatens to cut her head off in an operation to draw her siblings out, but this backfires as Klaus and Sunny rescue her. When Violet awakes, her siblings have hidden them in a storage cabinet as the hospital burns. Though she is barely conscious and unable to think of much, with the help of a makeshift ribbon from Sunny, Violet makes a loudspeaker to send their pursuers to the unfinished wing of the hospital, away from them, and then she invents a bungee cord to jump down.
She asks her siblings to go ahead, but Klaus refuses, insisting that they never split up again. Violet eventually agrees, and the siblings leap down together as their last remaining pursuer- the Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender- is killed in the flames. They see Olaf escaping into a car, and Violet informs her siblings that their only option is to get into Olaf's trunk, to make sure he does not get the rest of the Snicket File, and to find out if one of their parents really survived the fire. They climb into the trunk and huddle together as Olaf drives away.
|“||We're in the middle of nowhere, with no place to hide, and the whole world thinks we're criminals. How do criminals take care of themselves out in the hinterlands?||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Carnivorous Carnival
Violet holds her siblings very tight in the trunk to try and comfort them, terrified they will be caught. They listen to Olaf and his troupe talk, and they park at Caligari Carnival, where they leave to meet a Madame Lulu. The children wait a while before daring to speak, and Violet manages to use Olaf's monocle from his Gunther disguise to break open the latch of the trunk. They escape and Violet attempts to call Poe from a phone booth; however, they have no money, and the operator refuses to help and hangs up on the children.
They eavesdrop on Olaf and his troupe in Madame Lulu's tent, who are asking Madame Lulu to foresee where the Baudelaires will be and if one of their parents survived, as well as where the Snicket File is. The children step away and discuss their options- they don't think they'll be able to find help, and though Violet doesn't know if Madame Lulu is truly a fortune teller, she seemingly was able to help Olaf find them every time he asked, so they decide to stay and find out if one of their parents is alive.
Violet comes up with the idea to disguise themselves with outfits from Olaf's trunk, hoping to obtain answers if they can stay at the carnival. As Madame Lulu mentioned needing more freaks at the House of Freaks, Violet and Klaus disguise themselves as Beverly and Elliot, The Two-Headed Freak, while they help Sunny disguise herself as Chabo the Wolf Baby. She applies makeup to her and Klaus, and they disguise their voices before approaching Lulu.
Olaf conducts the job interview, taking pleasure in the suffering of the "freaks", and Lulu hires them. She shows them to their caravan, explaining that they will not be paid and that Count Olaf wants to be told he's brilliant. She instructs Hugo to tell them how the carnival works before leaving. The Baudelaires meet their other coworkers, Colette and Kevin, and though they do not see them as freakish, the other people have a very low opinion of themselves.
The next morning, the Hook-Handed Man awakens them and lets slip that Lulu told Olaf that one of the Baudelaire parents is alive. Though the Baudelaires are excited, they still don't know if Lulu is truly a fortune teller and decide to sneak into her tent. Firstly, they have to perform, and they approach the House of Freaks. The Hook-Handed Man has a Tagliatelle Grande to whip them with if they don't obey and introduces the freakshow.
The Baudelaires have a horrible experience, and afterward, in their caravan, they try to convince their coworkers that they could have a better life, but they don't listen. Violet is impressed when Hugo informs her that Sunny has helped him with the hot chocolate recipe, and is happy her sister is taking an interest in cooking. They begin to go outside when they hear Olaf's car approach; they then see him and Lulu bringing back a cage of starving lions. He announces that for their new attraction, one of the freaks will be fed to the lions.
Olaf describes to Esmé how the fortune-telling happens, and then informs the freaks that they should be grateful for the opportunity to give people what they want. He and his associates leave to dig a pit, and the Baudelaires decide to enter Lulu's tent; Violet is suspicious of Olaf's claim that there was lighting inside a tent, as she had studied electricity. However, she stops when she sees that Klaus is crying over the possibility that one of their parents is alive, and she leans over to comfort him. Klaus asks why they wouldn't be trying to find them, and Violet assures him that maybe they are, and have just had horrible luck.
They go to Lulu's tent and realize that the Eye printed outside- the same as Olaf's tattoo- is actually an acronym- the letters VFD. They enter her tent, and Violet goes to the wall switches, as Olaf said they began by turning off the lights. She then finds her ribbon in their costumed pair of pants, realizing Olaf must have stolen it, and ties her hair up, trying to figure out what the switches do. She notices some sort of invention in the tent, and quickly figures it out; there is a hole that faces the direction of the sunrise, meaning that light would shine in during the early morning, reflecting onto mirrors controlled by the other switch, causing the illusion of lightning. She concludes that Lulu is a fake, but they still need to figure out how she receives her information. Sunny finds a library underneath the table that holds Lulu's crystal ball, containing scraps of information she uses to pretend to tell fortunes.
Violet suggests they stuff their pockets with some of the library's items, or at least try to take whatever has their names on it. They accidentally knock over the crystal ball, causing it to break on the ground. Lulu arrives, angry, but the children confront her about her duplicity and are surprised to see her break down. She admits that her name is Olivia, and she only wants to give people what they want, so she does whatever anyone asks. She discovers the Baudelaires' disguises, and she admits that while she doesn't know for sure if there is a survivor of the fire if there was, they'd be headed towards the V.F.D. Headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains. She also explains to them that VFD used to be simple and quiet, though she was only told that and doesn't know for sure- there was a schism, a fight between the members, and since then she's fallen into assisting everyone. The Baudelaires offer to leave with her, and Violet decides to rebuild an engine for the rollercoaster carts to escape using part of Olivia's invention. Olivia tells them not to put the invention together until the morning, as Olaf will want a session with the crystal ball to find out where the Baudelaires are. When the Baudelaires ask her if she will tell Olaf where they are, she does not convincingly answer.
Back at the freaks' caravan, Esmé visits and gives them all gifts, which win over the friendship-starved coworkers. She then requests that the next day, instead of leaping into a pit of lions, the freak selected should push Lulu instead, and then Olaf will let them join his troupe. The Baudelaires are horrified and unconvinced, but their coworkers quickly agree. As soon as the others are asleep, the children sneak out and Violet quickly gets to work repairing the rollercoaster cart, as the children discuss the possibility of a surviving parent. While she manages to complete most of her repairs, she still needs Lulu's fan belt. However, when they reach the carnival, Olaf informs them that he has finished his session with Lulu and that the Lion Feeding is to begin.
Lulu slips the fan belt to Violet, but she still forces them to the lion pit, where Olaf picks "Beverly and Elliot" as the lions' meal. Violet and Klaus try to stall, asking to be pushed into the pit, eventually trying to press Olaf to do it, though he claims to be allergic to cats. Esmé and Olaf press Lulu to do it, and Lulu, desperate to give the people what they want, takes the fan belt from Violet and prepares to push them. However, the angry crowd is impatient, and several people argue over who will push the freaks into the pit. A mob begins, and the Baudelaires escape as Olivia and the Bald Man fall into the pit and are devoured by lions.
The Baudelaires run to Lulu's tent to try and find something to finish the invention. They find a map of the Mortmain Mountains and deduce that a stain is an encoded mark of the headquarters' location. However, Olaf and Esmé arrive, and he tells them that he will let them join his troupe if they help him set the carnival on fire. He also discovers the map and the Headquarters' location, and then he and Esmé capture Sunny and leave. Desperate to be reunited with their sister and get to the Mountains, Violet and Klaus burn the tent.
Violet nervously helps the troupe tie the freaks' caravan to Olaf's car and Olaf orders that the two of them sit in there instead of the car, where there will be no room. They sit and think in the caravan until Olaf calls them on a walkie-talkie. He then triumphantly informs them that Lulu told him they were the Baudelaires and has their former coworkers cut the connecting rope to kill them so he can use Sunny to obtain the fortune. Violet and Klaus, terrified, begin to fall down the slope.
|“||If everyone fought fire with fire, the entire world would go up in smoke.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Slippery Slope
Using her wits, sticky liquids and a parachute, Violet slows down the wheels of the caravan. She also uses a new knot that she invented herself instead of the Devil's Tongue: the Sumac Knot. They escape the caravan, grabbing everything they can carry, only for the caravan to fall off a cliff as they escape. They gather their belongings and set out in search of Sunny, after Klaus deduces they should follow the Stricken Stream. As they walk, Violet thinks of the mystery of Jacques Snicket and VFD, as well as Hector, Duncan and Isadora and if they are safe. Klaus hesitantly asks her which parent she thinks the survivor is, and she doesn't respond.
The siblings are attacked by Snow Gnats and hide in a cave, where they meet the Snow Scouts, led by Bruce and unfortunately including Carmelita Spats. Their faces covered by their coats, the siblings claim they are mountain climbers and temporarily join the scouts in order to hide and make it to the top of the mountain. A sweatered, masked scout starts giving them coded "VFD" messages, to which they respond. That night, he wakes them up and tells them that he knows who they are and to follow him to Headquarters.
He takes them to a Vertical Flame Diversion in the middle of the cave, and though the Baudelaires have many questions, they follow him as they climb up it. They reach a dark tunnel that leads to a Vernacularly Fastened Door. Violet is able to solve one of the passwords, as the prompt was the name of the scientist most widely credited with the discovery of gravity, to which Violet cites Sir Isaac Newton. The door opens, but the horrified children find that the Headquarters has already burnt to the ground. The Baudelaires call for their parents to no avail, and they find out that the survivor is not one of their parents, but the fellow scout with them- Quigley Quagmire, Duncan and Isadora's triplet and the survivor of the Quagmire Fire.
Quigley explains his story to the Baudelaires while providing them snacks, and explains what he knows about VFD- it stands for Volunteer Fire Department, and seemed to include a Schism and a lot of secrets. They assure him that his sibings are safe, and they then see a Verdant Flammable Device signal from atop Mount Fraught. They try and fail to signal back before the smoke goes out, but they decide to investigate, in case it's a Volunteer or Sunny. She comes up with the idea to climb the waterfall and uses ukulele strings and a candleabra to make climbing shoes and an ice tester as Quigley watches, which causes her to blush.
Klaus finds a codebook and stays behind to decipher the Verbal Fridge Dialogue left behind, so her and Quigley climb the slope alone. Her invention is successful, and the two of them take a break on a ledge halfway up the waterfall, discussing their missing siblings and the secrets of VFD. Violet notes that the view is very lovely, to which Quigley replies "very lovely indeed" while looking at her. They then have a moment that Lemony Snicket, as narrator, leaves private, though he says they have secret smiles as they climb the mountain.
The reach the top and Violet reunites with Sunny, horrified that she's being used as an Infant servant. Sunny hides them under a car as Olaf and Esmé approach with the Man with a Beard but No Hair and Woman with Hair but No Beard, and Violet's climbing shoe accidentally punctures a tire. Sunny decides to stay and spy to find out where the Last Safe Place is, which is where they will be headed and where VFD is. Violet at first refuses, but Sunny assures her that she is not a baby, and Violet realizes that Sunny has, indeed, grown up, and allows her to stay.
Back at headquarters, Klaus informs them that he's deciphered there will be a meeting at the Last Safe Place on Thursday, though they're not sure where it is. They come up with a plan to get Sunny back- against their moral judgement, they dig a pit in front of headquarters in order to trap Esmé to trade for Sunny. However, after they set off a Verdant Flammable Device to summon her, Violet spots an arch over the library that says The World is Quiet Here. She remembers the words being sung to her, and concludes they're doing the wrong thing.
They stop Esmé from falling while masked, acting as Volunteers, and tell her about the trap. They pull her up the slope, trying to come up with a better plan. When they reach the top, Violet impulsively offers to trade Sunny for the location of the Sugar Bowl. Olaf and Esmé argue about whether or not they should, and then the Snow Scouts arrive. Realizing the Firestarters are planning to kidnap the Snow Scouts, Violet, Klaus and Quigley unmask themselves to try and convince Carmelita to get them to run.
Upon realizing they are the Baudelaires, Olaf lifts the casserole dish Sunny should be in to throw it over the mountain, only for Sunny to run out from behind a car and go to her siblings. The Baudelaires keep trying to reason with the Scouts, but Carmelita refuses to listen, causing Scoutleader Bruce and the other scouts to be captured in a net and carried away by eagles. The Woman and Man leave, and Olaf and Esmé adopt Carmelita and threaten to push the children off the slope. They instead take a sled and race down the waterfall.
Realizing they're going to fall into their own pit, Violet attempts to slow their descent by scraping against the ice. However, this causes the ice to break and the stream to rush with water, which separates the Baudelaires and Quigley. Quigley and Violet call to each other, and Quigley tells her to meet him somewhere, though by that point she cannot hear him. The siblings then cling to each other as the sled rushes through the raging river.
|“||I guess her brother was right. People aren't either wicked or noble.||”|
— Violet Baudelaire, The Grim Grotto
The river takes the Baudelaire children out to the ocean, and Violet hastily tries to invent a way to stop them from drifting alone in the sea. However, at that moment, the Queequeg submarine arrives, and the Baudelaires' sled crashes beside the periscope. Captain Widdershins, however, refuses to allow them in until they give the password. Violet thinks of the archway in the library and recites "The world is quiet here," which gets them inside.
The children are confused by Widdershins's fast and loud way of speaking, and Widdershins is aghast that an inventor such as Violet would not know of his submarine. As it has fallen into disrepair, he is glad that Violet is here to fix it.
They enter the center room, and calls out his stepdaughter Fiona, who introduces herself to the Baudelaires. Widdershins quickly orders Violet to get to work, and Fiona tries to slow him down, telling Violet that she'll get her a uniform. Widdershins assigns Klaus to help Fiona with tidal charts and for Sunny to help their cook in the kitchen- who turns out to be Phil, who the Baudelaires joyfully reunite with. Fiona suggests that the Baudelaires relax a moment, to which Widdershins reacts angrily, as they have been sent to retrieve the Sugar Bowl. After a few more confusing moments, Fiona convinces her stepfather to start up the engines while she gets the Baudelaires uniforms.
Fiona is excited to have new people aboard, and agrees to answer as many of the children's questions as she can. She explains that they have been receiving copies of The Daily Punctilio, and while they know it's full of lies, they've been able to track the Baudelaires' location- however, Widdershins never stopped to help them, for reasons Fiona doesn't understand. He also refuses to explain anything to her, which upsets her immensely. He claims there are dangers too terrible for children to know, which frightens the Baudelaires.
They change into uniforms, which don't fit very well; Violet has to roll up her sleeves, which bag at the elbows. They head to the main hall after hearing a loud scraping sound, which Widdershins explains was due to a problem with the steering mechanism. Though Violet offers to repair it, Widdershins insists she instead fix their telegram machine so they can receive Volunteer Factual Dispatches. Violet borrows Fiona's wheeled platform and requests the girl also look for Quigley.
Violet wheels herself underneath the pipes and looks at the telegram device, messing with it as much as she can. However, by the time they report back to Widdershins at the table, though she had made a few minor repairs, she didn't find anything that would interfere with telegram receiving, implying the problem is on the other end.
Klaus informs them that the sugar bowl likely floated to Anwhistle Aquatics, which Violet recognizes as Josephine's surname. The bowl went beneath it to something labelled G.G., and Violet suggests they set a course for there. Sunny and Phil pass out chowder, but then on the sonar detector appears a large eye submarine, which the Baudelaires suspect Olaf is aboard. They turn off all power to try and hide from the sonar, but it is quickly scared off by a second thing, represented on the screen by a question mark. When it disappears, Widdershins refuses to tell them what that new thing was, saying it's simply too terrible for them to understand.
Klaus then figures out that G.G. is an underwater cave, to which Fiona deciphers that it is the Gorgonian Grotto, mentioned in her Mycology books as containing the Medusoid Mycelium. Despite the obvious danger, Widdershins continues their course for the grotto, and sends the children off to sleep. The four awaken upon the Queequeg hitting something, and find Phil and Widdershins, who inform them that the grotto is too narrow for the submarine to travel, and thus the children will go on their own.
Violet, Klaus, Sunny and Fiona put on waterproof helmets and are sent outside, where they ride the tide into the grotto. They enter and search for the sugar bowl, but are trapped by the waxing Medusoid Mycelium. In their continued search, the children gather and come up with an idea to make codes out of food, and Sunny gives Violet a newspaper clipping, which describes the destruction of Anwhistle Aquatics. Though she learns that Fiona's brother Fernald was responsible, she keeps that information to herself.
They return to the submarine and find it abandoned, with Widdershins and Phil having abandoned ship. They also discover that the Medusoid Mycelium has gotten into Sunny's helmet and infected her, and she has less than an hour to live unless they find an antidote. A grief-stricken Fiona takes command and orders them to steer the submarine out of the grotto while they research the cure, but before they can do so, the submarine is captured by Olaf.
Olaf takes the children prisoner and takes them through The Carmelita, before imprisoning them in the brig with the Hook-Handed Man, who is revealed to be Fernald. Violet, angry, reveals the newspaper clipping, and Fernald informs them that it's not all true, and explains to the children that "people aren't either wicked or noble." He then says he will help them escape if he gets to come with them. While the Baudelaires are skeptical, Fiona quickly agrees.
While escaping, Fiona and Fernald are separated and must stay behind to distract Esmé and Carmelita. Violet and Klaus rush Sunny to the submarine, and Klaus scans Fiona's book, Mushroom Minutiae, and they realize that horseradish- such as the kind growing on Lousy Lane- is the cure. They rush to the kitchen and find no horseradish, but Violet finds a birthday cake Sunny had prepared for her and realizes that she turned fifteen sometime in the grotto. Desperate, her and Klaus unlock Sunny's helmet and ask her if she knows a horseradish substitute. She informs them that Wasabi is- something she grabbed in the grotto. They feed her the wasabi to cure her, and leave her alone to rest.
In the main hall, Violet and Klaus receive a Volunteer Factual Dispatch from Quigley, which excites Violet quite a bit, as he means a lot to her. The dispatch requests their presence at a location indicated by Verse Fluctuation Declaration in two poems- The Waste Land and The Walrus and the Carpenter. They find Fernald's old poetry books in a side cabinet, as well as an old family photo. They quickly read the poetry, and when Sunny joins them, Klaus reveals that The Walrus and the Carpenter poem tells them to head to Briny Beach.
Count Olaf then breaks into the submarine, revealing that Fiona has joined his troupe, as he has promised to help her find her stepfather. He leaves Fiona to guard the Baudelaires, who beg her to let them escape on the Queequeg to reach Briny Beach. They trade her the Medusoid Mycelium for their freedom, which she gives to Olaf when he arrives to keep him from suspecting her. When Olaf's remaining troupe leaves, though, Fiona quickly tells them that she will let them escape, but refuses to join them, as she must stay with her family. She kisses Klaus and leaves, and Violet comforts her brother before setting a course for Briny Beach. Before they leave, they see the Great Unknown outside the porthole.
They reach Briny Beach in the morning, and they find Mr. Poe, who had received a message saying they'd be at Briny Beach. He attempts to take them back to the bank to explain themselves, but Violet refuses. She informs her siblings that in her poem decode, the message was Violet taxi waiting, and they see a taxi parked at a curb. They leave an astonished Mr. Poe and go to the taxi.
Klaus points out that the taxi is not "violet", and Violet guesses that Quigley may have just wanted to write her name. She runs to the taxi calling for Quigley, but when she opens the door, she instead finds a distraught woman. She tells the Baudelaires to enter, and Violet asks for her identity first, to which the woman replies she is Kit Snicket.
Kit drives the Baudelaires rather recklessly, explaining that another taxi following them contains the Woman with Hair but No Beard and the Man With a Beard But No Hair; Violet, meanwhile, admired the automobile's machinery. Kit also manages to explain that VFD has descended into "two groups of bitter enemies," and that she needs to recruit the Baudelaires for a mission. When Klaus mentions that their parents mentioned taking a taxi once, Kit fondly remembers the evening, dropping that she was at the performance of La Forza del Destino, and she slipped their mother a box of poison darts. Despite the fact Kit is a stranger who drives dangerously while pregnant, the fact she knew their parents convinces the children to trust her.
Kit sets out a picnic for them, and provides Violet a ribbon to tie her hair with, explaining that she has the same confused frown as her father, "although he almost never tied his hair up in a ribbon when he solved a problem." She explains that in two days, many Volunteers will arrive at the hotel, but many villains as well - lured by the delivery of the Sugar Bowl. The Baudelaires will have to disguise themselves as concierges in order to sneak around the hotel and make sure the Sugar Bowl falls into the right hands- easier said than done, as everyone will be in disguise, and of the hotel's identical managers, one- Frank Denouement- is on their side, while Ernest Denouement is on the side of the Firestarters. There also is somebody pretending to be Jacques inside the hotel, who marks their initials with J.S. Kit tells them that they must do their best to tell the difference, while she goes to meet Quigley, who she sent off in a helicopter to rescue his siblings from eagles. She also informs the Baudelaires that should the hotel prove unsafe for the meeting, they must send her a signal not to come, and that they will be watching the skies.
The Baudelaires are concerned, but Kit tells them to look at their reflections in the hotel pond and realize that they've grown up; Kit tells Violet that she has "the eyes of someone who has faced endless hardship." Violet then comforts Kit as she cries, fearing everything will fail.
The Baudelaires change into their uniforms, but are confused by the identical managers who greet them on-and-off. They then must split up to serve three different guest requests, and Violet is sent up to the rooftop, where the sunbathers will be. Once she arrives, she sees Esmé, Geraldine Julienne, and Carmelita, who wishes to order a concierge around. Violet eavesdrops that Esmé is planning a suspicious cocktail party while watching the skies, and is trying to discover the identity of J.S. as well. However, right then, Carmelita tells Violet to bring her a harpoon gun. Violet goes back down to the ground floor and asks one of the managers (who is later revealed to have been Frank) where to find a harpoon gun. He then asks her if she is who he thinks she is; she responds that she is a concierge, and he asks if she's sure a young girl on the roof should have a harpoon gun. When she doesn't answer, he brings her to room 121, where he hid the gun, telling Violet to be careful with the gun and that not many other people would have the courage to help out with a scheme like this. As Violet takes the gun back up to Carmelita, she hears the clock chime- Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
She and her siblings spend the rest of the day performing odd errands for guests in the lobby, and when night falls, they gather behind the large desk to talk and compare stories. They attempt to figure out what the plans mean, until Sunny reminds them of their father's favorite poem, "The Blind Men and the Elephant," and Violet realizes they should put their stories together. Klaus realizes that the Sugar Bowl will be delivered to the hotel via carrier crow, which must be what Esmé is watching for, and Carmelita wants the harpoon gun for; the crow will be shot and fall into birdpaper Klaus helped Ernest hang, and the bowl will fall into the laundry room that Sunny assisted a manager in locking.
Sunny then recites, "The world is quiet here," and a figure emerges from the machinery of the clock, climbing down to them on a rope. He introduces himself as Dewey Denouement, Frank and Ernest's secret triplet. They decide to trust him after he tells them that he used to meet with their father, and quotes "The Blind Men and the Elephant" at them. They follow him outside, where he explains that, though skeptical of current VFD and a bit bitter about being kept in shadow, Dewey aspires to turn VFD into what he believes it was before- a public library, that all could access. He also explains that they have hidden evidence of all the treachery in the world in his own secret library- under the pond of the Hotel Denouement. He asks the Baudelaires to join him in his library and let it become their permanent home, and asks that Violet "improve on the aquatic design of the catalog." When the children fear they are not noble after all they've done to survive, Dewey assures them that they are noble enough.
Then, from a taxi, Justice Strauss and Jerome Squalor arrive, sorrowful at having failed the children before and having joined VFD in hopes of helping them during the trial- they are luring the villains to the hotel on purpose in order to use Dewey's catalog to present his crimes to the High Court and have him arrested for good. The group then enters the hotel, but encounters Olaf in the lobby.
Olaf is joined by Esmé, Carmelita, and the Baudelaires' former carnival co-workers. Even after they reveal Violet and Klaus's unknowing parts in helping the scheme, Violet still attempts to reach to their former co-workers to do good again, to no avail. Olaf then takes the harpoon gun from Carmelita- in the process breaking up with Esmé, who is very protective over the spoiled girl- and points it at Dewey, demanding to know where the Sugar Bowl is. Though Dewey gives him the three passwords to unlock the laundry room- a medical condition all three Baudelaire children share, the weapon that left Olaf an orphan, and the unfathomable question in the best-known novel by Richard Wright- the sugar bowl will not be in the laundry room, as the lock is a decoy.
Olaf continues pointing the harpoon gun at Dewey, and the Baudelaires jump in front of the manager, demanding Olaf put the gun down. He threatens to shoot them, too, but they slowly approach him as he counts down, putting their hands out for the weapon, telling him that it is not his destiny to do such a treacherous deed. Just then, Mr. Poe enters the lobby, surprising Olaf. Olaf thrusts the gun into the hands of the Baudelaires, who drop it, and the harpoon shoots off and kills Dewey. He stumbles back into the pond, and the Baudelaires follow, only in time to see him insist that they did not fail him, and then whisper Kit's name before falling into the water.
The other hotel guests begin to panic, unsure of what is happening, and the children consider escaping so as not to be blamed for Dewey's death. A taxi driver then arrives, hiding his face, and asks the children if they are who he thinks they are. They don't know anymore, so they leave him and re-enter the hotel. Either Frank or Ernest takes them to a closet to be locked into before the trial begins. The Baudelaires, traumatized and afraid, huddle together and cry themselves to sleep, wondering if they are perhaps the real villains after all.
The next morning, a manager arrives and tells them that the trial is going to happen early due to Dewey's death, and gives them blindfolds to wear, as the High Court has decided to take the phrase "justice is blind" literally. Violet helps her siblings get ready, speculating about their parents, before they exit into the crowd, which is confusedly trying to move around blind. Violet is poked in the eye while finding her seat.
The trial begins, and after Olaf claims he is innocent, Justice Strauss asks the children to state their names, occupations, and whether they are innocent or guilty. Violet confusedly describes her occupation as "Volunteer," and then the children decide that they are comparatively innocent. However, just as they begin to speak in their defense, explaining their story, they hear strange noises coming from where Justice Strauss is. The other members of the High Court tell them to ignore it, and they recognize the voices of the Man with a Beard but no Hair and the Woman with Hair but no Beard. They rip off their blindfolds and try to rescue Strauss, who is being kidnapped by Olaf. They ask for everyone to help, but the crowd argues over whether or not they should believe the Baudelaires or risk being found in contempt of court. The Baudelaires, once again alone, follow Olaf and Strauss into the elevator. Olaf goes to the basement, saying he will take the Sugar Bowl. Klaus helps him unlock the door, as he has realized Dewey was right and the Sugar Bowl is not there; however, while doing so, they find out that the weapon that orphaned Olaf was poison darts.
Angered at not finding the Sugar Bowl, Olaf says he plans to go to the roof to get the Medusoid Mycelium and then release it on the hotel, before escaping off the boat he has on the rooftop pool. Violet agrees to help him get off the roof and survive with a drag chute if he takes them with him, as they need to leave the hotel without authorities spotting them. They gather sheets from the laundry room, and then Sunny shocks her siblings by requesting they set the hotel on fire- which she reveals to them is her plan to signal Kit that the hotel is not safe.
Upon re-entering the elevator, the Baudelaires play the prank their father taught them and press every button, which will stall them enough that Olaf will not be able to release the Mycelium and will also give them the ability to warn guests of the fire. They try their best, though they are not sure who believes them and who does not on each floor. They reach the roof, and the Baudelaires calmly tie the drag chute to the boat while Olaf fetches the diving helmet containing the spores, before getting in the boat. Justice Strauss pleads with them to go back to the authorities with her, but the Baudelaires do not believe that they will be treated justly, and thus leave Justice Strauss on the burning roof. They make it into the ocean, and as Olaf declares himself captain, the children begin to row into the unknown.
The Baudelaires are stuck in a boat with Count Olaf. They eventually wash up on an island and meet a little girl named Friday Caliban. She takes the Baudelaires with her but abandons Count Olaf on the coastal shelf. A few days later, after thinking it is the Baudelaires' fault the Medusoid Mycelium came, the islanders abandon the Baudelaires on the coastal shelf with Olaf. The Baudelaires sneak back onto the island and forget about Count Olaf.
Count Olaf eventually follows them, and everyone sees them all. Ishmael, the facilitator, takes the harpoon gun away from Olaf. Olaf was before disguised as Kit Snicket who is pregnant and put the helmet (formerly Sunny's in book #11) which contains the poisonous mushrooms, as his false baby. Ishmael fires the harpoon gun at Olaf's "belly" and everyone except Ishmael himself gets poisoned by the Medusoid Mycelium.
Violet and Klaus think of a plan while Sunny looks around to help her siblings think of one. All three of them know why there are bitter apples on the apple tree: they contain horseradish. They each take a bite of an apple and try to get all the islanders to eat them. Unfortunately, the Islanders are almost out of sight in a boat.
Soon after, Kit Snicket's baby (Beatrice Snicket) is born and the Baudelaires name her Beatrice after their late mother. Kit dies as she was infected. Count Olaf dies of bleeding due to the harpoon in his chest (or, of bleeding). The Baudelaires bury them at the shores of the island and have adopted little Beatrice. They spend the next year cataloging the items from the arboretum and filling in the commonplace book left by their parents. At the end of the bonus mini-book, Chapter 14, the Baudelaires and Beatrice leave the island.
After The End
Though her ultimate fate is ambiguous, several sources state that something happened to The Beatrice - it sank on some sharp rocks when they were close to the mainline, though what made it hit the rocks is unknown - and Violet was forced to make an "emergency repair" to it, which allowed the ship to land, successfully, on the mainland, allowing all three siblings and Beatrice to survive: Violet is stated as returning to Briny Beach for "a third time" and, Beatrice states that Violet survived, at least as far as Briny Beach, while Sunny is known to discuss her cooking recipes on the radio as a young woman and Klaus would spend a lot of time thinking about his present situation many years later in the Reptile Room. She is most likely alive and well for it is stated that she was haunted many years later by the trials she had endured as a child.
While Klaus is the researcher, Sunny is the biter and the future chef, Violet is the inventor. The theme of children each having a particular skill that they are good at is also shown with other characters in the series. For example, with the Quagmire triplets, Isadora is a poet, Duncan is a journalist, and Quigley is a cartographer. The Baudelaires' volatile friend Fiona is a mycologist.
Violet is depicted as being extremely skilled at inventing devices. She often invents devices to help herself and her siblings in dangerous situations, using only simple objects such as rubber bands and tin cans. Whenever Violet invents something, she ties her hair up with her ribbon to keep it out of her eyes.
- In The Bad Beginning, Violet makes a grappling hook from metal rods, a wire, and torn clothing. She also makes a Grandfather Clock Toaster, however, it had a few minor issues. In the film adaptation, she also makes a rock retrieval device in a deleted scene. In the Netflix adaptation, she made it as well.
- In The Reptile Room, she makes a lockpick, from two prongs from an electrical socket, a thumbtack, and some soap.
- In The Wide Window, she makes a signaling device, from a piece of cloth, a fishing pole, a metal bucket, and a burning hairnet.
- In The Austere Academy, she makes a staple-making device, using a small crab, a potato, metal rods, creamed spinach, and a fork. She also makes a few pairs of "noisy shoes" to deter the crabs in the Orphan Shack by attaching pieces of metal to the soles of normal shoes.
- In The Ersatz Elevator, she makes rope out of extension cords, curtains, and neckties. She also makes welding torches, from heated fire tongs, which they then use as crowbars.
- In The Vile Village, she makes a mortar dissolving device of out some water, a loaf of bread and a wooden bench, which she then uses as a battering ram. She also assists Hector in constructing a Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home using various mechanical devices.
- In The Hostile Hospital, she makes a fake intercom system, using an empty soup can with a hole. She also makes an escape device, from rubber bands.
- In The Carnivorous Carnival, she tries to make a cart as an escape vehicle using vines, roller coaster parts and a piece of rubber.
- In The Slippery Slope, she makes a drag chute, using hammocks and a mixture of sticky condiments, and a brake, using a wooden table. She also makes climbing shoes using forks, fake fingernails, ukulele strings, and a candelabra.
- In The Penultimate Peril, she makes a drag chute using dirty laundry sheets.
- In The End, Violet invents a water filter to make saltwater drinkable. She also makes a sling for her and her siblings to use to carry baby Beatrice, and she designs life jackets in Chapter Fourteen.
- It is also mentioned that before Sunny was born, Violet thought of how to invent a device so that garbage would automatically take itself out, although it is unknown if she made it.
- In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (film), Violet invents a device to turn the switch controlling train tracks so that they are not hit, using a coil, a car seat strap, and the bobblehead of The Littlest Elf. Although not an invention, when the Baudelaires were stranded in the remains of Aunt Josephine's house, she used cylindrical objects to shove an anchor to break a wooden stilt to push the platform they were on closer to their escape.
- In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (video game), Violet invents various things, such as:
- the Smasher (PC) - Using a fork, jack-in-the-box and a boot
- the Lobber (PC) - Using a toy boat, an ice cream scoop, and a bicycle
- the Lockpick (PC) - Using a pencil sharpener, wire hanger, and a record
- the Bug Sprayer (PC) - Using a bicycle pump, perfume, and a gramophone cone
- the Lever Yanker (PC) - Using a bell pull rope, a clock spring, a gavel, and a scale
- the Reptile Retriever (PC) - Using a large hoop, burlap, long pole with a handle, and a basket
- the Stilts (PC) - Using snowshoes, rope and an oar
- the Brilliant Bopper (console, Klaus weapon) - Using a spring, a broom, a coffee can, and a boxing glove
- the Fruit Flinger (console, Violet weapon) - Using a pool toy, a fan, a funnel, and a fork
- the Baby Booster (console, for Sunny to jump) - Using an extinguisher, a book strap, and a pull cord
- the Steady Stilts (console, for Violet to reach high places) - Using tripod legs, a piano wire, her boots, and snowshoe straps
- the Levitating Loafers (console, for Klaus to fly) - Using Klaus' shoes, propellers, batteries, and shoelaces
- the Reptile Retriever (console, for Violet to retrieve reptiles) - Using her Fruit Flinger, a lawnmower bag, a screwdriver, and a garden hose
- the Lucky Lock Pick (console) - Using a spool, paintbrush, and tweezers
- the Peppermint Popper (console, for Violet to shoot further) - Using a fishing pole, egg beater, and a ladle
- the Apple-Chucker (GBA) - Using a soup can, ice cream scooper, and a hand-cranked device
- the Water Pump (GBA) - Using bellows, gasket, jam jar, shower head
- the Parasol Glider (GBA) - Using yarn, parasol, weathervane
- the Grappling Hook (GBA) - Using spiral carpet, shower curtain rings, parasol skeleton
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series), the Netflix adaptation primarily follows the books with some divergences.
- In The Bad Beginning, she made a grandfather clock toaster, as well as the rock retrieval device. The grappling hook is made differently using random objects to propel herself up using a backpack-like device.
- In The Miserable Mill, she uses gum to fix an open electrical current.
- In The Ersatz Elevator, she makes a parachute using an enormous basket, a collection of extremely long rubber bands, and Spain's largest handkerchief.
- In The Vile Village, she invents a pickaxe device to break Jacques out of prison. Later, she makes a ramming device using a suicide noose, a bench and a very hard loaf of bread.
- In The Carnivorous Carnival, she repairs the roller coaster using a noodle whip stolen from Esmé as a fan belt.
- In The Dismal Dinner, Violet invents a very cold, very hard device made from a silver pie server and the ear of the snowman ice sculpture to lessen Sunny's pain from "teething" as soon as Sunny stopped looking out the window and sucked on it.
The Baudelaire orphans were falsely accused of murder, and from this point on, they have no more guardians and are on the run from the police. While running from the police, Violet assumed the following disguises:
- In The Hostile Hospital, Count Olaf disguises her as a patient so that he can conduct a fake operation and cut her head off. The name used in disguising her is an anagram, Laura V. Bleediotie.
- In The Carnivorous Carnival, Violet and Klaus dress as a two-headed freak. Her name used here was Beverly, and Klaus was Elliot.
- In The Slippery Slope, Violet poses as both a Snow Scout and as a volunteer to save her little sister Sunny.
- In The Penultimate Peril, Violet disguises herself as a hotel concierge, along with Klaus and Sunny.
Violet, despite being a volunteer and considered a protagonist, has committed a variety of crimes. She:
- Interfered with a train's destination in the film, although she would have been killed by it if she and her younger siblings did nothing.
- Opened Stephano's briefcase in The Reptile Room and took his items, although her intentions were to prove her uncle's death was a murder and not a snakebite.
- Stole a sailboat in The Wide Window in order to save her aunt, although she wanted to borrow it and it was owned by Count Olaf.
- Hitchhiked without the driver's permission in the TV series.
- Broke many rules of Prufrock Preparatory School and had Isadora Quagmire impersonate her so she could skip a S.O.R.E. meeting in order to study for a crucial exam.
- Broke Rule #62 of the Village of Fowl Devotees: "No citizen is allowed to build or use any mechanical devices." - Violet secretly assisted Hector with the construction of his mobile home.
- Is falsely accused of murdering Jacques Snicket, who was mistaken for Count Olaf.
- Broke rule #1,742 of the Village of Fowl Devotees: "No one is allowed to escape from jail." - Violet broke out of jail during The Vile Village, although she was wrongfully imprisoned and she would have been burned at the stake.
- Hitchhiked a ride in the trunk of Olaf's car without permission to avoid asphyxiation coupled with being arrested by the police in the TV series.
- Aided in burning down Caligari Carnival in order to travel with Olaf's group.
- Pretended to be a staff member (a concierge) of Hotel Denouement, despite not being legally employed there.
- Burnt down the Hotel Denouement (as a signal to fellow VFD members), likely killing many people inside.
- Is guilty of indirect manslaughter (Count Olaf tossed a harpoon gun into her hands, which Violet accidentally slips and sets off, killing Dewey Denouement).
- Partially responsible for infecting the Islanders with the Medusoid Mycelium poison and potentially killing them, as she knew it was brought to the island and kept it a secret from the Islanders.
While Violet's physical traits are never explicitly described, she is consistently illustrated as fairly tall and slim. She is about a head taller than Klaus, has black hair reaching her shoulders and cut in bangs at the front. Her eye color is indeterminable but is known to be different from Klaus's. Her eyes also seem to be fairly small in comparison to other characters. She is often drawn with rosy cheeks.
She wears a violet dress somewhat reminiscent of a sailor outfit or Japanese schoolgirl uniform, or possibly a very thin old-fashioned dress, with light purple leggings and short brown boots. The color of her hair ribbon varies on each book and illustration, though it is usually pink or yellow; it is tied over her head like a headband. She wears the same outfit in most illustrations.
While all three Baudelaire siblings are described as pleasant-looking, Violet is described throughout as good-looking and beautiful. Unfortunately she is called beautiful by Count Olaf and the Bald Man with the Long Nose, which scares her quite a bit. In much better circumstances, Quigley Quagmire refers to her as lovely.
She is often drawn looking sickly, with dark eyes, a tired expression, and pale skin, probably due to her depressing circumstances.
Violet has shoulder-length, light brown hair with long bangs, pale skin, a splash of freckles, and green eyes. Her hair is almost always tied into several braids- two on the left part of her hair (her right), one behind the right side, and a small braid on top of the right part. She is slightly shorter than Klaus.
She wears a complicated black dress, covered in lace and styled vaguely Victorian. She also has black fishnet gloves and black boots under her dress. There is a belt loop on her dress that she uses to hold her ribbon, which is incredibly long and she uses to tie her hair and braids back into a ponytail. The only times she is not wearing this outfit are when she has her blue coat in the Wide Window segments and when she is forced into a wedding dress, where her hair is also unbraided and she is given a flower crown and makeup.
Violet has waist-length dark brown hair, with bangs reaching her eyebrows, light skin and blue eyes. She begins the series around the same height as Klaus, though slightly shorter at times, but from Season 2 onwards, Klaus is about a head taller. She is taller than the Quagmire triplets. In "The Hostile Hospital: Part One," a mugshot shows she is 5'3". By the time the series ended, her actress, Malina Weissman, was 5'4".
Her ribbon is shorter than in the film and appears to be black. Like her film counterpart, though, she uses her ribbon to tie a ponytail.
She has a much wider variety of outfits than previous adaptations. Her most marketed outfits are the pink dress with whale print and blue jacket from The Bad Beginning episodes and the beginning of "The Reptile Room: Part Two," the blue carousel dress from "The Vile Village: Part One" and her purple dress (designed after the book illustrations) from "The Penultimate Peril: Part Two." The outfit she wears the most, however, are the yellow plaid shirt and bright red overalls, which she first wears at the end of "The Vile Village: Part One" and only removes in "The Slippery Slope: Part One," making it last five full episodes.
Once again, Olaf and the Bald Man refer to her as pretty, which makes her uncomfortable, and Quigley refers to her as lovely, which, unlike the books, she is shown to react to, giving a soft and appreciative smile to him. Lemony Snicket tells Violet she looks exactly like her mother.
Her hair starts to become more wavy after a year on the island, and a bit darker. Her final outfit is a light purple dress.
Behind the scenes
- In the 2003 Multi-Voice Recording of The Bad Beginning, she is voiced by Tara Sands.
- In the film adaptation, she is played by Emily Browning.
- In the video game, she is voiced by Emily Browning.
- In the TV series, she is played by Malina Weissman.
Her name Violet was chosen because it sounded British and Daniel Handler wanted to make the setting of the series ambiguous; Violet is a fairly British name; Klaus is a fairly German name; Sunny is a fairly American name, and Olaf is a fairly Scandinavian name, and that creates a certain amount of confusion.
Violet is also a shade of purple, which, coincidentally, is the color of the dress Violet most commonly wears throughout the books.
- Violet served as inspiration for a 2020 song sharing her name, written and performed by David Berkeley.
- Violet, as well as her siblings, got their allergy of peppermints from their mother; Beatrice.
- Violet is the only Baudelaire sibling to have six letters in her first name. Klaus and Sunny both have five letters in their first names.
- Throughout the book, film, and Netflix adaptations, Violet has always been portrayed as having blunt bangs, pale skin, and dark(ish) hair.
- With each adaptation, Violet’s hairstyle is altered. In the books, she has a bob haircut. In the movie, half of her hair is braided, while the rest is not. In the TV show, her hair is long and straight.
- Her foil from The Luckiest Kids in the World! written by Loney M. Setnick is a blonde-haired girl named Laurie Lotsaluck who, in The Pony Party!, is treated to a fun party, a big prize, a pony ride, several kind, and sensible adults, and all the cake she can eat.
- Daniel Handler once confirmed that Violet and her siblings are of Jewish descent. It is unknown if he means ethnicity only, religion only, or both. Violet is never seen practicing any religious rituals relating to Judaism (although naming a baby after a deceased relative is common in Jewish families, hence "Beatrice" in The End.)
- Her least favorite song is "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and she especially hates the line about life being but a dream.
- She and her siblings think lavender is a rather sickly color.
- She, like her siblings, is allergic to peppermint. In her case, when she comes into close contact with peppermint, she breaks out into hives. She stated that the only relief from the hives is taking a baking soda bath in The Wide Window.
- Violet is talented when it comes to tying knots. In The Bad Beginning, she uses the fictional "Devil's Tongue" knot to rescue Sunny. Although the book claims a group of female Finnish pirates invented it back in the fifteenth century and named it the Devil's Tongue because it twisted in a complicated and eerie way, it is not a real knot. In The Slippery Slope, she mentions that she invented a knot which she called the "Sumac", which according to her is the name of a singer she admires. This most likely refers to Yma Sumac, a Peruvian singer who was famous in the 1950s for her extraordinary vocal range.
- Violet is known as "Veronica" according to The Daily Punctilio. Violet being called "Veronica" seems to be a running gag of sorts. During The Wide Window, Captain Sham (Count Olaf) calls Violet "Veronica". During The Miserable Mill, a hypnotized Klaus calls Violet the same name.
- In The Miserable Mill, Violet mentions that if she obtained the Baudelaire Fortune, she would like to build an inventing studio for herself, potentially over Lake Lachrymose where Aunt Josephine's house used to be so she could be remembered.
- As revealed in The Ersatz Elevator, Violet once had a friend named Ben who gave her elevator blueprints for her birthday, and they were destroyed in the fire.
- In Chapter Fourteen of The End, Beatrice wrote in A Series of Unfortunate Events commonplace book that if Violet had been a boy, they would have been named Lemony. Lemony is also Beatrice's ex-lover. It is noted that it is a family custom to name after the deceased.
- Star anise tea helps her think, as revealed in The End.
- She may have inherited her love of inventing from her father, Bertrand, as he builds the boat both he and his wife use to leave the island.
- Violet's actress, Emily Browning, is Australian and was faking an American accent the entire movie.
- Violet's theme music is shared with her siblings and is composed by Thomas Newman.
- Some of Violet's inventions did not make it in the final movie. They can be viewed here.
- In the video game, Violet can play the piano.
- In The Reptile Room: Part One, when asked by Uncle Monty what her favorite movie is, she replies that it is the 1938 remake of The Dawn Patrol. It is a war movie about fighter airplanes.
- Violet may have inherited her inventing skills from her father, who once repurposed a large cowbell, a hammer, and a ten-foot pole to create a makeshift fire alarm.
- In The Penultimate Peril, Violet wears an outfit resembling her book counterpart, albeit with short sleeves and a white belt.
- The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations: An Utterly Unreliable Account of Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events has a secret code. When deciphered, it reads: "TWO SETS OF FRIENDS, JUST OUT OF REACH, WILL MEET AGAIN ON BRINY BEACH". This hints that in its canon, the Baudelaires and Quagmires were able to reunite with each other.
- In the original book series, Violet is shown to be the tallest of the three Baudelaire orphans, however, in the Netflix adaptation, Klaus is shown to be the tallest. This was due to the fact that Louis Hynes, Klaus's actor, was two years older than Malina Weissman, and therefore, matured faster.
|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|
- 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, meaning she was born fifteen years previously; according to the Chinese Zodiac Signs, that would mean she was born in the Year of the Rooster.
- PROSE: The Hostile Hospital
- PROSE: The Austere Academy
- PROSE: The Carnivorous Carnival
- PROSE: The Vile Village
- PROSE: The End
- PROSE: The Reptile Room
- PROSE: The Wide Window
- PROSE: The Dismal Dinner
- PROSE: The Bad Beginning
- PROSE: The Grim Grotto
- PROSE: The Slippery Slope
- PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- PROSE: The Ersatz Elevator
- PROSE: The Penultimate Peril
- PROSE: The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition
- PROSE: The Beatrice Letters
- TV: The Bad Beginning: Part One
- TV: The Slippery Slope: Part Two
- TV: The Penultimate Peril: Part Two
- The Jewish Secrets of Lemony Snicket, Moment
- Book seen in the TV series
- PROSE: The Incomplete History of Secret Organizations