The Road So Far; Saving People, Hunting Thing’s, The Family Business… “Daddy Issues”

John Eric Winchester

While delving in SPNLand to write my first blog, I wanted to start at the very beginning, not with the guys but the man, the legend, the Father, John Eric Winchester. After some research, I was left with more questions than answers. The man is a mystery, a enigma, he’s just shrouded in deep, dark secrets, secrets so thick he leaves a trail of ick in his wake. Even now his inky shadow is still felt on the show, after 11 seasons the dude has relevance and power in the now, as he did then. I’ve never been a John lover, or a John Liker either. My problems were not just with his unquestionably bad parenting choices, his 22 year quest of revenge or his deplorable communication skills. I had problems with all the things that were not seen, talked of, or were blatantly ignored, but it’s still all there festering in the dark.

So let’s start unraveling, try to answer some nagging thoughts and shed a light on a few things.

John, 1972

We have never been given a date of birth for John, all that is known is he was born in 1954 to Henry and Millie Winchester in Normal, Illinois. At the age of four Henry disappeared, as a result he grew up believing his father abandoned him, his mom and took off. Unknown to him Henry jumped time to escape a Knight of Hell, Abaddon. That Henry is a legacy of the Men of Letters, a secret society of scholars of the arcane and Supernatural.

Millie later moved herself and John to Kansas  and remarried. Nothing is known of John’s mother or stepfather, most think that the stepdad was a mechanic, as John said he was just another mechanic from a family of mechanics. Speculations could be made about it, but I think Millie and the Stepdad both either died while John was a teen, or Millie died and the stepdad raised him. I think John and the stepdad didn’t get along.  Why, because when the boys were little John didn’t seek help from his mom or stepdad when Mary died, to me that means either he didn’t have anything to do with them or they were dead.  Also something fishy that makes me think the home life of John wasn’t ideal, John quit high school to join the USMC at the age of 16, of course he had to be 17 before seeing combat but he could go through boot camp and any specialty training till the day he turned 17 to be shipped out. How do I know he quit High School, #1. he was a riflemen in combat arms, instead of in communications or aviation like all high school graduates, #2. April of 1973 John and Dean met on Dean’s first time travel excursion, establishing that John just returned from service in Vietnam. He was born in 1954, in 1973 John was only 19 yr’s old. The medals and commendations John had, also establish that John served in the Marines with distinction and was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal. In his journal he had several metals & badges.. USMC Expert Rifle Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Metal, Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnam Service Metal, all these things can not be awarded within a couple weeks time of setting foot in Vietnam. The Bronze star alone is the fourth highest award for bravery, heroism and meritorious service in the US armed forces, they just don’t pass those out like candy for poo and giggles.  These types of commendations are very rarely given to the new rookies in battle, unless posthumously.

Shortly after Dean met with his parents that April of 73′ Azazel killed John, forcing Mary into making a deal for his life, her promise to let Azazel entrance in her home in 10 yr’s time.  Sometime between 1976-1978 John and Mary(Campbell) married. In 1978 both guys time traveled to save their parents from Anna. Learning that the Winchester Blood line dates all the way back to the biblical human beginning of Adam and Eve, most importantly Cain and Able. Hinted at but not explicitly said, Heaven intervened to bring John and Mary together, meaning combining two families of opposite factions together, Men of Letters and Hunter.

On January 24, 1979 Dean Winchester is born

On May 2, 1983 Samuel Winchester is born

November 2, 1983

So we’ve come to the meat of the matter. We know what happened this fateful early morning and the aftermath thereof. Without making excuses for his actions or lack of, I do believe he TRIED the best he could. Giving credit where credit is due, the dude watched his wife be incinerated on the ceiling, if that wasn’t enough discovering that all the things that, howl, bite, slither and bump in the night EXIST and want his family dead would tremendously strain anyone’s sanity. Talk about a head cannon, just for not being a blithering mess of psycho in the happiest little nut ward in Kansas he deserves a nod of appreciation.  That’s about used up all my credit for John, from now on it’s all my issues with the old man.

Daddy Issues

First I had a huge problem with John just up and leaving and refusing all communication with his two sons. Neither son knew if he was alive or dead, killed in action, or working some overtime on his Miller-Time Shift.  I was put off that this wasn’t the only time he did so, he did this often enough that even Sam who hasn’t had contact with John for a couple years, wasn’t overly alarmed that dear old dad was MIA, even when told that Dad was on a hunting trip and hasn’t made contact, Sam wasn’t concerned. What kind of parent would do that to their children that already have problems with insecurity and abandonment and whole slew of other issues that give one twitches. IDC that these children are adults, they still feel those emotions and have problems disassociating themselves from the trauma it leaves behind. Other’s could say cut John some slack, he was suddenly and traumatically torn from his Suburban Apple Pie life, widowed by Casper, raising two young babies, and and thrust into a unfamiliar hostile territory. I say he’s had plenty of time to come to terms, make a plan and stop flying by the seat of his dang pants. He chose the lifestyle he lived, his sons did not. Part of being an adult is being the responsible one and taking the hard road and making the harder choices. If that means living in the home you built with your beloved wife and raising her sons, and going hunting while your children are being watched by Ned & Nancy Neighbor in the home you both built. You do it. You don’t quit yur job,  uproot your babies, hightail it out of town in the middle of the night and live a life of a unfettered single man on the road, while hunting down the thing that roasted your wife on the ceiling like it was a barbecue from Topsy Turvy Wonderland.

Second I have another beef with him leaving two young kids {Dean was 9 or 10} to fend for themselves for WEEKS, with no one to turn too, in a seedy motel somewhere, BFE, with limited funds, food and security, except a 45 and a stipulation to shoot first, talk later. WHAT?! What rotted worm crawled in his head and thought that was a great idea? He did it countless times, not once as a fluke and in a bind cause he didn’t of  have any option. NO he did it countless times for days at a time sometimes weeks! WTF dude, even a crazed,  drugged out tweeker would know that’s just not the done thing. I have a 12 and 11 yr old, they can not be left alone for over 2 hours, why because they are still to young to realize that they have limits. They are still somewhat irresponsible and come up with freaking outrageous ideas. But they are still kids, they still have that superhero quality mentality. They still believe they are indestructible, thinking they are great scientists in the bathroom mixing; soap, water, this, that and apricot jelly gives you invisibility. Yes, they did. Yes, huge mess.  3 hours of incredibly dumbstruck…. Oh Gwod, it’s in the medicine cabinet how the hell did it get in there? Who knew that that would stain rugs? Why did you need 3 rolls of toilet paper? If the toilet overflows so help me…huh it cleans the toilet?! OMG, you put it on the cat? Yeah, no kidding he disappeared. No, he’s not invisible. Yes, I’m sure. No, he didn’t become invisible. Yes, I’m sure. No, he’s hiding. Just leave him alone. I said leave him alone. For the third time leave the cat alone, he will come out when he’s ready. If you get scratched, I’m not listening to it. NO! You will not put him in his carrier for time out. You got scratched for being a douche. Yes, I can call you that, when you act like it. No, you can not call others a douche. Because I said so. Please take the dog outside. No, don’t let her drink the water. NO, SHE WILL NOT DISAPPEAR! If she yaks that up, I’m so done.  No, I don’t want to patent it. No, I don’t think it will sell. No, you won’t be rich. Why? Because it stinks, it stains and cat’s are allergic to it… cleaning.

Children ages 8 and 12 are not equipped to handle the responsibilities of staying long periods of time all alone, let along watching another younger child. Even the most responsible child has times where they shirk all of it and do what they like. IE Dean in Something Wicked leaving for a bit while Sam was asleep to go play video games in the hotel diner.  He just needed to do kid things, he was a good kid he wasn’t bad, he just had to be free for a bit to recharge. He relaxed, had fun, and came back. He didn’t know what John was hunting, he didn’t know the Shtriga would harm him or his brother. All John said was he was going to be gone for awhile, don’t answer the door for anyone other than him, take care of his brother and shoot first, talk later. Very vague, very few directives and not very many details. I do know that was the last time Dean ever acted like a child himself and had done anything he wasn’t told or supposed to. Dean said after that incident John looked at him different. I think this was the first time John realized Dean wasn’t a solider but just a kid…his kid. I can can’t forget the look of utter defeat, guilt, shock and disappointment Dean had on his face when he was just smiling, happy and carefree a moment ago.

                                     The Bad Dad Look…
You see the hurt in his eyes… Bad Dad…you should never make you child look like this, no matter what. He’s 10, Dad. He’s not a green solider, but a 10 year old boy.

 

I have a problem that he made Dean see himself as a useless grunt, who wouldn’t amount to anything except fodder for the battlefield. I resent that Sam had to choose to either go away to school to better himself and find his happily ever after or live on the road like the old man. I resent that John was so hellbent on hunting down the thing that killed his wife he neglected and mistreated the last two people he had, that was a part of her.

I really resent that both guys show clear signs of abuse in some form. no, I don’t think he did so on a everyday basis but enough so that the guys show signs of being abused. The time Dean said after Sam had ran away on his watch, ” and when Dad came home…whoo” Dean with his outbursts of anger. His lack of sarcasm filter when dealing with victims or idiots. His total lack of patience and caring for law enforcement and authority figures; Angels, Demons, Monsters. His overpowering need to be the only one that takes on the unknown, dangerous and deadly. He over protectiveness of Sam and the innocent. His need to keep any relationships with the opposite sex very casual and unattached. His drinking enough to forget and pass out so he can sleep. His happiest memories were family, specifically Mary, and Sam.  The fact that he felt more at “Home” in a home for delinquent boys than he ever did with John. His ability to know that the demon possessed his father by four words, I’m proud of you.

Sam his ability to handle the outbursts of his brother. His ability to placate victims and get to the truth. His ability to respect most authority and work with them. To willingly step back and let Dean do it his way when push comes to shove. All the times he ran away to get away from the craziness that is their lives. His overpowering need to be normal, have a normal life. His willingness to go his own way and live alone to go to college and never come back. His happiest memories were the feeling of normalcy and of the mundane.

At the end of Devils Trap…Nothing justifies John totally ignoring a severely hurt, possibly dying Dean in the backseat and John berating Sam for his not killing him and demon. Saying that nothing is more important.

What are your thoughts? Think I’m being to harsh? This is my very first blog and though it may be a tad longer than i was thinking. What would you suggest I do do to make it easier for you. Write comments and share your opinions. Hoping to hear from you.

Jenks

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19 thoughts on “The Road So Far; Saving People, Hunting Thing’s, The Family Business… “Daddy Issues”

  1. Actually once Sam heard John was on a hunt and hadn’t called he was worried.
    What makes you think he was flying by the seat of his pants? If he communicated with his sons during a hunt he opens up the chance of the bad guys tracking the boys down.
    Neighbors who know nothing about the bump in the night in a burned home which is burned because the bad guys find them there and staying in the area opens them to danger by being easily found.
    John didn’t leave them for weeks. That’s fanon not canon. Also fanon not canon that he repeatedly left the boys alone. Other then Something Wicked the guys had a babysitter, Jim, Bobby to watch them.
    Just because your kids can’t be left alone doesn’t mean Dean wasn’t mature enough. The law says 12 year olds can be left alone for more then 2 hours. I was 10 and left alone for hours but that was before the age of coddling children protecting them from anything and everything.
    John told him to stay in the room and how is John responsible for what Dean thinks? Just because Dean thought John looked at him differently doesn’t mean John did. How do you know it was the last time Dean acted as a child? I remember him playing ball with Bobby when he was 12 which is older then 10. John’s orders weren’t vague. John’s orders were straight forward.
    Where are the signs of abuse? Fanon doesn’t count. John coming home to find a child missing doesn’t mean he abused Dean just that Dean read something into it.
    His issue at Sonny’s wasn’t with John but Sam. He didn’t want to look out for Sam but felt obligated to so.
    Yeah Sam’s childishness of running away and worrying others that he didn’t come to harm. Sam is the bad guy for running away not John or Dean.
    Dean didn’t know John was possessed just because he said I’m proud of you. He told Dean he was proud In My Time Of Dying and he wasn’t possessed. Men don’t make a habit of telling other men they love them. That is a woman thing.
    Devil’s Trap John didn’t ignore Dean. Sam told him they were close and headed to the hospital and he would of tended to Dean before getting him in the car and John was also wounded. You seem to need to blame John and only John.

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    1. I was rereading the comments you made and noted I didn’t respond to another fanon. John didn’t hunt for Azazel for revenge but to protect the boys or have you forgotten Sam’s 1st grade teacher, prom date, Brady the Lucifer showed Sam had actually been demon possessed and trying to get close to Sam. So many trying to find any excuse to blame John. I had a debate with another fan about a line Dean says in Something Wicked. I asked her to show canon that John left the boys for days/weeks. She stated Dean saying we meant only Dean and Sam. She also said John telling Dean if he wasn’t home by sun to call Jim. I told her we could of included John and the sun thing was John being cautious. Setting a date and if he wasn’t back by then to worry and get back up. She also insisted that proved John had left them alone for days. I told her we didn’t know what day John left, he left and returned in the dark so it could of been the same night. I have yet to see proof of fanon claims of abuse/neglect. When I told the 2 women who were trying to prove fanon was canon they hadn’t proven it yet as anything other then what they wanted it to be and not canon they got abusive towards me. Most who write fanfic also seem to need John to be a villain when there are enough villains going around already. John was no saint but he was a father struggling to end a danger to his sons while trying to raise his sons at the same time because he doesn’t know who to trust, who could turn enemy over night.

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  2. JDM gave a great performance as John. That being said, I could never feel the love that others have expressed for the character. His motivation in life became revenge on YED for Mary’s death. Her demise seemed to have extinguished the tenderness that was so well portrayed by Matt Cohen as young John. I cannot condemn John for the way he raised his sons, he was a black/white person. As a parent, he made the decision to focus on YED for revenge but also to protect the boys. He relied on Dean so much that Dean did not have any normalcy save the time at the boys’ detention center. Sam always looked for normalcy. In the end, John chose to save Dean at his own damnation and had such will-power as to make it through the Hell Gate to help destroy YED. It is not until John is not in the everyday lives of the brothers, that they start to develop, mature, and Dean moves away from revenge as the sole purpose. John is a necessary character to understand the beginnings, and I am not in the camp that cries to see him return.

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  3. I don’t think you were being too harsh. I’ve been angry at John since Dean called him broken and in tears in Home. I loved seeing Dean finally express his anger toward John after John passed and I love the way Dean and Bobby grew close. Dean saying that John Winchester wasn’t getting any Dad of the Year Award in The Things We Left Behind was music to my ears.

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  4. I loved what JDM bought to the role and how he became so popular with fans in such a short space of time. I loved that he was a military man as his strictness falls into place more easily. I can picture him now in that uniform. Is this why Dean looks so fine in one too? I never knew his middle name was Eric, so that’s something knew I’ve learnt today!

    I think Barb was right that John may have had some sort of break down after seeing his wife on the ceiling. It must have been a terrible shock, and can relate now why the boys end up in shock when something happens to either of them. He sort revenge so badly that he thought of nothing else night and day his head must have been so confused and parenting never really came into his head. He just gave Dean the gun and an order and hoped that would be enough protection for his sons. He was wrong, and made the wrong choice. The Winchester’s make a lot of those. He was a caring man and I saw that when he talked to Sam in season 3 about the college fund. So I often out weigh the bad parenting for that lost look in his eyes that he had a tortured soul, that could never be repaired. He was so damaged, that finding that thing was his only goal. I think training the boys was in some ways brave of him because he acted on his gut and his background to drill it into his boys, fear never crossed John he just wanted answers to Mary’s death and would stop at NOTHING! I admired John’s grit and determination to find that beast and string him up at the first opportunity. Looking back I think he realized himself he’d been a poor father and hadn’t given his kids the best start in life. But I think DEEP down John loved the boys and would do anything to protect them. Which was why Dean did all he could to save Sam its like an ever ending merry go round that never stops.

    Superb post Jenksie

    B xxx

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    1. Yes, Michael told Dean his Father’s bloodline went all the way back to first children ever Cain and Able. Which means their bloodline is directly descended from Adam and Eve. Dean and Sam were Destined to be the vessels of the him and Lucifer. Though Heaven had a three part plan for our Winchester’s when Cupid brought John and Mary together.
      #1 Vessels for Michael and Lucifer (averting the apocalypse.)
      #2 MoL & Hunter bringing together the two separate factions that fight the Supernatural.
      #3 The Ultimate Hunters to fight and contain the Darkness.

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  5. Was this bitter fate not shown to Sam in how all the important people in his life from childhood on had been placed there because Yellow Eyes had selected him before he was born to be a demon child. Rather like a designer baby selected to live or die for a purpose with DNA manipulation, or Sparta killing unsuitable babies and raising the rest for the war machine, or Hitler have designer babies breed, or even unbelievable, Stalin carrying out a program to breed women with gorillas, which failed of course.

    Is it any wonder Sam felt like a freak, plus the demon blood. He broke my heart when he confessed to Dean, after a decade, that as a child he had wanted to be a Knight in Shining Armour, but felt his demon blood made him unclean and could never be pure enough to be s Knight.

    If I understood the scene correctly, not even Dean knew this after all they both had suffered.

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    1. I believe that was his reasons for taking on the trials to close the Hell Gate. He could eradicate the remaining demon blood, purifying himself to be rid of Ol Yeller. Such heartbreaking scenes that season. Sam finally finding peace for himself after so long feeling as if he was unclean, sullied even. The one thing I felt the most for him, is even before he knew he had demon blood in him, he knew he wasn’t quite pure.

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  6. Your remarks are excellent, makes my heart bleed for Dean, and excellent review of Sam as parent of run away child Dean who suffers as well. John is also ripped apart from being what he was into a hunter.

    With physical abuse the victim may say, “I am tough, I can take the old man’s blows and be proud of it.” Attitude is, “My old man can hit harder than that.”

    Verbal abuse cuts, does not heal, leaves the attitude, “I must keep on struggling to please my god-parent, but my parent an I both know I will fail,”

    Just a note: Everyting I have read or studied about supernatural evil maintains this reality surpasses what humans can achieve. That is more than I want to imagine and seems impossible.

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  7. “His ability to know that the demon possessed his father by four words, I’m proud of you”
    That moment broke my heart. I don’t hate John-I think he had a breakdown when he realized what killed his wife. I don’t support how he raised his kids, but he “did the best he could” I guess. If he hadn’t raised them as hunters what would have happened to them when YED came after Sam? I dread the thought.

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    1. I honestly don’t hate John. ..I dislike his methods of parenting. But as for John in general as a character he wasn’t so bad a guy, a decent hunter. But as for a father his parenting was something else entirely. Did he train the guys to be the best hunters, sure. Did he give them senses of honor, trust and to know the difference between right and wrong…yes.
      Did he show them he loved them. ..no, he gave them enough doubts they were never sure who he was or how he felt. They didn’t know about Adam, they didn’t know John had storage caches. They never even know for sure where he was, who he was with or what he was doing. Otherwise they wouldn’t have spent almost a year looking for him. I can dislike his methods without hating the man.

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      1. No he didn’t tell them about Adam because he wanted Adam to do what Dean/Sam couldn’t and get away from the life. Dean at least had to know about the caches because the storage info was there because Dean found the card to a storage place. I believe the reason John trained the boys was to protect them. He knew he might die and wanted them to stay alive. John said as much to Sam in DMB.

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  8. No, no, this was an excellent analysis of John Winchester. I’m one of those who doesn’t hate John as much as some others do. I dislike him and a lot of the choices he made but I don’t hate him.
    I like a good long meta and love how you laid out John’s timeline for us, so as to get a better understanding of who and what we’re dealing with.

    Although from the meta I’ve been reading lately, I’m starting to get the idea that no matter what choices people made, this is a family that would’ve eventually, at some point, run head long into the supernatural community. After all Henry Winchester was a Man of Letters and Mart came from a long line of hunters.

    It seems like the Winchester were caught in a web that goes back decades before they were born.

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