The Five Worst Fictional Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to write a list of the five worst fictional mothers I could think of. I’m not sure why I bothered to type that last sentence, since I’m sure you’ve already figured that out from the title.

Before I begin, I should point out that unfortunately, I have yet to read/watch every single book, movie and TV show in existence, so chances are I’ll be leaving a few of them out. Feel free to comment with your list below.

Also, I didn’t bother to write a “Best Five Worst Fictional Mothers” list, because I think we all know how that would go:

  1. Molly Weasley
  2. Molly Weasley.
  3. Molly Weasley’s mother, because Molly sure didn’t get those parenting skill just by learning on the job.
  4. Molly Weasley.
  5. Molly Weasley.

Now, onto the real list:

(Caution: Spoilers for 5, 4 and 2.)

5) Lori Grimes, from The Walking Dead.

Lori gets a lot of hate from Walking Dead fans, and most of it is completely deserved. She’s whiny, inconsistent, and somehow managed to crash her car on an empty road. But that’s not important. The worst part is that she’s a comically bad mother, to the point where it became a running joke amongst the fans how she never knew where her son was. You could also blame Carl for this, since he always used to leave the house without telling anyone, but he still shouldn’t have gotten away with it so many times.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately?) once she started to improve, she died in a rather brutal, tragic way that made me forget how much I disliked her over the last two and a half seasons.

4) Brianna Barkesdale, from The Wire.

Brianna loves her son D’Angelo and will do anything for him—providing it doesn’t mess with her standard of living. And so when her son gets arrested because of his family’s drug selling shenanigans, she guilts him into agreeing to spend twenty years in prison and not rat them out. Not cool, Ma.


3) Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, and it’s TV adaptation.

Cersei loves her kids, that much is clear. But she loves them a little too much, to the point where she’s willing to forgive them (particularly Joffrey) for just about anything. I’m not one to lecture people on their parenting tactics, but if your son cuts open a pregnant cat just for teehees, you should at the very least give him a time out.

2) Margaret White from Carrie, by Stephen King.

This woman’s crazy, what with her extremely strict religious beliefs that might have been acceptable back in the puritan times, but nowadays would be considered insane. She even punishes her daughter—by locking her in a closet—for daring to get her period. (It should also be noted that she never even informed Carrie about the whole menstruation cycle to begin with, leaving her scared and confused in the girl’s locker room as everyone else made fun of her.) Her terrible parenting is what made Carrie such an outcast to begin with, and if it weren’t for her I’m sure the whole prom disaster never would’ve happened.

1) Lysa Tully from A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, and it’s TV adaptation.

She is just all types of crazy, isn’t she? She’s basically the Westeros equivalent of a helicopter parent who still breastfeeds her eight year old son. *shudders*

I like to think that if she has taken a more, shall we say, relaxed version of parenting, Robin might not had turned out as bratty, creepy or as sickly as he is now.

So what do you think? Who would you put on your “Worst Fictional Moms Ever” list? More importantly, Happy Mother’s Day.

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11 thoughts on “The Five Worst Fictional Mothers

  1. Worst fictional Mothers ever:

    1. Elizabeth Bennett’s embarrassing twit of a mother in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Apart from not being able to hold her liquor, she tries to marry Elizabeth off to her father’s cousin, Mr Collins. Yuck!

    2. Oliver Twist’s mother (Agnes Fleming) for dying in childbirth, after having estranged herself from any wealthy advantage, which leaves her son to the mercy of the workhouse staff, the cruel Mr. Bumble and the greedy Mrs Corney (all imagined by Charles Dickens).

    3. Beatrice Prior’s mother from the novel ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth for hiding her Dauntless past and her ‘divergent’ self from her children and pretending to be Abnegation pure. She has Tris feeling ‘guilty’ for looking too long in the mirror. She dies too soon and is forever a mystery that Tris ponders about over the course of the novels.

    Do step-mothers count?
    1. Snow White’s wicked step mummy. When the ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ told her what she didn’t want to hear, she was so jealous that she wanted her dead.
    2. Hansel and Gretel’s stepmother for being able to talk her woodcutter husband into anything!!

    1. Stepmothers definitely do count and I agree with you on both of them. I’ve only read “A Tale of Two Cities” from Dickens so far, but I heard his parents were terrible to him as a child and that reflected in his writing. Never mistreat a writer.

      1. Some of the best material comes from trauma and mistreatment. Just ask Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. So much angst … so little time.

  2. I’m with plot whisperer, but I would add Christina Pontifex in The Way of All Flesh, for being a hypocritical, sanctimonious cow (oh she made me cross); Jack Hawkins mum in Treasure Island for sitting in The Spyglass counting out her money, and endangering her and her son’s lives while the pirates were creeping up the road; Jane Eyre’s aunt Sarah, who maltreats Jane and allows her son to be a bullying ne’er do well; the mother in the Railway Children for never having the faintest idea what her kids get up to; and possibly Adrian Mole’s mum, although I admire her ability to (just about) keep her life together. There that’s it. Off to spend my child benefit on gin and fags.

  3. I don’t know who the other three mothers are, but I agree about Lysa Tully and disagree with Cersei. IDK, she may be crazy (and have made her children crazy) but at least she loves them.

    1. True, but Lysa Tully also loved her child, and that didn’t out well. Although admittedly, her love for her children is one of her redeeming aspects, she’s too lenient with them and a terrible judge of character, IMO. And by “them” I mean Joffrey. In Feast for Crows she mentioned how Joffrey cut open a pregnant cat, and she didn’t seem to see anything wrong with that.

      She also worried that Tommen wasn’t enough like Joffrey, which is…problematic.

  4. I agree with all except Cersei. She loves her children and is basically raising them alone as neither Jaime nor Robert are interested. She spends her time with her children, rather than letting them be raised by servants, governesses and Septas, and although she is a little indulgent, it’s not her fault that Joffery turned out to be crazy. (I mean, you could say it is, because of the whole incest thing, but that would make it as much Jaime’s fault as her’s, and also, you can’t choose who you fall in love with.) Also, don’t forget that she has two other children, Tommen and Myrcella turn out alright; they’re both sweet, patient and kind.

    1. Yeah, considering the sheer psychology of growing up knowing you’ll be King and having no one to ever tell you no, (combined with incest and no father figure) it’s not a surprise that Joffrey ended up the way he did. And it’s a miracle that Tommen and Myrcella are as good as they are. But I think she’s way too forgiving, and loves Joffrey so much she can’t see his obvious flaws. The fact that she called Joffrey “strong-willed” after he executed Ned says a lot.

      TV Cersei is much more sympathetic than book Cersei, however.

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