One thing that bothers me with fanon is when people dumb Keith down. Like, this is a kid who was considered the best pilot of his generation at a military/space place; NASA's people are some of the smartest on the planet and the Garrison is so similar to them! But yet everyone think's he's not as smart as some of the other characters simply because he's more aggressive or because he didn't get the team chant Lance made.
LISTEN I LITERALLY SUFFER THROUGH “INTRO” TO ASTRONOMY AND ALL THE MATHING I MUST DO BECAUSE I CANNOT MATH AND!! KEITH WAS TOP OF HIS CLASS AT SPACE SCHOOL THAT BOY CAN MATH AND HE’S DAMN GOOD AT IT
So he’s definitely book smart in my mind because I feel it would be difficult for him to be number one in such a prestigious academy otherwise. Particularly in its most competitive program (fighter pilot). There are of course other indications of intelligence, and the primary ones singled out are usually: musical-rhythmic and harmonic, visual spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. So, let’s take a look at what Keith falls under:
- Visual-spatial: “Think in terms of physical space, as do architects and sailors. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.” (source)
- Evidence: Just take a look at Keith’s incredibly all encompassing and thorough assessment of data he’s gathered from the desert and this is incredibly clear. You’ll see pictures, charts, maps, visually illustrated points of how everything connects–it’s clear he’s a very visual learner. To the point where, when Hunk sketches out the Fraunhofer line, Keith immediately picks it out as a clear match for the mountain range. That demonstrates a true command of visual-spacial awareness.
- Verbal-linguistic: “Using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.” (same source)
- Evidence: Keith’s funny comment that, “I don’t think you’re using that word correctly,” seems to imply that he’s able to catch onto the meaning of unfamiliar words pretty easily. But more indicatively–“they can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words.” Words hold a certain power with Keith, as evidenced by the way he reverts to repeating Shiro’s mantra of “Patience yields focus,” whenever he needs to calm down and concentrate. He finds comfort in those words and hearing them. This seems to suggest an auditory inclination.
- Logical-mathematical: “Reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.” (same source)
- Evidence: Again, I think “exploring patterns and relationships,” falls under the work we see on Keith’s conspiracy theory board. And as previously stated, his rank at the garrison is most likely indicative of this. He’s also capable of abstract thinking–such as connecting with the desert’s “strange energy” as well as logic-based. The ability to put things together and “solve puzzles” is also clearly shown through how Keith is able to quickly address a situation and come to the right conclusion–such as how something wasn’t right on Naxzela and it’s connection to Voltron
- Bodily-kinesthetic: “Use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.” (same source)
- Evidence: I don’t think this one really needs to be explained, because Keith is just deftly skilled when it comes to movement. He’s very fluid, moves quickly, is light enough on his feet to dodge enemies and sidestep disaster. The way he flies Red Lion with focus on speed and agility is a direct parallel to this. And I think that, just focusing on Keith’s own ability, the way he navigates the debris field when his suit is damaged is an excellent illustration of this
- Intrapersonal: “Understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.” (same source)
- Evidence: Keith is often very independent and in tune with his own feelings. And we know from his whole personal quest to uncover more about his identity that he’s very much an introspective person. Intuition is also a huge part of who Keith is, and we see this manifest as a kind of quintessence sensitivity–how he was able to sense Blue in the desert, how he was the only one able to connect with his Lion over a long distance, knowing he had to target Haggar’s ship during the whole thing with Naxzela, ect.
- Naturalistic: Seems to encompass environmental awareness. Knowing the lay of the land, practical outdoor skills and intelligence, a deeper understanding of the natural world, a more nurturing personality, ect.
- Evidence: Keith living on his own in the desert for a year and later saying that he likes the outdoors because it’s quiet. Seems to be more in tune with the natural world and has more than enough of a grasp of outdoor knowledge to live off the land if need be. Also, does exhibit nurturing instincts–a fierce desire to protect and provide for others
So yes, Keith is very smart and in a number of ways. And I will 100% always defend that