“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.”
“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.”
This is my favorite Discworld book in quite some time. It’s just so good!
It’s not as quippy or joke-heavy as some Discworld books, but what it lacks in goofery and wit, it makes up for in plot and character and heart.
Someone wants the Hogfather (Discworld’s version of Father Christmas, except with pigs instead of reindeer, and sherry and meat pies instead of cookies and milk, and he may or may not have tusks) dead. Except, how do you kill a personified construct of human belief? How do you kill an immortal? And what happens when you do? Death, that scamp, doesn’t want to find out the answer to that last question, so he’s taken some questionable steps. While he’s running around with a fake beard and a pillow stuffed up his Hogfather costume, practicing his HO HO HO’s and making his pixie friend Albert pretend to be the Hogfather’s helper, his reluctant granddaughter Susan gets drawn into the whole business against her will. All she wants is to be normal, but she can’t seem to manage it.
Of course, we’ve also got the Wizards running around messing with stuff the whole time. They keep accidentally creating small gods, including Bilious, the God of Hangovers, who decides he’s going to help Susan after she temporarily cures him of his always-hungover but never-drunk state of being. They work on tracking down the jerks who’ve apparently succeeded in killing the Hogfather, while Death rides around in the sleigh having his one-millionth mid-life crisis, handing out presents to everyone he meets in an effort to keep the spirit of the Hogfather alive. He gets a little too into the role, as per the usual.
This is definitely in my top three Discworld books now, so a big thank you to Malin, who gave me my copy of this book during last year’s CBR book exchange last Christmas. Much obliged to you, friend 😀