Lemony Snicket is more than just a quirky, dry-witted narrator in A Series of Unfortunate Events, he’s a character with a vested interest in telling the tale of the Baudelaire Orphans: Klaus, Violet, and Sunny. And though Snicket doesn’t interact with the three heroic orphans directly in the new Netflix series, his past life helped to shape the world in which they live. But why is he so obsessed with them? Beyond just being a good and decent person, why does Lemony Snicket personally feel so compelled to tell the tales of the Baudelaire orphans? While we can’t imagine the lives of these children without Snicket helping us understand their journey little by little, there was a time, years and years before the story began that he might have had different motives all together.
Major spoilers for A Series of Unfortunate Events follow.
At the beginning of every episode of the the new Netflix show, there is a dedication to an unseen character named “Beatrice,” who is quite dead. But, though it occurs offscreen, Beatrice actually dies in the very first episode of the show. And that’s because Beatrice’s last name is Beatrice Baudelaire and she is the mother of Klaus, Violet, and Sunny. At this point the Netflix show has not revealed this fact, and will likely not reveal this fact until possibly, the last season of the show. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, here’s the way to think about it: Lemony Snicket is like Snape and Beatrice is like Lily Potter. He was in love with her, but it didn’t work out. That’s why in the second episode of the Netflix show Lemony Snicket has a blurry photograph of “someone” and makes mentions that he once wanted to marry this person but they turned him down. Beatrice married the Baudelaire’s father, and not Lemony Snicket, which even though Snicket accepted, left him heartbroken.
But it gets weirder than that though, because there is in fact, a second Beatrice Baudelaire who is not in anyway related to the Baudelaires by blood. Instead, this younger Beatrice is adopted by Klaus, Violet, and Sunny at the end of the book titled The End. All of this is hinted at in the book called The Beatrice Letters which contains letters from Lemony Snicket to the Baudelaire’s mother Beatrice, but also letters from young Beatrice Baudelaire — the fourth Baudelaire sibling — to Lemony Snicket. After the entire Series of Unfortunate Events concludes, something happens which separates the three original orphans with their newly adopted sibling, Beatrice, who is named for their mother.
The second Beatrice originally should have had the last name “Snicket,” since she was actually the child of Kit Snicket, Lemony’s sister, who dies right after this baby is born. Because the new show may or may not introduce the additional Snicket siblings in the second season, it’s unclear if the identity of the first Beatrice will be revealed, or if the future existence of the second Beatrice could be teased as a second omniscient narrator who is aware of future events.
So, who is Beatrice in A Series of Unfortunate Events? That depends who you ask. She is certainly one person to Lemony Snicket and another person to the Baudelaire orphans. And because there are two Beatrices that statement can be taken both literally and figuratively.