|Relationships:||Younger brother of Dean Winchester, older half brother of Adam Milligan, son of Mary Winchester and John Winchester|
|Other:|| Played by actor Jared Padalecki as an adult, by actor Colin Ford in most flashbacks of childhood/young teen.|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Sam is originally the focal character and protagonist of the series. He and his older brother, Dean, protect the world and frequently save people by hunting supernatural creatures and other monsters such as demons, werewolves, vampires.
Sam Winchester was born in Kansas to John and Mary Winchester, the younger brother of Dean Winchester. Sam wanted a normal life instead of the family's world of hunting and protecting helpless strangers. Sam challenges his family, especially his father, John, whom Sam frequently rebelled against. It is mentioned that Sam was actually John's favorite son, and they clashed due to their similar temperaments and personalities.
- 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 left his family behind to make his own way, starting a normal life and going to university. Sam is described as extremely intellectual, ambitious, introverted, and determined, but also rebellious, stubborn, and proud. Sam has often done wrong things for the greater good and 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.
Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural, has called Sam the focal character or protagonist of Supernatural, focusing on Sam's journey. Kripke has said that Sam was modelled after Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker, though, many fans argue that Sam's descent to darkness over the course of the series as and his dark destiny make his character more similar to Luke's father and "the chosen one" of the Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Sam's character is also heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" as mentioned by Kripke. In the early seasons (seasons 1 and 2), 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 life at Stanford. Dean asking for Sam's help was Sam's "call to adventure". He bonded with his elder brother Dean and became dedicated to hunting down the 'yellow-eyed' demon, Azazel, who killed his mother, Mary, six months after his birth (November 2, 1983) and his girlfriend, Jessica on the same date his mother died (November 2, 2005). Azazel had plans for Sam involving Special Children with special powers (like Sam, who developed psychic abilities at 22) and prepared Sam to become the vessel for Lucifer (aka Satan/The Devil), the ruler of Hell and the fallen angels (also known as demons).
Sam struggled resisting and surrendering to aspects of this hellish plan and faced problems in his relationship with Dean. This gave Sam his 'reluctant hero' trope. At the end of season 5, Lucifer inhabited Sam's body but Sam had took control and saved the human race by throwing himself into Lucifers cage, along with his half brother Adam, who was the vessel for Lucifer's older brother, Michael.
Season 6 focused on Sam's incomplete redemption after returning from Hell/Lucifer's Cage without his soul intact and repairing his relationship with his brother. Season 7focused on Sam recovering from hallucinations of Lucifer, hell pain, mental illness, PTSD, and severe trauma. After Castiel was revealed to be alive, towards the end of season 7, he healed away Sam.
In season 8, Sam spent a year living a normal life with his new girlfriend Amelia in Texas while Dean was trapped in Purgatory with Castiel. After Dean returned from Purgatory, there was tension between Sam and Dean due to the revelation that Sam had quit hunting, didn't look for the presumably dead Dean, and gave his responsibilities. Sam discovered that Dean had befriended a supernatural monster (Benny the vampire) but Dean had ostracized Sam for befriending monsters (such as Ruby and Amy).
Sam took on the Trials of God in order to close the gates of Hell, locking demons out of Earth forever. Taking on the trials has a severe effect on Sam's well being and health, but he remained determine to complete the trials despite his illness. 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. In season 9, Sam was possessed by a fallen angel, 'Ezekiel', who has said that he will heal Sam after the damage from the Trials of God. 'Ezekiel' had lied about who he was, his identity being Gadreel, an angel imprisoned before all the angels fell. Gadreel is no longer possessing Sam.
In Fanon and Fanworks
Common Tropes in Fanworks
- Bitch face: 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. Multiple picspams have been devoted to chronicling Sam's bitchface.
- Dean: 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. Sam appears in most slash, het, and gen fanfic.
- Evil!Sam: 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). The soulless version of Sam present during the first part of Season 6 is often referred to as Robo!Sam.
- Top Sam / Bottom Sam: In regards to top/bottom dynamics (mainly regarding anal sex) within most Supernatural fanfic, through 2014 or so Sam was 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 portrayed Sam as the top, dominant, or aggressive partner and Dean as the bottom, submissive, gentle partner. However, in later years, this portrayal of positions reversed, with Sam being more often portrayed as the bottom partner. The reasons for this change may be linked to how the character has changed over each season. In the first six seasons, Sam displayed a dominant, rebellious personality with aspects of pride, a need for control and vengefulness; he was also portrayed as the darker, more intense, mysterious brother, which correlated with his large, intimidating physique, tallness, and dominant, controlling, aggressive "toppy" sexual style or canon sex scenes with women on the show. After the sixth season, however, correlating with Sam's returned memories of his time in Hell, Sam displayed a much more wounded, sad and withdrawn personality, one that the actor echoed in his physical presence, while Dean's plotlines saw him grow darker, angrier, and more demanding. Sam is also often portrayed as well endowed. See Supernatural Wiki's entry on Cockzilla. A prominent example is The Incestuous Courtship of the Antichrist's Bride by fleshflutter, in which Sam and Dean have difficulty figuring out the sex.
- High School AU: sometimes focusing on what high school would have been like for Sam, or as a re-imagining with all the Supernatural characters in a high school environment.
- Hurt/Comfort: In the past, the majority of fics tended to lean more towards Sam being the character providing the comfort, although a number of Hurt Sam fics (sometimes called Limp!Sam fics in fandom) did exist. In the later seasons, correlating with Sam's experiences in Hell and continued interactions with Lucifer, his illness while undergoing and recovering from the trials, his interactions (and the actor's real-life physical injury) while Dean had the Mark of Cain and was a demon, and his torture at the hands of the British Men of Letters, the balance has shifted in favor of Sam being the character needing to be comforted.
- PTSD: a focus on the effects of Sam's trauma, especially after his return from Hell and his hallucinations of Lucifer, but also examining a lot of different canon events that could cause Sam significant psychological damage
- No Supernatural: either focusing on times when Sam left the hunting life in the past, or a future retirement where he is no longer an active hunter. Other possibilities are canon divergence AUs where Sam never joined Dean in the search for their father, or alternative universes where there is no more supernatural elements, like monsters, or exploring what Sam's life would have been like if the supernatural never existed.
- Wings: giving Sam wings, commonly found in fanart
- Aside from Robo!Sam, there have been several other points in canon when Sam has not been himself that fans like to expand upon in fanworks, these include:
- Meg!Sam: when Sam was possessed by the demon Meg. Fanworks usually focus on what being possessed by a demon was like for Sam
- Sam Wesson: Sam from the alternative reality It's a Terrible Life. Fanworks often continue and expand upon this reality, and usually focus on Sam's relationship with Dean, who is not his brother in this universe
- Gadreel!Sam: Sam when he was possessed by the angel Gadreel. Fanworks usually explore on what it was like for Sam to be possessed, and the traumatic aftermath
- Kale!Sam or Lebanonverse Sam: Sam from the alternative timeline shown in the episode Lebanon, where he became a celebrity lawyer, ate kale, and was not close with Dean. Fic often expands upon the Sam from this universe and explores his fraught relationship with Dean
- Justin!Sam: Sam, from the episode Peace of Mind, that has been brainwashed and thinks that his name is Justin Smith. Fics featuring Justin!Sam are usually focused on Sam's relationship with Castiel, and Castiel's reaction to Sam's Justin persona
- HunterCorp!Sam: Sam from an alternative universe, who is a rich, privileged hunter. Fanworks usually focus on the two Sams interacting, or HunterCorp!Sam meeting other characters from the main universe
Sam's most frequent, and most popular, slash pairing in fanworks is with his brother, Dean (Wincest). In later seasons of Supernatural, he was sometimes paired with the angel Castiel (Sastiel), or more commonly with the archangel, Gabriel (Sabriel). He has also been paired with the fallen archangel Lucifer, especially since he was Lucifer's true vessel and Lucifer referred them them as MFEO (made for each other), the Sam/Lucifer pairing is often called Samifer, not to be confused with the nickname for Evil!Sam.
Sam is also featured in het fic, where he is frequently paired with his late girlfriend, Jessica Moore. Poly fic featuring Sam/Jess/Dean is rare but not too uncommon. Sam is also regularly paired with the demon Ruby, with whom he had a canonical sexual relationship. Some of his smaller, but well known, het pairings include Sam being paired with Eileen (Saileen), a fellow hunter and friend who Sam began a canonical romantic relationship with in season 15, or the witch Rowena (Samwena), an enemy turned friend. Readerfic and the pairing of Sam with Original Female Characters is also fairly common.
Sam has a host of different nicknames, the main one being Sammy, which is a canon nickname that only Dean is allowed to call him, but some other people called him Sammy, much to his annoyance. 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.
- Mashiach by Askance and Itsirtou
- Sammy's Drunken Letters to Stephen King by eighth-horizon
- And this Great Blue World of Ours by vail_kagami
- God Says Nothing Back by Morgan Dawn. An early Sam vid that has him asking the universe "Why?" (2006)
- Broken (Sam) by Luminosity (2009) (streaming version at Critical Commons)
- Blackbird by Zimshan -- "Sam Winchester in Season Four" (2009)
- Haust by Loki -- post-Season Six, Sam hallucinates Lucifer. A lot. (2011)
- sam winchester | bubblegum b!tch by jυѕтcαllмeмιcнelle
- The Burden of Being Sammy by dodger_winslow (September 2006); archive link
- Meta: Sam--Woman in White by kronette (May 2006); archive link
- 1x02: Wendigo--Sam by clex_monkie89 (May 2006); archive link
- Dead in the Water – The Many Faces of
EveSam by lemmealone (May 2006); archive link
- Taking the Lead: Sam in "Phantom Traveler" by briarwood (June 2006); archive link
- Sam meta by janissa11 (May 2006); archive link
- Sam in "Bloody Mary": His Roles, Relationships, and Responsibilities by buffyspazz (July 2006); archive link
- "You are not my brother": Sam in "Skin" by astri13 (September 2006); archive link
- On the Rebound: Sam in "Hook Man" by astri13 (June 2006); archive link
- Sam Meta: Bugs by kronette (October 2006); archive link
- The End of Innocence: Sam in "Home" by briarwood (July 2006); archive link
- I Had a Crappy Guidance Councillor: Sam in "Asylum" by estel-willow (July 2006); archive link
- Sam in "Scarecrow: How the Hell Would You Know How I Feel? by missyjack (October 2006); archive link
- Sam the Believer by kronette (October 2006); archive link
- Sam in "Route 666" by missyjack (September 2006); archive link
- The Road Not Taken: Sam in "Nightmare" by briarwood (September 2006); archive link
- on Sam's powers by dunkle_feuer (July 2006); archive link
- Action Hero: Sam in "Benders" by astri13 (August 2006); archive link
- A Shadow over Us: Sam in "Shadow" by missyjack (September 2006); archive link
- Just Havin' Some Fun: Sam in "Hell House" by briarwood (September 2006); archive link
- This Isn’t About You: Sam in Something Wicked by embroiderama (September 2006); archive link
- Marry That Girl: Sam in "Provenance" by astri13 (September 2006); archive link
- Daaaaaaaad: Sam in "Dead Man's Blood" by astri13 (September 2006); archive link
- Carry On, My Wayward Son: Sam in "Salvation" by candygramme (September 2006); archive link
- Devil's Trap--Sam by kronette (May 2006); archive link
- Sam and the Demon by dodger-winslow (June 2006); archive link
- SPN Meta: Sammy's Choice ... Triumph or Failure? by dodger_winslow (May 2006); archive link
- Sam: Allowance for Us All by sargraf (November 2006); archive link
- Hands Off My Brother, Bitch: Sam in "Bloodlust" by astri13 (November 2006); archive link
- Sam in "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" by marinarusalka (November 2006); archive link
- I’m One of Them - Sam in Simon Said by embroiderama (November 2006); archive link
- Sam: Comforter Extraordinaire, out of coffee by kkscatnip (December 2006); archive link
- The Killer in Me: Sam in "Croatoan" by missyjack (January 2007); archive link
- Post-Hunted Sam meta by weesta (January 2007); archive link
- My Turn to Fall Apart: Sam in "Playthings" by marinarusalka (February 2007); archive link
- Sam in "Nightshifter" by briarwood (February 2007); archive link
- Sam and the Concept of the True Believer by dodger-winslow (February 2007); archive link
- The Killer in Me: Sam in "Born Under a Bad Sign" by stellamira (March 2007); archive link
- My dark heart: Sam in Heart by missyjack (April 2007); archive link
- Sam's girls: werewolves, rebels, detectives (and a gutsy secretary from Peoria) by dotfic (March 2007); archive link
- Sam Winchester has stared into the abyss ... and the abyss is looking back (Untitled) by erinrua (March 2007); archive link
- The Importance of Being Sammy by cala-jane (May 2007); archive link
- Wayward Son - Sam in 2x21 All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1 by slaysvamps (June 2007); archive link
- Shades of the Father: Sam in 3.4 by erinrua (November 2007); archive link
- Sam in Season 3 by girlwonder (November 2007); archive link
- It’s my choice: Why I believe in Sam Winchester by tahirire (March 2009); archive link
- Why Sam is not going darkside but he may end up wearing spandex by missyjack (March 2009); archive link
- General Sam meta and thoughts on S4 by ginzai (May 2009); archive link
- Sam in Season 4 by quarterwhore (August 2009); archive link
- Rockstars, hunters and addiction by fannishliss (September 2009); archive link
- Sam Winchester, YOU KILL ME by blahbaby (October 2009); archive link
- Sam's Anger by monicawoe (April 2010); archive link
- Cracking the Enigma which is Post-Hell!Sam (circa S6) by zimshan (October 2010); archive link
- Soulless Sam - The Real S6 Enigma, Part One + Part Two by Far Away Eyes (June 2011); archive link pt1, archive link pt2
- ‘Not Normal. Safe.’ - Why S8!Sam Makes Sense in Context of his History & in Relation to Dean by zimshan (October 2012); archive link
- Sam Winchester, Demon Blood, Vampires, and Childhood Sexual Assault by mayaofthemountain (May 2013); archive link
- Sam Winchester: Marginal Man by bold-sartorial-statement (June 2013); archive link
- Demon Blood Addiction and How Sam Winchester Gets Juiced Up by bunsoldblog (June 2013); archive link
- Sam has almost no meaningful possessions of his own by alethiometry (July 2013); archive link
- The Sam of Sam: Constants and the soul by despitetheabundance (July 2013); archive link
- The Hero’s Journey in Supernatural Season 8 (or: “Why Sam Winchester has to Die”) by someoneworthfinding (July 2013); archive link
- See and Believe: The Christ Narrative of Sam Winchester by jimmynovaks (July 2013); archive link
- The Twelve Disciples of the American Messiah by kennedyclintonkat (July 2013); archive link
- Coddling vs Control by safiyabat (August 2013); archive link
- Sam is written as like a female character by theongreyjoy (August 2013); archive link
- Sam Winchester Unworthy on the Inverted Cross by abstractedcharm (August 2013); archive link
- On Sam’s sucky childhood by waterbird13 (September 2013); archive link
- Sam does NOT have Antisocial Personality Disorder by fuckyeahlucifersupernatural (September 2013); archive link
- The Holy Grail is Not for You: Sam Winchester as Lancelot by sarasarai (September 2013); archive link
- Is Sam the failure Dean claims he is? by brightly-lit (October 2013); archive link
- Sam and Death by magickstiel (October 2013); archive link
- A Rock and a Sam Place by safiyabat (November 2013); archive link
- brief meta on Sam being demiromantic by mustiep999 [bossydean], bangingpatchouli (December 2013); archive link
- Sam as a messianic figure, for or against? by waterbird13 (January 2014); archive link
- “Sammy is a Chubby Twelve-Year-Old” - On the Significance of Wording and Dean’s Inability to Let Go by dustydreamsanddirtyscars (January 2014); archive link
- The internalization of Sam by augustdean (January 2014); archive link
- The Emasculation of Sam Winchester by minorkeepsakes (January 2014); archive link
- Sam & 9x14 - The Storm Off by queernatural (February 2014); archive link
- “You didn’t save me for me. You did it for you.” (An explanation) by podalecki (February 2014); [http://web.archive.org/web/20170215024620/http://podalecki.tumblr.com/post/75713998383/you-didnt-save-me-for-me-you-did-it-for-you archive link
- Sam Winchester vs The Heart of the Show: Why Sam Winchester is unsympathetic by ash48 (February 2014); archive link
- It’s Not Paranoia If They Really Are All Out To Get You by safiyabat (February 2014); archive link
- On Sam’s victimisation (cw: abuse, addiction, sexual assault) by waterbird13 (February 2014); [https://web.archive.org/web/20180902164510/http://waterbird13.tumblr.com/post/77950173814/theres-a-girl-she-lives-with-someone-shes-very archive link
- Do you understand how fucking amazingly impressive it is that Sam is even able to grasp the concept of standing up for himself? (Untitled) by waterbird13 (April 2014); archive link
- Sam Winchester and Demisexuality by twinkjaredarchived-blog (December 2013); revised version by bottomnoctis (May 2014); archive link, revised version archive link
- Untitled meta on Sam’s demon blood addiction read as a parallel for the 80s AIDS crisis by pocochina (July 2014); archive link
- The non-agreement by spnmonster (July 2014); archive link
- Untitled meta on Sam in the s7/s8 hiatus by rainbofiction (August 2014); archive link
- Carver Era Sam by rainbofiction
- Let’s Talk About Sam’s Childhood? by rainbofiction (December 2014); archive link
- Demisexual and queer Sam by kerasines [kimchesters] (November 2014); archive link
- Sam Winchester and Control by laugh-while-crying (December 2014); archive link
- Random thoughts on Sam and Clowns by foolscapper (December 2014); archive link
- "What are Sam's distinctive traits? Why isn't he just a foil for Dean?" by themegalosaurus (February 2015); archive link **"he's able to keep it together sufficiently to refuse Famine's secondary temptation (a whole bonanza of demons) and save the day."
- Sam's "hobbies" by chuckwinchester (February 2015); archive link
- Sam is more reserved, there is simply nothing to really show you because it’s all goes inside him (Untitled) by yaelstiel (March 2015); archive link
- Sam and personal possessions by faithsammy, themegalosaurus, nerdylittleshit (June 2015); archive link
- Sam stopped making connections because between Lucifer and Dean how can he by osointricate, rainbofiction (June 2015); archive link
- Sam Winchester and Chronic Pain by samimsorry (July 2015); archive link
- Sam is scared of Lucifer for good reasons: a recap by hazeldomain (May 2016); archive link
- I’d like the show to acknowledge that Sam matters (Untitled) by chasingparallax (May 2016); archive link
- the “and Sam” line now genuinely bothers me on Sam’s behalf that God treated him as an afterthought to Dean (untitled) by elizabethrobertajones (May 2017); archive link
- The Development of Sam’s Quests by missjackil (September 2017); archive link
- Sam Winchester: The Reluctant Hero by missjackil (November 2017); archive link
- Sam & Hunting by idontneedasymbol (February 2018); archive link
- Sam and Torture (February 2018); archive link
- I’m still Feeling Things about that conversation between Rowena and Sam (Untitled) by obsessionisaperfume (February 2018); archive link
- Lost Childhood with Scoobynatural: Part 2 Sam by teamfreewillbettertogether (April 2018); archive link 1, archive link 2
- Untitled thoughts about Sam and Jack in 13.03 by veryslowreader, tasteslikemolecules (October 2019); archive link
- Sam’s PTSD by tasteslikemolecules (November 2019); archive link
Archives and External Links
- Sam Winchester works on ff.net
- Sam Winchester works on Ao3
- Supernatural Fic on Delicious tagged with Sam (defunct)
- abused_sammy (inactive)
- entirelysammy (inactive)
- Sammyed Away (inactive)
- Sam Winchester page at the Supernatural Wiki
- Sam Winchester at Fandom.com Supernatural Wiki
- From the essay on Sam by ignipes at Idol Reflection.
- 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.
- 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.
- For example,  2019 (Accessed 12 December 2019) by supernaturalwiki.com.
- 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.