Here at Reading Passport HQ we love Terry Pratchett’s work and in our endeavour to bring you our favourite festive reads, we think that The Hogfather, the 20th novel in the Discworld series is an absolute must read for Pratchett fans and those looking for a festive twist!
This novel is a firm part of the Discworld series which notably presents a reflected and even sometimes thinly veiled version of our world, where there are entirely new systems which challenge and question some of our own systems. Usual for Discworld novels is the expectation that disbelief must be suspended and fantasy is served with large dash of humour. Interestingly then, The Hogfather is a novel entirely concerned with disbelief and the consequences of it…
It’s the night before Hogswatch – Discworld’s equivalent to Christmas Day and all through the land there is an eerie sense of quiet which is completely against the grain of the usual celebrations. Most particularly noted by some mythic and yet, in this novel, entirely real figures is the absence of the Hogfather – the Discworld’s red-suited deliverer of festive joy.
Instead of this jolly figure fulfilling his duties, Death – a character who is simultaneously foreboding and humorous here – creeps down chimneys in the attempt of restoring order, because the Discworld must function as it should and the consequences of this not happening do not bear thought, especially on a night when time is turning.
Realising that something is off about this particular Hogswatch, Susan Sto-Helit, the Gothic governess must embark on a desperate quest to restore order before the world as everyone knows it ceases to exist. Just what has happened – and what does the notorious figure Mr Teatime have to do with it?
The Hogfather is a festive tale with a twist. With all of Pratchett’s excellently observed humour and socio-political commentary and a fair dash of irony (Death is Santa Claus here), in the creation of the villainous Mr Teatime Pratchett showcases a darker side which has leant this novel a lasting impact. Also created here is the reluctant and yet iconic heroine of Susan Sto-Helit – a character remembered with fondness as being responsible for the future of the Discworld at a crucial moment.
The Hogfather truly gives Christmas a twist and is thoroughly recommended.
Watch the trailer for the 2006 television film starring David Jason and Michelle Dockery.