In the eighteenth and final part ofÂ Hogfather, all returns to normal. Sort of. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ Discworld.THIS BOOK IS TOO MUCH.
Look, IÂ knewÂ he was still alive, and IÂ knewÂ that this book would need to deal with that, and yet, I still felt shocked by the way that Teatime tried to hurt Susan. And I already know why that is: he tried to use children to do it. Confronting Death and Susan? I expected them to be able to defend themselves. Throwing in two defenseless children as well? Yeah, NO.Â NO.
I must also admit that I just donâ€™t like the he interrupted theÂ adorableÂ scene were Susan invites her grandfather in to make hot cocoa. THIS WAS A GREAT SCENE THAT WAS VERY NECESSARY, AND DEATH WAS THINKING ABOUT HUMAN NATURE WHILE EATING BISCUITS AND I CANâ€™T ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE. ExceptÂ thenÂ Gawain and Twyla both walk in on Death, suddenly, I understood why it was so necessary that these kids had Susan as their governess. Because to them, a skeleton in a cloak and hood was not weird or abnormal. He was just another monster that Susan would attack with the poker. (Exceptâ€¦ not really, but weâ€™ll get to that.)
In that world, then, hat does Teatime represent? Is he as monstrous as the creatures theyâ€™ve dealt with before? The reader can immediately recognize the threat that Teatime poses, though not just because heâ€™s gotÂ thatÂ sword. No, the horror of Teatime comes from the casual nature of his cruelty. We know for certain that he would kill all four of these characters as long as it amused him. Thatâ€™s the bare minimum that heâ€™d need, you know? So when he forces Susan to call for the Gaiting children, my fear was that heâ€™d do something awful to them. Thatâ€™s an entirely believable thing!
However, Teatime is scary to the audience, and perhaps to Susan, too. But he isÂ nothingÂ compared to the horrors that Gawain and Twyla have seen. If anything, heâ€™s just another common creature. Thatâ€™s important, of course, because heâ€™s viewedÂ asÂ a monster. Itâ€™s what brings about his eventual downfall. He isnâ€™t scary to the kids, and when Susan throws the poker at him, it guarantees that Teatime will die, not Death. And out of every creation inÂ Hogfather, Teatime is the only monster that SusanÂ actuallyÂ kills. This doesnâ€™t happen with anyone else, and think thatâ€™s the point Pratchett is trying to make. Who is worthy of death in this instance?
Yeah, Iâ€™m still kind of emotional about Deathâ€™s gift to Susan, mostly because itâ€™s just so goddamnÂ endearing. Yes, he doesnâ€™t quite get all the references, but the fact that he tried so very hard â€“ MELTED SNOW, OH MY GOD â€“ warms my heart. Forever. The raven got a sheep, a whole sheep! And then, Pratchett flashes back to RUIN MY GODDAMN DAY by showing me the moment when Death bought Susan her rocking horse. Again, itâ€™s a display of the kind of cluelessness we expect from Death, though itâ€™s always coupled with sincerity, too.
I am notÂ asÂ big of a fan of who concludes this book, and I think it would have been stronger for him to switch the rocking chair scene with the conclusion of the plots in Unseen University. Now, I do think this resolution needed to happen, so Iâ€™m not suggesting that this be taken out. I loved learning that there was anÂ actualÂ GlingleGlingleGlingle fairy, which is so goddamn clever that it made my brain hurt once I thought about it. (It meant that these wizards had toÂ believeÂ that that sound had to happen whenever a new Household God showed up.) I just thought it was strange to focus on Ridcullyâ€™s shower and the Librarian, but only because it didnâ€™t feel terribly emotionally resonant. The same goes for the bit with Hex and Ponder, and perhaps even the beggars. It might be thematically appropriate , but I thought the story just fizzled out. Itâ€™s not at all a bad ending, and I do believe thatÂ HogfatherÂ is one of the best written books in this series. But I think ending with Death or Susan would have given this ending a bigger pop. Still, I loved this book. A LOT. And now Iâ€™m gonna go think about Banjo some more and get sad because BANJO LILYWHITE.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.Â Â Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!