Hogfather is the twentieth book in the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett. We loved it for many reasons, and in particular because it means that my son has now read nearly half the series, which is an immense achievement for a ten year old boy who a few years ago announced he wasn’t going to bother to learn to read.
Hogfather is one of the stories with Death in, who I increasingly grow to love as the series goes on. Death becomes more complex, more thoughtful, more critical of humanity and indeed more human as the books progress. Death, in lots of ways, reminds me of Dr. Who in the way that he regards the human race. Always saving them, always baffled by them, can’t help loving them.
In this book we meet Mr. Tea Time, an assassin, who even by the Assassin’s Guild’s standards has gone a bit wrong. Mr. Tea Time is a sociopath, and has been hired by the auditors, the miserable, soulless overseers of the universe, to tidy up the Disc by removing its more frivolous creatures. The half mythic, half godlike, strange creatures like Hogfather for example, a creature best described here as the Discworld’s version of Father Christmas.
Death will not put up with the auditors’ meddling when he can meddle back, and this time he enlists his most excellent granddaughter, Susan to help him in his bid to make sure that the sun rises on another day on the Disc.
Many fine and beloved characters make their appearance in this book, which is one of the reasons we love it so. Bloody Stupid Johnson and his almost perfect bathroom in the Unseen University, Ridcully the arch chancellor and the bursar with his dried frog pills, Hex and his growing complexities, and even Corporal Nobby Nobs all get a look in on this seasonal and brilliant volume in the series.
As ever, recommended for teens mostly, but precocious children everywhere.