The Confusing Questions

This is a sort of mini biography to the Series of Unfortunate Events, where Lucia Snicket delves into her ancestors past to discover the truth of a range of characters that made up the popular series of books her brother, Lemony Snicket wrote.

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9. Count Olaf

 

Oh dear, dear me. All of a sudden my hand has gone wobbly and my forehead is all sweaty. What is the matter with me? Why should I, of all people, be scared of Count Olaf? He is dead! Dead and gone! No longer an unruly citizen on this Earth.

Nobody has not heard of Count Olaf. His name follows you everywhere you go, whispering in the trees and through the wind. If you are one of the lucky ones, you have never met, or hopefully never come across this dastardly man before. If that is the case, turn the page and begin the next chapter.

Count Olaf is like a school bully. Everyone knows his name, yet many do not approach him. He usually has one main target, or a group to target (Baudelaire’s). And last but not least, no one can fight him, or tear him down, or stop his plans. Welcome, to the world of Count Olaf.

One interesting question, that my team and me spent almost a year researching, is Count Olaf’s early life. This is what we’ve found:

Count Olaf says that when he was a child he loved raspberries. Maybe what you might call a useless statement, but in the bad beginning when he gives Klaus, Violet and Sunny porridge with raspberries on top, he might have been trying to please them, or make them happy. A possibility? No? All right then.

In the Austere Academy, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire mention that a man with similar appearance as Olaf strangled a bishop and escaped prison in just ten minutes, another article they read reports of a man throwing a wealthy widow off a cliff. The Baudelaire’s agree that it sounds like Olaf and believe him to be the man mentioned in the articles.

In The Carnivorous Carnival Olaf says that his acting career began when he was approached by Gustav Sebald because he was the "most handsome fellow at school", which would make it a very old movie, since Count Olaf himself (disguised as Stephano) watches the film in theater with the Baudelaire’s and Dr. Montgomery. At the end, when he finds a map of the Mortmain Mountains in Madame Lulu's tent, Olaf makes reference to a coded stain spilt on the Valley of Four Drafts, mentioning that he was taught to use such stains to mark secret locations when he was a young boy. This book also reveals that Olaf at one point was also after my family’s fortune.

In The Slippery Slope, when the white-faced women leave Olaf and his evil troupe, they hint that he may have been responsible for the fire that consumed their home and took the life of one of their siblings and perhaps the lives of their parents. I know how that feels.

In The Grim Grotto, Count Olaf mentions that he saw Fiona when she was a just a baby, which would mean that he saw her fifteen years ago. He goes on to say that he was attempting to throw thumbtacks in her cradle when he saw her.

In The Penultimate Peril, Olaf hints that he burned down the childhood home of Dewey Denouement and murdered almost his entire family. Another crime. Whoopee.

 

Another mysterious reference to Count Olaf's childhood is mentioned in The Penultimate Peril. In Chapter 1, Kit mentions that she was able to smuggle a box of poison darts to the Baudelaire parents before Esmé Squalor caught her. Caught her doing what exactly? What were the Baudelaire parents trying to do? All questions, no answers. Through a few subtle hints scattered about, my team and me have discovered that Lemony was present as well. Later in the book, when Olaf is confronting the Baudelaire’s and Dewey Denouement, he dares the Baudelaire’s to ask Dewey what happened that night at the theatre, implying that the Baudelaire parents, Dewey, and the my family were there for some sort of sinister purpose. That, I couldn’t at first believe. Finally, in Chapter 12, Olaf reveals that poison darts were the reason he became an orphan himself, meaning that the Baudelaire parents may have murdered his own parents and therefore explaining his hatred for the Baudelaire’s. Since that moment I figured that all, the problem called Count Olaf has become a little less murky.

 Throughout the series, it becomes clear that Olaf had something to do with the schism that separated V.F.D. This is hinted the most in The Unauthorized Autobiography (the autobiography of my brother) in a letter Jacques wrote to Jerome Squalor. The letter explained that a member whom he only referred to as O  (Olaf, As the members of the organization often use the first letter of their names to talk about one and another.) was acting in such a violent manner that his actions have caused the organization to split in two. Many members of V.F.D., such as Widdershins, often use Olaf's name immediately when talking about the treachery of the fire starting side of the schism. Not surprisingly, but we shouldn’t be quick to presume. This suggests that Olaf has done a great deal of harm to V.F.D. more than most of the other villains involved have, furthering the concept of him being one of the leaders of the schism.

Olaf was involved with the organization for many years and knows many, if not all, of the secrets surrounding the organization that the Baudelaire children, and I, seek to know. When I am not fearful of him and don’t think of him in fear, I wish that he were alive and well so I could have found out those secrets. He is also responsible for numerous fires and deaths of V.F.D., as mentioned by my brother himself, and plans on gaining control of all the fortunes of the members in thirst of revenge and greed. While never directly stated, it is hinted in the last two volumes that Olaf had a very troubling past and this may be the reason for his bitterness at the world.

 

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