Quotes from Hogfather

Book: Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett was my favorite author throughout most of high school, a humorist who invented an entire weird, brilliant, satirical universe. Hogfather is his take on Christmas, and mythology, and belief, and it is one of my favorite books by him. I make a point of rereading it every Christmas, in the holiday spirit.

“If [the children] got the hang of the playground, she thought, adult life would hold no fears. Besides, it was nice to hear the voices of little children at play, provided you took care to be far enough away not to hear what they were actually saying.”

“Scrote had a lot of outskirts, spread so widely—a busted cart here, a dead dog there—that often people went through it without even knowing it was there, and really it only appeared on the maps because cartographers get embarrassed about big empty spaces.”

Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

‘Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—’

Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

‘So we can believe the big ones?’

Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.

“Most people forgot that the very oldest stories are, sooner or later, about blood. Later on they took the blood out to make the stories more acceptable to children, or at least to the people who had to read them to children rather than the children themselves (who, on the whole, are quite keen on blood provided it’s being shed by the deserving), and then wondered where the stories went.”

“Susan was bright enough to know that the phrase ‘Someone ought to do something’ was not, by itself, a helpful one. People who used it never added the rider ‘and that someone is me.'”

“One should always be wary of people who talk unashamedly of ‘fellowship and good cheer’ as if it were something that can be applied to life like a poultice. Turn your back for a moment and they may well organize a maypole dance and, frankly, there’s no option then but to try and make it to the tree line.”

“Dullness. Only humans could have invented it. What imaginations they had.”

Image: By vlod007 (wild boar in the winter) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons