Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Grimm, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, and The X-Files. Read at your own risk.
In the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, parenting is never easy. From aliens and monsters to war, abduction and deadly cyborgs, you and your children dying in a horrific manner is almost entirely certain.
There are a precious few though for whom being a mother in a dangerous world brings out the kickass in them. It might not always work out well for the kids (desertion, orphaning, having to be king) but some mothers really do like nothing more than a bloody good fight. Here are a dozen of our favorite badass mothers…
Mary Winchester (nee Campbell) – Supernatural
Supernatural‘s Mary Winchester kicks some serious monster-butt. Despite, or perhaps because, she was a talented hunter, Mary was determined to leave the life as soon as she was able. But, as is so often the way in the Supes-verse, the life had very different plans. After making a deal with the devil, Mary made her final stand against yellow eyes in an effort to save her youngest son.
Years later, Mary is resurrected and basically gets straight back to work kicking demon butt. She might not always do the right thing, but she always has her sons’ best interests at heart. Again, it doesn’t end well for her (well, I guess she gets to hang with her hubby in heaven), but she goes out as she lived: a lover and a fighter.
Catherine Schade – Grimm
Proving that it’s not just one part of a witches anatomy that’s cold, Grimm‘s Katherine Schade redefines the phrase “pushy mom.” Indeed, so supportive is Mummy Dearest that she’s not above prettying up her daughter with the odd leech-on-the-face treatment, before whoring her out to kill a detective; but she’s also partial to sleeping with said daughter’s ex/boyfriend, hates useless daughters and very much enjoys a good mirror.
A whizz in the kitchen (if you want to wreak revenge or generally cause trouble, mother dear knows just the spell), but not big on the physical stuff — hence the early and in no way overly ironic death-by-mirror. No wonder Adalind is a nutjob.
Malory Archer – Archer
She might spend most of her time behind a desk–unless she’s off rabidly retrieving yet another sex tape-but never forget just how badass Archer‘s Malory Archer can be. Even the night she gave birth, she was mid-gunfight.
Spending the first five years of son Sterling’s life literally anywhere but home (if he can’t play cards and can’t hold his liquor, what good is he?) before packing him off to boarding school for 13 years, Malory finally gave in to motherhood about six years ago. At this point, Sterling was the tender age of 35.
Since then, Malory’s been able to lie, cheat, steal, and kill the gimped-up Italian Prime Minister to her heart’s content, all the while controlling every aspect of her unfortunate and not very bright son’s life. Everything a badass mother should be.
Ellen Harvelle – Supernatural
There’s clearly something in the water in the Supes-verse, as kickass moms have an alarming habit of sacrificing themselves for their ingrate children. That doesn’t stop Ellen from being perhaps the most kickass of all childbearers in the show.
From keeping the patrons of her (rather grotty) bar in line, to (unsuccessfully) banning her daughter from hunting, and then joining the hunt when the ingrate wouldn’t listen, this is a woman you backchat at your peril. And as if that wasn’t enough kickass cred, she’s literally the only person in the universe that Dean Winchester is scared of. Case closed.
Like so many of the kickass mothers on this list, Ellen sacrificed her life for “the greater good,” during a faild mission to kill Lucifer.
Lois Griffin – Family Guy
As the hard-drinking, hard-thieving, Ryan Reynolds-hating, blackbelt mother of three of TV-land’s strangest children, Family Guy‘s Lois Griffin is a mother you do not mess with–particularly if you happen to be her daughter.
From pill-fuelled modelling and bedding Bill Clinton to jail-breaking, robbing museums, and beating the crap out of everyone, including Peter (okay, he always deserves it, but still), Lois will kick your ass first and maybe ask questions later if she’s run out of weed. Unless you’re Meg, in which case she leaves you with a book of Sylvia Plath poetry and a large bottle of pills, and whatever happens, happens.
Joyce Summers – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Yes, Nikki Wood may be the more obvious choice for this list what with her actually being a slayer and all, but Joyce Summers deserves her place for one shining moment of out-of-character fierceness. Who can forget Mrs Summers brandishing an axe at a bumpy-faced Spike and telling him to “get the hell away from my daughter”?
That and that alone merits Kristine Sutherland’s Buffy character a place alongside the rest of these tough femmes. “Nobody lays a hand on my little girl.” You tell him, Joyce.
Kelly Burkhardt – Grimm
The long-lost mother in black, Mrs Burkhardt returned to motherly duties after a 30 year absence — although, to be fair, it’s not her own child she’s currently parenting.
Leaving son Nick to believe he was an orphan for most of his life, Kelly shows up out of nowhere. It’s not for a tearful reunion. She proves deadly with a rolled-up magazine, kills Adalind’s mother (not having the first clue who either Adalind or her mother are) and shows that she’s knows a thing or two about grand theft auto – that’s stealing cars, not video games. Although, that whole my-hood-renders-me-invisible deal is very Assassin’s Creed.
While not the most emotionally open of mothers — 30 years on the run will do that — you’ve got to love her mixing redemption with the chance to kick even more ass protecting the world’s most powerful baby.
Sharon Agathon – Battlestar Galactica
Question her loyalty to the Colonial Fleet all you like, but you can’t question Battlestar Galactica‘s Sharon “Athena” Agathon’s loyalty to her daughter: part-Cylon, part-human, cancer-curing mitochondrial Eve, Hera.
Being a Cylon gives Sharon a few physical advantages over the other mothers on this list, but even before her less-than-human status was revealed, Sharon proved herself quite the pilot and soldier. Tough, resourceful, and fiercely protective of her little girl, she’s one of our favorites.
Dana Scully – The X-Files
The gun-wielding genius of the FBI’s most secretive unit, The X-Files‘ Agent Scully may not have planned on producing alien progeny, but produce one she did. (Albeit without her knowledge or permission.)
Who doesn’t want a mother who’s a crack-shot, off the chart genius and survivor of being beaten, almost eaten, abducted, implanted, immaculately impregnated, and shot at regularly, all without killing her paranoid FBI partner who is always the reason that she’s getting beaten, almost eaten abducted, implanted immaculately impregnated, and shot at? That is what we call “Patience of a Saint.” Mulder’s lucky he’s pretty.
Elizabeth LaScelles – Grimm
Perhaps the most powerful mother in the Grimm-verse, Elizabeth has a surprising array of abilities — the most interesting of which are her time-stopping powers, a la Saved By The Bell (albeit for saving her son rather than pissing off Mario Lopez), and being able to keep a straight face while telling a woman she has to inhale a potion through the top of a witch’s hat.
Then, of course, there’s also her snake/heart procedure that brings people back to life, and her ability to restore magical powers. In many ways, the perfect Grimm parent.
Cersei Lannister – Game Of Thrones
Admittedly, Cersei on Game of Thrones might not be everyone’s idea of the fun mom–clearly if you’re producing sadistic, humorless genetically questionable children, you’re not a regular at mommy–but from the safety of your sofas, she’s just about as kickass as is possible for a mother to get… if you live in a misogynistic medieval society run on wine.
Ruthless, power hungry, manipulative, often drunk, she’s got all the qualities a mother needs to get and keep her sadistic son on the throne (it’s his own fault if he winds up poisoned). And she did this while maintaining perfectly braided hair and immaculate dresses. Of course this Cersei didn’t take into account the fact that she might be the villain she needed to protect Tommen against, but that’s an article for another time.
Now, Cersei may or may not be pregnant again. Either way, she is a kickass mother that everyone in the Seven Kingdoms should be terrified of.
Sarah Connor – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
It’s not easy being the mother of the savior of humankind. First there’s the shock that you’ve accidentally produced the man that will single-handedly rescue his species from slavery. Then it turns out that being the mother of the savior of humankind mostly involves battling a seemingly endless round of murderous cyborgs sent back from the future to kill your only child.
Other perks include: the vagaries of time travel, constantly running for both of your lives, the battles claiming the lives of (among others, your ex-fiancée), and having to deal with Summer Glau. And that’s before you factor in being a single mom with no job and a son who has credible proof that the world can’t make do without him. No one envies Sarah Connor, but who doesn’t want a mom that handy with a weapon?