Wednesday, June 15, 2016

T5W: Favorite Fathers in Literature

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T5W is a Goodreads group with over 5,000 members.  They create topical blog prompts for each Wednesday of the month.  I have just joined this month, and you can too!

June 15th Topic Description:
In celebration of Father's Day this month for most countries, talk about your favorite dads!

What is a Father?

Fatherly influence is about sacrifice, stoicism, and perseverance.  The father figure in a child's life is their warrior role model who teaches them how to remain strong among adversity.  How to feel the effects of the situation they find them-self in (whether good times or bad) and still be able to get shit done.  To value, protect, and provide for, what belongs to them.

Traditionally, the father figure is a source of external, worldly wisdom.  The father teaches lessons and expects the child to use what they have been taught to always do their best.  The father guides them back towards the course they believe leads to success if they fear the child has gone off track.  This is why there is often a clash between the fatherly influence and children as they become adults if they find that they do not hold the same beliefs.

Often both the father figure and the child are poor at expressing the wishes of their internal emotions and beliefs.  This is where a motherly influence would be beneficial to come in, using their nearly psychic ability to understand the internal landscape of both 'husband' and child to bridge the gap between them via explanation.

Obviously, mothers also display these qualities, and all people have both male and female (father and mother) energies within them-self.  A family can be made up of anyone, and a fatherly influence can come from anywhere, but it is significantly important that a child learns the type of strength and courage that comes from a father figure.


Number 5

Zedd (Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander)
Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind

" Wizard's Fifth Rule: Mind what people do, not what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."

"No army has ever marched into battle thinking that the Creator had sided with their enemy."

"Zedd used to tell me that if the road is easy, you're likely going the wrong way."

Pictured: ABC's Legend of the Seeker (2008-2012) | Source: Google Images

Zedd is the Wizard who must tell Richard that he is the prophecized Seeker.  In doing so, he takes Richard from the safety of the only home he has ever known, and brings him out into a world of struggle and sacrifice.  In the beginning, Zedd acts as his mentor and protector, but as Richard gains his own footing he shifts into the role of a companion, allowing Richard to take the lead.

Zedd is a father, but not to Richard.  Richard is actually his grandson.  Even though he would love to be a family with Richard, he keeps his familial ties a secret for much of the journey.  To Zedd, what they are trying to accomplish for the world is more important than anything he wants personally.

Zedd is wise.  He demonstrates the teaching aspect of fathers, passing on life lessons with the hope that the younger ones will have an easier time because of it.  He feels the weight of the journey they are on, and knows the sacrifice which must be made.  But he continues to persevere, because it is the only way.

Number 4

Ham (Hammond)
Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson 

"The tent was still for a few moments.  Finally, Ham spoke. 'Kell was...grand.  He wasn't just a man, he was bigger than that.  Everything he did was large--his dreams, the way he spoke, the way he thought."

Pictured: Syfy's Haven (2010 - 2015) Character: Dwight Hendrickson, "The Cleaner" | Source: Google Images

Ham is a freedom fighter and family man.  He does the impossible by doing both.  His Misting ability is that of a Thug, a pewter burner who gains physical strength.  He is the right hand man of King Elend, and a powerful leader of the army.

Ham demonstrates the fatherly influences ability to be both wise and tough.  Ham speaks his feelings of despair out loud and yet never backs down from the struggle at hand.  He praises those that deserve it, and keeps his own head high.  All know that they can rely on Ham.

Throughout the entire series we never see his family.  He keeps them hidden.  So hidden, in fact, that when they leave, he does not allow them to tell him where they will go.  He does this to ensure that no enemy of his would ever be able to cause them harm.  If he does not know their location, it cannot be tortured out of him.

He is making an ultimate sacrifice.  His 'job' allows him to provide a life for his family that they would not be able to afford otherwise.  And the freedom he fights for will create a new world for his family to live in in the future.

I think Ham would look like the character Dwight Hendrickson, from the Syfy show Haven. (Yes, that is Edge, the wrestler).  Like Ham, Dwight also has a dangerous profession, and a dangerous affliction, as well as, being a family man.  Unfortunately, in his story, tragedy was brought to his daughter.

Ham even makes terrible dad jokes.  And everyone knows that good dads make awful jokes.

"You know Ham," Breeze noted.  "The only funny thing about your jokes is that they are not funny at all."


Number 3

Atticus Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son.  I wish I could keep 'em all away from you.  That's never possible."

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand."

"It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

Pictured: To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) | Source: Google Images

Atticus has got to be one of the greatest father figures in literary history, and if I had not just recently discovered the last two on my list, he would have been number one.  (Also, he almost made my list of favorite names, but I wanted to save him for this post).

Atticus is trying to fight for what is right.  He is before his time, fighting for the fair trial of an African American man, Tom Robinson, who is wrongly accused of forcing himself on a white girl.

He teaches his kids valuable lessons throughout the novel and lets them learn other lessons on their own.  He makes time to speak with his children about their beliefs.  He shows pride in them when they take his wisdom and use it to come to realizations of their own.

He protects his children and is a single dad, balancing a career with family time.  He is portrayed as extremely stern, stoic, and educated.  Leaving the day to day care-taking of his children to his housekeeper, Calpurnia.  Yet, you see him fearful for his children when danger occurs.

He is preparing his children to be the better members of a society which still needs a lot of change.  He believes this can occur though well employed intellect.

Number 2

Alden Vacker
Keep of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger 

"You are by far the strongest telepath of our world [Sophie]. If you can't guide me back, no one can."

"He didn't deserve this," Alden whispered after a minute.  "I shouldn't have let..."

His voice cracked

Sophie thought he was going to cry, but instead he shouted, "Why didn't you tell me the truth?  I would've understood!"
 Pictured: Actor, James Marsden | Source: Google Images

The Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger is uniquely full of parental influence, especially fatherly influence.  There are many father figures whom I could have chosen, Tiergan, Sandor, Elwin, Beacon Leto, Terik, Kenric, Prentice...but the two who made the list are the best of the best.

Alden is an emissary for the Elven governing council.  He is sent out on covert missions, one of which was to locate Sophie Foster.  The Elven girl living among the humans.

Alden does not agree with everything which the council does, but he does not believe in open revolution either, because the safety of the Elven world, and his family is a top priority.

He constantly tells the others "Nothing to worry about," because he plans to keep all the worry to himself.

The Elves in general have an interesting view of children.  Since their race is extremely long lived, children are few, and seen as just younger fully functioning members of society.  Alden takes this to another level.  He values the abilities of his own children, their friends, and Sophie.  He regards their unique abilities as reliable now.  He often asks their help and takes their council seriously.  He builds them up, treating them as if they are already a member of society, rather than just children who must learn before they can actually do.

Alden carries the guilt of a heavy burden within him.  This is extremely dangerous for an Elf, because their minds work in such a way that an intense amount of guilt could cause a mind to break.  Alden tries to carry this guilt while caring for his family.  It is an impossible task.

With wavy brown hair and teal eyes, I picture Alden to have the kindly face of actor James Marsden.

Number 1

Grady Ruewen
Keeper of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger

Grady wobbled and leaned back to bury his face in his hands.  When he looked up, tears had pooled in his eyes and his arms were shaking.  "So it wasn't my fault?" he whispered. 

"I've realized now that our world doesn't define us. We define our world. And I hope you'll fill yours with as much light and happiness as you can."
 Pictured: Actor, Robert Redford | Source: Google Images

Grady is a very complicated character.  He has already failed at protecting his family once, his daughter Jolie had died in a fire.  He runs an animal sanctuary at Havenfield, his home.  After the death of his daughter he and his wife shut themselves in their home, only doing animal rehabilitation work.

It has been years since that tragedy, and with the help of his friend Alden, he finds the courage to begin to live again.  Grady demonstrates the ability to overcome even what you yourself believed to be impossible.

He and his wife adopt Sophie.  He gets over a grudge and lets go of an incorrect belief he had been holding onto.  He is able to battle guilt and depression, which threaten to shatter his mind.  He steps up again for a friend, when he is needed, doing something which he said he never would.  And then, even after all the good he does, he ultimately must deal with betrayal and tragedy again.

Grady captures the fact that the world we live in is not always fair, but that is not a reason to refuse to trust or refuse to keep going.  He employs perseverance when others would have crumbled.  He has a right to be angry and too seek revenge, but he remains loving and keeps what is important in his mind.

Grady is physically powerful.  He has one of the strongest, and most scary, of all the Elven  abilities.  He is a Mesmer, giving him the ability to mesmerize anyone into doing anything he wants.  Thus, he also exemplifies the Father Figure's ability for restraint, only doing what he must to continue to thrive, even if there is no adversary who could stop him.

With blue eyes, and blonde hair, Sophie described him as either Robin Hood or James Bond.  I picture Grady to have the slightly weathered look of a young Robert Redford.

Post header graphic made using canva. id - MAB7fn6sSgU

Thanks for reading!