Angelique Dunn's Reviews > Hogfather

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
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Dec 23, 11

Recommended for: everyone
Read on December 22, 2011, read count: 7

** spoiler alert ** IT'S THE EXPRESSION ON THEIR LITTLE FACES I LIKE, said the Hogfather. 'You mean sort of fear and awe and not knowing whether to laugh or cry or wet their pants?' YES. NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL BELIEF.

Once again, Pratchett delves into the depths of what it means to be human. In The Hogfather, he explores the nature of belief by poking at winter solstice celebrations. Why do we tell children stories about Santa Claus (somehow rather similar to the Hogfather), the tooth fairy, a personified Grim Reaper? What purpose do they serve?

In the end, we, through Susan's eyes, discover that we have to learn to believe such little lies in order to believe in the big ones, like truth and justice. Such stories, such lies, are what make humans human. And only by believing in them can we make them become.

As in all the Discworld novels, Pratchett wraps up such deep considerations with a lighthearted teasing at Western traditions and stories, and human behaviors in general. He'll make you laugh at yourself while causing you to question just why you do the things you do.

In The Hogfather, the humor is added to a mix of other feelings often brought up by the winter holidays: awe, reverence, joy, nostalgia, disappointment, even the dissatisfaction with the commercialism of the season. The jolly, holly, and other things ending in -olly are aptly balanced by the addition of Death and his confused, though often insightful, ideas about humanity.

Overall, I consider The Hogfather one of my favorite Pratchett books. I re-read it, and watch the movie based upon it, every year around the winter solstice. It's become an integral part of my celebration of Yule.

And as the sun rises over the Discworld, as it rises at the end of the longest night here on earth, my heart fills with joy and awe.
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Quotes Angelique Liked

Terry Pratchett
“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. HUMANS 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 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—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.”
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Terry Pratchett
“HUMAN BEINGS MAKE LIFE SO INTERESTING. DO YOU KNOW, THAT IN A UNIVERSE SO FULL OF WONDERS, THEY HAVE MANAGED TO INVENT BOREDOM. (Death)”
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Terry Pratchett
“IT'S THE EXPRESSION ON THEIR LITTLE FACES I LIKE, said the Hogfather.
"You mean sort of fear and awe and not knowing whether to laugh or cry or wet their pants?"
YES. NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL BELIEF.”
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather


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