That led to this mini-meta on the characters. First and foremost, let me say that I am a DeanGirl more than a SamGirl. And yet, I do not believe PapaJohn is unwaveringly correct despite what Dean might often tend to think.
Keep in mind that these are my opinions, and that I know many of you have strongly different feelings on (mainly) Sam and John. It doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends, and that I won’t read your fics. In fact… I have only occasionally written Sam as I see him here. I try to be more level in how I present him, and I don’t necessarily disagree with his choices.
On with the fanwanking~~~~~
Dean is both a great warrior and a very lonely person. His true loves are his father and his brother and his mission, but the mission is the only one of those he can count on not to leave. Dean makes some of his own pain by pushing away his brother's love and any moments of Sam's generosity, when Dean would never hesitate to offer both of them himself if they were _needed_. He downplays Sam's wants, but never his needs. And he feels, for whatever reason, that what he himself needs (not wants) is valueless, and should be squashed down. He lives for his father's love, and the fluctuating dynamic of being his father’s soldier/son shows that this love is doled out unevenly (i.e., unpredictably).
John believes that what he is doing is necessary, as if he has been called to it. Even if he found what killed his wife, it still wouldn't end what he does (much like Dean). He has also exposed his children to any number of things they should not have been aware of at certain stages in their lives, exposed them to danger and the ugly side of life, and made it impossible for them to attach emotionally to anyone outside of the family without leaving. (because the lifestyle prevents it). He has asked much of them (too much) in his Quest... and has not balanced it with the dependable love that needs to go with it. John has one child that can't fit into his dynamic and needs to run (because John allows no compromise). His other child can't leave, and will never have a family or children of his own-- doesn't even see that as an option—because he’s been shaped to forfeit basic human wants and needs. For me, the character of Dean in particular shows that as a parent, John has done a lot that is wrong.
Sam IS selfish and self-centered. At the same time, that is also somewhat who he was raised to be. Dean doted on him, caved into him, put his own needs behind for Sam. That is pretty much the formula for raising a self-centered person. Add to that Sam's being the youngest child in the family (which can prompt much of that behavior on its own), and... who else could they expect him to be? He is not always and entirely selfish, but within his own family Sam usually thinks of himself first. The part of him that is NOT selfish is the desire to not live his life bound to the darkness and destruction that his father and Dean embrace. Yes, the world needs heroes. Yes, what they do is important and necessary. BUT... that is a choice a person has to make or reject on his own. The warrior life carries a heavy price-- the destruction of self. Sam has every right not to want that. It doesn't make him wrong (even though Dean and his father see it that way, and you can't blame them-- THEY believe it's a necessary sacrifice). It makes him human.
Well, that was a long fan-wank rant. But not black-and-white, and I don't think it's overly forgiving or condemning of any of the characters.
Back to your regularly scheduled discussion on Hot Boyz Of The Open Highway (I swear I will use that as a p0rn title someday).