Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather is a novel I can’t help but love.
Published in 1996, it’s the twentieth book in Pratchett’s popular Discworld series, and tells the story of Death and his granddaughter Susan trying to save Christmas and rescue Santa…erm…I mean, save Hogwatch and rescue the Hogfather.
Full of witty humour, clever satire, and relatable characters, the Hogfather skewers fantasy tropes while still embracing them.
The book is set during the Discworld equivalent of Christmas, where the Hogfather, a jolly fat man in red, delivers presents to children. But when the Hogfather goes missing, Death steps in to take his place. This setup allows Pratchett to poke fun at the commercialization of Christmas while still celebrating the spirit of giving.
Pratchett explores the idea that if enough people believe in something, it can become real—the Tooth Fairy exists because children believe in her. But the Auditors of Reality are trying to use this idea to stop people believing in the Hogfather, and force him from existence.
We find Pratchett’s usual wide range of characters, including Death, his granddaughter Susan, and the bumbling wizards of Unseen University. But it is Mr. Jonathan Teatime, (pronounced “Teh-ah-tim-eh”) who is my personal favourite.
Sent to assassinate the Hogfather, Mr. Teatime is cold and brilliant. He is a gentleman who relishes being an assassin, though not for the money, but for the sheer joy of killing.
Hogfather’s a book that I cannot recommend enough. It’s dark and witty, but somehow whimsical and heart-warming.
Is this my favourite Pratchett? I’m not sure. He wrote so many great books, but this was the one that had the biggest impact on my own work as a writer.
What’s your favourite Pratchett novel?