They soon discover that Olaf, played by How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris, is out to get his hands on their very large fortune.
After foiling Olaf’s plot to marry Violet to seize their inheritance, the orphans are placed with a series of inept guardians.
But in each two-part story they find themselves hounded by Olaf in a series of disguises, including a bearded herpetological assistant, a peg-legged captain and a buxom blonde receptionist.
Although he transforms himself so effectively that none of the adults recognise him, Olaf is always identified by the tattoo of an eye on his left ankle which appears to be linked to the secret organisation mentioned throughout the series.
The same design is found in Uncle Monty’s labyrinth, Dr Orwell’s office window and even the shape of Lake Lachrymose, but what does the symbol mean? Beware – spoilers follow.
Count Olaf has a distinctive eye-shaped tattoo
Lake Lachrymose is the same eye shape as Olaf's tattoo
Dr Orwell's office window features the same design
The tattoo is the insignia of VFD, or the Volunteer Fire Department – the secret organisation that both Olaf and the Baudelaire parents were members of.
All volunteers were required to be marked with the eye on their left ankle.
In the original Lemony Snicket books, it is never made completely clear exactly what VFD does other than put out fires.
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A Series Of Unfortunate Events: Film v Netflix series
Thu, January 19, 2017
A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The 2004 film verses the new Netflix series.
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A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The 2004 film verses the new Netflix series
Olaf dons a series of disguises in an attempt to steal the Baudelaire fortune
It is said that members go to great lengths to conceal their heroic activities using disguises and codes.
At some point, a schism occurred which split VFD into two sides: fire-fighters such as the Baudelaire parents, Uncle Monty and Lemony Snicket, and fire-starters such as Count Olaf.
Season two is expected to further delve into the VFD mystery and will adapt the middle five books in Snicket's series.