When it comes to fathers, the patriarchs of the series are admittedly kind of hit-or-miss. While there are some amazing fathers (I'm looking at you, Arthur Weasley!), there has also been a surprising amount of lousy dads. Some are pretty obvious, like Thomas Riddle or Vernon Dursley, but Remus Lupin and Xenophilius Lovegood weren't exactly model fathers either. And other characters who may have been terrible people, like Lucius Malfoy, genuinely seemed to love their kid. Dads are complicated people.
I've looked at 10 fathers in the Harry Potter series and ranked them, starting with the worst. I’ll acknowledge that I had to take a leap of faith on a couple (who knows if James Potter or Frank Longbottom would have actually been great dads), but I’m pretty confident in my order.
*Also, although they aren't on this list, shout out to Rubeus Hagrid, Sirius Black, and Albus Dumbledore, who all acted as unofficial dads to Harry throughout the series and would have definitely been ranked high on this list.
10. Thomas Riddle
You almost have to feel bad for Voldemort for having a dad like Thomas Riddle (almost, but not quite). Tom was a cruel, arrogant Muggle who abandoned his child, leaving Voldemort to grow up in an orphanage while he lived in luxury with his wealthy parents. (Of course, you could argue that he was actually unable to consent to having a child.) Maybe if Voldemort had had a positive parental figure in his life growing up he wouldn't have tried to wipe out half of the wizard population and enslave the Muggles.
9. Remus Lupin
Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I don't like Remus Lupin. And I definitely don't think that he's a good dad. I don't quite buy his tortured, "I'm too dangerous for you" routine when it comes to his relationship with Tonks, and I'm really not into how quickly he's willing to abandon her and his newborn son to go off on adventures with Harry and the gang. He might have convinced himself that he was rushing off to make a safer world for his baby, but I'm calling shenanigans on that.
8. Vernon Dursley
While he was a terrible uncle who kept Harry locked up in a cupboard for most of his childhood, Vernon did have a soft spot for his own kid. As any good father knows, however, it's not a great idea of spoil your kid or refuse to acknowledge any of his flaws, so he did enable Dudley to become a huge bully. Which proves that you can love your child and still be a lousy father.
7. Lucius Malfoy
Yes, he's a jerk and a big-time Death Eater, but Lucius Malfoy isn't actually a horrible dad. He obviously loves Draco and Narcissa, and by the end of the series he's completely given up on helping Voldemort and only wants to find and save his son. No, it doesn't totally make up for him being an asshole throughout the rest of the books, but we're not ranking "nicest Harry Potter characters," we're ranking dads. So I stand by this one.
6. Xenophilius Lovegood
I'm not sure where I stand on this one. On one hand, Xenophilius bravely publishes anti-Voldemort stories in his magazine and is willing to sacrifice anything to save his beloved daughter. On the other hand, one of those sacrifices is turning over her friends to a bunch of Death Eaters who want to kill them. Somehow I don't think Luna would have appreciated that gesture. But you can't deny he loves her, right?
5. Percival Dumbledore
We know very little about Dumbledore's father, and most of it comes from Rita Skeeter, who's not the most trustworthy source. But apparently he spends most of Dumbledore's life in prison for attacking two Muggle boys who harmed his young daughter Ariana, traumatizing her. While I obviously don't condone violence, it does sound as though he was only trying to avenge his daughter, and he kept silent about his motive to protect her. That sounds like a pretty self-sacrificing dad to me.
4. Frank Longbottom
We can't know for sure that Frank would have been a great dad to Neville, as he was sadly driven insane before he could get to know his son, but I have a hunch that he would have made a pretty good father. We know that he sacrificed his sanity for the Order of the Phoenix, so he seems to be a brave and loyal guy. I bet he would be really proud of the man Neville became by the end of the series.
3. Amos Diggory
Yes, he was a little bit of a blowhard and not the nicest to Harry during the Triwizard Tournament, but that's just because he thought Harry was stealing the thunder from his son. Amos couldn't have been more proud of Cedric, and I think it's sweet that he basically shouted that pride from the rooftops. Didn't your heart just break for him when he realized Cedric had died in the tournament?
2. James Potter
To be fair, it's kind of hard to tell if James would have made a good dad, since he died when Harry was just a baby. However, he seemed like a pretty decent guy while he was alive, and he came back a couple of times throughout the series as a ghost to protect Harry or comfort him. And if ghost James was willing to do that, then I'm pretty confident that living James would have been even better.
1. Arthur Weasley
I think we can all agree that no one can hold a candle to Arthur Weasley, the perpetual winner of the Best Dad in the Wizarding World award. He starts out as a typical sitcom dad (quirky, usually getting scolded by his louder wife) and then morphs into a badass rebel who'll do anything to keep his family safe and take down Voldemort. But at heart he's still the same old weird dad who collects plugs and tried to make a car fly.
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