Like so many others, my thoughts were about celebrating with dad last weekend. But when you live on the opposite side of the country from your parents, one has to make do with a phone call.
I couldn’t help but reminisce during my chat with Dad. One particularly strong memory from when I was 11 came to mind. To trick my parents into thinking I was fast asleep instead of reading “Harry Potter” well past my bedtime, I would frequently use a blanket to keep lamp light from escaping under my bedroom door.
One evening, my dad encountered the makeshift barricade. Less than amused, he forbade me from reading late into the night again. Since I'm a nerd, I naturally found my way around his command.
There were plenty of reasons to disobey Dad when I was 11: Death Eaters, magic wands, Polyjuice Potions and Norwegian Ridgebacks. There was also Arthur Weasley, who reminded me so much of my father. Slightly bumbling and a kid at heart, he always put his family first.
Much like his enchanted Ford Anglia, there’s no real cause to notice something special about him until you take a closer look. This modest father of seven is by far my favorite dad of fantasy fiction. I love his quirks; I respect his loyalty; I adore how deeply he loves his wife, Molly, and I find myself constantly amused at his fascination and curiosity with Muggle artifacts. Above all else, I admire his devotion as a father.
While there are many strong father figures in fantasy literature, actual fathers like Arthur Weasley seem to be few and far between. Or absent altogether.
“Young adult literature famously has conflicts with fathers. Parents are either lacking or antagonistic,” said Annette Wannamaker, a professor of children’s literature at Eastern Michigan University. “In Western culture, it’s popular for the adolescent to try to find their own identity away from the family.”
A large percentage of children’s literature features main characters who appear to be orphaned – if not literally, they are almost always so figuratively, Wannamaker said.
The protagonists in a fantasy world often partake in dangerous adventures that a parent typically would forbid, said Elisabeth Gruner, an associate professor of fantasy fiction and young adult literature at the University of Richmond. Being free from a parent’s protective reach allows characters to exercise their journey without restraint. But Arthur Weasley turns that literary model on its ear, she said.
“Mr. Weasley is quirky, funny, and he’s also very generous and forgiving of his children. There’s this strong sense of family throughout the series, which is lacking in a lot of fantasy stories,” Gruner said.
“Arthur is an absolute rarity in the fantasy world of literature. And I think that’s what makes the 'Harry Potter' series special. It gives us some of the things that are common in a realistic family. I can’t think of any other popular book who has that kind of importance to a series on a whole.”
The "Harry Potter" series explores fatherhood from varying angles. Lucius Malfoy and Vernon Dursley most likely wouldn’t get No. 1 Dad mugs from any of us. Sirius Black and Dumbledore aren’t fathers themselves, but they are certainly crafted with immense heart as father figures. James Potter symbolically guides his son beyond the grave, and it’s easy to imagine that Remus Lupin would’ve been a brilliant father to Teddy.
“Mr. Weasley is quite different because he is literally a father,” Wannamaker said. “He’s kind of a fantasy father in the sense that he’s a father every kid wishes they had. He’s loving but stern when he needs to be. He’s more of a permissive father, where he sometimes allows kids to break the rules and gives them a nod and a wink.”
Most significantly, Arthur Weasley allows us to see the magic in our own world.
His fascination with the Muggle world resonates with our own imaginative dreams. What if we could enchant a car to fly with invisibility? One would certainly never have to sit through traffic. And maybe we do take everyday things such as “eckeltricity” for granted, though I’m sure many wouldn’t mind the opportunity to shout “lumos” throughout the day.
In a 2007 interview with NBC, J.K Rowling revealed, “If there's one character I couldn't bear to part with, it's Arthur Weasley. And I think part of the reason for that is there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series.”
So my hats off to a man who’s always willing to do the right thing, no matter the cost. If I could, I would send many plugs and batteries his way, and I hope he has finally discovered his dearest ambition – to find out how "aeroplanes" stay up.
Jorel. saved his son from the death of a planet, and educated him in his own absence basically with posthumous video lectures.
It's kinda sad that we have to go to a sidekick's father. The article talks about the lack of actual fathers in fantasy, and doesn't even mention that Harry's own father is dead from page one? Arthur is like the fifth most important Weasley, and his presence serves more as a reminder to the main (parentless) character that he is an orphan than as a positive influence on his own children. I can't remember three times he is actually an effective parent, though he is likable. The best in all fantasy? nope. My vote goes to Papa Smurf.
Hey, thanks for the video. Really was wninerodg about the Glycerine stuff, as you said, waiting for the shipment is not fun So itb4s basically possible to smoke pure ?Greetings from Germany
Posted on Awww, too bad it didn't turn out well because of all the eoffrt. On the plus side, it does kind of look like a teddy-bear voodoo doll that another stuffed animal might have made.eric’s last blog post..
Let us not forget the master....
The father reading a bed time story to his kid who looks scared... turns to the camera and it's... SK
I'm betting Jerry Sandusky is not going to make this list.
That girl behind him is thinking about Burger King's $3 Whopper Combo Biggie Sized with the bottomless soda.
Father _figures_ abound in scifi & fantasy, but fathers are there not only in the difficult times, but also the more mundane times when the baby needs his nose wiped. Those outnumber the others and are ultimately more draining. If you have had to comfort a sick or needy child from 1 – 5 am for several nights in a row and still maintain calm, you'll understand. I think that's where Weasley wins. You get the impression he was there guiding the kids in the mundane as well as magical times. I just can't picture Gandalf, Dumbledore or the Duke wiping a bottom!
Hands down? Duke Leto Atreides, from "Dune". He not only raises his son Paul to have a strong moral compass and the willingness to step up and make hard decisions when the situation calls for it, but he also endows Paul with the ability to become the virtual master of the known universe!
I would say that was more his Mother's Bene Gesserit training (and decision to have a boy and not a girl), along with Thufur Hawat's Mentat training that allowed him to become the Kwizat Haderach. But sure, he was a Duke because of his father. That damn Heuy! HEUY!!!
"Fear is the mind-killer. I will face my fear. I will let it pass through me. Where the fear has gone,: there shall be nothing. Only I will remain."
Matrim Cauthun, the adopted father of Olver (whom everybody believes is Gaidal Kain respun into the pattern, but he's not) from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Seriously, who wouldn't want the greatest battle tactician and gambler to ever walk the (fake) world as their father?
Hey that is a great choice, but if your going with Wheel of Time I have to pick Tam al'Thor. Seriously, he gave Rand a good talking too that SAVED THE WORLD. Everyone, wise and powerful was trying to bring Rand back from the brink, but it took his father to do it.
What are you fighting for? I think that may have been the best scene in teh entire series.
Good point man. I never thought of it that way. However, the best part of the that series so far was Dumai's Wells at the end of book 6. Hands down. Rand breaking out of the box with Lews Therin's help, stilling 3 tower sedai instantly, systematically shielding the rest, then Mazrim Taim showing up with 200 Asha'man and blowing the Shaido to bits with a rolling ring of earth and fire? That was f'ing insanely awesome. I think I've re-read that part 15 times so far.
I can't wait for WOT to be made in TV like George RR Martin's Game of Thrones. Epic!
Captain Sisko from Deep Space Nine.
I respect your choice of Sisco here.
There is one episode of Deep Space 9 that never got old for me. When Sisco's son developes technology that put's Sisco out of phase in time and the rest of the episode is Sisco appearing over the years in his sons life as he ages and Sisco does not.
Whenever he appears back and sees that his son is devoting his life to rescuing him, Sisco emplors him to stop and to just live his life. But his son will not, and continues to dedicate his entire life to finding a solution to his Father's problem.
One of the best Trek episodes EVER.
Eddard Stark in "A Game of Thrones".
Except that his blind adherence to "honor" blinded him from seeing the threats to his children...
On the other hand, one should consider that in the end he is willing to put aside his vaunted honor and falsely admit to treason for the sake of his child. Perhaps the greatest sacrifice he could make.
Watching my father's beheading was a life changing moment.
Cersie, the Kingslayer, Joffrey...
Absolutely. In the vast majority of "fantasy" novels or films, actual father figures are notoriously absent, especially positive ones. (You have a few mentor types like Gandalf or Dumbledore, but that's not the same thing.) It's generally a central point of the plot that the characters are independent of parent figures.
Look at the classics: in the Potterverse, you've got the Weasleys and the Malfoys, and to a much lesser extent, the Grangers (who are so peripheral, we don't even know their first names). In Narnia, no parents present at all (though presumably the Pevensie parents are alive, they aren't present in the books at any point). In LOTR, the only parents of main characters mentioned are physically absent, with the notable exception (for short segments of the story) of the Steward of Gondor and Elrond of Rivendell (and even there, you can argue how importat Arwen is).
The closest any character I can think of (again, from fantasy, which Twilight is NOT) comes to Mr. Weasley is... Mrs. Weasley. And she's a bit of a terrorizer, really.
How about my own father? He was pretty much a figment of my imagination growing up.
To those positing Sarek (Spock's father) as a great father, I must disagree. Quite simply, he was rather atrocius at it! Let's not forget the complete estrangement he caused when his son didn't follow in his footsteps and enter the Science Academy, but instead joined Starfleet. 18 years of silence and resentment doth not a good father make, my friends.
Also, fantasy and sci-fi aren't the same category.
They are if you get high enough.
William Goldman's father in The Princess Bride. He is a hero that helped generations of people not just his own son. He understood true love, real villainy, and his son's need for direction.
"Aeroplane" is a British word for "airplane." It may sound a little old-fashioned but if you read European websites you will commonly find people using "aeroplane."
Before they were actually invented. 'aeroplanes' were introduced by HG Wells in his novel WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES.
tam althor is everything a father should be
Tam is a good dad but he's also not around in the books as much as Arthur W.
And that's one of the major plot mechanics of the arc at large, and especially the first book – that Rand is torn away from every safety and everything familiar.
Tam lets his son go becuase he needs to. He then journies 100s of miles on foot to find his son. He is not prevalent in the book I agree, but he is there, and he is the best.
Agreed!! Tam owns Arthers face off!
Serek, Adama, Eddard Stark my top three :)
Then why did he left that fat, drunk king murder my Lady!?
I have been a John Denver fan for over thirty-five years. I was very happy that soomene had finally decided to honor John by writing a play, based on some of his more well-known songs. However, I really was afraid that the arrangement of John's songs would be changed so dramatically that they would be close to unrecognizable. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The arrangements remained true to how John had written them. The story written around those songs was very emotional. This production gave me a new perspective on the songs that I have cherished for all of these years. Hopefully, this production will be well received by audiences and it will become popular enough for a run on Broadway and/or a national tour. Thanks for a wonderful experience!
Even before I clicked on the link, I said to myself, "Arthur Weasley"
To name the best contestants: King Trent (Xanth), Duke Leto I (Dune), Gandalf, J. Kent and Jor-El (superman), Uncle Ben (Spiderman), Prof. John Robinson, Mr. Incredible (Totally Awesome), Commander Adama, and last but certainly not least Commander John Koenig. I am sure I am forgetting many suitable male leadership figures who make excellent role models. But as far as Harry Potter, well.................. I'll leave you to it.
Gandalf wasn't a father, nor even human.
Gerald Tarrant. No, wait...
I love Sir Gerald, but a better father figure for Modesty Blaise would be Lob, the old professor who befriended her and got her out of the DP camp.
Another nomination from high fantasy: Tharin, the head of Prince Tobin/Queen Tamir's guard in Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Triad. He's a terrific father figure both to the prince (who's actually a princess disguised by magic) and his squire Ki.
Word. Jonathan Kent has always been my favorite sci-fi/fantasy paternal figure. The calm voice of reason and compassion. The man who dedicated his life to raising the most powerful being on Earth to be kind, loving and generous. The dad who was always there when his son felt like the outsider that he often is. The father who is a man of peace and kindness. . . but is not afraid to break out the shotgun (or shovel) if he must, to protect those he loves. The man who would sacrifice himself without a second thought to save his child.
Pa kent is the kind of father I would like to be. Whether you're talking Jonathan in the comics, or Glen Ford in the '70s Superman Movie, Eddie Jones on Lois and Clark or John Schneider on Smallville, Pa Kent is the best archetype of American fatherhood. I can't wait to see Kevin Costner's portrayal of this iconic father next summer in The Man of Steel.
Michael Carpenter from The Dresden Chronicles, hands down fantasy world's best dad.
First one I thought of too Fen !
Seconded, but you mean "The Dresden Files."
Best fantasy father imo is Darth Vader – even bad guys can love their children. lol
Going to that extreme-Khan from Star Trek.
Yeah, because I just loved being left behind broken and crippled while he rode off to watch tourneys and feast with knights!
Sarek of Vulcan!
He may have been reserved and strict, but deep down, he really, really loved his family – and they knew it.
I think you forgot about Hagrid, who always looked after Harry, gave him a place to crash when he needed it, always protected him. And unlike the others, he was always there for Harry.
Hagrid isn't a father.
Neither are Sirius or Dumbledore, but both are listed as "father figures" to Harry.
Belgrath was a better grandpa. He DID drink quite a bit.
Agree! Belgarath wins the grandfather contest hands down!
Belgarath definitely would NOT win father of the year. Polgara spent, what was it, two years up in that tree and he didn't even notice! Not the best example in the world. :)
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renee.satchell Posted on I just cried reading this. Wow!! How good is our God that He would let us eepnriexce the riches of his love and minister to his most prized possessions Praying you boys will continue to encounter and spread the tangible presence of God on your trip.
Charles Ingalls, the "Little House" books
Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
John Walton, "The Waltons"
Dan Conner, "Roseanne"
Mike Brady, "The Brady Bunch"
Added: the above aren't "fantasy" per se, but the shows aren't real..... Agre that the Weasleys are great parents in fantasy. Also, Worf in "Star Trek"
Worf's wife said, "He could really hit it."
Although I totally agree with the first three (they are superb role models) – you are cheating! We are talking sci-fi here. In line with your selection I would add Mr. Geo. Bailey (Its a Wonderful Life)
"the above aren't "fantasy" per se, but the shows aren't real"
Making them fiction, but not FANTASY fiction.
Also, I hate to be the one to make a stink about something like this (and hope to god it was just a wording oversight), but calling "To Kill A Mockingbird" a show is disturbing.
Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusdade, greatest fantasy dad ever.
That's action, not fantasy.
seriously....an Ark that melts people, a witch doctors that pulls out still beat flaming hearts..an alien space ship..........pretty sure he nailed the fantasy aspect.
The moment you add a knight from the original Round Table still alive and guarding the Holy Grail without food or a bathroom, you got fantasy.
"action, not fantasy" Right, it could all totally happen. Completely realistic, including the magic cup and immortal Crusader. "Fantasy" means 50Shades, right?
How about Belgrath from David Edding's Belgraid and Mallorean series?
Tam al'Thor (The Wheel of Time)
Goldar (Ambassador Magma)
LOL – I'm re-reading the Potter series, on book 6, and just this morning re-read the chapter where Harry confesses to Arthur that he, Ron and Hermione snuck out of the twin's joke shop to tail Draco Malfoy. Harry's surprised that Arthur *isn't* surprised at his confession: "Please, you're talking to the man who raised Fred and George." There are other great fathers in fantasy fiction, but Arthur has a special place in my heart for being the dad who appreciated that his kids weren't all carbon copies of each other (someone should speak to Odin on Loki's behalf, y'know?), which makes him a lot like my father, another guy who appreciates that his (now adult) kids were never alike!
Personally, I have always loved how Arthur gives the "wink, wink, nod, nod" to the kids, even when chastising them for something Molly doesn't approve of.
I also meant to add that in my own dealings with my 10-year-old daughter, I usually have to say something like "I know Mom isn't exactly in favor of this, but..." whenever she does something she isn't supposed to. I am also willing to admit that Arthur is a much better role model for me to emulate than someone like Reed Richards (to diverge from Fantasy lit to Comics) or Henry Jones, Sr, (to diverge to Action movies). Arthur is always there for his family, and while Molly is the glue that holds them all together, Arthur is the base they all rest upon. When I say all, I include Harry and Hermione, too. Even though Sirius was his Godfather, he was only in Harry's life for a couple of years. Arthur, on the other hand, has been there for Harry almost from the beginning, and was there through the end.
I'm also rereading Harry Potter, as I do every year in honor of Harry's upcoming birthday, and I just finished reading the first encounter with Mr. Weasley in COS. I love that Mr. Weasley is really just a big kid himself. He doesn't mind that the boys are mischevious, he thinks a little trouble is ok so long as nobody is getting hurt, he knows when to draw the line and he will always love every single one of those kids regarrdless of what they do. Arthur was a father to Harry and Hermione even though he was not obligated to do so. Mrs. Weasley was a pretty darn good example of a mother as well. Even though she was the disciplinarian in that family, you could tell that when she was young she was just as much of a free spirit as Arthur. I love the Weasley family.
Sam Vimes is clearly the best father.
What, your choice didn't imprison an inter-dimensional demon within himself just so he could read his child a bedtime story?
As Lady Sybil said: "My father said you can always trust a Sam".
That was my first thought too! Definitely my favorite Discworld character. I always think of his philosophy that if you make exceptions for the small excuses, you start making exceptions for the big ones.
Definitely the best fictional father, hands down, but under the subgenre of "fantasy", I'd say Atticus would have a tough time adjusting to monsters and magic. ;)
In a real life novel, absolutely!
I always wanted John Walton to be my father.
I had a great dad growing up so I never felt the way you did, however my mom was difficult so I wanted Olivia Walton to be my mother or at the very least live with the Walton family. Except for cranky Grandma maybe, the rest were great. Poor but great characters, which really aren't fiction. Based on real events and people. The Hamner family. But most readers on this topic will be thinking of Fantasy novels. And Arthur Weasley deserves the accolades given to this character.
Harry so longed for a family of his very own, he came very close to it when he met Ron Weasley. And then of course, spoiler alert, made them his in-law's.
He'll meet you with a switch out back.
Just wanted to let you guys know that it is deeiintfly NOT water. If you look at the label it says Anhydrous meaning void of water. Although I think it a good idea to dilute it with a bit of distilled water for viscosity, the other .5% remains a mystery.
Lord Eddard Stark.
When a father takes one for his daughter and still gets decapitated, he is hands down the best father. Arthur Weasley couldn't even hold Eddard's jockstrap in this comparison of best fathers.
Different genres. Apples and oranges.
Different genres? They are both fantasy works, albeit they both target very different age groups
More like gala apples to fuji apples.
Back then a man only had one jockstrap so you can't really blame him.
I agree and Molly makes a perfect partner. What a powerful witch she turned out to be. No wonder Ginny turned out to be such a strong woman.
Good choice, but I also love Charles Halloway in Something Wicked This Way Comes.
a great article
I quite honestly couldn't agree more with this author.
I'm right there with you. Also, I also read Harry Potter under the covers late at night! I got caught a time or two as well.
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