My Picks for the Most Heinous Fathers in Fiction
They are the pinnacle of horrible parenting at it’s absolute worst. Happy Father’s Day everyone, and today, I wanted to take a look at some examples of characters that I consider to be the worst dad’s in fiction. Whether they neglected their children or were verbally or physically abusive to them, these are the deadbeats that Child Protective Services would love to put behind bars. That is, if they could.
Also, it goes without saying, but I despise each and every one of these guys. Okay, maybe not one of them.
I cannot lie: I have a grudging respect for the Patriarch of House Lannister for being one of the smartest characters in Game of Thrones. As the head of House Lannister in the first half of the show, Tywin manipulated events to ensure his family would remain on top. No matter how immoral the methods may be (*cough* Red Wedding *cough*). Yet for all his talk of the importance of family, Tywin failed to practice what he preached. While each of his kids got scarred by their dad’s neglect, it was Tyrion who got the worst of it.
From the moment he was born, Tywin sought to make Tyrion’s life a living hell, all by virtue of being a dwarf. From denying him his birthright to allow him to be framed for the assassination of Joffrey, he went out of his way to be rid of his son. So, can you blame some of us for cheering when Tyrion killed his father as payback for all the abuse? Considering how he was going to have Tyrion killed, I’d say it was justified.
He is the shape-shifting master of darkness, the Shogun of sorrow, and the mortal enemy to Samurai Jack. Aku is one of the most evil beings in cartoon history, with atrocities that span centuries of tyrannical rule. However, it turns out he’s also… a dad? In the penultimate episode of the show, we learn that he left part of his essence with a cult that worshipped him. And when the High Priestess drank it, she somehow got pregnant and gave birth to Aku’s half-human daughters, the last of which was Ashi, Jack’s companion and love interest.
Now, Aku’s more or less on here because of all of his past actions. He didn’t have enough time to develop a real relationship with Ashi. However, in the short time he knew of her existence, he used his essence to control her body against her will and become his unwilling puppet. Fortunately, Ashi proved that her heritage didn’t define her and overcame her father’s control, which led to Aku’s downfall and Jack getting back to the past at last.
As a Sith Lord, Darth Vader was responsible for countless atrocities in the name of his master, many of which would physically and emotionally scar his children, Luke and Leia. The first movie alone saw him order the deaths of Luke’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, torture Leia, and force her to watch as her home planet was destroyed. Then came Empire where he cut off Luke’s arm, and then proceeded to shatter his son’s world with this now famous scene.
I would also hold the fact that he was absent from his kid’s lives for twenty years, but to be fair, he was led to believe that they were dead. He may have redeemed himself in his final moments, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Vader was a bad dad.
By the way, this is the one that I don’t hate. I’m more disappointed in Vader.
If you thought that I would put Randy Marsh on this list as the dad I hate most on South Park, guess again. While I find some of Randy Marsh’s antics annoying, I understand that he’s just an idiot and doesn’t mean any harm. Most of the time. The dad that I hate the most has to be Mr. Stotch.
Mr. Stotch is, in my eyes, the epitome of a dad that is far too strict with the way he treats his son, Butters. He will rail on Butters for the most minor of mistakes, real or imaginary, and his main form of discipline is to simply ground Butters. In the context of the show, it’s played for laughs, but if this was in real life, Mr. Stotch would be arrested by Child Protective Services. When I got to fight him in South Park: The Fractured But Whole, it felt cathartic to give him his just desserts.
And here he is, the man I consider to be the epitome of terrible fatherhood, Fire Lord Ozai. I could write an entire article on why Ozai was not just a horrible dad, but a horrible person in general, and overall waste of human DNA. Instead, I’ll just paraphrase all of the horrible things he’s done:
- Jealously tried to have his wife’s ex-boyfriend (and true love) killed
- Was willing to kill his own son to appease his equally abusive father
- Murdered his own father in order to usurp his brother’s birthright and become Fire Lord
- Challenged his own son Zuko to an Agni Kai just for talking out of turn, and then permanently scarred him and banished him when he refused to fight.
- Was emotionally abusive to Azula and pushed her into becoming a cold-blooded, sociopathic perfectionist, contributing to her eventually loss of sanity.
- Was going to burn the entire world to the ground to create a new world where he ruled as a god-king
All said, Ozai was, without a doubt, the worst father that I had ever seen on TV while I was growing up. Everyone universally agreed that the world would be better off without him, with Zuko even encouraging Aang to kill him. While he would have deserved it, I think that Aang’s punishment was far more fitting. Taking away his bending forever, stripping him of all his power, and leaving him to rot in prison for the rest of his life was a fate worse than death. And a fitting punishment for such a sad, pathetic bully. Good riddance.
Happy Father’s Day, Everyone!
So, now that that’s out of the way, I want to say thanks to all the wonderful fathers out there. And I hope that seeing these failures of parenthood in action will make you appreciate your old man even more.
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