Christmas of 2019, I received many books most of which I have not managed to read in 2020. One of the ones I did get to however was Hogfather, specifically because I wanted something Christmas adjacent in this year of not really having my usual holiday traditions and routines. I’m glad that I revisited Discworld this month, even if I couldn’t really sink into it. But that’s definitely a me problem in this adjective year, and not a problem with the book.
Hogfather tells the story of what happens when someone wants the Hogfather (Discworld’s version of Santa Claus) dead, but the assassin’s guild needs to find the right person to do the job, because how do you kill a personified construct of human belief? How do you kill an immortal? And what happens when you do? With a team on the case the Hogfather is (at least temporarily) out of commission and Death, takes some debatable steps to make sure Hogwatchnight goes off as it is supposed to. While he’s running around with a fake beard and a pillow stuffed up his Hogfather costume, his reluctant granddaughter Susan gets drawn into the whole business against her will (all she wants to do is do her governess job and be normal, but she can’t seem to manage it).
I love the character of Death, it’s one of my favorites in all of the Discworld (Granny Weatherwax beats him out by a hair). The best parts of the book are Death’s escapades while taking over for the Hogfather. Death really takes the role seriously (as he does all the things he does), and the humor hangs on that fact that he never gets the complete hang of it. But Death, as usual, provides an overview of what makes humanity tick, he sees and acknowledges the injustice of a system that continues to give the wealthy more while the poor receive less. Which pokes at Pratchett’s larger goal in the Discworld – to hold a mirror up to the absurdity of life.