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This page lists tropes associated with Dean Winchester from Supernatural.

See also the character page for Sam Winchester, and the rest of the Winchester Family.

The main character page for this series is here.

Dean Winchester

Portrayed By: Jensen Ackles, Ridge Canipe, Nicolai Guistra, Dylan Everett, Brock Kelly, Chad Everett

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/deanwinchester_6996.jpg

"I got a GED and a give-em-hell attitude."
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Dean Winchester is the Deuteragonist of Supernatural. Dean was born January 24th, 1979 in Lawrence, Kansas, United States. He is the oldest child of John Winchester and Mary Winchester (nee Campbell). He is the older brother of Sam Winchester and the older paternal half brother of Adam Milligan. His mother died on November 2nd, 1983, when Dean was only 4 years old. It was later discovered that Dean was the one true vessel of Michael and that he was destined to fight Sam as Lucifer in the Apocalypse. In Season 9, Dean took the Mark of Cain from Cain himself so that he could kill Abbadon for good. Unfortunately for Dean, the Mark ended up having negative effects on Dean's personality to the point where he became tempted to kill everything in his path.


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  • A Birthday, Not a Break: According to John's journal, Dean's 17th birthday present was his first solo hunt.
  • The Ace/Broken Ace: Dean may be a tough, capable, and badass hunter, but his personal life has been nothing but filled with loss, grief, pain, and tragedy: his mother was tragically killed by Azazel when Dean was only a child; his father goes insane with grief and fear for his children and becomes distant, emotionally abusive, and turns him into a living weapon; the brother that he loves more than anything is destined for a path of darkness and evil and he might have to kill him to save the world; the 'uncle' he adores becomes a target by association; and of his two best friends: one is slowly dying as a result of helping him, the other sacrificed himself to save Sam (who hated his guts) and is now trapped in Purgatory. He feels responsible for Sam, and everyone else he's ever met really, and that if he does not save him, he will blame himself. Every single person that he's ever loved and cared about has died or betrayed him or both. He has had to deal with his brother and best friend dying on him repeatedly or being close to the brink of death numerous times with Dean being forced to go to extreme measures to save their lives. The only two women he's ever loved, he had to leave: Cassie, because when he revealed who he was and what his family did, she didn't believe him and his father found out and forbade the relationship; and Lisa, because the The Call Knows Where You Live.
  • Action Hero: Dean has been trained to fight monsters since he was a little older than four. While he and Sam are both hunters, Dean is significantly better at hand to hand combat. And while Dean, and others, thinks of himself as just a grunt and he enjoys hunting and killing supernatural beings, he's no slouch in the brains department even if he prefers to leave the research to Sam. As the show progresses, it's been shown that he's actually a Genius Bruiser, The Strategist, and the Blood Knight. In this way he takes after the Campbell side of his family while Sam took after the Winchester side of the family. Initially starts as an Action Duo with Sam, he later becomes the Leader of the Power Trio with Sam and Castiel.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: He has black hair in Supernatural: The Animation and very light blond hair in the prequel comics.
  • Aggressive Categorism: Dean can be highly judgmental and bigoted from time to time about the monsters they hunt, sometimes to the point where he can look rather hypocritical. For most of the series he has a hard time accepting that there are some monsters out there who aren't interested in hurting humans. Dean has even admitted to being freaked out by Sam, who happens to be part supernatural and was freaked out by his demonic abilities. At the end of Season 4, Dean went as far as to call Sam a monster after they had a huge fallout (in all fairness Sam was high on demon blood, and was actually less human). Dean also hates all demons and thinks they are absolute abominations (though he is pretty much right). He's often seen insulting angels as a whole, even right in front of Castiel, though he himself is an angel and they're his family. It's a marker of how much he's grown in Season 8 when he starts to move away from this trope.
  • The Alcoholic: By the seventh season, he's about two steps away from becoming one, if he isn't already. Though he's been shown to drink a lot for most of the series, it becomes a more serious problem in Season 7. Sam frequently calls him out on his drinking habits but it usually doesn't do much good. He's gotten a bit better in Season 8 but is still shown to drink frequently. Dean seems to use alcohol as a coping mechanism to cover or deal with his inner pain and suffering. Seeing as his father, John, was also a heavy drinker who used alcohol as a means to deal with his life, it could be safe to say that Dean's alcoholic tendencies are actually hereditary.
  • Always Save the Girl: Dean has repeatedly made it clear and obvious that Sam is and always will be his #1 priority, no matter what. The world could end and numerous people could die, and yet, saving/protecting Sam would STILL be the most important thing to Dean. This is something of a Flanderization, as in earlier seasons Dean would do everything he could to protect Sam, but not to the extent of putting others in danger (for example, in Jus In Bello, when he refuses to sacrifice Nancy to get rid of a bunch of demons who are there to kill him and Sam, even though Nancy is okay with it). Over the years, his mindset has been shifted from "Nobody's expendable except me" to "Everyone's expendable except Sam". This causes significant problems in his relationship with Sam, as Sam, now a full-grown adult in his 30s, of the mindset that his life is worth no more than anyone else's, and well aware of the risks of hunting, doesn't want this level of protection and intervention from Dean, and always ends up roped into whatever fallout arises from whatever Dean has pulled to save Sam this time (on the other hand, Sam is barely any better when it's Dean's life on the line, and in some cases has actually done even more morally dubious things to get his brother back or save his life).
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Although Dean has stated on occasion that he is straight and is only into women, a Running Gag in the show are scenes that imply that he finds men attractive as well, albeit usually in a comedic fashion. Some examples include him Squeeing over meeting Dr. Sexy and peeking under the covers to check out a naked man's genitals.
    • Dean is shown to know a lot of offhand trivia that deal with issues of most concern to gay/bisexual men. For example, when Garth asks if Dean really went to Purgatory-Purgatory, Dean replies "No, the one in Miami." Said "Purgatory" in Miami is a bar. A gay bar.
    • A very weird case following the events of "Despair". After Cas confesses his love for Dean in the antepenultimate episode, Dean's reaction diverges wildly depending on the dub. In the English version, he barely reacts, and the script says that he "can't reciprocate". However, Jensen Ackles later confirmed that this only means Dean is in too much shock to respond, leaving Dean's feelings open to interpretation. In the Latin American dub, though, Dean says that he loves Cas back, meaning that Dean is unambiguously bi, but only in Spanish. Jensen has also stated that most of Dean's reaction in that scene was removed in editing, and a leaked version of the script for that scene gives him different dialogue that indicated he had more to say in response to the confession before getting cut off, lending further ambiguity to the situation.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The final two episodes raise a lot of unanswered questions about what's going on in Dean's head. He alternates between being desperate to get Cas back and seemingly ignoring Cas' death altogether; he talks about the need to keep living but then refuses to let Sam call for help when he's impaled; he has a filled-out job application in his room and tells Chuck that he's more than just a killer, but then continues to hunt like nothing's changed. How does Dean feel about Cas' Dying Declaration of Love? Was he planning to retire from hunting? Did he bother to reunite with Cas or his parents in Heaven, or did he really just drive around until Sam died—and if so, how long was that from Dean's perspective? The show doesn't offer a clear answer to any of these questions.
  • Anal Probing: In a Season 6 episode, when Dean informs Sam that he is fleeing from a pursuing UFO, Sam pronounces this a close encounter of the Third Kind and suggests that Dean keep running as he has "heard the Fourth Kind is a butt thing". Dean reminds him that he's supposed to be feigning empathy. After returning from being abducted by aliens, Dean confesses to Sam that they tried to probe him.
  • And I Must Scream: Due to the events of the series, Dean has garnered the attention of Amara AKA the Void Between the Worlds who is obsessed with him. Because of this Dean has increasingly been Missing Time and going into a Heroic BSoD. The full implications of this don't kick in until mid-way through Season 11 when we find out it's because Amara has been kidnapping him on the regular and he's unable to fight her or even WANT to fight her as she's overwhelming his will. It becomes really horrifying when Amara starts killing off EVERYONE ON EARTH and Dean, who is immune to the virus, is left alone with his brother's body in his arms, screaming as he watches everyone die. It's terrifying.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie:
    • Once in Season 6, Dean got bitten by a vampire and started to turn. Fortunately, Samuel provided a cure before Dean became unable to resist the urge to feed.
    • In the Season 9 finale, Dean is killed by Metatron, only to come back to life as a demon by the episode's end. And not just any demon, it's heavily implied he's taken Cain's place and is now the First Knight Of Hell.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: People do this to Dean pretty often (in the form of "I'll kill your brother" or "Sam doesn't need legs"), and it's always a bad idea.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Oh, boy. Dean gets VERY angry whenever anyone he cares about goes missing or leaves him without any contact. And when Sam takes off by himself without answering his phone and not keeping contact with Dean, Sam ends up getting a stern talking to from a very angry Dean. Part of the reason for this reaction from Dean is Dean's overprotectiveness of Sam since he was a baby.
  • Anti-Hero: Dean isn't the typical classic Ideal Hero. He has committed immoral acts for the greater good. He starts moving down the scale more and more as the series goes on.
    • Dean is best classified as a Pragmatic Hero, even if he crosses over into darker antihero territory. After coming back from Purgatory, he seems to be more of an Unscrupulous Hero.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: To some extent, at least up until the beginning of Season 2. In Season 15's "Last Call," he comes back to this, acknowledging that even if Chuck was manipulating them from the start, every life he saves is important.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Subverted. Dean may be the absolute king of self-blame, but he doesn't actually apologize very often. It's Sam who stops in the middle of a fight to apologize for bumping into his brother (which, of course, leads to him getting choked).
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Dean knows that monsters, demons, and pagan gods are real, but he doesn't believe in angels. That is, until he actually encounters one in the very beginning of Season 4. And even then, Dean still remains skeptical. One memorable scene has Dean explaining to Sam why he doesn't believe in angels (their mother said that angels were watching over them, but she was murdered by a demon), despite hunting demons straight out of Hell on a regular basis. When Sam points out that there's more folklore on angels than any other creature they've fought, Dean says that there's a lot of folklore on unicorns as well. In this same scene, Dean says that there's no God. This is an odd belief given that in this series, the name of God and holy water are harmful to demons, and Christian exorcism rituals are effective. (According to the series creator, he just sees the rituals as another example of the hoodoo they regularly run across.) By the end of the episode, Dean is less certain that no higher power is at work. Worse, his atheism has been shaken by the events of the episode despite the fact that the "angel" in that episode turned out NOT to be an angel. While he first doubts Castiel, he gets over his skepticism of God and angels in Season 4.
  • Archetype: According to the Word of God, Dean's character is modeled off of Han Solo from Star Wars.
  • Ascended Fanboy: As revealed in "Scoobynatural", he watched Scooby-Doo religiously as a kid and still holds the series dear to his heart. He's positively delighted when he and Sam get sucked into "A Night of Fright is No Delight," his favorite episode.
  • Audience Surrogate: Despite being the Deuteragonist, Dean is often the character that the audience both identifies and sympathizes with because the story is by and large told from his point of view.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
  • Ax-Crazy: After getting the Mark of Cain, Dean has become unstable and enjoys killing, and feels absolutely no regret about it as he claims it gives him a really strong high that he needs to brutally murder anyone or anything. He even tells Sam that they do things his way and it's not a team anymore but a dictatorship. Culminates in him attacking Gadreel while growling at the end of "Stairway to Heaven."
  • An Axe to Grind: His Weapon of Choice during his stint in Purgatory, which he continues using for some time afterwards.
  • Back from the Dead: Repeatedly. To the point that it's almost a Running Gag.
  • Badass Boast/My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Dean is absolutely no exception, as he claims so in two words.
    Dean: (after throwing a pen into a gun) I'm amazing... (knocks mook out with a TV remote) I'm Batman.
    • He gets another one in Season 11:
    Dean: We're gonna save Cas, we're gonna ice the Devil, and we're gonna shank the Darkness. And anyone that gets in our way ... well, God help them.
  • Badass Baritone: Dean's voice has considerably deepened over the years, sometimes borderlining on Guttural Growler.
  • Badass Family: Dean is descended from Cain and Abel, meaning that he is a descendant of the most dangerous demon on Earth, Cain. The other half of his ancestry? His mother's family has been hunting since at least the 17th century. His father's ancestors were Men of Letters who recorded and investigated the supernatural. In other words, Dean is what happens when a Slayer marries a Watcher.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Often, when Dean is posing as an FBI agent or as a Homeland Security agent.
  • Badass in Charge: Dean is the leader in almost all of the missions and hunts.
  • Badass in Distress: Dean may know how to kick ass and be tough, but he, too, requires a little saving from time to time.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dean gets one in the episode Frontierland and in Out With The Old.
  • Badass Normal: He may not possess superhuman abilities like his brother Sam, but he can still kick major ass and is a strong, capable hunter and fighter. He's experienced and talented enough to fight and combat many supernatural beings at least to a standstill, and usually kill them; against normal humans, it usually ends up being a Curb-Stomp Battle if he's not holding back, and with his quick temper, he typically doesn't hold back for long. Between the two, Dean actually kicks more ass. Sam is more geared towards the research, able to find patterns easily and often knowing how best to track a monster down. Early in Season 8, Dean walks alone into a nest of vampires with nothing but the blade he brought back from Purgatory and walks back out without a scratch on him. As monster body counts go, Dean probably qualifies as a good-sized natural disaster.
  • Bad Liar: Averted. Dean is an excellent liar. He impersonates FBI agents, police officers, park rangers, etc. But when Dean contracts a Ghost Virus, and becomes a complete and total coward, he also turns into the worst liar north of Mexico.
    • The first half of season 9 has Dean unconvincingly scrabbling to cover his bases over all of the ongoing angel resurrections/healings. How no one calls him on it is a miracle in and of itself.
  • Bash Brothers: With Cas and with Benny when the two are in Purgatory between Seasons 7 and 8. And, of course, with Sam the rest of the time.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill:
    • Almost in every single episode, Dean, along with Sam, poses as police, FBI, or even priests to gain access to evidence or question witnesses.
    • Dean has a fake ID for everything and is always willing to show it to anyone who asks.
    • Played straight in one episode "Hollywood Babylon", where Dean gets mistaken for a PA on a movie set, and goes with it. He originally does it just so he has unlimited access to check for EMF, but finds himself surprisingly good at it, and enjoying it.
    • Dean posed as a high school gym teacher in 4x13.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • A Rare Male Example. Dean even says at one point that coming Back from the Dead erased all his old scars and sorted out his broken fingers.
    • Averted with the Season 5 finale. Dean is beaten until his eye is swollen shut and the rest of his face is a bloody pulp. It isn't long before Castiel fixes him up, though.
    • Seems to usually be subverted whenever Dean runs into angels. In Season 8, Dean is beaten 'til his face is a mess of bruises and blood by Castiel who is being controlled by Naomi. Of course, Castiel heals him a few minutes later so the trope isn't subverted for long.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Dean was destined to be the vessel for Archangel Michael. During most of Season 5, Dean tries his best to avert this trope and be able to choose his own destiny by refusing to be Michael's vessel. However, this is subverted in a way, since Adam, Sam and Dean's paternal half brother, ended up being the vessel for Michael instead.
  • Because I Said So: Dean still pulls this on Sam and Castiel once because he is the older brother and feels he knows what's best for Sam at times. Incidentally, their dad abused this trope their whole lives which is probably where Dean learned it from in the first place.
  • Being Good Sucks: Dean's job as a hunter is dangerous, completely remunerative and, aside from individual thanks from the people he saves, the good he does is largely overlooked. The law is after him and Sam for a good portion of the series, both their parents and the great majority of their friends and allies have died in the fight, and Dean's been sent to Hell and back for his efforts.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Dean takes thirty years of torture in the season break he spends in Hell before he cracks and starts torturing other souls, and enjoying it because he's not being tortured. He blames himself for this intensely. Also notable, they gave him to Hell's chief torturer for most of it; he's a tough cookie, but as always, he gives himself no credit.
  • Berserk Button: Dean has many things that make him angry and cause him to be incredibly aggressive.
  • The Berserker: Dean never seems to hesitate throwing himself into a hunting mission and primarily does it so often that he seems to be damn near suicidal. See Death Seeker. This is especially played straight when he's angered or when someone he cares about is endangered. Throughout the series, it's shown time and time again that making him angry is a very bad idea, mostly because he'll attack anyone in a rage to the point where he'll be hell bent on killing anyone who is an enemy. The Mark of Cain amplifies this and takes advantage of the high emotions stemming from his rage and frustration, which causes him to go berserk at a moment's notice.
  • Berserker Tears: When he fails to protect Sam after Jake stabs him. He starts kicking and screaming next to his dead corpse in the episode after Sam dies.
  • Better Than Sex: The burgers they serve at his favorite St. Louis diner. Pity that Dean's Persona Non Grata.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In regards to Sam to the most extreme levels, meaning Knight Templar or Knight Templar Big Brother levels. Dean could basically be the Trope Codifier, he defines the trope so strongly. However, even though he's pretty much this trope personified, the series shows why this isn't always a good thing.
    • He also had this for Charlie. He became very protective of her, up to the point of calling her the "little sister he never wanted".
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Sam, especially in the earlier seasons when Sam is only just getting back into the swing of hunting. Dean always looks out for Sam and tries to make sure that Sam does the right thing and doesn't make endless mistakes.
    • He occasionally falls into this role with Cas in later seasons, specifically when coaching the angel about his love life or other puzzling aspects of humanity. The inherent weirdness of a human playing Big Brother Mentor to an eons-old angel is somewhat offset by the fact that Cas is pretty naive about life as a human and seems to appreciate the advice, provided Dean isn't too condescending.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Often, along with Sam. Dean does hunt monsters for a living and he ends up saving a lot of innocent lives because of it.
  • Big Eater: Dean loves to eat and when he eats, everything he eats has to be extra large. Especially his burgers and his sandwiches. This was inspired by Jensen Ackles improvising his constantly swiping food while at a funeral, which the crew liked so much that it became a regular character trait, reasoning that after his childhood of constantly moving around and rarely getting to eat well, he now takes full advantage of free food wherever he can find it.
  • The Big Guy: Subverted — Dean is the shorter of the duo, but is also the bruiser of the two. He is no shorty, though, at 6'1". He just looks short in comparison to Sam, who is 6'5". Dean is either Class 1 or Class 4.
    • Little Big Brother: Although Dean is the older brother, his younger brother Sam is much bigger and taller then him. Dean frequently makes comments about the differences in height between himself and Sam.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Usually if someone he loves is hurt and there is nothing he can do to stop it.
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose", Dean lets out a big one when he finally finds Sam and sees him get stabbed in the back. Helped by the fact that the viewers are probably feeling the same thing and his look of complete panic and devastation at the sight of his little brother getting knifed is completely justified.
    • Dean also reacts this way in "Swan Song" when Sam!Lucifer telekinetically snaps Bobby Singer's neck.
    • When Lucifer stabs Castiel in the back, causing his death in "All Along The Watchtower", Dean just screams "NO!" before falling to his knees next to his dead body.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: After coming back to life as a demon at the end of the Season 9 finale.
  • Blessed with Suck: Dean is totally immune to the hunger-inducing powers of Famine, which seems pretty cool ... except that Famine points out it's due to the fact that Dean is so dead inside that no form of self-indulgence would fill the void.
  • Blood Knight: Dean loves hunting and killing supernatural creatures. He takes pride in what he does and tries to enjoy himself (mostly in the earlier seasons when he hasn't become so burned out by hunting). He is a natural born hunter. This is amplified in Season 9 after he gets the Mark of Cain and later the First Blade.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Dean is impulsive, extroverted, fun-loving and daring.
  • Book Dumb: Mostly in comparison to Sam, although see the entry on Obfuscating Stupidity for why he might be Brilliant, but Lazy.
  • Bound and Gagged: For about half of "Hunted."
  • Brains and Brawn: Dean is the Brawn to Sam's Brains. While Dean is more of a hunter/warrior, Sam leans more towards the brains-and-research aspect of their job. In this sense, Dean seems to take after the Campbell side of the family, who are referred to as the Brawn between the Campbells and the Winchesters. However, this doesn't mean he doesn't have a brainy side as well, especially if the occasion calls for it.
  • Break the Cutie: Repeatedly. Up to Eleven. Every single time things start to work out for him, he gets broken. And this has been going on for a loooooong time. In fact, an alternate title for this show could be "How to Break Dean Winchester" and you couldn't fault it, particularly from Season 2 onwards. It has now become a Trauma Conga Line.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite claiming to be Book Dumb and relying on Sam to do most of the lore research, he's capable of pulling off incredibly successful gambits when motivated and frequently comes across as a tactical genius. He can also quote obscure parts of the lore solely from memory and almost always has a pop culture reference for every situation. See Genius Bruiser.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Basically Dean's code. Dean has resented Sam for choosing a female (Ruby in Season 4 and Amelia in Season 8) over him.
    • Though to clarify, Sam never did choose Amelia "over" Dean (actually the opposite, when a straight-up choice had to be made). But from Dean's perspective, this was certainly the case.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Dean is heavily repressed, stuffing down his real feelings for the sake of his family and the hunt. Throughout seasons three and four, particularly, he is a Death Seeker with little hope and less of the humor he started with. And no wonder, after learning he broke the first seal for the lead-up to the Apocalypse and being unable to protect his brother from himself.
    • In Season 5, Dean was seriously considering accepting Michael and becoming a major force in the Apocalypse because he didn't trust Sam, Bobby was crippled and contemplating suicide every morning, Castiel was disillusioned with God and had lost his angelic powers, and Sam was operating under the guilt from giving in to the Dark Side above his brother for a chance to kill the Big Bad that turned out to free Lucifer and start the Apocalypse.
  • Broken Hero: Dean has been through it all, yet despite all the problems, chaos, and issues that he has gone through since the beginning, he has still continued to keep on going. His motto is to "go down swinging."
  • Bromantic Foil: To Sam, of course. In the beginning, Sam was more idealistic and naive while Dean was more realistic and cynical in the way he thought. This eventually started to change though, as Sam became darker and more cynical with time due to everything that he has been exposed to. In Season 5, it was taken Up to Eleven when it was discovered that Dean and Sam were the destined vessels for Archangel Michael and Archangel Lucifer (Satan) respectively.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Dean may be tough, consumes copious amounts of alcohol, curses like a sailor, and is a badass hunter, but he has a soft spot for little kids, his family and friends, and dogs.
  • Brutal Honesty: Dean has a habit of being too honest at times, to the point where his mouth can get him in some serious trouble or even hurt others' feelings (Sam seems to be the huge victim of Dean's brutal honesty and it has caused a lot of fights and tension between the two because of it).
  • Buffy Speak: Dean's speech patterns are rather ...unintellectual at times. Especially in comparison to Sam.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dean frequently hits on girls, has an affection for junk food, and has serious daddy issues. Yet, he is pals with Castiel, an angel, who has his own fair of quirks, and he and his brother are feared by both angels and Crowley alike.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nothing goes right for Dean, ever. Dean is a very unlucky guy in all aspects of life. It's surprising that Dean hasn't completely and totally lost it, even more shocking that he is still alive and functioning.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Dean has called John out on many different things, especially about John putting so much responsibility on his shoulders regarding protecting Sam and the family.
  • Came Back Wrong/Shell-Shocked Veteran:
    • At the start of Season 8 after escaping from Purgatory. On the outside, he's normal but on the inside, whatever happened in Purgatory has changed him a great deal, even referring to it as "360 degrees of combat".
    • At the end of Season 9 Dean is killed. However, the effect of absorbing the Mark of Cain winds up bringing him back to life... as a demon.
  • Can't Stay Normal: This is the basis of Dean's arc in Season 6. After a year of attempting to live an "apple-pie" life with Lisa and Ben, he returns to hunting as soon as Sam shows up, and comes to the conclusion that, while a normal life is what he thought he wanted, he's only really satisfied when he's hunting.
  • The Caretaker: For Sam since childhood, although he's not the only one Dean looks out for. Not only did Dean raise Sam since he was a baby, Dean has always possessed nurturing, caring, and paternal/maternal qualities and instincts. He's been shown watching out for Sam, Kevin, Charlie, Krissy, Castiel, Bobby, Mary, John, Claire, any little kids he meets — basically anyone who needs help and is in his immediate vicinity.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Averted — surprisingly — when Dean startles awake from dreams of his time in Hell with nothing more than a slight twitch.
    • Played straight when Dean wakes up from a nightmare in 7.05 "Shut Up, Dr. Phil".
  • The Casanova: Dean is a classic ladies' man and very flirtatious. He's not much of a long-term relationship type of guy (apart from Lisa), being more of a one-night-stand. See Really Gets Around.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Son of a bitch!" Lampshaded in Season 5.
    • Dean refers to killing as "ganking".
    • Dean says "awesome" a lot.
  • The Champion: For Sam. Dean has always made it his #1 priority to protect and save his little brother at all costs. To protect Sam, he is willing to kill, sell his soul, go to Hell, or let an angel possess Sam in order to keep him alive. See Always Save Sam.
  • The Charmer: Dean is cocky and charismatic. He is also a womanizer and has plenty of confidence with the opposite sex.
  • Chess with Death: In exchange for bringing Sam's soul back to his body, Dean has to do Death's job for a day. Dean ends up failing the test, but Death returns Sam's soul anyway, first because his real reason for the task was to show Dean what forces he was messing with by constantly being resurrected, and second because Sam and Dean's current investigation suited his purposes. (He may have just wanted a day off, too.)
  • The Chew Toy: Dean never catches a break, whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally.
  • Child Soldier: Dean was trained from the age of five or six to hunt by his father, John.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dean flirts with most of the women he meets, but when we see him with Cassie, we find out that he really loved her, but she didn't believe him when he told her what he did for a living, breaking his heart as she left. And he isn't exactly thrilled when he discovers that Castiel plans to hand a girl named Anna (whom Dean had slept with) over to the angels, who will kill her. Likewise, Dean never takes advantage of women, and it's implied Dean sleeps around so much to achieve the intimacy that his life and job prevent him from being able to have.
  • The Chosen One: Dean is destined to be the vessel for the Archangel Michael during the battle of Armageddon.
    • However, this changes when Michael takes Adam as his vessel instead.
  • Closet Geek: Teases Sam for being a geek, but is the one dropping references to Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, etc. Readily apparent in "LARP and the Real Girl", when Dean comments that the video of the LARP group's activities looks awesome, but turns stoic when Sam turns to look at him. Later, Dean gets distracted by the map for the upcoming mock-battle and begins offering a better strategy to Charlie, before Sam snaps him back to attention.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Dean tortured Alastair.
    • Turns out that Dean became a torturer during his last ten years in Hell after spending thirty on the other side of the knife and being offered a job every day.
    • Also seen in Purgatory when he desperately tried to find Cas and tortured every monster to get information.
  • Comatose Canary: In the first episode of Season 2.
  • Companion Cube: Baby the Impala.
  • The Conscience: Primarily to Sam. Dean is known to be the moral compass of the series. He often informs or warns Sam as well as other characters (such as Castiel for example) of whether or not he is doing the right or wrong thing.
  • Control Freak: Dean has a tendency to always want to be in control, especially of Sam. But most of Dean's controlling behavior towards Sam is done out of overprotectiveness.
  • Cool Car: Dean drives the infamous 1967 Chevrolet Impala, known as the Metallicar to many fans. The Impala has such importance that it has earned co-protagonist status along with Sam and Dean. Many of the brothers' most important moments have occurred in or around the Impala. In the Season 5 finale, they acknowledged the Impala's importance by giving it a backstory and having it basically save the world.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For both angels and Heaven.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Understandable, considering that Dean is a hunter for a living.
  • The Cutie: Before the issues came through thick and fast. Possibly subverted, too, seeing as how whenever the boys act "normal" (Sam in the beginning of Season 3 was quipping loads but falling apart trying to save Dean, and in the comedy episodes "Hollywood Babylon" and "Folsom Prison Blues", fans thinking that Dean was somehow really off were proven so right in "What Is and What Should Never Be", when it was revealed that he had only been getting worse and more suicidal), something is usually very wrong with them.
  • The Cynic: Dean is generally a cynical and pessimistic person. He believes that the world is a dark place and there's no good counterpoint to the evil he sees every day. Contrasts with Sam, who is more The Idealist.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Played straight — Sam's death at the end of Season 2 is the final straw and he makes a desperate and suicidal Deal with the Devil to bring him Back from the Dead.
  • Dark and Troubled Past/Dysfunction Junction: Since childhood, Dean grew up in a very dysfunctional family and unhealthy environment, not to mention that Dean was always surrounded by much darkness and tragedy growing up.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dean becomes progressively darker throughout the show, especially after he returns from Hell in Season 4.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Dean is named after his maternal grandmother, Deanna Campbell, who was killed by Azazel while he was possessing Samuel Campbell.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dean always has a snarky, witty, or sarcastic comment. In fact, Dean is the king of sarcasm. Sometimes his sarcastic wit turns off a lot of people or annoys them, including Sam. However, it's all but stated that Dean uses sarcasm and makes sarcastic comments in attempts to hide his inner vulnerability. Sometimes he uses sarcasm to push people away so that he doesn't open up or express his thoughts and feelings about much deeper things.
    • Stepford Snarker: Whenever Dean is unhappy or depressed, his sarcastic side is all you see. So basically all the time.
  • Deal with the Devil: After Sam died, Dean made a deal with a crossroads demon to bring him back.
    • John made such a deal for him at the beginning of Season 2.
    • Come Season 9, Dean makes a deal with an angel in order to save his brother's life after the trials in Season 8.
  • Dean Ex Machina: Dean always seems to pop up and save the day whenever Sam (or anyone really) is in trouble.
  • Death-Activated Superpower: When Dean dies in Season 9, the fact that he carries the Mark of Cain means he comes back ... as an unstoppable, immortal, killing machine and the First Knight of Hell, only slightly less powerful than Lucifer himself.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Dean chooses to die in Season 9, purposely going up against the Metatron with no backup because the Mark of Cain that he took on to defeat Abbadon is turning him into a monster and he's almost hurt Sam and Castiel multiple times because he can't control it. Unfortunately for Dean this is the same choice Cain made, which is what activated his immortality and unstoppable rage...
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Death has become a recurring theme for Dean (and Sam) that it has become nothing but a mere obstacle.
  • Death Is Cheap: Death and Dean do not seem to be a compatible pair since whenever Dean dies or faces possible death, he never stays dead or dies permanently (same with Sam). This is to be expected considering Dean is one of the main characters and leads of the series.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Subverted. None of Dean's onscreen deaths in Mystery Spot in particular are dramatic/demonic-related. Especially his final death, where he gets shot by a mugger. No going out in a blaze of glory like Dean has always wanted; all of them could have been easily prevented and there's nothing heroic about them whatsoever.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: Just how many times has Dean, along with Cas and Sam, managed to either escape or come back from the dead?
  • Death Glare: Dean will give this to anyone whom he dislikes, someone he sees as an enemy or opponent, or someone whom he doesn't trust.
  • Death Seeker: Dean seems to welcome death more than any other character in the series. He is the character who is often suicidal. Most of this goes back to Dean's low self-worth and self-esteem issues.
  • Declaration of Protection: Since Dean was four years old, Dean has made it his life's goal and mission to protect Sam at all times and keep him safe. Dean even refers to it as his job.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Dean is a deconstruction of the Hunter of Monsters, The Casanova, Badass Normal, and Pop-Cultured Badass, Snark Knight type heroes. While Dean is a badass and an expert monster hunter, his expertise came at the expense of a normal life and it's shown repeatedly that outside of the hunting lifestyle, he just can't function in normal society nor can interact in any meaningful way with regular people or relate to everyday living. He is most definitely a tough SOB that can take serious punishment and kick the asses of multiple people and monsters because of his fighting experience, but those skills came a a serious cost. The repeated battles and number of times he's had to kill have left Dean with serious trauma and PTSD. In one instance he spent a whole year in purgatory fighting and killing every type of monster day and night. While he did meet up with Castiel and Benny who acted as backup and companions, HE STILL SPENT A WHOLE YEAR IN A BLEAK WORLD FIGHTING MONSTERS DAY AND NIGHT IN MELEE COMBAT. As a result, Dean is not generally a happy guy and is a borderline alcoholic to cope with his serious psychological issues.
    • Although Dean has been with a lot of women and never has any real trouble with the ladies in the course of his travels, his constant one-night-stands are because, aside from his trade, he can't maintain long-term romantic relationships due to his emotional baggage and a general distrust of women that is not unwarranted as he's been almost killed on multiple occasions by monsters posing as women and in one instance had to face his own daughter that was also trying to kill him.
    • Lastly, Dean is a big pop culture nerd and loves stories like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. He's also got an encyclopedic knowledge of movies, tv shows, music, and adventure stories. Sadly this is heavily implied to be because he uses pop culture as another means to cope with his situation and uses it as a form of escapism like people often do but with his case being far more serious. His constant snarking and jokes using his knowledge of pop culture are also instances of him acting as a Sad Clown with them being ways to cope with the horrors he's subjected to on a daily basis.
  • Demon Slaying: Dean primarily hunts demons for a living, although he does hunt other supernatural beings and monsters as well. Despite this, it's demons Dean hates the most, as they are responsible for everything that ever went wrong with his life.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Dean crosses this in "On the Head of a Pin", and it takes angelic intervention to snap him out of it.
    • Dean appears to have crossed it again in Season 7, to the point that he seems resigned to being blown up by Jo in Defending Your Life.
    • Again in Season 9, when Dean feels such immense guilt over getting Sam possessed and lying to him, Kevin's death, and all the other fallouts from the possession, that he gets the deadly Mark of Cain when he barely even knows what it does. He literally cuts Cain off in mid-sentence when the latter is trying to explain the ramifications of the Mark, indicating that Dean couldn't care less at that point what would happen to him.
  • Destructive Romance: Although it's brotherly love instead of romantic love, he has one with Sam. It is very apparent that Dean and Sam have a very messed up, tangled, codependent, and unhealthy relationship. The two simply cannot live or function without each other and that isn't a good thing, considering what these brothers have gone through together and what they have done to keep each other alive, especially Dean in regards to Sam. Dean's one and only serious girlfriend pretty well acknowledged that she always knew she would be second place to Sam.
  • The Determinator: Dean is probably the most determined character in the entire series. Once he sets his mind on something or on a person or mission or plan, HE NEVER GIVES UP. Dean is especially determined in regards to Sam. There is nothing that Dean wouldn't do for him; quite literally, he would go to Hell and sell his soul for him. However, the one time he didn't live up to this role and almost surrendered, well... he got pinned to a wall in a street and beaten up by Castiel so badly that it wasn't pretty. He also has never given up on Cas. Especially in Purgatory.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: It is clear that Dean is very codependent with Sam and needs constant human contact, approval, and love from others. He is very touchy, especially with Cas, giving the angel constant shoulder pats and awkward touches. It gets even sadder when you consider he's repeatedly told Cas he needs him and yet, from Dean's point of view, Cas keeps leaving him. In Season 9, it's actually Dean who pushes Cas away in a (misguided) attempt to save Sam, which ends up worsening his already fragile emotional state even further.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Dean often struggles with his own identity and what he wants in life, mostly because from a very young age, Dean's entire life has revolved around Sam.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The stunning amount of bad things that happen to Dean are starting to amount to this. The poor guy hasn't caught a break since Season 3.
  • Deuteragonist: To Sam's The Protagonist. Although the series is told from Dean's point of view, Sam is the focal character of the series according to the Word of God.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: A notable character trait of Dean's. He's flippant and disrespectful in front of powerful monsters even or especially when they're about to kill him.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Dean attempts to steal Death's ring from him. Death sits him down, offers him pizza, and then tells him how annoyed he is that although he is infinite, eternal, and will eventually reap the entire universe, he is stuck being tagged to one tiny little planet with one puny little being (a.k.a Lucifer). ... upon hearing this Dean has a little trouble swallowing his pizza. Death does this a second and a third time when the Winchesters (mostly Dean) encounter him, as he has quite a fondness for fast food.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight:
    • Dean dies in Sam's arms at the end of Season 3 when the Hellhounds rip him to shreds. And about 500 times in Mystery Spot.
    • And again at the end of Season 9.
    • And again in the Series Finale. Only this time, it sticks.
  • Disability Immunity: He's immune to Famine's powers because, according to Famine, he's so dead inside that no amount of self-indulgence could fill the void.
  • Disappeared Dad: For most of Season 1. Or how about throughout most of Dean's life? It's pretty evident in flashbacks that John has been absent before, leaving Dean to take care of Sam by himself when he was little more than a child himself.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Dean gets easily distracted by attractive women.
  • Distressed Dude: Primarily in Season 3.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: At the end of Season 3, Dean goes to Hell after being ripped apart by Hellhounds.
  • The Dreaded: After a few seasons racking up an enormous body count of demons, ghosts, and monsters, the brothers become this to the supernatural side of things.
    Demon Mook: What are you laughing at?
    Meg: (smiling) Dean Winchester's behind you, meat sack.
  • The Drifter: Comes with being a hunter for a living and traveling all across the country.
  • Driven to Suicide: Too many times to count throughout the series. However, it is understandable why Dean would seek death considering how dysfunctional and messed up his life has been.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Dean often uses alcohol to cope with his pain, grief, and depression. Sam frequently calls him out on his excessive drinking, especially in Season 7.
  • The Dutiful Son: To a fault. He was basically John's little soldier starting from childhood.
  • Dying as Yourself: At the end of Season 9, he admits to Sam that he's glad that Metatron killed him because the Mark of Cain was "turning me into something I don't wanna be." Sadly, dying is the final step for the Mark to do just that.

    E-I 
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A somewhat lighter version. Dean is known for subverting masculinity tropes and ideals of machismo, and some of his traits and things he likes are things traditionally considered feminine. However, while he's not actually a misogynist, he does have a habit of accusing others (mostly Sam) of being girly/liking girly stuff—as if femininity equates to weakness—likely due to his own insecurities and internalized feelings of shame. As of Season 8, he seems to have started being a little more at peace with himself, though the projection on Sam hasn't stopped.
  • Emotional Bruiser: Dean appears tough on the outside, but he's quite soft and emotional on the inside.
  • Escaped from Hell: Escapes Hell in the Season 4 premiere. In Season 8, he manages to escape Purgatory, which from all indications is just as bad.
  • Ethical Slut: Dean is highly promiscuous and loves sex, although he doesn't get too attached to anyone he sleeps with, considering the dangerous job he has.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In addition to hitting on and being appreciated by all females in the area, he's had several... suspect interactions that generally end with something along the lines of "I don't swing that way". Also, in "My Heart Will Go On" Balthazar states, "Sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who's in love with you." The latter is confirmed to be true in Season 15 when Castiel admits to having long been in love with him.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • When he turns into a Knight of Hell, his hair goes from short and spiky to slightly longer and gelled back. It goes back to his regular style after he becomes human once more.
    • After getting possessed by Michael at last in Season 14, Dean, in addition to gaining a Nice Hat, starts slicking his hair back. One of the indications that Michael has stopped possessing him is Dean going back to his scruffy, Messy Hair look.
  • Expy:
    • According to the Word of God, Dean was modeled off of Han Solo of Star Wars. On the other hand, Sam is modelled off of Luke Skywalker. From the start of the show, Sam and Dean embodied The Hero and The Lancer tropes according to their backgrounds, personalities, and characteristics. Kripke has stated that like Han Solo, Dean is a "devil may care, charismatic, a little rough around the edges, a little edgy, and says things that are not always the kindest thing" type of character. Similar to how Han displayed Big Brother Instinct towards Luke, Dean also displays the exact same attitude with Sam, to extreme levels in fact.
    • There are some fans who think that Dean shares similarities with Obi-Wan Kenobi (also from Star Wars). In comparison, fans have compared Sam to Anakin Skywalker (also known as Darth Vader). Some fans may feel that Dean shares some traits in common with Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan and Dean are both protective of Anakin and Sam, with Obi-Wan seeing Anakin as a substitute younger brother and Dean raising Sam since childhood. Both Obi-Wan and Dean have had to try to stop Anakin and Sam from crossing over to The Dark Side (and both of them end up failing). There is also the fact that both Dean and Obi-Wan serve as The Mentor or a Big Brother Mentor for Sam and Anakin respectively. Dean taught Sam everything about the supernatural and the hunting world while Obi-wan trained Anakin to become a powerful Jedi.
    • Dean is compared to Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings while Sam is compared to Frodo Baggins. This one was lampshaded in "Goodbye Stranger" when Dean tells Sam, "But I can carry you." He then defensively says, "Rudy hobbit always gets a pass."
  • Fanboy: Dean likes to hide it behind a tough guy exterior but he's arguably more of a nerd than Sam, at least when it comes to pop culture and entertainment. Some of his favorites are:
    • Loves Scooby Doo and the Scooby Doo show and has outright stated "I would die for that dog".
    • Loves anime and has stated that "it's an art". Also has a thing for hentai if the title of one of his movies, "Princess Asuka and the Tentacles" is anything to go by.
    • Once saw what a LARP was and said it "looked awesome".
    • In spite of having to deal with supernatural horror on a daily basis, he loves fantasy and sword and sorcery literature like Lord of The Rings and Star Wars, which is basically Sword and Sorcery in space.
  • Fantastic Racism: Dean seems to be skeptical of pretty much all supernatural creatures and beings. That includes demons, angels, vampires, spirits, ghosts, etc. Dean is so untrustworthy of supernatural creatures, especially demons in particular, that Dean has even admitted that Sam, who is part supernatural, scares him and makes him uncomfortable at times, especially when Sam's demonic abilities and powers were prominent. However, Dean's dislike for the supernatural is highly understandable and justifiable considering that he is a hunter for a living and he is meant to hunt and kill supernatural creatures, plus he actually proves to be right most of the time.
  • Father to His Men: As de facto leader, Dean often takes this role. He's always ready to reassure others when their spirit is wavering and is constantly looking out for his friends' welfare, particularly the younger ones, such as Kevin or Claire.
  • Fearless Fool: Dean can be rather brash, reckless, and impulsive at times.
  • The Fettered: Although Dean can be highly morally grey and has made plenty of morally questionable deeds, Dean still has a strong conscience and equally strong morals. Dean believes in doing the right thing as much as possible.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: While Dean very easily believes in the supernatural (hence the name of the show) and Hell, he simply flat-out refuses to believe in things like angels, Heaven, and God. According to him, "Gods" are simply very powerful monsters that you can still "gank". Dean is forced to face his lack of belief after he returns from Hell, when faced with the angel Castiel. Cas becomes a regular on the show, as does their "prophet" Chuck. Even the demons (re: Lucifer) end up stressing the fact that God exists—-He might not be there, but He does exist. Lucifer goes on this long-winded spiel about his devotion to his Father (God) being the reason for his falling from Heaven. Dean, while eventually admitting to the fact that God exists, never fails to ruffle the feathers of all the angels he comes across, simply for the fact that they are, as he puts it, "dicks." This is where at least 60% of the humor from Season 5 onward comes from, still managing to question the core accuracy of the Bible, or just religion in general.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine (also Choleric). While Dean can be very social and strikes up conversations with people with little to no problem, it's usually because he's trying to find leads for their most current case. Other than that, he tends to keep his circle of friends to a minimum, mostly because their dangerous lifestyle means he could lose anyone he cares about at any second.
  • Friendship Moment: Most of his scenes with Charlie, Kevin, Benny, and also Cas.
  • Friend to All Children: Dean loves children and has a strong paternal/big brother instinct. This is because he has always taken on the role of protector and caretaker since he was a child himself, having raised Sam and was considered to be both his big brother and father at the same time. So for him, kids (human ones, anyway) seem to be a pretty big soft spot for Dean. In Seasons 6 and 7, this is shown to apply to monster kids, too.
  • Functional Addict: By Season 4, Dean starts drinking heavily in order to self-medicate his Hell-induced PTSD. He never really quits, but his alcoholism doesn't interfere to any great degree with his ability to function.
    Sam: Can you even get drunk anymore? It's sort of like drinking a vitamin for you, right?
  • Future Badass: The Dean we know and love may be already quite badass, but his future self in 5x03 in the year 2014 takes it to a whole new level. He's also a total douchebag.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In 5x03, Dean is disturbed by his future self's propensity for violence, torture, and willing sacrifice of innocents.
  • Genius Bruiser: As well as being a brilliant fighter, Dean is also incredibly intelligent. For starters, he was able to turn a Walkman into an EMP detector, rebuilt the Impala from the ground up after it was wrecked, and is also highly knowledgeable about the supernatural. Dean's also a brilliant strategist and is very good at assessing his opponents' weaknesses. As of Seasons 8 and 9, it's been heavily implied that he gave up multiple opportunities to MIT and other advanced tech/engineering schools who reached out to him when he was in middle school, just so he could take care of Sam.
  • Good Is Not Nice/Good Is Not Soft: He can be a jerk, but believe or not Dean is still a good man. He won't hesitate to kick your ass or kill you if you hurt him, cross him, manipulate, or hurt anyone he loves and cares about.
  • Grease Monkey: Dean loves working on cars, namely his Impala.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Dean has a strong jealous streak. Especially in regards to anyone who manages to get close to Sam or tries to "replace" Dean in regards to Sam in any way. That includes men and women. Ruby is the most obvious example in Seasons 3 and 4.
  • Guile Hero: Dean is capable of resorting to manipulation during the hunt, although this is more of Sam's expertise.
  • Guilt Complex: Dean feels guilty for everything. Everything bad that happens, he blames himself and believes that he is in some way responsible.
  • The Gunslinger: Dean is scarily proficient with guns, firearms, and other weapons. After all, he is a skilled hunter and guns are a major part of his job. He uses them for fighting, hunting, and killing monsters and supernatural beings. He tends to use a Colt 1911, in addition to which he also uses a sawed-off shotgun on occasions where greater firepower is required. He has also been seen with an M SG 3 sniper rifle in "Simon Said." Throughout Season 5, he uses a Model 1887 shotgun against hellhounds and zombies.
  • Guttural Growler: Dean has become increasingly gruff over the seasons (seriously, listen to Season 1 compared to Season 6). Dean's growling voice was awesomely lampshaded at least twice: once in "The Real Ghostbusters" when a fan was pretending to be Dean, and once in "The French Mistake" when Jensen was playing Dean playing Jensen playing Dean. ("That's how he does it.")
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Played with. Although Dean gets frustrated easily, his true temper only seems to come out when someone thoroughly pushes his Berserk Buttons or things don't go his way at the most critical of moments.
  • Handsome Lech: Dean is a very handsome man and he flirts with anything in a skirt. The man's first thought upon returning from the dead? He had to re-lose his virginity. Anytime he's shown on a computer or with a magazine, it's invariably open to Busty Asian Beauties.
  • Hates Being Alone: Dean has a fear of everyone leaving or abandoning him. It's part of the reason why he took Sam taking off for Stanford so hard and why Dean is rather clingy and needy towards Sam. It also happens a lot with Cas. However, Sam gets the brunt of this issue with Dean, as between being raised to look after/protect Sammy and their general isolation from society, Sam is pretty well all that ever stands between Dean and profound loneliness. It has become a double-edged sword for Dean, as by this point he pretty well can't maintain other close relationships if Sam is around.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
    • Virtually every single episode of Supernatural features some little scene or line of dialogue for Dean to assert his heterosexuality/masculinity. Dean gets more than all other male characters on the show combined, often at the expense of his brother, who despite being shipped around in fandom is still by far the less slashable of the two. Funny, that.
    • In 'Sex and Violence' Dean declares his glee over working a case involving strippers. Later in the episode, we see him in a strip club devoting all his attention to bonding with a very male FBI agent. All the more amusing since the agent turns out to be the siren they're hunting and Dean was oblivious.
      • Turns out the male siren was actually supposed to be Dean's brother (the siren tells Sam specifically Dean wanted him), which is more incestuous subtext than anything.
    • In "Let It Bleed" we also get "I was too busy having sex with women." (Naturally, fans have often interpreted this as Suspiciously Specific Denial for Dean.)
  • The Heart:
    • Dean is the emotional character of the show, whose primary purpose is his connection with others and bringing people together at a time of importance.
    • Subverted as of Season 10, as Dean is now a demon. Sam has now taken over the role as he is the sole human lead and is the only human aspect of the show. Although Dean is no longer a demon and is now back to normal, Sam still has claim over this role since Dean has been battling the dark and troubling effects of the Mark Of Cain, which gives Dean the urge to kill. It has been shown that Sam serves as a strong Morality Pet and a Living Emotional Crutch for Dean, preventing him from letting the MOC take control over him. As of Season 11, it is safe to say that Sam still has claim over this role as Dean is still suffering negative after-effects from the Mark, still has the urge to kill, and is bound to The Darkness. Sam on the other hand wants to save everyone and has a much stronger moral conscience than Dean. If the spoilers for the season have any weight then it seems like Sam will be sought out by a force of light and goodness which will help him find a way to save Dean and battle The Darkness.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Dean has had his fair share of heartbreak regarding romance and love, as well as in the non-romance department. Most of his significant friendships (Sam, Cas, Benny, Bobby) have left him heartbroken and in pain at one point or another. Most notably, he was this after Lisa and Ben's minds were wiped clean, and in Season 7 after Cas' betrayal and death.
  • The Heavy: Of Season 10. The Mark of Cain is the true enemy of the season, but it's Dean himself that's the most dangerous villain around.
  • The Hero Dies:
    • At the end of Season 3, when Dean is dragged off to Hell by hellhounds after selling his soul to save Sam.
    • Dean dies over 100 times in "Mystery Spot".
    • And again at the end of Season 9, when Metatron stabs him with the First Blade.
    • And again in the Series Finale, when he's stabbed on a piece of rebar. It sticks this time.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Dean, along with Sam, has repeatedly made the FBI's most wanted list.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: So much so that one of the reasons Dean dies in Mystery Spot is because he attempted to pet a Golden Retriever.
    • He finally gets one in the form of Miracle in the penultimate episode of Season 19, and is visibly enamored with him until Dean's death.
  • Heroic BSoD: Oh, good Lord, repeatedly. He gets it after someone dies to save him in a Season 1 episode and when John dies to save his life in the Season 2 premiere. Said season proceeds to break him down in as many ways as possible and all of it leads to a suicidally guilty breakdown in which, after Sam dies, Dean ends up selling his soul in an incredibly poor and desperate bargain to bring him back.
    • Again in Season 15, when Castiel dies for good, right after professing his undying love for Dean. Although it isn't quite clear if Dean ever reciprocated, Cas was still his best friend, and it breaks him so much that the only thing he can do is curl up on the floor, head in his hands, going so far as to ignore a phone call from Sam.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Can you blame Dean? Between constantly having to save his brother Sam and trying to save the entire world, along with the innocent people in it, it is no wonder that Dean is emotionally and psychologically exhausted from it all.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the Season 2 finale, Dean engages in a fight with Azazel, the Yellow Eyed Demon while the gates to Hell are open and spirits and demons are escaping. Azazel telekinetically tosses Dean into the air and he hits his head on a headstone (and his bloody forehead indicates that he has sustained a concussion at the very least). His dad's spirit breaks out of Hell, wrestles with Azazel, and then Dean aims the Colt (the magical Kill Anything Gun) at the Yellow-Eyed-Demon and shoots. It hits YED square in the chest and it finally dies.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Dean has serious and real issues with self-worth and self-esteem, and he frequently takes this to suicidal lengths.
  • Heroic Spirit: Dean has it in the sense that he is a fighter and doesn't quit, even when things get rough.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: He and Sam have saved hundreds of lives, averted the Apocalypse numerous times, and literally survived Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. And they do all this while surviving on fraudulent credit cards, money hustled from pool games, renting low-rent motel rooms, sleeping in their car, and squatting in abandoned homes.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • With Sam, even though they are brothers.
    • Castiel could count as well, despite the ambiguity of the relationship.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Dean became this after John died and he had that big-secret-that-totally-wasn't weighing on his shoulders, and has had such moments of ruthlessness every time his family leaves him or lets him down or he's really freaking out about his brother. Examples include when he encounters Gordon in Season 2 after his father dies; when he so loses faith in his brother that he agrees to the angels' plan in Season 5 even though it will destroy most of the world; and in Season 7 when he kills Amy Pond (not that one) because he can't trust a monster not to kill again, complete with a Beatrix Kiddo moment with the woman's son afterward.
    • Future Dean in "The End" (5x04). After losing his brother to the devil and failing to stop the apocalypse, he becomes heartless and unsympathetic, willing to sacrifice all of his loyal friends for a chance to kill Lucifer.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Jensen Ackles can sing and carry a tune quite well. Dean, on the other hand, can't sing to save his life. There have been exceptions, like the time he got REO Speedwagon stuck in his head.
  • Honor Before Reason: In regards to Sam, in "Born Under A Bad Sign." But of course, this show being what it is, they do their best to try and break him because of it.
  • Hot-Blooded: Dean can be rather hot-headed whenever his emotions run high, as he's more prone to raising his voice when angered and running off to commit impulsive decisions than Sam or Cas, but it's explicitly clear whenever he gets too riled up in the heat of battle and starts dipping into his reckless, guns blazing behavior once more.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: Dean is part of an inverted example in "The Slice Girls". Dean sleeps with an Amazon, she has his daughter in a few days, and the daughter grows into a teenager quite quickly. She then tries to kill Dean, who hesitates to fight back, but Sam shoots her dead and saves Dean.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Dean hunts supernatural creatures for a living.
  • Hurting Hero: Dean always goes through so much pain, tragedy, and chaos. The man just can't catch a break. Even though he constantly saves people, nothing ever good happens to Dean in return. In fact, the bad stuff just keep piling on for Dean. From losing family, friends, and allies to having to stop his own younger brother going Dark Side and becoming evil, there is just no happy times for Dean. And even when he does get some happiness or normalcy, it is taken away from him sooner than later.
  • Hypocrite: Holy cow, is Dean Winchester a hypocrite. Here's a few examples...
    • One of Dean's number one rules with Sam is to never lie or keep secrets from him, yet Dean keeps so many secrets from Sam and lies so many times, you could make a drinking game out of it. This is a bit forgivable, however, as Dean mostly does it for Sam's own good and doesn't want his little brother to worry about him.
    • Another one is "what's dead should stay dead". He consistently criticizes people who perform supernatural acts to bring back their loved ones, yet makes a pact with a Crossroads Demon to bring Sam back to life.
  • Iconic Item: The Samulet AKA Dean's iconic necklace. He even wore it while he was in Hell. As of Season 10, it has returned, in wooden form, as a gift from a fan of the Supernatural books. Dean hangs it from the Impala's rear-view mirror.
  • Idiot Ball: Dean has had his fair share of stupid and idiotic moments throughout the series. One example is Dean in "Swap Meat." They live in a world full of demons and shapeshifters (granted, the tattoos block out the demons) and have angels hounding them to say yes to being possessed by Lucifer, in Sam's case, and yet Dean goes almost the entire episode without realizing that Sam is not Sam. Particularly glaring when Sam noticed Dean wasn't Dean in "Skin" almost immediately from a minuscule hint alone. It's possible that Dean didn't notice "Sam's" odd behavior because of the stress he was under due to the Colt failing to work against Lucifer, Jo and Ellen's senseless deaths in the attempt, and the pressure to save the world from the Apocalypse. It's also possible that he didn't notice because for once he and Sam were really getting along and he didn't want to risk upsetting that after all the damage their relationship had been through at that point.
  • Incest Subtext: There are some moments. Especially in earlier seasons or whenever Dean desperately tries to save Sam.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Dean appears overconfident and even brags about his abilities sometimes, but in reality, he has serious self-esteem issues.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Due to his magnetic personality, what little friendships Dean forms end up being this.
    • Has this with Bobby Singer, to the point that he regards the old hunter as somewhat of a father figure.
    • He also has this with the younger characters on the show, such as Kevin and Claire. He's especially protective of both, and even goes so far as to share one of his favorite films (Caddyshack) with the latter in Season 12 as a birthday present.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Dean is a human while Castiel is an angel of the Lord and Benny is a vampire.
  • I Am Not My Father: A variation when Bobby tells Dean he doesn't have to be like John and let his relationship with Sam be ruined because he is too proud to forgive him.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Arguably shows shades of this with Sam. Dean displays Yandere behaviour towards Sam and has a jealous streak when it comes to Sam and his relationships with other people. Dean doesn't like when other people try to come between him and his brother's relationship and has even gone the route of Murder the Hypotenuse when a female character is romantically involved with Sam. In a Season 8 episode, Dean was under a spell and had Sam at gunpoint, telling him that Sam had left him to die in purgatory for a girl (Amelia). This fact was what fueled Dean's rage under the spell. Dean comes off as threatened by anyone encroaching on his territory (Sam) and he is willing to do what he has to to have Sam all to himself. Also see Yandere and Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • It's All My Fault: If anything can be slightly linked to him in any way, expect him to shoulder the burden and expect that burden to break him hard. Just see how the whole back-from-Hell thing worked out for him in Season 4.
  • It's Personal: If you hurt anyone that he loves, Dean will hunt you down and return the pain ten-fold.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Both played straight and subverted with Sam, depending on the occasion. Dean has always sacrificed a lot of his own happiness, comfort, and well-being to put Sam and his needs first. Yet, because of his fear of being left alone and co-dependency issues with his brother, he'll occasionally end up trying to control Sam's life so much. Believing he knows "what's best" for Sam, his behavior becomes more egoistical than selfless and ultimately detrimental to Sam himself.
    • Played straight with Cas in 9x06. While the immediate reason he can't ask Cas to come back to the Bunker is because of the Gadreel situation, it's also clear he's not just doing it because it's convenient when he tells Cas to go live a normal life and experiment and be happy, even though he wishes Cas could stay with him.

    J-N 
  • Jerkass: Dean can be a jerk to others from time to time, especially towards those whom he's skeptical or suspicious of. But this mostly has to do with Dean's serious trust issues. However, Dean's future self in 2014 is a certified douchebag.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the fact that Dean has a lot of dick-ish ways, he still has good intentions and has strong compassion for others.
  • Jumped at the Call: Though this might be less "jumped" at and more "picked up and pitched forward at" instead.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Every single time Dean has to keep a secret from his brother (granted, that's mostly because he only keeps secrets about his brother's fate or things he's done that Sam wouldn't like). He keeps the biggest and most extreme secret of all in Season 9, when Dean gives an angel the permission to possess Sam without Sam's knowledge and true consent so that Sam could be alive and eventually heal internally. Sam found out. It wasn't pretty.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The series' prime example. He's cynical, pessimistic, and very blunt on the negative side of a life fighting evil. At one point he even concluded the world wanted to end. Not the most likely hero, but still cares about the lives of people and devotes his life to saving them.
    Dean: I think the world's going to end bloody, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight. We do have choices. I chose to go down swingin'.
  • Killed Off for Real: He bites it in the series finale, making Sam promise not to bring him back for fear of any potential ramifications.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Dean is basically the Trope Codifier. Dean will basically kill or hurt anyone who so much as harms Sam in any way, shape, or form. Long story short: DO NOT hurt or harm Sam. Dean will come after you big time.
  • Ladykiller in Love: He was like this during his 10-Minute Retirement with Lisa and her son Ben, and for as long as he could manage after Sam came back.
  • La Résistance: 2014!Dean is the "fearless leader" of some of the few remaining humans.
  • Large Ham: Dean can be a rather larger than life character at times. With Dean, sometimes the larger, the better. Especially when it comes to Dean's food.
  • The Leader: Dean often takes the lead in most missions and plans. He also has the ability of bringing people together for a common purpose and goal.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Sam. People, notably Bobby and Charlie, frequently comment on how Dean and Sam's interactions can be likened to a married couple.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Subverted. On the surface, Dean seems a lot like his father. They are both dedicated hunters, share similar tastes, and most of Dean's possessions were John's. Later episodes show that most of the similarities were deliberate attempts to imitate John, taken on by a younger Dean who still longed for his father's approval, and that Dean's protective, loyal, nurturing personality is more like his mother's. For all his rebelliousness, it's actually Sam that takes after John.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Dean doesn't have a particularly vivid and varied wardrobe, mainly because the hunter lifestyle demands practicality and few possessions. It's even become something of an inside joke in the fandom that if you've got a leather jacket and a plaid shirt, you're already a Winchester.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: The Men Of Letters legacy comes from the paternal Winchester lineage, meaning that it is a legacy that Dean can follow. His paternal grandfather, Henry, was a Man of Letters, which means that John was also a part of the Man of Letters legacy as well.
  • Little Miss Badass: Dean was hunting and shooting guns at the age of 6.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Sam. Without Dean, Sam has been shown to become an emotionless robot who is similar to Soulless!Sam. Sam also makes many costly mistakes and acts rather impulsively and rashly without Dean's influence. Dean has mentioned that he and Sam keep each other human.
  • Long Lost Sibling: To Adam. Dean is the older paternal half brother to Adam since he and Adam share the same father (John).
  • Love Hungry: Growing up without a mother and an emotionally-distant father does this to you. See Desperately Craves Affection, Extreme Doormat, Love Makes You Crazy, and Love Martyr.
  • Lovable Rogue: Dean is incredibly rough around the edges, but you can't help but root for him.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Dean is known to be a highly sexual and promiscuous person. See Really Gets Around.
  • Love Hurts: Dean's relationship with Sam has been nothing but endless heartbreaks, chaos, and ups and downs.
  • Love Martyr: In regards to basically everyone, but primarily Sam. Despite Sam turning into a demon blood-addicted junkie who was turning to The Dark Side, Dean still couldn't quit Sam and walk away. He still loved Sam regardless of what he was turning into and he did nothing but try to help Sam overcome his issues in Season 4, even though Sam was constantly sneaking around his back. Likewise, Dean always forgives Castiel, no matter how angry he may be with him in the short-term, and always wants Cas to come back to him.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: His relationship with Sam, but also with Charlie when he went berserker under the influence of the MOC.
  • Loving a Shadow: Dean's relationship with Lisa is a case of this, seeing as he decides to have a long-term live-in relationship with her after seeing her three times in ten years. Dean's actor has stated that Dean was more in love with the idea of having a long-term relationship, an adoptive son, and a stable home than he was with Lisa herself.
  • Machine Empathy: Dean seems to have this in regards to his Impala. This concept becomes very important as the show goes on.
  • Made of Iron: Dean got pistol-whipped, shot in the shoulder (and later had a thumb digging into his bullet wound. Ouch), nearly got beaten to death, and was left to drown in icy water. And after all that, he still manages to drive?
  • Mama's Boy: Played With. It's very clear that Dean was very attached to Mary and took her death almost as bad as John did. However, when he learns that it was Mary's deal with Azazel that led to the unfathomable suffering Sam had to endure, Dean was understandably angry and loathed her for what she did. But, at the end of the day, Mary was still his mother and Dean couldn't bring himself to hate her. His monologue towards Mary in 12x22 says it all...
    Dean: I hate you. You lied to me. I was a kid. You promised you'd keep me safe. And then you make a deal with Azazel. Yeah, it saved Dad's life, but I'll tell you something else that happened. Because on November 2, 1983, old Yellow Eyes came waltzing in to Sammy's room because of your deal. You left us. Alone. 'Cause Dad was just a shell. His perfect wife? Gone. Our perfect Mom, the perfect family... was gone. And I... I had to be... more than just a brother. I had to be a father and I had to be a mother, to keep him safe. And that wasn't fair. And I couldn't do it. And you wanna know what that was like? They killed the girl that he loved. He got possessed by Lucifer. They tortured him in Hell. And he lost his soul. His soul. All because of you. All of it was because of you. I hate you. I hate you. And I love you. 'Cause I can't— I can't help it. You're my mom. And I understand... 'Cause I have made deals to save the ones I love, more than once. I forgive you. I forgive you. For all of it. Everything. On the other side of this, we can start over, okay? You, me, Sam. We can get it right this time. But I need you to fight. Right now, I need you to fight. I need you—I need you to look at me, Mom. I need you to really look at me and see me. Mom, I need you to see me. Please.
  • Manchild:
    • Dean can be downright goofy whenever the writers decide to take a break from angsting him. For example, he gets super-excited about classic monsters like a proper werewolf, and makes movie references non-stop.
    • In a Season 3 episode, while his run of luck allows him to have incredible reflexes and aim, Dean says "I'm Batman" after taking out an assailant, and looks genuinely disappointed/hurt when Sam responds with a rather sarcastic "Yeah right, you're Batman."
    • In a Season 6 episode, Dean also shows his childish excitement of classic Western movies and the opportunity to go to the good ol' West.
    • In Season 8, he gets really into LARPing, despite his initial balking at the sheer geekiness on display.
    • In Season 12, after Cas benches both him and Claire, they end up going mini-golfing and Dean practically dances around Claire when he shoots a hole-in-one. After she does the same, Dean childishly mimics her bragging.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Lampshaded in a Season 1 episode when one of the people they're trying to help keeps questioning his credentials.
    Dean: Tell me, did Bambi or Yogi ever hunt you back?
  • Manly Tears: Dean sheds his fair share of tears.
  • Mangst: Yes, Dean is constantly marinating in man-pain. No, he does not want to talk about it! Even though everyone in his proximity can sense it.
  • Married to the Job: Unlike Sam, Dean's occasional desire for a normal life is mitigated by the knowledge that he's been a hunter for so long now, he simply cannot go back to a normal life even if he wanted to; even admitting to Sam in Season 8 that he's accepted that he's unlikely to ever settle down and raise a family. He cannot stop being a hunter, since it's an intrinsic part of his nature and who he is.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Dean is easily willing to sacrifice himself without hesitation for his family and those he loves.
  • Meaningful Name: The name Dean comes from the Latin word "decanus," which means "leader."
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Samulet, AKA Dean's amulet/necklace. Sam gave it to him for Christmas when he was eight, and Dean was twelve, and he would proceed to wear it for the next fifteen years, or so. According to an interview, the amulet was written out on his actor's request during Season 3 because it flew up during a stunt and chipped his tooth.
  • The Mentor: To Sam, who could be seen as the Jedi Padawan in the Star Wars analogy, primarily regarding hunting and the hunting world. Dean was seen as somewhat of a mentor to Sam in the first few seasons in regards to the hunting world and getting Sam to embrace the hunter's lifestyle.
    • He's also this for Cas and Jack, in regards to acquainting them with the ups and downs of being human.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Constantly with Sam, so much that it has become a Running Gag of the series. See Incest Subtext.
    • In one episode, they pretend to be interested in buying a house, and two realtors, on separate occasions, mention that "we accept homeowners of any race, religion, color, or sexual orientation."
    • Also happens in the one episode with the little girl at the old hotel: when they go to check into the hotel, the owner mentions that "[they] get a lot of gay couples down here because of the great antiques shop."
    • Happens again in the fourth season premiere: when Dean comes back from the dead and proves to Sam it's really him they embrace tearfully and the girl Sam was with earlier says "So you guys are..." before Dean interrupts her with "Brothers."
    • And of course the lovely episode when Dean asks for "two queens" at the motel and Michael, the lippy kid behind the counter, mutters "I bet."
    • In a fifth season episode, Sam and Dean do some ghost-busting at a Supernatural convention with two guys who are dressed like them. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the duo was gay. It's no wonder, since much of the in-show fanbase are constantly exploring homoerotic subtexts between the brothers.
    • In the Season 8 episode "Bitten", the college students the episode focuses on assume that Sam and Dean (who they think are FBI agents) have a "workplace romance" going on.
    • In a Season 9 episode, the boys go undercover at a spa (Dean in the kitchen and Sam as a yoga teacher) and one of Dean's co-workers asks him to "stop flirting with the trainer". And these are only a few examples.
    • He has these occasionally with Castiel as well, to the point that more than one character has referred to Cas as his boyfriend. Oddly enough, Dean never gets mad when this accusation comes up.
    Balthazar: (to Dean) Oh, you must have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who's in love with you.
  • Mood-Swinger: Dean can alternate between enthusiastic and engaging to sullen and withdrawn, sometimes so abruptly that others have trouble keeping up. Sam is accustomed to it, but it is a common source of tension between them. Castiel doesn't understand it, and his attempts to cope with it just lead him into doing things that cause still more mood swings.
  • Moral Myopia: Dean's attitude towards the possibility of Sam turning into a monster or otherwise being abnormal; he's perfectly willing to kill strangers who might go Dark Side, but simply refuses to do so with his brother even when presented with clear indications of this happening, because he couldn't bear to live without him. This has taken a turn for the destructive where Sam is concerned. Dean has always had a "Watch out for Sammy!" directive playing in his head since childhood, but by the end of Season 8, he couldn't abide Sam dying even though (they thought at the time) his sacrifice would prevent countless other deaths. As of Season 9 Dean has saved Sam in a way that Sam was pretty well guaranteed to flip out over, resulting in Kevin's death and two bad guys walking free — and Dean still said he'd do it again. By this point in the series, keeping Sam alive has pretty well overtaken any other moral compunction Dean has.
  • Morality Chain: In later seasons for Sam AND Castiel.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Dean has killed some of Sam's love interests including Amy and Ruby (granted, they were both supernatural creatures and the latter was trying to kill them as well). He's also willing to kill any other female supernatural being who may come between himself and Sam.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Dean is appealing to the straight female fans and non-straight male fans of Supernatural.
  • Mr. Fixit: Dean seems to be rather mechanical-minded and likes to fix things, especially his car.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Dean is a thief, a conman, and a habitual liar. He's also crude, flippant, promiscuous, and violently cynical. He still manages to be pretty damn heroic on a regular basis despite all of this though.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Most of Dean's failures or situations where Dean feels like he failed badly revolve around Sam. One was not being able to save Sam from dying at the end of Season 2. Also, not being able to prevent or stop Sam from using his demonic abilities, becoming a demon blood junkie, succumbing to his darkness, and starting the apocalypse in Season 4.
    • Pretty much anytime anyone dies, Dean finds a way to blame himself for it, and on occasion even half-jokes that unemployment and the Lindbergh baby are on him too.
  • Narrator/First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Supernatural is primarily told from Dean's P.O.V. The story is seen through Dean's eyes, therefore, the audience tends to sympathize with Dean the most.
  • Naytheist: Dean is a non-believer and is strongly against religion; he's also a card-carrying atheist. In the earlier seasons, he didn't believe in God, angels, or any other religious deities concerning faith, yet he hunts demons and many other supernatural beings. This is more out of his need to rationalize God's noninterference with all the evil he sees in the world than any philosophical problem, however. It's somewhat telling that whenever Dean is desperate enough to resort to using prayer, it's always directed towards Cas. Rather than ask an indifferent God for help, Dean would rather pray to someone he actually does have complete faith in.
    Dean: If He doesn't exist, fine. Bad crap happens to good people. That's how it is. There's no rhyme or reason, just random, horrible, evil, I get it, okay. I can roll with that. But if He is out there, what's wrong with Him? Where the hell is He while all these decent people are getting torn to shreds? How does He live with Himself? You know, why doesn't He help?
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Dean frequently comes up with nicknames for other characters on the show. The most common nickname that Dean uses is "Sammy" for Sam. Apparently, only Dean gets to call Sam "Sammy".
    • His nickname for Castiel—Cas(s)—has stuck to the point that barely anyone calls the angel by his real name anymore.
    • In Season 9, Dean calls the angel possessing his brother, Ezekiel, "Zeke" for short.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: In the earlier seasons, Dean was the Roguish Male to Sam's Noble Male.
  • The Not-Love Interest: To Sam. Although Sam is his brother, Dean treats Sam as if he is the Juliet to his Romeo or the Romeo to his Juliet.

    O-R 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He built an EMF out of a Walkman, has a (correctly applied) movie or TV show reference for every occasion, is usually the one to come up with a plan on the fly, and has proven more than once that he can memorize anything in just a few seconds. Despite this, he repeatedly claims that he's not the smart one. He exemplifies this to an almost insane degree. The way he comes off at times it seems a miracle he's not dead. Then he goads a demon into attacking him in order to get it to walk under a devil's trap, figures out that the Trickster is the Archangel Gabriel, and defeats one of the Knights of Hell by carving a devil's trap into a bullet and shooting her in the head with it. These aren't just Indy Ploys either, Dean really is just that good at hunting.
  • Oblivious to Love: It's stated that the reason he was so surprised by Castiel's confession to having been in love with him the whole series was because he had no idea angels were capable of feeling romantic love in the first place.
  • Odd Couple: With Sam. Many outsiders often refer to them being like an old married couple.
  • Odd Friendship: With Castiel. They really have nothing in common and it can even be described as an awkward friendship, and yet, Dean explicitly calls Cas his best friend multiple times and is just as protective of him as he is of Sam. The awkwardness could just be because Dean is a human and Castiel is an angel.
  • Older Than They Look: Downplayed Trope. Thanks to the Year Inside, Hour Outside going on, Dean spent forty years in Hell during the four months that he was dead on Earth, making him (mentally) well over 70.
    • Played straight by Season 13 where, just like his actor, he's around 40 but doesn't look (nor act) his age.
  • One-Man Army:
    • When he becomes a vampire, he fights through a large number of them to find the one who turned him so he could obtain a cure.
    • When the Styne family kill Charlie, Dean goes into Unstoppable Rage mode and massacres every last one of then.
    • Dean also helps his friend Benny kill multiple vamps all for Benny's hate of his old nest.
    • With the Mark of Cain, Dean has been shown to take on multiple demons and sometimes angels on his own.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Subverted. At the end of Season 3, Dean really does die and goes to Hell after selling his soul to bring Sam back from the dead. However, Dean is resurrected by Castiel after spending four months in Hell.
  • Oral Fixation: Especially in the earlier seasons, Dean had a habit of chewing on pens and pen caps whenever he and Sam were doing research.
  • Papa Wolf: To Sam, Ben and Jack, and any children you try to hurt.
  • Parental Abandonment: Dean had serious abandonment issues in regards to John growing up. Because John wasn't often there for Dean and Sam during childhood, Dean ended up not only being Sam's older brother, but also Sam's father figure as well. It's revealed in Season 9 that John once refused to bail Dean out of jail after Dean had been arrested for stealing food for Sam. (Dean was later taken to a boys' home, but John apparently didn't care either way.)
  • Parental Issues: Dean had some serious daddy issues growing up and his mother died unexpectedly when he was just a kid.
  • Parental Neglect: Oh so much. It took a while for Dean to come to terms with John's abandonment of his father growing up.
  • Parental Substitute: To Sam. Growing up, John was never in Sam's (or Dean's) life. Dean was the one who practically raised Sam since he was a baby. At times, Dean appears to be more of a father figure to Sam than an actual older brother. As a result, Sam and Dean's dynamic can come off as more parent-child dynamic than that of a older brother/younger brother dynamic.
  • Perma-Stubble: Dean seems to have a permanent five-o-clock shadow. However, in the earlier seasons, he appeared to always be clean shaven. It's obvious that Dean is much too busy hunting and saving lives to shave. Or maybe it's the ongoing chaos and stress that is always overtaking his life.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Dean says this when Sam is dying in his arms in the first part of the Season 2 finale.
  • Please Wake Up: The first part of the Season 2 finale had a variation of this trope (in that of course Dean understands death, he just doesn't want his world to come crashing down around him), where Sam is dying in Dean's arms and Dean is in childlike denial.
    Dean to Sam: "Sam, Sam, Sam. Hey, hey... Come here, come here, let me look at you. Oh, hey look, hey look at me it's not even that bad. It's not even that bad, alright? Sammy, Sam! Hey, listen to me, we are going to patch you up, okay... You'll be as good as new. Huh? I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to take care of you. I gotcha. It's my job, right, watch out for my pain-in-the-ass little brother.... Sam... Sam.... Sam! Sammy! No.. no-n-n-n-n-no. Oh god... Oh god... Sam!"
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Despite both brothers being quite quippy, Dean almost always has a one-liner ready for every situation the Winchesters find themselves in.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Dean curses quite a bit and often uses words like "bitch", "whore" and "skank". Of course, most of those tend to be used in reference to demons who happen to be inhabiting female bodies at the time, not the actual women themselves. Dean just really hates demons. In fact, Dean saying "Look at me, bitch!" to a male vampire as he's beheading him is odd enough that Sam comments on it, and is used as a sign that the Mark of Cain is starting to affect Dean's mental state.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Dean is a fan of classic rock and B-grade horror movies. In "Hollywood Babylon", his movie knowledge paid off. Out of the two brothers, Dean is also liklier to spout off pop culture references.
  • The Pornomancer: Collects numerous porn magazines and even sometimes watches porn.
  • Porn Stash: Dean is heavily into skin mags and porn magazines that it is not that unusual to think that Dean has always had a stash of skin magazines hiding somewhere everywhere he goes. In a Season 8 episode, Dean opens a folder in the archives of the Men of Letters to find a first edition of Voluptuous Asian Lovelies. Perhaps Dean's interest in Busty Asian Beauties is part of the Men of Letters legacy.
  • The Power of Love:
    • Dean's love for Sam is so strong and powerful that it has saved the world on numerous occasions. To quote Dean himself, he and Sam have a "deep, abiding love for each other." On the other hand, Dean's love for Sam (and vice versa) has also managed to destroy the world or cause trouble as well. Dean's love (or rather codependency and possessiveness) for Sam has often been used as a powerful tool for the greater good.
    • In Season 5, despite Dean losing faith in his little brother, Sam's faith in him was strong enough to make Dean change his mind after agreeing to let Michael possess him to kill Lucifer.
    • Played straight at the end of Season 5. In Sam's plan to prevent both Lucifer's Apocalypse and Michael's killing of Lucifer that will destroy half the world, the power of love does save the day. Dean's presence gives Sam the strength to beat Lucifer and throw himself (with Lucifer inside) into Hell's solitary confinement.
    • Played straight again in 8x17 when his confession to Castiel that he needs him breaks Naomi's mental control over Cas.
    • Played straight at the end of 10x23 when it is Dean's love for Sam that helps him to overcome the negative effects of the Mark of Cain.
  • The Power of Trust: In relation to this, they both try to do this with each other more than once. Sometimes they succeed — it's basically the way Dean convinces Cas to perform his first overt act of rebellion — sometimes they fail, but when they fail it's always because of their individual traits or motivations rather than because they don't trust each other.
  • Pretty Boy: Dean has classic "feminine" pretty boy features: his large green eyes, his long lashes, his freckles, and of course his full lips. Although he'd rather be thought of as a Hunk.
  • Promotion to Parent: Deconstructed with Dean for Sam: it left him with a whole ton of issues—not the least of which is his lack of a spine when it comes to family—and an unhealthy need to keep Sam alive and safe.
  • Properly Paranoid: Of Ruby in the third and fourth season. Turns out he was right. But really, Dean gets this way towards anyone that gets close to Sam.
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: Dean seems to have accepted his legacy as a Man of Letters and takes pride in it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Dean similarly has long-since accepted that he's a born Hunter.
  • Psycho Serum: The Mark of Cain and the First Blade acted as this for him in Seasons 9 and 10. His default state is a decisive man of action tempered with mercy. The Mark pushed him progressively into outright bloodthirstiness.
  • Race Fetish: Since Dean seems to be obsessed with Busty Asian Beauties, it could be assumed that Dean has a secret thing for Asian women. It's implied in one episode that it is something which runs in the family.
  • Reality Ensues: Gut-wrenchingly shown in the final episode. Dean isn't killed by the Big Bad, in a blaze of glory, but by being pushed onto a simple bit of rebar, piercing, assumedly, his lung. With nobody around to heal/resurrect him, he dies just doing a "milk run" of a job. Even he knew it would happen eventually, as their job isn't known for having many old hunters.
  • Really Gets Around: Crosses into Ethical Slut territory. Frequently. He even got it on with an angel. No, not that one.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Dean often acts like this, rather to Sam's annoyance, mostly because Sam is more straightforward about his emotions, whereas Dean is notorious for wallowing in Mangst and then denying it.
    • As of Season 4 onwards, this is subverted. Dean is now the more affectionate of and touchy between himself and his brother, and is often the one who initiates hugs with Sam.
    • Actually, as of Season 8 (and before the increased stoicism from his emotional state and the Mark of Cain in Season 9), Dean has started initiating hugs with everyone.
    • As of later seasons, he seems to have substituted hugs for shoulder pats. Honestly, take a drink whenever Dean pats Cas, Sam, Jack, or anybody else on the shoulder, and you'd end up drunk by the end of the season.
  • Real Men Cook: When they finally find a permanent home in the form of the Bunker, Dean takes to cooking for everyone and is actually pretty decent at it.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Dean is a badass demon hunter who watches Oprah, Dr. Sexy MD and Black Swan; is a decent cook; likes Taylor Swift's music; and secretly enjoys wearing women's underwear.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Sam's Blue.
  • Removing the Rival: Dean did this to Ruby at the end of Season 4 when he stabbed her with the demon blade and killed her. All season, Dean and Ruby were basically in competition for Sam's affections and loyalty. Since Dean killed her after she betrayed Sam, Dean won, of course.
  • Resigned to the Call: Dean fights because it's what he's been trained to do since childhood. He enjoys hunting in the earlier seasons, but he tires of it pretty quickly and it's made clear that he keeps going out of a sense of responsibility to the job than any real enjoyment. 'What Is and What Should Never Be' is one long testament to this, and he's stated outright that if he had the option to do something else, he would. At the end of Season 5, Dean settles down with a girl and a kid and tries to live a normal life. He ends up leaving them for several reasons, but the most driving one being the fact that hunting was in his nature. It was a part of him, and he voluntarily abandoned a normal family life for hunting evil once again.
  • Rise from Your Grave: In the first episode of the fourth season, Dean is seen coming out of his grave.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • In 10x09, although it isn't so much revenge as him being influenced by the Mark of Cain, Dean slaughters four grown men who kidnap and try to rape Claire, along with beating him over the head when he had every intention of letting them go unscathed.
    • In 10x22, Dean takes revenge against the Styne family after they murdered his good friend Charlie. Up to Eleven when you remember that he's also bearing the Mark of Cain, turning him into a ruthless killing machine.
  • Rounded Character: Dean has become a much deeper, more complex character than he originally started out as.

    S-Z 
  • Sad Clown: Dean often uses humor to cope with his sadness, depression, or any issues that he is dealing with. As Season 1 progressed, Dean went from pure comic relief to being a sad, lost little boy who really wanted his family back together and who wisecracks only to mask that nasty pain.
  • Sadist:
    • During his time in Hell, Dean's limits when being tortured was pushed beyond expectation, possibly due to his stubborn behavior. However, after thirty years, he finally succumbed to becoming the torturer and claims he loved every second of tearing each of them apart, as he wasn't the one getting tortured anymore.
    • Season 10 pretty much sums this up when he uses all of his past tragedies as a hunter who lost almost everything he's ever cared about and becomes an Ax-Crazy demon with a ruthless and sadistic attitude. Similar to Sam when he literally had no soul, instead of becoming emotionless, Dean actually loves killing people and making them suffer as he gleefully stabbed a man who was in a depressed state just for kicks.
    • He also went as far as trying to murder Sam and Cas—his brother and his best friend, respectively—while sadistically smiling and enjoying the psychological torment he inflicted on the former to make him feel responsible for all their past issues.
    • This isn't his first rodeo with sadism either, as he has shown shades of this in the earlier seasons. He has been shown to brutally torture people, demons, and even gruesomely kill innocent creatures that don't partake in any malicious behavior. This is explicitly shown when he coldly kills Sam's old friend, Amy, for being a kitsune, albeit a kitsune who only wanted to keep her son alive and healthy. However, Dean's Knight Templar ways prevented her from living and he murders her in front of her young son with no remorse. Thankfully, he has come a long way and has now gotten better, thanks to realizing the error of his old ways.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • After Dean comes back from Hell, he starts hallucinating about the torture he went through and how he tortured souls himself. Additionally, returning from Purgatory enhanced his hunting skills but made him more violent, to the point that he was willing to strangle a suspect for answers.
    • The Mark of Cain takes this Up to Eleven in Season 10. Even though he tries his hardest to keep from killing people under the Mark's influence, he ends up getting swayed anyway and becomes so Ax-Crazy that the smallest slight against Dean sends him into an Unstoppable Rage at the drop of a hat. In fact, it hurts his sanity so bad that he starts dreaming about killing people, namely who his next victims will be.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: For such a gruff manly man, Dean has a rather high-pitched scream. Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Screw Destiny: This is Dean's motto in regards to everything in life. His mission too in the fifth season, leading him, Sam, and Cas to nickname themselves "Team Free Will." After he learns that his entire life has been one big cosmic joke, Dean starts embodying this even more, setting out to defy any and all pre-ordained plans for him and his brother, and starts doing his damndest to fight back against his supposed destiny, to the point that he outright rejects being the vessel of one of the most powerful angels in existence.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In "Yellow Fever", Dean, becoming increasingly anxious and paranoid after being cursed by a Buruburu, makes a pretty clear statement of why he's fed up with the hunting job.
    Dean: Us, right. And that, Sam, that's exactly why our lives suck! I mean, come on, we hunt monsters! What the hell? I mean normal people, they see a monster and they run, but not us. No, no, no. We search out the things that want to kill us. Heh, heh? OR EAT US!! You know who does that? Crazy people! We are insane! Y'know, then there's the bad diner food, and the skeevy motel rooms, and truck stop waitresses with the bizarre rash! I mean, who wants this life, Sam, huh? Seriously! I mean, do you actually like being stuck with me in a car, 8 hours a day every single day? I don't think so! I mean, I drive too fast, and I listen to the same five albums over and over and over again, and I sing along — I'm annoying, I know that — and you... you're gassy! I mean, you eat half a burrito and you get toxic! I mean— y'know what? *tosses Sam the keys to the Impala* You can forget it.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Dean and Sam, with Dean as the Manly Man to Sam's Sensitive Guy. Arguably subverted, as Dean tends to be more nurturing and emotional than Sam, who is seen to be more stoic and calm. Not to mention that Dean has far more emotional moments throughout the show than Sam does.
  • Shipper on Deck: Dean's OTP seems to be Sam/Sarah. Hence his apparent disappointment in "Clip Show" to learn that, despite Sarah's lingering attraction to Sam, she's since married and had kids. When Crowley kills her simply to spite them, he takes it almost as badly as Sam does.
    • In Season 15, he also encourages Sam's growing attraction to Eileen.
  • Sibling Team: With Sam, his brother and hunting partner. They fight and they battle monsters together.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Sam. While Dean is more impulsive, hotheaded and reckless, Sam is more calm, collected, practical, and logical. See Cain and Abel, Bromantic Foil, Red Oni, Blue Oni, and Manly Man and Sensitive Guy.
  • Single Tear: He sheds them constantly. It's made its way into a drinking game!
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Dean curses quite a bit, and he uses a lot of derogatory words and terms from time to time.
  • Slasher Smile: His default look when he became a demon. You can really tell that he loves killing.
  • The Snark Knight: Dean is all-too-willing to take potshots at anyone and everyone — himself most especially.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Another memento to John Winchester's A+ parenting skills is that when the Yellow-Eyed Demon attempts to impersonate him, Dean immediately realizes that something is wrong because John isn't yelling at him for wasting one of the Colt's bullets. Just goes to show how awfully Dean was treated by John growing up.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: He pulls this whenever he uses anger and rudeness to cover up for the fact that he's broken.
  • Spear Counterpart: For Ruby. They're both snarky, determined, very sarcastic, hot-headed, incredibly badass, have a passion for fighting and battles, both are fierce soldiers who won't back down from a fight or battle, both are loyal to achieving their missions, both have been caretakers to Sam, both have been mentors to Sam, both have been very protective of Sam and also, both have Undying Loyalty to Sam. Both Dean and Ruby also seemed to be strongly devoted to their respective "fathers" and carrying out their mission (John for Dean, Lucifer for Ruby). Not to mention that both Dean and Ruby have sold their souls, with Ruby becoming a witch and selling her soul to Astaroth and Dean selling his soul to a Crossroads Demon (in order to bring Sam Back from the Dead). Since both Dean and Ruby sold their souls, they both ended up going to Hell and suffering as a punishment where they were tortured (Dean was not only tortured, he even became a torturer under Alastair's guidance). One fan theory is that Ruby deliberately took on some of Dean's characteristics to create a bigger impact on Sam (at that point in the midst of a Heroic BSoD because Dean was dead) and make Sam more willing to work with and trust her.
  • Stepford Smiler: Dean comes off as a version of this trope in the supposed lighter moments of Seasons 2 (the season where everything leads up to him making the demonic pact) and 3 (when he has done so). Whether it's the Daddy Issues or Survivor Guilt or his impending death/suicide, he loves to pretend that everything is perfect when it's really, really not.
  • The Strategist: Though he does just charge into situations when he feels there isn't time to plan, Dean comes up with the majority of their plans to defeat the enemy or gain some advantage. Dean has also proven on multiple occasions to be a practically genius level strategist, and is very good at assessing his opponents' weaknesses and exploiting them to his advantage. He's also very good at out gambitting and quite often, if it looks like whatever he's facing is winning, he's actually only moments away from snapping his trap.
  • Straw Nihilist: Dean is a rare heroic example of this, although with everything that he has been through throughout the series, it's not entirely unjustified why he feels this way. He hits a whole new level in Season 15 after finding out that everything they did was part of Chuck's sick game, and is convinced that every good deed they've done has been pointless.
    Dean: There is no higher power, there's no God. There's just chaos and violence and random, unpredictable evil that comes out of nowhere and rips you to shreds.
  • Street Smart: Dean possesses a lot of real world intelligence, and is very sharp. He often uses this to his advantage, making it easier to blend in when hunting.
  • Strong and Skilled: By human standards he is this, but most especially when he receives [[zpoiler: the Mark of Cain.]] He fits this to a tee due to all the training he's had since he was a child, and he was already strong enough as a regular human, but with the Mark he becomes even stronger to fight and kill even angels. But when he is killed and becomes a demon Knight of Hell, he becomes downright ruthless and takes advantage of his strength and skill to do a lot of killing for Crowley.
  • Subbing for Santa: Dean became Death for a day in the sixth season episode, "Appointment at Samarra."
  • Supreme Chef: In later seasons, Dean seems to have taken up cooking and actually enjoys cooking for everybody when he has the time. Not to mention that, according to Sam, his cooking is good.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: After turning into a demon and a Knight Of Hell via being killed. However, he gets cured of it, thanks to Sam.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Whenever Dean is separated from Sam, he often forms intense emotional relationships with men who can act as "brothers" to him. Most obvious was the Siren Nick in S&V who deliberately acted as a hero-worshipping younger brother when Dean and Sam were fighting in order to ensnare the former. In FTBYAM in Season 5, while Sam was taking a 10-Minute Retirement, Dean took Castiel under his wing in a very little-brother way, teaching him how to hunt and trying to get him laid. With Benny, it was even more overt, with Dean calling him "brother" on more than one occasion.
  • Survivor Guilt: Dean's been feeling this since "Faith," but it was ramped to 1000 when his father died to save him. Season 2 bends and damages him so much that, by the time "All Hell Breaks Loose" rolls around, he's been reduced to a broken, martyred little boy who has a pathological need to keep Sam (who, contrary to his and his dad's belief, is actually a big boy now who might have been at peace) alive.
  • Sycophantic Servant: In Season 1, he just has to think his dad sent a cryptic message, and he'll jump. He makes Lugnut look like an independent thinker. Later in the series, he comes to resent his dad. Oh, the magic of Character Development.
  • Take a Third Option: Dean frigging specializes in this.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Dean does have some anger issues, but usually when he's under a lot of frustration or when he's stressed out, he takes it out on furniture, T Vs, mirrors, phones, chairs, and any other stuff in the vicinity when he loses it.
  • Team Dad: Dean not only has a paternal instinct towards people in general, he also has a rather maternal instinct towards Sam or what lucky few manage to get close to him. It's especially obvious when Dean tries to get sick!Sam to eat and tries to take his temperature with a thermometer.After the death of Bobby in Season 7, it becomes increasingly clear that he sees this as a reason to take over the former's role and look out for other hunters, just as Bobby once did for them.
    • Comes across increasingly as this in Season 8, acting like an older brother towards Charlie and Kevin and being very protective towards Krissy, being downright furious when he discovers that she's hunting again.
    • Although he's understandbly averse to him at first, Dean eventually grows rather fond of Jack Kline and starts "co-parenting" him with Sam and Cas. It's especially obvious when it's Dean of all people that Jack calls for love advice, and when Dean takes him on a day-out—and actually lets him drive Baby—just because the Nephilim was upset.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • In "What Is and What Should Never Be," Dean wants so badly to stay in his Wish!Verse, even after he realizes that Alt!Sam can't stand him. But the call knows where he lives and after a heartbreaking scene at his father's grave, he's back in as the Tragic Hero.
    • In "Yellow Fever," Dean contracts a ghost sickness that makes him terrified of everything and he decides to stop hunting. Of course, in the end, he's cured.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Especially in "Mystery Spot."
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • With his brother, Sam, to obsessive and co-dependent levels.
    • Interestingly, only with Sam (and John, when he was alive), and to a certain degree, honorary family members such as Bobby and Castiel. Dean is untrusting or outright hostile to other relatives the brothers encounter, such as the Campbells and Henry Winchester, granted in Henry's case, Dean was under the belief that Henry had abandoned John when he was a child. After finding out what really happened and spending some time together, he grows noticeably closer to his grandfather), and took relatively little interest in half-brother Adam.
  • Those Two Guys: With Sam, and sometimes Castiel, of course.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Dean spent over 10 years torturing souls in Hell and 30 years being tortured before that, which did not help his Knight Templar instincts. Then, at the beginning of Season 7, he spent a year in Purgatory, which is filled with the menagerie of abominations that God felt best to lock away for the sake of the world. It does not help his grip on sanity. Happens again in Season 9 after absorbing the Mark of Cain and Season 10 when he turns into an actual demon.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    You're out of pecan. Story of my life.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: In Season 9, he's so determined to kill Abaddon that he willingly obtains the Mark of Cain from Cain himself without bothering to learn about the ramifications. As a result, he's slowly transformed into a crazed murderer, and briefly, a demon.
  • Tragic Bromance: Dear. God. If it isn't Sam, it's Cas. And now, if it's not those two, it's Benny. Dean just cannot catch a break bromance-wise.
  • Tragic Hero: In many ways, Dean fits the archetype of a tragic hero: no matter how many people he saves, he'll never be able to have a normal life, settle down, or have a family.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Boy howdy, does Dean fit this trope to a T.
  • True Companions: With Sam. Even through all the cluster-fucks they face together, at the end of the day, the two still have each others' backs.
    • Now in doubt as of Season 9, after Sam declares they're no longer brothers.
      • Re-established at the end of Season 9, when Sam declared that he had every intention of fighting Metatron alongside Dean, and Dean wound up dying in Sam's arms.
    • Arguably, he's this with Castiel as well. No matter how many times they fight or betray one another, the two of them just keep coming back to one another, to the point that Dean spends most of his time in Purgatory mercilessly cutting through swathes of monsters, just so he can find his best friend.
  • Trying Not to Cry: It often looks like he's about to burst into tears, but instead he just keeps on doing whatever it is he's doing looking epically broken all the way through it. A particularly tear-jerking example happens in "Reading Is Fundamental." He manages to look like this for an entire episode while interacting with an out-of-mind Castiel.
  • Tyke Bomb: Dean was trained to be a hunter since his childhood by his father. While this Parental Neglect and training was part of demonic plans to groom generally nice Sam into becoming a powerful Antichrist, Daddy Winchester seems to have worked Dean harder, having him shooting at the age of 6.
  • The Unchosen One: At first. In the beginning of the show, Dean seems to be a regular human in regards to his brother, until it is revealed at the beginning of Season 5 that Dean has been chosen by Heaven to be the vessel of Michael.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Sam, his family, and his loved ones, oh so much.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • According to "Dream a Little Dream of Me," John doted over Sam, while Dean was just his "instrument." Fans speculate that John thought that Dean, in John's view, should be able to protect his little brother while John was out to hunt, being the older sibling. Nevertheless, Dean's belief that John favored Sam over him, despite the fact that Dean is the one who worships John while Sam rebels against him, seemed to bother him a lot throughout the series. Azazel even taunts Dean by saying that John was more concerned about Sam than he ever was about Dean.
    • In "Something Wicked," when John barges in, he immediately goes to check up on Sam. While this is understandable given that Sam was the one the Shtriga had been targeting, John does not check to see if Dean is okay and instead yells at him for not following his orders.
    • As early as Season 1, John doesn't bother answering Dean's calls, even as Dean is dying, yet he pretty bluntly states that he would've answered them, had they been about Sam. To be fair though, John knew that Sam had some dark destiny waiting for him. Being more concerned about Sam was less about caring more for Sam and more knowing that Sam could be in greater danger.
    John: Something like this starts to happen to your brother, you pick up the phone, you call me.
    • In one of John's journal entries, he outright states that he sent Dean on a solo hunt on his 17th birthday just so he could spend more quality time with Sam. Father of the year right there.
    • The reason Dean realizes it's actually Azazel masquerading as him? Because YED makes the mistake of saying that John was proud of Dean, right after Dean screwed up. That's right: a fricking demon of Hell was affably nicer to his son than John Winchester himself.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Dean's going to Hell at the end of Season 3 served Azazel's master plan quite perfectly. When Dean learns the truth, he doesn't take it well, to say the least.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Dean is prone to this at times when angered. Especially with the Mark of Cain.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's written as this at the beginning of Season 10, after his conversion to demon. There are still some sympathetic moments, but these are now the aberration. The final two episodes reveal that even after he was cured, he's The Heavy of the season.
  • Vocal Evolution: Started out with a fairly normal voice which has gotten deeper and more gravely over the years. Compare his voice from Seasons 1 or 2 to what it is in Season 7, and you'll get a pretty significant difference. Jensen has admitted he started doing it to compete with Misha Collins' voice as Castiel, and it gradually got out of hand. In fact, when it came time to include his iconic line from the pilot "Saving people, hunting things, the family business" in the Previously On… sequence for the start of Season 8, he actually had to rerecord it with Dean's new voice as it was too weird hearing the original.
  • Weak, but Skilled: As a human, Dean has great skills when fighting. However, he just doesn't have the Super Strength supernatural beings seem to have; thankfully, he just uses his Combat Pragmatist skills to make up for it. Subverted during Season 9 when he obtains the Mark of Cain amd becomes Strong and Skilled. The same goes for Season 10 when he becomes a Knight of Hell.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: To John. Pleasing John and doing what he said used to be one of Dean's main motivations in life.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Is willing to do whatever it takes to kill demons and monsters as long as it means saving people in the end.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: As of Season 8, it's heavily implied that Dean CANNOT die. At the end of Season 9, once he receives the Mark of Cain, it's outright confirmed, and even though that's been removed and he's been told by Billie that she will personally reap him when the time comes, Amara's obsession with him has rendered this null and void. This becomes terrifyingly clear in Season 11 when Amara starts to kill everyone on the planet and Dean begins screaming as Sam dies in his arms and he is the only one immune.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Dean is very afraid of flying. "Why do you think I drive everywhere, Sam?"
    • Dean is visibly shaken in Season 5 whenever he has to deal with hellhounds. Justified in that he was brutally ripped apart and killed by one at the end of Season 3.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In all fairness to him, every single girl he's ever hit is some sort of super-strong supernatural monster who is trying to kill him or his brother.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Despite his borderline hatred towards all supernatural creatures, Dean more or less draws the line at supernatural children, thanks to his soft spot for kids in general. Averted in Season 10 after Charlie's death, upon which he slaughters the entire Styne family, including the youngest ones who wouldn't have been involved in the skirmish anyway. Justified as his rage was being influenced by the Mark of Cain at the time.
  • Yandere: Arguably for Sam. When it comes to Sam, Dean is willing to go to the extremes for him in almost all aspects. Dean is willing to kill without hesitation in the name of Sam and go to the extreme lengths to save, protect, and keep him alive, even if it's against Sam's wishes. Dean has visible Crazy Jealous Guy syndrome when it comes to Sam, being noticeably jealous and suspicious of anyone who so much as looks at Sam or gets close to him. This has been shown in the case of Sam's involvement with Ruby, Amy, Meg, and Amelia for example. Dean has veered into Murder the Hypotenuse territory and has even killed Sam's love interests (such as Ruby and Amy), granted only when they were demons or monsters. When it comes to Dean and his love for Sam, it's definitely in Love Makes You Crazy territory, considering that he has been willing to kill or become violent when it comes to him. He's also very possessive and controlling of Sam, seeming to want to know what Sam is doing or who he's involved with at pretty much all times. When one looks back at Dean's actions concerning Sam over the entirety of the series, it could be safe to say that Dean is obsessed with Sam to unhealthy proportions.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Dean sells his soul to a Crossroads Demon, condemning himself to an eternity in Hell, to bring Sam back to life because he couldn't live with him dead.
  • Youthful Freckles: More notable in the first few seasons when Dean is in his late twenties.
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Castiel invades Dean's personal space

Castiel materializes right next to Dean to the latter's annoyance.

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