Quagmire family

Quagmire family

The Quagmires are a principal family in the children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events by American author Lemony Snicket. The unnamed Quagmire parents were members of the secret vigilante organization V.F.D. until they were killed by arsonists in a fire that destroyed their mansion and orphaned their children, the triplets Duncan, Isadora, and Quigley.

When Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire (the protagonists of the series) first meet Duncan and Isadora at Prufrock Preparatory School, the triplets believe their brother Quigley is dead along with their parents, who died in a fire, possible started by Count Olaf. At Prufrock, they quickly become best friends with the Baudelaires. The series' antagonist, Count Olaf, kidnaps the Quagmires in an attempt to steal their inheritance (the "Quagmire sapphires"), and Duncan and Isadora escape with V.F.D. member Hector in his homemade airship, which cannot land.

The Baudelaires later meet Quigley while wandering in the Mortmain Mountains in search of their parents. He and Violet form a romantic relationship, but Quigley becomes separated from the Baudelaires as they search for the sugar bowl. Quigley joins V.F.D. and begins to search for his airborne siblings with the aid of Kit Snicket. In The End, Duncan, Isadora, and Quigley are swallowed up by the Great Unknown.

The surname "Quagmire" literally means a climatic bog, but can be interpreted metaphorically as a bad predicament.[1]


Family members

Mr. Quagmire

Mr. Quagmire is the father of Duncan, Isadora, and Quigley Quagmire, and a member of the fire-stopping side of V.F.D. According to Quigley, Mr. Quagmire used to say, "A good meal can cheer one up considerably."[2] The Quagmires are described as wealthy, most of their monetary value lying in the "Quagmire sapphires", which Count Olaf seeks to steal from the Quagmire triplets after their parents' death. Mr. Quagmire and his wife were killed by arsonists in a fire to their mansion shortly after Bertrand and Beatrice Baudelaire were killed in a parallel fire.[3]

Mrs. Quagmire

Mrs. Quagmire is the mother of Duncan, Isadora, and Quigley Quagmire, and a member of the fire-stopping side of V.F.D. When the Quagmire mansion was burning down, Mrs. Quagmire saved Quigley's life by showing him the secret tunnel to Dr. Monty Montgomery's house, but died trying to save Duncan and Isadora.[4]

Duncan and Isadora Quagmire

Duncan and Isadora Quagmire as illustrated by Brett Helquist

Duncan and Isadora Quagmire are introduced in The Austere Academy when they invite the Baudelaire children to share their table in the school cafeteria following an unpleasant first encounter with Carmelita Spats. They are named after Isadora Duncan, a dancer who died after being strangled by her own scarf. Their skills/interests are quickly established: Isadora recreationally writes poetry, specializing in couplets; Duncan is an aspiring journalist who makes notes about his surroundings. Each triplet carries a notebook wherever they go. They explain that their parents and brother Quigley perished in a large fire and prefer to be referred to as triplets; parallel to the Baudelaires and the Baudelaire fortune, they stand to inherit the Quagmire Sapphires when they come of age. Duncan and Isadora share classes with Violet and Klaus respectively and a close friendship develops between the triplets and the Baudelaires. When Count Olaf appears as Coach Genghis, the Quagmires decide to involve themselves; they research Olaf's past crimes in old newspapers in the school library and sneak out of Vice Principal Nero's concerts to spy on him and the Baudelaires. The Quagmires' last attempt to aid the Baudelaires (ill-advised, according to Lemony Snicket) involves the triplets disguising themselves as the Baudelaires and ends with Olaf abducting them when he flees Prufrock Preparatory School with the help of the white-faced women, intending to obtain the Quagmire Sapphires. Before they are taken away, Duncan shouts the phrase "VFD" to Klaus, saying that it is something awful that he and Isadora discovered while researching Olaf's history.

In The Ersatz Elevator, the triplets are discovered locked in a cage at the bottom of an unused and apparently pointless elevator shaft at 667 Dark Avenue, the address of the Baudelaire children's latest guardians Jerome and Esmé Squalor. They are described as having a 'haunted look' about them. They know little about Olaf's current scheme, but they are able to reveal that he plans to smuggle them out of town. The Baudelaires return to their home in the penthouse to prepare blowtorches to free the triplets from their cage, but find them gone when they return to the bottom of the shaft; the removal of their cage exposes the shaft's true purpose as a secret tunnel. At the end of the book, Olaf, Esmé and the Hook-Handed Man successfully escape with the Quagmires, who had been hidden inside a fish statue.

Duncan and Isadora make their last appearance in The Vile Village (though they are referenced regularly for the rest of the series). The village caretaker Hector, with whom the Baudelaires live, upon hearing about the Quagmires, gives to them a scrap of paper upon which is written a couplet which they recognize as Isadora's poetic style. Hector says that he found the paper at the bottom of the Nevermore Tree, where the crows that populate the village roost every night. More couplets are found at the bottom of the tree as the story unfolds and the Baudelaires soon discover the couplets, when put together, reveal where the Triplets have been imprisoned within the village. The Baudelaires eventually free them and they are pursued along with the Baudelaires by the villagers to the outskirts of town. Once there, Hector appears in his self-sustaining hot-air balloon mobile home. The Quagmire triplets climb onto the home safely but the Baudelaires are thwarted in their attempt to do the same by Esmé Squalor, disguised as Officer Luciana, using a harpoon gun. The triplets throw their notebooks to the Baudelaires and beg them to read them to discover the secret of VFD, but Esmé also destroys the notebooks using the gun. Duncan and Isadora fly away in the home with Hector, safe from Olaf's clutches. Their now fragmented notes prove to be of some assistance to the Baudelaires in learning more about V.F.D, Olaf and their own connections to the organization.

Isadora and Duncan were attacked by V.F.D. eagles, which took out the balloons supporting them, just as they meet up with Quigley. As a result, they were sent down, taking out the Queequeg directly below them. They are taken by The Great Unknown.

Quigley Quagmire

Quigley Quagmire as illustrated by Brett Helquist

Quigley Quagmire was thought to have died in the fire that killed his parents until Violet and Klaus Baudelaire met him in a cave with the Snow Scouts in The Slippery Slope. He and Violet Baudelaire clearly have some romantic interest in each other; at one point, Snicket implies that Violet and Quigley kiss (as they climb a waterfall, Violet comments on the view, which Quigley agrees looks beautiful; however, he is looking at her when he says this, giving the reader the impression that he is saying that she is beautiful instead of the view). Snicket then decides to break off at this point and let Violet have some privacy. However, he tells the reader that, throughout the rest of their climb, they had "small, secret smiles," and, when Quigley expresses surprise that they've been climbing the whole afternoon, Violet reminds him (while giving him a shy smile) that they have not been climbing the whole afternoon. Also, when the siblings are separated from him, Violet is the only one to start weeping. As well as this, throughout the next book, Quigley is always described as "a cartographer—someone who is very good with maps, and of whom Violet Baudelaire was particularly fond."

His mother hid him in a trapdoor during the fire to protect him. He was under there for a few hours, then he found that it was a tunnel. It took him to Dr. Montgomery Montgomery's house, after the Baudelaires had been there. The house was empty, proving that the Baudelaires had already left and Dr. Montgomery was already dead. This also implies that the Quagmire house burned down after the Baudelaire mansion. Then, Jacques Snicket arrived, but left for Paltryville.

At the end of the book, the Baudelaires and Quigley escape Olaf, but the icy Stricken Stream melts, and Quigley gets washed away by the current of the river into a separate tributary. He apparently survives, as he sends the Baudelaires a telegram with a hidden message in it in The Grim Grotto, telling them to go to Briny Beach. He also hides the word 'violet' in the message, which seems to have nothing to do with telling the Baudelaires where to go -- Violet suggests that he just wanted to write her name, a further implication of their romantic involvement. Violet then runs to the taxi cab, saying Quigley's name under her breath (it is earlier stated that she felt as if she had been whispering his name to herself for days), before shouting it. He is on the "good" side of the schism.

Like his siblings, Quigley has an interest related to writing, in his case cartography.

In The Penultimate Peril, Kit Snicket tells the Baudelaires that Quigley and Kit were planning to meet up with the three children, but he received word from his other two siblings that they were being attacked in the sky. Kit says that he stole a helicopter to help them and Hector, and would do this by constructing a huge net.

At the end of the series, Kit informs the Baudelaires that Quigley did indeed manage to meet up with his siblings, shortly before the eagles popped the balloons holding them up. Everyone inside the mobile home was sent toppling downwards, destroying the Queequeg directly below them. Duncan, Isadora, Kit Snicket, Captain Widdershins, Fiona, Phil, Fernald, Hector, Ink and Quigley were all left stranded in the water, before the large question-mark shaped object, The Great Unknown, appeared below them. Kit and Ink managed to escape, while everyone else wanted to take a chance with the unknown and were pulled under, to their rescue. It is unknown if they are alive or not, but in The End it mentions that the Quagmires are "in circumstances just as dark [...] as the Baudelaires'." Kit also mentions that the last she heard of them was one of the Quagmires calling out Violet's name. Sunny asks which sibling called it, but Kit didn't know. It is most likely that the sibling who called out Violet's name was Quigley.

Quigley's first name may be a reference to Lillian Fox Quigley, author of The Blind Men and the Elephant,[5] a children's book based on a poem of the same name discussed in The Penultimate Peril.


The Quagmire mansion was the house that Duncan, Isadora and Quigley Quagmire lived in with their parents. Like the Baudelaire Mansion it burned to the ground in a tragic fire; also like the Baudelaire Mansion it has a network of passages underneath it leading to other V.F.D Volunteers' houses. After the mansion had been burnt down, Quigley Quagmire states that it was under the care of the city's sixth most important financial advisor, Esmé Squalor. How or when she gained control of the estate is unclear, but there is a possibility that the Quagmire parents were on the side of Esmé, thus being villains themselves. Also like The Baudelaire Mansion the Quagmire Mansion was made from Emerald Lumber, from Lucky Smells Lumbermill .

The Quagmire sapphires are very rare and valuable jewels. They are left unharmed in the fire that destroyed the Quagmire mansion. Since the disappearance of the Quagmire siblings, taken by the Great Unknown, the sapphires are either retrieved or deliberately destroyed.

Isadora's couplets

"I would rather eat a bowl of vampire bats, than spend an hour with Carmelita Spats."
"It would be a stroke of luck, if Coach Genghis were hit by a truck."
"Don't worry Baudelaires, don't feel disgrace; the Quagmire triplets are on the case."
"It may not be particularly wise, but it's a thrill to be disguised."
"On Auction Day when the sun goes down, Gunther will sneak us out of town."
"And Duncan's research was absolutely right, the paper dried off and fell at night."
"Celebrate when you're half done, and the finish won't be half as fun."

"For our sapphires we are held in here"

"Only you can end our fear"

"Until dawn comes we cannot speak"

"No words can come from this sad beak"

"The first thing you read contains the clue"

"An initial way to speak to you"

"Inside these letters the eye will see"

"Nearby are your friends and V.F.D."

See also


  1. ^ "Quagmire" in the American Heritage Dictionary
  2. ^ p. 210
  3. ^ The Quagmires were killed sometime after Monty Montgomery's death.
  4. ^ p. 159, The Slippery Slope
  5. ^ Quigley, Lillian F., The Blind Men and the Elephant, Scribner, New York, 1959.

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