A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket
162 Pages
Published in Great Britain by Egmont Children’s Books Ltd. (2001)

Siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire were the most unlucky fictional children ever – for they apparently faced too many unfortunate events that all the stories can be compiled and published into a series of 13 books. The Bad Beginning is the first book in the series.

It all began with the death of their parents when their house caught fire. Mr. Poe, a friend of their parents, will be the executor for the Baudelaire’s enormous fortune until 14-year-old Violet comes of age. Mr. Poe worked at a bank and he assured the children that the bank will be in charge of the money for the time being.

The kids were then sent to live with Count Olaf, who happened to be the Baudelaire’s distant relative but lived nearest to the town. This as the kids’ parents had written in their will that the three should only be raised by a relative.

Count Olaf was actually a cruel and evil man. He made the kids do all sorts of chores, gave them cold oatmeal to eat, and they had to share one small bed together. Worst, Count Olaf was plotting to steal the Baudelaire kids’ inheritance and get rid of them afterwards.

One day, Count Olaf, who was in the theatre troupe, wanted the kids to participate in his play entitled “The Marvellous Marriage”. He will play the groom and he badly wanted Violet to play the bride. Not only that, their neighbour Strauss, who happened to be a judge, was also invited to act in the role of the judge in the play. The children became suspicious.

Not long after that, Klaus discovered Count Olaf’s evil plot: he wanted to make the whole wedding scene seemed like a play, but in reality he was planning to marry Violet for real. That was why a real judge was to act as the judge in the play; he wanted to legalize the marriage for real. With Violet being his wife, the Baudelaire’s fortune will be in his hands.

When confronted regarding his plot, Count Olaf quickly took baby Sunny hostage. He threatened to kill Sunny if the play (plot) did not unfold according to his plan.

Left with no choice, Violet continued with the play. She was right-handed, but during the play she deliberately signed the wedding document with her left hand. Count Olaf did not notice. As soon as the judge pronounced them husband and wife, Count Olaf was so triumphant that he ended the play abruptly and announced what really happened to the audience. Everyone was shocked, including Justice Strauss, who did not realize that she had been used to play the part of judge for real.

But then, Violet immediately declared that the marriage had been invalid because she had signed the documents with her left hand instead of her usual right. Justice Strauss also echoed that the wedding was not valid because of that. Count Olaf quickly escaped before he was captured.

Justice Strauss then offered the kids to live with her, but Mr. Poe was adamant that the kids should be sent to another relative so as to respect their parents’ will.

And so ends Book 1. The unfortunate adventures of the Baudelaire kids will continue in the next volumes of the series.


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