18 Things You Need To Know Before Watching Netflix’s “A Series Of Unfortunate Events”

Just in time for Netflix’s new series…

1. OK, so everyone probably knows this, but we need to get it out of the way: Lemony Snicket isn’t a real person. The author’s name is actually Daniel Handler.

2. And Handler’s pen name has a slightly bizarre origin story.

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When researching for his first novel, The Basic Eight, Handler contacted a right-wing religious organisation looking for information. He didn’t want them to keep his name on their mailing list so, when asked for his name, he spontaneously said “Lemony Snicket”.

3. The series’ thirteen books have sold over 65 million copies and have been translated into more than 40 different languages.

Those languages include Finnish, Indonesian, Japanese, Greek, and Czech.

4. Handler wasn’t originally thrilled by the idea of writing books for children.

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He was approached by an editor at HarperCollins in 1997, who had met him previously and was looking for new and exciting children’s authors. When she first approached him about writing for children, he straight up said no.

5. Handler only agreed to write for children when he was challenged to write the book he wished he could have read when he was 10.

6. ~Unlucky~ number 13 plays a huge role in the series.

There are (of course) 13 books in the series, each of which has 13 chapters; the final book, The End, was released on Friday, 13 October 2006; and the Netflix adaptation was released on Friday, 13 January 2017.

7. There are a few spin-offs to the series, if you’re ready to read into the mystery a little bit deeper…

The Beatrice Letters and Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorised Autobiography both dive deeper into the story of VFD, the schism, and the mysterious Mr Snicket himself.

8. And then there’s All The Wrong Questions, a newer series telling the story of Lemony Snicket’s childhood as an apprentice at VFD.

9. Handler found inspiration for A Series of Unfortunate Events in the works of writer and illustrator Edward Gorey.

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In fact, he sent advance copies of the first two books to Gorey, alongside a note “saying that I hoped that I would be forgiven for all that I had stolen from his works”.

10. Daniel Handler’s ideal casting choice for Count Olaf would be the late James Mason, circa 1949.

Rank Organisation

11. Many of the names of characters and places in the series are literary allusions.

For example, Esmé Gigi Genevieve Squalor was named after the J.D. Salinger story For Esmé, With Love and Squalor. Her husband, Jerome, shares a first name with Salinger.

12. Similarly, most of Sunny’s seemingly incoherent ramblings are actually often references to pop culture.

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In the tenth book in the series, The Slippery Slope, Snicket translates Sunny’s outburst of “Busheney” to mean “you’re an evil man with no concern whatsoever for other people”. “Busheney” is referencing the partnership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

13. It’s no accident that there are very few physical descriptions of Violet throughout the series.

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Handler didn’t want to draw attention to her appearance, because he “figured that girls start to get nervous about their own physical details soon enough”. He decided instead to give Violet the identifier of tying her hair up with a ribbon whenever she is inventing something.

14. There’s a fan theory that all the adults in the series are actually immortal.

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I mean, at least the ones who aren’t dead.

The theory basically stems from the fact that Lemony Snicket claims to know people who lived at various times throughout history. If you’re interested, you can read up on it further here!

15. Another fan theory – one which is widely accepted as canon, though never confirmed in the series – is that the Baudelaire orphans’ parents killed Count Olaf’s parents.

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We know that Count Olaf’s parents were killed by poison darts based on information we’re given in The Penultimate Peril – and, in the same book, Kit Snicket (sister of Lemony, of course) recounts a story of meeting the Baudelaire parents at the opera and slipping them a box of poison darts.

16. Speaking of the opera, there’s a reason why there are so many mentions of the opera throughout the series.

Daniel Handler’s parents met in a box seat at an opera performance, and he performed in operas as a child!

17. At its most popular, A Series of Unfortunate Events held seven of the top ten spots on the New York Times children’s bestsellers list.

18. And Handler has gone on record saying that anyone who wants answers to any questions they have about the series “shouldn’t hold their breath”.

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Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
 
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