It’s Father’s Day here in the UK!
I’m very lucky in that I have a really good relationship with my dad. Sadly I have quite a few friends who don’t have very good relationships with their fathers and some friends whose fathers aren’t here anymore. Back in 2011, my own dad had a heart attack and every day I’m grateful that he’s still here.
He encouraged my love of books and history – when I was 15 and was going through a bit of a Shakespeare phase, he and my mum took me on a weekend trip to Stratford so I could see my first Shakespeare play in the playwright’s own hometown – and he’s still the person I can ring up when something goes wrong with my car.
He’s a good egg.
So to celebrate, today I thought I’d share three of my favourite father figures from SFF!
Chiron from The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Chiron had said once that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions. “No man is worth more than another, wherever he is from.”
Achilles and Patroclus’s time with Chiron is probably their most peaceful, despite the fact that they go to him so Achilles can train as a warrior. Centaurs are one of my favourite mythological creatures and yet they very rarely appear in fantasy, especially not as anything more than a passing character, so Chiron was always going to be a favourite of mine. He’s wise and nurturing and, most importantly, he makes Achilles and Patroclus feel safe – safe enough for them to realise their true feelings for one another away from the sinister, prying eyes of Achilles’ mother.
Master Hyrrokkin from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
“The library knows its mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”
Hyrrokkin and Lazlo’s relationship was one of my favourite things about Strange the Dreamer – Steve West did a wonderful job of the narration in the audiobook, and I loved the way he captured Hyrrokkin’s voice – and I’m a little gutted we didn’t get more of him considering how important he was to Lazlo. After growing up an orphan raised by strict monks, Hyrrokkin gives Lazlo the kind of affection he needs when he becomes an apprentice at the library and their relationship is just plain lovely.
James Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
“Harry, I’m sure James would have wanted me to stick with you.”
“Well,” said Harry slowly, “I’m not. I’m pretty sure my father would have wanted to know why you aren’t sticking with your own kid, actually.”
Hi, I’m your local James Potter defender! The most important thing to say about James Potter is that he was a complete dickhead in school. I knew guys like him in school and they were the worst and I don’t condone the way he treated Snape at all. The big difference between James and Snape, though, is that James was 15 years old when he bullied Snape. When Snape bullied children like Neville Longbottom, he was a grown-ass adult. That guy needs to get over it.
That aside, James is one of my favourite fictional fathers because we know he owns up to his mistakes – it was him who saved Snape’s life when Sirius almost got him killed – and when Voldemort found where he, Lily and Harry were hiding, he went to fight Voldemort without his wand, completely undefended, to give Lily and Harry a chance to get away. That’s a damn good dad.
Who are some of your favourite father figures from SFF? Or from fiction more generally? Let me know down below!