Mary Winchester

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Character
Name: Mary Winchester
Formerly Mary Campbell
Occupation: Hunter
Title/Rank:
Location: Lebanon, Kansas
Status: Deceased, Resurrected
Relationships: Mother of Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester,
Wife of John Winchester,
Fandom: Supernatural
Other:
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Mary Winchester is a character from the TV show Supernatural.

She is the mother of main characters Sam and Dean Winchester, and the wife of John Winchester.

In Fanon and Fanworks

Common Tropes & Storylines

Mary often appears in AU fics, due to her canonical death in the first episode of season 1. These can be works with a non-supernatural setting, in which there are no demons and Mary lives. There were also many pre-canon works written about Mary during the first season. Many of these works examined her marriage to John and their first meeting.

There are a wide range of canon divergence AUs in which Mary lives. In some works, Mary lives but John dies, and she raises her sons as a single parent. In some of these works she hunts the yellow eyed demon. In works where the family survives, Mary and John often separate and sometimes choose to raise their sons separately. In other works, Sam and Dean die, and Mary and John seek revenge. There were also works that featured Mary making a deal with a demon to save her life, while others suggested that a demon deal had resulted in Mary's death. This theory was confirmed in a later season.

Works featuring Mary hunting demons became much more common after her family were revealed to be hunters. The season 5 episode in which Dean Winchester time traveled to 1972 and met a young Mary Winchester also inspired many AUs.

There were also canon compliant fics, featuring Mary as a ghost or in Heaven looking out for her family.

Following Mary's resurrection at the end of season 11, there has been renewed interest in fanworks featuring this character.

Shipping

Controversies

Some fans have taken issue with story tropes used in Supernatural's early seasons. One such controversy related to the death of Mary Winchester in Season 1. Following the sudden death of the character Charlie Bradbury, many fans pointed out that the women in Supernatural often fell afoul of the women in fridges trope; dying to further the development of Sam and Dean Winchester.

Some fans had pointed out that Mary Winchester's death amounted to fridging before this.

Sam, Dean and John Winchester all live a happy, normal life with loving wife and mother, Mary Winchester. Until Azazel, the yellow eyed demon, kills her dramatically in Sam’s nursery. And lo, the father and sons team become hunters, their lives ever changed by this dramatic fridging that set them on their path. But that’s not the end of Mary, who nobly reaches out from her fridge to add to her menfolk’s development: whether that’s sacrificing her ghostly self to stop a poltergeist in season 1, to numerous flashbacks, dream sequences, visits to her grave and even time travel that allow the Winchester brothers to continually top up their angst and pathos over dear old fridged mother. [1]

Other fans pointed out that Supernatural was capable of fridging all characters, regardless of gender.

While all of your points are valid, I also feel that there is plenty of "(White) Men in fridges" also. Papa Winchester and Bobby are in that category now. Their deaths didn't further their own stories, they were there to cause emotional grief to Sam and Dean as well. Even Cas' multiple deaths do that. The point of the show is pretty much: If you aren't Sam and Dean, then you die and make them feel bad. Don't get me wrong, I love the show, but that is pretty much the message of the show.[2]

When the discussion of fridging became more widespread in 2015, many fans again pointed to the high mortality rate among Supernatural's male characters as well as the frequency with which Winchester family members die. Other fans pointed out that when the Winchester brothers die, it is often a case of Dead Men Defrosting, and they are resurrected to defeat the evil that originally killed them.[3] This also lead to a wider discussion of Mary's character, with many fans pointing out that Mary was a strong female character and well fleshed out despite her lack of screentime.[4]

Ultimately Mary Winchester was resurrected in Season 13. Her return garnered mixed responses from fans, some of whom felt her character did not live up to expectations.

Fanwork Examples

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanfiction

  • On warm summer nights by lyra_wing, Let's just say…. Mary works the late shift at this diner, and John visits her. Sam and Dean also visit her.
  • Crossbones by baylorsr, The day they buried Mary’s parents, she sat John down at her kitchen table and told him that her family hunted monsters.
  • Palindromes by charlie_d_blue, She became the shivering tremble of a whetting stone across the edge of a blade, the heavy scent of gun oil and long afternoons working on the once-hated Impala. AU. John dies on the ceiling, and Mary goes after the YED
  • Letting The Days Go By by AmyPond45, Mary tries to be a good wife and mother, really she does. Trouble is, she’s been raised to be a hunter, and pretending to be something she’s not isn’t easy. Maybe she can figure out a way to be both.
  • Hail Mary by galaxysoup, Take one newly human ex-angel on the run from Heaven. Combine with one mysteriously resurrected and increasingly pissed off Mary Winchester. Add overtones of Apocalypse. Shake well.

Fanvids

Meta

Archives & Links

References

  1. Supernatural: Women in the Very Overstocked Fridge posted by sparky, November 2012
  2. Comment on Supernatural: Women in the Very Overstocked Fridge written by Jason K, 2013
  3. Supernatural A History of Violence Against Women by Exorcising Emily, May 2015.
  4. Comment on Reddit thread, A Supernatural writer got dragged for misogyny by reddit user jtherion, posted July 2014.