Happy Birthday, Dean Winchester – A Year Later, I Still Miss You

Last year was the first year that on his birthday, I wrote about missing Dean Winchester. I thought maybe that would also be the last time I celebrated his birthday; that by the next year, he would be put on a shelf, remembered always but as a cherished part of my past.

Instead, it’s January 24, 2022 and I am still missing Dean Winchester.

I know how grief works, how it’s a process that eventually results not in letting go of who or what you love, but slotting it into a place where you can remember and love always but also move on and love other things. I thought, by this time, maybe I’d have fallen head over heels for another fictional character, another TV show or book or movie. I thought everyone else would have too – and that’s certainly what happened for many of my friends. Some people I met and became good friends with in the Supernatural fandom did move on, either to other shows and characters or away from fandom all together.

That’s never easy for me – I am beyond thrilled for them, but change is hard and I sometimes wish we were “all in this together” as it felt for so many years as a Supernatural fan. That we might not agree about where we wanted the show to go or who was our favorite character, but we all watched together and cared about Supernatural.  I tend to be pretty fandom monogamous, and it seems my love for Dean Winchester and Supernatural is very much alive and well fourteen months after the series wrapped.

But guess what? That’s okay. This is a post of gratitude, not sadness. I am so happy to be able to say that my love for Dean hasn’t waned in the past year, and I’m even happier to say that I’m not alone in that.  My timeline may not be as overwhelmingly Supernatural as it was when the show was airing, but it’s still full of gorgeous pictures and gifs of Dean Winchester doing what he does best – saving people, hunting things. Protecting the people he loves. Sometimes bloody, sometimes brave. Sometimes scared, sometimes vulnerable. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.

Always, to me, endlessly fascinating.

I’m so grateful that there are other fans who are still as in love with Supernatural as ever and still want to talk about it.  Grateful for the online book club that has read Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and my other books on Supernatural, and to all the Supernatural actors who joined in over the past year to talk about the chapters they wrote (pretty sure Jensen Ackles made a lot of people’s day when his chapter was discussed.)

Grateful for my little rewatch group who are watching the show from the beginning. I’m so enjoying writing reviews of those early seasons so that this website will have a review of every single episode. Grateful for the facebook chats and discord groups and twitter DMs that give me a space to gush as much as I want about why yes, Dean Winchester IS still the most fascinating, complex, compelling fictional character of all time, thank you very much.

I’m grateful to everyone who follows this blog and comments on these posts, and to everyone who chats and shares and laughs and cries together on twitter and tumblr and Instagram and facebook. Grateful to the talented creative fans still writing the most amazing fanfiction and creating the most amazing art and taking con videos and photos and sharing with all of us. I was so afraid there would be no new content once the show ended and that hasn’t happened; I am thankful for that every single day.

I’m also really grateful that the people who love the Winchesters as much as I do and brought them to life so brilliantly have not forgotten them either. Jared and Jensen’s chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and Family Don’t End With Blood are all about how much these characters and this show and this fandom have meant to them, and what they hope the Winchesters’ legacy will be. I knew that they didn’t want to let these characters go, but I still worried – I’m so glad they have found a way to throw themselves into new characters and projects while still hanging onto their love for Sam and Dean.

When Jensen says, “Dean is not gone, he’s right here, I’ve got him”, I believe him. When Jared says Sam will always be a part of him, or Misha writes poetry from Castiel’s point of view, I know that’s true for them too.

And I’m so grateful.

I’m celebrating all the exciting new ventures that have been undertaken since Supernatural wrapped, settling in with the queso and a warm blanket on Thursdays for a new episode of Walker with Jared. Anticipating Jensen joining The Boys, which I’ve loved from the start, with a new character we will undoubtedly love to hate. Reading Misha’s poetry and watching him roadtrip across the US with Roadfood. I’m so happy for all of them, and for us, that we get to have these new things.

But make no mistake, I miss Dean Winchester.

I miss Supernatural.

I love knowing Robbie Thompson is busy writing more Supernatural verse with ‘The Winchesters’ and that Dean Winchester will at the very least be narrating some of that show if it comes to be. Even if it doesn’t, I love knowing that Jensen wanted it to. I love that they still want to talk about and celebrate and remember the show and the characters I’ll never stop loving.

So happy birthday, Dean Winchester. I still miss you. But mostly, I’m grateful that you exist. The beauty of a fictional character is that they can live on forever. We’ve got fifteen seasons of getting to know Dean and who he is and what he cares about and how he fights and grieves and persists and loves. We’ve got sixteen years and counting of fanworks that celebrate and explore and share the beauty of that character and what makes him tick (according to each and every person who shares their head canon with the rest of us). We’ve got Jensen Ackles, who was so instrumental in making Dean who he is and helping us all fall in love with him, still reassuring us that “Dean’s right here, I’ve got him.”

I don’t think any other fictional character will ever capture my imagination and inspire my devotion like Dean Winchester.

And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Lynn

You can remember and celebrate what

the Winchesters and Supernatural meant

and the legacy they leave with chapters by

actors and fans in There’ll Be Peace When

You Are Done and Family Don’t End With

Blood. Links on the home page or at:

Happy Birthday, Dean Winchester – We Miss You!

You know how they say you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone? Or that you don’t know how much you love something/someone until you don’t have them anymore?

Yeah. It’s true. I’ve known for fifteen years that I was madly in love with Dean Winchester, but even knowing that, I truly didn’t know how much I was going to miss him when he was gone. I took for granted that I’d always be able to “see” him, that I could keep discovering his character and his story, little by little as time went on. I underestimated how wonderful it was to be endlessly fascinated by a fictional character and have the privilege of learning who he was, in bits and pieces and often-covered-up glimpses of the ‘real’ Dean Winchester, over the course of years and years and years. There was a reality to that discovery, in that it played out gradually, just like it does with people in our actual lives. And thanks to Jensen Ackles’ brilliant portrayal, there was a reality to everything about Dean Winchester that made him real to many of us.

That made him very hard to lose.

I thought that 2020 would be the last time I wished Dean happy birthday; I knew that he wouldn’t exist in the present by 2021. But right now I find myself needing to write about him again. It’s part of grieving the loss of something/someone important, that we want to hang onto our memories of them and remember why they were so important to us. I don’t want to forget him, not ever. And since fictional characters never needed our real-life validation, it doesn’t make any difference whether Dean ‘exists’ in the present or not – remembering him is for me. I miss him, and reminding myself of all the reasons why I love  him helps me feel just a little bit better.

This could be a really long article if I tried to make an exhaustive list of what I love about Dean Winchester, so I’ll keep it short. Top five reasons why I will always love Dean Winchester.

One, I love his complexity. That’s due to Eric Kripke, who created him and wrote him for the first five seasons, and to Jensen Ackles’, who brought him to life in a way that was even more vivid than what was written on the page. It took me a whole season to fall for Dean Winchester; at first, I dismissed him a little as a stereotypical ‘bad boy’ type, a little too brash. Pretty on the surface but too stereotypical underneath. (Forgive me, I was only watching because a friend insisted, so clearly I wasn’t paying enough attention!) When Season 2 began, I suddenly realized that I had misjudged the show, and the brothers. I remember watching Dean, leaning against the Impala, break down and confide to Sam that he was not at all okay, tears glistening in his eyes, voice breaking. I let the papers I was grading slide to the floor and said out loud, “how did I not realize this show was amazing?”   But it was also Dean, and Jensen’s willingness to show his character’s vulnerability, that made me fall head over heels for Supernatural.

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Are These Twenty Things Wrong with Sam and Dean?

 

There’s an article over on ScreenRant  provocatively titled “20 Things Wrong with Sam and Dean Everyone Chooses to Ignore” which has a lot of people talking today. I rarely weigh in on other people’s articles because everyone has a right to their own opinion when it comes to this fictional show and these fictional characters – your interpretation, my interpretation, YMMV. And considering its provocative title, the controversy is probably exactly what the author was going for. A number of people have weighed in in the comments and made some very good points, so I also don’t want to belabor those points, but I will admit that when I got to the No. 1 thing I started shaking my head so fast I nearly gave myself whiplash. Then a few people asked me to weigh in with my psychologist hat on, so I thought, why not. However, my fangirl hat is definitely on as well, so I look sort of funny right now balancing two hats at once.

Anyway, let’s touch on these one at a time. I don’t disagree with everything in the article, but I do have a different viewpoint on some of the assertions.

20. They always come back to life. More a criticism of the writers than Sam and Dean, who even if they were real and had any agency, most likely wouldn’t be the ones to blame for this. Yes, it dilutes the emotional power of death scenes somewhat, but it also keeps a show on the air for 14 seasons. (Also I still sobbed like a baby when Sam died in the tunnels last season and Dean couldn’t save him, both while I watched it be filmed and when I saw it onscreen. I as a viewer may know that Sam will be back, but Dean the character does not know any such thing, and it was in empathy for him that I sobbed. Like a lot.)

19. Dean’s history with women. Is it problematic? Sure. Not in all the ways asserted here, I don’t think. But what I quibble with here most is the assertion that “it’s an aspect of Dean that fans try to ignore.” Not in my fannish circles, that’s for sure! I have a new book coming out all about the evolution of female characters on Supernatural, so my perspective may be a bit skewed, but we’ve all been talking about this since Season 1, way back on Live Journal meta commentary communities.

18. Sam always gets knocked out. Okay, I kinda agree with this one. My reviews often contain rants about Sam or Dean not being the smart and capable hunters we know they are. It’s a contrivance that keeps the story going, but it can create some head scratching.

17. Dean idolizes their abusive father. I think that was true at one time, but not any more. That’s been part of Dean’s evolution as a character, coming to terms with his idolization of both John and Mary. The thing is, it’s not unrealistic. I’ve worked with many children whose parents were a lot more overtly abusive than John, but the children still love the parents. We’re wired that way; we’ll do whatever mental gymnastics we have to do in order to maintain our view of our parents as people who love us and will take care of us. The alternative is just too terrifying. The way Dean was raised, he had to step up early on and push things like anger and disappointment and longing for love out of the way in order to survive, and to ensure that Sam survived. A defensive blanket acceptance of everything John Winchester told him was the perfect way to do that. However, Dean hasn’t been frozen there; he sees both his parents now more as flawed humans whose motives and behavior can be questioned instead of blindly accepted.

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Supernatural VanCon 2014!

j2 smiles best

The first con of the new season is always special as fans make the pilgrimage to Vancouver, basically a Supernatural fan’s Mecca. Many of us haven’t seen each other in a long time – reunions happen about every ten seconds at VanCon, with squeals of happiness and enthusiastic hugs and, if you’re lucky, a chance to grab a drink and catch up with someone else who fans the Show just like you do. I cherished the opportunity to meet so many people who I chat with online in person – and relished every fangirl hug. I wish I’d had about a hundred more hours so I could have done even more catching up!

And it’s not just the fans. There’s an energy to VanCon that’s different from other cons – an almost manic energy, because it’s been so long since the fans and the cast have been face to face. At this point, eight years of conventions behind them, the actors seem almost as excited to see the fans again as we are (most definitely) excited to see them. We’ve been enduring what seems like an endless Hellatus, but now the Show is filming again, which leaves fandom bursting with curiosity and anticipation – and makes for some excellent questions. The series regulars are quite good at knowing just what they can and can’t answer, so it also makes for some excellent responses. No real spoilers, but plenty of tantalizing hints. If it’s possible (and I didn’t think it was), I’m even MORE excited about Season 10 now!

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Love, Loss and Why It’s Cool to be a Fangirl: Supernatural 8.20 Pac Man Fever

Pac-Man Fever

If I’d written my reaction to “Pac Man Fever” right after the episode aired, it would have sounded something like this: SQUEEEEEE OMG SQUEEEEE SAMMY! DEAN! CHARLIE! I LOVE YOU ROBBIE THOMPSON! SOBBING FOREVER! ALL THE FEELS! After my third viewing, the emotional impact is still something that deserves all caps, but I think I’m composed enough to command the English language once again. Mostly.

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