With another Father’s Day approaching, it seems like a good time to reflect on fathers and other father figures in our cultural awareness. Think of King Lear, Harry Wormwood in Matilda, Jack Torrance in The Shining, Humbert Humbert in Lolita, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, even Don Corleone in The Godfather. Some have saving graces; others are villains we love to hate.

Yet there are father figures in literature we can admire for the best reasons. Here is the countdown to our top ten.


  1. Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice [B0210].

A flawed father figure, he can be weak, withdrawing from decision-making. He is only human, like most Dads. But he is a loving and kind provider.

Benjamin Whitrow as Mr Bennet


  1. Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [B1995].

Hans dotes on Liesel, teaching her to read and providing her with escapism amid the horrors she lives through in World War II.

Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann


  1. Ned Stark in Game of Thrones by George R R Martin.

Like all fathers, Ned has his flaws, but everything he does is motivated by his love for his children and family.

Sean Bean as Ned Stark


  1. Gandalf in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.

Centuries older than the fellowships he leads; the wizard provides guidance and wisdom to multiple races of Middle Earth.

Ian McKellan as Gandalf


  1. Mr Emerson in A Room with A View by E M Forster.

Mr Emerson’s selfless love for his son, George, reaffirms his belief that his son and Lucy belong together.

Denholm Elliott as Mr Emerson


  1. Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling.

Arthur’s infectious enthusiasm and playful nature never detract from his role as protector and provider.

Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley


  1. Jean Valjean in Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

Jean Valjean is not the father of Cosette, but he is a greater protector than many a biological Dad. Cosette couldn’t wish for a more caring guardian.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean


  1. Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Bob’s generous and selfless bond with his children contrasts with the miserly and loveless figure of Scrooge.

David Warner as Bob Cratchit


  1. The Father in The Road by Cormac McCarthy [B1977].

He does everything to keep his son alive in a barren post-apocalyptic wasteland. Though his fate is grim, he always remains hopeful.

Viggo Mortensen as the father


Honourable mentions:

Mr March in Little Women

Charles Ingalls in The Little House on the Prairie

Matthew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables

Three Fathers


  1. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee [B0037].

Who else would be our number one?

Atticus is dignified, brave, loyal and kind, imbued with a strong sense of justice that is tempered with compassion. Everyone’s ideal father figure.