Monday, January 13, 2014

The Horror Of...New Years, Hogfather Part 4 *UPDATED*

Now we get to Part 4...What?!

I must  be getting sick of this movie by now. ...Nope. Still love it. Love Pratchett's work. Love Discworld. Love the characters. And I always love the way this story, and others, look at our society.

Terry Pratchett's work and world is breathtaking to me. He takes fantasy tropes and makes them his own. Where else would you find a wizard and the first tourist riding on the back of a dragon that shouldn't exist, then find themselves as businessmen flying on an transatlantic flight, and then back to being a wizard and a tourist? No one else thinks like that.

And this movie does a wonderful job of maintaining so much of Pratchett's humor, logic, thoughts, and magic. So things had to go, and I miss them. But the choices do not fail the end result. Nearly 3 hours (it was originally shown over multiple nights on Sky TV in the United Kingdom) of good entertainment. A Death that you grow to love. Peril to fantasy beings you start caring about. And Susan kicking ass.

But now let's return to the story.

Still, first, here are the other parts of our blogging saga: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Meanwhile, at Death Manor.
As we return to the story, Susan (governess extraordinaire by day, and granddaughter of Death a congruent reality...) is off to find out why the Hogfather is missing. She heads to her grandfather's home to find answers about the state of the Hogfather.

Now I mentioned this in brief before, but the Discworld's Death has an amusing home. Pratchett borrowed for Death from the Ingmar Bergman film, The Seventh Seal. Death's look partially borrow's from it. And his realm is all in black and white, like the movie. People aren't, just the background.

Death also maintains and garden, and a wheat field. The wheat field is the result of a previous story, and the desire to remained tied to a life he briefly lived. (See the book Reaper Man if you are curious.)

Death is complicated. In the house Death keeps mementos from his family, daughter and granddaughter. He isn't human, but he makes an effort to care in his own way. And as we'll see, he is bothered by inequity. But the rules of the anthropomorphic beings are tight, so he is constrained for the most part. (But he does find ways.)

Inside the great house, as Susan tries to reacquaint herself with the place. She sees so much of her past, like old pictures she drew as a child. Grandfather holds on to them, and keeps them at his desk.

Then she finds a list. It's steps to follow in acting like the Hogfather. It makes no sense to Susan.

Then she heads to the hourglasses (life timers). Going to the mythological wing, she finds the Hogfather's hourglass, shattered on the ground. But as she walks away from it, there is the slightest glow from within it.

Going to the old books, she looks for answers about what forces could be at work, and what significance the Hogfather could have.

Quoth the Raven pops up again, She has trouble reading the books, but the raven is an old hat with this stuff.

The Hogfather hasn't always been the Hogfather. In one way or another, he's been around since the dawn of humans on the Discworld (Like Death has.). First he was a great sacrifice to make the sun rise again, for another year. A great boar that was hunted down and killed, and offered for a new warmer year. Blood on the snow. Or, lore shared about a boar dying and leading to the sun coming back.

At other times, he was a man, one chosen to be sacred king of the festivities, who would be sacrificed. All to restore the sun, and bring warmth with it. Blood on the snow.

Then he became a god, worshiped and prayed to, so the winter would end, the sun would return, and a new day would dawn.

Then, one day, people worked out that the sun seemed to come around pretty regularly, and why did they need sacrifices or a god for it? So, when people continued his pageantry and festivities, he became the earliest incarnation of the Hogfather, and has evolved ever since. From sacrifice to gift giver.

But he's still the force tied to that earliest belief in the significance of beckoning a new dawn and new season of growth. What are you left with without him?

Susan resolved to reach the Castle of Bones (the residence of the Hogfather) to find any trace of the Hogfather there. So she takes up her grandfather's sword, which he apparently returned (I'm guessing he did it to be sure she had a family tool for her work that night.). Then she gets on old Binky (Death's horse), and rides for the hub, and the the Castle of Bones.

Arriving at the Castle of Bones, she finds it unsettled and quiet. No one is around, even a drunk pixie.

Susan vs. Superman. Yeah, I'd pay to see that.
She makes her search, moving through the great edifice. But nothing is left, except traces of Albert smoking there.

Then, the place begins to collapse. Larger and larger pieces of the walls and ceiling begin to come apart.

And while she is making her way out, she finds a head sticking out of the snow. It's a man, in a white toga with a golden laurel around his head.

Meet Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers.

Susan attempts to get him up, but he's not of any use (He's got a nasty hangover.). She pulls him along, and makes her way back to the front of the castle.

But it's coming apart all around her, more and more. It won't be long until it will nothing but a pile of snow and ice.

Back at the Unseen University, the wizards have gotten back to the festivities of the night. They are almost ready to settle into their feast when they hear someone at the door.

Ridcully, the Archchancellor, goes to check. But as he looks through the peephole, Susan just passes through the door, Bilious over her shoulder.

"Hello. I'm Death's granddaughter, this is a god over my
shoulder, and I need a wizard. Any questions?"

She explains to them that she needs their help. She needs Bilious conscious and sensible so that he can tell her what happen at the castle before she arrived. Luckily the wizards mostly recognize her (from the last time she met them in Soul Music -- of course she was Death at the time...but that's for another sunrise).

They agree to help, and get to work, Of course most of that work is arguing. Which cure? Some don't seem good. Others will most likely kill (or turn him into a beaker of goo).

How do you feel? It must be great to be sober, every
once in a while. Or, even, every 12 years. -- Yeah, I do
Father Ted jokes sometimes.
Finally Ridcully decides the best option is to take all the cures and mix them together. It sounds mad, but they figure that if Bilious really is a god, it can't kill him. The result is an explosive green concoction, that when finished knocks Ridcully back against the wall. Still, Bilious is eager to drink it.

Bilious is the Oh God of Hangovers. This means he's constantly drunk and sick, with a pounding head. Even if the cure kills, he'll be happy.

He drinks up the cure and finds that it's worked. And he's thrilled, so thrilled he wants to drink and see what it's like to get drunk.

Now in the books, in part, Bilious is naturally affected by merriment around him. People near that drink, cause him to become hungover. But, largely, he's being hit by the God of Wine. The Wine God is constantly drinking and partying, and not feeling the worse for it. That's because of Bilious, who takes the punishment.

This cure Bilious took has had a side effect. It has reversed the rules. Now all of Bilious's sickness is being shunted back to the God of Wine, who's presently getting sick over everyone, where he is.

So Bilious partially wants to drink up to stick it to the Old God of Boozing.

As Bilious experiences sobriety for the first time ever, the wizards discuss. What is going on? Ridcully had early joked about their needing to be a God of Hangovers. And now they had one.

They decide it is time to see if Hex (the artifical brain/smartest person in the world) is warned up enough to answer some questions.

This Harry Potter and Dumbledore panto isn't working
for me.

As they discuss the situation with Hex they ponder how they could be causing mythological beings to come into being. One person quips at the whole idea that then they could blame hair loss on a Hair Loss Fairy. And then the little bells tickle again.

And the Hair Loss Fairy strikes. It, like the others, had no idea where it came from.

Susan asks Bilious where he was just before he had been found by her. And he explains he was anywhere people were getting sloshed.

He was a eminent vital force. He was where all hangovers were occurring across the Discworld. And then hangovers were given a human form.

Strangest Muppet Christmas ever.
Thinking about vital forces is causing them to take on a concrete form, to be given a human form.

Knowing this, one wizard wonders about an Eater of Socks. The bell rings again, and most of the wizards race off to the laundry to look for the new creation.

This leaves Ridcully, Susan, and Bilious to consider what to do next. Then a servant wanders in drunk, wearing a Tooth Fairy guard helmet. They ask where he got it, and they go and find the dead body of one guard on the roof of the university.

This is all the information Susan needs, and she heads off. Bilious follows, eager to be involved, and not sick. But Susan isn't interested. She's going into a clearly dangerous situation, and she doesn't need any distractions.

But he begs, saying he could get sick on people.

Susan finally relents. Might not be bad to have a god on your side...Not the best one, but still.

She heads off into the realm of the Tooth Fairy.

While Susan is off, the wizards continue to try and understand what is going on. With Hex, they work out that naturally humans like to imagine forces at work on the world as seeming and acting human. So the main forces have taken an expected form.

The trouble is that belief is a constant. It is finite set number. So all the belief in the world is eaten up by the main forces. The main gods, Death, Tooth Fairy, Soul Cake Duck, Hogfather, etc. The rest of the forces just continue as pure forces (like getting hangovers).

BELIEF = Primary Gods + Death + Tooth Fairy + Soul Cake Duck + ... + Hogfather + x (x being the tiny piddling bit left for odd little new ideas that catch on)

But what happens when one of your big forces gets knocked out?

Suddenly that x becomes X. Suddenly there is a lot of space for the silly small ideas, like Verruca Gnomes, Hair Loss Fairies, and Oh Gods.

The wizards begin to wonder, is the Hogfather coming tonight?

Now, on to the Tooth Fairy's Castle.

And like Death's House, it is unique.

The exterior of the Tooth Fairy's castle is made up a painting as done by a small child. This emphasizes the fact that this realm is made and maintained by the thoughts, dreams, and ideas of young children.

It is a place made by and for kids. It is their domain, not adults. This land is for those with innocent hearts.

And once Susan reaches the small sweetly drawn door on the castle, she enters the story as being lived by our murderous cutthroats.

Now Susan will meet Teatime.

But let's step out of this part of our tale, and return to Death, who is hard at work trying to maintain the processes of the Hogfather, travelling from home to home, leaving telltale signs of the Hogfather, plus all the presents

It is still all strange to Death. But he is starting to like it. He's getting out of his natural state again (Reaper Man) and it's a nice break for him. He's had to stop on occasion to reap a few souls (like more Tooth Fairy guards), but being able to bring some joy to the world along the way is appealing to him.

The belief in the Hogfather is still dying out. The forces he is facing are proving quite strong. So Albert has a cunning plan, make a public appearance.

So the Death heads towards a large store in Ankh-Morpork.

...I wonder if people eat ham on Hogswatch, as a tradition?
It'd feel kind of weird, and kind of right.

In this store they have the Hogfather on demand, to hear what kids want. Also, some stylistic big pink happy pigs. It's all a very modern Discworld take on the Fat Man. He's nice and safe and fun.

Also in the shop is the manger. He's being played by Tony Robinson. He's quite well known from every version of Blackadder, playing Baldrick. He's also well known for the series Time Team. Robinson is addtionally one of the main narrators of Terry Pratchett audio books.

But, heck, it's a dose of Tony Robinson. Rejoice.

The manager is quite happy this eve of Hogswatch. The cash is coming in. Everyone is spending, and the store is running smoothly. That is about to change.

A bolt of electricity runs through the store, and the cute pig statues all explode.

And in there place, Large grumpy hogs, with great tusks appear.

Hog Punk
They sniff and snort at all around. But the kids are in awe. So real. So menacing. So full of piss that they are spraying everywhere.

But the manager is pissed off. Someone is trying to sabotage his business!

Then his hired Hogfather appears. He's quitting. Someone has appeared, taken his place, and is doing it all wrong.

The manager storms in to find the culprit.

What he finds is a tall gaunt figure, sitting with a child on his lap. Looking into his face, he's left feeling uneasy.

You see, people really can't accept seeing Death. So they just see a very old and thin man. But they do sense that something is up.

"...and I want an Arya action figure."

The manager is coerced to step away by Albert. And Death continues to talk with more kids. He is struggling, not use to handling so many kids, or engaging in such polite rituals. (Take a wishlist. Get an agreement to be good. Fulfill wishlist. Contract complete.)

One is a young girl, who he asks for her desire. Mom steps in to give her own list for her daughter. But Death silences her.

And the daughter lays out what she really wants. An army. A castle. A sword.

Death is happy to comply, within reason. He gives her a box of toy soldiers, a toy castle, and a real sword.

The little girl is thrilled to get the sword. But the mom, the manager, and Albert are troubled.

Death reasons that it is what she wants. It may cut her, but that's what swords are for. And it will teach her about being careful with deadly weapons. Arthur gives Death a quick lecture.

"...So close to leading that revolution."
And, as much as the little girl isn't pleased, he turns it to wood.

But mom still isn't happy. They aren't girl things. But, more important, she can't afford it all.

This puzzles Death. He's the Hogfather. He's given the gifts. Why would she pay?

The manager is caught in a bind. He has his Hogfather point to gift, that people need to buy. But it is contrary to the actual idea of Hogswatch.

So when Death starts handing away merchandise, the manger's stymied.

He does try to tell Death off, but his glare silence the manager.

And this leads to the entrance of the City Watch. They are the soldiers and police of the city. They have a long series of books about them. And they have a presence in many stories. They are worth checking out for many odd and funny tales. Start with Guards! Guards!, for their origins.

Many fans have been annoyed by the presentation here. But they act as a bit of comic relief in the tale. But I would be thrilled if they got proper coverage in a movie of their own.

The manager is pleased to see them. He wants them to get rid of the Hogfather. This amuses them. They are being asked to remove the wrong fake Hogfather. On top of this, they are being asked to arrest a Hogfather, on the eve of Hogswatch, for giving gifts to kids, in this guy's store.

"Don't worry, sir. I have a cunning plan."
 One of them goes in. But he ends up on Deaths knee, and is sucked into his presence and what he represents.

It results in him getting an amazing new crossbow. And, he decides it would be best to not arrest him. It wouldn't be in the spirit of the season.

After finishing at the store, Death continues on. Up to now, he's been visiting the more well off sort on the Discworld. Now he's getting to the poorer members of society.

At one home, he finds no chimney. Just a small stove he can struggle through. It annoys him still, he could just walk through the walls. But Albert insists he stick to the rules.

 In the home he finds it all very dark and dingy. The family has little of anything. The tree is just branch with a homemade bauble. The list he's been left by the child asks for some pants he alone could wear, candy, toys, and a puppy.

Death is touched. All this poverty. But he gets to change things now.

Then Albert steps in.

The rules say the family gets none of the stuff on the list. The kid gets a small apple and a cheap toy.

"I've always wanted a window pane of my own."
The poor get trinkets. The rich get what they dream of. It's socioeconomics. The poor have to hope and pray and try to do better, so they can be given better. Albert relates it to his own childhood poverty. He never got his dreams met either.

This just annoys Death off. He's been hearing all the stories and ideas of the Hogfather, but now he's told that actually only the rich and well off actually benefit? He doesn't say it, but he must be thinking that it's bullshit.

Don't worry. The puppy will eat it's way out.
It isn't fair. And Death is a figure that likes the idea of being fair, and equitable. Everyone dies.

But it is a problem of how we talk to kids about Christmas. There is a promise of having their dreams met. And most parents can't make that actually happen. Kids don't seem to care. But there is a disconnect.

Good little kids in poverty don't see much come their way. And our rules say that it's because they must be naughty. But it's because they are poor. That is their crime.

And even in stories,like Santa Claus, Polar Express, etc, it is the unspoken truth. The poor get nothing...except "this time" (like Lucinda in Santa Claus)

Death is having none of this. He's the Hogfather. And he says that this kid, who believes, gets everything that was asked for. And his stocking is suddenly loaded down with gifts and sweets...and a puppy somewhere in there.

And he's off again. And Death is getting more and more into his role. Giving is so much greater than receiving. (Particularly when what you receive are the souls of the dead.)

But duty calls again. He pulls an hourglass from his cloak and sees a person with just moments left to them.

Death has a crazy plan.

The Little Matchgirl. Ever hear that tale? The poor homeless girl, struggling at Christmas, selling matches to try to afford food and warmth? She sits in the snow as night falls. And burns away her only valuables (matches) trying to stay warm and live to morning. Then she dies. A sad cautionary tale for others.

And in Ankh-Morpork, she curls up to die yet again.

Albert tries to explain to Death that it is a necessary thing. It reminds people of how good they actually do have it. At least they aren't that little girl. Death isn't listening.

He holds up her hourglass, the last grain sitting on the edge. Then he gives the glass a jolt of his power.

And the glass refills. And the little girl stirs.

This night, one child won't be left to die on the streets. Death won't allow it.

It isn't to be done. Death isn't supposed to play like this. Particularly so blatantly. But to Death's thinking, he's acting as the Hogfather. And the Hogfather is a gift giver. The little matchgirl is being given a second chance to live.

Death finds the two soldiers from before, and hands the girl to them. He demands that they give her a good meal, and a warm place to sleep. He warns that he may come back and check on them.

In the book, Death has more Hogswatch run ins. Like a lord forcing his once a year generosity on a poor man who can't handle the gift.

All together, it allows Death to comment on the difference between the spirit of Hogswatch (and Christmas) and how it ends up being practiced. It can pick at the reality many have faced in the season, and the spin people have put on it. He can see the unfairness and twisted nature that sometimes manifest. It is nice to take our customs and put them under a microscope...The Little Matchgirl story has always been messed up.

It is part of the fun of the book and movie, looking at the economics and social truths. And then seeing Death upturn it all to just do the basic job, give some kindness and comfort to good people.

Death is regularly stuck in a crap job. He ferries souls off. He is good at his work. He's fair. He will even bend the rules. But for once, in this story, he gets to play with the rules that usually constrain him in some fun and beneficial ways. He saves lives. He brings smiles. He brings puppies.

And he knows it will just be for this one night, in all his eons of existence.

And many are hanging on the events of this one night. At the Tooth Fairy's castle, Susan is entering the fray, and far above the baddies realize that they aren't alone anymore. Teatime is too busy waiting for the great locked door to be bested to leave, so he sends Chickenwire and Medium Dave to take care of the newcomers.

Chickenwire is getting more and more skittish. The castle affects people. It is a place for kids, and draws on the childish aspects of adults. For bad people, it takes a hold of their fears. For Chickenwire, he's being reminded of a great wardrobe in his childhood home. As a kid it terrified him. And now he feels like it is in the castle, and following him.

Dave is also getting a little jumpy, but holding it together.

But Mr. Sideney? The wizard, as he's felt the pressure build on him, has begun sucking his thumbs. And as he does, he hears the sound of scissors. And he's reminded of the stories of the creature who cuts thumbs off of kids who suck their thumbs. (This is an actual classic European tale!!!)

As the thugs head down, Susan and Bilious search around. They find the tooth fairy agent, Violet.

Bilious takes to her, as she doesn't drink. (Which means he doesn't get any contact buzz or hangover from her presence.) And she is fascinated to meet a god.

Susan leaves them to wait, while she heads up to the danger.

But as they wander down below, Chickenwire finds them. He taunts them, and then prepares to garrote Bilious. Then he senses something behind him. THE wardrobe is there. He can feel it. He can sense the menace. And then it opens. And he's sucked into it.

Looks like he didn't die with his boot on.
Violet is horrified, but curious. Bilious opens it up to see what happen. But all he finds are Chickenwire's shoes. Chickenwire is no more.

Susan makes her way to the top, but ends up being surprised by Teatime, who grabs her sword. She's in an awkward situation. As we have already seen, Death is not accepted here. But this also means the powers and province of Death are also barred. So all of Susan's natural gifts were muted when she entered the realm. At long last she is completely normal...except for riding a magic horse, with a god, to reach the land of the Tooth Fairy..But in ALL other ways she is totally normal now.

Teatime has her at sword point, and figures out who she is. He is interested to meet her, but she's more a distraction right now. As he banters with her, Mr. Sideney finally bests the locked door.

Teatime acknowledges this, and tells him he can leave. Sideney makes a quick exit, just wanting to live. But as he runs down the steps, he hears the sound of scissors. They are getting closer and closer. This only causes him to suck his thumbs more. And the sound of the scissors race towards him.

Mr. Sideney is no more.

Teatime continues to stare down Susan, and Susan tries to seek ways to unnerve him, digging at his childhood. But Teatime just focuses on having Banjo get rid of her. He beckons Banjo, and tells him to get rid of her.

Banjo balks. He was told by his mom to never touch or hit girls. Teatime starts demanding Banjo act. And Banjo just keeps repeating what his mom told him to do.

Soon, his mom (and Dave's mom) appears as a ghostly towering figure. Banjo and Dave freak out. Banjo drops to the floor crying. Dave backs away, hoping his mom won't hurt him again.

She reaches out at Dave, and Dave is gone.

Teatime decides to kill Susan, so he grabs her and readies to stab her. But Banjo catches him, and tosses him away. (No touching girls.)

Yeah, You know all you've done? Piss. Susan. Off.
Susan and Banjo move towards him. So Teatime swings swiftly at Susan with Death's sword. But it's Death's sword in the Tooth Fairy's it can't touch her. Teatime has no ready weapon, and is surrounded. So he jumps.

[To be fair here, in simplifying this I miss out on a great Susan line. Before, Teatime bragged about how he was in touch with his inner child. So, the place couldn't affect him. So, after he tries to stab Susan here, she tells him, "Hi, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter." And then she punches him, knocking him off.]

And it would be a fall to his death, but after hitting the bottom of the castle, he appears in the Unseen University, in the midst of dining wizards. The curious wizards, end up resuscitating him, and he just runs off, with Death's sword. (Don't worry. We aren't done with him yet.)

Susan now has to deal with Banjo, who is distraught. Everyone in his life who told him what to do is gone. He has no idea what to do now, or where to go. She gives him some reassurance, but now the unlocked door needs addressing.

Inside it seems a very plain room, except for the old bed in the center. And in that bed, an aged granny, tucked up in blankets.

It would appear to be the kindly old Tooth Fairy. A sweet lady who visits kids to give them coins.

But Susan isn't having any of that.

That isn't how it works. A being like her wouldn't be that simple a thing.

She demands that it show it's true self to her. So it starts taking shapes. Shapes meant to scare Susan.

Trouble is, this is Susan. What really scares her?

So it finally gives up. And at last Susan can see it's true face. It's the face of a boogeyman. No, THE Boogeyman. The original. The being that stalked and scared humans when they huddled near fires in caves. The Tooth Fairy is a curious being, hmm?

Boogeymen are meant to go around scaring people, in particular, children. But the first of their kind ran into a problem. She actually came to like the kids. She was actually fond of them. She worried about them, and the things that could hurt them (Like Teatime.). So she created a new function for herself. She would be a protector. She'd take the teeth that kid leave lying everywhere, and keep them out of harms way. (It didn't work out too well, but it's the thought.)

But now, after Teatimes attack on her realm, the abuse of the teeth, and the stress of the night, she is done. She can't hold out any longer. The Tooth Fairy is dying. (It's not a great night for mythological beings.)

Susan reassures her, and promises to see to it that the teeth are made safe again. And then the Tooth Fairy is no more.

Stepping out of the room, she sees Banjo waiting, clearing away the teeth and runes.

"You do know that I'm not The Rock, right?"
She looks at him and decides to give him a job. He should take over for the Tooth Fairy. He has the heart of a child, and a willingness to do good, if he isn't being influenced by bad people. At the center of this castle, he might be a force for good. A defender.

And no one will tell him what to do. But he has one demand. He wants a puppy. He's always wanted one.

Then Bilious and Violet pop up again. Susan has them stay, to help Banjo out. He will need new staff after...ahem.

And it is for the best, for Bilious. After the business with the Hogfather finishes, the stray belief will be reallocated. The Hogfather will take it all back. And that means the new beings will no So a new job, and the support of Violet, may help keep Bilious from popping back out of existence.

And with that, Susan is ready to head home. She's done her bit, and she needs some sleep.

But it isn't all done, yet.

Some things are still in flux. The existence of the Hogfather is not yet fully assured.

He can still die very easily before sunrise.

So Death takes his granddaughter, up towards the hub, to near where the Castle of Bones once stood.

Out there, she can see a pack of wolves racing down a path. They are chasing prey. A massive boar, running for it's life. Death explains that it is being hunted by the Auditors. Those are the beings that put the hit on the Hogfather. They are so desperate to finally kill him, that they've lowered themselves to actually take living forms to do the job themselves.

You see, the Hogfather has reverted to his original form, the sacrificial animal. And if the Auditors can reach this boar, and kill it, everything will be for naught.

So Susan leaps from Binky onto the back of the boar. She rides it, spurring it on. And when it reaches a cliff, she pushes it to jump across. The boar is hurt in the jump. And the wolves are on the other side of the cliff eyeing the two of them.

Susan gets up and eyes the wolves back, challenging them to come at her. And when one does jump, she hits it with a stick, midflight. It falls down the cliff.

Down to the village with a scythe in his hand, running here
and there all around the square...
Seeing one of their number fall, gives the wolves/Auditors pause. But they are stuck. And they are in trouble.

Behind the Auditors, a snowman appears. It is odd as it has a scythe of snow.

Then the snowman comes apart, revealing Death. A little joke from Death. A dark joke, because Death is pissed.

He chides the Auditors. They were so desperate to pull of their ploy. And now that they've become mortal, it will be so hard for them to ascend again. So he approaches them, pushing them back to the edge of the cliff.

They are indignant. Death can't touch them. There are rules!

But Death is enraged. Rules? What about all the rules that the Auditors have eschewed this night? They have no right to speak on this.

And Death sends them off the cliff.

Susan turns back to the boar. But it's bleeding. Blood on the snow. The jump left it severely injured.

She demands it stay alive, and she weeps for it.

But as she cries, she realizes that the sun is appearing. And standing, she looks at the boar, and sees it change shape.

Where a boar once lied, she sees a man lie. He rises, and she can see he is covered in tattoos or markings.

He moves away from her and towards the sun, hunched over.

Then he rises to his full height and raises arms, calling out to the sun.

From boar to primitive man to god.

He then walks away and reappears as most of the Discworld know him, Older, beardier, and wearing red.

The Hogfather is reborn.

 He gives the two a grumpy look, and a nob. Then he heads off home, to prepare for the next Hogswatch.

This leaves Susan and Death to talk. She wants to know what would have really happen if she'd failed.

The sun wouldn't have risen. A large fiery orb would have circled the world.

It would have been a blow to the thing that makes humans human. They need the lies and traditions and rituals. The little fantastic ideas make the bigger ones possible. Like Justice, Mercy, etc. (As noted before, Death likes humans. He's in awe of them. He's existed since the dawn of man, and is always learning something new and interesting. But humans, who come and go in a flash, have invented the concept of boredom. It all fascinates Death.)

Death takes Susan home, and she decides to invite him in for some cocoa.

She goes to start the stove, and leaves Death to have a biscuit. So Death sits and waits.

Then Twyla appears, looking for her Hogswatch stocking. Seeing Death, she warns him that Susan has a poker that she uses on things like him. Death has no idea what to say or do now.

See leaves saying she'll give her brother his stocking, and then come back to watch Susan beat him up.

Eager for Susan to return, Death checks on her. He finds that Teatime is there. He'd come to get revenge on Susan, but is surprised to have Death present. It excites him.

He is wondering if Death's sword could be used on Death.

But he wants an audience, to be the hero. So he makes Susan call the kids. 

He tells them how Death is a baddie. But they aren't impressed. He's a bag of bones eating a cookie. Then they mock Teatime for being weird.

And Susan reaches for the trusty poker.

When she is ready to swing at Teatime, he's suddenly moved, and is about to strike down her grandfather. She moves quickly, hurling the poker at Death, and through him.

It impales Teatime, which is a shock for him. But the kids like the show, and Susan is mortified. She has Death freeze time

It is time for grandfather to leave. But first he gives her a Hogswatch card. He made it himself, with his odd understanding. He tried covering it in snow, and tried to get a Robin to stay on the card...But it's the thought, right?

He says his goodbyes and wishes everyone a Happy Hogswatch.

And at the Tooth Fairy's castle, Banjo has finally gotten a puppy.


And, as I wrote at the top of the post, the story of Hogfather is a wonderful one. And this attempt to bring it life is a worthwhile endeavor. The artistry, care, and passion those involved had really translate in the final product.

And I was pleased that Terry Pratchett agreed, enjoying the production and end result. I am pleased he approves. Also I am happy he could cameo in it.

But the whole cast was well chosen, and brought the script to life.

Michelle Dockerty was new, but created a Susan that I still adore and root for. And she got to learn to ride a horse for the job.

And then there is Death. With that character we have two men.

Ian Richardson, the voice. All his work is wonderful. He capably brings out the humor, innocence, power, and gentleness of Death. It's marvelous work.

The other is the physicality of Death, And this fell to Marnix van der Broeke. And he did careful work to match the voice work of Richardson. And then he worked to give the other actor a real being to act against in scenes. The result was that you forget that he's a silly bag of bones, with lights for eyes. He brings the character alive.

 And together, these actors make you care.

Some people say that for newcomers to Discworld stories will get lost in the movie. I can't agree with that view. This movie was my first serious experience with the Discworld. It introduced me to the world and characters. It made me care about them all.

Yes, the ideas can be odd. Yes, the history behind the characters and places can be deep. But it isn't necessary to learn it all. But it is out there for you to learn about and enjoy.

So I hope you will go and enjoy Hogfather.

 And if you want to see what Susan gets up to next, check our the book Thief of Time.


I wanted to add another opinion on Hogfather. From SFDebris, the first of two parts looking at the Movie (See. It isn't easy to look at this take in one go.):

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