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Winchester Family Meta

Haven`t stretched my meta muscles in a while, so mini-meta incoming. :) It`s just I`ve been reading so much of "Dean is just like his Dad" over the last few days and it always baffles me.



Fire and Water or Fathers and Sons

Disclaimer: This is not a bashing or saintifying of either Winchester men. I just think that Dean is a whole different personality type than John. Or Sam. It`s difficult to say under their strenuous living conditions but I`d say Sam and John share the same temperament. Which is why they always clashed. :)

In Season 1 we got one flashback to when the kids were still pretty young so it is hard to gauge their personalities from that. Young!Dean was a lot more subdued and quiet than I would have thought and Wee!Sam was too catatonic to get much of a read on anything frankly. ;-)

We didn`t get any real-time flashback to teenage Dean and Sam but we had "Dead Man`s Blood" aka the Family Picnic from hell. And we had lots of little clues in other episodes to get a pretty accurate picture of how things were before Sam left for Stanford. I`m guessing when Sam hit puberty things got heated in whatever house, flat or motel room the Winchesters were currently residing. Dad gave an order, Sam threw his favorite book at him "Mutiny on the Bounty" :-p - figuratively speaking of course - and Dean tried to mediate. Does this mean they never had any good moments or moments were Sam and John got along and Dean was sullen? Of course not. Nothing is that clear cut. But neither John nor Sam ever made a big secret out of the fact that they were fighting often and loudly.

And why? See above, same basic temper. They obviuosly didn`t share the same goals or view on how things had to be done but they were similar in not backing down for the sake of peace.
Now if Dean were the same way, that would mean we`d had three men with this temper. They would have killed each other long before Sam graduated, heck long before Dean graduated. After all they had a weapon`s arsenal. :)

As a long time middle (wo)man in my family, that would not work. The mediator quite simply can`t allow him- or herself to be stubborn or short-tempered. But you can`t help it altogether if that is in your core personality. It will shine through and it wouldn`t allow you NOT to scream and yell at both of them to STFU and just get along. Does anybody see Dean do that? Out loud? Because I sure as hell don`t. Did he want to? Quite probably.

Now picture John or Sam as a mediator in their family, have either Dean and Sam or Dean and John got at it like DMB John and Sam did. Would either John or Sam behave and react like Dean did? I really, really don`t think so because it`s not how they are in relation to each other.
Sam is gentle and empathetic to the PiPs and in Season 2 he tries a lot hard with Dean but still his basic Sam-ness shows in how he deals with his brother. And that actually is kind of a given because well, he is Sam. He would have acted completely different in trying to get the other two to stop fighting. As would John have.

So if Dean is right now reacting badly to his loss and the big retarded secret, angry and irritated, short-tempered with random PiP, that still doesn`t mean that his personality has completely changed. Am I to believe that first half of Season 1 Sam was his "real" self?
Or was it because his actions in "Croatoan"? The more than questionable set-up aside Dean always was ready to do the things that had to be done, to make the hard decisions. Would John have taken charge in "Croatoan" and did the same? Sure. I`d react the same way as my mother in certain situations but personality-wise she is day and I`m night.

If I had to attribute elements to them I`d give John and Sam fire - no pun intended and Dean water. Water can be a terrible force, destroying everything in its wake but it is also more prone to give way, to soothe. And it`s also why I see both John-Dean and Sam-Dean working well as units, they contemplate each other. While John-Sam-Dean had an imbalance of fire to water which translated to being more of a powder keg. :)
Fire needs the soothing of the water, water needs the warmth of the fire. And just because both can destroy and the end results can look pretty much the same way still doesn`t mean it IS the same.
So okay Dean`s water might be boiling every now and then but that doesn`t actually make it fire, that makes it air. :)

And I will stop with the over-dramatic imagery right now.

Comments

( 3 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
andromakhe001
Dec. 20th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
Amen, Astri. I want to scream everytime I see it. Dean and John clearly have very different personalities. Dean and Sam clearly have very different personalities. That's why Dean and John worked and Dean and Sam worked but John and Sam DID NOT work. That's why John could say of Dean in IMToD that he "never complained". It's why Sam could say in Salvation that he always knew he could count on Dean.

Dean's reasons for acting like he is now, as badly set up as Croatoan was, are coming from an entirely different place and in any case it isn't like John or Sam. It's like Dean. And I think that's why Sam had such a hard time with it esp. at first. He was using himself as a guide and it just wouldn't work because Dean's coming from such a different place personality-wise. Whereas Dean had experience of getting outside himself for it with Sam, not only just from dealing with Sam but from dealing with his dad.

One thing I think we've seen now is that while Sam is gentle and empathetic with the PiP's oftentimes it's not necessarily coming from a very deep place.(see The Usual Suspects for an example). That doesn't mean that Sam doesn't feel for them just like just because Dean doesn't go overboard on the sympathy doesn't mean that Dean doesn't feel for them most of the time - but it does mean that Sam's better at putting on a show and seeming to care, in their eyes, more than he probably does. He and Dean most likely aren't caring, most of the time, more or less than the other.

(Anonymous)
Dec. 20th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
Dean and John clearly have very different personalities. Dean and Sam clearly have very different personalities.

Exactly. I mean look at ImtoD, both John and Sam clearly made an effort to get along at first but once Bobby tipped Sam off on the lying thing things go BOOM. And within two sentences off Sam yelling John goes BOOM too.

It`s not how Dean would have reacted if he came back from Bobby with the ingredients. That`s just not him. It`s not how things escalate with him. He has completely different trigger points than John or Sam.

And I think that's why Sam had such a hard time with it esp. at first. He was using himself as a guide and it just wouldn't work because Dean's coming from such a different place personality-wise.

That`s a good point. Sam while really genuinely trying to help thinks about what would bother him or make him angry, projects on Dean and works from there. He is trying to fix a tummyache but it`s Dean`s head that bothers Dean. No matter it all goes over so well. :)
The thing that usually works is Dean`s universal trigger point, when Sam points out that he`s hurting Sam with his behaviour aka in CspwdT outside the father`s house. That makes Dean cave. But things like Gordon otoh are pretty widely off the mark.

Whereas Dean had experience of getting outside himself for it with Sam, not only just from dealing with Sam but from dealing with his dad.

That`s where Dean is the more "trained" empath IMO. After all you have to learn how to read others and their needs if you want to fulfill them 24/7.

Caring-wise I agree. Sam is more gentle and tactful which makes sense because of his desire to fit in. He just doesn`t like to stand out and make a scene. He wants to belong.
Dean doesn`t have that urge and if people annoy him or if he thinks they`re useless idiots he lets them know. It`s not that he always puts on an obnoxious act everywhere. Otherwise they could never go eat in public or do a thousand other things.

They have the same concern for innocents in peril and bond accordingly with those they feel a special kinship too. Also normal.
I just think Dean`s anger at the moment lends itself more into their occasional good cop, bad cop role playing. Did Dean get a bit rough with certain PiPs in the last episodes? Sure but when he was one his own like with the roommate in Cspwdt he was able to dial it down.

And sometimes they can be equally rude and dismissive. That poor lawyer guy in Usual Suspects? He looked like he was honestly trying to do his job but nobody would let him. I admit I found it funny. *g*
astri13
Dec. 20th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
Argh, forgot to log my ass in again after clearing out my cookies to vote for SPN at tv.com. *facepalm*
That was me of course.
( 3 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )