Top Ten Tuesday is a wonderful weekly event hosted by the wonderful blog The Broke and the Bookish where each week a different top ten list is featured! If you haven’t checked out their blog, I encourage you to head over there since it really is a fantastic site!
This week’s top ten list is all about fathers in honor of Father’s Day coming up Sunday, June 18th. It’s a Father’s Day Lit freebie list, so I’ve decided to list the top five worst dads in literature and the top 5 greatest dads in literature. I’ll start with the worst dads and then do the greatest. I’ll be going in descending order so my number 10 will be the not so awful of my worst dad picks with number 6 being the absolute worst dad in my opinion in literature! So, my number 5 will start my greatest dad picks and the countdown to number 1, who will be my pick as the greatest fictional dad of all time!
Let’s get started:
The Five Worst Literary Dads: Number Ten to Six
10. King Lear from King Lear by Shakespeare: one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and one of my favorite of his characters. Nothing says you’re the father of the year like a dad who pits his three daughters against the other just to see which one of them loves him the best or who casts aside the only daughter who actually does love him (sarcasm here). At least he learns what’s what before it’s too late, well it is too late since he’s gone insane but at least he is able to make amends with his beloved Cordelia before they both tragically die.
9. Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather by Mario Puzo: Ok, Don Corleone was a little tough to put on my list of bad fathers because I actually like him. He strongly believes family comes first and truly loves his children. Yet, his Mafia ties were a deal breaker for him being a good dad since his deals led to the deaths of two of his children. No great dad would put his children in a situation where they could die. Not ever.
8. Lucius Malfoy in The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Malfoy is just a very horrible man who has supremacist and elitist views that he has no problems passing down to his awful son Draco. Plus, he is a cold-blooded killer since he is a Death Eater, and he wants to force his son to follow in his footsteps killing Muggles and anyone who is not “pureblood”. Of course, his treatment of Harry just makes him all the more despicable a father since he should know better than to treat a fatherless boy with so much hate and anger.
7. Jack Torrance in The Shining by Stephen King: This book gave me nightmares and is one reason that I rarely if ever, ever read books by Stephen King or watch his movies. This book is just insane, like well Jack Torrence, who tries to kill his son Danny. If that is not worst dad material, then I don’t know what is!
6. Humbert Humbert in Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Humbert might be Dolores Haze’s stepfather and not her real father, but he is the worst of the worst and gives fathers of every kind an evil and horrific name. I read this book and felt dirty afterward even if the writing is stellar.
The Five Greatest Literary Dads: Number Five to One
5. Horton in Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss: Yes, I know this is a kid’s book, but it is also one of my favorite children’s book and has an excellent moral lesson. Horton truly shows what it means to be a father (or even a parent) when he shows exactly the patience and faithfulness needed to do a parent’s job when he refuses to forsake the egg for any reason. Just like he said, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!” (Dr. Seuss) that applies to 100% to the role of fathering as well. To be great, no, a fantastic dad, you must be faithful to the task just like Horton!
4. Alex Cross in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson: Before Patterson started spitting out suspense “fluff” every couple of months, I became hooked on his Alex Cross series, which is the only series or any of his books that I automatically read anymore unless they look really, really good. Alex Cross is not just a superb detective and psychologist, but he is one amazing dad to his three kids Damon, Janelle, and Alex Jr. He is involved in their school, extracurricular activities, teaches them boxing, plays basketball with them, is very strict, and has a very strong moral code that he not only lives by but enforces. Sure, his job gets in the way at times, but he always tries to make up for lost time with them, and I love how Patterson makes family dinner and conversation an integral part of the books.
3. Jean Valjean in Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: Jean Valjean may not have been the biological father to Cosette, but he shows us that it takes more than just contributing biological material to make a man a loving father since he sacrifices so much of his life to ensure that Cosette is safe and well-cared for and in return, Cosette saves Jean from himself. He is one of my favorite characters in literature because he is noble, brave, and selfless.
2. in The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Arthur Weasley may be a bit of comic relief and lets his wife Molly wear the pants in the family, but he proves time and time again that there is nothing that he would not do, even putting his life on the line many times, to protect his large brood of kids or Harry. He’s a great example of a father who would sacrifice it all for his kids and is also a fun, caring, and loving dad.
1. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus is my favorite literary father. If I had to pick a fictional dad, he would be hands down, my top choice. He has unquestionable moral fiber, and no one can argue that he is kindhearted, loyal, brave, and just. These are all traits that any father would want to pass to their child, and any child would want to have as part of their moral character. A lot can be learned from Atticus Finch.