Story Title: Icarus
Author Name: Marbleglove
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Story Summary: Some successes are only measured in how long you last before falling. Hermione writes a letter and begins a relationship. LV/HG
When I first discovered this story, I expected it to be a crackish super!Hemione fic, in which she’s more brilliant than any around her, and nobody can understand her. But that’s not remotely what this is. “Icarus” is a very insightful story about what happens when a brilliant teen (I believe JK Rowling said that Hermione would have tested at genius or near-genius levels) is not sufficiently intellectually challenged.
I know from personal experience what mischief my own children can get into when a standardized learning environment frustrates them with what feels like incomplete information which fails to quench their thirst for knowledge. In spite of their good intentions, they often think they know best, because it all seems so logical to them, and the rest of the world must simply be too stupid to understand, lol! If their questions are not addressed and their curiosity not satisfied, they can often seize the initiative to find answers or solve problems on their own – sometimes with disastrous consequences, as they lack an adult’s perspective to understand how raw information fits in with a real world setting. Take that basic dilemma, faced by any parent or teacher of a gifted child, and multiply it exponentially in the case of a girl as brilliant as Hermione and in circumstances as fantastic and stressful and unfathomable as the wizarding world at war and her best friend in the crossfire, and here you have the foundation for “Icarus.”
In this story, Hermione approaches Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall at Hogwarts about supervising a project she has thought of, one which combines muggle genetics and DNA sequencing with animagus magic. Due to the war, their responsibilities, and probably due also to Hermione’s often suffocating enthusiasm, they each refuse her. And so Hermione goes searching for another mentor to guide her in her project, and thus the story really kicks off when she makes a logical but utterly foolish choice in selecting her project adviser.
I love the talented writing in this subtle, clever, sly story. Hermione faces a seduction of her intellect, a threat her mind never thought to imagine, which creeps up on her and the reader so slowly that it is very easy to share Hermione’s feelings at the end of the story. In spite of her brains, she’s written as an “everyman” character; at heart, she’s just a girl with a lot of brains and good intentions who is very much in need of a mentor more clever and, most importantly, far wiser than she is. “Icarus” doesn’t try to convince us that Hermione is perfect or that she’s the best thing ever to impact the wizarding world. Instead, she’s someone immensely relatable, in spite of her brilliance, and probably because of her vulnerability and mistakes.
As a fan of Doctor Who, I’m reminded of Luke Rattigan, the brilliant, foolish boy with whom the Doctor so related, knowing what it’s like to be the smartest one around, yet so often underestimated and dismissed, and subsequently capable of great good or great evil for want of an equally intelligent but more morally grounded role model. Also like the Doctor, Hermione very much needs someone to tell her when to stop.
There is no sequel to this story, but on the author’s LJ there is a fun post with various ideas for sequels which the author does not intend to write, but which give us an idea of what the post-Icarus world would be like for Hermione.