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Who are the best and worst mothers in fiction?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma ~ Eartha Kitt.
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mothers, mothers in fiction, fictional mothers, literary mothers


In honour of Mothers' Day, I'd like to discuss who are the best, and worst mothers in fiction. There are some truly villainous literary mothers, like Hansel and Gretel's mother who decides to abandon her children in the woods, or simply neglectful ones like Mrs Wormwood in Roald Dahl's Matilda and Daisy in The Great Gatsby.

When it comes to good mums there are heroic mothers like 'Ma' in Room by Emma Donoghue, who struggled to give her son a childhood despite his having spent his entire short life imprisoned in a single room, and Lily Potter, whose love literally saved her son Harry's life.

What do you think? Who are the best and worst literary mums? What makes them good or bad or interesting as characters?

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Top Answers
Mrs Weasly is my favourite book-mum.
OH OH OH!!!!!!! Love her to bits too :D
by meggf
She is great.
Cersie Lannister is the worst mother. She loves her children, but she over indulged Joffrey to the point of ruin, and she uses her other son for personal gain.

The best mother. Hmmmm. I could go with Catlyn Stark, also from GoT, but I think I have to go with the one you mentioned because I'm a bit sentimental about Lily Potter lol
Good call!
The worst mother I have read was Hedda Makker from Tully by Paullina Simons. Wow it was a fantastic story and I couldn't put it down, but Hedda was the worst mother. She beat her daughter, Tully, mercilessly and yet Tully loved and cared for her even after a stroke. That's my vote, Hedda Makker for the worst literary mum I have ever read. So beastly.
Best....
Bambi's mum &
Dumbo's mum.......

Worst.....
Hamlet's mum.

Best because they were just good mum's to their little bub's! I bawl my eyes' out every time I see the films, especially 'Dumbo'!

Worst because she left her two children to wallow in grief over their father's death, leading one to suicide & the other to madness, all the while she was s....... her late husband's brother! Nice type.....NOT!
One to suicide? Do you mean Ophelia? She's not Gertrude's child. Personally I'd be putting the blame for what happened to Hamlet on his uncle, ie. his father's murderer, but there's a lot going on in that play.

Are Bambi and Dumbo based on books?
Fiction constitutes various mediums', not only books.
And yes, there were books on both published as 'Golden Books' when I was a child. I had ALL these books, & read them constantly!

Ophelia certainly was in the 'company' of Gertrude for a long time, so she could be considered as her 'mother', IMO.
And yes, I well know, that Claudius has a lot to answer for in Hamlet's 'attitude' & life.
This play is one of Shakespeare's (?) most complex in many areas.
THAT'S why it's so fascinating!

by donjo
That's an interesting interpretation. Why the question mark after Shakespeare? Are you referring to the authorship question?
Yes, I am.
It's an interesting supposition.
by donjo
It took me a while to think of her, but Countess Gertrude from Titus Groan and Gormenghast is an interesting one. She's a good and nurturing mother - to her ravens and cats, which she clearly prefers to her two human offspring. Events later in the second book demonstrate the sort of intellect and energy she could have channelled towards them if she had cared enough to do so.
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