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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Dean Winchester: A Bruised and Battered Hero

An old TV Guide blog:

Abraham Lincoln said, "And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years."


Dale Turner said, "Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future."


Oscar Wilde said, "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."



Sorry I've been off the boards lately, life and work will take their pound of flesh, as all of you know. Also, much as I love the reruns of the episodes and immerse myself in every one when they air, I found myself lacking in inspiration, not about the show per se, and certainly not about about Dean. Never gonna happen, my fellow obsessives. It was more that as I sought meaningful subject matter I began to realize that I didn't want to be repetitive and just reiterate the same lovely, wonderful qualities of our show and our Winchester men...wait, who am I kidding? Forget that. 

Now, where was I? Ah, inspiration. Well, as usual the Jensen Ackles Fans site provided some food for thought. They had clips from interviews that Jensen and Jared did for the Japanese press (as a Japanese American, nothing thrilled me more than hearing Jensen and Jared extend greetings to their dubbing counterparts there. Jensen did a pretty decent job of trying to not only pronounce the actor's name, but also the very polite Japanese greeting of "konichiwa" which basically means, "how are you?"). In it, Jensen describes Dean in a way that I totally loved. He said that both Sam and Dean are "reluctant heroes, bruised and battered heroes" and that Dean especially, "wears the scars and the beat up shield and the wisdom and everything that he's learned on his chest, but he's also first to fire off the shot and come in guns blazing then think about what he's doing later ". It's not so much that this is news to those of us who follow the mythology and our beloved brothers, but what I loved about the statement was that it came from Jensen himself and it made me think about Dean and how battle weary he is for a very young man,{C}{C}

The above quote from Abraham Lincoln was a marvelous way to illustrate how much life is in the very short years that both Sam and Dean have lived. Just by being 4 years older, Dean has amassed an amazing wealth of experience, maybe not ones that any parent would want for their young children, but Dean has them nonetheless so as far as the life in his years, he does surpass Sam as well. I also love that this quote mirrors the Raiders of the Lost Ark line, "It's not the years, it's the mileage" and boy, has Dean clocked a lot of mileage. Though I know that Sam and Dean probably get beat up relatively equally across seasons, (a real dedicated fan like CindyRose might actually try to "do the numbers" and I might, at which time I'll share the results with you), there are times when I think that Dean gets way more than his share of battering. If anyone can claim to be a battered and bruised hero, it's Dean.{C}{C}

I also agree that Dean has wisdom beyond his years. It doesn't always materialize in earth shattering pearls of knowledge or in any proverbial way, but he does demonstrate them. Sam has book intellect and Dean has experiential intellect. A great example of that is in Devil's Trap when Sam is trying to get Dean to see that maybe their father was dead and that the right thing to do would be to kill the yellow-eyed demon, that it was that mission that their father would want them to pursue, not going off to save him. Yet despite all the evidentiary arguments Sam throws at Dean, Dean listens to his instincts and his experience. Family first, everything else second. He even tells this to Sam in Salvation that though he wants to waste the demon, it's not worth sacrificing Sam's life or their dad's. That's where he draws the line.{C}{C}

This same wisdom and instinct came through in Born Under a Bad SIgn twice, with Jo when he said it wasn't that he knew Sam was possessed, but more that he knew what Sam was doing wasn't him. Such a BIG distinction in that statement. Dean didn't even try to ascertain whether Sam was possessed, he just knew that this wasn't the Sam he knows and loves so something was inherently wrong, that Sam's actions were suspect, but not Sam himself. Again, despite evidence to the contrary, Dean trusts his instincts and the intellect that has been drawn from his life's experience. The second time was when Sam questioned Dean's decision not to shoot him and Dean said it was a good choice because he wasn't him. A determination he made based on wisdom and knowing his brother. Again, he trusts his belief in his brother to know that actions don't make the core of the man evil, just evilly influenced and it's the influence that needs to be dealt with, not the man. Throwing the baby out with the bath water, proverbially speaking.{C}{C}

Dean taps so much of his world weary experience into everything he does, sometimes, he strays from his certainties like he did in early Season 2. Instead of trusting his belief in Sam, he let his father's secret create the doubt. I liken it to when I was in a writer's block. I was self-editing, not allowing my thoughts to truly be expressed. I was questioning myself and the more I did, the less I wrote until I stopped. Dean began to distrust the foundations from which he was forged. He began to question, "How could the brother I know be anyone or anything else?", "How can my father even suggest that I might have to kill my brother?". Once he realized that no matter what, the rules were still the same, family first, humanity over inhumanity, trust over distrust, saving over killing, he came back to the conclusion that he was still Sam's protector, that no other resolution but saving him could be accepted and he became as dogged about that as he had in the past. 

Battered, bruised, tortured, anguished, stronger, better, more powerful. That's Dean.