I’m glad you brought this up, volunteer! I think Klaus is a quieter character than his sisters in terms of achievements, storyline, and character development. You have Violet, who runs around being a badass inventing a bunch of cool devices to save herself and her siblings, and then you have Sunny, who’s got the cuteness factor going for her as well as being someone who literally saves the day by biting things through the first nine books. Meanwhile Klaus is solving problems by reading or remembering obscure facts. He isn’t as memorable as his sister in terms of abilities, even though he does a lot of impressive things with his researching or literary skills. Likewise, his storyline and development isn’t as stereotypically exciting as his sisters’. He doesn’t have a dramatic period of growing up like a baby does, and he doesn’t have the same type of major issues to work out as Violet. His romance is less dramatic than hers because it’s paralleling a less dramatic relationship in the earlier generation of VFD; his main role in the trio is to be the quietly intelligent, infuriatingly moral one; he doesn’t face as many individual issues as his sisters but mostly tackles ones that the three of them share. Though he does just as many cool things and is just as full a character as the girls, Klaus isn’t typically seen as the most exciting Baudelaire, and I think that’s why he gets brushed aside a little. I’m guilty of doing it myself from time to time!
But as you said, it’s very unfair to him because he isn’t a useless bookworm or a whiny cynic. First of all, if he weren’t such a bookworm the Baudelaires wouldn’t have made it past Book One. Second, he’s no more whiny than you or I would be in his place, and he grows to be rather cynical because of the things he witness or does himself, things that would turn anyone into a cynic. It’s actually smart of him to start looking at things that way because it stops him and his siblings from blindly trusting in VFD. There’s also a lot of talk about Klaus being extremely bitter, and while I think he does have some bitterness in him he isn’t overly so. (This might be because he was portrayed as very bitter in the ASOUE movie, which makes things a little confusing when you’re looking at his character in the book.)
Klaus is an incredible boy. Yes, he has moments where he breaks down, and moments when he’s full of anger or hatred, and moments of weakness. But so does every other character in the series, Violet and Sunny included—Violet and Sunny especially! And if you pay attention to some of the things he says you realize that he can actually be pretty funny in a witty way or that he’s almost always making very good points. He helps guide Violet when she’s making decisions for the Baudelaires and he more than pulls his weight in the trio. They’d would be completely lost without him. Not to mention that watching him go from a very trusting, sheltered reader to a strong, wise researcher is incredible. He has so many little quirks that make him a loveable character too. In just about every book he shows his love of knowledge by going off topic about information he learned from books and found interesting. Violet often has to gently remind him to stay on track because he gets so excited about the things he’s learned. And while Violet is the comforter and protector of the siblings, Klaus is the one that can make them smile when things are dark or frightening, which is a crucial role in any group.
In summary: Klaus Baudelaire is absolutely incredible and massively important.
Thank you for the dispatch, volunteer!
THIS ONE TIME A KID IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD WAS LATE GETTING HOME BECAUSE HE WAS BUYING DRUGS SO HE TOLD HIS MOM HE GOT KIDNAPPED AND SHE MADE HIM REPORT IT TO THE POLICE AND HE DESCRIBED THE KIDNAPPER AS COUNT OLAF AND THEN THIS HAPPENED
I’m crying guys this is amazing
It is important to note that in the film, Violet is not the one who climbs the tower
yes, that was partly to combine the section of “WWJD” in The Miserable Mill into the short film narrative
but this robbed Violet of one of her few chances to demonstrate her strength,…
It’s like his snoring got so bad that his wife left him and now he’s just forever alone with his extra-strength Breathe Right strips
maybe the strips were so effective that he inhaled his wife
We were in the academy together, and we hated all the drills, so now when we’re on a case and one of us says 1,000 push-ups, it means I’m so sure I’m right that if I’m wrong, I’ll do 1,000 push-ups.
It’s a pact we made. It really just means trust me. And I do.
I don’t normally discuss how fictitious or not the story of the Baudelaire orphans is, but I will say that their story is probably more real than one in any other YA series because of the dilemmas they face and the way they, their enemies, and their situation is portrayed. There’s no prettying up of their tale, no hiding the good or the bad of any character. There aren’t even many real answers to the hundreds of questions raised, because that’s what real life is like. There is goodness in the real world, and there’s goodness in this story—Uncle Monty, a very special apple tree, the Quagmire triplets, and so much love—love between a family, between friends, between lovers young and old. But there is also so, so much nastiness and horror because there’s plenty of that in the real world as well, and everyone has a right to be prepared for that. And then there’s the ambiguity that’s such a constant theme in the series, and that shade of gray is the same color most everything outside your bedroom window is invisibly washed in.
It doesn’t matter how much of ASOUE is real and how much may be made up because at it’s heart it is a true story, and the Baudelaires are real, and so are volunteers and villains, safe places and sugar bowls, the Great Unknown and Mr. Snicket himself. And you can tell me differently—you can tell me it’s a pen name, and that they’re children’s stories, and works of fiction, and I promise to look you in the eye every time and tell you you’re wrong, and that the world is quiet here.