It’s Father’s Day! Today we honor our fathers (or father-figures) by taking them out to lunch, doing whatever he thinks is a fun family activity, and suffering through the Dad jokes. It’s a day to be grateful to our fathers for doing their best to take care of us, even though some of you might think you have the worst parents ever.
Maybe you do. But you probably don’t. Most of you could find worse fathers in real life, but where’s the fun in that? I decided to put together a list of the worst fathers of science fiction and fantasy. So let’s thank our dads for not acting like these assholes:
Darth Vader (Star Wars)
It wouldn’t be a “worst fictional fathers” post without him (no, seriously, it wouldn’t. Google it. He’s on every single one of them. It's like a law or something).
First, he’s an absentee father. Sure, Leia had it pretty great as a princess while he was trying to take over the galaxy, but Luke was stuck on a desert planet in a hut. And when Anakin does decide to get into his kids’ lives, he does it first by kidnapping Leia and destroying her home planet. Anakin, the idea is to give the world to your daughter, not blow it up! And this is all before chopping off Luke’s hand in a fight with laser-swords. He’s lucky nobody lost their head.
Fire Lord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
We should’ve known Ozai would be a crappy dad when we found out he would be voiced by Jason Isaacs (a.k.a. Lucius Malfoy). His son Zuko said it best: “a terrible fire lord, and a worse father.” He’s emotionally abusive throughout Zuko’s entire childhood. Reading the graphic novels, we find out that the reason for this abuse was to get back at Zuko’s mother for loving another man (he’s not the best husband, either). Then he burns off half of Zuko’s face in front of the entire nation for speaking out of turn and exiles him. And then, when Zuko finally realizes what a dick his dad is and decides to leave, Ozai tries to kill him via lightning. This is actually pretty realistic, since the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse is when they try to leave.
Ozai’s not much better to his favorite kid, either. As bad as Zuko’s issues are, Azula is completely screwed up, and that’s before she goes insane. What’s worse, Ozai hating you or Ozai liking you?
Anthony Cooper (Lost)
Some of us have been swindled by our parents. They’ll promise to get us a specific gift if we do X and then not deliver, or we’ll loan them ten bucks and they’ll never repay it. But I don’t think any of us can say that we’ve been swindled out of a kidney.
For those of you who don’t remember, because Lost was a long time ago and there were a million characters with twenty different storylines, Anthony Cooper was John Locke’s dad. Locke was the bald guy originally in the wheelchair, and the reason he was in that wheelchair is because his organ-stealing papa pushed him out an apartment window.
Anthony was a con artist who ditched the fifteen-year-old he impregnated, then turned around decades later and was Father of the Year when he conveniently needed a kidney transplant. After the surgery, he ditched yet again, then came back after faking his death to convince Locke to retrieve a few hundred thousand dollars from a safety deposit box... which he did before Anthony disappeared again. Their third encounter resulted in Locke suspecting that Anthony was responsible for a murder in his latest con. To prevent Locke from telling anyone, Anthony pushed him out the window.
The really sad part? In the alternate universe, we find out that Anthony was a really good dad, even though he was still a con man. So while he certainly had the potential to be there for Locke, he just never acted on it.
Stannis Baratheon (Game of Thrones)
Stannis wasn’t the best dad even before he burned Shireen alive, but at least his awkwardness wasn’t from malicious intent (unlike a certain Lannister). He’s just crappy with kids. Good thing Davos was in the picture, or Shireen would’ve been even more miserable.
Queen Selyse was an even worse parent than her husband, if not outright emotionally abusive. But at least she sort of redeemed herself in the end and tried to stop Melisandre from killing Shireen. Stannis didn’t seem to regret it at all, as if Shireen was just another casualty of war. It’s not like he could have, I don’t know, left her at Castle Black away from the war, not brought her along at all, or maybe retreating to Castle Black to wait for the blizzard to pass. Those were all such impossible decisions.
Denethor (Lord of the Rings)
Denethor is another parent who made the classic mistake of playing favorites with his kids. At least Boromir turned out to be a decent person. You know, before the Ring tried to turn him against the rest of the Fellowship.
The last time they saw Boromir, Denethor was oh-so-proud of his son for re-taking Osgiliath from the orcs, and so disappointed in Faramir for losing the city beforehand. I’m sorry, Denethor, maybe you missed the nation of orcs on the edge of your border? The one Boromir thought was too powerful for Gondor to take so he left to get the Ring to use as the ultimate weapon? And then there was that awful scene where Denethor tells Faramir to his face that he wishes he had died instead of Boromir. Charming guy, really.
Shou Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist)
This guy is the scummiest scum who ever scummed the earth. And shut up, that sentence totally makes sense and is completely justified. Stannis Baratheon at least had a tiny sliver of justification for killing Shireen: it was his men’s best chance for survival. Shou Tucker just wanted to keep his job. Yeah, losing his state alchemist license would’ve sucked, a certain blow to his career, but even the biggest workaholics would say that that’s no excuse for fusing your four-year-old kid with your dog. And worst of all, because he’d done it to his wife two years earlier and she killed herself because of it, Shou knew that life as a chimera would be a miserable existence for his kid. That didn’t stop him.
The Elric brothers’ confrontation with Tucker is definitely one of the creepiest scenes in the whole series. Not the homunculi, or Scar, or that sociopathic arsonist Kimblee. Those guys you know from the start are bad. But Shou is just so unassuming and non-threatening. The worst monsters are humans.
All the gods in the Percy Jackson Series
Olympians can’t parent for crap. At best, they completely neglect their kids. At worst, they send them on horrendously dangerous quests across the world. Poseidon knew that his twelve-year-old son would be sent to face horrible monsters and dangerous gods as soon as he was claimed. Did that stop him? Nope.
Athena sent dozens of her kids to their deaths until Annabeth succeeded in getting her statue in Mark of Athena. Zeus/Jupiter forced the woman he knocked up twice to give her two-year-old son to the wolves so he could join the Roman legion. Hera threw Hephaestus off of Olympus for being ugly. The list goes on.
You’d think these guys would know by now that they’re really bad at parenting. Maybe they should start using condoms.
Know someone who should be added to this list? Comment below!
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!