Today is Father’s Day in the US, so in honor of dads everywhere, let’s take a look at some of the fathers in ASOIAF. Nine dads made the cut (Hoster, Stannis and Aerys were left behind), and for each, an archetype and Father’s Day gift has been suggested. If you have different ideas, please comment below!
*Book spoilers below the cut!
1. NED STARK
The Family Man
Children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon Stark (with Catelyn Tully); Jon Snow (with an unknown woman)
The Family Man is the type of dad who truly loves his children and would do anything for them. He understands that children are different, and respects each of his children for who they are. He does his best to teach his children how to navigate through life with honor and dignity, and he would do anything to protect his family from potential threats. He understands that life is difficult but does all he can to make it a little bit easier for his family.
Ned is all honor, but he cracked that perfect facade when he claimed Jon Snow as his bastard son. He ultimately gave up that honor a second time to save Sansa’s life. He taught Bran the value of owning up to one’s decisions. He recognized that Arya preferred combat to dancing, and he let her keep Needle and got her Syrio Forel. Ned’s inability to see past honor may have endangered his family, and he certainly made mistakes, but in his heart he was giving his all to try to supply his children with a better life.
Father’s Day Gift: Some street smarts.
2. TYWIN LANNISTER
The Golden Idol
Children: Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister (with Joanna Lannister)
The Golden Idol always goes for the gold. He has achieved a lot in life, whether it be career goals, acquisition of power or accumulation of wealth. Because he uses success to measure his own worth, he does the same to his children. He wants them to have the most prestigious jobs, the best mates, and the most esteemed auras in society. Image is everything to him.
Tywin Lannister has done it all. He has great fortunes, he commands vast armies, he served as Hand of the King, and he installed his daughter as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Tywin always had grandiose plans for his twins. He first wanted Cersei to marry Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, but once Robert triumphed during the Rebellion, Tywin married off his only daughter to the new king. Jaime was the heir he always wanted – beautiful, strong and masculine – until the Mad King made the adolescent a knight of the Kingsguard and stripped him of his ability to hold lands or titles. Tywin refuses to name his younger son his heir. Tyrion, a dwarf, is the anti-thesis of the Golden Idol Tywin worships, and Tywin’s treatment of Tyrion is despicable. He blames him for the death of his mother, who died in childbirth. He goes to war after his son is captured not out of concern for Tyrion’s well-being, but because he fears the pride of House Lannister will be injured. He places him in the vanguard at the Green Fork with the hope that he won’t survive the battle. And worst of all, he defamed, humiliated and tortured thirteen-year-old Tyrion’s first wife, a young crofter’s daughter named Tysha.
Father’s Day Gift: A heart. Or a crossbow bolt to the abdomen (!!).
3. ROBERT BARATHEON
The Baby Daddy
Children: Many bastards, including Mya Stone, Gendry Waters and Edric Storm (with various women)
The Baby Daddy has children everywhere with all types of women. He may have taken one of them to be his wife, but for the most part, his children are born out of wedlock and raised by single mothers. Children and their welfare is the last thing on his mind. He can’t keep himself from his primal desires, and unfortunately does not think beforehand of the toll this may take on any children conceived out of his dalliances.
Robert Baratheon has a mighty brood of bastard children; his progeny is believed to number at least sixteen. The only child he acknowledged is Edric Storm, who he set up at Storm’s End, the ancestral keep of the Baratheons. The others include Gendry, an apprentice blacksmith whose fee was paid by an anonymous lord, and Mya Stone, a young guide in service to House Arryn at the Eyrie. But some of Robert’s illegitimate children are not so well-situated: Bella, a young prostitute working in the Riverlands, and Barra, an infant daughter of a prostitute in King’s Landing. Further, he basically ignored the three children he believed to be his only legitimate issues, and was particularly hard on Joffrey, his thirteen-year-old son who he scolded often for not acting like a warrior.
Father’s Day Gift: The Westeros equivalent of the largest box of condoms available.
4. JON ARRYN
The Old Man
Children: Robert Arryn (with Lysa Tully)
We all have a friend who has an Old Man dad. He’s a lot older than the average age of dads of a certain generation of children. For whatever reason, he either waited until late in life to have children, or just sired a long list of children from the time he could until the time he couldn’t. Due to the extreme age difference, the Old Man may be a bit out of touch with his younger children.
Jon Arryn is dead when the story begins, so we don’t know as much about him as we do about some of the other dads on this list. But we know he was already past his middle-aged years when his son Robert was born. But we know one detail that shows Jon was trying to be a good father to his sickly, coddled son: He intended to foster young Robert on Dragonstone with his ally Stannis Baratheon in a hope to take the child away from his mother and give him the chance to begin a normal life.
Father’s Day Gift: A little longevity.
5. JAIME LANNISTER
The Unknown Father
Children: Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen Baratheon (with Cersei Lannister)
The Unknown Father is similar to Baby Daddy. While Baby Daddy has a lot of children born out of wedlock, he may still see his kids. But while the Unknown Father’s children are probably also illegitimate, he has no contact with them whatsoever. Most often, his children do not even know who he is, or alternatively, they may know him but not know he is indeed their father.
Jaime Lannister’s three children believe their father is Robert Baratheon. Because the children are products of an incestuous relationship between Jaime and his twin sister, Cersei, they can’t know that he in fact their dad. So instead he relates to them through his role as their uncle, but even then, he cannot get too close out of fear that someone will discover the Lannister twins’ secret. Jaime doesn’t mourn his oldest son Joffrey’s death, but he does show compassion and a desire to protect his younger, sweeter and kinder son, Tommen. Jaime’s unique predicament could paint him as either a bad or a good father: While he doesn’t always give his children the love and support a father should, this very lack of affection could be seen as an attempt to protect the children from the fate they would suffer if their true lineage were to be discovered.
Father’s Day Gift: An ounce of recognition.
6. RHAEGAR TARGARYEN
The Young Dreamer
Children: Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen (with Elia Martell)
The Young Dreamer is a young father. He may have settled down domestically, but his mind has not. He stills dreams of changing the world, and this idealistic nature can put distance between him and his family.
We don’t know much about Rhaegar Targaryen. But based on a vision of his sister, Daenerys, we do know Rhaegar believed that either he or his son was the “prince that was promised,” a legendary figure said to bring the world some unknown deliverance. We also know he bypassed his wife and named Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty at the tourney at Harrenhal, and he allegedly kidnapped Lyanna some time after that. Rhaegar is said to have been a melancholy and pensive man, but was at the same time honorable and beloved by the common folk of Westeros. In the end however, his idealism may have distanced him from his family, and he was already dead when his wife and children were murdered during the Sack of King’s Landing.
Father’s Day Gift: Peace of mind.
7. BALON GREYJOY
The Close-minded Tyrant
Children: Rodrik, Maron, Asha and Theon Greyjoy (with Allanys Harlaw)
“My Way or the Highway” is this type of dad’s life motto. He sees things as black and white, and he commands his children to see the world the same way. His will does not bend easily, and his pride causes him to lash out at his children if they maintain a different perspective than he does.
Balon Greyjoy loves his daughter, Asha, who upholds the culture and mindset of the Iron Islands. She is bold, aggressive and proud, and despite being a woman, she commands the Black Wind. Recognizing that Asha has perpetuated his philosophy or Ironborn supremacy, Balon named her his heir. He refused to turn over the Seastone Chair to his only remaining son, Theon, who he sees as a deviant from the Ironborn ways. Theon, raised as a hostage at Winterfell after his father’s failed rebellion, has assimilated too well into the culture of the land-dwellers. Because he does not fit Balon’s view of what a Greyjoy should be, Theon is coldly disinherited from the Greyjoy succession. Theon captures Winterfell to prove himself to Balon, but before he can, Lord Greyjoy dies and Theon is captured.
Father’s Day Gift: Tickets to a diversity seminar.
8. DAVOS SEAWORTH
Children: Dale, Allard, Matthos, Maric, Devan, Stannis and Steffon Seaworth (with Marya Seaworth)
The Blue-Collar is an off-shoot of the Family Man. He shares the same traits as the Family Man, but his life has been a bit more difficult due to his poverty and lack of resources. In order to make a better life for his children, he takes difficult jobs, works insane hours, or endangers his own safety or honor to support them. He might not be as straight-laced as the Family Man, but his heart is in the same place.
Davos Seaworth grew up as a poor boy in the Flea Bottom slum of King’s Landing. He became a successful smuggler due to his ability to navigate boats into harbors in the pitch darkness of night. He aided Stannis Baratheon during Robert’s Rebellion when he smuggled food to the starving troops holding Storm’s End. For his valor, Stannis knighted him and granted him lands. But for his crimes, Davos lost the top joint off each finger on his left hand. However, despite the loss of his fingers, his newfound knighthood and land provided a future for his seven sons. Two of his sons grew to captain their own ships in Stannis’ fleet, two served on ships in the fleet, and one son became Stannis’ squire. Unfortunately for Davos, his four oldest sons died at the Battle of the Blackwater, although we could say they died better off than they would have been had their hard-working father not secured them a future.
Father’s Day Gift: A vacation.
Children: Many, including Gilly (with one of his daughters)
The Golden Idol, the Baby Daddy and the Close-minded Tyrant can be pretty bad in their relationships with their children, but they show their children at least the basest of respects. The Abuser doesn’t even allow his offspring this. He assaults them physically and/or sexually, thus denying his children even a sense of safety in their own home.
Craster has two distinct ways of approaching relationships with his children. He turns his daughters into his wives, and he abandons his sons in the wilderness of the Haunted Forest, allegedly as sacrifices to the Others. Not much more needs to be said of Craster.
Father’s Day Gifts: A prison cell.