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For the Sky One adaptation of the novel, see Terry Pratchett's Hogfather.
Author Terry Pratchett
Language English
Series Discworld
20th novel – 4th Death story

Christmas, children's stories, the power of belief

Death, Susan Sto Helit
Death's Domain
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Victor Gollancz
Publication date
Awards Came 137th in the Big Read
ISBN 0-575-06403-X

Hogfather is the 20th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and a 1997 British Fantasy Award nominee.[1]

The Hogfather is also a character in the book, representing something akin to Father Christmas. He grants children's wishes on Hogswatchnight (December 32) and brings them presents. He also features in other Discworld novels.

Plot summary[edit]

In the novel, the Auditors strike again by deciding to eliminate the Hogfather because he does not fit into their view of the universe. They meet with Lord Downey, head of the Assassin's Guild, and commission the services of Mr Teatime, whose particular brand of insane genius makes him an ideal candidate for the assassination of the Hogfather and other anthropomorphic personifications. Death decides to take over for the Hogfather in order to make people continue to believe in him, wearing a long red cloak and a beard, but things start to become complicated because he is taking the children's wishes too literally.

Meanwhile, Death's granddaughter Susan must find out what's happened to the real Hogfather. She visits his Castle of Bones only to find the hung-over Bilious, the "Oh God" of Hangovers, whom she rescues before the castle collapses due to the lack of belief. In an attempt to cure Bilious, Susan visits the Unseen University, where it is discovered that several of these small gods and beings are being created. The University's thinking machine, Hex, explains that there is 'spare belief' in the world – due to the absence of the Hogfather – which is being used to create them.

Susan and Bilious then travel to the land of the Tooth Fairy where they discover that Jonathan Teatime has 'killed' the Hogfather by collecting millions of children's teeth and using them to control the children, forcing them to stop believing in the Hogfather. Upon throwing the Assassin off the tower and apparently killing him, Susan clears the teeth away and brings back the Hogfather by rescuing him from the Auditors, who have taken the forms of dogs. They cannot return to their original state and so cannot stop themselves falling off a cliff.

Afterwards, Teatime tracks Susan to the Gaiters' nursery, but is killed by Susan using the nursery poker, which passes through Death because "it only kills monsters".


  • Christmas
  • Santa Claus
  • Tooth Fairy
  • Power of Belief
  • Reason & Fantasy
  • Economic Redistribution
  • Children's Nightmares
  • Computers

TV adaptation[edit]

A two-part TV series of Hogfather was screened on the 17 December and 18 December 2006 (8:00 p.m.) on Sky One in the UK, with Ian Richardson as the voice of Death and David Jason playing Death's manservant Albert. Marc Warren played Mr. Teatime, Michelle Dockery played Susan Sto Helit, Rhodri Meilir played Bilious, and Tony Robinson (who narrated several audiobook versions of the Discworld novels) played the shop keeper Vernon Crumley. Terry Pratchett himself had a brief cameo as the toy-maker.

The U.S. debut was on 25 November 2007 on ION Television, the Australian on 23 December and the 24 December 2007 on Channel Seven, and the German on 25 December 2007 on ProSieben.


  1. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 

External links[edit]

Reading order guide
Preceded by
Feet of Clay
20th Discworld Novel Succeeded by
Preceded by
Soul Music
4th Death Story
Published in 1996
Succeeded by
Thief of Time