|“||No. We mean no. We don't want to participate in your schemes anymore. For a while, it was fun to fight fire with fire, but we've seen enough flames and smoke to last our whole lives. We don't think that it was a coincidence that our home burned to the ground. We lost a sibling in that fire, Olaf.||”|
— The women refusing to throw Sunny off a mountain
Like Olaf's other associates, very little is known about the white-faced women, other than that they are sisters. Though Lemony Snicket never reveals much about them, it is known that they once had a third sibling who died in a fire that burnt down their home. It is possible that Count Olaf was responsible for this fire, although there is no proof of this.
The women are always described as wearing white makeup on their faces, and although they think their makeup makes them look freakish, they continue to wear it. It is never explained why their wear white makeup; it may be because they are actors like Count Olaf, a possible fashionable preference, or possibly to hide fire scars.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Austere Academy
The white-faced women helped with the abduction of Duncan and Isadora Quagmire in The Austere Academy. During this time, they were disguised as cafeteria workers and wore metal masks to hide their faces.
The Hostile Hospital
Later, in The Hostile Hospital, the women disguised themselves as nurses, using the aliases Dr. Tocuna and Nurse Flo, which, when combined, are an anagram of Count Olaf. Originally, they were supposed to perform the cranioectomy on Violet, but fortunately they were late, and so Klaus and Sunny took their places. When they finally arrived in the operating theater, Klaus and Sunny were revealed by Esmé Squalor to be imposters.
The Slippery Slope
The sisters finally became tired of Olaf's schemes in The Slippery Slope, and decided to leave Count Olaf's troupe, after he orders them to kill Sunny by throwing her off a mountain. They simply tell him "no", mention they know what it feels like to lose a sibling, and walk away down the Mortmain Mountains. The two women's refusal to kill Sunny may be due to the loss of their own sibling and/or the fact that Count Olaf destroyed their family as well as the Baudelaires'.
Lemony Snicket is unsure of what happened to them. He mentions that some say that they still paint their faces white and can be seen singing sad songs in some of the gloomiest music halls in the city. Some say that they live together in the Hinterlands, attempting to grow rhubarb in the dry and barren ground. And some say that they never made it out of the mountains, and that their bones can be found in one of the range's many caves. Their true fate is unknown.
Behind the scenes
- In the movie, they were portrayed by Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Adams.
- In the video game, they were voiced by Jocelyn Blue and Kari Wahlgren.
- In the TV series, they were portrayed by twin actresses Jacqueline Robbins and Joyce Robbins and were older than the books let on. The TV series had them finishing each other's sentences when they speak. In an interview with the Unfortunate Associates podcast, the Robbins sisters revealed that they brought their natural back-and-forth patter to the role, and were commended by Barry Sonnenfeld for their "verbal gymnastics".
- There is speculation they may be, or related to, Zada and Zora.
- It is possible they use talcum powder, also known as baby powder, on their faces, since the Baudelaires use it to whiten their hair to diguise themselves as freaks, after finding it in Count Olaf's car. Later, in The Slippery Slope it is mentioned they powder their faces (oddly enough, in the same book, Lemony Snicket says there are rumors they "paint" their faces, although "painting" with powder is an odd descriptor).
- Talcum powder/baby powder has since been linked to cancer and is dangerous if inhaled.
- The Bad Beginning (First appearance)
- The Reptile Room (Mentioned only)
- The Wide Window (Mentioned only)
- The Miserable Mill (Mentioned only)
- The Austere Academy
- The Hostile Hospital
- The Carnivorous Carnival
- The Slippery Slope
- The End (Mentioned only)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (film)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (video game)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)