Book Title: Hogfather
Author: Terry Pratchett
Published by: Corgi Books (Random House)
Year of Release: 1996
It is nearly Christmas, so I thought, why not discuss one of my favourite seasonal reads. Hogfather is a book about someone trying to ‘delete’ the Hogfather from existence. Death takes over from the Hogfather and his granddaughter, Susan, as usual, is left to pick up the pieces.
Hogfather is an enjoyable read. Pratchett creates his own satirical version of Christmas, and it is hilarious. My favourite parts were the arguments between the wizards of the Unseen University. Ponder Stibbons is a great character because he is the only logical person doing any actual work at the University. Ponder has to cope with the Archchancellor, Mustrum Ridcully, who does not understand science. Ponder has to resort to stating that Hex, the thinking machine, works by magic.
Below is a quote that sums up the message that Terry Pratchett is trying to convey in Hogfather.
“Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”
As humans, we can imagine things to make life more bearable. We invent the meaning of Christmas as a family festival. Fantasy enables us to be more optimistic about things. Moreover, fantasy can always reassure people. Children are taught to believe in Santa Claus (Hogfather) to add magic to the season so joy can be spread.
Hogfather is a clever book because it reveals how humans have always lived. Stories are told to give meaning to our lives beyond our natural instincts. Susan is desperate to live a normal life, putting away child-like thinking. But, fortunately, she cannot stop herself be pulled in to help save Hogswatch.
The Assassin who tries to put an end to the Hogfather is the primary villain of the book. Jonathan Teatime is deadly with a child-like curiosity. He spends his free time devising ways to kill Death and other supposedly immortal beings. Teatime has no friends and does not appear to be looking for any. Instead, he uses people to achieve his own goals and then disposes of them when they are no longer useful.
Hogfather is a dark book, sprinkled with humour. It is one of my favourite novels by Terry Pratchett and the perfect book to read in the lead up to Christmas.
Rating: 5/5 Stars