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Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Hogfather (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,62782446 (4.06)281
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Corgi Adult (1997), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fantasy, Humour, Discworld

Work details

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (1996)

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
OK, Terry Pratchett is clever as hell. And I laughed out loud several times while reading this book. But man, I couldn't wait for it to end. The action is a mess and there are too many characters all going about their miscellaneous business, without nearly enough clues (unless I slept through them) as to how it all pulls together. Some of the characters were brilliant, but they need to be spread out a little. By the time I reached the end of all that relentless cleverness, I felt a little like the Oh god of Hangovers myself. Or maybe the Toothache Fairy. Too much, Terry, too much.

Review written 12-27-10 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 8, 2014 |
My first Pratchett book. I enjoyed it very much. I read it during the Christmas season. I still can't decide whether I should be offended, as a Christian, or not. Not, I think. The main message seems to me, to be the same as The Miracle on 34th Street, which is, imagination is essential to our condition of being human. Only this is said with wry, twisty, dark humor. Very fun. ( )
  MrsLee | Oct 23, 2014 |
This is probably my favorite Discworld novel. Like all of Pratchett's books, it's a satire of human society, but it's also a really lovely and thoughtful treatise on religion, myth, and the importance of belief.
Plus it heavily features Death, and his granddaughter, two of my favorite characters. ( )
  lexmccall | Sep 3, 2014 |
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett is the 20th Discworld book, and the 4th of the DEATH series. It's nearly Hogswatchnight, the Discworld equivalent to Christmas, Winter Solstice, and New Year's all wrapped into one long celebration. The head of all of this is the Hogfather, a pig headed (literally, not figuratively) man in a Santa suit. And now he's gone missing on the eve of the big event.

DEATH who like the Hogfather is an anthropomorphic projection of an idea, knows that a missing Hogfather will have consequences. BIG ONES. BAD ONES. He also knows that the only way to keep him alive long enough to be found is to keep the idea of him alive. The only way to do that is to take on the role himself. HO HO HO.

So while DEATH is off learning about the Hogswatchnight spirit, his grand-daughter, Susan, is wrangled away from her duties as a governess to fix things. She just wants things to be normal but being around DEATH has given her certain inherited skills that unfortunately make her life anything but normal.

Hogfather explores themes that the Tiffany Aching books will flesh out later, namely the power of words and stories on the human experience. Everything is made up of stories and knowing the rules of storytelling can give one power over the world.

I read this book after having seen the made for TV movie about a dozen times. As with most of the Discworld books, it is lacking in proper chapter breaks and it tends to meander from scene to scene. Those jumps from character and scene with no warning can be confusing and distracting. ( )
  pussreboots | Jun 15, 2014 |
Call me stupid, but this was one of the more confusing books I've ever read -- and I really like Pratchett. His humor is definitely on show in this book, which is good, but I never got what was happening in the book's plot.

It goes like this: ethereal beings called the Auditors want to do away with the Hogfather, Discworld's version of Santa Claus. Apparently they hate life and hate humans and they think this will do something to humanity. So they hire Assassins to take him out. But that doesn't really happen. He disappears from the scene, so apparently he's been kidnapped somehow, but by whom, we're never told. Meanwhile, Teatime, the Assassin, hires a bunch of thugs and a student wizard to help him out. They find themselves in a castle (?) tower (?) trying to unlock numerous locks on a door. To get at what, I never found out. Meanwhile, they've taken over the Tooth Fairy's collection of teeth because that somehow means something to the plot, but what that is I never found out.

So the Hogfather has disappeared. Well, Death steps in to act on his behalf on their version of Christmas eve and he dresses up in a red suit and fake beard and takes a sleigh driven by four hogs around to all the houses, delivering presents to good children. He even takes time out to stop in a department store and act as the Hogfather there for children who get up on his lap and ask for things. It's actually a pretty humorous scene.

Additionally, the Death of the Rats and a raven play a role in this novel, mostly as intermediaries between Death and his granddaughter Susan, who's a governess now and is trying to forget about her heritage. Yet she's the one who saves the day. She dispatches monsters for the children she serves and ends up going with the rat and raven to Death's place, for what, I'm not sure. But she locates the Tooth Fairy (What does the Tooth Fairy have to do with the Hogfather???) and engages in a climactic scene with the Assassin and his henchmen, dispatching them with ease.

Now, you can't have a Discworld novel without funny wizards mucking things up and this is no different. And as they gather for a holiday feast, Teatime comes flying down from above and they think he's a corpse, but he regains consciousness and leaves. It's really weird. Where did he come from?

Susan ultimately saves the Hogfather from a pack of dogs, which are really the Auditors, who are chasing him while he's in hog form. After she saves him, with Death's help, he reverts to his usual form and goes off on his sleigh and everything is once again right with the world. OK then.

Death was my favorite character in the novel. I first encountered him in Reaper Man and I've loved him ever since. He so tries to understand humans and his insights are hilarious. However, Death wasn't enough to save this book for me. I have no idea what happened in the book or how it happened and that frustrated the hell out of me. I'd normally recommend Terry Pratchett to anyone, but not this novel, not today. ( )
  scottcholstad | May 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
De Muth, RogerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the guerilla bookshop
manager know to friends as
'ppint' for asking me, many years
ago, the question Susan asks in
this book. I'm surprised more
people haven't asked it . . .

And to too many absent friends.
First words
Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree.
She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do.
And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description

Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker…

Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning. Ever again…

The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say: 'You’d better watch out…
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061059056, Mass Market Paperback)

What could more genuinely embody the spirit of Christmas (or Hogswatch, on the Discworld) than a Terry Pratchett book about the holiday season? Every secular Christmas tradition is included. But as this is the 21st Discworld novel, there are some unusual twists.

This year the Auditors, who want people to stop believing in things that aren't real, have hired an assassin to eliminate the Hogfather. (You know him: red robe, white beard, says, "Ho, ho, ho!") Their evil plot will destroy the Discworld unless someone covers for him. So someone does. Well, at least Death tries. He wears the costume and rides the sleigh drawn by four jolly pigs: Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter. He even comes down chimneys. But as fans of other Pratchett stories about Death (Mort, Reaper Man, and Soul Music) know, he takes things literally. He gives children whatever they wish for and appears in person at Crumley's in The Maul.

Fans will welcome back Susan, Death of Rats (the Grim Squeaker), Albert, and the wizardly faculty of Unseen University, and revel in new personalities like Bilious, the "oh god of Hangovers." But you needn't have read Pratchett before to laugh uproariously and think seriously about the meanings of Christmas. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:30 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

As a first step in destroying humanity, evil men in Discworld try to undermine belief in Hogfather by abducting him. The plot is ruined by Death who takes Hogfather's place in his sleigh drawn by pigs. Part parody of Christmas, part meditation on the role of faith.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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