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Poor Hugo’s father. We only see him in memory, but he’s obviously a very kind man whom Hugo worships and misses terribly.
It's Hugo’s father who imparts to his son a sense of curiosity and wonder. Even though he’s an adult, he gets excited about fixing clocks, watching movies and finding a mechanical man—all things that Hugo comes to love, too. For example, both he and Hugo work on the automaton even after they’ve had a long day’s work because it’s what they care about.
Fatherless, Hugo is more than a little lost. So it's a good thing that when Papa Georges comes along, he bears an awful lot of similarities to Hugo's father. No wonder the two get along so swimmingly… eventually.