winchesterlegacies asked: Hi there, thanks for the follow, hope you have a brilliant day! :)
You’re welcome! Your blog is one of my new favorites. :)
I have a question for any Supernatural fans out there.
I’ve been watching since Season 1 first aired way back when, but haven’t been much involved in fan activity online. It was only recently (about the midway point of S8) that I began to track down meta and read all the different fan…
my two cents on why there is so little young Sam meta:
i would certainly attribute it to the fact that people see Dean as Sam’s parental figure. Dean is very romanticized in the fan base. not that the dude isn’t amazing (he is), but no one seems to understand that being raised by someone four years older than you is probably not much better than having to raise someone four years younger. yes, Dean was loving and sacrificial, but was that a well-rounded upbringing? hell, no. Dean was not the perfect parent. he was caring and devoted, but he didn’t have the tools, experience or stability to provide Sam with anything close to what a kid actually needs. but the fandom at large seems to think that Dean was some kind of parental savior who read Dr. Spock, which is just… i don’t know. i don’t get that.
where John and Sam are concerned, that’s just— ugh. man. Sam is obviously the most aware of how poor John’s parenting is; we see on the show that as young as 8 years old, Sam can tell that John is being neglectful, and he can also tell that Dean is trying to apologize for John while filling the gap left behind. and i think the reason Sam is so stubborn and has such a strong sense of self (at least pre-apocalypse/hell) is that he spent all those years being told by John to keep in line; he either had to conform to the family way (which repelled and frightened him) or break out and become independent.
that desire to be independent of authority really continues into the series, especially when John is actually involved in season 1, and during season 3 when the brothers argue about how to deal with Lilith and Dean’s deal. of course, it comes to a head in season 4 when Sam gets his independence, does things his own way, and majorly screws up… after that see him reverting back to the role of little brother, deferring to Dean’s expertise in most situations because he no longer believes in his own ability to make choices.
of course, that also translates into Sam being largely ignored as a character from season 6 on, which is another reason why i think no one bothers to meta for him. he simply has fewer fans, and his relevant screen time has decreased a whole lot over the past few years. i mean, originally Sam was the main character of the show. he was our catalyst into the strange world of hunting and monsters. by the end of season 1, he and Dean had equal development, and they handled it very well that way up through season 5. but then we spent half of season 6 with Sam effectively missing as a character (though he was present as a plot device), and his relevance to the show never really recovered from that. i think fans weren’t willing to forgive him for the demon blood (which is a whole ‘nother discussion), and that Dean was cemented in as the main character during the time Sam was soulless, because, having no soul, Sam could not develop as his own character— he could only stand in as an object for Dean to develop around.
anyway, this is turning into another rant about how Sam’s development hasn’t been explored in the show enough, so i’m going to go to bed. hope that sort of answered your question, or at least helped you to make your own insight. (:
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! I hadn’t even thought about how Sam’s time without a soul seriously detracted from time for character development, but it makes a lot of sense now that I think about it — especially considering that initially he couldn’t recall any of that time. When I think about Death putting up the wall inside of Sam so as not to remember his Hell memories, and now the Ezekiel possession, it reminds me of how much Sam has been stripped of agency over the course of the series. I know Sam has lied to Dean before (the demon blood addiction being the most obvious example), I feel like very rarely if ever have Sam’s lies led to the removal of Dean’s agency in the same way that Dean’s lies toward Sam have done this. This all ties back into the original core issue of Sam wanting independence and “separateness,” and to be viewed as an equal rather than a child, a little brother, a “liability,” a sick or damaged person who needs protecting. I guess that’s why I get a little sore when people cut Dean more slack, or pity him for the brother-codependency. The mentality seems to be that because Dean’s actions toward his brother (including the negative ones) are the results of his issues of codependency and clinging to his role as big brother or protector, it’s “poor Dean,” while Sam is cast as the bad guy for wanting to be independent and separate. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that Sam’s desire for his own autonomy is just as much a result of HIS experience with the codependency as Dean’s “anything and everything for Sammy” mentality. But I do think you’re right, and that this is at least partly a fault of the writers (though I do think fan bias plays a huge part).
Thank you again for taking the time to give your thoughts! I really appreciate it (especially as I’m new to online fan interaction and really didn’t know if anyone would even notice the post.) :)
This is a post about supernatural, shipping, fandom and queer representation. It is a really important post. Part of what makes it important to me is that I didn’t write it. A friend of mine, who identifies as queer, doesn’t feel comfortable enough to post her opinion under her own pseudonyms because she fears backlash from her fellow fans. If you want to respond to this post - which I encourage you to do - take a second first to consider that fact.
People are afraid to speak their minds for fear of hate from their fellow fans.
But please, take a minute to read her words. They are important and deserve to be heard and that’s why I offered my blog as a space for her message.
public service announcement about Sam leaving for Stanford:
he was not turning his back on his family
he was doing what we in the real world would call getting out of a bad situation
he was not abandoning Dean
Dean was 22 years old and if he really needed Sam that much, and the life was…
Totally 100% agreed, and this directly relates to a question I just posted about why fandom doesn’t seem to acknowledge John’s impact on SAM’s development nearly as much as they acknowledge John’s impact on Dean.
I have a question for any Supernatural fans out there.
I’ve been watching since Season 1 first aired way back when, but haven’t been much involved in fan activity online. It was only recently (about the midway point of S8) that I began to track down meta and read all the different fan perspectives, particularly in the realm of character development and psychology.
There is a LOT about Dean — which is awesome, as he’s obviously an extremely layered character and there is so much to explore and work with given what’s been presented to us over 8 seasons.
This is where my question comes in, though. From what I’ve seen, the SPN fandom appears to focus far more on Dean’s psychological makeup than on Sam’s. There is a much higher degree of emphasis on Dean RE: John’s fathering, the Winchester upbringing, brother codependency, etc. In light of the most recent episode (9x07 “Bad Boys”), I’m sure that at least part of this is because within the actual show, there has been more focus on Dean’s POV concerning John, Mary, his feelings about Sam — essentially all of the family stuff.
But I’m still kind of perplexed at the lack of meta or discussion on the Winchester upbringing’s effects on Sam. I know Dean was the one weighed down with responsibility, who had to take on a caretaker role far more intense and at a much younger age than is remotely healthy, and at this point he has carried that burden well into his 30s. Whether you think that John physically abused his sons or not, the signs of extreme emotional abuse are really clear.
But that doesn’t exclude Sam. As much as people talk about what the emotional abuse did to Dean (as they should, because it’s important), I’m just really curious as to why Sam does not get this same level of close examination. Because if Dean was emotionally abused, Sam certainly was too (albeit in a different way), and that seems to get overlooked a lot — especially considering Sam NEVER knew his mother (which I would imagine leaves an entirely different though just as traumatizing scar as it would for Dean losing his mother at age 4), and Sam was DISOWNED by their father for wanting to go to college (“If you walk out that door, don’t you come back”).
Is this because, since Dean by-and-large took care of Sam growing up, people don’t see Sam as deprived of a parent on the same level? Is it because Sam seems less codependent on the surface? Is it because we haven’t seen a more complex look into Sam’s POV on these topics? Is it because Sam has seemed to have a more consistent and realistic view of how John screwed them both up, therefore he’s perceived as less “damaged”?
I’m asking all of these questions because I am just really very genuinely curious what all of you think. (For the record, I don’t see either brother as more “damaged” than the other, and I think most meta I’ve read has been spot-on about Dean’s issues; I’d just like to see more views on Sam!)
Also if anyone has any good Sam or both-brothers meta focusing on this kind of thing, please point me toward it.