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In honor of Father's Day, we are reposting this great analysis on John Winchester from Naismith that was originally published in April, 2009.  The original article was a two parter, and both parts are here for your reading pleasure.  So Happy Father's Day John Winchester, wherever you are.  

The Mechanic From the Family of Mechanics
Not So Simple Beginnings

John, that flawed wreck. That absent father. That stubborn fool. That bastard who put so much on his sons. That obsessive, single minded, revenge driven man who alienated his friends, and formed his children into warriors. 

I like him. 

No doubt, Sam and Dean are close to my heart, but I am a John girl. Why this choice of father over (uber-cool) sons? Well, John Winchester was a separate person, a man apart. I am going to set aside the fact that this is only a TV show (not as big of an effort as it should be) and look at John the man. This article is about taking off the ‘I see John through Dad colored glasses’. 

I’m relatively new to fandom. I found the show at the beginning of Season 4 and fell in love as I never have with a TV show before. Ridiculously in love. No one else I knew watched, so I had no one I could talk to about it. Since I, and most of the people I know, have never really been a huge TV watching crowd, I was fine with staying solo in my enjoyment. I didn’t know any better.

The idea that there would be others out there as in love with this show as I, didn’t even occur to me. Then, as I trolled the internet looking for earlier episodes (the thought of buying seasons of TV on DVD was foreign to me), I ran across some YouTube vids of conventions, and my mind was blown. There was evidently an entire community out there so passionate about the show that they went out of their way and pocketbook to meet each other. How very, very cool! 

All the same, I didn’t think of joining in until a few weeks before the Season 5 holiday hellatus. My edge of the seat anxiety and white knuckled need to know what was going to happen drove me to look for others with who I could discuss it. I found message boards and discovered, to my complete surprise, that there really was such a thing as ‘Sam girls’ and ‘Dean girls’. What? One could like one above the other? Ok, cool, I get it. I found out about Kripke&Co., some pretty cool articles, spoilers, spoilerphobes, Wincest (you mean that’s real!?), and I found the negativity and hate that is surprisingly easy to trip over. That made me sad and caused me to back away from my initial discovery of fandom. That isn’t to say I didn’t spend time enjoying the talents of vidders and watching con clips, where I found myself to be a fan of the actors as well as the characters they portray.  

I’d also bought the DVD’s near the summer’s end, before season 5 started. There was no point any longer in pretending I wasn’t as hooked as I was. Finally being able to watch the seasons in order and fully, brought John more under my scrutiny. I’d noticed him before, loved him, but he was part of my trifecta of Winchester loving.  Quite honestly, I thought both Sam and Dean were much more fun to look at, though John certainly wasn’t an eye sore. Not at all! But the more I considered him, the more intrigued I became, and the more I fell for him. John’s enigmatic character hooked me in and I’ve been a John woman since. 

Why this trip down memory lane? I’ve no doubt that there are encyclopedias worth of view points, beliefs and perspectives out about John. I haven’t read them. Mostly because I was not a part of fandom during the first seasons. So if I reiterate already well agreed upon perspectives, or completely step on cemented ideas; my apologies. This is my first foray into written opinion for the show, other than comments, and my influences come almost solely from watching the show, and my own mind.  

I love John Winchester the most, because out of the three Winchester men, I can step into his skin the easiest. Time for a little self disclosure to help explain. I’m a veteran. Not a rough, tough, blood and guts veteran in the style of bad movies and action figures. I was a mechanic. A year of my time in was spent in a combat zone, true, but I’m far from the steely eyed warrior. All the same, there is much I know and understand about living under those conditions, because I did live under them. 

John was a Vietnam vet. That is what first struck me about him and attracted me to his story and character. Before all the Hunting started, he’d already lived and fought in a war. While ‘my’ war was much different than John’s, in at least one way they were similar; the enemy didn’t necessarily wear a uniform. Which meant they could be anyone, at any time. When I returned home, the fear and suspicion slid away with time. It was safe again. John apparently also readjusted. As Mary said, “He’s sweet. Kind. Even after the war, even after everything, he still believes in happily ever after.” He dropped his guard, and for 10 years led a life that was good. It had its ups and downs, arguments and trouble, but I’m guessing no more than that of a ‘normal’ married couple. 

Then one night he wakes to hear his beloved’s voice raised in fear. And he sees a horror unlike anything he dreamed. Within minutes, his wife is dead, his house burned and life turned upside down and inside out. What he has left is the charge of two young sons, one still in diapers and one traumatized. He also has questions. 
“I went to Missouri and I learned the truth.”

Those words, and what lay behind them, kill me a little inside.

The truth of monsters. The truth of not being safe. The truth of still being surrounded by an unrecognizable enemy. The truth that he had let his guard down in a war zone.

He thought he’d left it all behind him. All the danger, all the ugliness. He, a warrior, came home to what he believed was a safe place, and found out that after all NOTHING was safe. There were things out there worse than he’d ever seen or imagined. And because he wasn’t vigilant, his wife, his partner, his love, was murdered. Horribly. “They”, “them”, the faceless and unnumbered enemy were out there, unrecognizable, unseen, and out to kill him. But this time it was not only his life in danger, it was his family, his sons.

The war was at home.

I cannot speak for all veterans, but from my own experience, and from what every other soldier I’ve spoken to about it says, one of the very worst things to do before entering a potentially bad situation, is to contact home. It is awful. Hearing the voices of those you love cuts your knees out from under you. There were times I thought I was fine, happy even, and then a phone call home would find me almost doubled over from heartsickness and fear. The game face, the war-face, the right head set…whatever you want to call it, evaporates. You are just a scared kid who wants to go home. And to lose the game face is a big step toward losing your life, or your friend’s life. 

John needed his war-face, yet his home was with him. His sons needed a father but the boys needed protection. Compiled to this see-saw of emotional choices, would be the daily stresses of learning how to deal with life without Mary. How to provide for hungry stomachs while on the road. How to learn every single thing about the evil entity that had invaded his life, while making sure Sammy stayed dry and changed. How to convince Dean that everything was going to be ok, while his heart cried out that everything would never be ok again. In the end, he trod the path of providing for their safety by training them up as Warriors, instead of being their father.
“We had a bucket of extra crispy and Dad passed out on the couch.”

Holidays especially would have been hell. When away from home, and Holiday season came around, the absolute last thing I wanted was to be reminded of it all. The very mention of it simply reminded me of everything I was missing. The ideal was to have them as just another day on the calendar. But there were always reminders, music, lights, and the very worst, the dreaded, yet longed for, call home. I love my family, but contacting them on those days put me in a black mood. Was it selfish of me to feel that way? Yes. Was it something I tried to overcome? Yes. Was I in a good mood after the call? No fecking way.

Evidently, John sometimes tried to mark the holiday season, with (in my opinion, predictably) dreadful results. From what we’ve heard from the boys, John commemorated with bad decorations, bad food, drinking and not showing up. No Hallmark memories, which was doubtlessly very selfish and very bad fathering. But this is about seeing John as more than a Father, he was also a man in pain. He was a soldier on the battlefield, full of hurt, hate, revenge. I cannot imagine the struggle it would have been to attempt to put the ‘war-face’ away in order to rejoice in the holiday season. That he tried on any level is a testament to his love for his children. Should he have done a better job? Yes. While this neglect on his part hurt his boys, I cannot hate him for something I myself would doubtless be guilty. Yes, I celebrated with my fellow soldiers, but there was a different intensity to it. There was the common knowledge that we all must be ready to pick our weapons back up at a moment’s notice. The ‘war-face’ was never gone, just temporarily painted over. 

This was not a soldier home on leave for the holidays. This was a bloodied warrior, returning to his children directly from the trenches. He walked through that door every time, knowing the enemy was outside. There were no front lines, no safe havens. The only safety lay in constant preparation and readiness. One of the mottos of my unit was “Stay alert, stay alive.” This would seem to apply for Hunters as well.

My heart aches for Sam and Dean and they way that they were raised. No question about it, it was awful. Whereas John knew the difference of peacetime verses wartime, Sam and Dean only knew wartime. (Though I know Dean remembered and longed for a return to the safety of when his mother was alive.) ‘War-face’ was natural to their state of mind. Both the boys, in their own way, longed for a peacetime frame of mind. Sam ran away looking for it. Dean apparently experienced it best as having his family around him. 
“But, oh, he sure loved Mary. And he doted on those kids.”
“Anyway, my point is, Sam, that... this is never the life that I wanted for you.”

John’s actions as a father were enough to have his sons taken away from him. They deserved more, better. Yet they had each other.  John, being the stubborn bull headed man that he was, was alone. He lost Mary, his source of support and strength, and never accepted another supplier. He had a habit of alienating his friends. Being revenge driven appears to do that. (I am looking at you Season 4 Sam!)  As a result, John chose to lean heavily on Dean. This was one of his greatest mistakes. He trusted too much in the strength of a child, who was desperately pretending (in part) to be strong to please his father. Shame on you John. For shame.

Yet, as with all family dynamics, I’m certain it didn’t appear over night. After all John, from all accounts, was not a naturally bad father. It took grief, trauma, exposure to continuous horrors and years of practice to become the paternal debacle we met. That journey probably started out with small steps, “Dean, watch Sammy while I study this book.” “Dean, get him his bottle would you?” “Dean, I’ve gotta step out for just a minute, watch your brother.” “Dean, this is a gun and this is how you use it.” “Dean, don’t tell Sammy about what I do, he’s too young to understand.” “Dean, lock the doors, the windows, pull the shades and most important, watch out for Sammy.” “Dean, I told you not to let him out of your sight!” “Dean, we need to swing by Stanford to check on Sammy cause I love him more than you.” (Ok, this last one is taking creative license a leetle bit too far, but I’m pretty sure that is what Dean’s heart sometimes heard.)

John didn’t plan for their Hunting life to be permanent. “Dad always said it was temporary, Dean. He said it for 22 years.” He never meant to raise his sons in that way. I wonder how many times Mary’s ghost haunted his dreams, accusatory looks and questions about what the hell he was doing. 

“You know, I finally get why you and Dad butted heads so much. You two were practically the same person.”

It has been impressed upon us that Sam and John are alike in temperament. We know that John was sweet, and we all remember that sweet natured college boy who we met in the Pilot. Much of what I surmise about John, beyond what we see on the screen, comes from two places.

1.) Sam’s character. 
In some ways, their two lives parallel, and by watching the progression of Sam as he underwent similar experiences as his Father, one can judge who the man John was when away from his sons. I imagine someone not entirely unlike Sam was in “Mystery Spot.” Driven, alienated from those who would befriend him, focused, meticulous and somewhat frightening. John evidently kept SOME charm, since he was able to uh, befriend, Kate Milligan. But overall he obsessed over the scent of the hunt. The main difference between Sam and John, other than when the similarities of their paths began to diverge, was the fact that Sam had Dean. All the way through Season 1, we see Dean again and again, reigning Sam in, urging him to talk, get back on the path of living life, being a brother and so on. John was alone. He had no partner to support him, knock him over the head or give him a patented right hook when he was acting stupid. He had many responsibilities, fears and faults, but no one to say “I know you and I know you’re having a rough time. Let me help. And if you’re not going to let me, I’m going to anyway.”

2.) The end result of who Sam and Dean became. 

Those two boys certainly did turn into impressive men. They put others before themselves, they are loyal, have a good work ethic, are intelligent, socially competent, brave, confident, and they know what is of true value. All this tells me that while John will never be put up for Father of the Year, he must have been doing something right. The inner core of Sam and Dean are good. We hear again and again what a bad dad John was, but that does not mean that he wasn’t a good man. And it seems his sons followed his example.

Just to reiterate, I am NOT saying he was a good dad! But I will submit a theory as to why John treated Sam and Dean as he did. In Dean, he saw Mary, and Mary had been the one in whom he could trust, find strength and resistance. In Sam he saw himself, or at least the sweet and gentle part of himself. Little Sammy/Young John; two people Older John wanted to protect. In Little Sammy, John saw the last remnant of his own innocence. As Sam grew older, John saw the beginnings of the man who had let his guard down and allowed Mary to be killed. He wanted to protect Sam from that, and went about it in ways that he should not have. Instead of protecting him, he drove his youngest away. In the mean time, he kept leaning on Dean and assuming him to be in agreement with everything he decided. John may have ‘Maryized’ Dean to the point of assuming there would be disagreement voiced if there was any. Since Dean was a child who idolized his dad, this never happened, and the relationship morphed into an unhealthy Drill Sergeant/soldier role. Yet when Dean finally stood up to John, interfered, disagreed; John listened as he never listened to Sam. With Sam, he may have chosen to hear his own Young John vulnerabilities and doubts. With Dean, he heard the ghost voice of Mary. 

This isn’t to say that he only saw his sons as reflections of himself and Mary. But I believe that many of his parenting failures came from emotional transference, instead of seeing them as whole beings in and of themselves. In leaving Sam and Dean to go hunt down YED, I believe he wasn’t only doing it to retain his ‘war face’, and protect his boys, but to avoid the potentially challenging voice of Dean (ghost Mary) and to further distance himself from his own gentle nature (Sam). 



# roslyn 2012-06-16 22:53
great article very insightful.
# rmoats8621 2012-06-17 01:29
An oldie but a goodie! A terrific article about a very unique, driven and misunderstood man who loved his sons and unfortunately never had the chance to show them just how much.
# buffsgirl 2012-06-17 01:52
Great article and character study. One of my favorite things about this show is the fact that all the characters are so flawed and so raw and so human. Many shows try to make their main characters into caricatures giving them pronounced good and bad traits. Supernatural is brave enough to show these men and all their facets.; some more attractive than others, but all real, human, and relatable.

At times it can be hard to watch their struggles with each other, the terrible choices they must make and trying to battle their own demons. But, it is the feelings the writing and acting evoke in the audience, that are a testament to how beautifully brought to life the Winchesters are.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-17 04:26
This article was as good the second time around as it was the first time I read it, and it's hugely relevant in light of how John has been portrayed in recent seasons.

John is probably one of the most polarising characters on SPN in that viewers either seem to love him or loathe him (much like his sons!). I’m one of those who (thinks she....) can understand the decisions he made to try and keep his family together and safe. His focus was to keep his family alive, and I think the longer he hunted and the more he learned about Sam and about Mary’s past, the more convinced he became that what he was doing was the only thing to do. ‘Better to be alive and unhappy than dead’ is an attitude that all three Winchesters have, and have shown via their various familial situations over the years.

Part of me feels that the longer he went on, it became more about protecting his family from what was coming, than avenging Mary’s death mainly because (in my cynical mind) I find it unrealistic that a coerced relationship would inspire that level of obsession.

Everyone has their issues about certain parts of the show and things they’d like to see happen. I’m one of those who’d love some, not necessarily closure, but some level of peace in relation to John and his relationship with his sons. There has never been a consensus with them because when Sam was at odds with his father, Dean idolised the guy. By the time Sam found peace with John, Dean had turned against him. Both boys are their fathers sons. (Is that even grammatically correct? Stupid tired brain.) While they might have inherited some of his worst traits, they also epitomise some of his best. Hopefully they will, at some stage, get to a stage where they are happy enough with who they are to realise that.

It saddens me that over the years; John’s role in his son’s life has been diminished and twisted to advance other characters. It bothers me that he has been replaced in his son’s, and the shows, estimation so easily by Bobby. It’s strange that the limited John that we actually got to see, whether it be young John or hot (sorry older) John was a far cry from the man he’s been made out to be in recent years. Maybe it was just the spark that the three actors had when they were working together but you (or I....) always got the sense that on-screen John loved his sons but when he’s written about in his absence, Sam and Dean almost seem like an inconvenience to him. I dunno..... It bugs me but hey, while there are articles such as this out there to address the equation that is John, I’m happy.

On an aside, I'm surprised that you that you didn't make profound comment on how infernally hot the guy is (cos he really, really is) but hey, I can live with that. More for me!!

Thanks Naismith (and Alice for the repost).
# KELLY 2012-06-17 22:11
While I totally agree about him being hot (how could I not), I never really cared that much for him from season 1 and almost completely wrote in off in season 2 for telling Dean he might have to kill Sam, which was cruel to both sons. In some ways though I have soften towards him slightly in 4 and 5, maybe because the show was hard on him. I always thought he did he best though, I just wasn't that impressed with his best.

I really enjoy this article though and will try to give him another chance when I rewatch.
# Supernarttu 2012-06-17 15:54
Hi Naismith.

A really fascinating article on the matriarch of the Winchester household.

I'm on the side of those fans who love John, warts and all. He was nowhere near perfect or at times even decent but he sure did love those sons of his and did what he did out of love. I agree that the biggest sign of his goodness was how good his boys grew up to be. Both different in their ways but both good, well intending people who save others.
And John is a lot like Sam, which is another thing I love about him. I loved his obsessive streak just as I love Sams obsessiveness, I like men that are driven, it can be a good thing just as it can be a bad, bad thing. And both those men have shown both sides of that coin and it's been a very interesting (and polarizing) aspect of both characters. And has made them very human as much as controversial.

I've always been fascinated by how they are so 'real' in this kind of unreal universe. Their world is gritty and dusty and they wear the same clothes over and over, their blue collar, on the road- lifestyle is so tangiable yet unattainable but still, real. I really like what the creators and all did and do to pull this of week by week.

And like Tim above, I'm upset over the treatment John W. has been getting in the late years. I'd love if they'd throw in little good bits about him too, not just the bad. I'm not saying they should put him on a pedestal but I'd like the boys to acknowledge that he was their father, he did love them and that he did something right. Also, this constant 'Bobby is their father' -stint which has been going on for some years and even been emphasized by making John look bad has actually made me resent Bobby more than John. I don't like anyone else taking his place. I can also be quite obsessive about my Winchester boys :)

But in the end of the day, I believe what you wrote above. He was a good man put into an impossible situation and he did what he did to make his family safe. He was a bastard yet a desperate man with a broken heart. A man driven but determined. A man who loved his family and a man who died for his family. If the boys ever get to see him again (and they better!!), they should do to him what Ellen did to Dean in Good Good Y'All: slap the hell out of him and then give him the biggest hug. He has earned both. Then they can grab a beer and share watery eyed glances of proudness and pretend not to notice while sharing a few laughs. And then Mary'd bring them freshbaked pie on the porch. In the sun set. And be at peace.

Oh, sorry, caught in the moment for a minute there :)

But yeah, a great article for a great man. Thanks.
# Supernarttu 2012-06-17 16:23
Crap. A PATRIARCH was meant, not a matriarch. John Winchester is definitely NOT a woman.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-17 16:39
John Winchester is definitely NOT a woman.
Unless, of course, he just wanted to break free, huh Supernarttu....
# Supernarttu 2012-06-17 17:12
Shut up Tim :lol:
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-17 17:27
Hey, which one do you think is which?

I'm thinking, left to right, Adam, Sam, John and Dean.
# Supernarttu 2012-06-17 18:03
:D My god! I think you're right!

- Adam would look just as pissy since he's dead and never got to wrestle with his brothers.
- Sam with his Venus De Milo -pose would wear curlers with that shaggyhair of his.
- John would do the vacuuming being the über-Wincheste r household matriarch (with an M this time).
- Dean just looks very cool and rock'n'roll :lol:
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-18 03:44
Seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

There’s Adam with the little blondey head up on him wearing a school uniform because he’s the youngest so he's still in school.

Sam, the tallest, dressed in silk like the princess he is. And it has to be him because he’s the only Winchester who puts that much effort into his hair. (Forget everything I previously said I wanted to see in season 8. The only thing I want next season is for Sam and Dean to open the trunk of the Impala and there, lying amongst the bottles of holy water and machetes and shotguns and piranhas and lightsabres we see..... Sam’s ghd)

Next up is John, the only Winchester masculine enough to rock the baby pink and leather look, and, as we can see here, the founding father of Winchester facial hair. (And look at the manly authority he’s showing by the way he’s handling that vacuum cleaner. Grrrrr.)

And last but not least there’s Dean, wearing a jacket (um, coat..... What? It’s winter in the photo) that has become synonymous with his name. And if you squint he’s wearing something around his neck which is probably the amulet. (You see, he didn’t dump it. He’s just hasn’t been wearing it for the past 2 ½ years because it clashes with his outfit.) Plus, in that photo he’s a bit of a painted whore so it’s definitely him!

Wow, this is one rare Winchester family photo. It’ll go for a freaking fortune on eBay.
# PENNY JAIME 2012-06-17 19:51
Txs for the redo. I never saw it.Just joined the age of comptr's in 2010!

**"John was well aware of the bond between his sons. He was witness to its development after all. In the way he emphasized the importance of family, he was a part of its forming. He knew his boys, very well. We, as viewers, rarely have seen John with Sam and Dean, especially their younger selves. In the role we see on screen he is either gone, leaving or angry. But I look to the silences and unfilled blanks. This is the man who drove them for miles as they played or squabbled in the seats of the Impala. He taught them how to shoot a gun/crossbow, knife fight, use their fists, drive a car, run a con, make fake IDs, impersonate various professionals, lie to the cops, read a map, conduct research, recognizance, how to remain invisible to the system, get past alarm systems, and cover their tracks. He also taught an appreciation for classic rock, probably spent hours with Dean under the hood of the Impala, how to shave, how to not clean a motel room, find a derelict building to squat in, got them their first drink, gave them THE TALK about the birds and the bees, familial loyalty, reverence for Mary and a willingness to sacrifice for strangers. My point, he spent a whole lot of time with his sons, not just apart from them. Granted, the majority of this time was spent turning them into Hunters, but he was around them enough to know and understand how important they were to each other. "**

My fav part. Cool to think of thoses times with the 3 of them. Guess I relate, being a single Mom with 2 boys. I put the bikes together. I went to the football games. I (unfortunately for my boys) had the "sex" talk. I was no John Winchester, that's for sure!!
# KELLY 2012-06-17 21:53
I’ve never really been a John fan, so I really enjoyed this perspective and insights. While it didn’t vastly change my view of him, it did provide a clearer understanding of a complex character. I especially liked the idea that he could never leave that warrior’s view behind after Mary died because he was always on the front lines. I’d never really thought about him from that POV, so hopefully when I rewatch those early episodes I can more fully appreciate him.

Though I always saw himself as liking Dean more, maybe because he and Sam were closer in personality.
# Amy 2012-06-17 23:57
I geuss I'll never understand is the third option John (and Dean) never chose. To talk to Sam about what he (they) knew. They didn't trust in the boy (man) that they raised. Time and time again we all say hat a good man Sam is...a man who puts others before himself.

And yet his father didn;t trust sam with the truth...after all knowledge is power. and Sam could have prepared himself for a fight against evil

Sam did what John (and Dean) never trusted Sam to do that rainy night in Cold Oak. he said no to Azazel. he said no to evil and he turned his back on it. He stayed true to himself, his humanity.

Why couldn't JOhn have trusted Sam? Trusted the goodness inside his son to prevail? Instead he alientated his son and made Sam doubt his families love, dount his place in his family.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-18 17:22
I’ve often wondered why John didn’t give that last message to Sam as opposed to Dean. It did bother me that their focus was on ‘saving Sam’ as opposed to trusting Sam to save himself. Did John fully trust Sam? No, I don’t think did, neither did Dean. That’s not a slight against the guy, it’s just realistic thinking. The four years away from them, the idea that he never seemed to 'fit' the hunting life, the fact that he had run away before and that he wasn’t of the same mindset as them ie if it’s evil, kill it, must have all preyed on John’s and Dean’s mind. Add to that, much of their hidden fears about Sam were being realised in front of their eyes via the visions and (telekinetic) powers so there’s a part of me that thinks they believed that Sam would go evil. It might have been a fleeting though and they might have readily dismissed it but the thought was there. And the thing is, no matter how much you trust your son/brother, and no matter how determined Sam was to not turn, the tide of evil, if it sets its sights on you, is nigh on impossible to hold back. All the Winchesters knew that.

However, I also believe that much of John’s decision to say it to Dean as opposed to Sam was based on the ‘Save him’ aspect of the conversation. John knew that Dean would do everything in his power to save Sam, and Sam would listen to him and work with him in relation to it. I think that a big worry of John’s would be that if Sam got the message first then Sam wouldn’t be too concerned about ‘saving’; he’s go straight to the ‘killing’ to ensure that he would never turn. If Dean knew first then he wouldn’t let that happen. I think that saying it to Dean as opposed to Sam was the only way to ensure that Sam might have a chance.
# Jo1027 2012-06-21 09:37
I geuss I'll never understand is the third option John (and Dean) never chose. To talk to Sam about what he (they) knew. They didn't trust in the boy (man) that they raised. Time and time again we all say hat a good man Sam is...a man who puts others before himself.

And yet his father didn;t trust sam with the truth...after all knowledge is power. and Sam could have prepared himself for a fight against evil

Sam did what John (and Dean) never trusted Sam to do that rainy night in Cold Oak. he said no to Azazel. he said no to evil and he turned his back on it. He stayed true to himself, his humanity.

Why couldn't JOhn have trusted Sam? Trusted the goodness inside his son to prevail? Instead he alientated his son and made Sam doubt his families love, dount his place in his family.
I've often wondered this myself. I think it was a huge mistake on John's part to not trust Sam with the truth. Believing his father didn't love him made him question everything John said to him and made him angry.
# Mel 2012-06-18 14:19
I love this article. I hadn't happened to see it before. I have always adored John, flaws and all because flaws and all he obviously did something right or his boys wouldn't have turned out so damn well.

I especially like the reasoning that John knew that HE couldn't 'save' Sam. But that maybe Dean could. But John needed Dean to KNOW that Sam needed to be saved. The terrible message that he left with Dean did the job. And John was right. Dean did save Sam (ok its kinda been a work in progress, but he did it)

You know, if Dean had died, if John and Sam had been left alone, what do you bet that John would have said yes to Michael? And Michael & Samifer would have had their knock down apocolypse.

I think (in response to the poster above) that even if John had tried to talk to Sam about it at the time, Sam wasn't ready to hear it, wouldn't have responded well to John and it might well have made things worse by driving him even further away from the family.
Also from a purely practical standpoint -- there wouldn't have been much of a story if Sam didn't take the journey. ;)
# Naismith 2012-06-18 21:04
Oh wow. Thanks for the repost Alice!

@roslyn- Thank you

@Rmoats8621- In agreement and thanks!

@buffsgirl-That’s one of my favorite things about the show as well. Great show all around.

@Tim the Enchanter-Thank you, again. It would be awesome to get some sort of restart of the love between the boys and John. I also felt somewhat bummed at the recent bombardment against John. While I love Bobby (forever and forever love Bobby) Bobby played his own very important role. John was the Father and Bobby is the other Father. One doesn’t take the place of the other. I’ve never seen Bobby as taking John’s place…that’ s impossible. Bobby is Bobby. Anyway, I would love to see some peace made with John.
And I am incredibly aware of the hotness of John the Elder? Thing is, John’s so hot that going on about it is simple redundancy. :lol:

@Kelly-His best was not perfect, true. But his best still gave out some pretty awesome (and tall) results. He was tragically flawed.

@Supernarttu- Obsessive…yes . Yes indeed. Often harmful but oh so wonderful!
I agree, the reality of the characters is awesome! I believe it is the grounding of the people that make the Show so great. Without them, it would be just another hour of TV.
You’re quite right. John DOES NOT belong on a pedestal. But we are in agreement, he had much good going for him.
I’ve never compared Bobby to John or been upset that he has been put in the father figure role. They boys needed him there. I’m happy to have him there. Bobby filled a role that John didn’t or wouldn’t or couldn’t. I see him more as the mentor or as their godfather or uncle; John is irreplaceable. But that’s just my opinion. ?

@PENNY JAIME-Welcome to the computer age? Glad you enjoyed.
And big congrats on being ‘not a John Winchester’. As much as I love the guy, that is a good thing!

@KELLY- And this, this right here is one of the main reasons I wrote the article. I’m not looking for John converts, I totally get why folk dislike him. But as a way for another aspect to be appreciated. So YAY??
Funnily enough, I also have always seen him liking Dean more. He certainly trusted him more than he trusted Sam. Love now, John certainly loved both of them.

@Amy- This third option honestly did not occur to me when writing the article. Frankly, I don’t think that it would have occurred to John either. And if I have to be completely honest, I’m not so sure if Sam could have handled it all that well. Remember, even though Sam was/is an exceptional person, he was only 22. And his anger issues and obstinacy had not yet been smoothed with experience and time. As his father (and older brother) giving that knowledge to a (in his eyes) child would have seemed insane. And even if/though Sam could have handled it, it was their belief that it wouldn’t have been a good idea. Right or wrong, it’s what they believed. And I have to respect that.
Plus, as much as I feel like a low down dirty dog for writing this, while Sam did say no to Azazel, he said yes to Ruby. He said yes to Ruby KNOWING his father’s warning. KNOWING that Azazel had had plans for him. KNOWING where his gifts and the blood came from.
I love Sam I love Sam I love Sam. But he chose a demon. He chose the path to end the world. So maybe John wasn’t wrong. Just sayin!

@Tim the Enchanter part II- In agreement. I think. My brain begins to burn out but yes, in agreement overall.

@Mel-Thank you!
Oh man….John as Michael against Sam as Lucifer??! I DID NOT need that heartbreak image! Eep!
I don’t know if John would have said yes. He had the stubbornness of Sam…even more so. Actually wait, you’re right, he probably would have said yes to Michael since he was able to look at the big picture! Oh my gosh?? Thank goodness it was Dean, wonderful, beautiful, lovely Dean!
# KELLY 2012-06-18 23:48
I agree he loved both his boys and I'm sure it killed him to say that Dean. I'm just not sure Sam thinks his dad loved him. He already had doubts in season 1, but his dad reassured him. And what a week or so later, his dad tells Dean he might have to kill him.

I have to think that brought up all those old doubts. I think Sam had to wonder if his dad wasn't so much worried about his safety as worried about what he'd become. And he put so much on poor Dean and when he couldn't live up to it he became filled up self-doubt. OPT. LOL. I do get TOO caught up with the boys.
# Naismith 2012-06-19 15:50
Oh's always difficult to think about the harm John did to the boys' hearts. Just to be clear, I am not positing that John didn't make some HUGE mistakes. He did. I am not trying to excuse his behavior and the wreck, wrack and ruin he left behind him. No arguement.

As for Sam...I don't know what he believes about his dad. The scene in "The Song Remains the Same" shows Sam at peace with his dad. Because they were so much alike, I am choosing to believe that Sam has come to a place where he gets why his dad did what he did. Note, I am saying CHOOSE to believe since this show breaks my heart in so many different ways that I look for relief when I can find it.
# KELLY 2012-06-19 17:03
I loved that scene. But Sam just said he understood why his father better now and knew he did the best he could. Sam said he loved him. But I was left speculating on what Sam thought his father felt about him. Which is fine because it gives me something to obsess over. HA!
# Mel 2012-06-20 17:01
I agree, I think TSRTS does show that Sam understands why his father did what he did. He did what he did BECAUSE he loved his sons. So heartbreaking that Young John, unknowing, thinks poorly of the boys' father, isn't it? John tells Sam that it wasn't the life he wanted for him.
Abel to look at it from a distance, I think Sam understands.
# Melanie 2012-06-19 00:45
Yes, it was wonderful, beautiful, lovely Dean because John so loved his sons that he sacrificed his life and soul for them.

(I posted from a different computer today as 'Mel' but it's me!)

I think the really interesting question now that I wish the Show would address is 'Where is John Winchester?' We saw him get out of hell. In DSOTM we learned he's not in Heaven. So where is he?

(Yeah, yeah, I know. He's running a hotel in Florida under an assumed name.)
# Naismith 2012-06-19 15:52
Agreed! Would love to see that addressed!

Wherever John is, I hope he is with Mary and completely, ignorantly happy of the tradgey of his sons' lives.
# Amy 2012-06-18 23:16
I have a difficult time being mad at John cause he WAS so messed up but my sympathy STILL lies with Sam. Imagine it. Think of Dean at 9 adn his PERCEIVED thought that John was looking at him different after the striga incident. Now....there's Sam who KNOWS John is looking at him all fisheyed. KNOWS and FEELS that his father is for some reason distincing himself from Sam.

ALL Sam has is his family and he is being pushed aside while John adn Dean are this unit who confer and talk to each other. Its no wonder Sam felt like a freak within his own family; that he never belonged. Cause John was waiting for something Sam had no clue about. in HOME he begged...BEGGED Missouri for answers and was rebuffed. No one he trusted.... John....Dean... .Missouri would talk to honest with him...tell him the truth.

is it any wonder that Evil was able to manipulate Sam? He was isolated and alone even amidst his family. People ...random demons entered his life unknown to him adn John probably whispering in his ear, making him feel more isolated and alone, feeling as if his family didn't love him,, he didn't belong.

Imagine John telling him the truth, telling him to watch out. Telling Sam he beleived in him. Sam put all his trust in Dean when he was 8 because he was finally told the truth...a truth he should have heard from his father.

I'm sorry what warning did he know from John? ALL John said was Sam had to be killed or saved. Thats not information ...thats nothing. Thats like saying it might rain today when ther eis no clouds in the sky.

Once Azazel was dead. His plans were everyone's thinking Except Dean who automatically belived everything a demon or Angel said about Sam. And No...Sam didn't choose a path KNOWING it would end the world. he chosse a path beleiving he was SAVING the world yet ENDING himself.

Sam made some terrifble terrible mistakes and bad choices but i think in a way it was very Odipadal. Everything John and Dean did to 'save' Sam actually fulfilled the Angels and demons plans for Sam.

Lucifer and the Angels needed Sam to feel ostriced....fee l like he didn't belong within his own family; that they didn't love him or trust him. They needed him to feel isolated and alone.

and John and Dean did all that and more by not trusting Sam, by not TALKING to sam and including him in decision that affected HIS life. his very SOUL. They were as much puppet masters pulling Sam's strings as the Angels and demons have been.

Everyone keeps saying how good a person Sam is. Well, honestly I think he is as good as he is DESPITE his family. Imagine how awesome he would be if he had ONE person in his life who showed him trust; who actually believed in him.
# KELLY 2012-06-18 23:57
Now on the childhood I always have more sympathy for Dean, because Sam had him. And Dean often didn't seem to have anybody to look after him and he was just a kid too.

But my heart breaks when I of what Sam thought we he found out what John said to Dean. (see above) But I don't think you can say John and Dean (esp Dean) didn't help him become them man he is.
# Naismith 2012-06-19 16:09
Yup. Yup and yup.
# Naismith 2012-06-19 16:06
Oh don't get me wrong. My sympathies are with Sam. And with Dean. John did wrong by them. Everything I wrote was not meant as a defense of John Winchester. I love the guy, I am a John woman. But my love is not blind. The well known fact is that John made some major mistakes as a father. So all your points to that, I will not argue with.

In my defense though, I never said that Sam chose his path KNOWING it would end the world. He chose that path because he believed it was the right path. But he was wrong. Even with all his intelligence and knowledge and experience, he became blinded by the bigger picture. He was manipulated by evil using the knowlege at his disposal.

I can't argue what Sam would have done if his father had given him full disclosure. That is a what if game that has too many variables for me to feel comfortable playing.

While I love Sam ever so much, I believe we will have to agree to disagree that Sam became who he was despite his family. There, there is such a large gulf of opposing beliefs that I doubt either of us could cross it. And, frankly, it would probably be counter productive to argue it since I found my hackles rising a little over your calling John and Dean puppet masters! ;-) :-? So I respectfully disagree and will back away since I have no wish to get into an emotional wrestling match, with a doubtlessly lovely stranger, over a TV show. :-)
# Naismith 2012-06-19 16:08
Oops. This last comment was meant as a reply to Amy.
# KELLY 2012-06-19 17:16
Oh don't get me wrong. My sympathies are with Sam. And with Dean.
Oh I know. I could tell by the article. I'm not a John woman. But if it helps, before reading this I had trouble understanding how anyone could be one. LOL. Seeing him from your POV I kind of get it. I think we just didn't get enough time with him for me to feel like a had a good grip on who he was. And the stuff we did get was often not pretty, but probably if he was more fully explored I would come to love him as much as you. I certainly love Sam who is supposed to be a lot like him.
# Sharon 2012-06-19 16:08
I do think Sam had Dean but Dean couldnt be a panacea to everything. I think 8 yr old Sam finding John's journal learning the truth the way he did . did hit him I believe and it changed alot of perceptions for him.

Often there are those who hold it against Sam for lying but he didnt just pick that up. He trusted his dad and he and Dean well they were the biggest largest influence's in Sam's life .It was a difficult situation from John downwards I think.
# Naismith 2012-06-19 16:12
Ohhhhh! Like generational trauma! Good point.

How awesome would it be to be introduced to John's family to see what those family dynamics looked like?
# winmomwannabe 2012-06-25 18:24
As a newby to the show I enjoy reading all of the insightful things posted. I especially liked this piece on John. Although I was only introduced to the show in the last 6 months by a friend I have already watched Seasons 1-6 twice! And I have all on DVD.

I could never understand my 20 something children buying DVD's of TV shows before. Now I totally get it! One has to connect deeply and as a mother of sons this show touches my heart in a way I never thought a TV show could. It aches for them.

As a Domestic Violence social worker I see one parent families all the time coping with life. Especially in the face of violence. One can never know what it is like unless we walk in their shoes EVERY day. We all do the best we can with the knowledge and coping skills we have. (Sorry for the reality check). And unfortunately good choices are not always made.
Thanks again for all the great insight everyone.