a swiftly tilting planet, a wind in the door, a wrinkle in time, brian jacques, characters, despicable me, disney, dreamworks, gru, madeleine l'engle, pixar, redwall, star wars, story dynamics, wreck-it ralph
On some level, every relationship is dysfunctional. I think this is because we’re all human and we all have a very human habit of making hash of things. Some relationships are just more dysfunctional than others. 😉
Today, I’m going to talk about Father/Daughter relationships in fiction. Why? BECAUSE IT’S JUST SO DARN CUTE!!!
First up, we have Gru and the girls from Despicable Me. Margo is street-smart. Edith is funny. And Agnes is just plain precious. Gru is defensive of all three. They were hesitant to accept each other at first, but by the time Despicable Me 2 rolls around, they’ve gained a healthy rapport, and the girls have turned into quite the little warriors (and ninja!), with their jelly guns and nunchucks. (Frankly, the part with little Agnes blasting jelly all over the place was my favorite part of the movie.)
This would have to be a case of little girls converting villain to superdad. It was also extremely cute. Especially with the ballet/modern dance… thing. ;-P And the wedding… *happy sigh*
Next up, we have Ralph and Penelope, from Wreck-it Ralph. Now, on some technical level, while this was not exactly a father/daughter relationship, I’m including it because they were adorable. (I’m also kind of curious as to whether Penelope was later able to leave her game, due to the fact that she’s technically not a glitch, even if she does actually glitch, because she’s been re-plugged into the coding.) While Ralph was at first unsure of what Penelope was up to (recurring theme here, as well as villainy! :-P), he later takes her under his wing, so to speak, and fights for her. What is it with me and these villain/little girl friendships? I’m not quite sure. Maybe I just like redemption stories?
And now, for Darth Vader and Leia, of Star Wars… *looks down at list and does a double take* Wait, Vader and Leia?! Who put this on my list, anyway?! They don’t have any relationship to speak of! Obi-Wan, help–I need to kick Vader out. Leia can stay. *pushes Vader out and locks the door on him, then makes faces at him through the glass* I heard that, Obi-Wan. I am not either immature!
Then we have Mr. Murry and Meg, of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time quartet. (Finally! A pair that doesn’t include villains–self-styled, labeled or otherwise!) Mr. Murry is very affectionate with Meg, despite being imprisoned on Camazotz for the last years of her middle schooling, and helps her through high school. Despite the fact that he only figures largely in two books out of the three (he is away at a conference during A Wind in the Door,) Mr. Murry’s relationship with Meg is an important part of the entire trilogy.
Next up, there is Janglur Swifteye and his daughter, Songbreeze, of Marlfox, by the late Brian Jacques. Song, partly due to her father’s influence, later goes on to become the Abbess of Redwall and a famous warrior. Also in the Redwall series; Triss and her father, in the book named for the aforementioned swordmaid. While Triss did not have a lot of contact with her father, Roc Arrem, she did inherit his incredible skills with a sword, and she followed in her Father’s footsteps as a protector of the innocent.
Last but not least, there’s Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, of Clone Wars fame. Why not? It is, in all respects, very like a father/daughter relationship. Or maybe an uncle/niece relationship? I have no idea. Family something. He’s sort of like another mentor to her.
That’s one thing we never saw enough of in the Clone Wars–Obi-Wan and Ahsoka working together as a team. Personally, I believe that Anakin’s comment “You never would have made it as Obi-Wan’s Padawan, but you might make it as mine” regarding Ahsoka was untrue. Obi-Wan works well with just about anyone, personal feelings aside.
Now, what do all these people have in common?
Remember that all relationships are dysfunctional on some level. Maybe they have some sort of trans-gender communication flop, or they just plain disagree on some things, or the kid has a chronic case of parental deafness. (For some reason, these kids are rare in fiction… HELLO! EQUAL REPRESENTATION OVER HERE PLEASE! These people happen in real life all the time! Yes, I just pulled a doublespeak on a liberal term. I’m so evil… Thy logic has turnethed against thee.) But in all relationships (unless they’re with someone who is truly evil and not just a rascally scamp like Erin), there is also some measure of affection.
All of these dad/daughter relationships have some form of affection or link to each other. All of them rub off on each other in the attempt to improve each other by their contact. And all of them are willing to fight for each other.
Family is important in fiction. It’s important enough to fight for. Betrayal by family makes an impact. And when the family comes around to help the hero, the bad guy is about to be bashed. Maybe even knocked off. (See Clarissa the hare vs. Zwilt the Shade, The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques.)
Every character needs emotional support of some kind, a hand up when they’re down. And who better to do that than family?
It makes for an interesting role reversal if the dad is the one who’s down and the daughter is doing the comforting… Hmm, neat thought that…
Fathers and Daughters in fiction: Sweet. Loving. Supportive. Adorable. Beautifully imperfect. On some level, dysfunctional, but still loving.
Thanks for reading, and God Bless!