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Discworld: Hogfather
Next! What's your name, little reader?
... Troper...

And you are how many years old?
... Not sayin'...

What would you like for Hogswatch?
...

I expect you'd like an article on 'Hogfather'?
's...

Have you been naughty or nice?
... Nice...

Well, here you are. Happy Hogswatch. Ho. Ho. Ho.
'nk you...

The 20th Discworld novel and the 4th in the Death theme, now becoming more like the Death-Susan theme. Was also the first book to be adapted by Sky One for a live action TV movie.

Susan, Death's granddaughter, is trying distance herself from her supernatural side by being normal (which is abnormal for the Discworld) and taking the position of governess in the Gaiter household, where she tries to instill some rationality into her young charges. Meanwhile, the Auditors' latest plan is to hire the Assassins' Guild to kill the Hogfather, the Discworld's Santa Claus analog. The task is given to Mr. Teatime, a creative but overly zealous young assassin, who has already hypothesized how to kill many anthropomorphic personifications in his spare time.

With the Hogfather out of the way, there seem to be a whole lot more minor gods and goddesses around than there used to be - and perhaps the disappearance of a tooth fairy might shed some light on the whole ordeal?

Preceded by Feet of Clay, followed by Jingo. Preceded in the Death series by Soul Music. Sort-of followed by Thief of Time, where Death and Susan do everything relevant that isn't done by Lu Tze or Lobsang.

The book contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Death's scythe and sword.
  • Adult Fear: The entire reason the Boogeyman, the living embodiment of the "monster under the bed" type scare, became the Tooth Fairy was to protect children from real monsters like Teatime.
  • An Aesop: Several of the traditional sappy Christmas Aesops are mercilessly mocked.
    • Death delivers a straight Aesop near the end.
      Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
  • Analogy Backfire: Mr. Teatime's claim to be a security-guard's "worst nightmare" falls flat, because the guard's actual nightmares are a lot more bizarre than Teatime's threats.
  • Affably Evil: Mr. Teatime, in a way.
  • All Myths Are True: As is traditional for Discworld, a large number of Christmas myths and stories are all happening at the same time.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Applied in-universe to "Good" King Wenceslas.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: A big theme in the book is that children's stories are hardly as sweet as some imagine.
  • The Artifact: Susan is the Duchess of Sto Helit, which she inherited from her father Mort, who himself was given the job at the end of Mort. This makes her choice of occupation somewhat... unusual. Given the way her status is very briefly Handwaved it seems clear that this Backstory is pretty inconvenient to Terry and the direction he wanted to take the character of Susan in, which is presumably why it is mostly ignored later.
  • Badass Bookworm: Susan.
  • Badass Santa: Like our Santa, the Hogfather is derived from old pagan gods... just a little more literally. And then Death takes over for him. You'd better watch out...
  • Bad Santa: Death is bad at being Santa. In a good way.
  • Batman Gambit: Death forbidding Susan from getting involved, knowing full well that she would disobey him.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Susan starts the book very annoyed by the power set that comes with being related to Death, and is aggressively attempting to be normal. Then she gets to the Tooth Fairy's country, where she is normal because Death doesn't exist there—and Teatime's goons get the drop on her because her powers aren't working.
  • Begone Bribe: Foul Ol' Ron and his fellow tramps tell a restaurant owner that they'll sing (badly) for free, since it's Hogswatch. He takes the hint and gives them some food to make them go away.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Death, to the Auditors' hypocritical argument at the end:
    One said, You cannot do this, there are rules!
    Yes. There are rules. But you broke them. How dare you? how dare you?
    • "Our mam said don't hit girls..."
    • Averted as regards the pronunciation of Mr. Teatime's name (see It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY below) - after he has repeatedly complained about this throughout the book, Susan tries to use it to put him off balance, but it doesn't work as he is merely mildly irritated by it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Death. Sure, he's Death and all, but this book shows that he cares a hell of a lot about the world, so don't mess with reality and piss him off. See Berserk Button above.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Done with a crowbar for extra absurdity.
  • Bluebird of Happiness: Is actually a blue chicken.
  • Book Ends: One of the earliest scenes is Death on the ocean floor overseeing the death of a deep-sea organism that looks like a brilliant red flower when an apparently random rockfall kills it. Towards the end, he uses it as an example of the Auditors' antipathy to life to Susan:
    Death: Down in the deepest kingdoms of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain and no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing but a tiny yes in the night. And yet... And yet... It has enemies who bear it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed. Are you with me so far?
    Susan: Well, yes, but -
    Death: Good. Now, imagine what they think of humanity.
    • This is noted by Susan as significant in-universe because of how rarely Death speaks so emphatically (in italics).
  • Bowdlerize: Mrs. Huggs, leader of the wassailers, revised traditional Hogswatch songs to eliminate "unwarranted coarseness", even in cases (like "The Red Rosy Hen") when it doesn't actually exist.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Lilywhite brothers; Banjo is the brawn, Medium Dave is the brains.
  • Brick Joke: After accidentally summoning yet another would-be anthropomorphic personification, Ridcully wonders aloud where the glingleglingleglingle noise that accompanies each manifestation is coming from. Near the end of the book, he encounters the Glingle-Glingle-Glingle Fairy.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Susan finds she can't do any of Death's tricks in the Tooth Fairy's realm. Luckily for her, neither can Death's sword.
  • Call Back: The Hogfather and the Tooth Fairy were both introduced as concepts in earlier books. Rincewind and Twoflower were seen wondering what the Tooth Fairy did with all those teeth back in The Light Fantastic.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the book Ridcully makes an off-the-cuff remark:
    Ridcully: Get hold of something like someone's nail clipping and you've get 'em under your control. That's real old magic. Dawn of time stuff.
    • There's also Twyla's "It only kills monsters," near the beginning.
  • Children Are Innocent: Analyzes the dark side of this trope.
  • Christmas Carolers: The Hogswatch Wassailers are a You Mean Xmas version of the trope. The Lemony Narrator says that if you could lift the scene up, there'd be an interesting assortment of chocolates or biscuits underneath.
    • And then there's the Canting Crew, who sing—or at least make vaguely festive noises—at people until they give them some money or food to go away.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Along with Small Gods, the book in which the concept is most examined.
  • Continuity Nod: Ridcully mentions the time the build up of life force happened in Reaper Man.
    • Death says his taking care of humanity has something to do with the harvest, a thing he realizes in Reaper Man.
      • The fields of wheat that Death turns part of his garden into to remind himself of this are described briefly
    • The Glingleglingleglingle Fairy offers to play "The Bells of St. Ungulant's" for Ridcully. Brutha encountered St. Ungulant in Small Gods
  • Crappy Holidays: In one scene, the wizards are briefly sent into a funk where they ruminate on all the things they hate about the holidays.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Susan worries that Death is going senile and becoming one of these. He's really more of a Kind Hearted Cat Lover, though.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Teatime, to the point where when he's given an assignment to kill the Hogfather, he tells Downey that he'd already come up with a plan years ago when he was a kid, as a thought experiment, in addition to beings like the Tooth Fairy, the Soul Cake Duck, and Death himself.
  • Cue the Sun
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: This is, of course, the only possible outcome when you piss off The Grim Reaper himself. The book does not actually describe what happens, exactly. All we know is that he was up against an army of Auditors... and then he wasn't.
  • Curse Cut Short: The Duck Man clamp a hand over Foul Ole Ron's mouth in time to stop him dropping an F-bomb while wassailing.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Besides the man himself, it turns out the real Tooth Fairy is also the Monster Progenitor of the bogeymen... but took up collecting teeth to protect children from malicious magic.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Of a lot of children's literature; Susan notes the Sociopathic Hero nature of Jack and other fairy tale protagonistsnote , but the book is even harsher towards very saccharine works, which are made to appeal to adults rather than children. Death, meanwhile, does this for various Hogswatch Tropes.
    • The speech Death gives about humans needing fantasy to be human is a deconstruction of the famous "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus" editorial from the Sun (which was mercilessly mocked in an earlier Susan monologue).
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Susan tells off one of her charges for trying this:
    Twyla: I'm afwaid of the monster in the cellar, Thusan. It's going to eat me up.
    Susan: What have I told you about trying to sound ingratiatingly cute, Twyla?
    Twyla: You said I mustn't. You said that exaggerated lisping is a hanging offence and I only do it to get attention.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Teatime probably would have done just fine if he hadn't underestimated how much Banjo got upset about hitting girls.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted twice: first, Susan actually has to kick Teatime before he falls, then he survives the fall and gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: I don't know if you noticed, Albert, but that was a pune, or play on words.
  • Don't Fear The Reaper: There is a debate between Teatime and Susan as to the good taste of the Sto Helit family motto Non Timetus Messor. The "death is not to be feared" theme of this trope is evident in the nature and character of the Discworld Death.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Ridcully finds a bathroom that has been boarded up, had a sign put up warning not to open the room, and the door hidden behind a bookcase. So, of course, he opens it up to see why it was closed up.
    • A recurring theme of the book, and indeed every appearance of the wizards, is that if anything appears to be Don't Touch It, You Idiot!, a wizard can be relied upon to be the Idiot who Touches It. There's also Ridcully's investigation of how the organ is linked to the plumbing.
  • Double Jump: Teatime, amazingly enough.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: The Bursar suggests willow bark as a hangover cure. Willow bark contains salicin, from which aspirin was discovered.
  • Dwindling Party: The group of criminals Teatime brings along gets picked off one by one.
  • Ear Trumpet: Windle Poons' old trumpet shows up again as a way to give Hex commands.
  • Eating Shoes: The meal of mud and old boots. See Supreme Chef below.
  • Eldritch Location: Tooth Fairy's Castle.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: It's more awe and fear than love, but when Teatime insults the late Ma Lilywhite, that's apparently the last straw for Medium Dave. For the record, he immediately draws his sword and snarls, "What did you say about our mum?" the instant Teatime implies disrespect towards Ma Lilywhite, and all the while knowing full-well how dangerous Teatime is.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The amoral Lord Downey is creeped out by how Teatime is dangerously unhinged, while nominally following the rules of the Assassin's Guild.
      Like many people with no actual morals, Lord Downey did have standards, and Teatime repelled him.
    • Medium Dave and the other lowlifes also have their own twisted code of conduct, and they're unsettled by Teatime's mindless ruthlessness.
  • Everything Fades: People who die in the Tooth Fairy's castle get teleported away. This is because the place is based on the imagination of children, who do not really grasp the concept of death or what happens after you die. Which is why Death needed Susan to go there for him — the Tooth Fairy's land is A place I cannot go.
  • Exact Words: Teatime's reassuring comment "Don't worry, a violent death is the last thing that'll happen to you".
  • Full Boar Action: Rooter, Gouger, Tusker and Snouter. Also the pre-human form of the Hogfather himself.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Various items attached to Hex are Stealth Puns relating to computer acronyms, such as fluffy teddy bear = FTB = FTP.
  • Genius Ditz: Violet. The temp Tooth Fairy quickly the measure of Teatime's gang, and tells Susan about them right away — but she needs to shut down all other brain functions to remember the order of the alphabet.
  • Gentle Giant: Banjo, when he's not being ordered around by a charismatic psychopath.
  • Gift of the Magi Plot: Subverted when the Dean gives the Bursar a box for his dried frog pills. The Bursar, naturally, no longer has any to put in it... because the Dean swiped them from his room, rather than shell out any more money for a full pillbox.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The existence of anthropomorphic personifications is somewhere between this and Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
  • Hear Me The Money: The Auditors of Reality leave a rather unusual payment when they commission the Assassin's Guild to off the eponymous holiday figure: blank discs of pure gold. The head of the guild bounces one on his desk, and the sound and bounce of the "coin" confirm its composition for him.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: Whipped up for Bilious by the wizards, who mix together every single hangover cure they can think of. And since Bilious gets all of the hangovers from Bibulous, the god of wine, Bibulous gets all of the effects of the hangover cure.
  • Hogswatch Episode
  • Hogswatch Miracle: Numerous, including Death preventing a Little Matchstick Girl in progress.
    Death: The Hogfather can. The Hogfather gives presents. There's no better present than a future.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Teatime. Part of the brilliance of his plan was that Death could do nothing directly to stop him because Death cannot go to the Tooth Fairy's country — because it is based on the imagination of children, who have no fully formed concept of death. Later when Susan confronts him there, he takes Death's sword from her and attempts to slay her with it, only to find the blade cannot exist there either, as there is no death.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: While more fully explored in Thief of Time it's glimpsed at here when the Auditors become addicted to living when they take on the form of wolves to pursue the Hogfather.
    • It's a long running concept in all the Discworld books that Death has changed quite a bit from hanging around humanity for all these eons. He keeps trying, with "interesting" results, to understand humans. He started out "just doing his job" but has come to care about humans quite a bit.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted. It's not humans, it's just Teatime. The kids themselves point out that a skeleton isn't really frightening when it's holding a biscuit and a teacup, and Teatime's effort to win them over falls totally flat.
    Death: The world will teach them about monsters soon enough.
    Susan: But... he was a man.
    Death: I think they know quite well what he was.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Susan spends most of the book thinking this way.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Teatime, with a poker. It only kills monsters. Hence, it ignores Death (who was standing in the way).
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Parodied.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Teatime is insistent that his name is pronounced "Teh-ah-tim-eh" (or "Teh-ah-tar-mee" in the TV adaptation).
  • Kids Are Cruel: A major theme of the book.
  • Knife Nut: Teatime.
  • Leaving Food For Santa: On the Discworld, children leave out a pork pie and a glass of sherry for the Hogfather, and a turnip for the hogs that pull his sleigh. Death can't eat or drink, so Albert deals with the pies and sherry for him (particularly enthusiastically when it comes to the sherry).
  • Magical Nanny: Susan's occupation during the novel. Of course, this being Susan, she's much more Bad Ass than the average Magical Nanny.
  • Magitek and Magical Computer: Hex.
  • Mall Hogfather: Death's rather... special stint as one is one of his tricks to regain faith in the Hogfather.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: The Tooth Fairy.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Auditors are the... uh... entities behind Teatime's Hogfather-assassination contract.
  • Metaphorically True: Susan refuses to believe that the sun wouldn't have come up if they had failed to restore the Hogfather. Death insists that it would not have:
    Death: A mere ball of glowing gas would have illuminated the world.
    • He then goes on to explain why this is, in fact, an important distinction.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: The Cheerful Fairy resembles one.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: The Tooth Fairy/Bogey Man.
  • Motivational Lie: Teatime tries to get Banjo to attack Susan by telling him that Susan hurt the Tooth Fairy.
    • Death telling Susan that the sun won't come up if the Hogfather dies can be seen as this or a Half Truth mixed with a very careful use of Exact Words.
  • Nail The Dog To The Ceiling: Teatime, of course.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Tooth Fairy's intention in gathering all the teeth was to protect them from use in Sympathetic Magic. Instead, it makes it all the easier for Teatime and his gang to get them.
  • Noble Demon: The Tooth Fairy/Bogey Man.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Teatime's Ax-Crazy nature is revealed from the description of him doing this in the course of an assassination. He did everything by the book, including using a mirror to check the whether the inhumed was breathing. That the victim's head was, at this time, several feet away from his body apparently did not enter into Teatime's mind as relevant. Or excessive.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The exact side-effects of the hangover cure. Sadly, that scene did not make it into the movie.
    • The incident which prompted Ridcully to close down the forbidden bathroom at the end of the book. It appears to have involved the 'afterburner' on the organ. Precisely why the organ needed an afterburner, given that this is normally the component of a jet engine, is a noodle incident in itself.
  • No One Could Survive That: Mr Teatime's fall from the top of the tower. He even disappeared afterward, like the other corpses. Because he was dead, and foolishly resuscitated by the wizards.
  • Not What I Signed On For: One henchman's response when he finds out Teatime plans to kill the Hogfather.
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Susan mentions this as one of the reasons she hates the previous nanny of the kids she looks after.
  • Odd Job Gods: Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers becomes one by the end.
  • Only Sane Man: Medium Dave is inexplicably the only one of the thieves who doesn't become childlike under the Tooth Fairy's influence. Until the phantom of his mother appears.
  • Pig Man: The Hogfather himself has elements of this.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Two. One against the Auditors and one against a Not Quite Dead Teatime.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Now there remains one final question. Have you been naughty... or nice? Ho. Ho. Ho.
    • Susan gets one too: "Hi, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter."
  • Psycho for Hire: Teatime, of course.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Banjo and, in a different way, Teatime. Teatime is mostly psychopath, while Banjo is mostly man-child.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: The Tooth Fairy's guards take Teatime's declaration of "I'm your worst nightmare!" entirely too literally.
  • Religious Robot: Hex is told to believe in the Hogfather. He does so.
  • Reset Button: Near the beginning, Ponder successfully cures the Bursar of his insanity by having him talk with Hex (though at the cost of temporarily driving Hex mad in turn). At the end, the Bursar goes mad again after Mr Teatime materialises on top of the dinner table and a wild swipe of Death's sword slices through the fork in the Bursar's hand.
    • This is also a form of Book Ends, as the Bursar originally went mad because of a different 'unfortunate incident at dinner': Windle Poons shambling into the Great Hall as a zombie in Reaper Man.
  • Retroactive Wish: When the wizards work out that the various minor fairies are spontaneously forming when people mention their function, the Dean quickly jumps in with "What, like the 'Give the Dean a Huge Bag of Money Goblin'?"
  • Reverse Psychology: It would be against the rules for Death to involve a human in the matter. This is why he specifically told her not to get involved.
  • Rule of Cool: Death comments that he added the sparks and the glow when the poker goes through him harmlessly because he felt it was 'appropriate'.
  • Saving Hogswatch
  • Scholarship Student: Teatime is one of several mentioned in the series who are these for the Assassin's Guild.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Teatime provides the page quote.
    Lord Downey: We took pity on him because he lost both parents at an early age. I think, on reflection, we should have wondered a bit more about that.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: Downey seriously considers having Teatime killed for a) violating Guild standards and b) being good enough to sneak into Downey's own office unnoticed.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skip of Innocence: Twyla does this as part of her Deliberately Cute Child persona. Susan isn't fooled, saying "real children don't go hoppity-skippity unless they're on drugs".
  • Stable Time Loop: The toy horse Albert wanted when he was a child that was bought by someone else was Death going back in time and buying it for him. D'awwww.
  • Subbing for Santa: Death is a very creepy stand-in for the Hogfather. He does a pretty good job, though, considering what he had to work with.
  • Supreme Chef: The manager of the restaurant in Ankh-Morpork, a former chef, is able to make meals out of mud and old boots (after Death steals his food stocks to feed the beggars) by a combination of skill and 'headology' (people will eat anything in a fancy restaurant if the menu is in French... Er, Quirmian). In Nanny Ogg's Cookbook it's noted that mud and old boots-based cuisine eventually caught on across the city's posh restaurants.
  • Take That: Has a very vicious one towards Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl".
    • Also thoroughly deconstructs the story of Good King Wenceslas. Admittedly, the King was more of jerkass than actually evil, but the point still stands; spontaneous charity on one day does not make up for neglect in the rest of the year, and also that forcing (inappropriate) charity on people who don't want it just to make yourself feel better is just as bad.
    • He names, explains, and then thoroughly takes apart the Anthropic Principle. Twice. In a single footnote.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • At the very beginning, Ridcully is opening a door with a sign that says, "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door." Why? "To see why they wanted it shut, of course." A footnote lets us know that this tells us just about all we need to know about human civilization. At least, the parts of it that are either underwater, fenced off, or still smoking.
    • At the end, when Ridcully shuts the room up again, the caretaker doesn't hammer the nails in too hard, so they'll come out easy next time.
    • Wizards being wizards, when someone realizes that magical beings are popping into existence when people think of them, the Faculty start saying that "Just because you think of {insert critter here} doesn't make it appear!" Cue appearance of the Eater of Socks.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: While not using the tongue, this trope is mentioned. Albert reminisces about a toy horse he wanted as a kid. "I must have spent hours staring at it with my nose pressed against the glass, until someone heard my cries and unfroze me."
  • Too Dumb to Live: A quite literal application of the trope: The Auditors. They pushed Death's Berserk Button. While they were in mortal form.
  • True Meaning Of Hogswatch: Parodied, of course. Death resolves to teach people the real meaning of Hogswatch. Albert then lists the more unpleasant (i.e. sacrificial pigs and loads of blood) aspects of pagan winter festivals until Death decides to teach people the unreal meaning of Hogswatch.
  • Urban Legends: The source of some of the sprites coming into existence from the Hogfather's belief.
  • Villainous Demotivator: Teatime's not very good at making friends.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Early on, Susan goes to Death's house and finds the room in which the lifetimers of the gods and anthropomorphic personifications are stored, finding the Hogfather's smashed on the floor: her line "Grandfather, what have you done?" seems to suggest she mistakenly thinks the Hogfather is dead due to an accident by Death. Why the lifetimer is smashed, and Susan's mistaken impression, are never revisited.
    • It's implied elsewhere in the Discworld books that a person's life and their life-timer are literally connected by some sort of symbiosis. Thus, by killing the Hogfather before his time, one also destroys his life-timer.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Susan notes Gawain and Twyla as this.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Banjo Lilywhite.
  • Yes Virginia: Parodied ruthlessly.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Everyone Teatime ever meets. It is curiously binary; if you are not helping him anymore, you are effectively dead. The only thing you can do is run out the clock. Mr. Brown is Genre Savvy enough to defy this, but Banjo kills him anyway. Teatime lets Sidney go because he was distracted, but the poor wizard still doesn't get out of the Tooth Fairy World alive.
  • You Mean Xmas: Hogswatchnight.
  • Your Worst Nightmare:
    • The Tooth Fairy's last line of defense. Doesn't really work on Susan; she likes snakes. Teatime also overcame it, although he didn't care to explain how beyond "I am in touch with my inner child."
      • The live-action adaptation had his soul literally be that of a young version of him. He was in touch with his inner child because he's basically the same person as he was when he was a child. It's the same reason why Banjo wasn't targeted by the Tooth Fairy's defenses, but his brother was: he was, at heart, a child, and the Tooth Fairy had built his castle explicitly so he could protect children.
    • The worst nightmares of the one guard that Teatime killed were rather strange, involving some sort of giant cabbage with something resembling combine blades mounted on it. But then again, when did a person's worst nightmare have to make sense to anyone else?


The TV adaptation contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion/Shout-Out: I couldn't possibly comment.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Nobby Nobbs. Mind you, making him look anything like described in the books would require heavy-duty CGI, enough makeup to cover the actor, a full-body suit, or hiring a chimpanzee and dubbing in his lines.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The adaptation shows all the events as they happen chronologically, even those that Susan (and through her, the readers) does not learn about until almost the very end of the book (most notable are the relation between the Tooth Fairy's realm and children's drawings, how death is treated in the Tooth Fairy's realm, the outright spelling-out of Teatime's plan for the teeth starting with punching Banjo, and the no-longer-behind-the-scenes nature of Death's decision to impersonate the Hogfather).
  • Behind the Black: Teatime takes Offscreen Teleportation to the max, with one cut having characters looking right at him and then the next having him coming completely out of nowhere to push Medium Dave against a wall. In the final scene too. How the hell did he get behind Death?
  • Billing Displacement: David Jason.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: Kidnapped Violet is transported this way by Teatime's hired thugs.
  • Coconut Superpowers: The Scissor Man never appearing on screen is a big one, as are the quick cuts away while magic is being performed.
  • Continuity Nod: The back of the Dean's robe reads "Born to Rune".
  • Creator Cameo: Terry Pratchett appears as the toymaker at the very end.
  • Doing It for the Art: Spent three hours on a movie just so it was almost word-for-word like the book. And the casting director has definitely earned their paycheck.
  • Driving a Desk: Binky's flying scenes.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Of deaths inside the castle, Mr. Brown is thrown down a large number of stairs, Middle Dave simply fades from existence after being hit by a light projection of his mother, and a third dies apparently of fright after being pulled into a wardrobe that scared him as a child. But Sidney? The Woobie wizard of the group with a penchant for sucking his thumb when frightened? The last we see of him is him sobbing in fear as the silhouette of the Scissor Man is cutting closer and closer to his head. And he had been lucky enough before to 'outlive his usefulness' minutes earlier and Teatime actually let him leave without trying to kill him.
  • Hell Is That Noise: invokedThe sound of the Scissor Man.
  • Informed Attribute: Despite Nobby Nobbs' Adaptational Attractiveness, Death still acts like he can't tell what species he belongs to.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never actually see the Scissor Man, but we do get treated to a shadow moments before it killed Sidney in a nightmarishly Family-Unfriendly Death.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Uttered by the kid's father when the kids catch him pretending to be the Hogfather.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Mr. Teatime does this all the time.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: All scenes with The Librarian are absent from the film, presumably because it's a lot easier to write about orangutans playing pipe organs than it is trying to film it. The same probably applies to the fact that the Tooth Fairy's castle was supposed to have no shadows (and, as mentioned above, Nobby's Adaptational Attractiveness).
  • Psycho Strings: Used as a leitmotif for Teatime.
  • Running Gag: Albert never getting to smoke a cigarette.
  • Shout-Out: The noble music which plays when Bilious is being sobered up is of course Men of Harlech, but is also known to some university students, current and former, as The Alcoholics' Anthem.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The sweet music playing as Teatime threatens Susan with the sword at the very end.
  • Take Our Word for It: The Scissor Man doesn't appear on screen.
  • World Of Pune: Hex has a lot of computer puns, stealth and otherwise — sheep skulls (RAM), small religious pictures (icons), an 'Anthill Inside' sticker (Intel Inside), a mouse and so on. It is said that he's basically building himself off the ideas of computers from Earth.


Now there remains one final question. Have you been naughty... or nice? Ho... Ho... Ho!
The History of the GalaxyLiterature of the 1990sHoles
Feet of ClayLiterature/DiscworldJingo
FilmImageSource/Live-Action FilmsRed Right Hand

alternative title(s): Hogfather
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