Post by Lachrymose on Jan 17, 2011 20:52:52 GMT -5
At the beginning of The Bad Beginning, if you look closely at the firemen, you will see something interesting. The Firemen have ?s on their helmets. I don't know if this is a reference to the Great Unknown, but I find it's worth investigating.
Ivan Lachrymose was hungry. He decided to have a snack. "I'm hungry" he said. "I'm going to have a snack"
We've discussed this before, and I'm pretty sure that it's just the shaded edge of a shield emblem. Helquist later did a full-colour painting of the same scene that appeared in special editions of TBB and I think on one of the calendars, and the supposed "question mark" is totally absent, whereas one would expect it to be made quite prominent if it was, in fact, a clue, especially given the importance of the question mark in TGG and The End.
Post by Leanora Crowe on Jan 18, 2011 12:08:02 GMT -5
It's possible that the question mark originally had some symbolic meaning, but it would appear that Lemony didn't actually want the Great Unknown to be introduced until later. That's most likely the reason that the question mark is no longer there in the full color version of the picture. I don't think Lemony had the exact same plan at the beginning of his writings as he ended up with, so he wanted to alter that since he got the chance. That's my opinion, anyway.
Post by Sherry Ann on Jan 18, 2011 12:44:17 GMT -5
I'm somewhat skeptical toward Handler having the idea of the Great Unknown from the beginning. It seems more likely to me that he introduced it as an element only later on, bringing corporality to the mystery that had been following the Baudelaires for the previous volumes. I don't know how much canonicity we can put in the illustrations, anyway. We don't know how much Handler tells Helquist. But I don't think the idea can be completely dismissed solely as shading, either; we see the same technique used in the last illustration of TE.
Last Edit: Jan 18, 2011 12:45:01 GMT -5 by Sherry Ann
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Post by Leanora Crowe on Jan 19, 2011 10:38:12 GMT -5
It's actually possible that Helquist just put the question marks there because he thought it would be interesting (perhaps as a symbol of how strange the children's lives are going to become). I think Handler may actually have seen the question mark and decided to do something with it, hence the Great Unknown. I guess what I'm saying is that we may have been looking at this backwards.