Throughout J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, we see or hear about all different kinds of parents. Mothers who are witches and muggles directly impact Harry Potter and thus the world around them, often playing a role in the character’s journey to defeating Voldemort. A variety of fathers are present too, shown by Rowling to be as good, bad, or complicated as the moms we meet along the way.
Dads are shown to have a range of relationships with their kids in the series and often this then influences the larger world. From hearing the information through stories told by others or witnessing these fathers’ actions firsthand, these characters are on both sides of the wizarding war that grips the world during the franchise. It’s a theme that continues beyond the main series in the sequel play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when suddenly central characters we knew as children are parents and dealing with what it means to have kids of their own.
All of this made us eager to look closer at these dads and the ways they’re represented this Father’s Day. Join us as we examine 10 memorable fathers from the franchise.
Vernon Dursley, like his wife Petunia, contributed to Harry growing up in a horrible environment and that traumatized the boy well beyond his time at Privet Drive. Vernon never tried to act like a father figure to Harry and treated him terribly. The way he felt about Harry’s parents transferred to their son and he didn’t hesitate to speak poorly of them. Anything that wasn’t what he and Petunia considered “normal” was despised. It’s why Vernon raised his son Dudley in a way that basically tried to make him just like his father and made Dudley feel like he could treat Harry badly too. Vernon spoiled Dudley and thought his son was the best, treating him in a way that wasn’t good for Dudley either as the man tried to pass down his views so Dudley would think the exact same way.
James might not have seemed like great dad material based on some of his actions at Hogwarts. He picked on Severus Snape and sometimes acted in ways that shocked even Harry when he realized what his father had done. The better actions of his youth, like accepting someone different like Remus Lupin for example, would eventually win out though and he would grow into a man that Lily Evans could love.
As an adult, James clearly cared deeply about his family and wanted to do the right thing. He was a pure-blood wizard, but didn’t see himself as above others because of that. James didn’t think differently of people because of who they were, whether they were muggle-born or a werewolf. With his friends, he joined the Order of the Phoenix to stand up to Voldemort during the first wizarding war and ultimately his work with Lily put their family at risk.
When Voldemort found them, James told Lily to take Harry and run while he stayed to try and stop the evil wizard. While futile, James was going to do whatever he could to try and save his family. Harry may not have known his father and learned some uncomfortable truths about him, but the legacy of his bravery and goodness would still leave a lasting impact on his son.
From what readers witness in flashbacks and learn secondhand from Dumbledore, Marvolo was a terrible father. The man was a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin and proud of his intolerant son Morfin because they shared beliefs and many traits. However, he abused his daughter, Voldemort’s mother Merope. The abuse was so bad she couldn’t even use her magic properly and growing up in such an environment would leave a permanent mark on her. Marvolo was mean, cruel, and, like too many Slytherins, believed pure-blood wizards were better than everyone else. Eventually Marvolo and Morfin’s beliefs and violent tendencies earned them both a well-deserved trip to Azkaban, finally freeing Merope from both of them.
We don’t really know how Remus would have been as a father because like his wife Tonks, he died in the Battle of Hogwarts when Teddy was just a baby. Unfortunately, at the beginning of fatherhood he had a bit of a rocky start. When Tonks gets pregnant all of Remus’ insecurities about being a werewolf that kept him initially from wanting to be with his wife come back to the extreme. He leaves Tonks with her parents overcome with the fear that his son might have inherited his condition and worried again about Tonks being an outcast.
He tries to run away from it all by joining Harry on his quest, but it’s the young wizard who reminds Remus that leaving his family is unacceptable. They fight and eventually Remus realizes his mistake and returns to Tonks. Maybe this issue would have come up again at some point and influenced how he was as a father or maybe not. It’s probably on the hopeful side to think that when the war ended the world would become a more accepting place and Remus wouldn’t have such concerns anymore, so his kindness would make him a good dad. What we know for sure though is that he died with Tonks to try and make the world a better place for his son and others to live in.
The eccentric Xenophilius loved his daughter Luna and from what we see, was a good father to her. He was the editor of The Quibbler and became a single father when his wife died in a work-related accident. Xenophilius passed on his belief in the impossible and the odd to his daughter, making them both unique and quite open-minded in the wizarding world. His knowledge, which some might dismiss right away, even comes in handy at points on the journey to defeat Voldemort.
A lot of people might not take him seriously, but Xenophilius is often one of the few to see things the most clearly. He believes in Harry at crucial moments during Voldemort’s return to power and proudly prints the truth in his paper. It’s an important lesson to teach his daughter, sticking to the truth and standing for what’s right no matter what’s happening in the world around you. This does put them in danger and lead to Luna’s capture though. It’s here we see him make a wrong choice out of love for his daughter by betraying Harry and the others to the Death Eaters in an attempt to get her back. He clearly believes he was doing what was best for his family as Luna is his world and when she is taken, he will do whatever it takes to get her back. It’s something you cannot fault a father for really. It leads to him being put in Azkaban by Voldemort and only released once the dark wizard is defeated.
Arthur was a pure-blood wizard with an interest in all things muggle. Unlike many other pure-bloods like the Blacks and the Malfoys, he never thought his heritage made him better than others and with his wife Molly, they raised their seven children to share that belief. He worked for the Ministry of Magic and while his family never had a lot of money, he did everything he could to give them what they needed and loved them dearly.
When Voldemort rose again, he became a member of the Order of the Phoenix and did what he could to make a difference, even when it put him in extreme danger and almost cost him his life. Like Molly, he embraced Harry as a member of the family and looked out for him. He became someone Harry felt he could talk to about what he was going through. Arthur listened and offered what advice he could, always acting as a source of comfort and support. He was a great father to his own children and one of the few caring father figures Harry found growing up.
Lucius was far from a good person and that was clear in his actions as a father. He was another man who tried to pass on his horrible beliefs to his son and was hard on Draco to be everything his father wanted him to be. Lucius was a Death Eater who escaped prosecution after the first wizarding war, but returned to Voldemort’s service when the Dark Lord returned. He was cruel, rich, and thought he was better than everyone else. He did everything in his power to help Voldemort’s return, even endangering many children at Hogwarts to do so. The pure-blood wizard’s search for power and dominance eventually backfired on him and his family though.
Voldemort would not even be forgiving to his followers so Lucius’s mistakes would not be forgotten. His failures and imprisonment in Azkaban made him and his family fall from Voldemort’s favor and put pressure on his son to make up for it. When it comes to the final battle, Lucius does seem to think of Draco more so than winning for the dark wizard. Whether he would have thought of Draco like this if he was still in a position of power might be questionable. However, in the end at least, Lucius was fine with siding with family over Voldemort.
Amos worked at the Ministry of Magic and was the father of Cedric. He’s openly very proud of his son when we meet him in Goblet of Fire and is even not very nice to Harry when he thinks the Gryffindor is getting in the way of Cedric’s success. Unfortunately, Amos faces a heart break that no parent should ever face when his son is killed and the resulting grief continues years later in Cursed Child. In the play it’s used against him and others by Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange’s daughter Delphini, who poses as Amos’ niece. Amos makes Harry feel even more guilty for Cedric’s death here and it all leads to a series of events that almost destroy the timeline and lead to Voldemort’s return. Amos didn’t know about Delphini, but his desperation for Harry to use such a dangerous device to try and save Cedric shows just how far a parent might go when they can’t live with the horrible truth that their child is gone.
Draco may not have had the best role model for a father, but after his experiences in the second war and marrying a fellow Slytherin who was also changed by the events of what happened, he was far from the cold, hard Death Eater who raised him. We see this clearly in Cursed Child when we first run into Draco asking for Harry’s help in trying to stop people from teasing his son Scorpius about rumors he’s really Voldemort’s son. Later we learn that Draco stood up to Lucius who thought his wife was “too Muggle-loving” and it was “the bravest thing she’d ever seen.” When his wife dies, Scorpius is all the family Draco has left and when he disappears with Albus Potter, Draco will do anything to get him back because as he tells Harry, the day his son was born was the best day of his life.
Like Harry, love blinds Draco to certain facts he doesn’t want to believe such as dark magic and Voldemort-related elements playing a role in his son’s troubles. Yet, even before Draco finally realizes the truth of the danger, we see his growth into a good father in other ways. He’s willing to visit Harry to ask why he would force Albus and Scorpius to stay apart when his son is in tears, concerned with his son being happy instead of happy that his son won’t be friends with a Potter anymore. Draco is also the one is share some unexpected fatherly wisdom with Harry when the Boy Who Lived insists he wants to protect Albus. Draco tells him that Lucius thought he was protecting his son as well mostly, but being alone sent Draco and others like him, such as Tom Riddle, to a dark place. Draco insists Albus will need a friend or a parent at some point and if Harry loses him, he’ll regret it.
The play offers an interesting look at a character we know had a dark past, but has grown into a man trying to do his best as a father.
As a father, Harry obviously loves his family and tries to be the best dad he can to his kids and those he isn’t related to. For example as Teddy Lupin’s godfather, he regularly has the boy over and makes sure that Teddy does not experience the kind of childhood he did when he lost his parents in the war. Harry and Ginny pass on their values to their children and the idea of being accepting to others. Still, in Cursed Child we see that fatherhood doesn’t come easy to Harry. He has trouble connecting with his son Albus, who is sorted into Slytherin and doesn’t like being known as the famous Harry Potter’s son. Their relationship is rocky and at one point they both even claim they wish they weren’t related to the other. Harry even goes so far at one point to demand that Albus stay away from his best friend Scorpius and insists on spying on him with the Marauder’s Map!
It’s during a conversation with Draco that the two fathers realize something about being dads. They realize love blinds and they both tried to give their sons “not what they needed, but what we needed. We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted their present.” Later on, Harry tells Albus that being his father scares him the most because he had few examples in his life and he’s going to try his best to be a good dad. Father and son realize they might be more similar than they thought and it’s clear that a connection has been made.
Even if it takes some work, we see that Harry ultimately tries his best to be a good father and is willing to learn and change along the way to be there for his children.