Father’s Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the father figures in our lives. There are all sorts of ways to be a dad—and just as many father figures to celebrate, both in real life and in our favorite stories.
Below are nine of our favorite dads in science fiction and fantasy, from the dads struggling to do their best to the father figures who’d go to war on behalf of their kids—maybe literally. We couldn’t possibly fit every great father figure from sci-fi and fantasy on this list, so don’t forget to tell us about your favorites in the comments!
The former Mr. Incredible is a father of three–and when we first meet Bob Parr in The Incredibles, he’s struggling with a sense of restriction and stagnation. Bob misses his “glory days” as a super, and is struggling to suppress his own abilities. But as the movie progresses, he realizes that he’s not the only Parr suffering from trying to pretend his abilities don’t exist—and when he reaches that understanding, he’s able to connect with his kids in a way he couldn’t before.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Although he’s not technically Buffy’s dad, Giles is a father figure for her throughout the series, serving as her Watcher while sharing a more personal relationship with Buffy than a Watcher is technically supposed to. Despite the conflicts this causes with the Council, Giles cares deeply for Buffy, and he’s willing to stand up for her best interests when necessary.
Hughes might be the most doting dad in science fiction and fantasy–in fact, a good amount of his screen time in the anime shows him bragging about his perfect, adorable, wonderful daughter Elicia. He’s the sort of guy who shows you a photo of his kid every time you see him. That might annoy Hughes' friends, but it’s one way he shows his love for his daughter to the world.
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Marko’s daughter Hazel is one of the most wanted beings in the Saga universe: she represents the love between Marko and his wife, Alana, who come from opposing sides of a major war. To protect Hazel, Marko leaves his home, his place in the Wreath militia, and everything else he’s ever known. Like many dads on this list, Marko is willing to give up everything he loves in order to protect his child and keep her safe.
Dr. Alex Murry
A Wrinkle in Time
Meg’s father has mysteriously disappeared before A Wrinkle in Time, later discovered to be captured by the antagonist, IT. Alex Murry is a brilliant scientist, but what defines him more is his love for his family: he refuses to submit to IT’s influence on Camazotz out of his desire to return home and the love he has for Meg and her siblings. Love is a central theme in A Wrinkle in Time, and the strength of Dr. Murry’s love is something future parents can aspire to.
Horizon Zero Dawn
In Horizon Zero Dawn, protagonist Aloy is an outcast from the Nora tribe from an extremely young age–but after being taken in by fellow outcast Rost, she’s able to learn not only how to survive, but to thrive.
As Aloy’s only parental figure, Rost is the most influential person in Aloy’s life, and he does his best to teach her everything she needs to know to live in the world they inhabit–even going so far as to encourage her to forego certain Nora traditions. Dads are often depicted as people who protect their children, but it takes a special kind of dad to teach his child to protect herself–and to ignore traditions for the sake of her own safety and happiness.
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Star Trek: Deep Space 9
As a Starfleet officer, Sisko is no stranger to turmoil, and after an attack by the Borg kills his wife Jennifer, he’s left to raise their son Jake on his own.
Instead of placing Jake with a relative in order to pursue his dream of becoming an admiral in Starfleet, Sisko instead puts his career on hold, making decisions and even considering quitting Starfleet with Jake’s best interests in mind. In a lot of ways, being a parent is about making sacrifices–and Sisko has given up a lot of things for his son.
A Song of Ice and Fire /Game of Thrones
The quiet patriarch of House Stark of Winterfell in Westeros is the father of five children with his wife, Catelyn, and claims to be the father of the bastard Jon Snow. During Game of Thrones, Ned is shown with his legitimate firstborn son Robb Stark as well as with Jon Snow, and he treats them equally and with the same level of respect. The love Ned shows for Jon is no different than the love he shows for the five trueborn Stark children.
Featured still from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" via Fox