Hogfather Discussion **Spoilers**

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Hogfather Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:05 am

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Hogfather in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!

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Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1996


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Just like buses, you wait for ages for one and then three turn up together. That was the case with people asking to write the introduction for Hogfather. It’s obviously a very popular book with Pratchett readers and I’ll look forward to your comments.

However, first come, first served and I want to thank Meerkat for writing the following intro. :D

meerkat wrote: What has happened to the Hogfather?
OMG!, where has he gone?
Will there still be a HOGSWATCH this year?
Will the sun rise on HOGSWATCH morning?
Will the pork reserves dry up?
There is only one replacement who can step into the breach as long as he can get his ‘HO HO HO’s’ right, his cushion doesn’t slip too much and his elf doesn’t eat ALL the pork pies and turnips..or set the sleigh alight with his fag ends!
Meanwhile, can a Woman do a Man’s job, especially as the HOGFATHER’s replacement isn’t alive in the given meaning of alive... or a ‘man’ for that matter?
It is HOGSWATCH, so be afraid, be very afraid, something unpleasant is happening in the Discworld!

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Oddly enough, this has never been one of my favourites – although I don’t dislike it. I’ve read it dozens of times, but this time I really felt like I ‘got’ what Terry was saying.

To me this is almost a companion book with Small Gods in that it deals with belief. But, whereas Small Gods dealt with religious belief, Hogfather deals much more with the things humans believe in, in general. When the days are getting darker and colder it takes hope and belief that the world isn’t going to end and that summer will come again.

Superstitions become beliefs and beliefs become traditions.

I think it’s inevitable that comparisons will be drawn with the Sky TV version, and that’s fine, but be aware that some people may not have watched it.

I enjoyed Hogfather much more this time.

But what did you think of it?


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Want to write the introduction for the next discussion (The Light Fantastic)? PM me and let me know if you’d like to – first come first served. :wink:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby stripy_tie » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:11 am

This'll be a bit long but please bear with me.

One of my very favourite discworld novels; the characters are extremely strong, Teatime is a work of genius and probably the most interesting villain in any of the books.

It also shows us another side of DEATH only occasionally seen in preceding DEATH books and really explores Susan's character and how she's been dealing with life and independency post Reaper Man.

The plot itself is both riveting and hilarious and makes for a wonderful jaunt across Ankh-Morpork and surrounding areas while making each location essential to the continuation of the story itself

I think there are at least three major themes running throughout the novel.

Christmas: Pratchett really gets down to brass tacks here and pulls out the otherwise vague beginnings of the festival, shows us it's roots in the human psyche and the reason for it's existence; ignoring the excuses that have been overlaid by the introduction of new religions over time "It's all about the sun master, white snow and red blood and the sun. Always has been".

The Hogfather can be seen as a literal representation of Christmas itself. Originally beginning as a way to call the sun back and banish winter but changing over time to reflect numerous different popular interpretations and the rise and fall of religions. However if you look at him closely you can see where he came from, what he used to be and what to a certain extent he still is and always will be.

Belief in a semi-secular context: Belief in the context of religion has been explored previously in "Small Gods" and to a certain extent in "Reaper Man" in the form of life force. Pratchett turns the idea on it's head here and takes a look from a different angle while extending concepts already developed in SG i.e belief as a tangible, measurable force. He imagines how that affects people, what happens when a focus of belief disappears and even how it can be controlled or counteracted.

Next to this is the idea that it is used as a tool by humans to introduce larger concepts that while traditionally thought of as secular require someone to be capable of belief to understand and fight for them.

[I have a quote for this but it's too large for this post, please refer to pages 407-409 of HF for the conversation between Death and Susan (at least those are the correct pages in my BC edition).]

Poverty in times that are traditionally happy: Sir Terry throws a lot of new light on traditional christmas stories and how we view them by showing them through the eyes of DEATH while presenting the generally accepted view through Albert, in particular "The Little Match Girl" (see pages 209-211).
It's all about the sun master, white snow and red blood and the sun. Always has been.
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Postby DaveC » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:45 am

stripy_tie wrote:This'll be a bit long but please bear with me.


It also shows us another side of DEATH only occasionally seen in preceding DEATH books and really explores Susan's character and how she's been dealing with life and independency post Reaper Man.


Great deconstruction Stripy, and no it wasn't too long. 8)

One small note was that it was Soul Music in which we last saw Susan's character, I love how it was developed into the stern governess and later into Thief of Time. They make a great trilogy I wish there was a fourth as it's been a while since she was visited, and I'd like to see how matter-of-fact character fares in Pterry's new darker DW books.

Aside from Susan's character, it's always the wizards story that I remember more rather than the heist parady/homage. This is classic Ridcully and the wizards, almost representing the personality of 'Father Christmas' without the story involving HIM. The verruca gnome, the Oh God of Hangovers (granted, Susan means him first), and the socks....they believe in things so easily and this novel forces them to think more, though they don't learn.

Still haven't done RJH's survey yet but this maybe the perfect example of a DW novel, with so much humour, philosophy, great characters and magic :D
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Postby Willem » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:12 pm

Great book, really captures the winter holiday spirit. Placed it on number four in RJH's list. I'll start a re-read this week since it's been a while and hope I can add something to the discussion soon.

I will say I didn't care much for the tv adaption. Didn't click with me. Also a long time since I've seen it but from what I remember Susan wasn't a very good actress and Teatime wasn't childlike-bonkers enough.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:14 pm

This is going to be short and sweet or at least short. :)

It's my favorite discworld film adaption not least because the money for it was raised privately by the MOB to sell it to SKY, and the rest is history.

The book reamains one of my favorites with Susan in it and has become a school governess, who wielded a mean poker when dealing with the monsters in the cellar.

Excellent book love it, and it's due for a reread or a relisten as I have it on my MP3 player. :mrgreen:
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Postby DaveC » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:28 pm

I have to say it's my favourite of the films too. Susan (now in Downton Abbey) was awesome I thought.
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Postby stripy_tie » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:45 pm

Who's Wee Dug wrote:This is going to be short and sweet or at least short. :)

It's my favorite discworld film adaption not least because the money for it was raised privately by the MOB to sell it to SKY, and the rest is history.

The book reamains one of my favorites with Susan in it and has become a school governess, who wielded a mean poker when dealing with the monsters in the cellar.

Excellent book love it, and it's due for a reread or a relisten as I have it on my MP3 player. :mrgreen:


Watching the film on Sky One when it first came out is how i found out about discworld in the first place and i'm sure i wasn't the only one to do so through it. I've got it on DVD and always have a re-watch in the last few days before christmas.

It's a brilliant adaptation.
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Postby swreader » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:08 pm

Sorry to be Scrooge-like, but this is down at the bottom of my list (if I had one). I have to agree, though that Teatime is probably at least displayed as one of Terry's nastiest villains--but Carcer is probably his equal in villainy, just different in style. I find Carcer the more frightening in some ways because, unlike Teatime, Carcer isn't mad. He just has no sense of right and wrong, so that anything he decides to do is fine. Teatime, on the other hand, enjoys his villainy in a terrifying way.

While I enjoyed the wizard's in Reaper Man, I found them way overdone and not very funny in most of this--so very predictable.

With most of Terry's books I find that re-reading them allows me to enjoy them more, but in this case I found that so much of it rests on a rather obvious parody of the commercialism of Christmas that it was a real pain to make myself finish it this time.

Sorry, guys--I know most of you like this book, but I think it one of Terry's weaker books.
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Postby DaveC » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:29 pm

Carcer didn't have that great an impression on me and was probably the least memorable part of Night Watch... :roll:
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Postby stripy_tie » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:16 pm

DaveC wrote:Carcer didn't have that great an impression on me and was probably the least memorable part of Night Watch... :roll:


Agreed, i found him vaguely boring at best. I never felt like he presented any kind of danger to Vimes whereas Teatime presented a danger to everyone around him at all times regardless of who they were.
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Postby Lamia » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:50 pm

It is, not counting Good omens, my favourite book by Pratchett, and one of my favourite books in general. It's hilarious, exciting and everything a good fantasy novel should be.
stripy_tie wrote:One of my very favourite discworld novels; the characters are extremely strong, Teatime is a work of genius and probably the most interesting villain in any of the books.


Agreed! Pratchett has a lot of great characters, and some of the best ones are in Hogfather. Death is really sympathetic, as usual, Susan must be the most awesome governess ever and I find her more interesting than I did in Soul music, and Teatime is simply an amazing villain.

I don't remember much about the film adaption, but I recall thinking that the actors of Susan and Teatime were pretty good. I've been planning to get it on DVD for some time now, but haven't managed to do so yet.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:05 pm

I really enjoyed this book, it's an example of how Terry can combine an interesting and well-researched story with some killer one-liners that made me snort mince pies out of my nose. Susan, who I don't normally like, was perhaps less annoying than usual, but Teatime wasn't a very good villain. Like some other Pratchett baddies, he was a bit two-dimensional. Carcer for example was perfectly capable of passing himself off as a normal human (normalish), whereas Teatime, Andy Shank, and another I won't mention are just antisocial nutters - there's nothing more to them, and they're so predictable they aren't frightening.

I liked Death's version of a happy hogswatch. I always thought the Little Matchgirl was a crap story to tell kids at christmas.
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Postby deldaisy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:09 pm

Ohhhhhhhh Dotsie!

Its like you entered my brain and stole all the words I had in there. :shock:


..... what she said!
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Postby SpyViolette » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:29 am

I've watched the movie before, and because of it I am quite afraid Teatime is going to show up and kill me.

I ordered the book from eBay but it has just been shipped today so it probably won't arrive until Hogswatch.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:44 am

SpyViolette wrote:I've watched the movie before, and because of it I am quite afraid Teatime is going to show up and kill me.


What!! at teatime. :wink: :lol:
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