Though Papa Georges isn’t a friendly, jolly old man in the vein of Santa Claus or Dumbledore, he still cares about Hugo. He may not show it at first—and he has quite the gruff exterior—but over time, it becomes clear that Méliès wants to guide Hugo in the right direction.
He takes him on to work in the toy booth, turns a blind eye when little toy parts go missing, and even performs magic card tricks while he knows that Hugo is watching because he knows how much Hugo wants to learn. In the end, he even takes Hugo in, outfits his room with a workbench and sends him off to school. He’s definitely taken the little guy under his wing.