The best fathers (and father figures) in fiction


02 June 2020
With Fathers' Day fast approaching, we've rounded up some of literature's most memorable dads

1. Ned Stark in Game of Thrones

Family man Ned Stark, ruler of House Stark, was equally devoted to his legitimate and illegitimate (or not?!) children. An upstanding paragon of nobility and decency, he was far too honourable to last long in George RR Martin’s twisted and brutal fantasy realm, but he cast a long shadow over the storyline as each of his children tried in their own way to emulate the example he set them.

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2. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

The lawyer father of Scout and Jem in Harper Lee’s American classic To Kill a Mockingbird leads his children by example, providing them with a role model of compassion and courage as he tackles racial injustice in his defence of wrongly convicted Tom Robinson.

3. Don Corleone in The Godfather

Vito Corleone, the head of the mobster family in Mario Puzo’s Mafia novel, may have been a ruthless gangster and underworld boss, but he was also a proud family man – even though going into the family business led to the death of two of his sons.

4. Jean Valjean in Les Miserables

The former convict turned upstanding citizen may not be the birth father of Cosette, but the love, care and devotion he gives her as a guardian show you don’t need to be a biological parent to be a wonderful father-figure to a child.

5. Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter

The father of Harry Potter’s best friend Ron may be a wizard but he’s also modest, funny, down to earth and full of enthusiasm for Muggle life. His kindly decency and fierce loyalty to his family make him a deeply endearing character.

6. Mr Bennett in Pride and Prejudice

The father of Jane Austen’s most famous family is entirely relatable – he may not be a financial success but he’s an adoring, indulgent father – and when the goings on of five daughters and a garrulous wife get a bit much he’s off to the equivalent of a Regency man-cave.

7. Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

The father of a poor but happy family in Charles Dickens’ classic may be a slave to his miserable boss, but he works his fingers to the bone for his much-loved family, and their emotional bond with him is a stark contrast to the lonely, miserable lives of the book's antagonists Scrooge and Marley.

8. The unnamed father in The Road

The father protecting his son as they navigate the post-apocalyptic world of Cormac McCarthy’s harrowing, and most famous, novel has to be one of the most devoted dads ever depicted in literature.

9. Rahim Khan in The Kite Runner

The nurturing father-figure to Amir in Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel, Rahim exemplifies goodness, and is the one who gives Amir the chance to be a good man again, with Amir admitting to wishing that Rahim had been his actual father.

10. George Mole in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

Adrian Mole’s father hasn’t got many good qualities – he smokes, commits adultery, speaks his mind and isn’t interested in culture -  but as crap dads go, he’s a brilliant comic creation.


If your dad's a writer, why not give him the perfect Father's Day present to help him hone his skills - a Writing Magazine Creative Writing Course?