Jonathan Teatime is the main antagonist of Hogfather, the twentieth book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novel series. A controversial member of Ankh-Morpork's Assassins' Guild, he is charged with the assassination of the Hogfather, the Discworld's Santa Claus equivalent - and makes significant efforts on that front by altering human belief.
In the made-for-TV movie, he is portrayed by Marc Warren, who also played the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair.
Little is known of Mr Teatime's past, though he is heavily implied to have been sociopathic from a very early age: Susan theorizes that he was "the little boy who didn't know the difference between throwing a stone at a cat and setting the cat on fire," and suggests that he looked up doll's dresses - Teatime's enraged denial offering possible confirmation. However, what is known is that his parents died in a tragic accident when he was young, and he was taken in by the Assassin's Guild; however, in light of Teatime's murderous eccentricities, guildmaster Lord Downey later admitted that they probably should have investigated the circumstances behind his parents' death - suggesting that Teatime murdered them.
Teatime quickly gained significant notoriety as an assassin who took far too much joy in his work: though he never failed to inhume a target, he would also brutally murder the target's family, servants and pets, usually in gratuitously excessive ways. One particularly troubling case involved Teatime nailing a dog to the wall, though he later insisted that he followed the orders of the contract to the letter, even checking his target's breath with a mirror (somewhat unnecessary, considering that said target's head was several feet from his body by that point). Incidents such as these gave the young killer a bad reputation among the members of the Assassin's Guild, who prided themselves on elegance and style as opposed to Teatime's wanton slaughter.
At some point, he replaced his left eye with a crystal of unknown origin, allowing him unusual powers; it's been suggested by Teatime's partners-in-crime that this is actually a scrying crystal, indicating that he was actually bold enough to implant highly-volatile Discworld magic into his own eye sockets.
Events of the Novel
At the start of the book, Lord Downey is contacted by the Auditors of Reality, offering a million dollars in exchange for the inhumation of the Hogfather. Though baffled, Downey assigns Mr Teatime for the role in the hopes that his brilliance for murder might be applicable to this bizarre contract; Teatime happily agrees, having spent considerable time planning out means of assassinating not only the Hogfather, but the Tooth Fairy, the Soul Cake Duck, and even Death himself.
Gathering a team of professional criminals including Banjo Lillywhite and his brother Medium Dave, he sets out to conduct the assassination by sympathetic magic: using part of an individual's body - such as hair or toenails - it would be possible to magically control the mind of another living being; with enough samples from enough people, Teatime would be able to manipulate the belief of children all over the Disc and convince them to stop believing in the Hogfather - and without the sustaining force of human belief, the Hogfather would die. However, this required Teatime to conduct a rather roundabout assault on the Tooth Fairy's Castle, where the teeth of just about every single child on the Disc are stored.
Punching a tooth out of Banjo's head, he uses this to lure in a tooth fairy and kidnap her as soon as she arrives; hijacks her coach, he and the rest of the team hitch a ride into the Tooth Fairy's castle. There, they began gathering teeth for a vast spell to destroy all belief in the Hogather; though the initial attacks are successful enough to temporarily dispatch the target, belief in him is deliberately maintained by another Anthropomorphic Personification, Death, who takes the Hogfather's place for the night before Hogswatch - even going so far as to deliver presents to children.
While Death keeps belief in the Hogfather on life-support, Death's granddaughter Susan investigates further, eventually following the trail of clues into the Tooth Fairy's castle. Meanwhile, Teatime is still looking for a means of ensuring that the inhumation remains complete, killing any guards or unfortunate team-members that get in the way; his team is further diminished by the efforts of the castle's security, which quickly turns the group's childhood fears against them. Teatime, being in touch with his inner child, is spared this assault.
Eventually, Susan and Teatime are drawn into a confrontation, during which Teatime apparently gets the upper hand by stealing Death's sword from her. However, the childlike Banjo - having been taught never to hit girls - is eventually prompted to change sides when he sees Teatime attacking Susan. In the ensuing fight, Teatime is sent tumbling over a balcony down the length of the Castle; given that death technically can't exist within the Castle, he lands outside the Castle - right in the middle of Unseen University's Hogswatch celebrations.
Teatime, unfortunately, survives his fall. While Susan and Death go about restoring the Hogfather to life and bringing the Auditors responsible for the inhumation to justice, Teatime goes on the hunt, eventually tailing her back to the Gaiter's nursery. In the standoff that follows, the assassin tries to carry out the inhumation of Death himself, as he'd always hoped to do; however, Susan is able to throw her fireplace poker at him, impaling him through the chest despite Death being in the way - the poker well known for only killing monsters.
Mr Teatime's soul is reaped soon after by Death, though he seems genuinely pleased that Death managed to pronounce his name correctly. Some time after the corpse has been disposed of, Gawain Gaiter finds Teatime's glass eye lying in the fireplace and mistakes it for a marble: to date, he has never once lost a game with it.
Teatime appears to be a pleasant, eccentric young man most of the time. As the story goes on, however, his cheerful exterior is revealed to be just a mask to hide his true self- a sick, sadistic monster who kills indiscriminately and feels no empathy towards anyone. A heartless sociopath, Teatime sees people as things, and finds nothing objectionable about murdering entire families over the course of his work- to the point that even his superiors are disturbed and appalled. In truth, he is utterly oblivious to the morality of his actions, seeing no difference between stabbing someone or having a friendly chat with them. With this in mind, Jonathan Teatime has emerged as one of Discworld's most heinous villains, even alongside fellow psychopaths Carcer Dun and Lilith Weatherwax.
Teatime is frequently shown to be very childish; he deeply resents not getting his way and is quite insistent on having his name pronounced as "tee-ah-tim-eh", getting irritated when people call it 'the thing you have at 4 in the afternoon'. He also has no regard for his accomplices, to the point that he kills them the moment that they've outlived their usefulness. He even thinks that Banjo serving him in exchange for him keeping him alive is what people call 'friendship'.
Despite his seemingly thoughtless murders, Teatime actually possesses a brilliant analytical mind, and devotes much of his spare time to planning out seemingly-impossible assassinations - including supposedly imaginary characters such as the Hogfather and the Tooth Fairy. Had Death not been keeping belief in the Hogfather alive, his plan might very well have succeeded. His mind has been compared to a corkscrew and a broken mirror - sharp, dazzling, but fundamentally broken.
Powers and Abilities
Quite apart from his genius for planning future assassinations, Teatime also possesses a number of supernatural powers apparently as a result of his glass eye: over the course of the novel, he performs seemingly-impossible feats of violence, including stabbing through all layers of clothing but stopping just short of touching flesh, flipping off empty air, or killing at a blurring pace.
- In the live action adaptation, Marc Warren uses a false American accent whilst playing Mr. Teatime. He was partially inspired to do this by Johnny Depp's version of Willy Wonka from the 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.