Discworld/Hogfather/Headscratchers

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  • Why was Mustrum Ridcully in Hogfather not played by BRIAN BLESSED (BUUUUURSAAAAAR!!!).
    • Because some things are just too perfect?
    • The universe would implode from sheer awesome.
    • More serious, the dude is old. Probably not in the best shape if he's been carrying around that much for so long, if you know what I mean.
      • Brian Blessed has 3 times the lung capacity of the average human being, a good chunk of his mass is ammo storage for the sonic weapon array he calls a mouth.
    • You have presented to us the mental image of a nude elderly Brian Blessed taking an abnormally high-powered shower (thank you, Bloody Stupid Johnson), with implications of washing certain body parts we do not normally wash. Do not take it personally if we ask that the image be removed immediately.
  • Why does Death save the little match girl? What's so bad in getting to bloody Heaven? She would've gotten there, angels were coming for her. He gives her the present of a future... yeah, a future of poverty and misery.
    • I think it's in keeping with the overall deconstruction of Christmas and in particularly the sentimentality surrounding it and stories. From one viewpoint, The Little Match Girl is kind of horrible—take away the sentimentality and the 'getting into Heaven' bit (and the original, intentionally or not, is a bit ambiguous regarding that as well), and what you're left with is a poor, homeless, orphaned little girl being tormented by hallucinations about the wealth of everyone around her as she freezes to death in the snow. And as Albert unwittingly points out, we're kind of using that little girl's death in the snow to make us feel better about ourselves (yeah, we might not have much—but at least we're not The Little Match Girl!). Yeah, she may live in poverty and misery now—but she's only a little girl, and she deserves to have the chance to grow up and at least look for and maybe even find happiness, not to just be a sentimental cautionary tale. If she's good, she'll still get into Heaven someday, but arguably later's better than sooner in this case.
    • Don't forget that Death drops the kid off with the Watch, and he says he'll be checking in on her in the future. He's not just making her not die, he's putting her in the hands of people who can really help her.
    • Of course, if you take away the "getting into Heaven" bit, the story is horrible. But Hogfather didn't take that away - the angels appear, and Albert throws snowballs at them. If they made it ambiguous, saying that she might be better of dying, I could understand Death's rage over it better. But I really don't think the original is ambiguous over this: "[Her grandmother] took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God." Where's ambiguity in that? But I digress.
      • In-universe explanation is that on the Disc the afterlife is pretty crap for anyone that isn't a Feegle. Out-universe Pterry and most of his fans tend not to put much faith in deities. Being one with a god isn't half as good as actually living your life.
      • And as Death points out, it would have helped a lot more if the angels had come before the little girl froze to death, not after. They certainly have more than enough carrying capacity, as he points out, and coming after her death just isn't helpful at all.
      • If you asked the grandmother from the original story if she'd rather someone had come by and saved the girl's life, do you really think she'd have said no?
        • "That's a very human question, dear, and you couldn't possibly not ask it. But you have no conception of how happy we are now. I pray that you will one day."
    • Hogfather is all about life and its significance - Death's story about the little red flower, his speech to Susan about the uncaring universe. The various explanations for the winter festival - sacrifice, hoping winter will end soon (and therefore life will get easier). The irony of Death being the champion of life. The bad guys hate life because they find it messy. The good guys are on the side of life for life's sake. Of course he saves the girl.
      • Who else is better equipped to champion life but the being tasked with taking it away? It's his responsibility to reap the souls of untold millions, if not billions. If someone presented you with a starving, freezing orphan girl and gave you a gun and directions to a shelter for her, what would you do if they told you that killing her is the only option? You may argue that it's a mercy kill but Death does not really have that option, only an obligation.
    • Because leaving her to die would have been a dick's move. Besides, Death had just spent hours giving the kids what they wanted, even though he wasn't meant to, he wasn't about to say 'Yes, I'll let you die even though I could do differently'. And besides, after Albert explained why he should let her die, he was full of pissed-off, righteous indignation.
    • Sorry, friends, but the only real explanation is this: In fiction and real life, it has always been the tradition to believe both that people who die go to heaven and that it's a tragedy when people die. It's illogical, but that's how it always works. You might as well ask why it's considered a success when somebody's life is saved, considering that they'll die eventually anyway.
      • I am certain other people than Feegles can get a good afterlife on the Disc, such as Teach, Doctor Undershaft, Mrs. Flitworth and a few others. But, putting that aside:
    • The story of the matchgirl is, unsurprisingly, going to be viewed differently by atheists than religious people. But one thing about it is indisputable - the story promotes a passive acceptance of suffering, which is a pretty horrible thing. Both the girl and the reader are supposed to acquiesce to the fact that the girl is dying, for no fault of her own, not from sickness, or an accident, or old age, but just poverty, which is and should be a remediable condition. Not only is the message - for the girl and the reader - 'death is the best you can get', but also there is a message for everyone else (because nobody comes to help the girl, even though she looks into other people's houses, so there are other more fortunate people) - 'you do not need to help others, you can let them die and that's a good deed, because they go to heaven'. If that isn't horrible, I don't know what is. In Hogfather, Death on the other hand gives the lesson in active, constructive kindness, as he gets her what she needs - care, protection by honest people, a warm meal - as well as the feeling of security ('I may well be checking up later.') He puts the real, tangible and vivacious happiness of life above the indefinite, vague and static afterlife.
      • I'm sorry, you're trying to tell me that Hans Christian Andersen was against charity, kindness, and social welfare? The man was very depressed and troubled. He wrote a story about a pathetic little girl who is helpless to change her fate, to whom the world is cruel, because that's what he perceived of life. He tried to console himself, his readers, and the girl by giving her a happy afterlife with her grandmother.
    • It's not the first time Death has cared for those he serves. What hope the crop, if not the care of the Reaper Man?
  • One of the main characteristics of the Oh God of Hangovers is that as a newly formed anthropomorphic personification, he doesn't know a lot about the world, and when Susan mentions the Tooth Fairy, he responds that he's never heard of her. But the Verruca Gnome is in the same boat as Billious, being created in the same fashion slightly earlier, yet he instantly knows about the Tooth Fairy. The only reason this might make sense is that the Verruca Gnome, as a fairy-esque creature, has a similar job and would have a knowledge of her, but it still seems like an odd difference.
    • In fairness to Bilious, a massive hangover is not conducive to thinking particularly well, and after the Wizard's Sobriety Potion the sheer euphoria of not having the worlds' worst hangover probably overwhelmed him somewhat.