A little way into the series you realize Lemony Snicket is one of the characters of the story, while Daniel Handler is the real person behind the books, sometimes pretending to be the character. So far so good, until Daniel Handler himself appears in the Unauthorized Autobiography (and is subtly referenced elsewhere in the books), and they both appear to have very similar writing styles, somewhat similar appearance and very similar voices (judging by the audio-books). Fridge Brilliance kicked in when I realized that in-universe they're also the same person, but the situation is reversed. In real life Daniel Handler is the real one, using Lemony Snicket as his pen name, while in-universe Lemony Snicket is the real one, using Daniel Handler as an assumed persona (being his own literary representative) to hide in plain sight, while on the run from his enemies and the Law. Given how bad people are in this world at seeing through Paper Thin Disguises, it probably works very well, and allows him to live a somewhat normal life.
The Incredibly Deadly Viper offers the Baudelaires an apple. It's an apple that will cure them of poison but the symbolism of a snake offering an apple is linked to the knowledge that Ishmael is keeping from his colonists. To him they are children and need to be protected from the horrors of the world...but with it, they are protected from the many amazing trivia facts that will protect them from these horrors (not to mention making their lives less boring and worth living)...much like the kind of black humor that this book uses to teach children random facts and give them a story that does not have any trite resolutions or happy endings. Oversymplistic lesson but it's there.
Isn't it awfully unlikely that wasabi and horseradish, completely different plants, would act as an Improbable Antidote to the Medusoid Mycelium? Probably, but it doesn't matter — most wasabi sold in the United States isn't real wasabi at all, but a mixture of mustard, starch, green food coloring, and... horseradish!
How does Olaf manage to keep fooling the adults with his paper-thin disguises (aside from theobvious)? In the second book, the Baudelaires recognize him by his voice, his shiny eyes, and his tattoo - all of which people less familiar with Olaf might not know about.
In addition, the children have had more direct, traumatic experiences with Olaf than most of the other adults would have had, at least recently, so they'd probably be more likely to notice Olaf's unique features.
Adults are Useless in this series. Definitely. But thatís because many of them are VFD members, who are so caught up in their own affairs that they are just incapable of giving up their job/duty to take care of three children. As serious as that job is (members of a secret society in the middle of an internal fight), it does render them ineffectual parents.
Uncle Monty may be the only member of the VFD who could have legitimately taken care of the Baudelaires, liking them enough and not having much to do with VFD. Thus, he had to die.
Lemony Snicket is busy narrating. Plus, heís a rather melancholy character, which could affect the children.
In The Bad Beginning 14 year old Violet is being forced to marry the much older Olaf who is her guardian (it's a play so no one will object to her being so young) because he has her sister Sunny and will kill her if she doesn't, all so he can have her fortune. However, this becomes Squicky when you consider all the lines he throws around about how pretty she is and how "You may not be my wife, but you are still my daughter". He also decides that he'll let her live even after he has the fortune. In the next book he has a knife to her THIGH under the table. This implies that he intends to rape her.
And don't forget the line, "Violet imagined sleeping beside Count Olaf, and waking up each morning to look at this terrible man." Handler must have known what that would imply to his older readers. Then there's this line "Now if you'll excuse us, me and my bride will be off to have our wedding night..." This indicates that rather than just the money he's possibly interested in Violet in that way as well. This coming from a psychopathic criminal who looks like an old man, and who was most likely behind the fire that burned down her house and killed her parents, just makes the implications even creepier.
In order for a marriage to be fully legal (therefore entitling Olaf to the fortune) it HAS to be consummated...
When the hook-handed man has Violet cornered in the tower during the rescue attempt for Sunny: "Yes, boss. Yes, boss, of course I understand she's yours, boss." The emphasis is the author's. It sure seems like Olaf has to order the hook man not to rape her because he plans to do it first.
For that matter, quite a lot of Olaf's incredibly creepy group of sidekicks (most of whom are male) describe Violet as being very pretty. One such time is in The Hostile Hospital, where they comment on how pretty Violet is while she is unconscious, Strapped to an Operating Table, and about to have her head sawed off (which they remember, given that they comment also about how smart she is and how it will do her little good in a short while). Erm...
Speaking of The Hostile Hospital, at the end of the book, Olaf and his troupe are talking about how they only need one of the orphans alive to claim the fortune, and wonder which one it will end up being. Olaf says that he hopes it's Violet, because she's the prettiest. GAH.
And in The Carnivorous Carnival, Violet finds the hair ribbon she'd been missing. Where did she find it? In Olaf's pants pocket.
Not only that, but in that very same book Violet mentions that Olaf was the one to prep her for surgery (ie. changing her into the hospital gown). Given that, all the stuff above, the fact that Violet seems much more prone to having breakdowns after the eighth book (PTSD, much?), and how much more smug Olaf acts around the children, Olaf may have done more than just changed her clothes while he had her in his clutches.
In the fifth book "The Austere Academy" the school's motto is Latin that literally translates out to "Remember You Will Die". It can also be translated as "Remember Your Mortality", which also indicates that you aren't anything more than a human. Which means that if you are a troublemaker (or if the teachers see you as one) you can - and will - be broken down, by any gruesome means possible.
In the eighth book "The Hostile Hospital", the eponymous hospital is set on fire with the Baudelaire siblings still inside. "Mattathias" (Count Olaf) orders everyone to catch the children... before getting the patients out of the burning hospital.
It was ambiguous whether any of the patients got out. In fact, it didn't describe ANYBODY getting out.
Same for the hotel fire in The Penultimate Peril.While the children do warn everyone to escape, the narrator himself says the he doesn't know who survived and who didn't. Also, everyone was afraid to take off their blindfolds, so even if anyone did try to escape, they'd be stumbling around blind. While the entire building is burning down.
In The Penultimate Peril, either Frank or Ernest uses Sebald Code upon the ringing of a bell to ask the Baudelaires I can't tell if you are associates or enemies please respond. But even if the Baudelaires had known Sebald Code, they still wouldn't have been able to respond correctly because 1) the message gives no clue as to which twin it is, and 2) both sides of the schism know the codes.
Although all three Baudelaires have regressed at various points, Sunny appears to be the darkest character; she is the one who comes up with the idea of burning down the hotel and also suggests to her siblings that they murder Olaf. This doubles as Fridge Brilliance if you look at her life so far. While Violet and Klaus have at least twelve years of love and happiness to set their moral compasses by—Sunny has a few months, if that, and from then on she's known nothing but cruelty. It's hardly surprising that she's stepped closer to the line than her siblings.
Even though you know that a lot of very unpleasant things happen in the lives of the Baudelaires, the author narrates those events with a good touch of humor — that it tends to lessen the impact of the feeling of true hopelessness and distress that the Baudelaires must consistently endure.