January 13, 2004

Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

Now, I read Soul Music so I could go on and read this one.

As you'll recall, Susan Sto Helit is Death's granddaughter. She's also the Duchess of Sto Helit, but as she has philosophical problems with being a non-working drone she's currently supporting herself at the only job deemed appropriate for young unmarried gently-born ladies--that is, she's a governess. And she has a problem. Her predecessor was a believer in the "bogeyman" school of discipline, i.e., "If you don't stay in bed, the bogeyman will do thus and such!" Reality is thin on the Discworld, and the result is that after dark the nursery is regularly infested with one kind of bogeyman or another.

But Susan copes admirably and dispassionately; as a believer in the "iron rod" school of discipline she simply applies an iron rod--specifically, the fireplace poker--to all and sundry bogeymen....and then lets them go, to spread the word that her nursery is To Be Avoided.

Meanwhile, for reasons I refuse to explain, Death is standing in for the Hogfather this year. The Hogfather? You know--the Hogfather. Jolly old fellow in a red suit, says "Ho, Ho, Ho," rides in a sleigh pulled by four giant pigs, and fills stalkings with sausages and blood pudding and toys every Hogswatchnight. Him. For good and sufficient reasons, Death is filling in for him this year. Consequently he's having to shirk his usual duties, and so Susan gets pulled in to take care of them--and Susan Is Not Amused.

This is a book that answers a great many interesting questions, including one great and abiding mystery: just what does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?

Posted by Will Duquette at January 13, 2004 05:14 PM

Phil said:

I was ok with all of the silliness until the blood pudding. What the gross is a blood pudding? A pudding seasoned with pig's blood? Does Death take on the usual Grim Reaper appearance?

Will Duquette said:

From epicurious.com: blood sausage: Also known as blood pudding and in Ireland as black pudding, this large link sausage is made of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs and oatmeal. Almost black in color, blood sausage is generally sold precooked. It's traditionally sauteed and served with mashed potatoes.

Will Duquette said:

Oh, and in this particular book Death doesn't do the Grim Reaper thing, because he's busy playing Hogfather. That's why Susan gets pulled in--because someone has to do The Duty.

Phil said:

ok. The pudding or sausage sounds a slight bit better.