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. There have also been many films and TV series about child prodigies, 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. W. Ferguson has identified differences in the factual versus fictional accounts of child prodigies. This article indicates some of the more notable examples of child prodigies in fiction.
Evil Genius Series
In 'Evil Genius
' and 'Genius Squad
' by Catherine Jinks
, Cadel Piggot (Also, Cadel Darkkon, Cadel English and Cadel Cramp) is a child genius who can picture systems with intricate detail in 3D in his mind and has can master systems of any kind, such as social, road and, his favourite, computer systems.
In Ender's Game
, 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 command fleets against an alien species to save the Earth.
In the series Artemis Fowl of books by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl II is a 12 year old (turns 13) criminal prodigy, who also experiences family problems; his father was abducted and this led to Artemis's mother going through serious depression.
antagonist Kazuo Kiriyama
is considered a child prodigy in that he quickly learned many skills such as the violin and martial arts only to discard both when they got "boring". He uses his unique mental power to devise plans to kill his fellow classmates.
Chronicles of Narnia
In the Chronicles of Narnia
Lucy Pevensie is portrayed as a wonderkind in the movie soundtrack in a song by Alanis Morissette
The Glass Family
In the works of J.D. Salinger
, 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
A Series of Unfortunate Events
In the series of 13 books, the elder two of the three siblings are child prodigies. Violet, being able to build most any contraption with the materials at hand and Klaus being able to remember anything that he has read before. Sunny, the youngest shows signs of being able to know things, but it is not shown clearly whether she is a prodigy like her elder siblings.
An early film example is Dear Brigitte (1965) with Bill Mumy as a prodigious son of a professor.
Little Man Tate
In Little Man Tate, the character suffers from burnout in the middle of the film, but by the end he recovers and is ultimately better adjusted than he was before the film story began. A vaguely similar result occurs in Searching for Bobby Fischer where, after a tormenting level of external pressure, the prodigy finds his own way toward stability and even being "a good person."
In Shine David Helfgott, who is not a fictional character but the story is fictionalized, is shown as having an almost viciously domineering father.
Vitus is a drama film written and directed by Fredi M. Murer. It was released on February 2, 2006 in Switzerland. It stars real-life piano prodigy Teo Gheorghiu, Bruno Ganz, Julika Jenkins, and Urs Jucker.
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums concerns "a family composed of three child prodigies.
The first installment of the second Star Wars
trilogy, the Phantom Menace
, features the 10-year-old Anakin Skywalker
who is a brilliant pilot 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
In the 2007 film,August Rush
, the protagonist, August, 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.
In one of Magnolia's parallel plotlines, Stanley Spector is a 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. Stanley's relationship with his father and the public is in many ways congruous with that of 19th century child prodigy Zerah Colburn, whose picture Stanley is shown examining in one scene.
Toshiro Hitsugaya is considered a prodigy among other characters.
Death Note is a television series in which almost every main character is a genius or prodigy of some kind. Light Yagami (Kira) and L Lawliet (L) are the original wunderkind, but are soon joined by Mihael Keehl (Mello), Nate River (Near), and Mail Jeevas (Matt). The latter four have been raised in an orphanage for gifted children for most of their lives, and are all in line to take over L's position as the world's greatest detective.
In this television series, T.J Henderson (played by Tahj Mowry) skips 6 grades and goes straight to 10th grade from 4th 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).
The Big Bang Theory
On The Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper has an IQ of 187. He went to college when he was 11 and received his PhD when he was 15. When he was 14 he tested out lasers and the college teacher who saw was shushed by the government.
On the television show Bones, Temperance Brennan's assistant, Zach, was a child mathematic prodigy with an IQ over 176. He learns at a rapid pace and can instantly identify any bone in the body and where it belongs. He also has the ability to recite Basketball stats very quickly.
One of the BAU team members, Spencer Reid, was a child prodigy. He graduated from high school at the age 12, has an IQ of 187, currently has three PhD:s and can read 20 000 words per minute.
On 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. In those episodes it's also implied that Sara Sidle, one of the criminalists, shares this trait to a minor degree. Also, the Miniature Killer - called Natalie Davis -, has an eidetic memory and an exceptional talent for painting (she can reproduce a room or a situation after seeing it just once).
Doogie Howser, M.D.
The final episode of Doogie Howser, M.D.
, Doogie appears on a talk show with child prodigies who end up confessing outrageous mental problems, but at the end he essentially agrees it applies to him as well. He therefore quits medicine in search of some kind of philosophical answer to his problems.
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.
In the television show Heroes, Micah Sanders appears to be a computer genius before and when he has his ability.
Malcolm In The Middle
The character Malcolm in the hit TV series Malcolm in the Middle
(2000-2006) is a prodigious young man beset by family problems and has a mostly underplayed intelligence.
Also there is his younger brother Dewey, a musical genius who became highly skilled at playing the piano at a young age. He wrote symphonies and musical plays.
In the CGI
series Max Steel
, Dr. Roberto Martinez is a young Colombian
in his late teens who is an expert on nanobots
. He and Max fight crime together. 'Berto is usually based at the HQ of the secret intelligence service N-Tek where he monitors Max's missions via a computer screen, but he also often takes a more active part in the missions himself. He and Max are very close, addressing each other as "Bro" and "Hermano" (Spanish for "brother").
In the TV show Numb3rs, one of the characters Charlie Eppes, is a child prodigy. at the age of 3 was multiplying 4 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.
In the TV series "The Pretender" (1996-2000), the main character Jarod is a child prodigy who, as a man, is capable of emulating any person within various fields of work or situations; Jarod assumes the role of a surgeon and through his mental prowess, is able to mimic an actual surgeon.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
In Star Trek: The Next Generation
, Wesley Crusher
's feelings of abandonment and resentment are more often shown as caused by the early death of his father, but in the last episode featuring him he could be deemed to show signs of "aging child prodigy disease". He is hostile to everyone, disobeys orders and ultimately abandons Starfleet
for his own kind of spiritual/philosophical journey.
Several episodes of the X-Files
featured varying kinds of child prodigies; ranging from noble to violent and psychotic.
, also known as Ami Mizuno, is said to have an IQ of 300.
Edward Elric, the main protagonist of the anime Fullmetal Alchemist
, has been know as a child prodigy for him exceptional knowledge in alchemy, due to his witnessing of the Gate.
In "seaQuest DSV
", Lucas Wolenczak
is a child prodigy who graduated from Stanford magna cum laude with a degree in Applied Principles of Artifical 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.
Azula the Fire Nation Princess is most likely a child prodigy having developed excellent military tactics and firebending skills at such a young age. She is shown easily surpassing her elder brother, and accomplishing techniques that many firebenders are unable to perform or take a lifetime to learn, along with creating her own techniques and having fire no firebender (in the series or known of) has had before.
Zoey Brooks roommate Quinn Pensky is a total genius at 13-16 with an IQ of 177. Best known for her Quinnventions
. She was offerd early entry to Cal Tech but turned it down,
Walt Disney's Everett Koopenhooper
Everett Koopenhooper appeared in the Mickey Mouse
daily strip in 1948.
Mickey's alien-like friend Eega Beeva had invented a machine which could be worn on a person's head and generate a force field which could resist anything. He claimed that it could even withstand an atom bomb, hence the name "Atombrella" (atomic umbrella). In order to thoroughly test it out, they contacted an eminent scientist, Dr. Everett Koopenhooper, who turned out to be a ten-year-old little boy — though he resented being called that.
Everett was a consultant for many other prominent scientists and military figures. He worked in a imposing building and had a secretary. His laboratory included a powerful flame-thrower and even more advanced, and potentially dangerous, machines. He was also a ventriloquist.
Although a brilliant physicist, Everett was still a little boy at heart: he and Eega Beeva would play with yo-yos while discussing formulae; he would get up to mischief which would result in a spanking from his mother; and would secretly play with roller skates on the smooth floor of his laboratory, supplied by the government.
He does not appear to have been good on security however: Eega Beeva discovered bugs and cameras in the laboratory which resulted in him and Mickey having to keep the Atombrella away from a devious and cunning spy whose every statement was spoken as poetry and was thus known as the Rhyming Man.
The story of The Atombrella and the Rhyming Man was written by Bill Walsh and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson.
The Belgian comic strip
series Génial Olivier
, which first appeared in 1963, took the paradoxical premise of a little boy who is a brilliant scientist but a dunce in every other respect. His inventions have included robots
, life-like holograms
and time machines
, but he is hopeless at history
. As a result he is stuck in a normal everyday primary school where his talents are less than appreciated. Many of his inventions are aimed at cheating in exams or getting back at his teacher with whom he is engaged in a never-ending war of nerves. Olivier also uses his creations to deal with bullies or impress the girls, but the results are not always the ones desired.
From Bill Amend's daily cartoon strip FoxTrot
A character from the popular manga, Naruto
, has an IQ of over 200.
Naoki Irie (Zhi Shu in the Taiwanese drama adaptation), the main male character in the manga,is considered to have an IQ of 200. Many characters speculate that he is the smartest person in Japan.
In video games
In the story of Calculatorium Majorium, an Indian produced video game, the flower girl near the castle gates named Rupinder Sarao is offering gifts to all those who pass by. She is a beautiful, joyous, and a great help to your main character on his/her adventure. She claims supernatural powers relating to the use of her calculator, and boasts supreme mathematical abilities.
In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, the first Mage available to you, Lute, is a girl that claims to remember everything she sees, hears and reads. She also claims to be a prodigy, and tells this to everyone she meets. It is often claimed that it is her intellectual gifts that makes her boastful.
In the game Mother 3 Ness
is considered to be a gifted child with telekinetic powers.
In Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising and Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Lash is called "the wunderkind of the Black Hole forces," having developed the majority of the weapons used by Sturm and the COs under his command.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, Franziska von Karma is a said to be a legal prodigy who became a prosecutor in Germany (America in the Japanese version of the games) when she was only thirteen years old, and had a spotless conviction record before encountering Phoenix Wright. She is only eighteen when she is introduced in the games. When she introduces herself to Phoenix Wright, she also states she is a prodigy.
Also in those two games in the series is Pearl Fey, a gifted spirit medium who is said to be a prodigy of the art at only eight years old. Her powers even exceed those of Maya Fey, the current heir to the family's technique.