Strangely enough, parents don’t feature much in the books I read (or write). Oh, they’re in there, definitely, but they’re not around for very long. Either they die or the kids are busy having adventures while the parents pretty much leave them alone. Sometimes I’ve killed my parent characters so their kids can go off and do their own thing. (Also, I like making my characters sad.) But when parents stick around I usually love them, so I’ve managed to find a few who don’t die.
Using my favorite fictional fathers (and awesome alliteration), I’m going to compile a list of qualities I like in dads. Feel free to use these when writing stories or when pointing out that if your dad wanted to be really cool, he should be more like [fill-in-the-blank].
It makes me very happy that Arthur Weasley did not die at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was sure he would (then again, I was sure half the Weasley family would die because there’s so many of them) but apparently J.K. Rowling kept him because she wanted some of the dads alive at the end.
Mr. Weasley’s best qualities are his enthusiasm and his individuality. He loves Muggle things like rubber ducks and “eckeltricity” – and he is openly excited about these things. Most wizards would never admit to having an interest in such things because, well, they’re for Muggles. Weasley is an flying-car-building, Muggle-loving, plug-collecting oddball, but he doesn’t care. He is his own person, even when that becomes dangerous. He encourages his many children to be that way as well.
Eddard Stark (from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series) is more like the fictional parents I’m used to: he dies. Sad, sad. This is directly related to his best attribute: he always tries to do the right thing (and tries to teach his children this). When Ned discovers that something is rotten in the state of Westeros*, naturally he decides to make the truth known.
Unfortunately, most people in his country aren’t as honorable as he is and will do anything, including killing innocent people, to save their own lives. I find it interesting how after his death, his children switch between trying to be good people (which doesn’t always pay off) and playing dirty (which sometimes gets you farther).
*Hey, I’m not going to spoil the series’ greatest plot twist.
And now for something completely different! We now journey from the serious to the goofy. Calvin’s dad in Bill Watterson’s amazing Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is known only as that – Calvin’s dad. He doesn’t have a real name but that doesn’t stop him from being a great guy. I love his patience. Admittedly, sometimes he loses his cool, turns into Big Bad Dad, and yells at Calvin.
However, considering what a handful Calvin is, his dad does quite well. He keeps Calvin amused (and out of trouble!) by reading him Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooey night after night and giving ridiculous explanations about how the world works. And in return, Calvin shows his love by building twisted, demented snowmen saluting his dad as he walks home from work. Would that we all had such a relationship with our fathers.
Do any of these characters remind you of your own dad? What is your favorite thing about your dad?