Mothers in Fantasy

I’ve talked about women in fantasy before, but with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend I thought we should talk more specifically about the mothers in fantasy. Parents are often absent in fantasy stories, but that doesn’t mean they never exist. Sometimes we only get to see a small glimpse of them before we lose them forever, but every once in a while we get them as a whole character. There are some solid moms in the world, yet very few of any quality within fantasy. Here are the ones I’ve come across.

Tutu’s Mother

The Lies of the Ajungo
by Moses Ose Utomi

Tutu’s mother is hardly a character in this story, if we’re being honest. She’s incredibly unwell at the start of the book so we never see any interactions with her. But she is the reason Tutu has the courage and initiative to set off into the dangerous unknown of the desert. I’m assuming she was a wonderful mother if she not only raised such a child, but that child was willing to approach the city leader for help and risk his own life to try and save her.

Isabella Camherst

The Memoirs of Lady Trent
by Marie Brennan

It may not be fair to call Isabella a good mother, but I definitely don’t think she was a bad one either. She is a scholar first and foremost, and when we see her start her family it takes a while for her maternal instincts to kick in. She doesn’t become a doting mother from the moment her child is born, which may sound terrible, but I think it’s very realistic to show that not every woman dreams of becoming a mother and melts at the sight of babies. Accepting that she’s maybe not the best primary caregiver for her infant is something she struggles with, but ultimately bringing in help allows her to continue pursuing her career while ensuring her child is getting better care than she herself could have provided alone.

Maybe an unusual choice of mother to recognize here, but I do think she was doing her best and that’s more than some parents can say.

Oliver’s Mother

Minor Mage
by T. Kingfisher

I don’t think her name is ever said and she only makes a brief appearance at the end of this story, but I’m obsessed with Oliver’s mother. She’s the kind of mom our fantasy heroes all deserve. Devoted and willing to step up without hesitation. She may not get much page time at all, but her short scene was enough to make her one of my favorite fantasy moms out there.

Catelyn Stark

A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R.R. Martin

She may become a bit unhinged as her story unfolds, but honestly she has every right. Catelyn is a loving wife and present mother for all of her children when we first meet her. But as this story becomes more complex and her family experiences some truly trying times, Catelyn is the kind of lady who won’t let anyone get away with crossing her or bringing harm to her children.

Ginny Cooper

Kings of the Wyld
by Nicholas Eames

Although there is another mother in this series with a much larger role, the best mother in this series is Clay’s wife Ginny. Ginny may have a small role as far as the actual plot goes, but I think if she’s staying on top of Tully’s antics and keeping Clay level she’s probably doing a pretty solid job as both a mother and wife. We don’t spend much time with her, but she is a constant thought in Clay’s mind, alongside Tully, willing him to complete his quest and make it home.