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Dean and Giftedness
Modified from my comments on gretazreta’s story, Misunderestimate. Spoilers through Season Three, Sin City.

I am really fascinated with Dean's intelligence. What they've given us is Sammy with canon high-level academic aptitude (canon, fullride to Stanford, aces the LSATs, loves his laptop more than life, skilled at and seems to enjoy research).

Next, they've given us other people's perceptions of Dean as Dumber than Sam (I think it was Missouri who said he was not the sharpest knife but means well, Bela's mean remarks, the demon bartender who said all the demons think Sam is the brains and Dean is the brawn). Plus Sammy himself, who I still haven't forgiven for belittling Dean's homemade EMF reader.

What Dean has done with his life is constantly to pare anything away that doesn't make him better at the job of saving people, hunting things. I often feel that Dean leans toward the ADHD in canon: my favorite is when Sammy is trying to "crack the password" on the computer in Baltimore and Dean starts making mouth noises. Not that Dean is literally ADHD, but that he's never tried to overcome that tendency in himself, because he values action more than theory, and also, his talents lie in his body (as a fighter, a pool player, a crack shot, a mechanic, a lover we must presume, and also he forges their IDs).

He's not a linguistic intelligence either, though the writers do tend to give Jensen the most beautiful monologues, which of course he absolutely nails. I love when the bartender demon destroys his book and he forgets the incantation. DEAN, come on, you haven't memorized that yet!!!!! Even I was annoyed with him. But he paints a flawless devil's trap.

In early canon, Sammy seems to buy his own superiority.  I think that lightens up as time goes on, and of course we get the beautiful car repair scene in Season 3. I’d like to see more in canon and in fic where Sam and other acknowledge the smarts of Dean, instead of constantly putting him down.  I’d like to see more explorations of Dean as a master of his many talents (one of my favorite stories of all time is Astolat’s Old Country, especially in this regard, though I can’t give anything away!)  and maybe some new ones that follow from what we already know!

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I love smart!boys regardless if it's Sam or Dean or both. I think we have seen more aspects of smart!Dean over the years, which makes this meta in hindsight interesting. But what sometimes bothers me is when Sam and Dean are portrayed as not being very smart, logical, and/or resourceful because it's required in the story set up even though they've been shown in the past to be more than capable. Grrr.

The great thing is that Sam turned from always putting Dean down. Now we've seen Dean begin to make that turn as well.... I think the conflict of the season opener spelled out to Dean that he had to let Sam make his own choices -- and also, to validate them. I <3 s8. :)

I loved that you wrote this season three. Later, I think there were more and more efforts made to show Dean as intelligent.

Dean is a fast thinker and an improvisor, he can make it up as he goes along. He is also a master strategizer. He is a doer, Sam is a thinker.

It was awesome in the ep where he strategized Charlie's defenses. :)

Sam definitely has the academic talents that Dean pushed down in himself. I think it was a masterstroke in the Smith and Wesson story that Dean went to Stanford.

The Stanford switch up was brilliant. It also showcased Dean's chameleon adaptability. He excels wherever he is placed.

Love this! Saw you posted a link to this in a comment to bowtrunkle's meta and just had to read it. I agree completely. BTW do you have a link to that "Old Country" fic you mentioned?

thanks for reading! Yeah and keeping the Impala purring like a kitten after so many years :)

Old Country at AO3

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