Count Olaf is the primary antagonist of the children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events by American author Lemony Snicket. In the series, Olaf is an award-winning actor and is known to have committed many crimes as a member of the fire-starting side of V.F.D. before the series begins. Olaf is repeatedly described as having a unibrow, a wheezy voice, and gleaming eyes. He is often distinguished by the V.F.D. insignia tattooed on his left ankle (as with most V.F.D. members).
Following the death of Bertrand and Beatrice, Count Olaf takes custody of the children for the fire-starting V.F.D. and tries to gain control of the Baudelaire fortune. After the children are legally removed from his care by Arthur Poe, Olaf begins a series of attempts to regain his role as guardian (by wearing various disguises) which involves the murders of Gustav Sebald, Monty Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle, and Jacques Snicket, and the attempted murder of Charles.
With the death of Jacques, who is mistakenly identified as the count by The Daily Punctilio, the police manhunt for Olaf is turned to the Baudelaires, upon whom Jacques's murder is framed. Olaf uses his newfound immunity to burn down Heimlich Hospital and Caligari Carnival without repercussions. When he and the Baudelaires burn the Hotel Denouement down, however, they are forced to flee the authorities by escaping to sea, where they shipwreck on the island on the coastal shelf. In an attempt to take control of the island, Olaf threatens to release the airborne pathogens of Medusoid Mycelium on the colonists, but is harpoon by Ishmael. Olaf lives long enough to help Kit Snicket safely deliver her child, an event the Baudelaires refer to as the "one good thing" in his life.
Count Olaf's criminal youth is referenced several times over the course of the series, most obviously in The Unauthorized Autobiography, in which a letter written from Sally Sebald contains a picture of the young boy who was to play Young Rölf in Zombies in the Snow, a film directed by her brother Gustav Sebald. She says that she thinks his name might be Count Omar (a name that many confuse with Olaf throughout the series).
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