Happy belated Mother's Day! As with the National Book Day, when we advocated that one should not merely appreciate books on a single day of the year, so today we're advocating the same for our mothers (and fathers) - or any kind of a parental figure who has shaped us into who we are today. So to keep Mother's Day and Parents' Day going, this week for our favorite picks, we are choosing the fictional, bookish parents nearest and dearest to our hearts - the ones which made us wish, at least for a second, to step into the book and experience what it's like to be their child. These are the families which made us appreciate our own, and families which made us wish to improve our own. These are, in short, parents who have taught us lessons about familial affection we still carry with us to this day, and whose love has beaten all odds and survived long after the actual stories came to their natural ends.
1. Molly and Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)
If ever there was a book series with a strong emphasis on family ties, Harry Potter is most certainly it. Harry's own neglectful and oftentimes abusive family is juxtaposed with the Weasleys - a poorer and less well-off family, but richer in everything that matters - most importantly, richer in parental affection. Even when money is tight, even when wars are brewing and hard times are ahead, Molly and Arthur Weasley shower their kids (and their for-all-intents-and-purposes adoptive kids) with so much love, that every child of our generation dreamed - at least for a day - to get to be a part of the Weasley clan and experience those familial ties as they do. And whether Molly is filling your plate with third helpings of every meal to make sure you are well-fed, or whether Arthur is inquiring about the many uses of a rubber duck (just how many are there, exactly?), the parental affection shines through every little thing and makes every scene with them in it a warm and comforting one - a safe haven in tumultuous times.
2. Margaret "Marmee" March (Little Women)
If you've read Little Women, you'd know that Marmee is the glue that keeps the March family together. She was supportive and did tend to each of the daughters needs whenever they needed her, always having time to focus on her family. Marmee also gave them the space to grow and to each become their own individual. Not only that, but she was kind, gentle and often did charity work, and helped support the family while her husband was away.
3. Maura Sargent & Co. (The Raven Cycle)
Blue Sargent was raised in a jungle. She is not quite Tarzan and it is not a literal jungle, but some of the same rules apply. The Sergeant home is noisy and messy, its residents are fleeting and inconsistent, and everyone seems to speak, squawk or shout in a different language entirely. But as most things in The Raven Cycle series, it is an organized chaos. And the method to the madness - the string that ties it all together in the cacophony and the overall mess - is genuine affection (and a touch of madness). Few parents, in fact, manage to pull off parenting quite like Blue's mother Maura manages it in the Raven Cycle: she is the cool parent, but she is also the concerned parent - and she balances the two well. When hard decisions need to be made, Maura is the one to make them. But when usual eccentricities ensue, Maura is the one to let it happen.
4. James and Lily Potter (Harry Potter)
Of course there's going to be another set of magical parents from J.K Rowling's world - she knows how to write her mothers and fathers! So, how can you not include Harry's? Its common knowledge, even if you haven't read the books, that Lily sacrificed herself to protect Harry, which I know meant years and years of pain, fear and the impending doom of having to kill Voldemort face to face with the possibility of death..but her heart was in the right place! She did what she had to do because she's a mother, and her first instinct was to save her baby son. Very admirable. The loving parents with what they had to do for Harry and, well, look at Deathly Hallows. It worked.
5. Natalie and Andrew Prior (Divergent)
The Priors are not meant to stand out as individuals or as a family - they do, after all, belong to Abnegation - a faction famous for its self-denial and an emphasis on helping the community as opposed to helping oneself. But the protagonist Tris and her brother Caleb have their reservations when it comes to living the Abnegation life from the very start... and when push comes to shove, their parents aren't that far behind. Because if there is one thing which truly brings out the strength, the rebelliousness and the selflessness in us all, it's our unconditional love of those closest to us. Even when the parents don't agree with the decisions of their children, and even when the children shun the parents' ideals, at the end of the day, their bonds are stronger than their individual differences - at least if they are the Priors.
6. Richard and Annabel Manners (Geek Girl)
I have to give Harriet's dad a special mention first. He is hilarious! He never ceases to make me laugh and he is definitely where Harriet got her personality from. He may seem immature, his heart is in the right place. He's the fun parent. But also, there's Annabel. She is the more responsible one, who is always looking out for Harriet and wanting whats best to her, even though Richard and Annabel mesh well together as parents. Although Annabel is Harriet's stepmum, she treats her as if she is her daughter, and I love that.
7. Brimstone & Co. (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Like many other families on this list, this too is a non-traditional one. For one, it is not a family of blood relations. When a seemingly-ordinary human girl is raised in a lair of monsters by those monsters, there can be no doubt as to the kind of family it is. This is not a family you can't help but have. This is a family you choose. And if ever there was a persuasive argument for adoptive parents loving their children as unconditionally as biological ones, Brimstone's love for Karou in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is as good as it gets. And also like many of the families on this list, it is not a family which fusses - it is one where each member does their own thing. But when it truly counts, in times that matter - they will scour the world for one another, and sacrifice that which is most precious to them for the others' well-being.
8. Maggie Gardener (Unearthly)
Sure, Maggie Gardener isn't the most forthcoming of parents. Most of the time, she comes across as needlessly secretive, which in turn makes her daughter - and ourselves - frustrated. But in each and every instance when help is truly needed, she will come through, faster than anyone could have foreseen it. Maggie Gardener, for all intents and purposes, is the kind of parent to allow a child to work out their own solution to a crisis, and only step in if they fail. But don't assume for a second she isn't keeping a close eye on things. There's the cool parent, and then there's the absent parent. And the latter isn't making its way onto our list.
9. Julia Cohen (Slammed)
Layken Cohen is a bit of a smartass. Her little brother, Kell, is also a bit of a smartass. And they get it from - you guessed it - their mother. Full of wisdom but also full of sass, Julia Cohen faces her share of hardships in life with style. At the beginning of the series, she has lost her husband to a tragic car accident and has had to move her children across the country to settle into a new town. But will this stop her from learning her little boy's confusing new language fad, or sending her girl out on a date with the hot neighbor? No, it won't. (But Kell had better behave in school and Layken had better be home before the curfew, or else!) Whatever life throws at her, Julia takes it in her stride. And when it comes to anticipating her children's needs months and years before they even experience them? Julia Cohen is the one to call. She's got a jarful of wisdom - literally - and isn't afraid to share it.
10. Mrs. Young (Penryn & the End of Days)
A controversial choice though it may be, our final pick for this list is none other than Penryn and Paige's paranoid-schizophrenic mother from the Penryn & the End of Days series. In true spirit of the series as a whole, Mrs. Young's unique perspective on family and caring demonstrate just how strong familial bonds can be, despite the adverse circumstances. In the series, the Youngs' troubles begin when little Paige is kidnapped by a group of hostile angels. But in the grand scheme of things, with a disabled girl and a schizophrenic mother, their troubles had started long before. And despite it all, the driving force of the series as a whole is nothing else than the Youngs' familial bonds and their mutual desire to reunite and settle somewhere (relatively) safe, away from the destruction and the chaos. And even as they separate along the way, one can always rest assured that Mrs. Young will crop back up at the most opportune of times - with a harebrained, seemingly illogical, but highly effective way of helping her daughters out. After all, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
Who are your favorite fictional, bookish parents or parental figures (if you have any)? Do you prefer them quirky or by-the-book? Lenient or strict? Or is all that matters to you that a family works as a whole?
Share your favorite bookish family with us in comments below or find us online in all sorts of places and let us know who they are.
TOP 10 FICTIONAL PARENTS
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub