Tough Traveling: Fathers
The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in (and inspired by) The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information.
This week’s tour topic is: Fathers
Comes in two types in fantasyland. Either a semi-mystical figure proving impossible to live up to or the overbearing type who doesn’t understand why his daughter doesn’t accept the traditional princess role. He may be tough to get along with but usually does think he has his kids interests in mind.
Hal Creed (Hero by Perry Moore)
Hal Creed, once known as the non-powered hero Major Might before scandal caused him to be kicked from the team, works hard and takes a lot of abuse to take care of his son, doubly so after his wife leaves him to raise their son Thom on his own. Hal is very protective of his son and goes to great lengths to make sure he’s always present in his son’s life in some way despite work or anything else. He’s also very strict about talk of superpowers (which Thom has), which he doesn’t tolerate, and has problems coming to terms with his son’s sexuality. I’ll just leave this here for posterity:
When Mr. Chau finds out his daughter is dating a white boy. Well, he’s just not going to stand for that. Thus begins a period of Scott being chased by Mr. Chau with pointy things that slice. Mr. Chau is literally un-fuck-with-able, but eventually, he decides that he actually likes Scott and is okay with his daughter dating white boys.
King Ashe (Princeless by Jeremy Whitley)
I used Queen Ashe for Mother’s Day, so it’s only fair I use her husband for Father’s Day. King Ashe is the seemingly cold father of the Ashe children (three daughters, including the heroine of this title, and a son). He believes in gendered tradition and rules. He believes this is how order is kept in a kingdom. He believes his daughters should be locked away in towers for knights to rescue and his son should learn to fight even though that’s not a thing he really likes. So, how does the staunchest, manliest king in all the land end up with kids who throw all their gender roles in his face?
Maes Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa)
Hughes is probably actually one of the best manga/anime dads (because everyone knows that 90% of manga/anime dads are trash). Hughes is probably one of the best anime characters period. He’s cheerful and friendly to the point of downright annoyance, and his soft spot is his wife, Gracia, and his daughter, Elicia. Hughes is so protective of his family that he’s actually threatened three-year-old boys about his three-year-old daughter. Did I mention they’re all three-years-old?
Also, in the FMA universe, we have Father and his Homunculi children. Unlike Hughes, Father is confident, cold, and thirsts for power. Father takes many forms as suits his purposes. The only things he seems to care about are his children, his creations named after the seven deadly sins, which is ironic since it’s believed he’s purged himself of each of these sins, leaving behind nothing but his ruthlessness.
Kenji-papa (Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi)
Kenji Tsukino is Sailor Moon’s dad. He’s another good sort. Helping where he can, failing gloriously as only a dad can when he tries to help in areas that he can’t (cooking). However, he was pretty much convinced that if Usagi even looked at a boy, she’d become a delinquent. This was even before she actually started dating. Also, he had pretty strict ideas about who she shod date. Despite this, Usagi believes that her dad is the standard to which all boys must live up to.
The Clockwork King (City of Heroes by Paragon Studios)
So, this was my favorite MMO ever before it shut down. Being that it was like a comic book, it had many comics based on it. One of my favorite relationships from the game/comics was the relationship between the Clockwork King and Penelope Yin. Pen has her own father, but one day she’ll be the greatest psychic in the world. The Clockwork King is rumored to be the current most powerful psychic in the world and (former, depending on when and how you encounter him) major archvillain. Somehow, he’s basically mind-melded with Penelope. Despite his mistrust of heroes, he becomes an ally with many for her sake and won’t hesitate to protect her from whatever he feels threatens her–hero or villain.
Father collects children during what is known as “adoption day.” His children remember a life before him, but by the time he’s done with them, they’re so disconnected from who they used to be that it doesn’t feel like that used to be their life. Father can do great and terrible things, things that he teaches his children, but not nearly on the same level of his own power. Father is almost godlike. Now, Father is gone, and some of his children have aspirations beyond their station.
Hello! This is how we say Happy Father’s Day in Westeros…
The following is one of my all-time favorite dad-related quotes ever (because Peter’s awesome jazz-playing dad sounds a lot like my dad):
Could it have been anyone, or was it destiny? When I’m considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me, “Who knows why the fuck anything happens?” ~Peter Grant
Zack Lightman has always wanted to know his father, the man who died in an accident before Zack even reached his first birthday. All of Zack’s interests have been influenced by the elder Lightman’s, from the boxes of games, books, movies he discovered in the attic that belonged to the father he never knew. It is also his dad’s old journal and the contents within that starts everything rolling…
Before Hit-Girl (real name Mindy McCready) got her own series, she was a supporting character who first appeared with her father Damon McCready AKA Big Daddy in the Kick-Ass comics. Damon trained his daughter from an early age to be a costumed superhero and a deadly assassin.
Everett Singh’s father Tejendra Singh is a brilliant scientist and a leading researcher in the study of parallel earths. Then Tejendra is kidnapped from the streets of London one day, leaving his son only a single clue with which to find him: a mysterious file on his computer called the Infundibulum. With the help of some friends, Everett travels to different parallel earths to find and rescue his dad.
Cameron Tan kind of has two dads — Roen Tan who is his biological father, and another one who is an alien in his head. The quasing Tao is the “third parent” in this scenario, training Cameron to be a Prophus agent to fight against the Genjix. But Roen watches over his son too. Even though he no longer has Tao to guide him, Roen is determined to be the best dad for Cam. He and his wife Jill work hard to give their son a normal and happy childhood while trying to keep their family safe in the midst of the quasing war.
Field Marshal Tamas is an interesting kind of dad. He and his son Taniel are both powder mages, though at the beginning of this series there appears to be no love lost between the two. They are estranged at the start of Promise of Blood, but eventually father and son reach better terms as the series progresses.
What do you do when your dad’s one of the walking dead? That’s the question Mary has to ask herself in this unique zombie western. Thomas left his family to fight in war, only to die and wake up again. He knows going home will put his loved ones in danger, but the pull towards love is too great. In the end, his arrival in town sends him on the run again, with Mary in two. It becomes a race against time as Thomas fights to evade their pursuers while keeping his little daughter safe.
And finally of course…
Now, now. Not all fantasy dads are bad. Some suffer from bad daddying because of the evil influence of others. I found a few that don’t fit the negative tropes, while the others, well…
Normally, I don’t include LOTR, since it generally covers all the Tough Travelling categories by default. But how could I not include such great dads?
Theoden is one of those dads that really is a good man, but that damned Wormtongue got all up in his business, causing him to almost lose his kingdom and forget his kids. Fortunately, he got his mind back just in time for Father’s Day.
Sometimes, when you look this good and are as awesome as Thranduil, it’s totally acceptable to be a bad dad. You have so much to learn, young Legolas.
Denathor just wanted to protect Gondor and do what was best for his sons. He didn’t mean to get carried away with all the burning.
Sometimes, a father loves their child so much that they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Or so it seems. But there is so much more to the words Ashura-ou whispered to the evil emperor that usurped the throne.
When you decide to mess with science and create life, but that life scares the crap out of you and you run away, don’t be surprised when said creation comes to find you and isn’t pleased with your abandonment.
Imagine the pain of not only losing a son, but being blamed for his disappearance even by your own wife. When an adult stranger returns, claiming to be the long lost boy, dad has a chance to say “I told you so” and redeem himself. Sort of.
Of the Three, Nahadoth is both mother and father to many of the godlings, but none does he love more than Sieh. The Nightlord us a creature of chaos, death, and destruction, but when he loves, he loves hard, and when he hurts the darkness is unbarable.
Really great parenting means making sure the children you raise are all part of a long standing rivalry and can be used against each other in a competition they are mostly ignorant of.
Surprise, Daigo! You’re a father! Oh and also, we need you to sacrifice the child you want to raise better than your father did for you to save the world from utter destruction. Best father’s day ever!
There is nothing Marko won’t do for his little family, whether it be slaying those who want them dead, or being a stay-at-home-dad taking little Hazel to dance lessons. Whatever it takes.
You have no idea how you’d act during a zombie apocalypse. You don’t get to judge the Governor. At least not in Woodbury, where he is the law and that means if he wants to keep his zombified daughter in a closet on a leash instead of putting her out of her mindless misery, we don’t question his parenting.
While Bruce Wayne has only officially fathered one child in canon, Damon Wayne, he’s taken on the responsibility of raising quite a few kids along the way. Some of them were in dire straits, orphaned by murder, surrounded by violence, and it can be said that he saved them from a potentially bad life. But just how responsible a dad is he by letting his proteges don the garb of Robin and teaching them how to willingly step into far greater danger…