Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’. We all know how this show goes… but, for those who are unaware, Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Basically, every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 books based on a given topic – because who doesn’t love a good list?
This week’s topic is in honour of Father’s Day which, remember kids, is this coming Sunday (you’re welcome), and it’s the Top 5 Literary Fathers or Father Figures. It will surprise no one to learn that my mind immediately jumped to some of my favourite books, but I was mildly taken aback to realise how difficult it actually was for me to come up with 5 fathers/father figures who I thought were worthy of being included. Either there are a lot of absent fathers in the books I read or they just aren’t that great… I don’t know whether I should be concerned about that realisation! Minor crisis aside… let’s get back to the literary dads:
I will confess: I have not yet read the sequel, so I will specify the Henry Caine in the first Firebird book. (I’m told we get to learn more of him in the second one? I hope that’s not a bad thing!) Or, actually, not even that… I’m thinking specifically of the ‘Henry’ that exists in the Russian reality that Marguerite ends up in! I’ll try not to spoilt too much of the plot of A Thousand Pieces of You but, basically, the bond that ‘Marguerite’ ends up forming with her teacher without him knowing who she really is is one I really appreciated.
Ned always seemed like a great guy – who doesn’t love the Starks? Who didn’t shed a tear when he met his unfortunate end in the TV show? There’s a reason for this – Ned Stark is the only good guy in a nest of vipers, he’s fair, honourable, believes the man who gives the judgement should be the one to swing the sword, loves all his children equally and unequivocally, and is fiercely loyal. He’s almost a little too honourable, it was never going to end well for him in King’s Landing, but my absolute favourite moment in both the book and the TV shows is always when he discovers Arya’s Needle and sorts out a ‘dancing master’ for her to practice with. That, my friends, is a touching piece of parenting.
Yes, I’m cheating, I couldn’t choose between the two. It’s been many years since I read The Book Thief but it remains a firm favourite and I know most of that is because of the Jewish fist-fighter who loves words secreted away in the Hubermanns’ basement. When Max writes the story about ‘The Word Shaker’ for Liesel, it’s beautiful and so so heart-breaking in many ways, but their friendship is always touching. The reason I mention Hans? Because, for me, Max sometimes straddles the line between friendship and (a little tiny hint) of something more? Whereas Hans is firmly the father figure in Liesel’s life. He’s quiet, gentle, wanting to win over this child he and his wife have fostered, and becomes one of the most supportive figures in the novel.
Lupin is one of my favourite characters and Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourite of the series for that reason. I know a lot of people adore Sirius but I was never much one for the all-out bad boy and rebel, I much preferred the quieter more sneakily rebellious sort, i.e. Lupin. But, let’s get back to his fatherly merits, shall we? I think he acts as a great father figure to Harry, even if he is a bit of an idiot in his own life (*cough*Tonks*cough*), and Lupin seems to have been the more careful and studious member of the Marauders to Sirius and James’ cocky rebellion. Just as he stuck by his friends in his own youth (and got them out of many a bit of trouble, I’m sure) so he looks out for his friends’ son once he is reunited with Harry at Hogwarts. A great teacher, a great father figure, be still my beating heart.
Bonus HP father figure because I’m indecisive: I couldn’t not mention Arthur Weasley. Do I need to even explain? Arthur is loving, loyal, hilarious, and hey… he reacted to a strange new boy’s appearance at his breakfast table by delightedly asking him about plugs and the postal service. When his sons flew his enchanted car to rescue Harry, what is his first reaction? His eyes light up with wonder and he asks how it was. Brilliant, just brilliant. Another shout-out to Mark Williams’ portrayal of him on-screen, obviously.
Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favourite classics and I remember when I first read it that I was taken aback by how funny it was. One of the sources of that humour has to be the long-suffering Mr Bennett and the gaggle of girls in his household – it’s enough to turn any father to sarcasm as a coping mechanism. I know there’s a lot of serious criticism of Mr Bennett since he didn’t “tame” his “silly” daughters (i.e. Kitty and Lydia) and let them “roam free in society” because he didn’t want to be fussed restraining them before they made a name for themselves. However, I don’t think that entirely negates him as worthy of number 1 spot on this list. Mr Bennett’s relationship with Lizzie in particular is wonderfully portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the 2005 film adaptation directed by Joe Wright. (I’m just going to say it – I prefer this adaptation to the much more acclaimed 1995 miniseries, yep, I went there!)
So there we have it – those were my Top 5 Literary Fathers/Father Figures! Do you agree with my choices? Do you disagree? Do you have a Top 5 Wednesday list or post of your own? Be sure to link it below if so; I’d love to take a look!