Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
HogfatherTerry Pratchett; HarperPrism 1999Honestly, I didn’t know this was a parody of Christmas when I picked it up and started reading a few days before Christmas. Once I realized, I knew my timing was great.
On Discworld, they have Hogswatch rather than Christmas. The Hogfather and his toys are driven in a sleigh pulled by pigs. What is unknown to most people is that the Hogfather is also responsible for the sun rising. So when he suddenly disappears, Discworld has a problem.
Death is immediately aware that the Hogfather has gone missing. So Death takes over, along with his helper Albert, to keep the belief in the Hogfather alive. On this night he changes his duties, learns to say a dry, rattling “ho, ho, ho”, and leaves sooty footprints in children’s homes.
Susan, Death’s granddaughter, starts looking for the Hogfather. First she meets Bilius, the Oh God! of hangovers. You have heard of Baccus, the god of wine? Bilius gets the effects that Baccus always avoids. They go to the Unseen University to see if the wizards can help cure the hangover.
The Unseen University is preparing for the Hogswatch feast. But they also, are experiencing a strange phenomenon – strange even for them. The separation between magic and reality is extremely thin with the Hogfather’s disappearance. When they remember a supernatural or mythical being, it appears. They are quite upset when the bogey that eats socks appears in their laundry room. The Cheerful Fairy isn’t much better.
Susan and Bilius meet villains who are trying to take over the Tooth Fairy’s land. Their ultimate goal is to get rid of the Hogfather. Susan has to suspend her look of normality and use her special gifts from Death in order to put things right once again.
Death is substituting for the Santa Claus figure. Try picturing a skeleton-like creature in the red furry outfit. Susan is a governess for two young children. She wields a fireplace poker to get rid of the bogey men that try to frighten the children. Ridcully, the arch chancellor at Unseen University, just wants to enjoy the Hogswatch feast and his new bathroom. There is a god of hangovers who is always ill. This is Discworld as seen by Terry Pratchett – things don’t go the way they should.
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