|Mr & Mrs. Poe
||[Oct. 2nd, 2006|10:06 pm]
A Series of Unfortunate Events -- for grown-ups
So here I am, kicking off the new community!
I'm rereading the entire series right now at a very fast clip (for me)--one book a day. Considering how much other stuff I'm doing I'm pleased to say I've kept up with that pace. I'm rereading The Hostile Hospital right now, in which The Daily Punctilio plays such a prominent part in spreading lies about the whole Baudelaire situation, and I've just read The Beatrice Letters.
In the Beatrice Letters, Lemony Snicket reveals that he works at The Daily Punctilio, and from what I can gather, he works for one Eleanora Poe. I am convinced that this has to be Mrs. Poe, although there is the remote possibility that it could be a sister to our Mr. Poe, rather than his wife. Either way, she is connected to Poe and running a publication about which Hal (from The Hostile Hospital) says, "That newspaper is the worst I've ever seen. Nearly every story they print is an absolute lie." Despite his poor eyesight, that isn't the excuse Hal gives for not reading it, which is what one would expect. He specifically attacks the veracity of the paper, which seems specifically to have the goal of helping exonerate Olaf and making life more difficult for the Baudelaires.
So that's one Poe I absolutely don't trust and don't think is on the children's side.
And then there's Mr. Poe himself.
There are a number of problems I have with the assumption that Mr. Poe is on the children's side.
First, his initial appearance through the fog is very ominous; in the same book (the first one) we have a little discussion about the first impressions the children have of Count Olaf being absolutely correct, rather than mistaken, as is often the case. What if their first impressions about Mr. Poe's ominous figure in the fog are also correct?
Second, he keeps delivering the children into the hands of unscrupulous and abusive opportunists (not to mention stupid people), all of whom are either out to get the children or do not care adequately for them that they are able/willing to protect them. He never goes with them to their new residences so that when the children learn of the unfair work and living conditions they have a recourse. He seems intent on pretending to have their best interests at heart and does a good appalled act (remember--many of the main villains are ACTORS) when he learns how the children have actually been treated, but that doesn't prevent him from doing exactly the same thing the next time, so that the children have been embroiled in progressively worse and worse living situations until they flee the Village of Fowl Devotees after being accused of murder.
Third, every time the children are delivered into the hands of some new horrible guardian (or horrible boarding school) in the first seven books, Count Olaf has managed to find them quickly and easily. When Esme finds them in the eighth book it is because they are looking for the same thing she is: the Baudelaire file in the Library of Records, so that is a complete coincidence. Someone has to be informing Olaf of where the kids are going, and my money's on Poe.
Fourth, I strongly suspect that the reason he is always coughing is from breathing in the smoke of fires that HE HAS SET. (He also fails to register any reaction to Olaf volunteering "arson" when Poe is listing Olaf's crimes at the end of the third book.)
Fifth, he has atrociously horrible children. In this series, adults who either produce or are attracted to taking care of horrid children are not good people themselves. (Look at Carmelita Spats.)
Sixth, he is repeatedly said to be mainly interested in money. I think that, in this case, he is specifically interested in the Baudelaire money (and possibly also the Quagmire sapphires). One thing we have never learned is what happens to the Baudelaire money and the sapphires if all of the children die? Does it all go to Mulctuary Money Management? Could he be counting on Count Olaf and his minions doing his dirty work for him, unknown to Olaf himself, who is still assuming that he can get his hands on the two fortunes if his plans are successful?
Seventh, he is married to Mrs. Poe (see allegations about her in the spoiler section, above).
Eighth, when he comes to see the children he just informs them that their house has burnt down and their parents are dead. They never see the bodies, have a funeral, etc. This is very fishy. They just have to take his word for it. I'm suspecting that not one but both parents survived and were either kidnapped or forced into hiding.
So--yeah. I think that Count Olaf may simply be the Poes' patsy, unbeknownst to him, and Poe is the real villain of the series. But I also think the children may not be orphans at this time, although they're as bad off as orphans for obvious reasons.