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PRATTCHETT, TERRY – DISCWORLD – HOGFATHER. 1996 Harper Collins.  

 

The 20th Discworld Book, and the first to be adapted to a live action TV movie. On the Discworld, there is a Christmas like festival called Hogswatch Night, when a pig like Father Christmas figure delivers presents to all the children on the Disc.  The Auditors, beings who assess the worth of all things in the Universe, have no liking for magical unpredictable forces. They hire an Assassin from the Guild Of Assassins to kill the Hogfather once and for all they get one Mr, Teatime (pronounced te-a-time-ee; get it wrong and he kills you).  Teatime is clearly insane, and even imagines he has a perfect plan for killing Death. That will come in handy, as realising the plot is afoot, Death take s the Hogfather’s place as the symbol of all the hope and goodness in the world.  Teatime knows that the Hogfather will not be killed conventionally. He hatches a plot to ruin children’s beliefs in him, through the capture of a Tooth Fairy Castle.  He has not however taken all the factors into account; 1/. Death is not so easily outsmarted. 2/. Messing with deep ancient magic is foolish as it can have unpredictable consequences. Death’s granddaughter, Susan gets in on the chase, and she is aided by magical beings that are springing to life from stray uncontrolled beliefs. If anyone imagines a magical being exists, then it comes to life. The beings that arise include The Oh God Of Hang-over and the Verucas Fairy. The real joy here however is Death trying sound jolly and say Ho-Ho-Ho. He takes granting Xmas wishes too literally; for example when a child asks for a big sword, he doesn’t give out a toy one. When he ends up working as a department store Hogfather, he starts giving the goods away instead of selling them. When the shop manager tries to have him arrested, the policemen end up getting shiny new weapons with which to uphold the law. A wonderful book that has led to a great TV adaptation, and hopefully more will follow soon. http://www.lspace.org/about-terry/index.html  See also my TV review of Hogfather at HOGFATHER

 

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