Moms are awesome.
A mother’s vast array of superpowers are legendary, including: a kiss that magically soothes our hurts; wisdom that helps illuminate our path; an iron will for guiding us as we mature; and an open heart that encourages us to realize our full potential.
While men are overwhelmingly featured as protagonists in much of sci-fi and fantasy, women - mothers in particular - have earned their venerable place of honor as well.
Because let’s face it, even in speculative fiction there is nothing quite as powerful or immutable as a mother’s love.
Each of the fictional moms listed underscore this. Without their presence, their respective epics would lose all impetus and dynamism.
One of the most significant mysteries presented early in the Harry Potter novels was how, as an infant, our titular hero survived the assassination attempt by Voldemort that claimed the life of his parents.
In one of the most poignant moments in the series, Dumbledore reveals to Harry how it was Lily’s willingness to die in place of her son that protected him from Voldemort’s death curse.
Not only that, Lily’s motherly love and sacrifice caused the dark wizard’s power to rebound on him — destroying his body and temporarily thwarting his plans of conquest in the process.
As a result, Harry became renowned as “the boy who lived.” The one destined to defeat the dark lord forever.
Alana is one of the two main protagonists in the brilliant sci-fi fantasy comic book series Saga by writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Fiona Staples.
Saga is the story of two alien races, Landfall and Wreath, who have been engaged in a war with each other spanning generations.
A member of Landfall, Alana served in her world’s military. After meeting prisoner-of-war Marko from Wreath, she falls in love with him and they marry.
Their taboo union results in them becoming wanted fugitives from both worlds. While in exile, Alana becomes pregnant and gives birth to her daughter Hazel.
The birth of Hazel changes Alana, giving her life laser-focus as she becomes fiercely protective of her child. She proves herself to be shrewd, courageous, and deeply resourceful in helping to defend her family against the myriad forces set against them.
Mrs. Incredible (Helen Parr)
In 2004, the world was introduced to The Incredibles, Pixar’s animated hit about a close-knit family of superheroes.
When we first meet Helen, she is a hero in her own right. An accomplished pilot and brilliant strategist, she had already embarked on her own crusade against evil doers.
After meeting Mr. Incredible, they share an instant attraction. They quickly marry and start a family.
After the government forces super-humans into retirement, it is Helen’s gentle-yet-firm pragmatism that keeps her husband grounded when his dreams of former glory threaten to set him adrift.
But when her family is placed in very real danger, it is Helen’s level-head, confidence, and unshakable belief in her loved ones that ignites them into a formidable fighting force for good.
Without a doubt, Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal as the capable, no-nonsense Ellen Ripley is one of the most iconic in science fiction.
However, an aspect of this fascinating character often overlooked is her indomitable maternal instincts.
In the blockbuster sequel Aliens, Ripley becomes the surrogate mother to Newt, a young girl who is the sole survivor of her colony.
After Newt is abducted by the alien queen, it is Ripley’s fierce devotion to the girl that powers the explosive third act of the film.
When Ripley confronts the alien queen and yells “Get away from her you bitch!,” not only is it a rousing cinematic call-to-arms, but also a testament to the power of a loving mother turned ferocious when protecting her child.
When the sci-fi thriller The Terminator premiered in 1984, the story of a young woman marked for death by sinister robots from the future became a surprise hit.
Audiences quickly became invested in Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a vivacious free-spirit who was just trying to make her way in the world.
When it was revealed she would be the mother of the leader of the human resistance, Sarah herself was incredulous as she exclaimed “Do I look like the mother of the future?!”
When the film’s sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day premiered several years later, the answer to Sarah’s question was a resounding Hell yes!
Audiences were wowed at Sarah’s breathtaking transformation from a curvaceous, effervescent young woman into a sleek and very deadly warrior.
Sarah became what she needed to be in order to protect her child — and to prepare him to be the leader humanity would need in its darkest hour.
While Sarah’s intense desire to protect her son enabled her to acquire the skills she would need for them to survive, it almost made her as inhuman as the machines she feared.
In the end, it was also her love for her son that brought her back from the abyss.
Each of these extraordinary women are made even more so by motherhood.
Let them serve as a reminder to us to celebrate the sensational mothers who are the heroes in our own lives.
I’m Rod T. Faulkner, and I wrote the ebook 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films, a compilation of terrific science fiction and genre short films available for viewing online.