A Series of Unfortunate Events
The End (13)
Condition: New, Hardcover
Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
The End is the thirteenth and final book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This book is the only book in the series without an alliterative title.
The End begins with Count Olaf and the Baudelaire orphans fleeing the burning Hotel Denouement. After surviving a storm, they find themselves on a coastal shelf of an island inhabited by a mysterious group of people. They are first greeted by a little girl, Friday. Count Olaf, who had previously proclaimed himself king of Olaf-Land, threatens the girl with a harpoon gun. Friday is unfazed; she refuses Olaf permission to land on the island, but invites the Baudelaires onto the island. Along the way, she describes what the islanders do with their time--all year long, they build an outrigger on the coastal shelf, and once a year the water rises high enough to submerge the shelf and launch the outrigger. This is known as Decision Day, when anyone who wishes can board the ship, bite a bitter apple, spit it back out, and sail away. The island facilitator, Ishmael, introduces the Baudelaires to the strange island customs. Also, Ishmael has the islanders (most named after famous literary or historical castaways) introduce themselves to the Baudelaires.
Although Ishmael always tells the islanders "I won't force you", it soon becomes apparent that his decisions go largely unquestioned and his suggestions are obeyed like orders. After the Baudelaires introduce themselves, Ishmael toasts the "Baudelaire orphans" (despite their not having mentioned their lost parents) with the coconut cordial which everybody carries, but which the orphans themselves dislike.
After another storm, more objects wash up including a giant pile of books tied together in the shape of a cube, an unconscious and pregnant Kit Snicket, and the Incredibly Deadly Viper from Uncle Monty's collection. The island people arrive and Count Olaf tries to fool them with a bad Kit Snicket disguise (with the diving-helmet containing the Medusoid Mycelium tucked under his dress as his supposed baby). Strangely, the islanders immediately see through Olaf's flimsy disguise and cage him. They then debate whether the orphans should be expelled from the colony when they discover that the Baudelaires are carrying "contraband" items. Ishmael decides that the children, Kit, and Olaf should all be abandoned unless they agree to abide by the colony's rules. After everyone leaves, Olaf tries to tempt the children to let him out of the cage by promising to explain the many mysteries and secrets which they have been surrounded by since The Bad Beginning, but they ignore him.
That night, two of the islanders Erewhon and Finn sneak out to feed the children and ask them a favor. A group of discontented colonists are planning a mutiny against Ishmael in the morning, and they ask the Baudelaires to go over to the arboretum where all the contraband items are collected, and find or make some weapons to use in the rebellion. Further, the mutineers refuse to help Kit unless the Baudelaires help them. The children agree, and set off for the arboretum. The orphans discover a well-appointed living area, before they are in turn discovered by Ishmael. They learn that their parents were once the island's leaders and were responsible for many improvements meant to make island-life easier and more pleasant, but they were eventually overthrown by Ishmael, who believed that a strictly-enforced simple life (combined with the opiate of the coconut cordial) was the best way to avoid conflict. The Baudelaires find an enormous history of the island, entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events, written by the many different people who had served as island leaders, including their parents and Ishmael. Ishmael also makes references to many other people, including a girl with only one eyebrow and ear (the mother of Isaac Anwhistle) and Gregor Anwhistle.
The Baudelaires and Ishmael go back to the other side of the island, where the mutiny is already underway. Count Olaf returns, still in disguise. After a brief exchange, Ishmael harpoons Olaf in the stomach, which shatters the helmet containing the Medusoid Mycelium, infecting the island's entire population at once. With Count Olaf slowly bleeding to death, the Baudelaires run back to the arboretum to try to find some horseradish to cure everyone. They learn that their parents had hybridized an apple tree with horseradish, allowing the fruit to cure the effects of the Medusoid Mycelium. The Incredibly Deadly Viper offers them an apple. After sharing the apple and curing themselves, they then gather more apples for the island's inhabitants, only to discover that the island people have abandoned the mutiny and boarded their outrigger canoe, ready to set sail. Ishmael refuses to allow the apples on-board, though it is clear that he himself has already eaten one to cure himself, and the boat sails away to a horseradish factory to save everyone (It is hinted though, that one apple might have been sneaked on board by the Incredibly Deadly Viper to tide them over until they reach the factory).
Kit tells the Baudelaires the fate of the Quagmires, Hector, Captain Widdershins and his two stepchildren Fernald and Fiona. After reuniting on Hector's float, they are attacked by trained eagles, who pop the balloons supporting the float and send them hurtling back to the ruins of the Queequeg. There, they are taken by the mysterious object shaped like a question mark (called "The Great Unknown" by Kit Snicket). In turn, the Baudelaires confess their own crimes committed at the Hotel Denouement. At this point, Kit is about to go into labour. She seems to be dying of the fungus, but cannot eat the bitter apple due to the hybrid's unhealthy effects on unborn babies. She is still trapped on top of the cube of books (her Vaporetto (boat) of Favorite Detritus) but when the critically-injured and fungus-choked Olaf hears that she is still alive, he takes a bite of an apple and manages to get her safely down onto the beach, giving her a single soft kiss as he lays her on the sand and collapses, still conscious, beside her. Kit recites the poem "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" by Francis William Bourdillon, answered by Olaf reciting the final stanza of Philip Larkin's "This Be The Verse”. He then dies. The Baudelaires help Kit give birth to a baby girl. She then dies due to the Medusoid Mycelium, after asking the orphans to name the baby after their mother. Here The End ends with the Baudelaires becoming Kit's child's adopted parents, and became the only ones in the island. They bury Kit and Olaf, apparently next to each other, somewhere on the island.
The book ends with an epilogue in the form of a short book titled "Chapter Fourteen" that begins one year later. Kit's baby and the Baudelaires sail away from the island on the boat they arrived to the island on to immerse themselves in the world once more. As they board the ship, Kit's baby says the boat's actual name, "Beatrice", which is also her own name.
Also in the last illustration, in the ocean's wave is an outline of a question mark, or The Unknown.
Past this point, the book contains a notable continuity error, as no information is given as to the eventual fate or the future of the Baudelaires; and the author states that he was unable to find any trace of the children and therefore knew nothing of their later lives. However other, earlier books by Lemony Snicket indicated that the Baudelaires do in fact reach the mainland, that Snicket is writing about them from some future date, and that all three orphans survive and grow older. The Beatrice Letters makes reference to Sunny when she is older, and The Reptile Room speaks of Klaus, many years later, wishing he had pushed Count Olaf back into his taxi, while The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition mentions that Violet will return to Briny Beach a third time; at least once mention is made of an adult Violet being haunted by nightmares of the trials she endured as a child. As the younger Beatrice, in The Beatrice Letters, is searching for Violet, Klaus and Sunny, it can be presumed that she is separated from the Baudelaires, who at the same time, go missing and possibly died, at some point. This may be referenced in The Beatrice Letters, in the punch-out anagram which spells "Beatrice Sank," probably referring to the boat in which the children sail off in at the end of Chapter Fourteen.
At the end of the book, there is an author and illustrator page, as usual, and a final image which depicts a lonely sea with the murky shadow of a question mark in the water. The author and illustrator page was the only instance that artist Brett Helquist and Lemony Snicket swapped their billing places in the pictorial credits. Brett, dressed in Snicket's usual fashion, was photographed and on top, while Lemony, face exposed save for cucumber slices over his eyes, was drawn underneath—a comic depiction of Snicket, as he is shown relaxing beside a pool with a cocktail, when he (as are the Baudelaires) is usually depicted as terribly unfortunate. Their roles revert to their traditional billing places at the true conclusion of the book.
The series follows the adventures of three siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, after their parents were killed in a fire at the family mansion. In The Bad Beginning, they briefly live with a friend of their parents, Mr. Poe, who is the person in charge of the Baudelaire fortune after the Baudelaire parents' deaths, before being sent to live with Count Olaf, whom Mr. Poe describes as either the siblings' "third cousin four times removed, or their fourth cousin three times removed". The siblings discover that he intends to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune, which awaits Violet, the eldest child, when she turns eighteen. In the first seven books, Olaf, each time in different disguises, follows the children wherever they go so he can get closer to the orphans and steal their fortune. Their roles switch in the eighth through twelfth books, in which the orphans adopt disguises while on the run from the police after being framed by Count Olaf, disguised as Detective Dupin, for the murder of Count Omar (really Jacques Snicket). The Baudelaires routinely try to get help from Mr. Poe, but Poe is always either busy with work, oblivious to the danger Olaf poses, unaware that the disguised Olaf is not who he claims to be or simply thinks the Baudelaires are lying.
Each of the three siblings has a distinctive skill that often helps them during their adventures. Violet is always inventing new things to help them, Klaus is always finding out new information by reading books, and Sunny has extremely sharp teeth that can bite almost anything in two.  In later books, Sunny learns how to cook, as she begins to grow to the normal size for her teeth so cooking becomes her primary skill. Sunny originally spoke in single word utterances which are often a variety of incomplete sentences and some short word sentences as well. Their meaning is either disguised by being spelled phonetically (e.g., 'surchmi' in The Slippery Slope), backwards (e.g., 'edasurc' [crusade] in The Carnivorous Carnival) through cultural references (Sunny says: 'Matahari', followed by a definition of 'If I stay, I can spy on them and find out.'), or being written in other languages (e.g., Shalom or Sayonara), but eventually she begins to speak more in complete English sentences, her first possibly being "I'm not a baby" in The Slippery Slope, or "Like me" in The Vile Village.
Lemony Snicket, the author of the stories and the pseudonym of Daniel Handler, is actually a character himself on the periphery of the stories. He follows the Baudelaires, researching and recording their exploits. Bruce Butt noted in 2002 that in each book a letter from Snicket to his editor is included, presented as exciting updates on Snicket's research into the Baudelaire orphans, which Butt considered to be "the slyest aspect of the way this series has been ingeniously promoted". Over the course of the series, the Baudelaires learn some vague information about Snicket and possibly meet him briefly in The Wide Window and The Penultimate Peril.
- The Bad Beginning
- The Reptile Room
- The Wide Window
- The Miserable Mill
- The Austere Academy
- The Ersatz Elevator
- The Vile Village
- The Hostile Hospital
- The Carnivorous Carnival
- The Slippery Slope
- The Grim Grotto
- The Penultimate Peril
- The End
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The End (13)