Embarking on describing why I love the younger Winchester turns out to not be as easy as I first imagined it. After thinking about what I love about Dean, it came only natural to say a word about Sam. Ah, Sam… There is some ridiculous quality to it, some pathetic element as well, when you say that you’re in love with a fictional character.

Not really in love, kind readers, as I am still capable of drawing a line between the made-up story of a fabulous TV show and my own life rooted in reality, of course. But, somehow, I have often fallen kinda in love with fictional characters. I have loved several guys from novels or films, such as M.M. Kaye’s Ash from TheFarPavillions, Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker, the classic BattlestarGalactica’s Apollo, Dumas’ Aramis or, just recently, Anne Fortier’s Alessandro from Juliet. I think to some extent that makes me a freak… but I love to feel passionately about a person, even an unreal one.

Sam is such a person I feel ardently about. And I think it happened silently, like a melody sneaking into my soul, so softly I hardly noticed it, and I was enraptured. So far I have spoken often about Sam and should you have read those articles you will have noticed how I feel about that character. Strangely enough those emotions change again and again, like a kaleidoscope’s colours, but still remain the same.

Those characters I have loved ever since I discovered the enchanting world of literature or film are united by some traits all of them have in common – they are torn, tormented, wounded men (I won’t bore youwith which women of that fictional dimension I loved, as the article should be about Sam) who somehow find a way to overcome their destinies or threats and grow. Sam fits this design perfectly. And, of course, there is more to him as well.

I think I have related to Sam from the very beginning. I can’t help it; I find a brilliant brain incredibly alluring. Sam is introduced as some kind of scholar, a highly intelligent man who pursues a life in law (which is one of the toughest studies altogether), who loves a nice young woman fondly but who is full of pain and, well, already then, anger. A man who never felt right where he grew up, and later he felt like a freak when he found out that he had been fed demon blood as an infant – like a disease he wasn’t able to cure…

Another Winchester who felt lonely almost all his life, just in another manner than his older brother. He felt that he didn’t belong, and that can be a painful experience. For about the first third of my life I felt the same way. To my knowledge I haven’t demon blood in me, but I grew up in Germany in a time when immigrants (like my parents) were not exactly liked and in school I, too, felt like I didn’t belong. So I concentrated on learning, on gaining knowledge and I still love to do research for various topics.

In addition to that I had a complicated, yet loving relationship with my mother my whole life, sometimes in the neighbourhood of what Sam experienced with his dad. And finally, in her time of dying, we found a way to forgive each other and to be a family in the sense we love about this show. So perhaps, a part of my love for Sam Winchester might just be the parallels of experiences, well sort of… and I understood where he was coming from which drew me closer to him than I believed possible.

I have probably been some kind of freak all my life – when the other girls fell for Han Solo, I was rooting for Luke Skywalker. When my best friend started drooling over Jack Sparrow I would have chosen Will Turner. How’s that for a freak?

There was a closeness to Sam from the beginning, and I couldn’t think more fondly of him than I already do. The point is, I understood the guy deep inside and he touched me beyond description. It also didn’t hurt that he looks like that, becoming more attractive with each year (with all due respect – to my mind Jared Padalecki has never looked better than he does these days, getting older and being happy in his private life suits him well)…

I admired that he had the courage to do what he felt was right for him, even leaving his family in order to become something else, to find another life, one of his choosing. And I was happy for him that he had given it a try. However, it was taken away from him. His blueprint for his life was taken by death – and a plan designed by higher powers even before he was born.

To do that, go away I mean, takes a considerable amount of resolution and guts. He did it, at a high price. At the time it felt right to him, although he later found out that he had been wrong – probably mostly because (in his mind) he was responsible for e.g. Jessica’s death. Finding out and admitting to having been wrong almost every time also requires some courage. How he discovered that he was meant to destroy the world and did not step on the path of destruction but did the opposite, still strikes deep chords in my soul.

A wounded soul such as his is a moving target, and the forces that be did their best to bring about Sam’s downfall, but he managed to remain standing in the end. He reminded me again that the only armour that truly defies the horrors of a world like theirs is love.And hope. Even when everything seems to be forlorn.

He’s decisive, sometimes moody, he will argue for what he believes in and speak unpleasant and inconvenient truths. He’s kind. Those puppy dog expressions aren’t exactly bothering. He’s frightened and wounded but still tries to go on. He cares more about others than himself – from the very beginning we’ve seen him do that… standing between the wendigo and the new friends he wanted to protect, even though he hardly knew them… reminding Dean of their inner motto to save people from evil when his brother was on the verge of losing hope… There are countless situations like this. And there is a tenderness to him we don’t see often but which is exceptionally alluring (like in FreeToBeYouAndMe).

When I think of Sam Winchester I do it with a lot of melancholy, affection and respect. He’s a collection of imperfections inside and out and that’s what makes him incredibly attractive to me. On anintimate note, he also reminds me of someone I have loved and lost once, which might add considerably to my rooting for Sam and the sadness that accompanies it. But I would not want to change it for the world. This show has provided me with so much great moments while watching it and beyond that I have no words to describe it. Its characters have become a part of my life, and Sam in particular, his story, has made me remember that doors at last do open where darkness used to be. He found some of them. His fierce and stout heart is also one of a survivor. Sometimes in life we get to choose between the easy way and the right one. And that is often paved with pain’s many faces. Sometimes we stumble onto that eventually after having made wrong choices, but I believe it’s hardly ever too late to turn. Nor for us, not for Sam. I like to believe that.

Again, there is more to it, dear readers, but that shall also remain unspoken – instead I’d like to hand the torch over to you: what do you love about Sam Winchester?

Comments  

CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2010-08-24 21:49
What I personally liked most about the character of Sam Winchester is how he sought redemption (Season 5), after committing the most heinous betrayal (Season 4).

I'm not sure I have the right words for it, but I think it takes uncommon strength of character to face up to a horrible betrayal that one has committed, and to seek redepmtion (forgiveness and/or to make amends) for that betrayal.
Frida
# Frida 2010-08-25 02:47
This is my first post and English is not my language so sorry about the mess.
Sam is a tragic character and that's the reason I love him. There's something about a tragic character that always got me. And he's the younger one. I know what it feels like to be the youngest of a family. Sometimes I resent them for decide everything but most of the time I don't know what I'm gonna do without my family.
So that's what the reason why I felt for him in the firs place.
Yvonne
# Yvonne 2010-08-25 04:46
How shall I count the ways that I love thee?

Ok, so I butchered the quote but you get the gist. Jasminka, you've done it again and caused me to fall in love all over again. Yay!

Ah Sam. I've loved him since the beginning, as I loved Dean, but the younger has won a special(er) place in my affections after Swan Song. It had been building all the way through Season 5 and with his dive into perdition...wel l.

The thing is, he screwed up. Huge. And when he realized it, he didn't try to deny, or pass the blame. He didn't try to excuse himself or bury his head in denial or oblivion. Instead he picked up the burden. In fact, he owned it, took possesion and didn't let go until he climbed out of that hole by diving into another one.

"I am the least of you." And he believed it. Man did he believe it. Talk about low self esteem! But he didn't let it stop him. What can I say? The guy, this fictional character, inspires me.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2010-08-25 05:11
Thanks, Jasminka, for making me think so early on a Wednesday morning. Appreciate it!

I love how you describe Sam as a moving target for all but go on to say how he has the inner strength to remain standing. I definitely agree with you about Sam’s imperfections. Perfection is boring. Sam’s imperfections make him more empathic (and attainable!). They also make him more human (which is kind of weird cos there’s a whole argument going on in my head at the moment about whether Sam is human, more than human or less than human...)

As someone on this site said (I can’t remember who so I can’t give credit, sorry). ‘Show me a man who’s never failed and I’ll show you a man who’s never tried’. Sam never stops trying. That’s hugely endearing.

I think though, what I like most about Sam, apart from his earnestness, fierce intelligence and subtle sense of humour, is his huge sense of honour.

Like you said, Jasminka, Sam has spent his life having to decide between what was easy and what was right and he ALWAYS choose what he believed was right, no matter what it cost him (and by the end, it had cost him almost everything). He sacrificed himself to hell and he didn’t do it to be remembered or rewarded or idolised but because his own innate sense of right and wrong told him it was the right thing to do.

It’s ironic, that this monumental decision seems to one of the easiest he ever made! I find it amazing that a trivial decision like going to college, Sam probably agonised over for months but a decision which would result in him enduring endless suffering, he seemed to make in a relatively short amount of time. There’s such nobility in that.

Sam never seemed to care what others thought of him. Or rather, he cared but he didn’t let it guide him. We see this with Stanford, Lenore, Ruby, drinking blood, Lilith. The list goes on. He turned his back on heaven and hell. He defied angels. ANGELS!!! (I love a rebel...) Castiel, Uriel, John, Anna and even Dean spent so much time castigating Sam for his decisions and actions but he still stood firm against them because he was guided, not by what others SAID was right but, by what he BELIEVED was right.

It would have been so easy for Sam to take the cowards way out and just step back and make the easy decision but he never did. He refused to put the responsibility on his big brother when he felt he was able to shoulder the burden himself. To have such a huge sense of honour must have been crippling in light of the decisions he had to make.

Sam has made catastrophic mistakes, plenty of them, but he always recognised that. He admitted he ‘...was wrong every time’. He took full responsibility for the Apocalypse and Lucifer. He didn’t hide behind the ‘I was misled’ excuse. He simply picked himself up and used his sense of honour to try and put things right.

I read a definition somewhere that honour is ‘simply the morals of a superior man’. I would say this definitely applies to Mr. S. Winchester.
Randal
# Randal 2010-08-25 10:42
Jas, I'm shocked. You wrote actual sentences with clauses and everything and not just the word "drool" typed over and over. Kudos. ;-)

And, given what you said in your penultimate paragraph, Sam would make a lousy politician, high praise indeed.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-08-25 10:50
Another great tribute, Jas. Yes, Sam has definitly had a hard path in life...not always making the right decision, but always bouncing back. And I agree with Randal, Sam would make a lousy politician...go od compliment for any one.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2010-08-25 16:25
Gonna disagree with you guys there. Sam would make an awesome politician: honest, will fight for what he believes in, honourable, moralistic, will sacrifice himself for the betterment of others, knows the difference between right and wrong etc. That’s definitely the kind of guy needed in office! But, you know, if you guys don’t want him over there, we’ll take him over here. I’d be more than willing to arrange citizenship....

Yvonne, that sentence ‘... and didn’t let go until he climbed out of that hole by diving into another one’ is now one of my most favourite lines of all time (and one I shall surely end up plagiarising at a later time!)
Tigershire
# Tigershire 2010-08-26 02:11
Ah, Tim the Enchanter, I work for government and I can tell you that Sam, indeed would make a lousy politician.

However, the qualities you point out about Sam is what politicians SHOULD be. Maybe one day. :-)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-26 06:39
CitizenKane2, Frida, Yvonne, Tim The Enchanter, Randal, Sablegreen and Tigershire, wow, thanks!

CitizenKane2, I couldn’t agree more with what you say here. The easier way might be to run from responsibility, but to own it requires strength and courage. Bless Sam for having both.

Frida, welcome to posting! Thank you for deciding to post your comment – don’t worry about your English, you’re doing fine, dear!
The tragedy of Sam reaches out to many of us, and here it touches a personal matter, I think that makes the experience even richer, don’t you think?

Yvonne, go ahead butchering quotes, I don’t care, really. Sammy is indeed the kind of hero to fall in love with again and again (happens to me all the time, as you know). Yes, he is an inspiration. Love that.

Tim, you’re very welcome. I am very moved that you understood what I was saying in between the lines. To me also, Sam has been, always, a man of honour.

Nobility does not lie in birthright or inheritance but in one’s actions, and what Sam did was a testimony to that. There is a generosity to him that would accept others for what they are not for what he wants them to be. Plus: he sees layers underneath the obvious. A huge amount of empathy. An ‘innate sense of right and wrong’, indeed. It takes a strong soul to be able to follow that path.

Randal, drool, sigh, drool, sigh, drool, sigh… :-)

Sablegreen, Tigershire – let’s just hope that Sam will never have to decide whether he might dive into politics or not… (watched The Omen the other day, ha, ‘the son of the devil shall rise from the eternal sea (the field of politics) – no, not another storyline of doom).

An honest man in politics (though he’d be needed badly)… he’d be dead, soon. Corrupcy in a government won’t stand the honest man for long. It would dispose of him in an elegant coup d’etat. I would not like to see Sam in danger of being murdered on Elm Street (well, not exactly a new thought, he invented danger, eh?). Happened to many politicians who tried to be honourable throughout history.

You humble me with your elaborate, fun thoughts, folks. Thank you so much! Jas
Julie
# Julie 2010-08-26 10:02
Another labour of love here Jas
I must admit feeling very maternal towards Sam in that he brings out a strong urge in me to protect him from his destiny and the horrors facing him, and yes to some extent from himself and some of his well meaning but misguided intentions. He is after all just like his brother wonderfully flawed , to quote the the magnificent Bobby Singer `an assfull of character defects`. I want to give him a hug hide him from it all and tell him everything will be ok and also cook him a meal - get the boy to eat !
One thing that really does resonate with me is that Sam , like his brother, never gives up trying to do the right thing and in the end can anyone do anymore than this.
Thanks again Ju x
elle2
# elle2 2010-08-27 08:05
Hey, Jas,

This time it's me 'late to the party' as I have been quite busy of late (thankfully work is picking back up...whee!) and have only had time for a quick check in and a glance here and there.

I've read both your articles about Dean and Sam (who else!) and thank you for outline and inviting us to share our reasons for loving them.

Like you, I fell for Luke and rooted for Will when others went for the more traditional Han or Jack. Interestingly perhaps this time I've fallen more for Dean than Sam which may put me oddly on the other side of that coin as Dean is more the Jack Sparrow, Han Solo character here. On the other hand, Sam's story and his characterizatio n is one that I cannot help but to root for. I cringed when he 'fell so low' in Season 4 and cheered him on as he picked himself up again and again in Season 5 and dared to stay positive. Even while episode 6 was mostly a waste for me I still appreciate Sam's ever-positive outlook that just perhaps things will be different for Jesse if only he knows the truth.

While Seasons 1 and 2 forever reside fondly in my heart I am looking forward to the newer more assured Sam Winchester who no longers fears he is going to turn evil or be pushed evil or is destined to be evil but rather has overcome his worst fear and come through it stronger, scarred yes, but worried that someone is pulling his life's strings? No.

Thanks for keeping the hellatus fires burning fast...four weeks to go!
elle
# elle 2010-08-29 03:00
Hi Jas,
This is a great tribute to Sam! I found myself nodding eagerly at everything you wrote (well, that's not true - I'm a die-hard Jack Sparrow lover; Will is fine if you subtract Elizabeth....le t's not get me started on that though). It's true that I tend to lean toward Dean but I have a soft place in my heart for Sam Winchester.
Sam is an endearing character for the reasons you stated so eloquently. I can relate to Sam in many ways too. Sam is a character that I've not liked. Often in TV shows, even favourite characters, behave in such a way that I feel strong negative emotions for - even if only briefly. Not Sam though. Even when he's made his most erroneous judgement calls and acted on them, I find myself saying "Oh, Sammy!" and wanting to hug him. There is just something about his earnest strength that draws you in and won't let go.
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-08-29 21:06
This is our Sammy! I'd love him be a politician here and kick some asses.
Thanks, Jas, wonderful as always.
Karen
# Karen 2010-08-31 08:24
Hi Jasminka
Another wonderful tribute.
Ah Sammy! The reluctant Hero.
What do I love about him, pretty much everything?
His analytical mind.
His being a ‘Walking Encyclopedia of Weirdness’.
His many layers.
His undying love for Dean.
All his flaws and vulnerability.
Those puppy dog eyes.
And of course his bitch faces.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-31 15:43
Julie, Elle2,Elle, Freebird, Karen- I'm a bit late to responding to your lovely comments, forgive me.

Julie,I love this picture of you cooking a fine meal for the man to feed him properly for once... I know you'd take good care of him! And, yes, this was indeed a labour of love. How did you guess? ;-)

Elle2, like you I am certain that we will encounter a strong Sammy in the upcming season. And get to know another facet of this man. Can't wait.!!

Elle, couldn't agree more with you (except for the Sparrow-thing, :-)), I think we owe it to the actor Padalecki who is able to bring those layers of Sam to our hearts that we sympathize with him even though he does unpleasant things sometimes.

Lara, I can't deny that I love the guy... Hvala Ti!

Karen, I love what you love about the younger brother... sigh...

Thank you all so much for commenting so generously. Love, Jas
Yume
# Yume 2010-11-27 20:57
Hi Jasminka, thanks for a wonderful article!
I love Sam for the same reason I love any person, fictional or real: once they have touched me, touched my core, my soul, that stays. What they do or don´t do doesn´t really change that.
With Sam that happened pretty fast, he is the one in this show I truly relate to. I do love Dean as well, but that happened only after "getting to know him", I´ve had to learn to understand him. Sam I understood from the start, he always made sense to me, there´s always been a connection.
Aside from loving the entire "package", flaws, mistakes and all, there are some sides to him I particularly like and/or admire.

After S5 I have to say, above all his incredible strength, courage and endurance, not so much in facing the apocalypse - that too of course - but in facing himself, his mistakes as well as his deepest fears. Dealing with your dark sides is truly hard when you actually get down to it. So is admitting you have been very wrong. Sam did that in the bravest, most honest possible way, without trying a single excuse. He did have excuses, plenty of them, and he doesn´t use one of them.

I admire whatever it is that keeps him going, getting up again, trying to do what he believes to be right. I´m not sure I would call it faith. Maybe sense of honour, or a sense of responsibility, and the belief that doing it will make a difference, and that trying is worth it. There is incredible dignity in that.

I love that his love for Dean is strong and does not depend on circumstances. It´s also generous and undemanding.

I loved how while going through the most difficult time imaginable he had the openness and love to make peace with his father, and he offered the forgiveness he had not received himself (from Dean in particular). I believe that doing that actually gave him the strength to keep going while Dean was losing hope completely, and to eventually change the course of things.

I also love his ability to be his own independent man, and at the same time connect with other people, with Dean as well as with the random stranger. He feels deeply, and he cares. He´s a loving person.

There´s a lot more, actually. On the other hand, my answer is still, I just do.
:-)
ebony
# ebony 2012-09-01 16:05
(Edited by Alice) This violates a few of our rules, but I'll especially cite Sam vs. Dean and disrespect to other posters. The other comment like this has been unpublished.