In honour of Father’s Day I thought I would put up a list of my most-loved fathers in book and film. Some of these are not only my favourite fictional fathers, but favourite characters in their own right.
- Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird/Go Set a Watchman- He won’t let himself be swayed from what he considers to be right, he knows how to work around problems, and he gives his children a balance of discipline and grace. “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
- Esben Wingfeather, The Monster in the Hollows- Although his appearance was brief, it was just long enough to break my heart. His love for his family, after the long years of separation and torture, was one of the key moments of the book.
- Joe Alvarado, The Silver Eye- Joe is awesome, even while remaining humble in the background. This rancher dude is a faithful father, and adoptive father, to some of the main characters in the web-comic, The Silver Eye.
- Praiseworthy, By the Great Horn Spoon- Look at that, I’m mentioning this book again! As the story goes on, Praiseworthy becomes more of a father figure than a butler. “He liked Praiseworthy. He liked him especially as they swung along together, both barefoot and one as mud-splattered as the other. Partners were the next best thing to being related, he thought. Better, maybe. A partner didn’t take a hairbrush to you- even when you needed it. But there were times when he wished he had a father, hairbrush and all.”
- Jean Valjean, Les Miserables- “It’s the story of one who turned from hating, a man who only learned to love when you were in his keeping.” This line from the musical sums things up well. Jean Valjean works so hard to redeem himself, but it is through his love for his adopted daughter that he is best shown to be a good man.
- Mufasa, The Lion King- I love the scene with Mufasa and Simba under the stars. Mufasa seamlessly disciplines Simba, romps with him, and teaches him a lesson that will be important later on. It’s a beautiful scene of father and son- made painful when we know what will happen next.
- Matthew Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables- Matthew Cuthbert was just the person young Anne needed. He balanced Marrilla’s nature with his humble calm, was able to listen to Anne’s long and whimsical talk, and was willing to face the awkwardness of asking for puffed sleeves.
- Maurice, Beauty and the Beast- Maurice and Belle not only bonded by blood, but in their eccentricities. I love the song they share in the play. “No matter what you do I’m on your side, and if my point of view is somewhat misty-eyed there’s nothing clearer in my life than what I wish and feel for you- and that’s a lot…
No matter what”
- Professor Porter, Tarzan- Like Maurice and Belle, Professor Porter and Jane share a delightful quirkiness. Professor Porter gets bonus points for being able to so quickly adapt to the jungle way of life and swing from vines at his age.
- Stoic, How to Train your Dragon (as portrayed in the films)- Stoic and Hiccup may not always have the best relationship, but at their core they still love and respect each other- which shows at the climaxes of the films, making them that much more powerful.
Fathers may not always have it so good in fiction- notice that about half of these on the list don’t survive to the end of the story-, but I’d like to make sure they are appreciated.