As both a father and a sci-fi/fantasy geek, I think about whether or not my fandom will influence what my boys become fans of. One of the things that I have found out about being a father is that you have to allow your kids to be the fans of the things that they enjoy, be supportive of those things and provide your kids with the opportunity to explore those things. With Father’s Day coming up on June 19th, I decided to give my list of some of my favorite Science Fiction/Fantasy Dads.
Arthur Weasley : The Harry Potter novels
Arthur is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series. His devotion to doing the right thing is inspirational and his almost immediate acceptance and paternal protection of Harry endears him to the reader. Arthur works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office in the Ministry of Magic and due to his position, he has become somewhat obsessed with the muggle world and Muggle inventions and customs. What makes him a great father, in my opinion, is his ability to not only love and dote on his seven children, but also his ability to be loving and compassionate to his children’s friends as well as defying the popular custom of the time in his world and embracing the Muggle world without disdain.
Benjamin Lafayette Sisko : Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
One of the things that had always been consistent with Starfleet Commanders and Captains was that they never had children. Or, at least, you never saw that they had children. All of that changed with the introduction of Commander Benjamin Sisko on the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Captain Picard was one of the first people to discuss the danger of having family on board the ship and Sisko finds out the hard way after losing his wife and almost losing his son during the Borg attack at Wolf 359. While continuing to do his duty, he devoted his time to raising his son Jake and making a home for him on the space station. He encouraged Keiko O’Brien to open a school in order to give Jake somewhere to go during the day and he even supported Jake’s decision to not enter Starfleet and become a writer.
Joe West : The Flash
Circumstances of biology do not always make the best fathers. Step-fathers and surrogate fathers can make better patriarchal figures than biological ones, especially when they approach from a position of love. Of the several reasons I love Joe West is that after taking in Barry Allen as a child, he made it a point of always making sure that Barry retained a relationship with his father Henry. When confronted with evidence that Henry was innocent of the murder of Barry’s mother, Joe began doggedly investigating ways to get Henry released from prison. While other men would have felt alienated, Joe made it a point of supporting his adopted son both physically and emotionally. Also, like a good father, he is protective without being smothering. He gives his opinion to Barry when confronted with the dangers of being the Flash, but ultimately, he supports Barry.
Alfred Pennyworth : Batman
For someone who never planned to have a family of his own, Alfred has not only taken the mantle of surrogate father to heart, but as the ultimate Gentleman’s gentleman, he has always been so much more. He became the guardian for a young Bruce Wayne after his parents were murdered and has tirelessly served him in whatever way the boy required, even when he decided to become a vigilante. Alfred has mentored and treated both psychologically and physically every member of the bat family and no matter what some of them think about Bruce and his mission, they all have fond things to say about Alfred. It would be easy for Alfred to just patch the wounds and make the meals, but he sincerely has Bruce’s best interests at heart and reminds him that no matter how much he is compelled to be Batman, Bruce is just as important.
Splinter : Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Whatever interpretation you decide is yours for this character, Hamato Yoshi or the pet thereof, has always been a supportive and protective father to his four sons. After being mutated himself, he decided to not only protect the four baby turtles that he discovered in the sewers, but he also taught them the art of ninjitsu in order to not only allow them to protect themselves and others, but to be able to disappear without a trace. While not endorsing much of their behavior and attempting to introduce discipline into their teenage brains, he is supportive of their hobbies for the most part and tends to indulge them when they earn it.
Kyle Reese : The Terminator
The reason why Kyle makes this list is because he volunteered to travel back in time to protect the mother of the resistance and his personal hero, John Connor. He had no idea that when he began his mission, which he had no idea would succeed and knowing that the trip was one way, he would fall in love with his charge and help to conceive his own hero. Tragically, he never knew that he was a father when he died, but his commitment to protecting Sarah and, by extension, her unborn child makes him a symbol of paternal sacrifice.
Sarek : Star Trek
I pride myself on my ability to be emotionally available for my children. I allow them to explore their feelings and put them into the broader context of why they feel the way that they feel so that they can logically compartmentalize feelings and create a solution to whatever problem they have. It’s hard for me to imagine what it must be like to both love your child, but never be allowed to show that emotion. Sarek of Vulcan is rare among his people for not only openly reaching out to humans, but also appreciating their unique diversity. He marries a human woman and has a half-human Vulcan child named Spock. While being unable to show his son emotion, especially when that same child struggles with the difficulty of being half-human, Sarek still shows a level of support that allows Spock to discover his own way of balancing his emotions. Even when confronted with his loss of emotion due to a fatal illness, his last thoughts are about his regret for never telling his son that he loved him.
Jonathan Kent : Superman, Smallville, Man of Steel etc.
Say what you will about the portrayal of Pa Kent in Man of Steel encouraging his son to hide his powers rather than risk exposure to help others, that reaction is quintessentially fatherly. You want to protect your child, no matter how powerful your child is. Every incarnation of Jonathan Kent has been consistent in an adoptive father being fiercely loyal and protective of his son. While many people think that Jonathan and Martha were trying to protect themselves, their motives were more nuanced. Jonathan wanted to allow Clark to be the person he wanted to be, not the person he was destined to become or who he could be turned into by people who discovered his secret.
Bob Parr : The Incredibles
Even when dealing with his own mid-life crisis, Bob is still a devoted father. He does have problems engaging when he needs to, but his encouragement of his children is there. Even when the whole world has told him that he isn’t allowed to live up to his own potential, he struggles with trying to encourage his kids to live up to theirs, but also to be careful. He is proud of his kids and their potential and wants to live in a world where they can live openly.
Andy McGee : Firestarter
The reason why I chose Andy is that his life was devoted to the protection of his daughter Charlie. After escaping from government agents with his wife, Andy does everything within his power, including using his telepathic abilities to protect his family after the death of his wife. They spend years on the run with Andy teaching Charlie to control her growing abilities all the while protecting her from the government agents trying to use her as a weapon. It would be easy for him to tell her to never use her abilities, but he realizes that she needs to be able to protect herself if they ever get separated and he is willing to sacrifice himself to protect her and he gives his life doing just that.
I know I didn’t get to everyone’s favorite dads, but this is my list and it’s only a taste of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy dads. Ned Stark and others are great dads in my opinion, but their personal faults make it difficult to put them higher on the list. Let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree? Who would you add or remove? Let me know by commenting below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org