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A Series of Unfortunate Events
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V.F.D.
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Theories (and a rumor or two)

Theory: Beatrice is the Baudelaires' mother.*
Evidence: In the letter supposedly from the Duchess of Winnipeg in TUAB, she says, “Beatrice, of course, is far past complaining about lost possessions—the very reason, I am certain, that you have dedicated your life to researching the lives of those three poor children.”
Also, Esmé Squalor has a grudge against Beatrice, and she's taking it out on the Baudelaires.

*I know this isn't news to most of you, but I figured I might as well get it out of the way.

Theory: Quigley Quagmire is alive.
Evidence: In the index for TUAB, it says, “overboard, 109-111.  See also Quagmire, Quigley.”  To me, that definitely indicates there's something we don't know about what happened to the third Quagmire triplet.  

Pages 109-111 are a letter about the Prospero, a word which here means “a ship that assists V.F.D. members whenever circumstances require,” and a map of the ship.  The letter is addressed, “Dear Sir,” and I think they're talking to Lem here, but I can't be sure.  It might have been Quigley.  And even if that particular letter was to Lem, we also know that the couple who own the Prospero helped out with the Incredibly Deadly Viper, so why should one triplet be a problem?

Theory: Geraldine Julienne is a member of V.F.D.
Evidence: I'm probably wrong here, but think about it.  She's wherever the Baudelaires go these days and she makes things a lot worse for them.  The scary part is, I don't know what side she's on.

Theory: V.F.D. stands for Volunteer Fire Department.
Evidence: I will now present a partial list of the references to fire and smoke in the series.

  • The Baudelaire and Quagmire mansions, the Caligari Carnival, and the Valorous Farms Dairy all burned to the ground.  Mr. Poe mentions the fire department coming to the Bauds' mansion.  Maybe it was a Volunteer Fire Department… but that's speculation.  It shall be stricken from the record.
  • The Duchess of Winnipeg's mansion may or may not have burned down since the letter (TUAB, pg. 25-29) was not actually from her.
  • TUAB, pg. 39: “…in order to make sure that the world remains, as we say, quiet.  K: And extinguished.”
  • TUAB, pg. 52: “As you can see, the subject seems physically adept enough, and has an admirable desire to protect himself against possible fire.”
  • TUAB, pg. 60 (where Lem is thinking of titles for a book about his own life):

“LEMONY SNICKET:
The Story of a Man, a Woman, and Several
Matches 

DO YOU SMELL SMOKE?
The Story of Lemony Snicket

  • TUAB, pg. 84: (the Sebald code) “Hello.  If you are alive, do not come here.  The count will burn you and Beatrice.  Stay away.”
  • TUAB, pg. 97: “Someday, perhaps, the world will indeed be quiet once more, but until the fires have been extinguished we must go our separate ways and risk our separate lives.”
  • TUAB, pg. 159: “These pages hold some of the most crucial secrets in this sad and flammable world.”
  • TCC, p. 158: “'Some people are like those lions Olaf brought here,' Olivia said.  'They start off being good people, but before they know it, they've become something else.  Those lions used to be noble creatures.  A friend of mine trained them to smell smoke, which was very helpful in our work. But now Count Olaf is denying them food, and hitting them with his whip, and tomorrow they'll probably devour one of the freaks.  The world is a harum-scarum place.”

If that doesn't convince you that there's a 99.9% chance that the “F” in V.F.D. stands for “Fire,” I don't know what will, unless you haven't seen the picture in the V.F.D. section yet.

Facts and rumors about upcoming books
The Slippery Slope will be coming out either September 23 (if you believe Barnes and Noble) or October 28 (if you believe Amazon.)

Rumored title for Book the Eleventh or Twelfth: The Grim Gameroom.

Rumored titles for Book the Thirteenth: The Vicious Victory, The Fearsome Finale, and The Final Fight.

I am officially starting a rumor of my own: Book the Thirteenth is coming out Friday, October 13, 2006.  You heard it here first.