The Series Of Unfortunate Events, Ranked By Misfortune


Before I picked up his books, Lemony Snicket, the genius who gave us The Series of Unfortunate Events, warned my younger self that I would be forever heartbroken, tear-streaked, and utterly devastated with how the Baudelaires' story turned out.

Did I listen to him? Of course not.

If you didn't heed the warning signs either, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Although these books are charming, witty, and amazingly written, each one is also seriously upsetting. Count Olaf and his greedy rage to inherit the Baudelaire fortune never ceases to break throughout the series. Sure, they may be orphans, but inventive Violet, intelligent Klaus, and the razor-sharp teethed Sunny always managed a way out of their unfortunate circumstances.

Ever since the news that Netflix picked up the series for this Fall, I've been anxiously awaiting its release. I thought it would be a good idea to reread the books and freshen up my knowledge on these unfortunate events. I found it funnier with way more references of adult humor I never picked up when I was younger, and, overall, just as good as it was before. I also realized some events were far worse than others. Here they are, ranked from bad to the absolute worst unfortunate event possible:

13. The Ersatz Elevator

In the 6th book, the Baudelaire orphans find themselves living uncomfortably close to where their story began. When they're pushed down an elevator shaft by their newest guardian, they find the Quagmires (their fellow orphan friends) locked in the basement below. Sunny, with her amazingly sharp teeth manages to save the day, and unfortunately, the Baudelaire's find themselves without a home or a guardian at the end. Such is their life.

If this is where I'm starting, I will warn you like Snicket always has: the worst is yet to come.

12. The Grim Grotto

With underwater submarines, deadly mushrooms that almost kill Sunny, and a strange chase to find a missing sugar bowl, this journey was thrilling but no where near as unfortunate as some of what they've encountered before. For the first time ever, the Baudelaire orphans come out on top at the end with their fortune and lives in favor instead of in Count Olaf’s greedy hands.

11. The Slippery Slope

In the 10th novel, beloved Sunny is captured and declares her independence since she no longer sees herself as a baby anymore. My reasoning on why The Slippery Slope is not the first on this list (because in all honesty it is not nearly as terrible as what's to come) is because Violet and Quigley Quagmire fall in love, which is then torn to sheds as they're separated in the end. As if Violet needed to be more heartbroken than she already is!

10. The Carnivorous Carnival

The Baudelaires ingeniously join a freak show circus where they find the woman who always reveals their whereabouts to Count Olaf, Madame Lulu. Later, Lulu gives them false hope for their mother still being alive, and then unfortunately dies in the lion pit. There are sadly some lions deaths due to an unfortunate fire, and the book is left off on a major cliff hanger with the orphans tumbling down a mountain in a broken car.

9. The Miserable Mill

Arguably one of Olaf's worst disguises and most unrealistic settings so far, The Miserable Mill still earns its spot as No. 9. The Baudelaire's only receive one meal per day and are forced to work with spinning saw blades... YIKES. Also, Klaus is hypnotized into almost killing someone. Luckily for Klaus, Violet figures out how to un-hypnotize him just in time and the Orphans flee once again to another unfortunate event.

8. The Wide Window

Maybe it's just me, but man-eating leeches are by far one of the more horrifying inventions Snicket gave us young readers. Aunt Josephine might have been annoying at times, definitely too naive, and lived in the worst possible house on earth, but she didn't deserve to die just because Count Olaf had terrible grammar. This book started out as possibly a great place for the orphans and turned out to be quite awful. They're left alone, as usual, stranded and watching Count Olaf run away.

7. The Austere Academy

You would think living at an academy would be a break for the Baudelaire's, but once they're introduced to their private "orphan shack" which is filled with crabs and fungus, things keep getting worse. Count Olaf produces one of his better disguises as Coach Genghis and works the Orphan's to the point of exhaustion so that they're almost kicked out of the academy for failing their exams.

6. The Vile Village

If there were terrible adults in The Austere Academy, the adults within The Vile Village are far, far worse. After the Baudelaires are locked up in prison for apparently murdering Count Olaf, a mob comes after them and the Quagmires to burn them alive. In the end, the Baudelaires escape, only to find themselves in the trunk of Count Olaf's car.

5. The Hostile Hospital

Completely on their own after leaving The Vile Village, the Baudelaires find themselves volunteering at a hospital. Between Violet almost getting a craniectomy (a surgery where the head is removed) performed by Count Olaf and his non-medically educated friends, and still being chased by the authorities, this book was seriously unfortunate.

4. The Penultimate Peril

With a hotel gathering of both Count Olaf's accomplices and enemies, surely nothing can go wrong here. As the Orphan’s are wanted by just about everyone is seems, and then accidentally kill (definitely Count Olaf's fault) their new friend, things do not go well for the Baudelaire's. When they leave, they watch the hotel go up in flames, not knowing if anyone made it out or not. These orphans have seen far too many tragic fires in their lifetime.

3. The End

The End: where nearly everything they've ever encountered they have to face again. Kit Snicket, who gives birth to what was one of the biggest plot twists my young mind ever witnessed, helps bring the story to a close. While this ending was not loved by all fans, I think it suited the series well, since the entire series is meant to be infuriating and ridiculous. Not every mystery is revealed, but the looming "Beatrice" was, and that was certainly enough to make this unfortunate event much more emotional that I was originally prepared for.

2. The Bad Beginning

Lemony Snicket starts his readers out with one of the most heartbreaking books in the series. He did, I suppose, warn us to close the book and walk away now if we didn't want to be saddened by the upcoming events. Here, the Baudelaires lose their parents to the violent fire that started it all, and let's not forget that Violet, who is only 14 years old is almost tricked into marrying Count Olaf. NO THANKS.

1. The Reptile Room

The second addition to The Series Of Unfortunate Events, The Reptile Room, is hands down the best book in the series. It's also the worst because the Baudelaire orphans lose the best guardian they'd ever have and a chance at a good life in Peru with friendly snakes. I still mourn for Uncle Monty.

Images: Ed Sowden/flickr; giphy (1)