Thoughtful Thursday: Mothers

Mothers’ Day is in three days, at least here in the states. I bring that to your attention since fantasy novels tend to do a horrible job with mothers. Rarely does our fair hero have a happy homelife. Usually (s)he sets out on a journey because either (s)he is terribly abused and misunderstood or orphaned (e.g. every Disney movie ever.) Consider this your reminder to call your mother now, for no reason, to tell her how much you love her. And then call again on Sunday.

As for me, my mommy is coming to town today! And my sister! And my dad and two brothers and a brother-in-law. This weekend shall be of epic proportions. I bought a new firepit, so that’s going to be exciting. The possibility of making smores without camping may not be good for my backside. So you’ll excuse me if this post is so short because I need to go do the dishes and scrub the toilet. Have a wonderful Mothers Day weekend from all of us at FanLit — and remember, your mother raised you to be smart enough not to read bad books.fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

And since now you’re thinking about mothers, who do you think is the best mother in fantasy literature? State your case below and you’ll be entered to win a book from our stacks. Also, be sure to check the box for following the comments because I’ll announce the winner in the comments.


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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17 comments

  1. Jon Moss just reviewed Tea With the Black Dragon and the main character in that book is a good mother of a difficult daughter! I’m expanding beyond fantasy a bit: Brian Wilkes Blue in Bonecrusher is a good mother–and Miles Vorkosigan’s mother Cordelia is good, if formidable.

    In urban fantasy, it seems that most moms are mysteriously dead before the story opens, doesn’t it? I’m re-reading the Harry Dresden books, and while she wasn’t much of a mom (being dead), Margaret la Fey, as she called herself, was a interesting character.

  2. Er, I meant *Briar* Wilkes Blue.

  3. Wow, I knew this was a widespread issue but didn’t realize how widespread until I scrolled down my review page to see if anything jogged my memory…and it was orphan, orphan, evil mom, orphan, orphan, orphan, evil mom…

    What does it say that the first to really spring to mind is Melisande Shahrizai? LOL. She’s evil–but she loves her kid fiercely, and I love that complexity in her character.

  4. Marion and Kelly are making me laugh!! Dead mom or Melisande… hmm… not sure which I’d rather have as a mother.

    Now I’m starting to nervously wonder if my love of fantasy literature might have some implications for my own mothering… there may be something Freudian going on here…

  5. Cat Stark. She’d do anything for her kids. In fact, she /has/ done everything for her kids. (Although I don’t know if she counts as dead or alive. Or even if she counts as alive, if it still counts, because all her kids could be basically orphaned anyway, because they are all alone and she’s a zombie… or something. whatever.)
    Reversly, GRRM has some really awful mothers in ASOIAF. While Cersei is probably a “Melisande-case” (as mentioned above), Dany is horrible! I mean, she killed her baby for some stupid dragons!
    Or Lysa… urgh. I mean, she loves her son and all, but she’s an awful mother.
    Well, back to the good moms.
    I also like Rachel Morgan’s mom Alice from Kim Harrison’s Hollow’s series. Well, she did keep the fact that she had an affair with a rock star from her kids, and that their dad wasn’t really their dad. But she always has some good advice when you need her.

  6. Franziska,
    I was thinking about what a bad mother Cersei was last night as I was watching Game of Thrones (which I skipped on Sunday due to the more interesting stuff going on in the news).

  7. I thought Dany was tricked into killing her child as part of a deal to save her husband, IIRC. It had something to do with Mirri Maz Duur (and it was Mirri that she killed for the dragons). Gaaah, I need to reread those books so I’m not totally lost when book 5 comes out!

    Cersei’s no great mother, no. She raises one kid who’s a sociopath and two who seem pretty unprepared for real life. But Lysa raised an eternal toddler! Yeeuuurrrgggh. I have to agree, Cat did well by her own kids, and I think it can be seen in the way they turned out: they’re pretty strong and resilient, in their own different ways. It breaks my heart how she treated Jon, though–and especially since I theorize that Jon isn’t actually Eddard’s kid, she treated him badly over a false cover story.

  8. SandyG265 /

    Mrs Weasley is the best mother I can think of in a fantasy book. She not only provides a good hoem for all of her kids without having a lot of money but she’s willing to open her hoem to Harry.

  9. SandyG265 /

    Obviously I can’t type today.

  10. Mrs. Weasley! Can’t believe I didn’t think of her. Yes, she’s terrific–raised a boatload of kids who grew up to be heroes, was always there to be a mother figure for Harry when he needed one, and opened a can of whoop-ass on Bellatrix. Go Molly!

  11. Mrs. Weasley and Cat Stark are both good choices. The first character that came to me was Polgara the Sorceress, but then I remembered that she is actually Belgarion’s aunt.

  12. Tehanu (spelled correctly?) was a great adoptive mother, even if the child did grow up to be a dragon. Oh! Martha Kent! Great adoptive mom.

  13. Melanie Goldmund /

    I forgot about Mrs Weasley, too. *blush* But my first thought was Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, the mother of Miles (and Mark.) She doesn’t always get much screentime in the Vor books, but when she does, she comes across as awesome in every sense of the word.

  14. Elida /

    I guess Kyara of Isencroft (The sword, Gail Z Martin) is a very loving and caring mom, considering that the kid has something wired comming from a summoner dad and a crazy grandfather that almost killes everyone….

  15. Elida /

    it’s THE SWORN, sorry

  16. Immediately thought of Sherri Tepper’s Mavin Manyshaped from The True Game

  17. Elida, if you live in the USA, please choose a book from our stacks and send me (Kat) your address. Thanks!

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