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WMG / A Series of Unfortunate Events

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Guessing session
Any guesses on the Great Unknown or the Sugar Bowl?
  • Great Unknown = Enemy War Base
  • Sugar Bowl = Evidence Collection
    • It's implied to contain evidence that proves both Lemony's innocence and the beard-man and hair-woman's heinous deeds.
  • The Great Unknown is shaped like a question mark just like the Bombinating Beast in "All the Wrong Questions".
  • What happened at the opera: Lemony went to meet up with Beatrice and try to win her love one last time, but with Esmé Squalor's interference, they end up killing Olaf's parents with poison darts.

Frank (or maybe Ernest) is the real father of Beatrice Snicket
It's not like anybody would ever be able to tell the difference.
  • Related question: Why does the fanbase insist that her last name is either Baudelaire or Snicket, depending on who you ask, when it's been made perfectly clear that her mother is romantically (and sexually) involved with Dewey Denouement? Wouldn't she have his last name instead?
    • Because on her half of the letters from "The Beatrice Letters" she signs them "Beatrice Baudelaire." Therefore, that is her canonically-established last name. And no, who her father is doesn't factor into it since not all children take on their father's last name (especially doesn't apply here since we have no confirmation as to who her father is; it's just as likely it could have been Olaf)

Dewey wasn't the one who got shot with a harpoon and died
It was actually one of the other even less distinguishable managers. Dewey was in the library at the time his brother was killed with the penultimate harpoon, and one of the ironically named brothers was pretending to be him. I would go with Ernest on this one, because pretending to be someone you aren't is something the villains in this series are known for.
  • Then again, wouldn't the good guy want to help the Baudelaires more than the bad guy? I think it could be Frank.

The mysterious man in the taxi in Book the Twelfth is Lemony Snicket himself.
He refers to himself ambiguously so as not to incriminate himself or reveal his location.
  • The line right after that scene, Snicket says that he knows exactly where the man in the taxi went afterwards, who the man was, the name of the woman hiding in the trunk, the type of musical instrument carefully placed in the backseat, the ingredients to the sandwich tucked into the glove compartment, and the small item that sat on the passenger seat (implied to be the sugar bowl).
  • It also mentioned him clutching a monogrammed napkin, like the ones Kit Snicket had in the beginning of the book.
    • Possibly the man is Friday's father Mr. Caliban, given that Kit mentions having French coffee(presumably in a restaurant or cafe) with him a day earlier.
    • No, it's basically all but said to be Lemony based on that incredibly detailed description. Lemony even canonically plays a musical instrument: An accordion. The implication is so strong that he literally, unambiguously, is the man in the taxi in the Netflix adaptation. While obviously the books and the tv show are their own entities with their own canons, its worth noting the implication was strong enough to make it real in one version.

The first twelve books were published before the events of Book the Thirteenth occurred.
Why else would he hide messages to his sister in the first twelve books when Kit Snicket dies in the thirteenth?
  • Or the events of the thirteenth book had already happened, but Snicket hadn't been informed about his sister's death, perhaps because he was busy trying to collect evidence for his books. All he knew was that his sister had disappeared, so he was trying to contact her through the books.

Lemony Snicket has psychic abilities.
Most of the places from which he collects the evidence for the books are utterly destroyed, hard to reach, or so tarnished by time that getting evidence would be almost impossible. For example, how is he able to get such a detailed and precise timeline of events from a burned-out hospital? He has also 'said' that many of the witnesses are dead or too scared for their lives to give an interview. VFD has been scattered. So how does he get the material for the books? Simple: he has psychic abilities. All he needs to do is go to the place of events, and it'll start a sort of playback/time-jump. He just follows the path of the Baudelaires and takes notes. Then he fabricates a story about finding evidence, because if people knew he had psychic abilities, they'd dig deeper into his life and finally uncover VFD.
  • Also, no matter how much "evidence" he gathered through conventional means, he wouldn't be able to piece together private conversations.
    • And, not to mention, what the characters are thinking.
    • It's worth noting that The Beatrice Letters indicate that the Baudelaire siblings have a different account of some of the events than Snicket gave in his books. But that doesn't negate any of the above. The fact that they bother to point out specific discrepancies — rather than just telling Beatrice Baudelaire II that the whole thing was made up — presumably means that, for the most part, they think Snicket was correct.
  • More likely, conversations and thoughts are meant to be "reconstructed" in the same way that they are in narrative books about history. When exact phrasing used is unknown and when thoughts (which are inherently unknowable) are discussed, the author summarizes the gist of the conversation or thought process in a way that sounds like it came from the person involved. Given that the narrator is about as strange and personally involved as you can get without reaching Unreliable Narrator levels, it wouldn't be surprising that he doesn't mention that.

Lemony Snicket is actually Klaus Baudelaire.

He seems to have incredibly detailed information about every little thing that happened to the Baudelaires, then suddenly can't find out anything about them after they sail off the island. Considering that Sunny is on the radio in "The Beatrice Letters", that would imply he has records of private conversations of three orphans in the middle of the ocean, but can't look up a number in the phone book. Alternatively, he could simply be one of the orphans he's been researching. All the Snickets are (or are thought to be) dead, so there is nobody to call him out, and he does drop a hint at the end of The End that the Baudelaires could now be using false names.

The only problem with this theory is that Lemony-Beatrice subplot would imply that he would have (presumably) had to have been in love with his own mother for it to work. But if his identity as Lemony is made up, then why can't other aspects of that persona be as well?

  • The Beatrice the author/Klaus is referring to is actually Kit Snicket's daughter, not the Baudelaire's mother.

  • But... That means Klaus and Beatrice would have somehow killed Count Olaf's parents after it was mentioned...
  • Also, how would Klaus know about things that happened to Sunny or Violet whilst he wasn't there? Granted, they might have told him about certain events in detail, but certain things seem like a bit of a stretch - it would be out of character, for example, for Violet to share the fact that climbing wasn't the only thing she and Quigley got up to.
    • Unless Violet and/or Sunny co-wrote the books under the same pseudonym? The siblings took turns in writing them.
    • Guys, girls, other genders, let me explain. Klaus is the main writer - he loved his mother, but in a mother-son way. To deflect suspicion and avoid Violet or Sunny being in danger, states the love was marriage related. Violet confesses when she finds out about Klaus's self-given mission, and Klaus publishes his autobiography - A Series Of Unfortune Events - with the help of his kind editor. Find the plot hole, a phrase which here means "find the ersatz problem in my theory."
The world of A Series of Unfortunate Events is a really detailed Matrix-style computer simulation
It sounds something quite hard to buy, but listen: Lets assume, that VFD does exist in real life and it uses this kind of simulation to see does the recruit have what it takes to enter the society. Goal is easy: Don't get killed by Count Olaf or anything else. The subject is able to choose between Violet, Klaus or Sunny and the machine simulates a load of different situations that the agents could encounter. There are five facts to where I'll base this theory:

1) The idiocracy of people and the lack of common sense: You might be unlucky, but it's about 1 000 000 to 1 that 99% people you meet are evil, stupid, naive or simply nuts. Reason? AI that is specifically programmed to act out of place to test individual's problem solving and ability to work alone under stress, since there are no-one to rely. No matter how stupid you are, you still have common sense and instinct to protect yourself. These people seem to have none

2) The absence and incompetence of law-enforcement: The police can't catch a man that uses the most ridiculous disguises ever, has a crew of flunkies that are easily recognizable and is stalking three particular children...are you kidding me?! And where the cops are when you really need them? What country/region/city has that bad police ? (Apart from Springfield, of course)

3) Smallness and the bizarreness of the world: How come we are only introduced to one major city, two to three villages and occasional buildings what are scattered around (Like a boarding school and a carnival). Well, the game world can't be really that big, can it? Imagine how much data one complete building holds, imagine the size of a real-scaled city and how hard it would be to run. But since the whole program can't take place in one city (it wouldn't be efficient training) they had to code more places, but with the consequences that they aren't as vivid and detailed as a city (This explains why there is a hospital in the middle of nowhere)

4) This would explain the flood of shouts to history and pop-culture. What's a game without easter eggs? Nothing, I tell you.

5) Ability to have it all written up: See the theory above. Getting evidence out of burn-down places? Ability to know what a character thinks? Impossible. But if we are to assume, that Snicket read the backlogs of the simulation, it would make a lot more sense. Why to write about this particular use of simulation? Because it was interesting and a good material for publishing, that's why. Getting a cash flood from the books would easily fuel the work and research of VFD. It would be stupid not to do it. And if that wouldn't be enough would anyone believe in existence of such organization if it's plainly written open to a book. Textbook example of Hidden in Plain Sight. Snicket, you clever genius!

Oh, what happens to those who fail the simulation, you may ask? They go mad. The program is modified to be cause emotional trauma to see if you can take it (really, how did the Baudelaires manage through all that without turning to complete psychos?) and if you get killed, it just...too much...if you don't flip out during the simulation. It's perfect in its every single diabolical bit. If you pass, then welcome in. If you lose and go mad, you won't be any real danger for the VFD.

Lemony Snicket was (is) a pyromaniac, and very closely following the Baudelaires.
He really tries to be part of the (literal) fire-fighting side, but it's just so difficult when there are matches in nearly every place he visits, and so many flammable structures. It's fairly easy to piece together all that happens when you're compiling the series after being able to gather most of the information and extrapolating from there, and occasionally interviewing a few people, as opposed to having to piece it together from a few unburnt scraps of information. The ashes were occasionally referenced as still being warm not because he was hours too late, but because he hadn't the willpower to resist the shiny and nobody had gotten to it first.
  • The Unauthorized Autobiography has two and half pages (58-60) full of Lemony Snicket thinking up titles for a biography about his life. Several of these support this theory, such as LEMONY SNICKET: The Story of a Man Who Has Never Burned Anything Down; LEMONY SNICKET: The Story of a Man Who Has Never Burned Anything Down, Despite What You May Have Heard; LEMONY SNICKET: The Story of a Man Who Suspects Others of Having Burned Things Down, Even Though He Himself Has Not; LEMONY SNICKET: The Story of a Man, a Woman, and Several Matches; and, last but not least, DO YOU SMELL SMOKE? The Story of Lemony Snicket.
    • Actually, it seemed those book titles seem to connect to the implication that the reason that he has been chased through hell and high water over the course of him authoring the book is due to him being framed for a crime. And due to well, VFD, and well it being basically arsonists vs. rich anti-arsonists, it's not very surprising that he would be accused of arson. This could connect to how he was presumed dead and all that jazz. Not to mention, the mysterious Snicket file, which Lemony implies he wrote, that gives evidence of all of Count Olaf's arson (presumably to acquit himself of accusation). Although, Lemony being forced into a situation like the Baudelaires' in which he had to burn something down, which he now regrets doing, is plausible. One vaguely remembers his his involvement with the poison dart incident as well...

Lemony Snickets knows all the details about the Baudelaires' adventures not because of extensive research, but because he's a prophet in the Supernatural universe, and the orphans' story is part of the Winchester gospel.
I mean, Lemony claims he knows what happened because he's following the Baudelaires' trail and gathering evidence. But he can't possibly know the dialogue that occurred in private moments, or their thoughts and feelings, etc.

Violet Baudelaire and Quigley Quagmire had sex in The Slippery Slope.
Snicket refuses to acknowledge what they did during their stop on the way up the mountain. This adds a double meaning to the book's title!
  • On a tiny ledge? When she's 14-15? I always took that Violets first kiss happened there, something more innocent.
    • Doesn't have to be penetrative sex only; oral or manual assistance are other possibilities.
    • Considering how many teenage pregnancies we have even in the real world, that's not a huge stretch. Maybe the only reason Violet didn't become pregnant is because of the trauma she went through, which can cause the spontaneous abortion of an unborn fetus.
      • In that series, there's no way Violet could have sex and not get pregnant.
      • Still, the point that they're on a six-inch-wide ledge on an ice-covered waterfall still stands. That would have to be one hell of an Idiot Ball...
      • True, but never underestimate the creativity of socially-starved adolescents with crapsack lives and complete privacy.
  • Violet would never dilly-dally when she's that close to rescuing Sunny. Family first.

Also, it was freezing. Why would they take off their clothes?

The three Baudelaire orphans are one person.
With that person's biggest qualities taking a form.
  • Alternatively, Snicket is one of the orphans.

Isadora is a lesbian.
At one point Sunny's apt word-style "babytalk" when referring to her was the word "Sappho". Which could have just been picked because she was another female poet, but there are plenty of other choices who weren't the source of the words "sapphic" and "lesbian".
  • If you are right about this, and she is, then it is much more possible that she likes Violet than if she was straight. Which means it's possible for all three of the Quagmires to be after Violet at once.
    • Oh, for the love of the effing Sugar Bowl, with Handler as author, I would not be surprised. Sir and Charles are (likely) proof that Handler is okay with gays and lesbians, so yeah, why the hell not!? Isadora, Duncan, and uigley all want Violet! Have fun!!! (no personal hatred towards this, but still - Handler is clever...)

Sunny is really going to have to learn to watch what she says.
Snarky, sesquipedalian babytalk? Cute. Snarky, sesquipedalian perfectly understandable English? Precocious. Being stuck on the island for at least a while with only her brother and sister and Beatrice Snicket to talk to, who already understand her and don't care about how rude she is, will only make things worse.

Beatrice is dead.
To elaborate, both of them are. In the Beatrice letters the message is Beatrice sinks, and it shows pictures such as the Baudelaires trademark items. Lemony mentions that those things washed up on the rocks in a cave. There is a very low chance that they survived the ship sinking, and being that Beatrice is a baby... The Beatrice letters from her are actually the result of Lemony going insane from all the suffering he has recorded, and so he has made a fictional representative of his niece, who talks about the Baudelaires as if they were alive, in order to help himself cope. It's also why the ending is so ambiguous, Lemony can't stand to write the real horrible everyone dies ending.This explains the message in the Beatrice Letters.

The vice principal of Prufrock Prep was running a Sith-style game.
Torment the kids and promote anyone who manages to kill him. He even gave them a chance to poison him, by getting in trouble and putting ricin in "his" candy.

The mysterious '?'
as a Masonic submarine.

Whammy's House is a training branch of VFD.
I mean, think about it. Whammy's House takes orphans and trains them to be detectives. And all of the people who leave go by an initial, like VFD members. It's fairly obvious.

Prufrock Prep, and possibly other facilities such as the titular hospital of Book 8, was/were a training branch of VFD.
But since the right hand of the situation had absolutely no idea what the left hand was doing, someone delegated control to exactly the wrong people (or the wrong people took over) and became what they were when the Baudelaire orphans found them.

The characters are all trapped in an Umineko no Naku Koro ni style time loop
Hence the true identity of Beatrice, and why miserable things consistently happen to the characters. Perhaps Snicket is in fact the Battler of this scenario, watching horrible things happen and trying to find a way out.
  • Or maybe Snicket is actually Kinzo, and the reason he's stuck up in his study all the time is because he's been writing these books, still lamenting over Beatrice?

Lemony Snicket is the Baudelaire's Father desperately trying to find his children who are probably dead
  • Jossed. Snicket himself mentions the father by name (Bertrand) and one of the Beatrice letters has him congratulating Beatrice on her marriage to him, as well the previous letter having the two face that they themselves will not.
    • Not necessarily. Perhaps Snicket is the Baudelaire's REAL father, with Beatrice having an affair with him outside her marriage.
      • Also jossed. Beatrice became pregnant with Violet while on the island with Bertrand, which was over the course of at least a year. Granted, that doesn't rule out the other children, but considering how much focus Lemony gives Violet in the books compared to the other two, I would think if any of them were his, he'd focus on a character other than Violet.
      • Actually it's not entirely jossed, just incredibly unlikely based on the sheer amount of events that occurred on the island while the parents were there. The notion that Violet could potentially be Lemony's biological child is at the very least tossed around: In one book Lemony notes, fairly specifically, that he didn't see Beatrice for "fifteen years", which is roughly the age Violet is during the course of the story. Violet also would have been named Lemony had she been a boy - but Klaus is a boy and was born less than two years after Violet, why didn't their parents name him Lemony? Also suspiciously, Violet vaguely remembers hearing the VFD motto in the form of a nursery song that she swears her parents sung to her before Klaus was born - Lemony is the apparent main subject of a song containing the VFD motto in it that's (sometimes) set to the tune of "row-row-row your boat". Why would Violet, and only Violet, have a song about Lemony sung to her?
    • Or he sees them as his children, since their real parents are dead (one of them being the woman he loved).

The Great Unknown is the secret entrance to the VFD headquarters under the lake at Hotel Denouement.
  • A character in The Penultimate Peril says that the headquarters underneath the lake is accessible "by a secret entrance". The Great Unknown is some kind of autonomous wormhole thing, that seeks out people who the VFD want to bring to their meeting and teleports them there. However, the rooms have been taken over by Olaf's Ancient Conspiracy superiors. Olaf fears it because he doesn't want to be captured by his superiors with no progress made, while everyone else is afraid of it because they know that the insanely powerful and evil, bordering on Eldritch Abomination, "schism" group has taken over.

  • Yes.

The Baudelaires have been secretly manipulating everything behind the scenes for the entire series.
Violet and Klaus, two adolescent sociopaths, by some unknown means, discover that their parents are working for a secret spy organization called VFD. They decide to destroy this organization just for fun. Their first act of business - burn down the mansion, killing their parents, and head off to the beach to establish an airtight alibi. Knowing their parents will send them to another VFD member, they plot to murder every member they find.

Their first guardian, however, is NOT with VFD. Count Olaf is simply an actor who has gone completely insane, and THINKS he's part of VFD. Then their plan becomes foolproof - trick Olaf into believing he is the villain, while doing all the dirty work themselves. As they move from place to place, Olaf begins to slip farther into his delusional fantasy. He takes credit for murders the orphans commit, and becomes dangerous himself. So they decide to off him too. But not before burning a hotel full of VFD members to the ground and sailing away to an Island to kill their scapegoat.This is why they're not completely traumatized by everything they've been through.Look for clues in the series to support this theory, you'll find some VERY blatant ones. Very Frank Depictions (couldn't resist) of the children being the masterminds behind everything. Any inconsistencies can be explained by Snicket getting his facts wrong.

The giant ? is Captain MacMillan going for a swim
His ghillie suit confounds the radar.

Everything gets better after the end of the last book.
Think about it: The series is about the misfortunes of the Baudelaires. It starts with the first of their problems: namely, the fire that orpans them. Therefore, it ends with the last of their problems. And since they were last seen alive, their tribulations are over, and they are free from their horrible luck.
  • Alternatively, their misfortunes ended not because things got better, but because they died.

The giant question mark is actually Cthulhu.
Or more specifically his island. The entire series is a lead-up to Cthulhu's debut story (the name escapes me at the moment), as the Baudelaires, after reaching adulthood and acquring access to their cash, fund an expedition to find out exactly what the Great Unknown was, and, well... the rest is horror history. Oh, and the sugar bowl contains the Necronomicon (or a means to find it). This WMG was inspired by something I saw on the headscratchers page.

Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch are the same person in real life.
Their writing styles are very similar, with both inserting themselves into the story. They both go by a name that's obviously a pen-name. The style of the stories themselves are similar. But the thing that really convinces me is that in The Name Of This Book Is Secret, there's a burning library. Burning and/or libraries are major motifs in A Series of Unfortunate Events. That it was featured in the Secret Series is either a Shout-Out or a huge hint that both pen-names are really the same person.

The sugar bowl is The Ark.

Count Olaf is Lemony's cousin.
Toward the end of the Unauthorized Autobio, we get a glimpse at the Snicket Family Tree, but in true VFD fashion, the branches are labeled with letters instead of names, and the key is mostly torn off. It's easy enough to guess that the siblings marked by the branches J, K and L are Jacques, Kit and Lemony, but a couple branches to the right, the tree ends with one marked O, decorated with a noose. It's certainly possible that there's an Oliver or Oswald Snicket out there somewhere, but Olaf is the only person we've seen that's been previously identified as "O".

Similarly, while the C branch closest to the trunk branches out to the Snicket family, the A and B branches don't go into any further detail. What are the chances that one of them turns into the Baudelaire Family Tree? I always thought it was a matter of fudging paperwork with the High Court's help, but Olaf Snicket may very well be the children's third-or-fourth cousin, four-or-three times removed.

  • It seems odd that either A or B would turn out to be the Baudelaire's ancestor since they're respectively marked as "whereabouts unknown" and "whereabouts uninteresting". But there's still a good chance the Baudelaires are related to the Snickets anyway, since the tree only shows one parent (also note that E is Lemony's father, because both he and "C" have the surname Snicket, but F could just as easily be O's mother and Olaf may or may not be a Snicket in name). It makes more sense for Olaf's plan to use orphans he's already related to (the arson was already his doing, so why forge documents when you can use a target that's already going to end up in your care?), not to mention all the other theories that link the Snickets and the Baudelaires.

Count Olaf is Lemony Snicket's brother
Think about it. why would Lemony so desperately want the Baudelaire's story told? because the story Cout Olaf told everyone is false and Lemony doesn't agree, so he sets out to find the Baudelaire's side of the story.
  • Jacques is Lemony's brother; that's cannon. But in the Vile Village, who do the towns people think he is? 'Count Omar' who is really Count Olaf. So if Jacques is 'Count Omar' because of some similarities to Olaf, than they might be brothers, therefore, making Count Olaf Lemony Snicket's brother.
  • In the bio of the Austure Academy, it says that Lemony Snicket 'is often mistaken for someone taller'. And in various books. it clearly says that Count Olaf is tall with long legs. Any questions?
    • In the 13th book, wasn't it mentioned that Count Olaf and Kit had a relationship together?

Sir and Charles are gay
Charles is always referred to as his "partner." He could be his business partner but Charles never seems to do anything with the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Furthermore, Sir tells Charles his jobs are to "iron [his] shirts and make [him] milkshakes. This could be typical Snicket character audacity, or it could be that Sir expects his partner to do household chores. Sir and Charles also turn up together in the Hotel Denouement in the Penultimate Peril. Additionally, Sir treats Charles just as horribly as he treats everyone else: it's an abusive relationship.
  • All but confirmed by the presence of only a single bed in their room at the Denouement. I'm pretty sure it's mentioned that they're holding hands while escaping from the fire later on.
  • The Beatrice Letters also has Lemony mention "when C will realize S is unworthy of his love." Coincidence? Perhaps not.

John Hodgman is/was Lemony Snicket's Editor/Agent/They live in the same world.
Makes sense, considering that the two seem to have a similar derangement.

The Sugar Bowl is empty.
It's contents fell out a long, long time ago, and everybody is too stupid to figure that out.
  • That actually makes some sense. They (V.F.D.) are constantly after the Sugar Bowl, but no one actually seems to know what's inside it. This may be just me, but when no one gets the Sugar Bowl or its would-be contents, no one seems to terribly upset. or maybe I just haven't read the later books in a while.

The Series ended when it did, because there were no more unfortunate events.
The book is about a bunch of terrible unfortunate things happening to the three Baudelaire orphans. It could be said that their bad luck streak will finally be broken, because there are no more "unfortunate events" to be recorded.
  • Sort of confirmed if you read the Beatrice Letters and re-read the series. Sunny goes on the radio to talk about her recipes, which not only suggests that the Baudelaires proved their innocence but also that she became a famous chef. Violet is mentioned in one of the main series books (don't remember which one) as returning to Briny Beach, while in The Reptile Room Snicket says that Klaus would lie awake in bed many years later wishing he could have stopped Olaf from entering Monty's house.

Carmalita Spats is an orphan.
She's a little spoiled, persuasive brat, so it wouldn't take much to convince Nero to forge or simply ignore the whole 'parent's need to sign a slip for you to leave comfortably'. maybe she's even a 'bullied turned a bully'. Like, she was insulted in her old school for being an orphan, but once she came to the Austure Academy, she turned her life around(the wrong way), maybe after a while got her Uncle Bruce to adopt her, and then decided that since she wasn't an orphan anymore, why don't I just go gang up with two of the most evil people in the series and help capture those cake-sniffers? Yeah, Carmalita. THAT'S A GREAT PLAN, YOU LITTLE SCUM-FILLED...sorry.
  • Also, Esmé says that they already have the Spats fortune in Book the Tenth.

Beatrice (the second) Is not Dewey's kid.
Hold up, there IS an explanation. In chapter thirteen of "The End", after Olaf kisses Kit awake, he says, "I told you I'd do that one last time." Weird, huh? Then they talk about love before both die. Seemingly unrelated, but then Olaf's last words, as he laughs, are, "And don't have any kids yourself..." Uh... And the SWIFTNESS with which he eats the apple after hearing she's in labor. Draw your own conclusions, kiddies...

The series takes place in the same universe as Portlandia.
Where else would a train station with an attached computer shop and blacksmith possibly occur?

The setting is some centuries after an apocalypse, after civilization has mostly put itself back together.
This explains the Schizo Tech, places that don't exist (the names are different and/or climate change altered things dramatically), the (currently) nonexistent animals and diseases (could be genetic engineering, mutations due to nuclear war fallout, etc - in fact, maybe the Mycelium was what caused the collapse of civilization), VFD (they're a less dog-in-the-manger version of the Brotherhood of Steel from Fallout, preserving old technology and trying to get the good things back the way they were), oddities of the legal system, and so on. The literature mentioned was all preserved from before the collapse, which is why VFD considers reading old books so important. Ms. Bass' obsession with metric is the same - the educational tradition of the last couple centuries has just been "pass down whatever scraps we happen to know or care about from the old days and hopefully someone can sort it all out", which is consistent with Prufrock being old.
  • This also explains why the Village of Fowl Devotees can get away with burning people at the stake - there has not been an English-speaking country in which a municipal government could get away with that for at least a century.

The triplets the kids befriend are indeed related to Glenn Quagmire (don't ask how!), meaning it takes place in the same universe as Family Guy.
Both qualify as a Crapsack World, so it wouldn't be entirely impossible.

Lemony Snicket is Ishmael
Lemony Snicket mentions several times that he was on the ocean or on a boat of some sort, whether he was stowing away or drowning, etc. As mentioned, everything ends up on the island so it's natural to think that Lemony eventually ended up there. That also explains where the sugar bowl went. This troper hasn't fully thought this theory out so she apologizes for any plotholes.
  • This may explain his immediate distrust of Count Olaf and his knowledge that the Baudelaires are orphans before they told him, but he also drove the Baudelaire parents off the island and leaves Kit Snicket to die on the Coastal shelf, which a loving brother (who, earlier, tried to contact his sister through one of the books, referring to her as "my dear sister") would never do.

The Baudelaire orphans are descended from Hugo Cabret and Isabelle Méliès.
Besides the fact that "Baudelaire" is a French name, Violet's mechanical skills are shared with Hugo, while Klaus' bookworm-ness is shared with Isabelle. Plus, the actors that play Violet and Klaus on the Netflix series resemble Chloë Grace Moritz and Asa Butterfield, respectively.

Count Olaf doesn't Really Care About the Money
Think about it for a second. What's his endgame? After the first book, he has no real plan that would end with him having the money, and even then his plan has enormous holes in it. Even if we generously assume that he lives in a world with coverture and no ability for women to divorce (so he would actually have control of the money), his plan involves allowing Violet to stay alive. Violet, who built a functional grappling hook out of a curtain rod and ratty clothing. It's extremely difficult to see an outcome where this doesn't end with him as a missing person who really isn't missed.

Most likely, he has no interest in the money. Like a dog chasing cars, the point is the chase. There's no goal for what to do if he actually catches it. He's spent his entire life in a world full of people who are definitely not all that smart, and he's finally found someone else who can match wits with him. He's too cruel and emotionally stunted to interact with them like a normal person, so he chases them. Across the country. Across the world. It doesn't matter. He knows he'll never get the Baudelaire fortune, and he doesn't care.

  • Alternatively, he wants the Baudelaire's fortune as a means to get back at them for "taking everything from them" in his mind. Remember that Olaf seems to believe that the Baudelaire parents made him an orphan. He wants to spite this family for ruining his life - aside from wanting to kill every other member of the VFD for also ruining his life.
    • Adding even more speculation: If Olaf didn't kill the Baudelaire parents (as implied in The End), maybe he wanted to and that's why he's so driven to get Violet, Klaus and Sunny specifically even after the Quagmire and the Snicket fortunes were out of his hands - he was plotting to enact revenge but lost the chance to when the Baudelaire parents were killed by someone else, so he won't allow anyone else to destroy the Baudelaire's lives.

Count Olaf and Kit Snicket separated after he found out about the poison darts.
In the 12th book, Kit mentions that she delivered poison darts to the Baudelaire parents for an unexplained reason on the night of an opera performance. Count Olaf tells the children that his parents were killed by poison darts and heavily hints that it was the Baudelaire parents who did it on that same night. Finding out Kit was indirectly involved with the murder must have been the trigger that made Count Olaf switch to the other side of the schism, killing their relationship.

Count Olaf was the one who convinced Mr Poe that "closest living relative" was referring to distance.
  • Confirmed by the Netflix series, which Handler helped to write.

Neither Frank nor Earnest are good or evil
  • They were both neutral but only in secret. While working with Violet one of them gives her the harpoon gun while asking if she should really be giving it to Esmé and Carmelita, and the birdpaper he had Klaus set up could have just as easily been a method to capture the sugar bowl as it was a means to separate the bird from the sugar bowl. This is why they both run the hotel that acts as a meeting point between the two sides. At some point Count Olaf found out about this which is why he thought he could ask either brother to help him when mistaking Dewey for one of them. Dewey knew about this but wasn't involved as they thought he steered a bit too much toward the noble side.

If the Baudelaire parents DID kill Count Olaf's parents, it was when they were kids and wasn't entirely intentional.
  • As the series goes on the Baudelaire orphans have to commit some pretty heinous acts to survive or get more information on the VFD. Something about the unfortunate events they have to experience within the organization - especially since their parents wrote a book on the island about their own awful experiences, leaves me to believe the Baudelaire orphans aren't the first kids who accidentally killed people or unintentionally lead to someone's death. What if the poison darts were used in the wrong way during the "night at the opera" Olaf mentions, and his parents were killed by accident (in a similar way to how Dewey was killed)? But because his family and the Baudelaire's were on opposite ends of the schism, Olaf saw Beatrice and her future husband's act as assassination.

Ophelia would have been a wonderful place to live.
It's the only town in the "It Takes A Village" brochure that is rejected by Mr. Poe, instead of the children, and the only one that isn't seen. Who's to say it wouldn't have been the happy home that the Baudelaires were seeking?

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