This is the fifth in a series of lessons drawn from characters in Supernatural. Of all the recurring characters in the show, Ellen Harvelle may well be the most complex one, about whom we know the least. Owner of hunter haven Harvelle’s Roadhouse, mother of rebellious would-be hunter Jo, widow of long-dead hunter Bill Harvelle, Ellen is a strong woman who doesn’t hesitate to pick up a gun and confront danger, especially any threat to her family, whether core or extended. Family is her driving force as much as it is Dean’s, although her choices in dealing with her family have been different.
Ellen’s core was captured in a nutshell in Hunted when she called Dean to let him know where Sam was going, and said: “They say you can’t protect your loved ones forever. Well, I say, screw that – what else is family for?” Ellen and Dean both share that imperative to protect, but they pursue it in different ways. I would submit that Ellen’s approach, particularly with regard to her daughter, can teach some valuable lessons about holding on and letting go.