Ten Random Facts: Series of Unfortunate Events

Of all the children’s books in the world, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events is among the most intriguing. Even after thirteen books, two adaptations, and several spinoffs, much of SOUE is still filled with unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about what went on in creating the story. And since October is the month of creativity and imagination, it only seems fair to share a few fun facts on one of the most imaginative pieces of writing. So let’s not waste any time and dive right in.

  1. To underline the theme of misfortune, the entire story is dedicated to the number 13. There are thirteen books in the series, each book has thirteen chapters (minus the last book, which features a fourteenth chapter as an epilogue), the title of the series has twenty-six letters (which equal thirteen when divided by two), and the last book was released on Friday the 13th. To carry on the tradition, Netflix’s was released thirteen years after the film adaptation, also on Friday the 13th.
  2. Catherine O’Hara appears in both adaptations of SOUE; she plays Justice Strauss in the movie, and Dr. Georgina Orwell in the Netflix series.
  3. Several anagrams and alliterations are used throughout the series, though the Baudelaires don’t draw attention to them until the eighth book in the series (Hostile Hospital).
  4. Though both the movie and Netflix show VFD members carrying spyglasses, they’re neither seen nor mentioned in the books.
  5. Throughout the books, the author either mentions or alludes to several other real life books and authors. Among these references are Herman Melville, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, TS Eliot, and Melville’s book Moby Dick.
  6. Daniel Handler published the books using the pseudonym “Lemony Snicket.” But he’d been using it much earlier during his personal life—ordering pizza, creating a fictional identity, etc.
  7. Handler never planned on writing children’s books, partly because he thought they didn’t treat children like adults. After a conversation with his editor, he changed his mind and wrote Series of Unfortunate Events, books he wished he’d read when he was ten years old.
  8. The point of SOUE is that the world is always complicated, but learning about it makes it easier to live in. Another book that makes a similar point is Dr. Seuss’s I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.
  9. A family with three children is a trend throughout the series. Three Baudelaires (Violet, Klaus, Sunny); three Quagmires (Duncan, Isadora, Quigley); three Denouements (Dewey, Ernest, Frank), and three Snickets (Jacques, Kit, Lemony).
  10. When asked about his books, Handler either doesn’t answer the question directly or tells readers not to expect answers.
  11. A handful of other characters have either described Violet Baudelaire as “pretty” or “lovely.” Notably, the only thing we know about Violet’s physical appearance in the books is that she has long hair, which she ties up when she wants to focus.
  12. On the DVD case of the 2004 movie, the plot description reflects those of the books (“You shouldn’t read this,” “A few reasons why you’ll either hate or love this story,” “Throw this away immediately”).
  13. Among other spinoffs, there is also a promotional pamphlet called 13 Shocking Secrets You’ll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket.” The thirteen secret simply reads “He is finished.”

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