With Father’s Day this weekend, I thought it was fitting to pay tribute to the fathers in Harry Potter. James Potter I, of course, gets the ‘father of the year’ award because of his sacrifice to save his wife and son. However, with James unfortunately absent from Harry’s life, who did he turn to for fatherly advice? Who tried to steer him in the right direction? There are three father figures in Harry’s life who tried to fill James’ shoes. Here’s how they fared.
Sirius Black was James Potter’s best friend, and Harry’s godfather. If things had gone differently, Sirius could have ended up being Harry’s guardian and not the Dursleys. He was absent from Harry’s life due to Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal. Despite this absence, Sirius loved Harry and even sent Harry his first broom. Sirius arguably acted more like a big brother to Harry than a father, treating him as he had treated James. Without a doubt, Harry felt the closest to Sirius, frequently turning to him for advice.
While Harry was the closest to Sirius out of all his father figures, I think he was the least prepared to be a father. A father is more than a friend, and Sirius couldn’t see past that in his relationship with Harry. Even with this, Sirius was a wonderful father figure, caring about Harry more than himself. He was also the most prepared to fully understand Harry’s loss, having lost his best friend.
Sirius was one of the figures that Harry summoned using the Resurrection Stone, showing their intense bond. Harry also named his son after Sirius, a memory to the man he felt was most like a father to him.
Dumbledore is the most complicated father figure on this list. While he offered support to Harry over his years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore also frequently put Harry at risk. The most obvious example being the bizarre decision to leave Harry on the doorstep of Lily’s estranged sister and leaving Harry there despite everything that Harry endured. Dumbledore and Harry had a close bond—Harry turning to Dumbledore frequently throughout his years at Hogwarts. Dumbledore helped Harry in his fight with Voldemort more than anyone. Also, it was Dumbledore that appeared to Harry during the Battle of Hogwarts, showing just how important Dumbledore’s advice was to Harry.
It was also why Harry named his son after Dumbledore. The biggest question that remains about Dumbledore is, if he cared so much about Harry, why didn’t he do more to help him with the Dursleys?
Arthur Weasley is the father of the Weasley clan—the closest thing Harry had to a family. The clan accepted him right away, with Harry receiving hand-knit sweaters and visiting over holidays. Arthur was a laid back, honest man with a fascination of Muggles. Arthur was perhaps one of the best people to understand Harry and his Muggle life. Coming from a line of “blood traitors,” Arthur helped Harry feel at ease in the magical world by being so interested in Harry’s life in the Muggle world. He cared for Harry’s safety, worrying about him when Sirius Black escaped Azkaban. He frequently stood up for Harry and went with him to Harry’s disciplinary hearing.
Like a good Father, Arthur listened to Harry. When Harry had concerns that Draco was part of the Death Eaters, he listened to him and followed up on it. He was one of the kindest men in Harry Potter’s life, and my personal favorite for the ‘Father Figure’ award.
Who was your favorite father figure?