Dean has very specific memories of his mother on Supernatural. It would all lead to an unreasonable expectation of the Winchester matriarch.
Dean Wnchester had some very specific, understandable memories of his mother on Supernatural. These memories would frame the story we were told of the Winchester matriarch, but it’s important to note that they would set us up for unreasonable expectations.
For Day 21 of the 25 Days of Dean-mas, I’m looking back at the memories Dean had and what they meant for him and us as a fandom.
A problem with Mary Winchester
Let’s be honest; the majority of the Supernatural fandom has a problem with Mary. She’s not motherly enough. She didn’t put her own confusion, grief, and discomfort aside for her grown boys.
I’ll say right now that I was completely on Mary’s side when she returned in Supernatural Season 12. She was dealing with a lot, and to expect her to go from a mom of two children to a mom of two adult men who, arguably, no longer needed her because she’d been dead for the last 30+ years was ridiculously unreasonable.
And yet, she’s a mother, so fans immediately believed she should act that way. Guess what! Us moms get it wrong sometimes. And there are times we need to put ourselves first.
Okay, rant over!
But where did this unreasonable view of Mary come from? It all comes from Dean’s very understandable memories of his mother.
Mary as the mother
When Dean was four, his life as he knew it was turned upside down. His mom was killed, and suddenly, he found himself on the road with his dad and brother, hunting down the monster that John knew was responsible.
Dean grew up a hunter but what he didn’t know is that Mary knew the hunter lifestyle. She wanted to avoid the hunter lifestyle for her children. All Dean knew was that she was his mom, a caring woman who kissed his boo-boos and reminded him that angels were watching over him as he slept.
Throughout the series, we got these memories. They all accumulated into the woman Dean believed would have been his mom.
Mary in the wish world wasn’t Mary
There are many who would have liked to see the Mary Winchester from the wish world of Supernatural Season 2. However, that wasn’t Mary. Remember that this was a wish from Dean’s mind. It was a world that looked perfect enough for Dean to be happy as he died in the real world.
But this was a wish version of Mary. It was an ideal version of her, a woman who would do anything for her sons, including put up with a son that clearly stole from her, forgot her birthday, and simply wasn’t the greatest guy in the world.
This Mary clearly had no idea about hunting, which we know wasn’t the case. In the end, it was clear that she was just a figment of the wish, as she tried to convince Dean to stay.
But that is the version we came to know. She was the version that we wanted for Dean, because that was the version Dean wanted for himself.
Dean wanted Mary as someone she isn’t
Daybreak puts this perfectly. Josh spends the entire season with this ideal version of Sam Dean in his head. When she does something that doesn’t fit his view of her, he gets angry.
This is something we have with Supernatural. Dean gets this view of the mother he remembers. He has this opinion of who she should be. We, as a fandom, gain that view of this character. Then when Mary returned and wasn’t that person, everyone flipped their lid.
But Mary isn’t an idea. She’s her own person. Over the seasons, Dean has come to accept that. Granted, there have been ups and downs, but both have made compromises or found ways to make things work.
None of this takes away the memories Dean had as a child. However, it’s important to understand that the memories of a child are not going to be all that truthful of a situation. They’re an idealistic version of someone, but that’s not the real version.
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