Hogfather: A review

“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?”

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

“So we can believe the big ones?”

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

“They’re not the same at all!”

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET— Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME . . . SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”

MY POINT EXACTLY.

I love the above lines, they are possibly some of my favourite evey and most definitely from my favourite Christmas themed novel. I re read this book every year and love it!

I think it’s a great story, even for those who are not into either Christmas or Kids things (so, me then) and once again STP has managed to catch the mood and idea and weave it through the story, so you start of reading about 1 thing, which leads you to another, which segues into another and then finally, you understand what’s going on.

This book in typical Disc fashion, zooms from one place to another & one time to another at a sometimes breathless speed, calling in on favourite characters and also fleshing out some other minor characters. It both deeply respects but also makes a mockery of the Christmas that everyone knows and loves and as far as i’m concerned, shines a light on some of the flaws we all have.

I know it’s now after the festive period that i’m updating this but if you haven’t read it, I’d suggest popping to your local library and seeing if you can get it. Well worth it.

I also have the DVD but I honestly would recommend reading the book first, as this has a lot more information and nuance which is missed out (probably inevitably) within the film. – plus, all books are better than the film versions * If you disagree, tell me your thoughts in the comments, am always happy to have a new book/film to watch! Anyway, I digress…..

My favourite character in this book is DEATH, a 7 foot tall anthropomorphic skeleton who is fascinated with humanity, fascinated yet confused and trying to make sense of us all. His exploration into the minds of humans always makes me think and if there is such a thing as Death (the Grim reaper or whatever you would rather call him), Sir Terry has taken a lot of my fear of him away.

In HogfatherPratchett has finally achieved what I have sometimes found lacking in the other books written around this time: a perfect balance between the storylines. There is just the right amount of wizard comedy, lots of  time dedicated to Death and Susan grappling with what it means to be human and normal respectively, truly stellar worldbuilding, and big questions on the nature of belief and the holiday spirit that will stay with me for a very long time. I have mentioned in my other Discworld reviews that Pratchett is a philosopher and a humanist, and this is where all his views and ideas come together to form a book that is both light and heavy at the same time. Not an easy feat, and making it look effortless is the sign of a truly gifted writer. Whether you’re looking for a fun romp or a thought-provoking exploration of what it means to have faith, Pratchett’s got you covered.

There are so many great moments in this book, I don’t even know where to start. Every time you think to yourself, “wow, this is my favourite part,” Pratchett fires something new at you and raises the bar a little bit higher again (“no, wait, this is the best part”). Pascal’s Wager jokes! Susan making her way through a children’s drawing! The Death of Rats hiding on top of a Hogswatch tree! Hex writing out a letter to the Hogfather! Alfred throwing snowballs at two grumpy angels! Death saves the little match girl!

Hogfather is an incredibly fun ride and I can’t wait to reread and relive it all over again next year. And the year after that. And the year after that.

HO. HO. HO.

 

 

 

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