With Father’s Day tomorrow, I thought that I would do a tribute to the fictional dads that I really liked. Whether they are the biological fathers, or father figures, they are loyal parents and often go to incredible lengths to protect their children. Sometimes they are diligent, doting parents, other times they are aloof but prove their loyalty in other ways. I’m not limiting this to any one genre of fiction, because my favorite fictional parents come from all sorts. Let me know the fictional parents who you admired most in the comments.
10. Sojiro Sakura
When you first meet Sojiro, he’s a stern and almost cold character. He doesn’t like you and makes no secret of the fact that he sees having to watch over you as a burden. However, as the plot unfolds you realize that there is a caring man, who has a secret. He has been caring for the daughter of a dear friend who passed away a long time ago. The girl is a shut-in and he desperately has been trying to be a good dad while also respecting her very strict boundaries. But once she is able to come out from that shell, their bond becomes just that much more apparent, since he can finally be a doting father figure to a child who has had a very hard life. Stern, yet compassionate. A Japanese father to a fault.
9. Peter (last name unknown)
The father of one of the main characters, Marco, he is one of the most interesting literary parents. His wife died a long time ago, and he has been looking to move forward with his life ever since. This has caused more than a little strain between him and his son. What I like most about the character is the fact that they show him to be human. Very much so. He’s lonely, and wants to be able to move forward from losing his wife. Now, granted there is more to what’s going on with his wife, which makes Marco even more unhappy about how his father is trying to move on, but Peter doesn’t know that and so his son is trying not to hold it against him. When you finally see the two of them bonding, it feels genuine. Not the most dynamic character, but a human one all the same.
8. Lieutenant Colonel Griswald
A military man through and through, and father to Gus Griswald, the Lieutenant is probably the most stern character on this list. He talks to his son as if he is one of the men under his command, and does have high expectations of him. However, there are numerous times in the episode where you see him genuinely care for him and even go out of his way to help him in whatever way he can. The fact that his son wants to follow in his footsteps as a soldier constantly makes him proud, along with the fact that he is loyal to his friends. Again, not the most dynamic character but having known a few Army brats growing up, this makes me think of them. One of them had a really shitty dad, but another had one who reminded me of the Lt. Colonel.
7. Hank Hill
King of the Hill
Hank is the quintessential typical American dad. He’s conservative as all get-out, has no understanding of his son or the world he lives in, and constantly sees the youth culture as strange and disconcerting. But despite all that, he is still a strong family man. Not only does he constantly try to be a good husband, but he tries to be a good father too. There are a lot of moments where he looks after Bobby despite not understanding the first thing about him and the world he lives in. At the end of the day, him and the family can bicker and argue, but they’ll still have a grilled steak, so long as the grill uses propane.
6. Jack Foreman
A stay-at-home father who is trying to get used to the dynamic he is living in, all while battling his sense of uselessness and his growing sense of ownership over the home and the relationship with the children as his wife is growing more and more distant. Jack is a fantastic father. Not only does he make sure the house runs smoothly, he goes out of his way to try and be understanding of his wife’s situation with her increasingly demanding job. However, when he gets involved in his former employer’s situation in the desert, and things are looking their worst, the first thought he has is to protect the children that he left behind. The book ends with him taking radical steps in order to protect them, but he’ll do whatever it takes. So loyal that he fights against forces so radically overpowering in order to keep what he has waiting for him safe. Naturally he’s from my favorite book.
5. Bryan Mills
Taken (the first one, not the shitty sequels)
This character is probably the most loyal father ever. A former CIA badass who ends up retiring so he can try and reconnect with his daughter. However, when she is kidnapped by Algerian sex-slavers, he will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. He’ll attack cops, shoot the wife of a former ally, even torture a man by electrocuting him until the power shuts off just to make a point. Bryan is a no-nonsense, do not fuck with me dad, and has years of “specific set of skills” to prove it.
4. Victor Sullivan
Sully has no children of his own. However, as you learn in Uncharted 3, one day he happened upon a little punk in Spain who he took under his wing. That punk just happened to be Nathan Drake. What came from that was a relationship of two career criminals who just happened to rob the artifacts of ancient empires in order to sell them and live the good life. Sully is crass, suave, a complete man-whore with all the talent to be cool as fuck while doing it. He also has no problem using a gun. The scene where he tells Nate that he always saw him as the son he never had was pretty touching. No matter how he may not have been the best father figure, he is Sully, and that’s all he’ll ever need.
3. Ethan Mars
Bryan Mills would kick whoever’s ass to keep his daughter safe, but Ethan Mars is a bit on the different spectrum. After a moment of losing track of his first son led to him being tragically killed in a car wreck, Ethan and his wife are separated and he is a little overly protective of his younger child. So when the Origami Killer steals him, Ethan is now in a position where he will do whatever it takes in order to keep him safe. Even if that means complying with the increasingly-twisted demands of the killer, like to cut off one of his own fingers. It’s horrifying, but when you see him weather it in order to get his child back, it makes you want to fight even harder to make sure it happens.
2. Maes Hughes
Probably the most doting father on this list, Hughes attachment to his little girl is more than a little insane. And he makes sure that every single person around him is forced to suffer through it at all hours. However, underneath that there is an incredibly intelligent investigator who is not only looking to keep his family safe, but also his best friend Roy Mustang. When he happens upon a truth so horrible that it threatens to destroy everything, he rushes out without hesitation to confirm it. But in the end, that determination to dig up the truth is what gets the better of him. The enemy becomes the one thing that he can’t raise a weapon to – his wife. A good man, a loving father, and a tragic end. He is pretty awesome like that.
And my favorite fictional dad is…
The Last of Us
While the relationship he had with his daughter Sara is a profoundly beautiful and tragic relationship, we don’t get much chance to know them. It’s his relationship with his companion Ellie, who becomes his surrogate daughter, that is the one I want to talk about. Joel is a survivor. After Sara is tragically killed, he has 20 years for his heart to harden to ice. But when this teenage girl comes into his life, and goes out of her way to try and bond with him and reach him on a personal level, he finds that ice melting away. Eventually, he grows to see her as his own child, and will stop at nothing to keep her safe. To the point that when he finds out the only way to get Ellie’s immunity into a form where it can be made a vaccine would kill her, he sells the ENTIRE human race up the river to save her life. A cold, calculating, kind of monstrous person, Joel finds his humanity again in that little girl. When you hear him telling her unconscious body the things he said to Sara and he ran with he, it makes the situation that much harder.
Who are all of your favorite fictional fathers? And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day
Until next time, a quote,
“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that bullshit.” – Joel