In the tenth part of Hogfather, this book is getting increasingly bizarre. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I talk a lot about serialization over on Mark Watches (since I’m watching Deep Space Nine and it’s ruining my life), but I think it’s time to bring it up here. If this is, somehow, the first Discworld book you read, this story will still make sense. That struck me as Susan described Death’s behavior and understanding of the world to Bilious. Pratchett finds a way to distill multiple books worth of character development into a few hundred words, and that is INCREDIBLE. But it doesn’t feel clumsy in this text, you know? That’s what was impressive for me. Pratchett can reward the audience by explaining Susan’s previous adventures in a way that feels like a neat reference for us, but works to provide context to any new possible readers. And look, it’s not like this is a book series where most readers read The Colour of Magic first. Most folks I’ve met read a random book out of the forty-odd published novels, and then branched out to others. Hell, I know longtime Discworld fans who have read LESS of the series that I have.
Anyway, it’s inevitable at this point. Susan is going to have to save her grandfather. I’m a little excited to see her use her “powers” again. For now, though, I want to know why Bilious saw
Rows and Rows of Teeth
I’m guessing that we’ll meet the Tooth Fairy very soon. Oh, I fully believe there’s a main one who spreads out their responsibilities to other fairies. But why on earth is Bilious’s first memory of “rows and rows of teeth”? The hypothesis proposed here is convincing: what if he was “birthed” in the place where all the teeth are stored? Of course, that relies on such a place even existing, but come on. The teeth have to be taken somewhere, right?
And then matters are complicated when Death and Albert find a body while on the Hogswatch rounds. This is why I believe there’s like… an army of tooth fairies who work under a Tooth Fairy. But why the hell would someone steal the teeth that a fairy had collected and then murder them??? And what the hell does this mean?
“See that badge on his shirt? Looks like a drawing of a tooth.”
YES. IT DOES.
“Where’s that come from?”
A PLACE I CANNOT GO.
What? Well, that’s consistent with a reference one of the Auditors made, but I don’t understand it. Why can’t Death go wherever “there” is?
AND THEN IT IS CONFIRMED THAT THERE IS A SINGLE TOOTH FAIRY. I think??? I mean, Susan and Bilious go to the Tooth Fairy’s house, so that counts, right? Who cares, because this joke ruled:
“Do you like children?” said the oh god.
She gave him a look. “Not raw,” she said. “Other people’s are okay.”
OH MY GOD, SUSAN.
Susan finds more intriguing information, which means that Pratchett continues to torment me. WHY WAS BANJO’S NAME ON THAT LIST. Why??? He lives at the YMPA? But then, just as quickly as I put the pieces together, they’re torn apart because Violet wasn’t the Tooth Fairy. She’s just one of many, employed to collect teeth all over Ankh-Morpork and, ostensibly, the Discworld, at least in places that believe in the Tooth Fairy. And for some reason, Violet the Tooth Fairy is missing, and so is her bag of teeth. What do the Tooth Fairies know??? OH MY GOD, ERNIE WAS A TOOTH FAIRY, or at least, he transported teeth. MY HEART BREAKS ALL OVER AGAIN FOR ERNIE.
Meanwhile, the wizards are on to something with the whole “household gods” theory, but I don’t know if that answers all the questions I have. But it’s an appealing theory because the gods created by logical thought (more on that later) all cover something mundane and typical:
“Well, I mean, dammit, it’s human nature, isn’t it?” said Ridcully hotly. “Things go wrong, things get lost, it’s natural to invent little creatures that– All right, all right, I’ll be careful. I’m just saying man is naturally a mythopoeic creature.”
And that’s a fair assessment, one that I think Pratchett is operating from in this book.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SCENE, TERRY PRATCHETT. I despise charity for attention. I hate good deeds done solely to make the “charitable” person feel better. THAT IS NOT CHARITY. THAT IS NOT HOW IT SHOULD WORK. And Death verbally eviscerates the king and the page here, who both act disgustingly towards their Hogswatch charity case. THIS PART WAS THE WORST:
“Whatever it is, it’s more than he’s got!” snapped the king. “And all we’ve had from him is ingratitude–”
YES, THAT DOES SPOIL IT, DOESN’T IT? Death leaned forward. GO AWAY.
Because this was all a public act; it was meant as a display of generosity instead of being generous. If the king can’t make a spectacle out of someone who isn’t rich, then why do it in the first place? I don’t know how this fits into Death’s endgame or if it’s just something new he’s trying out because it’s so different. Albert suggests that getting the Hogfather back is the point, but what if Death doesn’t want to give up the job?
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