Susan Had Never Hung Up A Stocking She D Never Put A Tooth Under Her Pillow In The Serious Expectation That A Dentally Inclined Fairy Would Turn Up It Wasn T That Her Parents Didn T Believe In Such Things They Didn T Needto Believe In Them They Know They Existed They Just Wished They Didn TThere Are Those Who Believe And Those Who Don T Through The Ages, Superstition Has Had Its Uses Nowhere So Than In The Discworld Where It S Helped To Maintain The Status Quo Anything That Undermines Superstition Has To Be Viewed With Some Caution There May Be Consequences, Particularly On The Last Night Of The Year When The Time Is Turning When Those Consequences Turn Out To Be The End Of The World, You Need To Be Prepared You Might Even Want Standing Between You And Oblivion Than A Mere Slip Of A Girl Even If She Has Looked Death In The Face On Numerous Occasions Re reading of Hogfather , one of my all time favorite books, or so I thought It s almost 20 years since I read it the first time and I estimate that I ve read about 3000 books in the interlude Nope, all of them are not on goodreads, my memory isn t that good and I ve only been keeping track the past nine years Despite the number of new books under my belt, this held up incredibly well.Susan, the non biological grand daughter of Death, is employed as a nanny and trying to be normal This is made difficult as she regularly needs to literally bash in the heads of the children s monsters with a poker Her fragile attempts at normality end when she feels the need to investigate why her father has decided to dress up as the Hogfather the Discworld s variation of Santa Claus Where has the real Hogfather gone And why are all sorts of magical creatures popping into existence The first third of the book is incredibly funny I had forgotten the finesse of Pratchett at his finest Okay, not always finesse, but hilarious none the less The end of the book has one of the best quotes ever 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 HUMAN NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE Tooth fairies Hogfathers Little YES AS PRACTICE YOU AHVE TO START OUT BE LEARNING OT 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 This was the first Pratchett book I ever read I was quite sceptical Within six months after finishing this book, I had read every other Discworld novel to that date Hogfather is an amazing fairy tale for every grown up that still nourishes the child in them This is a book that can be read at several levels, if nothing else, then simply for the humour This book is hilarious This is a book about the nature of belief the reminder that things we think of as essential, eternal, unbreakable are here because we willed them to be It is the book about origins, of sorts.This book is a reminder that what we think of as sweet harmless stories come from darker, scary places And that is for a reason So many things stem from the simple fact we, humans, need to believe we need to create and fantasize to make the world make any sense, to have the world we think of as permanent BE.Belief is what underlies what we are as humans But Pratchett, in this Christmas type Discworld story does not harp on the same old You gotta believe because of the holiday spirit BS He does not limit himself to the cynical in its childhood clarity belief that if you don t believe in Santa, there will be no presents No, in his interpretation belief is our attempt to make things make sense Yes, we chose to believe in god s or in nature or karma or things of that sort we take comfort in these things But belief Pratchett is concerned with is way than that it is what s woven into the fabric of our existence without it, would we ever even have abstract concepts that define us mercy, justice, compassion, friendship, love Basically, we need to believe in little lies like Hogfather before we are able to believe in big lies that make us human.And that s what Pratchett says in this book, through the small caps voice of his most enigmatic and inhuman character DEATH Why Becausesome things are fairly obvious when it s a seven foot skeleton with a scythe telling you themYES 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 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. Despite what I wrote above, this story, with all the think about it message is far from preaching on the contrary, it s hilariously entertaining Due to a bit of trouble involving the Auditors of Reality and a sociopathic member of the Assassins GuildMister Teatime, who saw things differently from other people, and one of the ways that he saw things differently from other people was in seeing other people as things, Death finds himself in need to impersonate the legendary Hogfather think Santa Claus with boar husks, riding a sleigh led by boars And there are teeth involved.And ultimately it s up to Death s granddaughter don t ask Susan to fix this entire mess Susan, the level headed, extra rational, self sufficient duchess turned governess who firmly believes thatReal children do not go hoppity skip unless they are on drugsSusan, the level headed young woman that, despite trying to cling to normality, keeps monsters in line with a very important storyline wise fireplace pokerThe children refused to disbelieve in the monsters because, frankly, they knew damn well the things were there.But she d found that they could, very firmly, also believe in the pokerAnd it is exactly this combination of magic and firm reality that makes her such an irresistible character That, and the extreme pragmaticism combined with a weary knowledge of the world that does not fit into the rigid frames of everyday normalShe d become a governess It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do And she d taken to it well She d sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she d beat herself to death with her own umbrellaAnd, of course, we get to enjoy the company of one of Pratchett s most fascinating characters Death There are plenty of funny moments as he tries on Hogfather s false beard for size, so to say Up until now, he never had to trouble himself with the naughty or nice question, and he s never had people line up eager to see him And there are a few things that Death learns thanks to this new temporary jobs like the value of charity, the gift of life if you ve ever been scarred by Andersen s saddest fairy tale A Girl with Matches you ll know right away what I mean and the unfairness of socio economic status quoCharity ain t giving people what you wants to give, it s giving people what they need to getNot to mention the pointy hatted appearance of the Wizards of the Unseen UniversityReal stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time, the amazing thinking machine Hex which from now on will be FTB enabled view spoiler FTB fluffy teddy bear , of course hide spoiler IT IS THE THINGS YOU BELIEVE IN WHICH MAKE YOU HUMAN GOOD THINGS AND BAD THINGS, IT S ALL THE SAME Hogfather itself concerns the Discworld, where there are things that control the Universe called The Auditors and they do not like Humans, because Humans are messy Well, they did invent dullness And Death is meddling again His grand daughter Susan is trying to be normal, but how normal is hitting bogeymen with a poker, really And we haven t even mentioned the one eyed Assassin yet, or the fact that no one seems to believe in the Hogfather any.Terry Pratchett s 20th Discworld novel is their version of a Yuletide story, complete with many deaths, lots of Death and some of the most thought provoking conversations I ve ever come across He has other books that are better written, although I think you d be hard pressed to find any mistakes here The depth of characters considering how many there actually are is astounding and is brought forward in such a way that you don t really notice it until you close the book and realise that you know about Ridcully than you do your own Nan.The humour is typical early Discworld It is the same that runs through the entire series, but here it is a bit less rounded than elsewhere It can often be subtle, or it can very much in your face It is very much an English kind of Humour book.What you take from this particular novel, however, is just how important belief is to Human Beings It is not enough to say that we tell children to believe in Father Christmas just so that they don t understand the value of money and have to work it out later on or because it s tradition , but it s so we can understand that beliefs are the most important thing to us If we did not believe, what would we be I m not sure how, but my third read of this made me upgrade it to a full 5 stars Am I getting in to the Christmas Hogswatch spirit Every year I read this Every year I love it and I am incapable of putting in to words my utter love for this book and everything contained within First read 9th June, 2013 3 stars.Second read 19th December, 2015 4 stars.Third Read 21st December, 2016 5 stars.Fourth Read 16th December, 2017 5 stars Blog Instagram Twitter Pinterest Shop Etsy Humans need fantasy to be human To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape From Discworld s inception, readers have known that Sir Terry Pratchett has fired a shot across the bow of convention, especially religious institutions, with his concept of a flat world atop four elephants who themselves stood atop of great turtle Hogfather, his 20th Discworld novel first published in 1996, takes off where 1992 s Small Gods his 13th leaves off Hello, inner child, I m the inner babysitter Hogfather, Discworld s swinerific version of Jolly Old Saint Nick, has gone missing and Death has taken over while things get sorted out But that s only the beginning of the fun Terry has in store for us as Susan, the Wizards, The Librarian Oook , Nobby Nobs, Foul Old Ron and a host of Discworld favorites join in to make this one of the best Discworld novels DO I DETECT A NOTE OF UNSEASONAL GRUMPINESS said Death NO SUGAR PIGGYWIGGY FOR YOU, ALBERT Belief is difficult at best in our world, but in Pratchett s Discworld, the complexities of belief in a theological personification can take on a whole other sort of intricacy When the Auditors get sideways and we start seeing deific entities like an Oh god of Hangovers and Eaters of Socks, we get to explore absurdities the likes of which only Pratchett could pull off This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not So why not believe in them in any case If it s all true you ll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn t then you ve lost nothing, right When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty looking sticks and one of them said, We re going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts Pratchett takes on the Gaimanesque idea that gods and mythical creatures exist and gain sustenance from belief nine years before Neil s masterpiece American Gods Then Terry goes one step further and satirizes the concept of belief and fear and studies themes of faith, psychological need, and fundamental fairness in his special and unique way Fairness, when discussed between Death and Albert, is one of the high points in the entire Discworld universe and is an archetypal moment in his prose One of his best, a MUST read for Discworld fans and maybe a good start for the series by those not yet initiated Some things are fairly obvious when it s a seven foot skeleton with a scythe telling you them