I am a flawed, petty, evil creature, Samuel, and I don't know if I can be redeemed. But I have to try.
Rowena
in Funeralia

Rowena MacLeod was an extremely powerful natural witch, and the mother of Crowley, who was originally named Fergus Roderick MacLeod. She is also the grandmother of Gavin MacLeod. She is of Scottish descent. She was one of the main antagonists of Season 10. In Season 11 she continued her efforts to gain power, eventually Rowena leagued with Lucifer upon promises she would be his queen. After helping Lucifer free himself, Lucifer snapped her neck so he couldn't be trapped in the Cage by her again. However, she was able to resurrect herself with a spell she had prepared in advance. She was killed by Lucifer a second time and he burned her body to try and prevent another resurrection.

Despite this, Rowena was resurrected again, though it took her a very long time to heal from the damage Lucifer caused. Some time later, a witch hunt with the Winchesters allowed her to obtain a spell to restore her full power, which had been sealed a long time ago. Rowena later went on a killing spree of Reapers to coerce Death into resurrecting her son, as she felt guilty for having failed him. This led to both her demands being rejected as well as Dean informing her that her permanent end would be caused by Sam. Rowena then accepted her loss and sided with the Winchesters to save their mother and Jack. She took part in capturing Lucifer himself, bound him and was tasked with watching him, until he eventually broke free and tried to kill her, before she managed to repell him right through the rift. Initially wanting nothing more to do with the Winchesters now that Lucifer was free again, she realized that she was their only hope of making it back home, and prolonged the opening so that they could return.

She assists in healing Jack Kline when he is deprived of his grace. Eventually, she is confronted by an Archangel from another reality, where she, albeit reluctantly, becomes his vessel for him to use in his desire to destroy the world, with Michael threatening to kill those she cares about if she refuses. However, Jack exorcises Michael from Rowena's body, leaving her unharmed and recovering from possession.

After God opens Hell and unleashes all of the souls inside, Rowena chooses to sacrifice herself to send everything back. After removing her Resurrection Seal, Rowena is stabbed and mortally wounded at her own request by Sam. With her last act, Rowena draws all of the souls and demons into herself and sacrifices herself to throw them back into Hell. Both Sam and Dean are left devastated by her death.

Personality

Rowena is an intelligent, cunning and extremely manipulative individual who takes great pride in her deceit and devious nature, describing it to her equally manipulative son as "who [they] are". Rowena often fluctuates between her mannerisms, sometimes presenting herself as calm and courteous and then suddenly vicious and violent when revealing her true intentions. She is exceptionally ruthless towards her enemies, whether they are people she loathes or disapproves of or someone who has simply annoyed her. She gruesomely kills the demon Raul after denouncing him as nothing more than "filth" and openly suggests to Crowley that he savagely rip a crossroads demon apart and brutally display his carcass for asking for recognition for his work, justifying this as a tyrannical threat not to waste the king's time.

Rowena has also demonstrated that she has no concern for innocent lives, as she frequently uses spells that result in their death by boiling their brains and impaling hotel employees to ceilings. She even points out to Dean that using the innocent against heroes like him will play out to her advantage. Furthermore, Rowena is dangerously wrathful, as she takes great pleasure in torturing Olivette for wronging her in the past and threatens to burn everything that Crowley cares for when he throws her out.

Rowena is highly ambitious and believes strongly in ruthlessly fighting and striving to gain power for the sake of greatness. She is very carefree and displays disregard and resentment for authority, openly and deliberately defying both Hell and the Grand Coven without fear of the consequences, preferring to use her magic whenever and however she wished. Olivette stated that while talented and skilled, she has always been reckless and egocentric.

Rowena often feigns a warm and sweet disposition towards others in order to manipulate them and gain their trust. Rowena claims to be extremely proud of her son, Crowley, and regrets abandoning him as a child. She states that she left him both for his safety and to further her career in witchcraft which she deemed "no environment to raise a child". However, it is highly implied she never cared for her son as a child, apparently trying to sell him for pigs on one occasion and abandoning him so she could live out her own selfish desires.

While she claims to love Crowley and regularly reminds him that they are family, it is later revealed that she is merely playing on his emotions, using it to manipulate and gain control over him so she can use his position as the King of Hell to her advantage and to further her own goals. Once Crowley realizes this with Dean's assistance and throws her out of his domain, she becomes disowning and berating and shows her hatred for him and her desire to destroy everything around him.

Although genuinely powerful and talented, Rowena's ego causes her to often overestimate her capabilities, both magical and manipulatory. Many of her failures are caused by her underestimating her opponents.

Like her son, Rowena is quick witted and sarcastic. However, unlike Crowley who believes in integrity, Rowena has no sense of loyalty. This is shown when she abandons a demon in Crowley's dungeon after the demon lied for her and helped her gain her freedom.

Rowena and Oskar

Reuniting with Oskar

Rowena and Oskar hugging

Last hug before sacrificing Oskar.

Rowena has shown that she is indeed capable of genuine love and affection, which she shows for Oskar, though she was willing to sacrifice him for her own freedom. Rowena later confesses that the reason she hates her own son is because if she did not she believes she would truly love him, but since love is a weakness, she vows to never feel helpless or weak again, like she did when Crowley's father impregnated her and then abandoned her. However, Rowena displays great admiration and affection for Lucifer but justifies it with the explanation that he is not a man but is what she views as "perfection". This admiration shatters after Lucifer makes an attempt on her life.

Rowena and Lucifer

Rowena and Lucifer

Crowley has described his mother as the type who would latch on to anyone with power and influence, including Lucifer, Amara, and God. Rowena has gone to great lengths to earn trust, despite never truly becoming loyal. Ultimately, Rowena values her own safety and survival above all else.

In Season 12, Rowena's personality shifts slightly. She becomes desperate for a normal life, having grown tired of the supernatural world and goes as far as to seek out romance, something she hasn't done for centuries. Unfortunately, her dreams are put on hold due to Crowley and Lucifer both seeking her out. Her poor choice in men also lead to misery. However, Rowena continues to act as a go-to ally for Sam and Dean whenever they need help. She reveals to Dean that her lust for power, which had compelled her to do horrible things throughout her life, no longer appeases her anymore after she witnessed the two most powerful beings in the Universe - God and The Darkness - still troubled by sibling rivalry. It was the realization that power could not bring true happiness that has changed Rowena in the recent months, and may have softened her heart.

However, even though aspects of her personality shifted, she is one to hold a grudge. She did not protest to her grandson's decision and even aided him in returning to the past and sealing his own death as she wanted to get back at her son, Crowley, for forcing her to kill Oskar, the boy she truly loved like a son, in order to remove the Mark of Cain.

After her second death at Lucifer's hands, Rowena has a more fearful personality and is far less manipulative. Privately, Rowena admits to Sam that after seeing Lucifer's true face, she is terrified of her future, especially as she believes that Lucifer will eventually return. While she seeks to gain her full powers back to ease this fear, Sam suggests that it won't be enough. Despite their past history and triple-crossing them, Rowena intervenes to save the Winchesters' lives when she could have let them die and it wasn't to her benefit to save them.

After Crowley's death, Rowena appears to express genuine grief, showing that despite her words she did truly care for Crowley. Rowena states that Crowley is her only son and she'd rather have a living son that hates her than a dead hero.

As a result of her incredible powers, Rowena relies on magic for basically everything to the point that she either doesn't consider or simply dismisses non-magical solutions, often to her detriment. In Dark Dynasty, Rowena was extremely dismissive of Charlie Bradbury's attempt to use technology to decode Nadia's Codex and through it the Book of the Damned despite her own troubles to do the same using magic. It wasn't until she discovered that Charlie succeeded in The Prisoner that Rowena admitted she was wrong at all. Additionally, in The Bad Seed, Rowena offered a magical solution to track down Castiel instead of the technological one the Winchesters were using. She also lacked understanding of tracking someone through their cell phone's GPS. In Regarding Dean, despite having access to the arsenal in the Impala and the Winchesters witch-killing bullets, Rowena preferred to rely on magic when going to face the Loughlin Family despite knowing how powerful they were and despite the fact that using the Winchesters weapons could work to her advantage. As a result, Rowena was nearly killed before Dean rescued her. In Various & Sundry Villains, when faced with a magic-proof zombie, Rowena didn't know how to fight back without being able to use her magic to attack. Until Dean ordered Rowena to shoot the zombie in the head, she never seemed to consider that option or any other non-magical one besides searching kitchen drawers for anything useful. Even after using the gun to kill the zombie and being aware that it was loaded with witch-killing bullets, Rowena chose to resort to magic to kill Jamie Plum and Jennie Plum instead of just shooting them.

Following the full restoration of her powers, Rowena found a sense of clarity and a realization that her magic had caused her to take everything meaningful in her life, especially her family and son, for granted. This, along with the grief she was still feeling over the death of her son, reached a point where she intended to force the hand of Death herself in an attempt to resurrect her only child. As she went onto state it was her fault as to how he turned out. This showed that she really did love her son and missed him. When Billie finally granted Rowena an audience she blatantly refused Rowena's attempt at blackmail and called her bluff of threatening to kill Sam, noting that once upon a time she would have done so, but that she is that person no longer. Advice from Billie, as well as Sam and Dean, along with her finally acknowledging all of her faults and misdeeds, appear to have moved Rowena to seek redemption.

Rowena's change of heart goes so far that she appears to have developed a conscience and genuine affection for the Winchesters. After accidentally blasting Lucifer to Apocalypse World, Rowena initially tries to take her chance to flee but can't bring herself to do it when she knows that she is the only hope for the people she has come to care for. As a result, instead, Rowena selflessly begins searching for a solution to the problem. Rowena's selfless actions and tireless search for an answer end up saving the day as she is able to hold the rift open just long enough for the Winchesters return with the people of Apocalypse World. Afterwards, while she promises not to forget that the Winchesters owe her one, she says it with a smile, indicating that she doesn't mean it and is saying it out of habit or that she doesn't mean anything sinister by her words. She later comes to help when Sam calls after she thinks it's Dean that's deathly ill, apparently having no ulterior motive at the time than a genuine desire to help Dean. She later came to help the Winchesters on a gorgon hunt simply because they called and asked for her help, though she chastised them for automatically suspecting a witch and for keeping secrets from her, secrets that she pointed were similar to the ones she used to keep when she was the villain. Again, Rowena's help appeared to be selfless and given simply because she could.

While she initially felt resentment about helping Jack, who was the son of the being who killed her twice, she was swayed into helping him once hearing his genuine gratitude to her for saving him from Michael and giving the refugees a better chance at living. She was seen flattered by this praise and decided to help when seeing his deteriorating condition. Rowena is noticeably distressed when telling the Winchesters that all they can do is be there for Jack as he dies. After discovering Jack alive and well, Rowena becomes concerned about his state and the secrets surrounding it. After discovering the nature of the magic keeping Jack alive, Rowena warns Sam and admits to being genuinely concerned by what she is sensing within Jack. Despite this and Jack being Lucifer's son, Rowena maintains a friendly relationship with Jack who in turn saves Rowena from possession by Michael.

Despite not getting along with and bickering with and frustrating Main Universe Charlie Bradbury, Rowena got along on well with the Apocalypse World Charlie, sharing a drink with her after the Exodus from Apocalypse World. As mentioned by Bobby, they even went so far as to embark on a roadtrip together, something that Mary and Bobby joked was trouble.

Over time, Rowena has changed to the point that she greatly cares about others even if she doesn't show it. Michael noted this and used it against Rowena to force her to say "yes" by threatening to return in a different vessel and using it to kill everyone in the bunker, while promising to leave them be should Rowena consent. Rowena reluctantly complies with the deal in an effort to save those she cares about.

At the end of her life, Rowena decides to sacrifice herself to save the world by using her own body to send all of the souls and demons released from Hell back. However, she has Sam kill her, both because every version of her death demands it and because she knows there's nothing that would cause her to take her own life. Rowena's selfless act leaves both Sam and Dean devastated, showing just how much she had changed and just how much she had come to be cared for by those who once considered her their enemy.

Physical Appearance

Rowena is a red-haired woman of shorter than average height. She usually wears long-sleeved dresses of various colors, from red, blue to black. Rowena is usually found wearing a small gold pendant necklace, but aside from this she carries or wears no other jewelry. As with her dresses, Rowena's hairstyle shifts between appearances. She sometimes ties it up in a loose bun or wears her hair down either in curls or straightened. She wears bold, colorful makeup and, like a typical witch, can sometimes be found clutching a book to her chest.

Deaths

Killed By

After escaping his Cage by taking Castiel as his vessel, Lucifer confirmed that Rowena was the only one that could reopen his Cage before snapping Rowena's neck, killing her. Rowena was resurrected shortly afterwards by her Resurrection Seal.

In order to ensure Rowena couldn't lock him away again, Lucifer crushed her head and burned Rowena's body to prevent her from returning. However, she was once again resurrected by her Resurrection Seal though the extent of the damage that Lucifer caused to Rowena resulted in her needing "a very long time" to fully heal from this death.

In order to cast all of the souls and demons back into Hell, Rowena casts a spell that requires the sacrifice of her life. After Rowena cuts out her Resurrection Seal, Sam reluctantly stabs and mortally wounds Rowena who draws everything into her own body. With a final goodbye, Rowena casts herself into Hell.

Quotes

  • "Hardly the most appetizing process in the world, but killing demons always makes me hungry."[1]
  • "Of course you had a father. You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy, and it's not like I was taking names."[2]
  • "This demon asks you to equalize credit for his and another's work. Split the baby if you will. Well, then I would well and truly split the baby. I'd cut this pulling, pathetic, grade-grubbing git in two, literally. Then I'd nail his bloody halves to the doors of the court. A reminder to all not to waste the King's time! Whiners beget whiners. You can't reward behavior like that. Why, I never gave in when you asked for sweeties as a child no matter how much you cried. Well, you were a very chunky child, darling. A bit of a bloater."[3]
  • "You can't understand my disappointment or my pride. You don't know this but after I left you, after I was forced to leave you, I heard of your death. Your mortal death. I thought you were gone to me forever. Then, hundreds of years later and thousands of miles away, I find you: the King of Hell. And not by luck or accident, you made that happen all by yourself. You're not a mother. You can't know what that pride felt like. How huge it was. But can you try to imagine, for me? Now do you understand why it breaks my heart to see what a colossal numb nut you've become? You've got the crown but you're no ruler, not really. A sad, bored wee boy on the throne who'll flop ass up the second those Winchesters, hunters who'd as soon see you dead as have you to tea, ask you to. You're no king. Not any more. You're their bitch!"[3]
  • "You see my son, the spawn you speak of, is now the King of Hell - total Cinderella story I'd say. Oh aye, and now you, dearest Olivette, are prisoner of the baddest of the bad and his devoted mummy."[4]
  • "You say that like it's an insult. Nice girls, they're pathetic. Here's to evil skanks."[5]
  • "I hate you because, when I look into your eyes, I see the woman I used to be, before magic, before the coven, when I was nothing but Rowena, the tanner's daughter. A pale, scared little girl who smelled of filth and death. I hate you because, when you were born, your father said he loved me. Then he went back to his grand wife and his grand house, whilst I lay pathetic and half-dead on a straw mat - my thighs slick with blood. I hate you, because if I didn't, I'd love you. But love... love is weakness. And I'll never be weak again."[6]
  • "So that was a gun in your pocket." – to Dean Winchester[7]
  • "Tell me, did they get to fifth base?" – to Dean Winchester[8]
  • "Goodbye, boys." - Rowena's last words[9]

Appearances

Trivia

  • Rowena is Scottish, along with her actress Ruth Connell.
  • Rowena is the main antagonist of Season 10, along with the Mark of Cain.
  • According to a statement on Twitter by a Supernatural writer, Rowena has now been on the show longer than every character aside from Bobby, Castiel, Crowley, Dean, Sam, Lucifer and Mary.
  • When talking to Charlie Bradbury, Rowena states that they have a lot of similarities and describes Charlie as "a difficult and lonely childhood. Tragedy. Absent parents. Always outside the mainstream. Sexually progressive. Living in your own head for solace and direction" before gesturing to herself, indicating that this also describes Rowena's own past.
  • She hates Crowley for two reasons: The first reason is that before she was a witch she was a destitute girl who she viewed as disgusting and weak and sees her old self every time she looks into Crowley's eyes. The second reason being that the man who was Crowley's father told Rowena that he loved her, impregnated her, and left her for another woman with a wealthy estate. As a result, she refuses to love Crowley because she does not want to feel weak or vulnerable anymore.
  • Although she claims not to love Crowley for she sees love as weakness, Rowena came to adore Lucifer in a possibly romantic way. This affection would eventually lead to her brief demise.
  • Rowena is the first female main antagonist to be killed since Abaddon in season 9. In her case, she was killed by the former main antagonist Lucifer rather than a Winchester or Castiel, though Lucifer killed her in Castiel's body.
    • She is also the first main villain to be resurrected (not counting Crowley, who faked his death).
  • She shares her first name with Rowena Ravenclaw, another Scottish witch from the Harry Potter universe.
  • She was the first witch in the series that has been shown to use magic to resurrect herself without any assistance from higher beings.
  • Chuck reveals that Rowena is "one of his guilty pleasures".[10]
  • Rowena has implied that she was a part of the assassination of American president Abraham Lincoln. As she told Sam, "I promised Lincoln a fun night at the theater".[11]
    • Though she may have made that promise unaware of the president's impending doom.
  • Sam created the witch-killing bullets specifically to deal with Rowena in Brother's Keeper. In an ironic twist, Rowena's life was saved by Dean using the witch-killing bullets against Catriona Loughlin in Regarding Dean. Rowena later uses them herself in Various & Sundry Villains to kill a magical zombie, albeit because they were the kind of bullets Dean's gun was loaded with at the time when Rowena use it.
  • Rowena's surname "MacLeod" may be a nod to Connor MacLeod, protagonist of the Highlander film series, starring Christopher Lambert as the titular Scotsman. Unlike Lambert, who is French, Connell is actually Scottish.
  • Prior to Regarding Dean, Rowena never referred to herself, nor was she referred to by others, as "Rowena MacLeod", simply "Rowena".
  • Season 10 and Season 13 are the only seasons Rowena appears in where she does not die. Ironically, Season 10 is also the only season where she is a major antagonist.
  • She was the last member of the MacLeod Family due to Crowley and Gavin's deaths.
  • Rowena is Pagan, not Christian like Clea.[10] She also states that she is Nature's worshiper.[12]
  • She is the third known lover of an Archangel (and the second lover of Gabriel), after Kali (Gabriel's first lover) and Kelly Kline (the lover of Lucifer).
  • Despite her troubles with the Main Universe Charlie Bradbury in Dark Dynasty, Rowena appears to get along well with the Apocalypse World Charlie Bradbury. In Let the Good Times Roll, Rowena is mentioned to be "road-tripping it through the Southwest" with Charlie, causing Mary to joke that "that's trouble."
  • She is strong enough to safely host the most powerful known archangel. According to him, this is due to her having been practicing powerful magic for hundreds of years. However, since he was exorcised out of her after a short time, it is unknown for how long she could have actually held up.
  • Rowena's sacrificial act is similar to her son Crowley's in All Along the Watchtower. Both of their final words are nearly the same with Crowley's being "bye, boys" and Rowena's being "goodbye, boys."

References

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