Happy Father’s Day! I know it was a couple days ago, but I wrote this post on Father’s Day and scheduled it. Oh technology!
I’ve noticed that a lot of characters in fiction have daddy issues. Absent fathers, dead fathers, derelict fathers, fathers causing a world of problems for their kids. I could focus on why this is the case and talk about some of the issues that authors deal with in these relationships. But I wanted to talk about great dads instead because that’s what Father’s Day is all about — celebrating those dads who invest in their kids and love and care about them. So here are my favorite fathers (or father figures) from fantasy fiction.
Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter by JK Rowling)
I love all the Weasleys, and Arthur, with his fascination with Muggles and his quirkiness, is some of the best humor of JK Rowling’s series.
“What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
James Potter (Harry Potter by JK Rowling)
Some fans have this thing against James Potter. Yeah, when he was 15, he was a little bit of a bully. But he turned out to be an honorable, courageous guy in the end. He was a loyal best friend; he saved Snape’s life; and he was a fighter. He died trying to protect his wife and child.
A chilly breeze that seemed to emanate from the heart of the forest lifted the hair at Harry’s brow. He knew that they would not tell him to go, that it would have to be his decision. “You’ll stay with me?”
“Until the very end,” said James.
Bilbo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien)
I know he’s technically Frodo’s uncle, but he raises Frodo and he is generally a pretty cool guy who takes care of Frodo. Of course, he also leaves him one very valuable and troublesome ring that changes Frodo’s life forever.
“We are plain quiet folk, and I have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, and uncomfortable things.”
Brimstone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor)
Another father figure as opposed to a true father. A chimaera who raised the main character Karou, Brimstone is a complicated but loving–in his own way–figure in Karou’s life.
“I don’t know many rules to live by … But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles – drugs or tattoo – and…no inessential penises, either.”
Clara’s Dad (Unearthly by Cynthia Hand)
I can’t really say who it is because it’s a big spoiler for the second book, Hallowed. But if you like YA Paranormal Fiction, then check this series out because Clara is smart and funny, the series is full of interesting world building, and there is a ton of great characterization, including a father-daughter relationship that makes me happy.
No quote because I don’t want to spoil anyone 😉
And okay, can I just say that this post was harder to write than I thought it would be? Going through my Goodreads Fantasy shelf, I am kind of saddened by the amount of the kinds of fathers that I mentioned earlier — dead, absent, estranged, evil. I will admit that a complicated relationship with his/her dad will give your MC a wealth of issues, but I’d love to see more dads who are active in their character’s lives without being an innocent idiot.
But then, a lot of fantasy is centered around orphans, too, not just evil dads. Oh, man, I may just have to write about that, too!
Who am I missing? Who are your favorite dads in fantasy? There are so many books out there that I’m sure you know of a few I didn’t mention!
Also, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Be the Arthur Weasleys and James Potters of the world, not the Valentines and Darth Vaders 😉
Emily Ann Ward is the author of Finding Fiona, Le Garde series, and The Protectors series. One of her first stories featured a young girl whose doll came to life. The rest is history. When it comes to fiction, she writes mainly young adult, contemporary, and fantasy. She also writes nonfiction, ranging from stories of her travels to thoughts on the Bible. Aside from writing, she loves traveling and she’s a content editor with Entranced Publishing. Currently, she lives in Oregon with her husband Chris and their cats. Visit her website at http://emilyannward.com