Who’s Your Daddy? The Most Dangerous Dads in Literature
Posted by Nicole Quaste
After our previous blog dedicated to Momsters we decided it was only fair to even the score, and with Father’s Day just around the corner we felt that dads deserved a shout-out as well, so we compiled a unique list of some stand-out dads in literature who will likely not be receiving a new tie this Father’s Day.
We can think of many terrible fathers. You have Pap Finn, the abusive drunk who locks his son up in a cabin. Then there’s the shady, conniving car salesman Harry Wormwood, and let’s not forget our romantic hero, Heathcliff, who decided it was okay to let his son suffer for his own conveniences. We’d choose any of them though to toss a ball with over the dads in this list.
Ranked in no particular order, we give you the most dangerous and deadly dads in literature. These five dads have deservedly been awarded this title, demonstrating excessive cruelty, violence, and overall destruction.
Tywin Lannister in the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin:
~MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS~ Ye be warned.
With ruthlessness and brutality unmatched, Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, could easily take the cake as worst father if this were a ranked list. Yes, it can be argued that he loved two of his three children, but his relationship with his youngest son, Tyrion, is less than loving.
Loving your child no matter what is not a parenting belief that Tywin Lannister subscribes to. Tyrion, being a dwarf with a slight tendency to overdrink and take advantage of certain female company, disgusts his father, who also blames him for the death of his wife after Tyrion’s birth (because you know, you have to watch out for those murderous infants). Tywin takes advantage of multiple opportunities to attempt to see his son killed, though Tyrion manages to survive them all, much to his father’s dismay.
Despite “loving” his other children, Tywin Lannister’s love is driven exclusively by desires for power, wealth, and legacy. His children and grandchildren are nothing more than disposable pawns to the infamous Lannister legacy. As one can imagine, this does not a healthy paternal relationship make, and he is thus qualified for this spot among literature’s most dangerous and deadly dads.
Agamemnon: Greek legend gives us Agamemnon, King of Mycenae (or Argos, depending on the myth), husband of Clytemnestra and father of four children. Now, Agamemnon may have been an impressive commander during the Battle of Troy (picture Gerard Butler in 300), but was far less impressive on the dad front.
As with any Greek and Roman myth, there are multiple versions of the tale of Agamemnon, but the consensus is this: during the Trojan War, Agamemnon and his men ticked off the Greek goddess Artemis. (If any lesson can be learned through Greek and Roman mythology it is do not, under any circumstances, anger the gods.) Agamemnon, however, did anger Artemis, who then naturally punishes him with a variety of classic Greek god punishments, such as plague and no wind during his army’s overseas travel. Here’s where we get to the bad dad part. The only way that Artemis would allow their overseas voyage to continue was if Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia, which he of course did. Now we can blame ancient traditions, which often required acts of violence such as this, but that does not make him any less of a deadly dad.
Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Aside from likely killing many in the first Wizarding War, this pure-blood-crazy aristocratic wizard also felt that it was acceptable to offer up his only son Draco (haughty and obnoxious as he may be) to Lord Voldemort to do his dirty work. Though Draco isn’t killed, it seemed to be of very little consequence to his father whether or not he survived under Voldemort’s command, so long as his social stance and pure-blood legacy remained untarnished.
Oh, then there was that little thing where he slipped Tom Riddle’s (Voldemort’s) diary into Ginny Weasley’s bag, which nearly leads to her death. Though not his daughter, he still used a young girl to open the Chamber of Secrets, probably aware a huge snake would likely kill her. Overall, he’s just detestable and does not deserve a “Dad of the Year” trophy.
Darth Vader, Star Wars: With a name that directly translates to “Dark Father”, Mr. Vader was an obvious choice for this list (even though he's originally a movie character. There are tie-in novels, people!) As Sith Lord of the Galactic Empire, aka the Dark Side, Darth Vader not only has no problem destroying everyone and everything in the Universe, he also captures and tortures his daughter, and tries to turn his children to evil. So much for wanting the best for your children. After capturing his daughter, Princess Leia, twice (he didn’t know it was his daughter at the time, but I doubt that would have stopped him), Vader lures his son, Luke Skywalker, to him to attempt to turn him to the Dark Side. It's hardly a joyous reunion between father and son: Vader's opening argument is to cut off Luke’s hand.
Sure, Darth Vader does acknowledge the good in himself before dying when he sees his son suffering, and he is ceremoniously buried by Luke. And then there’s that lovely scene of Darth Vader, Obi-Wan and Yoda as spirits standing together as the Rebels celebrate the fall of the Empire. That’s all well and good, but his ruthless murderous behavior towards the Universe, the hand-cutting thing, and his malicious attempts to make his children evil prior to this pleasant ending still earns him a spot on this list.
Jack Torrance in The Shining by Stephen King: Our final dad on the list that deserves to be recognized for his exceptional horridness is Jack Torrance. Jack is a writer and a former teacher whose alcoholism lost him his job and nearly his family after multiple abusive events (during one of which he broke his son, Danny’s, arm). He does almost redeem himself with a new job at the Overlook Hotel and swearing off drinking to save his family and career.
But juuuuust as we’d like to cross him off the list, he is convinced by some spirits (with well-deserved bitterness) to murder his family. So, naturally Jack hits the bottle yet again and attempts to murder his wife and his son. Good news: he totally fails, and lets them escape, but he does manage to kill himself when the boiler in the hotel explodes.