On Witchy Wednesday, we celebrate our favorite witches of legend and in pop culture. Today we celebrate Rowena from The CW’s Supernatural. Ruth Connell plays the powerful witch who was born a human in the 17th century. She’s the mother of Crowley, aka Fergus. Rowena is sometimes a foe and sometimes a tentative friend to the Winchesters, but always completely her own witch. She's so powerful that she’s brought herself back from the dead not once, but twice! She might have a rather skewed sense of morality, but no one takes Rowena for granted. Hey, when you make a vow never to be weak again, you take that stuff seriously.
If you think about it, Rowena has the feel of an avenging goddess. She may not have been the best mother to Crowley, but she can be a terrible enemy to anyone trying to harm him. Well, except when she harms him because moms are sometimes a bit wonky. There is actually an episode where her character mimics the Greek goddess Demeter. When a Polish family takes her in and cares for her, she cures their son Oskar of what could have been a fatal illness and gives him immortality, just as Demeter does as she’s searching for her daughter Persephone. She’s maybe not quite as nice to her actual son. She tries to have him killed here and there, but he does interrupt her date with a lovely man named Ben. So annoying! Of course, he makes it up to her by destroying an enemy for Mama.
Rowena has been treated badly in her life, from the father of her child who left her, to her being kicked out of the Grand Coven because she refused to play by the rules. Maybe we don’t make Rowena mad? Nothing good happens to those who do, but she’ll also go out of her way to save women in need, like the women being used as sex workers against their wills by the demon Raul. She helps the ladies out, and destroys the man in the restaurant she takes them to who has issues with the “inappropriateness” of their clothing. Where can we learn this spell?
Look, this woman even makes a cup of tea for God, who finds her amusing, even when he doesn’t approve of her methods. He compares she and her son to Eve and Adam, with the inference that she is the one tempting him with knowledge and power. Rowena has no time for morality and worrying about who is going to die. She’s a force of nature and has about as much care for those who get in the way as a hurricane. One could also compare her to a deity in Dungeons & Dragons. She’s probably going to ignore you or think of you like an ant unless something happens to make her notice your plight, like those women forced into service by Raul.
Rowena is delightfully evil, but not completely. As we know, the very best villains are the ones you can root for some of the time. You know they’re just this close to being good, and you feel joy every time you see them, in the hopes that this time will be the time that they do the right thing. When they don’t, you just love watching them be deliciously bad.
We asked Connell what makes Rowena so compelling as a character. “What I hear at fan conventions and what I read online as to why Rowena is loved is this; her snark, her ambition, her fabulous dresses!" she said. "Her eyeshadow, the fact she is a survivor. Her one-liners. That she’s powerful. That there are layers to her and more recently so interesting that the fans have given lots of positive feedback about her helping the boys from a more vulnerable stance. She’s been through a lot, doesn’t apologize for herself, she’s a witch and she’s not afraid to do what it takes to get ahead - no matter how naughty. She loves magic, pretends to love no one but underneath we suspect she does still have a beating heart.”
Got a favorite Rowena line? Tweet us @SYFYFangrrls. It's when she calls Crowley her "wee sausage," isn't it? Of course it is.