Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler (born February 28, 1970). Snicket is the author of several children's books, also serving as the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events (his best known work) and a character within it and All the Wrong Questions. Thus, "Lemony Snicket" may refer to either the fictional character or Handler.

Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events character

Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket and Snicket's signature from the books
First appearanceThe Bad Beginning
Portrayed byJude Law (film)
Patrick Warburton (TV series)
Tim Curry (video game, audiobook narrator)
Daniel Handler (photography, audiobook narrator)
OccupationBiographer, researcher, theater critic, accordionist, rhetor, convict, writer
FamilyJacques Snicket (brother)
Kit Snicket (sister)
Beatrice Baudelaire II (niece)
BornFebruary 28 (age 49)

As a character, Snicket is a harried, troubled writer and photographer who is falsely accused of various felonies and continuously hunted by the police and his enemies, the fire-starting side of the secret organization VFD (Volunteer Fire Department). As a child, he was kidnapped and inducted as a "neophyte" into VFD, where he was trained in rhetoric and sent on seemingly pointless missions, while all connections were severed from his former life, apart from his siblings Jacques and Kit (who were also kidnapped and inducted).

In the organization, he met and fell in love with a peer named Beatrice, to whom he got engaged. He was falsely accused of murder and arson; eventually, the fallacies grew so much that The Daily Punctilio reported his death. Beatrice later moved on and married Bertrand Baudelaire, becoming the mother of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, the protagonists of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Fourteen years thereafter, Beatrice and Bertrand were supposedly murdered in a house fire, leaving the Baudelaire children orphaned and then pursued by Snicket's former associate, Count Olaf. Snicket feels indebted to his former fiancée and embarks on a quest to chronicle the lives of the Baudelaire children until they become old enough to face the troubles of the world on their own.

Snicket is the subject of a fictional autobiography entitled Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography which contains an introduction from a fictionalized version of Daniel Handler. A pamphlet called 13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket was released in promotion of The End. Other works by Snicket include The Baby in the Manger, The Composer Is Dead, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, The Lump of Coal, All the Wrong Questions and 13 Words.

In the film, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket is portrayed by Jude Law, who documents the events of the film on a typewriter from inside a clock tower. In the video game based on the film, his voice is provided by Tim Curry. In the Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix series, Snicket is interpreted as a Rod Serling-esque omniscient narrator chronicling the events of the Baudelaire children several years after they had occurred; he is portrayed by Patrick Warburton.

The name Lemony Snicket originally came from research from Handler's first book The Basic Eight. Handler wanted to receive material from organizations that he found "offensive or funny" but did not want to use his real name, so he invented "Lemony Snicket" as a pseudonym.[1] The name's similarity to Jiminy Cricket was "likely a Freudian slip".[2] Handler described Jiminy Cricket as "exactly the kind of overly moralistic, cheerful narrator who I despise."

“A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded."- Lemony Snicket

Narrator and character

Lemony Snicket came from a family of three children. His brother Jacques (who was murdered in The Vile Village) and sister Kit were also V.F.D. members and friends of the Baudelaire parents. Both Jacques and Kit appear as supporting characters in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. He also knew Count Olaf in his early life, as the two attended school together. In his youth, Lemony Snicket attended a V.F.D.-run boarding school with several other characters from the series. He received later tuition at a V.F.D. headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains and was employed by a newspaper called The Daily Punctilio after graduation. Snicket was an obituary spell-checker and theater critic.

Lemony Snicket had an ill-fated love affair with the actress Beatrice Baudelaire. Lemony and Beatrice were at one point engaged to be married, but Beatrice broke off the engagement for unclear reasons and returned her ring to Lemony at some point later, along with a two-hundred-page book explaining why the two could not be wed. It is revealed that Lemony Snicket was believed to be dead by the Baudelaire parents, as The End states that, following with the tradition of naming children after someone who has died, Violet was to be named Lemony if she was a boy. As Beatrice was the Baudelaires' mother, she died in the fire that destroyed the Baudelaire mansion. She is not to be confused with another Beatrice Baudelaire, the daughter of Kit Snicket and adopted sister of the Baudelaire orphans. Snicket frequently alludes to Beatrice in his narration and dedicates each Series of Unfortunate Events book to her. Snicket is also known to have been close "friends" with a woman with the first initial "R.", who was the Duchess of Winnipeg.

Lemony Snicket has charged himself with the task of researching and writing the sad story of the Baudelaire orphans for "many personal and legal reasons".[3]

He traces their movements and collects evidence relating to their adventures, but it is possible that he never met Violet, Klaus or Sunny in person. Many fans often identify him, though, as a taxi driver who appeared briefly in The Penultimate Peril, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window, and who is implied to be in the possession of the sugar bowl, a key plot element of the series, after recovering it from the pond within which it had been hidden. In the Netflix adaptation of The Penultimate Peril he is confirmed as the taxi driver trying to take the children away from the hotel.

As the series progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Snicket knew Baudelaire orphans' parents well through their connections to V.F.D. However, as mentioned in The Hostile Hospital and The End, despite all of Lemony's research and hard work, he still does not know the current location, position or status of the Baudelaire children. Lemony was recruited by V.F.D. as a child, according to the "Little Snicket Lad" song.[4] In The Beatrice Letters, his niece, the daughter of Kit Snicket, also named Beatrice Baudelaire, mentions that she believes he is a detective of some sort, a reference to his investigations into the case of the Baudelaire children.

Snicket is frequently disparaging of himself; he has described himself as a coward, and at various points in his novels comments that he would not have been as brave as the Baudelaire children had he been in their situation. He also confesses that he has done things that were not noble, most notably the original theft of the sugar bowl from Esmé Squalor. He implied he had a part in the murder of Count Olaf's parents, and that Beatrice was involved as well.

In the narration of the books, Snicket describes doing many unusual things in his free time, including hiding all traces of his actions, locating new hiding places, considering suspicious dishes, and researching the perilous lives of the Baudelaire children. He claims to often write himself citations for bravery in an attempt to cheer himself up, but these attempts are always in vain.

Other works

Handler has also written or contributed to other works under the Lemony Snicket persona that are not related to A Series of Unfortunate Events. He has stated "there's a chance some other matters may take up Mr. Snicket's attention, that he may research and publish, but I'm always wary of making such promises".[9]

As Snicket, Handler wrote an introduction and endnotes for The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily, his favorite children's book,[10] that referenced A Series of Unfortunate Events. Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out, a 2005 McSweeney's short story compilation, has an introduction and unfinished short story attributed to Lemony Snicket.

Snicket also wrote The Composer Is Dead, a murder mystery designed to introduce young readers to the instruments of the orchestra; it was previously produced as an orchestral work by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, with Handler narrating as Snicket, and a recording of the performance is to be included with every copy of the expanded book.[11]

In 2013, Snicket wrote the introduction to the 1989–90 edition of Fantagraphics Books's The Complete Peanuts series. Handler's face is never shown in the A Series of Unfortunate Events books, although in The End, it appears in an illustration, with his eyes obscured by cucumber slices.


  1. The Beatrice Interview, beatrice.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  2. Handler biodata Archived February 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Lemony Snicket stuff. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  3. Author Interview with Lemony Snicket from HarperCollins Publishers Archived August 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, HarperCollins.com. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  4. Snicket, Lemony (2002). Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (1st ed.). HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-000719-5.
  5. "LEMONY SNICKET LIBRARY | All the Wrong Questions". Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  6. "The Sunday Conversation: With Daniel Handler". Los Angeles Times. June 20, 2010. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  7. USA Weekend Magazine
  8. Amazon.com: The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story: Lemony Snicket, Lisa Brown: Books, Amazon.com. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  9. "Newsround interviews Lemony Snicket". BBC News. May 30, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  10. "Q&A with Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), Bestselling Novelist and Upcoming Speaker at Rutgers University | Continuing Education News Center". cenewscenter.rutgers.edu. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  11. HarperCollins Children's Books – Parents Book Buzz Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, harpercollinschildrens.com. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
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