As we all know, Father's Day was yesterday and just like fictional mothers, there are so many good fathers or fatherly figures in fiction. We wanted to honor a few of them today. It always warms our hearts to see the love and care each of them give. There might be minor spoilers, so proceed with caution!
The King of Corona (Tangled)
Despite no spoken dialogue in the film, the King of Corona—Rapunzel’s father—is still a memorable character for me. Everything we need to know about him is revealed through his actions, facial expressions, and body language. These aspects reveal his love for his family and why he makes a good father.
The first time we see the King, he’s sitting by his wife’s bedside. She’s sick, and he is filled with grief because of it. But he doesn’t let his grief—or fear—hinder him for helping his wife. He sends guards to find a cure of some kind and when they do, he’s the one that administers it to his wife. When Rapunzel is finally born, the joy of becoming a father is evident on the King’s face. When they release a lantern in honor of her birthday, it’s easy to spot how much he loves and cares for his wife and daughter.
Later after Rapunzel’s been kidnapped and considered gone from the kingdom, the King still cares for her. This is evident by the touching moment between the king and queen before they release the lantern for their daughter’s eighteenth birthday. This moment is probably the second saddest in the film for me. I tear up every time I watch it. In addition, the fact that he takes time every single year for eighteen years to release a lantern in her memory is memorable. He still cares about his little girl.
Upon reuniting with Rapunzel, he embraces his daughter (and wife) with all the warmth and love only a caring father can give. As the movie ends, we still see glimpses of the King interacting with Rapunzel and every moment reveals his love. When Rapunzel gets married, he walks her down the aisle and stands by proudly to watch her get married—something he probably thought he’d never get to witness. The last moment we see of him he’s hugging his wife, smiling at the joy of the moment. He has his little girl back.
It’s evident the King of Corona cares deeply for his daughter and he never gave up hope of finding her again. He was relentless in his love for her, accepting in her choice of Eugene/Flynn, and continually supportive of his family. He’s definitely one father I’ve come to admire.
Hans Hubermann (The Book Thief)
While Hans Hubermann isn’t Liesel’s biological father, he provides one of the best fatherly figures I know. Hans is the first person Liesel trusts and the person she loves the most. He is a painter and an accordionist, but first and foremost, he’s Liesel’s “papa.”
Throughout The Book Thief, Hans plays an important role. He teaches Liesel how to read and write, which encourages her love for books and her thievery of books. He doesn’t agree with the Nazi Party, but he keeps up appearances (joining the party, doing what they ask, even going to war at his age) in order to keep his family—which includes Liesel—safe. Though some people call him a “Jew lover,” he does not let at sway his kind, gentle, humble character. He continues on, doing what he believe is right.
This provides a stable and secure role model in the novel. He is an artist, a protector, and an inspiration to Liesel.
He hides Max, the Jewish man, because he is loyal to his promises. He takes care of Liesel for much of the same reason. Overall, Hans embodies a careful, loving father during a harsh time. There are many reasons I cannot discuss The Book Thief still, despite having read it over two years ago. Hans Hubermann is one of these reasons.
Rilian's Father, Caspian X (The Silver Chair)
Simba's Father, Mufasa (The Lion King)Mufasa is Super Dad. He spends time with his son doing things that are both important and fun, as he shows Simba around what will someday be his kingdom. He gives his son real world wisdom about not only how to be a good ruler someday, but how to have common sense. "I'm only brave when I have to be," he tells Simba. "But being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble." Also, he sets boundaries to keep his child safe. He knows that the Elephant Graveyard is dangerous, so he tells Simba not to go there. Mufasa would do anything for his son, and puts his life on the line to protect his child at all costs. He also tells Simba that no matter what, he will be with him.
Tiana's Father, James (The Princess and the Frog)
Mirriam NealThere’s a shortage of awesome fathers in today’s entertainment, which is why I’m always excited to find one I can definitively label as such. Here are a few of my favorites.
Sheriff Stilinski (Teen Wolf)
Thranduil (The Hobbit)
Jenna Blake Morris
Bobby Singer (Supernatural)
Chris Argent (Teen Wolf)
Because Argent initially spends plenty of time filling the show’s antagonist role, it can be easy to think of him as more of a hunter than a dad. But as the show goes on, we see that he’s much more than that—in fact, he’s the dad John Winchester should’ve been, healthily balancing work and family legacy with parenthood and family, period. His relationship with Allison is perfect because it’s pieced together in a mosaic of snapshots: late-night grocery runs together, well-intentioned overprotectiveness, rides to and from school, hunting lessons. There are several important people in Chris’s life, but his daughter comes first: before his dad, before his wife, before the family legacy. And that shows in how much Allison cares about him, too.
Desmond Hume (Lost)
If you look at the different kind of so-called love languages, it becomes clear that Des shows his love through actions. Whether it’s helping fellow islanders or family members, Des will do anything for the people he cares about. And that’s evidenced by everything he’s done for a couple of Charlies: Charlie Pace, Desmond’s buddy from the island, and Charlie Hume, the son Des named after him. We don’t see a ton of Desmond’s time with his son, but we do see everything he sacrifices in the hope of coming home to him. Kidnapping, experiments with electromagnetism, multiple nutcases running around trying to kill him—Des faced it all, more than once, when other people would’ve crumpled. And he did it all to get back to his son.
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
When I heard we were doing a post on our favorite fictional fathers, one name immediately came to my mind: Atticus Finch, attorney at law from Harper Lee’s beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is one of my favorite characters of all time, and easily my favorite fictional father.
He treats his children, Jeremy and Jean Lousie Finch (a.k.a. Jem and Scout) as equals, holding intelligent discussions with them, encouraging them to ask questions, and allowing them to simply call him “Atticus.” The attorney father is laidback and reserved, and seldom loses his temper. Despite his easygoing parenting style, though, he’s far from a pushover.
Not only do Jem and Scout respect their father’s authority, they respect his integrity and character. Atticus shares his wisdom with them, yet he leads far more by example than words. He accepts his defining courtroom case not only because of his own conscience, but because of the message it will send to his children. He isn’t afraid of what the townsfolk or his own extended family will say about him. Atticus Finch knows that before you live with other people, you have to live with yourself. He passes that belief and courage to his children, teaching them how to stand up for what’s right and setting the precedence for them to follow.
Besides being upright and wise, Atticus encourages his children to reach their full potential. Scout has been reading all her life thanks to him, and Jem is just as bright. Atticus never ignores them or treats them as unintelligent. Instead, he helps them understand various concepts and challenges them to think outside the box.
For all his intelligence and inspirational quotes, though, Atticus Finch steadfastly remains one thing above all else: A loving father. He may not show much emotion, but it’s evident how profoundly he loves Scout and Jem. Through small gestures and everyday moments, Atticus establishes himself as an exemplary father. He’s certainly the best in Maycomb County, Alabama… And to my way of thinking, he’s one of the best in all of fiction.
Hershel Greene (The Walking Dead)
Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)
Another father in The Walking Dead is obvious--Rick Grimes, the protagonist of the show. From the very beginning, we see that Rick is a family man. When he wakes up from his coma, one of his first goals is to find them. Once he’s reunited with them, he tries to take care of his wife and his son, Carl, as best he can. We see his worry over Carl at the farmhouse. Throughout the series we see he and Carl become equals, and though Carl’s relationship with his father is strained, they’ve still got each others’ backs. In addition, Rick takes care of Judith, his wife’s daughter. Though Judith might not be biologically Rick’s, Rick is still committed to raising her like she is. Rick’s grief whenever he thinks one of his family might be lost is tangible. Though Rick isn’t a perfect father, it’s clear his family is the most important thing in his life and he’d do anything to keep them safe.
Charles Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)
When I look back on my childhood, there were a few shows that were absolute favorites in my family, and Little House on the Prairie was one of them. Throughout every episode, Charles Ingalls--better known as “Pa”--was there. He seemed to reach right through the TV screen and become Pa to all of us. His relationship to his girls, especially Laura, was incredibly touching. I still get sad when I think about the fact that Michael Landon passed away and that I won’t be able to thank him for his role as Charles Ingalls. But his legacy lives on, and I’m grateful that we got a chance to see him as one of the best fictional fathers that ever roamed the prairie.