Here in the U.S., we celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday. (Happy Father’s Day again, Dad! And I hope all of you other dads had a good one too.) Though the day has passed, in honor of Father’s Day, here’s a list of cool dads or surrogate dads in fiction. This list is by no means exhaustive. I don’t have enough room to list every great dad in the history of fiction books, shows, or movies. Most of these are characters of recent vintage. So please do not yell at me for leaving out an era. I wanted to include dads from various media and eras. While they aren’t perfect by any means, they are beloved. To avoid too many spoilers, I listed their names, rather than elaborate on why most of them made this list. Got a favorite? Who would you add to the list?
• Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (played by Gary Oldman in the movies)
• Arthur Weasley, father of Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Percy, Bill, and Charlie in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (played by Mark Williams in the movies)
• Atticus Finch, father of Jem (not seen below) and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (played by Gregory Peck in the film)
• Hans Hubermann, surrogate father of Liesel, in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (played by Geoffrey Rush in the film)
• Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), father of Margo, Edith, and Agnes in Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). Even a supervillain can grow to love a child.
• Eduardo Perez (El Macho) (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), father of Antonio in Despicable Me 2 (2013). He may be a villain, but he loves his son. And have you seen this dude dance? Me gusta mucho.
• Tenzin (voiced by J. K. Simmons), father of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Rohan (not seen below) in The Legend of Korra series (2012—2014).
• King Théoden, father of Théodred; uncle and surrogate father of Éomer and Éowyn in The Two Towers and The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien (played by Bernard Hill in the 2002 and 2003 films)
• Lawrence Fletcher (voiced by Richard O’Brien), father of Ferb, stepfather of in Candace and Phineas in Phineas and Ferb (2007—2015).
• Tonraq (voiced by James Remar), father of Korra in The Legend of Korra series (2012—2014). He certainly wins a prize for being a hot dad. 🙂
Korra with her parents, Tonraq and Senna
• Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (voiced by Dan Povenmire), father of Vanessa in Phineas and Ferb (2007—2015). Though a villain, he too is a caring dad.
• Elrond, father of Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien
• The Great Prince of the Forest (voiced by Fred Shields), surrogate dad of Bambi in Bambi (1942)
• The Abhorsen, father of Sabriel in Sabriel by Garth Nix
• Mr. Ping (voiced by James Hong), adoptive father of Po in Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
• Philip Banks (played by James Avery), father of Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley; uncle to Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990—1996)
• George Banks (played by Steve Martin), father of Annie in the Father of the Bride (1991)
• Iroh (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu and Greg Baldwin), father of Prince Lu Ten, uncle to Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender series (2005—2008)
• The Samurai Lord (voiced by Keone Young and Sab Shimono), father of Samurai Jack in Samurai Jack (2001—2004)
• Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) father of Theodore/the Beaver and Wally in Leave It to Beaver (1957—1963)
• Dr. Eli Vance (voiced by Robert Guillaume), father of Alyx, in the Half-Life games (Valve)
• George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart), father of Zuzu, Tommy, Pete, and Janie in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Honorable mention goes to Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta), father of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, and Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer), father of Rod and Todd, in the long-running animated series, The Simpsons (1989— ).
Dads Who Seriously Need Parenting Lessons from the Dads Above
• Anakin Skywalker, father of Luke and Leia in the Star Wars movies. An otter can teach this dude a thing or two.
• Firelord Ozai, father of Prince Zuko and Princess Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender series (2005—2008)
See that burn mark on Zuko (left)? Guess who gave it to him.
• King Lear in King Lear by William Shakespeare
• King Leck, father of Bitterblue in Kristin Cashore’s Seven Kingdoms series. As creepy a dad as ever breathed.
• Denethor, father of Boromir (not shown below) and Faramir in The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien (books and movies; in the 2003 movie directed by Peter Jackson, Denethor was played by John Noble)
Someone is not getting a Father’s Day card. . . .
• Mac Dara, father of Cathal, in Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series
• Unalaq (voiced by Adrian LaTourelle), father of Desna and Eska in The Legend of Korra series (2012—2014)
• Lucius Malfoy, father of Draco in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (played by Jason Isaacs in the films). Though he was a decent enough father to Draco, his unpleasantness and Death Eater status earned him a spot on this list.
If you have a minute, please enjoy this video of an otter who was voted Best Dad.
Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch found at searchingformymrdarcy.blogspot. Tenzin found on pinterest.com. The Great Prince of the Forest and Bambi found at fanpop.com. Denethor (John Noble) with Faramir (David Wenham) found at councilofelrond.com. Firelord Ozai and Zuko found at avatar.wikia.com. Gru and his daughters from bonclass.blogspot.com. Korra and her parents from w3rkshop.com. James Avery and Will Smith from tuneblaze.co.uk.