Lemony Snicket fans are very, very lucky that A Series of Unfortunate Events is getting the Netflix treatment this month. With Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf (and stars like Joan Cusack backing him up), it's a whole new take on the story of the Baudelaire kids' struggle with evil. Obviously, though, some things will be a little different from the books (in the best of ways, for sure), but one thing won't change: the meaning behind Count Olaf's ankle tattoo. In fact, its meaning might even get richer in the new series, judging from the trailers. Warning, some book spoilers ahead!
Olaf's tattoo on his ankle isn't just how the Baudelaire siblings spot Olaf in all of his disguises. And while it may look like some sort of eye symbol at a glance, it's actually not an eye at all. If you look closely, the initials V.F.D. are intricately woven into the design, which stands for the Volunteer Fire Department. As fans of the book series know, the V.F.D. isn't a normal fire department. It's way more mysterious than that. All of the volunteers were forced to have the tattoo on their left ankle before the big break between the secret society.
The V.F.D. is pretty mysterious all around and its origins are leaked out slowly throughout the series. Apparently, there was a "schism" in the group, way back before we ever meet any of the characters and Olaf was one of the bad guys who went around starting fires instead of putting them out. The group was also more than a fire department — it's members are more of a secret society made up of people with crazy hobbies and interests like calligraphy and old, ancient books. You know, Lemony Snicket-stuff.
The mysterious society is key to the adventure and it looks like this version will give fans all they want when it comes to playing up the secrets of this crazy alternate universe. A lot of critics and fans were worried that Neil Patrick Harris and Netflix wouldn't be able to pull off the complexity of Snicket's world, but early reviews are anything but unfortunate (see what I did there?).
Seriously, how could anything with Neil Patrick Harris playing a dastardly villain plotting against small, adorable children be bad? Come on. Harris, at least, loved playing the evil Count. He told The Sydney Morning Herald that being grotesque was fun. "I was intentionally horrible-looking. Being really ugly was actually really refreshing." And the whole idea of secret societies and coded messages is something that just appeals to his personality. "I love stunts and circuses and magic, and seeing where that button is to step on to create an explosion," the 43-year-old actor and dad said.
If he had that much fun making it, then the series is definitely going to be amazing. And keep your eye out for those mystery symbols in almost every scene.