Ishmael russo
Biographical information

Not during the series.





Physical description





Ishmael is a character who appears for the first time in The End. He is the facilitator of The Island featured in that book. He tells the other colonists on the island that his feet are injured, and keeps them covered in clay to promote this idea, but he is lying so that he does not have to do much work on the island. He does not allow anything to happen on the island that will change the customs and traditions that he has put in place.

VFD Involvement

Ishmael was once a member of the V.F.D. He washed up on the island like everyone else, although there is no detail on what circumstances exactly brought him there. He regards Count Olaf as his personal enemy, blaming him for the act of arson that destroyed his home, although Olaf later refutes this, saying that it wasn't caused by him at all. Later on in The End, his anger and bitterness cause him to lock Olaf up in a "large, ornate bird cage" and eventually shoot Olaf with the last harpoon in his harpoon gun, wounding him and destroying the diving helmet that contained the spores of the Medusoid Mycelium. The wound killed Olaf near the end of the book. in the beginning of the end of The End, Ishmael says he learns to drink tea as bitter as wormwood, which, non-coincidentally, is what Kit Snicket says tea should be like. 

Life on the Island

Because of his involvement with V.F.D. and the schism, he wanted a life on the island as far from treachery as possible, so after he became the island's facilitator, he made everything on the island simple. The same three dishes were served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively (the dishes were bland). Another example is that he did not allow forks because it can be used as a weapon. The other islanders were kept in a submissive form by insisting that they regularly drink fermented coconut milk, an opiate that keeps them from protesting against his customs. He is responsible for the upkeep of the arboretum and the secret library within, as well as all of the detritus that washes up on the coastal shelf, pulled to the arboretum by the sheep. He predicts the weather with a tall periscope, although he tells the islanders that it's magic. Because he does not allow the islanders near the arboretum, they do not know that the apples on the giant tree dilutes the Medusoid Mycelium poison. He eats them regularly though, as he fears the eventual threat of the fungus. His frequent eating of the hybrid fruit has made him immune to the poison.

The last act Ishmael was witnessed doing was sailing off of the island with with rest of the islanders, having convinced them to depart, after insisting that they drink coconut milk.

Ishmael regularly asks the islanders to refer to him as Ish, although Count Olaf is the only person that ever calls him that, near to the end of The End. This is an allusion to the famous opening line of Moby Dick , "Call me Ishmael".



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