15. Favourite fictional father
What an absurdly hard question! I can’t say I’ve ever taken notice of fathers in novels – no-one to stand out as the answer to that question. There are some marvellously drawn characters – possibly the greatest ever written is in Blake Morrison’s And When Did You Last See Your Father – but that’s not quite the same thing as being a favourite father. And so, a little relucatantly – this feels rather populist, if I’m honest – I have to go with a character that I suspect twitter and wordpress will be awash with today, and that is Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore.
Of course, he’s not actually a father, but it’s glaring obviously that he is the father of the books, acting in many ways as Harry’s surrogate in the novels. Everyone loves Dumbledore. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why. But if I was to pick one thing it would be that masterful stroke of Rowling’s that lots of authors try for but don’t quite succeed: Dumbledore always feels like the adult who will listen to the children. He will understand, sympathise, and offer wisdom, because he hasn’t forgotten what being a child is like.