Count Olaf is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events series. In the series, Olaf is an actor and is known to have committed many crimes as a member of the fire-starting side of V.F.D., a Volunteer Fire Department that eventually branched into a massive secret organization, prior to the events of the first book in the series. Olaf is repeatedly described as extremely tall and thin and having a unibrow, a wheezy voice, and gleaming eyes. He is often distinguished by the V.F.D. insignia tattooed on his left ankle (as with most V.F.D. members).
Following the death of Bertrand and Beatrice, the Baudelaire orphans are placed under his care, and he proves to be a horrible guardian, only interested in the fortune left behind by their parents. After Olaf loses his guardianship over the children, he begins a series of attempts to steal the fortune by wearing various disguises and murdering Gustav Sebald, Monty Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle, and Jacques Snicket among scores of other unrelated victims, as well as attempting to murder Charles. While the Baudelaire children are always able to see through his disguises and intentions, the adults around them remain completely oblivious to the villain and fail to aid the children, forcing the Baudelaires to unmask Count Olaf and his various schemes numerous times throughout the series.
With the death of Jacques, who is mistakenly identified as the count by The Daily Punctilio, the target of the police manhunt for Olaf shifts to the Baudelaires, who are framed for the murder of Jacques. Olaf uses his newfound immunity to burn down Heimlich Hospital and Caligari Carnival without repercussions. When he and the Baudelaires burn the Hotel Denouement down, however, they are forced to flee the authorities by escaping to sea, where they shipwreck on the island on the coastal shelf. In an attempt to take control of the island, Olaf threatens to release the airborne pathogens of Medusoid Mycelium on the colonists, but is harpooned by Ishmael. Olaf lives long enough to help Kit Snicket safely deliver her child, an event the Baudelaires refer to as the "one good thing" in his life.
Famous quotes containing the word count:
“I know were not saints or virgins or lunatics; we know all the lust and lavatory jokes, and most of the dirty people; we can catch buses and count our change and cross the roads and talk real sentences. But our innocence goes awfully deep, and our discreditable secret is that we dont know anything at all, and our horrid inner secret is that we dont care that we dont.”
—Dylan Thomas (19141953)