List of fictional child prodigies

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The personal growth of child prodigies has traditionally captured a decent share of attention in popular culture. Child prodigies have appeared in various works of literature.[1] There have also been many films and TV series about child prodigies,[2] mainly family dramas centering on how children with advanced minds cope with a world which sees them either as unique or abnormal, and many of which have attracted media and scholarly attention.[3] W. Ferguson has identified differences in the factual versus fictional accounts of child prodigies.[4] This article indicates some of the more notable examples of child prodigies in fiction.

In comics[edit]

In literature[edit]

  • In the novel Matilda by Roald Dahl, the eponymous Matilda Wormwood, is, according to the BBC News, "a child prodigy who [is] unloved by her parents."[7]
  • In Evil Genius, Genius Squad, and Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks, Cadel Piggot is a child genius who enrolls in a "University of evil".[8]
  • In Ender's Game, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, Bean, Petra Arkanian, and a group of also exceptionally talented child geniuses known as "Ender's Jeesh" are recruited by an organization known as the International Fleet in order to unknowingly command fleets against an alien species to save the Earth.[9]
  • In the series Artemis Fowl of books by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl II starts as a 12-year-old child prodigy and ages throughout the series.[10]
  • In the works of J. D. Salinger (Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction), the children in the Glass family are considered to be child prodigies. All seven children appeared on the radio quiz show "It's a Wise Child."[11]
  • In Harry Potter, Severus Snape is described as a former child prodigy who, as a bullied teenager, briefly sides with series antagonist Voldemort.[12] Harry Potter himself is also a prodigy.[13]
  • In the Legend trilogy written by Marie Lu, June Iparis is described as a child prodigy, having scored full on her Republic's Trial.[14]
  • In "Genius: The Game", Rex, a genius programmer and hacker, Tunde, engineer who created his small Nigerian village's solar power tower, and Cai, a blogger who is a master of disguise, set to expose underhand Chinese government deals, are all kids under eighteen invited to participate in 'THE GAME', where 200 of the world's brightest minds will face challenges set by Kiran Biswes, the young CEO of a company named "OndScan".[15]

In films[edit]

  • Julius Kelpt, The Nutty Professor (1963).[16] An ugly and clumsy physicist create a potion to be irresistible.
  • Michael Armstrong, Torn Curtain (1966).[17] A nuclear scientist during the Cold War.
  • Clément Tibère, Le Silencieux (1973).[17] He is a French scholarly man.
  • Christian Belœil, Préparez vos mouchoirs (1978).[18] A thirteen years old gifted child undergoes constant taunts.
  • Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot (2000), a dance prodigy.[13]
  • Anakin Skywalker, in The Phantom Menace (1999), features the 10-year-old boy who is a brilliant pilot, technician, mechanic and engineer. He later becomes a member of the elite Jedi Knights, but clashes with authority and falls to the dark side of the Force, eventually becoming Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith.[13]
  • Harold Wormser, Revenge of the Nerds (1984). A twelve-year-old child prodigy in the first film, reluctantly went into college by his parents at first, but was accepted among his fellow misfits and was helpful in many of their capers against the rival campus jocks that bullied them in the film series.[13]
  • Dade Murphy, Hackers (1995). He hacked and crashed exactly 1,507 systems of the New York Stock Exchange at the age of 11.[13]
  • Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008). He built his first circuit board at age 6, his first engine (a V8) at 8 and graduated summa cum laude from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 17.[13]
  • Fred Tate, Little Man Tate (1991). A particularly clever young boy suffers from burnout.[19]
  • Stanley Spector, Magnolia (1999). The character is an eminent contestant on the quiz show What Do Kids Know? His greedy father capitalizes off of his son's success and constantly pressures him to win. The emotional distress that this pressure, along with alienation from society caused by being perceived as an amusing object, eventually becomes evident.[20]
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) concerns "a family composed of three child prodigies".[21]
  • Jamal Wallace, Finding Forrester (2000),[22] is a genius teenager.
  • August in August Rush (2007) possesses a deep understanding of the concept of music and a musical talent far exceeding his adult peers, including his parents. In the film, he is capable of creating, mastering, and performing his own symphony in front of thousands.[23]
  • Nathan in A Brilliant Young Mind (2014) is a mathematical prodigy. Comprehending to love as imaginary, he ignores initially his mother's caring behaviour. When he falls in love, he understands that love is not bound to any formula.[24]

In TV[edit]

  • In Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane's adopted son Luke is a child prodigy with the ability to remember numbers with over 20 digits after only a glance beforehand.[25]
  • In Family Guy, Stewie Griffin is portrayed as a child prodigy already as a baby.[26]
  • In Smart Guy, T.J Henderson (played by Tahj Mowry) skips 6 grades and goes straight from 4th grade to 10th grade. T.J deals with the trial and tribulations of a kid in high school. He joins his 16-year-old brother Marcus (played by Jason Weaver) and his friend Mo (played by Omar Gooding).[27]
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper has an IQ of 187 and an eidetic memory. He went to college when he was 11 and received his Ph.D when he was 16. When he was 14, Sheldon tested out lasers and the college teacher who saw was shushed by the government.[28] Also, in the episode "The Jerusalem Duality", Dennis Kim, a 15-year-old physics child prodigy appears and clashes with Sheldon when the former excels the latter in every way.
  • In CSI, there are two episodes (The Unusual Suspect and Goodbye and Good Luck) where the character of Hannah West, a 12-year-old child prodigy, appears. In the first episode, she was in senior year in high school, and in the second (two years later), she was already a teacher's assistant in college.[29]
  • In Breakout Kings, Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson) is a former child prodigy who graduated high school at 12, college at 16, and medical school at 20. He has an IQ of 210.[30]
  • In Doogie Howser, M.D., the title character is a child prodigy who has graduated from medical school and practices medicine.[31]
  • In the television show Firefly, the character of River Tam is shown as a prodigy throughout the show, having started to correct her elder brother's spelling at an early age, as well as seeing flaws and "fallacious conclusions" in one of his textbooks. She is also able of feats such as calculating in her head a course for the show's spaceship destination.[32]
  • In the television show Heroes, Micah Sanders portrays a computer hacker who is a child prodigy.[33]
  • In the television show Criminal Minds, one of the main characters, the socially awkward Spencer Reid (played by Matthew Gray Gubler) is a former child prodigy who has an IQ of 187, an eidetic memory, and can read 20,000 words per minute. He graduated from high school at the age of 12, and between the ages of 16 and 21, he received three doctorates (mathematics, chemistry, and engineering), and two bachelor's degrees (psychology, and sociology). He joined the BAU at 22, and currently works on a team who catch criminals through behavioral profiling. He has shown hints of schizophrenia, and is speculated of having Asperger's Syndrome.
  • In the television show </Scorpion>, Elyes Gabel plays wunderkind and boy genius, Walter O'Brien, inspired by the real-life genius, Walter O'Brien.[34]
  • In the TV show Numb3rs, one of the characters, Charlie Eppes, is a child prodigy. At the age of three he was multiplying four digit numbers in his head. At age 13 he started attending Princeton University and graduated at age 16. He now helps his brother Don solve cases for the FBI.[35]
  • In the TV series The Pretender (1996–2000), the main character, Jarod, is a former child prodigy who, as an adult, is capable of emulating any person within various fields of work or situations with only a minimal amount of research.[36]
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Wesley Crusher was a child prodigy who was not well received by fans of the show.[37][38]
  • In the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the 11-year-old Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes plays genius Hieronymus Fox.[39]
  • In "seaQuest DSV", Lucas Wolenczak is a child prodigy who graduated from Stanford magna cum laude with a degree in Applied Principles of Artificial Intelligence. He left Stanford in the middle of his Ph.D. to become a member of the science crew aboard seaQuest at 16. His GPA record was never broken, even after 15 plus years.[40]
  • In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy Neutron is a fifth grader whose IQ is off the charts, and, in one episode, went to college at age ten.[13]
  • In Max Headroom, Bryce Lynch is the 16 year old techno-wiz who runs the Research and Development department at Network 23. Not only did he create Max himself out the mind of reporter Edison Carter, but he is credited in the film book of the original movie as being the one responsible for Network 23's rise to power.[41]
  • In The Loud House, Lisa Loud is the child prodigy of the Loud family who speaks in scientific terms.[42]
  • In Mr. Young, Adam Young is 14 year old high school science teacher who graduate from College at 14 and High at 9 years old.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wonder Kids in Science Fiction by Thomas R.
  2. ^ Nine great movies featuring child prodigies by Peter Hartlaub of The San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, October 7, 2007
  3. ^ 'Vitus' as unpredictable as fantasy: Fictional tale of child prodigy resonates beyond the walls of the movie theater By Betsy Pickle of SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
  4. ^ Teaching clever kids
  5. ^ a b "Jacques Devos". lambiek.net. 1 January 1970. 
  6. ^ "Nero". 
  7. ^ "Dahl's Matilda to hit the stage". BBC News. 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  8. ^ Rheinberger, Joel (2008-07-30). "Evil Genius and Genius Squad". ABC Online. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  9. ^ O'Neal, Sean (2011-04-29). "Summit to finally, really, truly try to make Ender's Game movie". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  10. ^ Sorensen, Marilou (2001-06-25). "Artemis Fowl looking a lot like the next Harry Potter". Deseret News. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  11. ^ Shulevitz, Judith (2000-09-21). "Salinger on Trial". Slate. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  12. ^ Hopkins, Jamie Smith (2007-03-20). "Under His Spell". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Bettridge, Daniel (2013-11-01). "10 top child prodigies at the movies". MSN. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  14. ^ Carpenter, Susan (2011-11-27). "Not Just for Kids: A taut, dystopian 'Legend'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 
  15. ^ Gout, Leopoldo. "Genius: The Series; Main Website.". Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  16. ^ Dictionnaire des personnages du cinéma, p. 365.
  17. ^ a b Dictionnaire des personnages du cinéma, p. 397.
  18. ^ Je suis supporter du standard, L'Express, 27 mai 2013.
  19. ^ Canby, Vincent (1991-10-09). "Little Man Tate (1991)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  20. ^ Pomeranz, Margaret. "Magnolia : The Classic". ABC Online. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  21. ^ The Royal Tenenbaums on The Austin Chronicle
  22. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (2007-10-05). "Nine great movies featuring child prodigies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  23. ^ Moerk, Christian (2006-04-09). "'August Rush,' About a Music Prodigy, Defies Hollywood Conventions". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  24. ^ Turan, Kenneth (2015-09-10). "Review 'A Brilliant Young Mind' adds up to something special". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  25. ^ "Stars of The Sarah Jane Adventures in at Memorabillia in Birmingham this weekend". Birmingham Mail. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  26. ^ Han, Esther (2013-11-26). "Family Guy favourite killed off (spoiler)". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  27. ^ "Child Actor Tahj Mowry 10, Is A 'Smart Guy'". The New York Beacon. 1997-04-24. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  28. ^ Denhart, Andy (2009-11-02). "For 'Big Bang's' Sheldon, the nerd is the word". Today.com. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  29. ^ Wheat, Alynda (2007-11-16). "What did you think of Jorja Fox's 'CSI' exit?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  30. ^ McNamara, Mary (2011-03-04). "Television review: 'Breakout Kings'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  31. ^ Haithman, Diane (1989-09-14). "Bochco on His Own : Veteran Producer's New Firm Bows With 'Doogie Howser'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  32. ^ "Dance of the telepathic space assassin". The Daily Telegraph. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  33. ^ Schonberger, Chris; Butler, Bethonie (2007-05-03). "Yesterday's 'Heroes'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  34. ^ "Scorpion Executive Producer Walter O'Brien Discusses the Differences Between His Actual Life and the Show". TV Over Mind. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  35. ^ Raphael, Lisa; LeGrow, Jill (2008-08-03). "The Brain Trust: The 24 Smartest TV/Movie Characters". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  36. ^ Kelleher, Terry (1998-02-16). "Picks and Pans Review: The Pretender". People. 49 (6). Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  37. ^ Ahringer, Tracy (1995-04-23). "The Spoken Word". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  38. ^ "Isn't It About Time You Gave Wesley Crusher Another Chance?". SFX. 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  39. ^ "Arkin 'finds' daughter". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. 1979-09-28. p. 4C. 
  40. ^ "Death of Brandis termed a suicide". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. 2003-11-26. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  41. ^ Lesnick, Silas (2010-08-10). "DVD Review: Max Headroom: The Complete Series". Crave Online. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  42. ^ Short, Dan. "The Loud House". Animated Views. Retrieved 2016-11-30.