The plot of The Reptile Room is quite a sad one since it involves the Baudelaires living with the herpetologist Dr. Montgomery Montgomery. He is a kindly man who treats the kids to coconut cake and a carrot as well as gives them free rein in the house. He even insists they call him “Uncle Monty.” You almost think this arrangement will work out and the Baudelaires will finally have a home. But it doesn’t last since Count Olaf shows up in disguise and murders him. Then again, this is A Series of Unfortunate Events so you might expect this. But they aren’t the only ones whose lives has gone wrong when things seemed going so good. Lemony Snicket once had a steady job at the Daily Punctilio, a home, and a woman named Beatrice he almost married. But soon he got framed for a series of crimes, got fired from his job, and had Beatrice dump him for a mutual friend before dying in a fire which he never got over.
An appropriate song for Lemony Snicket here would be “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. The original version has Fantine recounting her time with Cosette’s father before the guy abandoned her while pregnant and with no place to go. At this point, Fantine has been fired from her factory job while trying to support her daughter (which was due to a foreman sexually harassing her). Now she’s unemployed and destitute with her hair cut, 2 teeth pulled out, and working as a prostitute. And she wonders what went wrong in her life. In this version, has Snicket does the same, but at least he knows what messed up his.
“I Dreamed a Dream” (ASOUE Version)
Sung by Lemony Snicket
There was a time when adults were sane,
When their voices were clear
And their words upstanding.
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting.
There was a time
Then it all went wrong.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
And our lives were yet to be created
There were no crimes to be framed
No song unsung
No wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night
Alleging you for crimes like murder
As they tear your life apart
As they smear your honest name.
She slept a summer by my side
She filled my days
With endless wonder
She took my childhood in her stride
But I was gone when autumn came.
And still I dream she’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather.
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.