Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Reptile Room

Count Olaf (as Stephano): Hello, I'm looking for Dr.Montgomery Montgomery. My name is Stephano, I am an Italian man.
Violet: You're Count Olaf.
Count Olaf (as Stephano): Dammit. This was such a good character....
- from the movie.

When the bad beginning ended, the Baudelaire orphans -- having become so when their parents caught fire -- had managed to escape the clutches of their evil guardian Count Olaf when he shot himself in the foot. (Not literally -- the book series may have ended then if that were the case.) Despite Olaf admitting to various crimes, his henchmen and he managed to escape the law's clutches. Mr. Poe, the executor of the bank's will (who author Lemony Snicket referred to as feeling like an "executioner" because he kept putting the children in danger), brings the children to their next-closest relative, a herpetologist who lives in the comparative middle of nowhere with a library and lots of snakes to keep him company.

Although snakes are often associated with villainy, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery (known to the kids as "Uncle Monty") is a kind and generous fellow who values the children and immediately makes them at home. Lest we feel good for the orphans, our narrator informs us that soon they will once again be miserable and Uncle Monty will be quite dead. This comes about when Count Olaf becomes part of their lives once more under the guise of Uncle Monty's lab assistant. Stephano/Count Olaf almost spirits the children away, but once more their courage and inventiveness allow them to escape from his clutches.

The book series remains humorous despite its dark nature, and The Reptile Room is as enjoyable as its predecessor.

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