Notes on Characters from Ender's Game

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Ender's Game Major Characters

Ender: The nickname of Andrew Wiggin, multi-talented savant and protagonist. We see him between the ages of five and thirteen. Ender is needed to defend Earth from the aliens who have twice tried to colonize Earth, the Buggers. Ender is a Third, a government-mandated additional child (families are only allowed two) in the security state of the precarious world government. His older siblings, Peter and Valentine, showed enough potential for the I.F. to "requisition" Ender’s birth. From that time, he has been groomed to be the best possible military leader that the government can make. In every encounter, he not only wins, but wins completely, something the military appreciates. The military tests and trains its students, most notably Ender, through games. Ender is the most successful student ever at Battle School. Ender trained relentlessly, and finds success when under the most emotional and social strain — when he is angry and isolated. the adults recognize this and capitalize on it — isolating and angering Ender as often as possible. When assigned to an army, Ender rises to the top of the leader board. From this point on, he was the one everyone compared themselves to. As training progresses, Ender becomes a commander of his own army, and wins handily again. He is the best strategist the school has ever seen. His isolation is broken infrequently by fleeting friendships, and even more fleeting contact with his sister, Valentine. Each contact with her is planned to rejuvenate his mind, and both times it works. He comes to understand isolation as a fact of life at Command School, and over the next year and few months, is put through more games. The games drive Ender to his breaking point, and, angered and isolated, he breaks the rules and wins the game. Only it turns out it wasn’t a game. The games were real, and Ender defeated the enemy soundly. Defeated and celebrated, Ender never returns to Earth. He travels with Valentine to a new colony world and tries to recant for his sins by writing the most influential religious text in a long time — "The Hive Queen." The book ends with him as an itinerant preacher known as a Speaker for the Dead."

Valentine: Ender’s older sister, and the middle Wiggin child. She is exceptional in her mind, like Ender and Peter (the oldest), but her temperament is soft — she exhibits the greatest level of compassion for everything. While Ender was away, she was the only family member to celebrate his birthdays and write consistent letters to him. All but one of the messages were blocked by the IF (the international government’s military arm named the International Fleet). This one message was requested by Colonel Graff to help Ender regain a willingness to participate in Battle School activities, to which he had soured. Valentine is also the only family member who was allowed to meet Ender during his military training. Between Battle School and Command School, Ender was distraught and unwilling to fight. He was brought to Earth where Valentine was recruited again by Graff to restore his confidence and mental strength. Again, Valentine served as the perfect salve to Ender’s emotional weakness. In addition to her rare contact to Ender, Valentine’s life is defined by its opposition to Peter. Though reluctant to join Peter in his endeavor to shape world affairs, she serves to be his rhetorical foil in print and in person. While she writes for the harsher commentator, named Demosthenes, she believes the points of view of the more centrist Locke, written by Peter. Her pseudonym gains popularity with much of the world in its hawkish view of the "New Warsaw Pact," a federation of countries run by Russia (much like the USSR). One of Demosthenes’ fans is her father, an idea that disgusts her. In the end, however, she and Peter affect significant change through their anonymous identities and the world is eventually run by Peter, who becomes Hegemon. Valentine, after playing second fiddle to Peter for Peter’s gain, makes one demand — that the hero of the third Bugger War, Ender, does not return to Earth to become another lackey to Peter. She arranges to join Ender and accompanies him to the first human colony world. As second fiddle to Ender, she writes the history of the bugger wars as Demosthenes, and includes Ender’s Hive-Queen text at the end."

Peter: Ender’s oldest sibling, and primal fear. Exceptional and brutal, he is what Ender fears becoming—something so confident in its ability it almost loses its humanity and compassion. Peter tormented Ender when they were at home together, and threatened Ender’s life. But, as the years passed, he appeared to mellow. Peter develops a plan to take over the world through the nets. He devises a plan whereby he uses his superior intellect, along with Valentine’s, and drives world opinion. He writes for the centrist Locke while Valentine writes for Demosthenes. By using to opposing commentators who will eventually unite at the critical moment, Peter creates a situation where he, as Locke, will be the only acceptable choice as world leader. he wants to lead a bloodless coup. His plan is bold and eventually works, as he is named Hegemon at the end of the third Bugger War. His siblings leave Earth, and relativity allows them to stay young while Peter ages as ruler of Earth. When he reads the Speaker for the Dead’s text, called the Hive Queen, he demands that Ender write him a similar text. He recounts his life to Ender and Ender publishes a text called "the Hegemon," chronicling Peter’s life, and capping Peter’s world-changing career."

Colonel Graff: The ultimate in manipulators and chief teacher of Ender. At first, he recruits Ender to Battle School, believing Ender to be the best chance at defeating the Buggers. He uses isolation and torment through others as his chief method of forcing Ender to reach the latter’s full potential. Ender is his project, though he is the principal of Battle School, and he uses games to assess, manipulate, and isolate Ender. Graff is ultimately the one who allows — indeed, forces — Ender to be a double murderer (both by accident) and the one who eventually wins in the end. Graff becomes something of a distant, untrustworthy father-figure to Ender. He teaches Ender a lot, and Ender emulates his approach at times, but Graff is ultimately manipulating Ender to destroy the Buggers."

Minor Characters

Buggers: The alien creatures that have twice almost wiped out humanity. They are insect-like in shape and lack any apparent individuality. The world, since the Second Bugger War, has been united under an international government.

Stilson: The first tormentor the audience meets. Faceless, almost nameless, he is a bully without teeth, who pushes Ender too far into a corner. Ender brutally beats up the bigger, stronger Stilson, and leaves Stilson laying supine. When we later hear of Stilson, it is after the war, and we learn that Ender’s attack killed Stilson.

Major Anderson: A teacher at Battle School. He often serves as Graff’s foil, second-guessing and suggesting ideas. With students, Anderson is identical to Graff in function.

Dap: Teacher for Ender’s launch group. He acquaints the students with the Battle School systems, and is rarely seen again. He is laid-back but stern and the students instantly take to him. His approach to teaching is militaristic — everyone starts out with the same stuff, so if they beat you, you haven’t tried hard enough.

Bernard: The tormentor Ender faces as a Launchie. Bernard was the one whose arm was broken at Ender’s hand, and then became Ender’s bully. Bernard participated in a few anti-Ender activities while at Battle School, but in the end proved harmless as Ender was able to make friends with Bernard’s closest friend — Alai.

Shen: A dependable small student in Ender’s launch crew, and a friend throughout his time. Shen is unassuming and friendly, and chooses not to get himself involved in the politics of hierarchy, which quickly earns Ender’s respect.

Petra Arkanian: A swaggering girl who is the best sharpshooter in the battleroom. She and Ender meet in Salamander Army and she teaches him how to shoot a gun. Though she and Ender are not always close, she is there for him and with him through the story, from Battle School through Command School to the final battle, and he depends very heavily on her.

Bonzo Madrid: The second student at Battle School to torment Ender. He commands Ender in Salamander Army, feels betrayed by Ender’s insubordination and threatened by Ender’s excellence. Angry at Ender’s rise to leadership of all students, Bonzo stirs dissent from those students threatened by Ender. Eventually, he attacks Ender and is defeated, only because Ender harnesses Bonzo’s sense of Spanish honor.

Rose de Nose: Commander of Rat Army. He has an army that wins, and he does not know why, but he attributes it to his Jewish heritage. The man who had saved Earth from the last attack from the buggers was a Jew, so there has been a belief that they are somehow blessed as military leaders.

Dink Meeker: Ender’s first toon leader, who led the only efficient toon in Rat Army. He was reluctant to become a commander, though the adults had promoted him many times. The only reason he encounters Ender is that he observed Petra and Ender’s practice sessions, along with Ender’s sessions with the launch group; Dink wanted Ender in his toon. Eventually, at Ender’s persuasion, Dink becomes one, and is one of the friends who Ender is not sure about during Ender’s first weeks as a commander. Finally, he serves as one of Ender’s squadron leaders at Command School.

Locke: Peter’s pseudonym when he writes on the nets. Locke is a measured, thoughtful person whose opinions and attitudes are statesmanlike and well-respected. Though slow to gain support, his word is solidly respected.

Demosthenes: Valentine’s pseudonym when she writes on the nets. Demosthenes is a rabble-rouser who can easily bend someone to "his" side with his sharp wit. He gains a fast following, but his support is from more whimsical people, and not as solid as Locke’s.

Bean: A member of Ender’s army, Dragon, who proves himself to be as fast a learner as Ender. He is the smallest in the army, and Ender at first picks on him. Bean is precocious and arrogant about his skills, but backs it up with action. His attitude demands a smart commander, and Ender proves to be it. Bean comes to command a mini-toon in Dragon, and uses it with efficiency and deadliness. In the final battles at Command School, Bean is used for small, but intricate, missions.

Carn Carby: Commander of Rabbit Army, and first victim to Ender’s Dragon Army. Gracious in defeat, and innovative with his command, Carn earns Ender’s respect. Carn also appears at Command School as one of Ender’s squadron leaders.

Mazer Rackham: The person who won the Second Bugger War. He discovered the secret of the Buggers almost by accident, and used the remaining members of the fleet to defeat the Buggers. He was not Jewish and set an example that it wasn't just Jews who could save the world. It turns out that, though some four generations had nearly passed, Rackham was not dead. He was sent off in a lightspeed ship and returned ready to train the next leader to defeat the Buggers once and for all. As that teacher, Rackham puts Ender through a grueling set of "tests" and games to make sure Ender is ready for actual battle with the Buggers.

Pol Slattery: One of the few commanders who Ender respects. With a growing revolt against Ender brewing, Pol tells Ender that he respects Ender’s ability and wanted to win fair (even though he could not win with the rules working in his own favor).

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