Mark Reads ‘Hogfather’: Part 14

In the fourteenth part of Hogfather, Susan figures out what Teatime has been up to. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

AHHHHHH I AM SO CLOSE TO FIGURING OUT WHAT THIS IS. I feel like I’m missing just one piece of this, so let me write down what I do know.

1) The world where Teatime went is the world where children’s beliefs – their fears, their nightmares, their truths – are all real. It’s like a collective version of their minds.

2) In this place, there is a tower with a room for every child that has ever existed in the Discworld. IN each of these rooms, there is a display case for the teeth that were taken by the Tooth Fairy. (I’m not sure if that is the only thing in the room, nor do I understand why they’re kept in these display cases. To prevent #3?)

3) Teatime and his men broke into the cases, hauled all the teeth downstairs, put them in a single pile, and drew a magic circle around them. This is to CONTROL CHILDREN.

4) Teatime was hired by the Auditors to take out the Hogfather.

5) Which he did by controlling the children to not believe in the Hogfather.

6) Which is why the Hogfather “disappeared.”

7) And, given Mr. Brown’s death and Susan’s commentary on it, I now understand why this place was perfect: Death can’t enter here because there is no death in the mind of a child. They rarely can conceive of it; people just “disappear.”

8) This also means that in this space, the horrific nightmares of Teatime’s game ARE 100% REAL.

I’ll say what I said in the video for this part, though. The piece I’m still missing is Death. Death figured out what the Auditors were doing, and he took it upon himself to become the Hogfather. In doing so, he had to work harder than the Hogfather ever had to in order to counter the lack of belief. Is that why his displays of charity and cheer were so over-the-top? Did he believe that the Hogfather had to now be more demonstrative than ever?

I feel like that’s close to the truth, but I DON’T KNOW. I still have just under a hundred pages left in this book to go, so I’m expecting Pratchett to ruin me fairly soon. Anyway, I have some more thoughts! I was genuinely sad about Mr. Brown’s death. Teatime’s murder of him, through Banjo, is so senselessly cruel that I can’t even bother to feel entertained by Teatime’s weirdness. While I wondered aloud while reading this why Banjo is so loyal to Teatime, I suspect this place has something to do with it. Banjo is frequently referred to as “childlike” by the text, so what happens when he enters a place for the minds of children? What if Teatime is his worst nightmare, so he just does as Teatime says?

The only other major thing I wanted to talk about was how effective the horror elements were in this part of the book. I’ve been creeped out before, but Pratchett taps into this preternatural fear that many people of have of certain aspects of their childhood. I didn’t have a dresser or an armoire with a face, though I recognized the phenomenon that Catseye described. For me, it was this horrible paneling I had in my childhood bedroom. It was faux wood and had tons of drawings of water fowl on it. At night, especially when the light from my neighbor’s backyard shone through the vertical blinds and the oleander bushes, the shadows would meld with the drawings, and I’d often wake up convinced that someone was in the walls, staring at me.

IT WAS AWFUL AND I HATED THOSE TERRIBLE PANELS. My mom renovated that room a few years ago and threw out the panels, thankfully. But in this place where Teatime has set up shop, that face would be real. NO, THANK YOU, I’LL PASS. The same goes for Scissor Man. I never heard that specific children’s myth, and I wonder if it’s a regional thing. We had stories of bogeyman, but the main thing my mom used to frighten me was herself and Jesus. And the Devil. So would those versions show up here, too? Oh gods, probably! See, this place isn’t cute or adorable at all; it’s like a perpetual nightmare factory.

(And I can’t wait to read more.)

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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