Sam Winchester

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Name: Sam Winchester
Occupation: Hunter
Title/Rank:
Location: Somewhere in the US
Status: Alive
Relationships: Younger brother of Dean Winchester, older half brother of Adam Milligan-Winchester, son of Mary and John Winchester, etc.
Fandom: Supernatural
Other: Played by actor Jared Padalecki as an adult, by actor Colin Ford in most flashbacks of childhood/young teen.
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Contents

Sam Winchester, art by Bohemian Weasel.

Sam Winchester is one of the two main characters of the long-running TV series Supernatural. Sam is originally the focal character and protagonist of the series. He and his older brother Dean protect the world and frequently save people all over the U.S. by hunting supernatural creatures and monsters such as demons, werewolves, vampires, etc.

Sam Winchester was born May 2, 1983 in Lawrence, Kansas. Sam is the youngest son of John and Mary Winchester (nee Campbell) and the younger brother of Dean Winchester. Sam is the protected baby within the Winchester family that devotes its every waking moment to protecting helpless strangers. It was mentioned in the series that Sam was actually John's favourite son, yet John and Sam frequently fought and clashed due to John and Sam sharing similar temperaments and personalities. Sam is the child who wants to be safe and live a normal life when his father and brother are constantly throwing themselves into danger in the world of hunting. Sam is the rebel of the family who wants to be a yuppie rather than be the badass. He is shown to be rather stoic, fearless, stubborn and strong-willed. Sam is the one who challenges, questions and fights when he doesn't agree with the decisions his family makes, including Dean and especially his father, John, whom Sam frequently rebelled against and disobeyed as a child and as a teen.
Sam is the wayward son of the family, 'the rebel' (hence one of the theme songs frequently played for Supernatural "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas). He was the one who left his own family behind to make his own way in the world which included starting a normal, independent life away from his family (including going to university), the one who struck out on his own without the protection and support of his family, the one who is still determined to make his own choices and have his own life whether his family or anyone agrees with him or not. Personality wise, Sam is described to be extremely intelligent, intellectual, ambitious, independent, protective, stoic, strong-willed, introverted, mysterious, empathetic, kind, caring, compassionate, and determined. However, Sam also has his share of flaws. Sam has been shown to be rebellious, vengeful, self absorbed, stubborn, proud, disobedient, brooding and moody. Sam has often done wrong things for the greater good or for the right reasons. Sam has been frequently been associated with the 'reluctant hero' trope within fandom.
So, because Sam is strongly independent and ambitious by nature, does it make Sam seem self-absorbed and selfish at times, as a portion of the Supernatural fandom seems to believe? Maybe. But does it make Sam wrong? Certainly not. There may be rather more demons and sawed-off shotguns in his life than in ours, but he's a person we all know and have been at some point: he's just a twenty-something kid trying to find his own way in a very loving, loyal, stifling, dysfunctional and frustrating family.[1]

Character Arc

Sam has been mentioned by Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural, to be the focal character or protagonist of Supernatural, focusing on Sam's journey. Kripke had mentioned that Sam was modelled after Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker. Although, there are many fans that argue that Sam's journey and descent to darkness over the course of the series as well as his dark destiny seem to make his character more similar to Luke's father and "the chosen one" of the Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker (also known as Darth Vader). Sam's character and journey is also heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" as mentioned by Kripke. In the early seasons (seasons one and two), Sam's character arc involved reuniting with his family (his father, John and his older brother Dean) after four years of leaving them behind and leaving the hunting life style for university life at Stanford. Dean asking for Sam's help was Sam's "call to adventure". His reunion with his family mainly focused on his relationship with his elder brother Dean, and becoming dedicated to hunting down the 'yellow-eyed' demon, Azazel, who killed his mother, Mary, six months after his birth (November 2, 1983) and the love of his life/girlfriend, Jessica on the same date his mother died (November 2, 2005). This same demon had big, dark plans for Sam; a plan which involved Special Children with special powers (like Sam, who developed psychic abilities at 22) and prepping Sam to becoming the vessel for Lucifer (also known as Satan/The Devil), the once most beautiful, beloved and powerful archangel in all of Heaven and God's favourite son and later on, the ruler of Hell and the fallen angels (also known as demons).

During seasons three to five, Sam's story involved struggling against aspects of this hellish plan and giving in to parts of it as well as severe problems in his relationship with his brother, Dean. This gave Sam his 'reluctant hero' trope. At the end of season five, Lucifer inhabited Sam's body but Sam had took control of his body again and saved his brother and the entire human race by throwing himself into Lucifers cage, with his half brother Adam, who was the vessel for Lucifer's older brother, Michael. As of Season 9, Adam is still in the cage. The first part of season six focused on Sam's incomplete redemption after returning from Hell/Lucifer's Cage without his soul intact. The later parts of the season included working on returning to a good place with his brother. Season seven focused on Sam recovering from hallucinations of Lucifer, hell pain, mental illness, PTSD, and severe trauma, which was healed and taken away from Sam by Castiel after he was revealed to be alive, towards the end of season seven.

In season eight, Sam spent a year living a normal life with his new girlfriend Amelia in Texas while Dean was trapped in Purgatory with Castiel and a vampire named Benny. After Dean returned to Sam from Purgatory, there was some tension between Sam and Dean due to the revelation that Sam had quit hunting for a year, didn't look for Dean because he thought that he was really dead and given up responsibility on looking after the prophet Kevin Tran. Not to mention that the tension between Sam and Dean rose when Sam discovered that Dean had befriended a supernatural monster (Benny) but Dean had ostracized Sam for befriending monsters (such as Ruby and Amy for example). Sam took on a set of trials (the Trials of God) which needed to be completed in order to close the gates of Hell for good, locking demons out of Earth forever. However, there have been many complications due to Sam taking on the trials, in other words, his physical health and well being. He has become increasingly weakened and sick; displaying symptoms such as severe fatigue, coughing up of blood, weakness, shakiness, headaches and a loss of appetite. Despite Sam's illness, he still seemed determined as ever to complete the trials in order to shut the gates of Hell. In the last episode of Season 8, "Sacrifice" it was discovered that if Sam completed the final of the three trials, he would die. Dean convinced him to not complete them.

As of season nine, Sam was being possessed by a fallen angel, 'Ezekiel', who has said that he will heal Sam internally after being so damaged after trying to complete the Trials of God. 'Ezekiel' had lied about who he was, his actual name being Gadreel. Gadreel was an imprisoned angel before the angel, Metatron made all the angels fall, including the imprisioned ones. Gadreel is no longer possesing Sam.

In Fanon and Fanworks

Sam's annoyed expression (usually provoked by Dean somehow) acquired the fannish name "bitchface," and became so much a part of fanon that it often appears in Dean's internal narration in fanfic.[2] Multiple picspams have been devoted to chronicling Sam's bitchface.[3]

Many Supernatural fanfic writers write gen stories with a strong focus on the close, intense, emotional brotherly (but non-sexual/non-romantic) relationship between Sam and Dean.

A common trope used in some Sam-centric fanworks is that of Sam turning evil, because of his canonical demon-blood infusion, drinking demon blood, fucking a demon, being possessed by a demon or by Lucifer, or being soulless for more than a year. Sam is also frequently portrayed to be rather possessive, sometimes sadistic, controlling, dominant and rebellious in a lot of fic (mostly when Sam is either evil, possessed or cursed). However, Sam can also be portrayed as sweet, sensitive, caring and empathetic. The soulless version of Sam present during the first part of Season Six is often referred to as Robo!Sam.

Sam appears in most slash, het, and gen fanfic.

In regards to top/bottom dynamics (mainly regarding anal sex) within most Supernatural fanfic, Sam is generally portrayed as the top or seme, including both slash and het fic. In Wincest fanfic, the large majority of fics and fanfic writers frequently portray Sam as the top, dominant, or aggressive partner and Dean as the bottom, submissive, gentle partner.[4] There are many different reasons as to why Sam is frequently portrayed as the dominant or the top in the overwhelming majority of Supernatural fanfic, but some of the reasons for this could include Sam's overall dominant, rebellious personality with aspects of pride, need for control and vengefulness, Sam being portrayed as the darker, more intense, mysterious brother, Sam's large, intimidating physique, his tallness or height and also, his dominant, controlling, aggressive "toppy" sexual style or canon sex scenes with women on the show.

Sam's most frequent and most popular slash pairing in fanworks is with his brother: Sam/Dean aka Wincest. In later seasons of Supernatural, he has sometimes been paired with the angel Castiel (pairing name: "Sassy" or "Sastiel") or with the archangel, Gabriel, pairing name known as Sabriel. Gabriel was in four episodes, and is declared dead. (Season 2, episode 15 "Tall Tales, disguised as the Trickster Loki. Season 3, episode 11 "Mystery Spot, disguised as the Trickster Loki. Season 5, episode 8 "Changing Channels", which revealed his true identity as an archangel and Season 5, episode 19 "Hammer of The Gods", in which he died.)

Sam is also featured in het fic and paired with women. Sam is regularly paired with his late girlfriend (said to be his true love), Jessica Moore. Fic featuring Sam/Jess/Dean is more rare but not too uncommon.[5] Sam can also be seen in other het fic with Ruby, a demon who had come into Sam and Dean's life in Season 3, episode 1 "The Magnificent Seven" after saving Sam. She had continued to gain Sam's trust, but not Dean's, as Season 3 progressed and in Season 4 we find out that while Dean went to hell Sam and Ruby had started a sexual relationship. Ruby convinced Sam to start drinking demon blood, to make him stronger and be able kill demons with his mind. It is reaveled that in the last episode of season four, "Lucifer Rising" Ruby had actually sabotaged Sam and Dean, as she was actually trying to set Lucifer free.

Sam has a host of different nicknames, the main one being Sammy, which is a nickname that only Dean is allowed to call him, but some other people called him Sammy, much to his annoyance. Sam had allowed Ruby to call him Sammy in Season 4. Other nicknames include Moose, Jolly Green and Giraffe, all coined by the crossroad demon and king of hell, Crowley. These nicknames for Sam coined by Crowley often refer to Sam's height. Some other nicknames for Sam that have been used in the series or fanfic are Gigantor and Sasquatch or Samsquatch.

Sam-Centric Fanvids

External Links

References

  1. From the essay on Sam by ignipes at Idol Reflection.
  2. For example, "...Dean wasn't looking forward to the mother of all bitchfaces every time Sam tried on a shirt and his wrists stuck out all forlorn and uncovered. ..." from Gift, a gen fic by kellifer.
  3. For example, Bitchface Through the Ages (Supernatural) by jessm78, 15 September 2008 (Accessed 25 April 2011), as well as The Bitchface, 22 April 2007 (Accessed 25 April 2011) and The Bitchface: Part Two, 2 May 2007 (Accessed 25 April 2011) by barkinmad.
  4. For example, [1] 2012 (Accessed 7 July 2012) by supernaturalwiki.com.
  5. For example, the Sam/Jess/Dean stories There is a crack in everything (that's how the light gets in) by beckaandzac and sequel Second Star to the Right by busaikko, and Midnight of the Century by glasslogic.
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