Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Best SFF Mothers

Here’s a post for Mother’s Day, at tor.com, focusing on great moms in SFF (who aren’t dead or evil).

Which is quite the caveat, because there certainly are a lot of dead parents in SFF. It cuts down on the number of important secondary characters one has to deal with, so I have killed my share of parents as well. And evil parents aren’t that rare either.

I absolutely love Helen Parr from The Incredibles as a great mother on this tor.com post. I never think of movies first and often not last either, but oh yeah, what a great mother.

But . . . Sarah Conner? ??? Seriously? Talk about practically the very worst mother ever. I believe this post is more looking at “great characters who happen to be mothers.” I’m more interested in “great mothers who are also important characters.” That definitely lets out Sarah Conner.

Even when phrased like that, I certainly think of some great mothers in SFF who inexplicably did not make this post. Not sure I can think of ten, but sure, I’ll try:

1. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan. No such post can be complete without her.

2. Malachite, Moon’s mother in Martha Wells’ Raksura series. Definitely. I’m sure Jade will be a fine mother, but Malachite, wow.

3. Mrs Frisby in Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NYMH For a quieter but just as brave mother.

4. Martha McNamara in Tea with the Black Dragon There’s one I ought to re-read some time.

5. Jenny in Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. It’s true that she feels torn between committing to being a mother versus committing to study magic, but she comes down on the side of human attachment in the end.

6. Seraph in Patricia Briggs’ Raven duology

7. … Okay, feel free to chip in. Who are some other really good mothers in SFF?

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9 Comments Best SFF Mothers

  1. SarahZ

    I like Blue’s mom (Moira) in the Raven Cycle. She makes mistakes, but overall she’s trying to do the best thing for Blue.

    In a similar vein, Kate Daniels has become a good foster mom for Julie, even if she’s a pretty unusual parent.

  2. Elaine T

    I can think of very few who haven’t been metioned already. (So what did you think of the RAVEN duology? Last time it came up you hadn’t read it. I love the family in it.)
    I’ll add Cimorene from the Enchanted Forest.

    Also Ekaterin whom we see being a good mother to Nicky, and probably will be a good mother to his half-siblings by Miles.

  3. Kim Aippersbach

    Oh, great idea for a post, and how did Tor not include Cordelia?!?

    The fact that we have to wrack our brains so much to come up with good mothers in SFF is telling, isn’t it? I, for one, would be keen to read more SFF with family dynamics of all sorts. Do heroes not have mothers? Can mothers not be heroes?

    (Though someone giving the mother’s day talk at church today quoted a screenwriter (sorry, don’t remember who) as saying the reason there are so many dead or absent mothers in movies is that if you want to ramp up the stakes and increase the conflict, you kind of have to get rid of the person who takes care of things and solves problems. Point taken!)(But a story about the person who takes care of things and solves problems could certainly be full of conflict and tension, no?)

  4. Rachel

    Kim, I know, right?

    Elaine, of course Ekaterin! Definitely! And I liked the Raven duology quite a bit, but haven’t gone back and re-read it the way I have most others of her books.

  5. Pete Mack

    As is often the case, Tamora Pierce has done it: Keladry has very good parents, father and mother both.

  6. Rachel

    Of course! Both of those series do have very good parents! Good to know we can collectively think of more than ten instances of good parents in SFF…though not many more.

  7. Pete Mack

    Of course, Wrede. Which reminds me of Stevermer. Jane (College of Magic II) makes a good mother too, as do Cecelia and Kate in Mislaid Magician’. Both from the mother’s POV.

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