Greetings, my friends!
So, there’s this trope. It involves a man with a gun protecting a child, and it is one of my favorite things ever.
There is just something about a man giving all he has to make sure that someone small and vulnerable is safe/supported that makes me want to WEEP. Whether it’s his own child or a child he has taken under his wing because there is no one else there to protect them, it is a noble and praiseworthy thing.
So I’ve made a list of dads who fit this trope and I am now going to scream about them to you.
Roland from The Dark Tower
Is this the greatest movie ever? NO. But do I love Roland and Jake anyway? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT.
Roland, the last gunslinger from an alternate dimension, becomes a surrogate father to Jake- a troubled boy from our world who has been dreaming of Roland’s world.
(We’re just going to pretend that description makes sense…)
This story is a very basic example of the trope without a whole lot of nuance, but I love it anyway. Somehow the way that Roland protects Jake just melts my heart.
(Especially THAT SCENE where he shoots the bad guy in the dark just by LISTENING. Why is that so cool?!)
Hawkeye from Avengers: Age of Ultron/Captain America: Civil War
Okay, so Hawkeye doesn’t have a gun, but his bow is as good as a gun any day.
The way that Hawkeye takes the twins under his wing (I did not intend that pun, I swear) is so endearing. They may be super-powered humans but they are still just kids really, and they need Hawkeye’s fatherly support and guidance. I especially love the way he gives pep talks to Wanda in both films.
And of course he is a great dad to his actual kids as well.
The Terminator from Terminator 2
He may be robot and a killing machine, but he’s also the best dad option that John has at this time.
These robot cases are always a bit squirrely because technically the robot is a robot and not actually capable of human thought/emotion, and thus not capable of being an actual dad. It’s the emotional projection that the human characters put on said robot that makes it so important and gives it what humanness it can have.
That makes sense, right?
The Terminator has been programmed to protect John, which is something his real dad should be doing (and would be doing if he wasn’t dead), so because it’s giving him support and security that is otherwise lacking, it is essentially filling the father role in his life. Since John is very much human, he emotionally attaches to the Terminator as a result of the role it’s playing in his life, even though he knows it’s a robot. I don’t know about you, but that kind of breaks my heart a little.
Saul from the Evil Genius Trilogy
I will be the first to admit that this series was NOT the greatest, but Saul is a spectacular example of the gunslinging dad trope. He is a police officer and fiercely protective of Cadel, even though Cadel doesn’t usually think he needs protection. Also Cadel’s father situation is severely messed up and he needs a solid man like Saul in his life, even if it takes him a while to figure that out.
Joe West from The Flash
Again, overall this show suffers greatly for quality, but the character of Joe West is one of its better points. His devotion to his daughter Iris and adopted son/son-in-law Barry is palpable, and even though I can’t really stand them I can wish them well for Joe’s sake.
Lee Abbot from A Quiet Place
This man isn’t generally seen with a gun, but he does have one, and he will use it if he needs to in order to protect his wife and children. He will do anything to make sure that his family is safe. In the world they’re living in, that’s going to be anything but easy.
This man loves his family so much. I just. Love him. I love them all.
Din Djarin from The Mandalorian
He is a reluctant dad, but once he takes on the task of protecting the child he takes it VERY SERIOUSLY. And though it may take him a while to admit it, he loves that little guy.
Din is a bounty hunter and his moral compass seems kind of sketchy, but he puts his own interest on hold to ensure the child’s safety. He will definitely shoot anyone who poses any kind of threat to his son- I mean, the child.
Yugo from The Promised Neverland
He is even more reluctant than the Mandalorian, and even acts as an anti-dad for a while, but he more than makes up for that once he starts taking his role seriously. Once he makes up his mind to protect those kids he PROTECTS THOSE KIDS.
(I’m not crying, are you crying?)
Jim Hopper from Stranger Things
When we first meet Hopper, he is a grieving father. He needs someone to love and protect. Like Saul and Joe he is a police officer, and protecting people is in his DNA.
Hopper’s relationship with Eleven is rocky, but they have a fierce bond that isn’t going away no matter how much they scream at each other and he would fight anything to protect her. Hopper looks after all of the kids in the show of course, but his relationship with El is what makes me love him so much.
Milligan from The Mysterious Benedict Society
Milligan doesn’t have an ordinary gun. He has a tranquilizer gun. And he’s the best.
Milligan is an extremely sad man: he has amnesia and consequently no memory of who he is. Mr. Benedict helped him, so now he’s helping Mr. Benedict. This brings four children, Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance, into his life, and the way that Milligan protects these kids is BEAUTIFUL.
The way he uses his tranquilizer gun is also beautiful.
There you have it. These dads are amazing and I love them to death. Especially Milligan. And Yugo. They’re all just…so amazing. Why do I have so many feelings?
Who are your favorite gunslinging dads? Does your heart melt when you see a man fighting to protect his children/someone-else’s-children-who-just-really-need-it? Do you ever love characters for the sake of a trope you’re a sucker for, even if the overall story isn’t of the highest quality? What is your favorite dad-related trope?