In the second part of Hogfather, Susan deals with more monsters; Teatime recruits some assistants; Death realizes something is wrong. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
So, let me see if I’ve got this right: the previous governess treated the children she watched over in a very stereotypical way, using fear of the fantastical as a method to get the kids to behave. By virtue of the power of belief on the Disc, these very creations and creatures became or are very real to the kids and to Susan, so she has to literally battle them out of the way as she tries to get through her day. Everything about this is just as entertaining as it sounds, though I appreciated that Pratchett showed us how irritating this is for Susan. Not only is her day interrupted countless times because of what the previous governess did, but the two kids – Gawain and Twyla – sort of revel in the idea of conjuring up these creatures in order to watch Susan fight them.
Like, I can’t really blame them. At all. I WOULD PROBABLY DO THE SAME. But I think that Susan has unknowingly caused a bit of havoc herself. See, there’s no real confirmation that Hogfather is real because only a certain subset of people believe in him. Namely? Children. But, like Santa Claus, that belief dissipates with adulthood. At the same time, this is the Discworld. The power of belief is a real thing that you shouldn’t take for granted or underestimate. So when Twyla begins to ask an uncomfortable question after a bedtime story (I WANT ALL BEDTIME STORIES TO BE TRANSLATED BY SUSAN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH), I wonder if Susan has solved the Assassins’ problem of Hogfather’s existence.
What I mean is that she assures them that there is a Hogfather. Belief means everything here, so did she just ensure that there will be a Hogfather for Teatime and his allies to go after?
OH GOD WHAT IF SHE DID.
I can’t deny that there’s something genuine about Teatime. He may view the world strangely, but he’s not lying about it, you know? So when the five “thieves” – Banjo, Catseye, Peachy, Chickenwire, and Medium Dave – who all exist outside the Thieves’ Guild meet him, it’s clear that they absolutely believe him, too. He’s intimidating! And I get that! The guy sneaks up on the five of them, alternates between sharing emotional truths about himself and insulting the group, and states whatever he’s thinking without any sort of filter at all. He has some idea of how to take down Hogfather, but he refuses to give anyone the details. Not only that, but he’s also willing to use any means necessary to achieve his goal. He hires thieves outside of the Guild, and he reaches out to a wizard desperate for money. All this to break into a place that’s like a wizard’s tower, that has a few guards, and that requires thieves and a wizard?
I don’t get it. Nor do I get why Teatime PUNCHES BANJO IN THE MOUTH.
Death! At the bottom of the ocean! Using miniature scythes to take the soul of a glorious tubeworm! THIS IS THE CONTEXT I CAME FOR, FRIENDS. I mean, I’m also excited that Death now knows something is wrong and they’re inevitably going to get involved. But tubeworm souls! YES.
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