This weekend is Mother’s Day. I think we can all agree that moms are great and deserve the love and appreciation we show them.
My mom, for example, is an absolute badass. Life hasn’t always been easy for her but she never lets it stop her from doing what she wants to do or being what she wants to be. She taught me how to chase my dreams and how to stand up for myself. She showed me what it looks like to never give up.
I honestly don’t even want to think about where I would be without her.
Even if your mom isn’t in the picture, I bet you have some sort of mom figure in your life. Heck, some people have both.
I feel like often times, moms don’t get enough credit. They sacrifice so much of themselves to help raise us into the people they know we can be. They support us through the tough times and take care of us when we cannot take care of ourselves.
A lot of their work goes unnoticed, especially in popular culture.
All you have to do is look at the tropes to see this. From the wicked stepmother to the stereotypical dead anime mom (you know who I’m talking about, with the light brown hair in a side ponytail), moms always tend to get the short end of the stick.
This is especially true for the ones who do not live to see the end of the story. There are a few in particular that have always bugged me, so I thought I would share some of my feelings.
Warning: I have a lot of them.
I am a Star Wars fan. I basically grew up on it, watching Return of the Jedi so many times that by age 6 I never wanted to see it again. Thankfully, that sentiment did not last very long and it is once again one of my favorite movies.
Most people agree that the original trilogy is better than the prequel trilogy (or as I sometimes call it, the tri-quel). I am a bit on the fence about this because 1-3 did a pretty good job of setting up the situation for A New Hope considering they were made afterward.
Throughout most of the movies, Padme is constantly dodging assassination attempts. In the first movie, they target her because she is the queen and the Federation is trying to take over her peaceful planet. Then she becomes a Senator and a vocal advocate for peace and against the Federation, further painting a target on her back. The whole time, no matter what she faces, she never backs down and always finds a way to get what she wants.
If you are a huge nerd, like me, you watched the Clone Wars TV show in as close to chronological order as you can get. Padme plays key roles in several arcs throughout the seasons. I loved getting a chance to see more of her in action and seeing her relate to the other characters. She is a strong, independent woman who can handle herself in both in a fight and in a debate. She is a political genius who is afraid of nothing and will not stand down from her belief. She will not be intimidated.
When Anakin fell to the darkness, she went along with Obi-Wan to try and talk him down, knowing full well that she was pregnant. He lashes out at her in anger, nearly killing her. Obi-Wan is able to get her to safety and to some sort of medical treatment in enough time for her to give birth.
She gives birth to Luke and Leia, naming them both, and reminds Obi-Wan that there is still good in Anakin. Then she dies. There is a common theory that the light side of the Force that was in her went to Anakin, further preserving that side of him. She dies a hero.
And then she is literally never mentioned aside from her being a mother ever again. No one remembers her achievements. Luke and Leia mention her exactly one time and never bother trying to find more information on her. It’s like no one cares she existed beyond her getting pregnant and giving birth.
Now, I know that most of you are shaking your fingers at me, citing the fact that Padme’s character was created AFTER the original trilogy. That is true, but there have been more movies since then taking place after that trilogy that makes no mention of her.
Just once I would like a callback to the spitfire senator who bowed to no one and who died making sure that the galaxy still had hope in the face of darkness. She deserves at least that much.
James and Lily Potter both died as the result of a prophecy after successfully escaping Voldemort three times. They were both in their early twenties with a newborn Harry Potter. James died first in an attempt to stop Voldemort from harming his family. Lily was given the chance to escape, to flee. She refused, standing boldly in the face of death in a feeble attempt to save her son. It is this action that protects Harry up until his 17th birthday with a magic no wizard can break. The power of a mother’s love.
Yet does Harry ever show any interest in learning more about his mom? No. The only questions he asks are about James. The same James who spent most of his school years as a bully until he finally mellowed out, thanks in part to Lily. She forced him to become a better person.
Everyone who ever says anything about her only says nice things. She was a genuinely kind and caring person and a talented witch. Lupin shares some about her with Harry, as does Slughorn. Yet he never asks any questions. He doesn’t press for more information. He only wants to know more about James.
That said, there is a sweet moment in the 7th book when Harry finds a letter from Lily to Sirius about Harry loving his Christmas present (a toy broom). He spends a fair amount of time marveling over how similar their handwriting is as well as the fact that they owned a cat.
Honestly, Harry is kind of a self-centered jerk at times. He is far too often compared to his father, the cocky, arrogant kid who bullied people (especially Snape). Maybe he would have gotten on better with people if he tried to be more like Lily and less like James.
Literally Every Disney Mom
Compared to the other two, this is a minor rant. But I am still going to rant.
Aside from some of the more recent movies, mothers are almost nonexistent in Disney movies. When they do exist, they die almost immediately. If they don’t die, they don’t serve much of a purpose and remain completely silent throughout the whole movie *glances at Tangled*. Then you have the wicked stepmother.
This trope is right up there next to the dead anime mom. You know the one, with the light brown hair, pulled into a side ponytail and the kind smile. Yeah, that one.
In stories, as in real life, we see countless examples of strong and fearless mothers everywhere we look. The people we look up to. The people we aspire to be. Whether they are a biological mother, a metaphorical one, or a literary one, everyone has some sort of motherly presence in their life. These women deserve credit for all they have done to help us become who we are.
There will be some literary moms as well as a few real-life ones that we should all aspire to be like, whether we have kids or not. That is why they are getting their own blog post as soon as I am finished writing it.
Until next time, are there any other literary moms you feel deserve more credit?