by a harpoon gun or Hotel Denouement fire (possibly)
Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs
- "I'm afraid I have some very bad news for you children. Your parents... have perished in a terrible fire. They perished... in a fire that destroyed the entire house. I'm very, very sorry to tell you this, my dears. Perish means killed."
- —Mr. Poe to the Baudelaire orphans
Arthur Poe was a financial banker who was promoted to the position of Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs at Mulctuary Money Management before the events of The Bad Beginning. This fact is confirmed by Count Olaf near the end of The End.
He is usually blatantly ignorant and easily fooled by all of Count Olaf's disguises. Mr. Poe is unhelpful and he has never listened to the Baudelaire orphans (Violet, Klaus and Sunny) nor believed them when they were allowed to speak their minds. Mr. Poe continually believes that the children will be safe wherever they are ending up despite the fact that are always found by Olaf. Mr. Poe is so unhelpful that he accidentally called a Vietnamese restaurant instead of the police when the Quagmires were being kidnapped.
It is also revealed by Count Olaf that Mr. Poe had a stage name, although it still remains unknown what that name was.
Arthur Poe has two children: Edgar and Albert, and a wife, Polly. His sister, Eleanora Poe, is believed to be a V.F.D. member as well as the Editor-in-Chief for the The Daily Punctilio; she assigned Lemony Snicket to be the dramatic critic for the very same newspaper.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Poe is the first to bring the news of Bertrand and Beatrice's death to the Baudelaire children. As executor of the Baudelaire estate, he interprets the will's instructions that the children "be raised in the most convenient way possible" as meaning they should remain within the city limits, and arranges for their distant cousin Count Olaf to take custody. Before going to Olaf's, the Baudelaires briefly stay at his house.
When the Baudelaires contact Poe at his bank, Mulctuary Money Management, to report Olaf's abuse, the children call Olaf a madman, mention they are only provided one bed, forced to do many chores, say Olaf drinks too much wine, has many terrible friends, and is always asking about their money. The banker points out that Olaf is acting "in loco parentis", and can raise them as he sees fit, even if they may not like some aspects, even not caring about the fact that Klaus was slapped across the face, angering Violet. Mr. Poe says, "Now, I hate to usher you out posthaste, but I have very much work to do. Posthaste means—” “—means you’ll do nothing to help us,” Violet finished for him, shaking with frustration. Frustrated, the Baudelaires decide to suck it up and leave.
The next morning, Olaf reveals Mr. Poe blabbed to him about their visit, when they expected it to be private.
When Olaf traps Sunny in a birdcage and attempts to force Violet to marry him, Poe invokes citizen's arrest just prior to Count Olaf's escape.
Following these events, Poe successively places the children under the care of Montgomery "Monty" Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle, Sir, Jerome and Esmé Squalor, and finally the Village of Fowl Devotees, acting as their temporary guardian in the interim. When the Baudelaires escape the village amidst accusations of murder (and later arson and kidnapping), Poe is one of the few adults to maintain the Baudelaires' innocence and disbelieve the incriminating Daily Punctilio articles published by his sister Eleanora. When the Baudelaires return to the city to meet up with V.F.D., Poe intervenes on a tip from a "J.S." (initials variously used by Jerome Squalor, Justice Strauss, Count Olaf, Esmé Squalor, and possibly others) with the intent of clearing the Baudelaires' names and restoring his role as executor, but the children refuse to accompany him. After Mrs. Bass robs Mulctuary Money Management, Poe is placed in charge of the investigation, which leads him to the Hotel Denouement. When the hotel is set on fire, Poe is on the third floor. Whether he survives or not is left unanswered.
Behind the scenes
In the film, he is portrayed by Timothy Spall.
In the video game, he is voiced by Daniel Hagen.
In the TV series, he is portrayed by K. Todd Freeman.
- Both his name, and those of his two sons', are derived from poet Edgar Allan Poe.
- Mr. Poe has a persistent cough, which often heralds his arrival into a particular scene. In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, someone records a conversation between Mr. Poe and his sister at the Anxious Clown. During the conversation, it is revealed that Mr. Poe has had the cough since childhood.
- The Bad Beginning
- The Reptile Room
- The Wide Window
- The Miserable Mill
- The Austere Academy
- The Ersatz Elevator
- The Vile Village
- The Hostile Hospital (Mentioned only)
- The Carnivorous Carnival (Mentioned only)
- The Slippery Slope (Mentioned only)
- The Grim Grotto
- The Penultimate Peril
- The End (Mentioned only)
- Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (film)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (video game)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)
- ↑ Lemony Snicket says "it wasn't Mr. Poe's destiny to be killed by a harpoon gun, at least not this evening in particular." This could mean that Mr. Poe will eventually be killed by a harpoon gun on a different occasion or simply, he just did not die on this particular evening.
- ↑ As implied in the rare edition edition of The Bad Beginning.