Each chapter of Ender's Game opens with a conversation between the government officials who are responsible for finding a military genius to lead Earth to victory against the alien "bugger" fleet. From these conversations, the reader learns that Andrew "Ender" Wiggm is considered humanity's best hope for such a leader. It is also made clear that these officials will isolate and test Ender as much as possible to mold him into the effective military leader they so desperately need.
Ender's story opens as he is finally losing the monitor implanted in the base of his neck, a device which allows government officials to see and hear whatever he experiences. He is later than most in having the device removed—six years old—thus separating him from his peers. He is also the third child of his family, in a futuristic society that seldom allows more than two children. Although Ender is a legal "Third," he is still an object of scorn and derision. After the monitor is removed, an older, bigger boy, Stilson, leads a group of bullies against Ender. Ender fights him viciously, attempting to discourage further attacks in the future. (The fact that Stilson dies in the process is not revealed until the book's later chapters.)
At home, Ender's older sister Valentine sympathizes with him, but his sadistic brother Peter brutalizes him and says that someday he will kill Ender and Valentine. The following day, Colonial Hyrum Graff of...
(The entire section is 1687 words.)
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Chapter 1 Summary
Two unnamed people argue with each other. The first says that someone—a person called only “he”—will help them save the world. The second speaker disagrees, saying that he is weak, too willing to do what others want. Eventually the second speaker gives in; the first speaker can do what he wants.
Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is in the doctor’s office. A woman says she is going to take a monitor out of the back of his neck. Ender hopes that once the monitor is gone, his brother, Peter, will stop hating him. Peter will still bully Ender but will stop being jealous that Ender kept the monitor longer than he did.
The doctor does something that causes Ender extreme pain. Ender thrashes and falls off the examining table, then finds he cannot remember how to speak. The doctor is disgusted that the monitor stayed in Ender’s neck for three years, a period of time that is normally considered much too long. The doctor says the removal could have killed Ender.
Ender goes to school. In the classroom, the girl behind him quickly notices that his monitor is missing. Ender receives a message on his electronic desk. It says, “Third.” This is an insult because Ender is the third child in his family. Families are only allowed to have two children. Even though the government specifically authorized Ender’s birth, the kids in Ender’s class treat him as a freak.
When school is over, Ender waits in his classroom. He knows bullies will be waiting to taunt him and possibly hurt him now that the monitor no longer records everything he sees and hears. This prediction is correct. A boy from his class, Stilson, is waiting with several friends. A couple of kids grab Ender and hold him. Ender does not panic. Instead he laughs. “You mean it takes this many of you to fight one Third?” he asks.
The kids let go so that Ender and Stilson can to fight one to one. Ender kicks out, and Stilson falls. Ender knows that the other kids will continue to bully him if he does not scare them now. Although he knows it is cruel, Ender kicks Stilson several more times while Stilson is on the ground. Ender tells the other kids he will do worse to them if they come after him.
After he wins the fight, Ender hides alone and cries. He thinks, “I am just like Peter.”
(The entire section is 416 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
A speaker says he needs to see what Ender will do to his brother now that the monitor is off. A second speaker worries that Peter will hurt Ender. “We’re going to screw him up,” this second voice says. The first speaker does not argue; he merely says that screwing Ender up is his job.
Ender arrives at home. His sister, Valentine, says she is sorry his monitor was removed. Peter, however, is angry. Peter only kept his own monitor until he was five, and Valentine had hers removed at three. It infuriates Peter that Ender was monitored until the age of six. “He almost made it, little bastard, little bugger,” Peter says.
Peter demands that Ender play buggers and astronauts with him. Peter claims the role of astronaut and tells Ender to be the bugger, a member of the alien race that once attacked Earth. Ender agrees even though the bugger in this game always gets hurt.
Ender puts on a mask that makes him look like a bugger. Peter hits Ender, knocks him over, and kneels on his chest. Ender knows that Peter may want to kill him. Peter claims he will do exactly that so their family will no longer be shamed by having three children.
Valentine comes to Ender’s rescue, saying that she will tell on Peter if he kills Ender. Peter threatens to kill her too, but Valentine has already planned for that eventuality. She has a secret letter on file at the public library saying Peter is a murderer. Peter lets Ender up, laughing and claiming it was all a joke. Ender shows off Stilson’s blood on his shoe, hoping to scare Peter, but Peter is unimpressed.
When Ender’s father sees that the monitor is gone, he acts thrilled. He exclaims at how lucky his family is to have three children and to be allowed to keep all of them. Ender thinks these words are not true. He knows it would be less inconvenient and less embarrassing for his parents if they only had the normally allotted number of kids. Ender is sorry for his parents’ sake that the government took out the monitor and did not take him away.
That night Peter comes to stand over Ender’s bed. Ender looks for a weapon in Peter’s hand but does not see one. Peter whispers that he is sorry and then climbs into his own bed. Ender cries himself to sleep.
(The entire section is 416 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
Two voices discuss Ender’s sister. One says Valentine is a problem because Ender loves her and may not want to leave her behind. The other speaker seems confident that Ender can be tricked into leaving home. If tricks do not work, the second speaker says, it is always possible to tell Ender the truth.
At breakfast, Ender cannot eat. He worries about facing Stilson and Stilson’s friends at school. Around him, his family bickers good-naturedly. Suddenly the table beeps, signaling that someone is at the door.
Ender’s father checks the door’s video surveillance and sees a member of the International Fleet waiting outside. “I thought it was over,” Father says.
The man from the fleet tells Ender that Stilson is in the hospital. He asks if Ender enjoyed kicking Stilson when he was down. Ender says that he did not. He explains that he had to hurt Stilson badly to stop future bullying. “You took away the monitor,” Ender says. “I had to take care of myself, didn’t I?”
Father argues with Ender’s reasoning, saying he should have asked an adult for help. The fleet officer ignores this and introduces himself as Colonel Graff. Graff explains that he needed to see what Ender would do after the monitor came off to see what kind of person he is. He offers Ender a place at Battle School.
Mother is appalled that Graff wants to reward Ender for putting another boy in the hospital. Graff says he does not care about what Ender did; he just had to know why Ender did it.
Mother and Father do not have any choice but to let Ender go to Battle School. When Ender was conceived, they signed a form stating their willingness to let him go. If they had not done so, the government would never have allowed Ender to be born. Ender, however, has a choice.
Ender considers his options. He does not want to leave his parents or his sister, and he does not like fighting. The idea of becoming a soldier does not appeal to him. However, he worries that Peter might try to kill him if he stays.
Speaking to Ender alone, Colonel Graff explains that if Ender goes to Battle School, he will be away a long time. Ender and Valentine will no longer know each other when Ender returns, and this will be sad because the two kids love each other. However, Colonel Graff also says that Ender’s parents...
(The entire section is 639 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
A voice, presumably that of Colonel Graff, explains that Ender must be isolated from his peers. This will force him to excel and lead. Graff promises to separate Ender from the rest of the boys by the time he arrives at school. A second voice muses that Graff seems to enjoy breaking kids down. Graff does not quite agree, but he says that the kids are better people by the time they put themselves back together again.
Ender lines up with a group of boys to board the shuttle to Battle School. The other boys talk and laugh amongst themselves, but Ender does not join in. He sees adults watching everything the boys do, and he knows they must have noticed him standing apart. Still, he chooses not to join the other boys.
News cameras film the boys getting into the shuttle. Ender wishes he could run to the camera and say good-bye to Valentine. However, he knows this would not be heroic. Battle School boys are supposed to be heroes.
In the shuttle, Ender is relieved to see Colonel Graff, whom he considers a friend. When they get into space, Colonel Graff stands up in front of the boys. Ender realizes that in zero gravity any direction could be up. He tells this thought to Graff, who berates the other boys for not thinking of it first. Graff points at Ender. “Take a good look at him, little boys. He’s going to be a commander when you’re still in diapers up there.”
The boys immediately turn on Ender, poking him painfully and calling him names. Graff does not stop them, and Ender realizes that the colonel has separated him from the other boys on purpose. As soon as Ender understands this, he also knows he must help himself if he wants to stop the other boys from bullying him. He pulls on the arm of the boy who keeps poking him. Because there is no gravity in the shuttle, this small movement sends the boy flying into a wall. The boy breaks his arm. Ender is horrified.
As the shuttle nears its destination, Graff tells the boys that they are meant to be soldiers and killers. He repeats that Ender is the best of them. When the other boys disembark, Ender stays in his seat to talk to Graff. “I thought you were my friend,” he says.
Graff tells Ender his job is not to be a friend. His job is to produce good soldiers who can destroy the buggers before the buggers destroy the humans. Ender is a...
(The entire section is 534 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Colonel Graff claims it was an accident that Ender broke another child’s arm in the shuttle. Graff thought Ender would ask for help. The other man says it is good that Ender relies on himself. When Ender fights the buggers, he will not be able to call for help. Graff and the other man agree that Ender will be ruined if he ever comes to believe adults will help him with his problems.
Ender enters his new dormitory and discovers that everyone else has already chosen a bunk. He is left with the bottom bunk by the door. Ender worries that others will see him as weak if he meekly accepts the worst spot in the room. He pretends to be genuinely glad to have the place.
Exploring his surroundings, Ender figures out how to program his lockers to open at his command. He finds several lockers containing clothes, an electronic desk, a suit that looks like a spacesuit, and a gun that looks like a real laser gun. A teacher, Dap, enters and tells Ender that the gun is not real and that he will use it in a game.
Dap explains some of the basics of Battle School, including how the boys can find their way around by following lighted color codes on the walls. Dap also tells them how to program their lockers. He mentions that the group leader usually gets the low bunk by the door and that Ender will keep the spot since he has already programmed his locker.
Dap says he is the closest thing the boys will have to a mother at Battle School, but he warns them not to come crying to him if anyone pushes them around. The boys must solve such problems for themselves. “But I warn you—murder is strictly against the rules,” Dap says. Anyone who deliberately injures anyone else will “ice out,” which means he will be sent home.
At dinner, the new boys in Ender’s launch group—“launchies”—gather around Bernard, the boy whose arm Ender broke. Nobody sits with Ender. Ender feels horribly homesick, but he holds in his tears until after the lights go out that night. Then he cries in his bed. Unlike some of the other boys in the room, he cries silently. By the time Dap comes in to give the boys a little comfort, Ender’s eyes are dry again. Silently, Ender thanks his brother Peter for teaching him to hide his feelings. Ender knows this ability will help him stay strong at Battle School.
Classes at Battle...
(The entire section is 822 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
An unnamed person complains that Ender is determined to ice out of Battle School in a few months. According to him, Ender’s whole launch group is ruined. They mention that Ender is stuck in a game called the Giant's Drink. The first speaker orders Graff to wait and see what Ender does with the group, although Graff wants to do something else. Graff suggests that the owner of the voice take care of the International Fleet instead of meddling at Battle School. “The fleet is looking for a battle commander,” the first voice says. “There’s nothing to take care of until you get me that.”
For the first time, the boys from Ender’s launch group put on their uniforms and guns and go into the battleroom. There is no gravity in the battleroom, and the equipment is all unfamiliar. Eager to figure out how everything works, Ender immediately launches himself across the room. He is clumsy with the new equipment, but he learns a few things about controlling his direction, and he purposefully changes the way he thinks about his body’s orientation within the room. With a little difficulty, he manages to get back to his classmates.
Bernard and his best friend, Alai, are the next to try flying. Bernard tenses up, but Alai moves much more naturally. Several other boys let go of the wall and end up stranded, floating in the middle of the room with no way to propel themselves back to the walls. After watching these boys for a moment, Ender notices Alai alone at a wall not far away. Ender immediately joins Alai, and the two of them quickly decide to work together.
Ender and Alai try out a few ideas for moving in null gravity, and they shoot each other’s feet to see what will happen. When they find out they can freeze their suits, they form a plan to shoot all the other boys. Alai wants to ask Bernard to join them, and Ender agrees as long as Alai lets him invite Shen.
By the time Dap enters the battleroom, Ender and his three allies have frozen all the other boys. As Dap unfreezes the losers, they complain that Bernard and Alai attacked them without warning. Dap simply says the losers should have been ready.
Ender does not mind that everyone else in the group thinks Bernard and Alai led the attack. He knows that the balance of power in his group has shifted. Bernard is no longer in control, and the...
(The entire section is 603 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Two officials discuss Ender’s progress. One claims that Ender must be a monster because of what he did to the Giant. The other, who is probably Colonel Graff, points out that it is a good sign to see Ender win a game that couldn’t be won. Graff says that Ender will soon have to move on. The other voice agrees but asks Graff not to hurt Ender any more than necessary.
Several weeks have passed, and Ender still refuses to admit that he sent the message signed with Bernard’s name. However, Alai knows Ender must have been responsible. After teasing Ender about it, Alai asks for help setting up a computer security system. Ender agrees, but when he arrives at his bunk he finds a note saying he has been promoted.
Ender is upset to be moved out of his launch group so early. He is still six, and most boys are never assigned to an army—which is the Battle School name for the teams the older boys play on—before age eight. Ender's launch group has just started working together, and he and Alai are becoming good friends. Ender does not want to leave, but he knows he must. Alai kisses Ender’s cheek and whispers, “Salaam.”
On his way to his new barracks, Ender stops in the game room and signs into the mind game. Ender passes by the Giant’s corpse to go to Fairyland. In the game, Ender tries to play in a playground, but unlike the other children in the game, he cannot use the play equipment. He gives up and wanders into the forest, where he is eaten by wolves. After several attempts and failures, Ender realizes that he cannot defeat the wolves, so he goes back to the playground and kills the children instead. As each child dies, his or her body turns into the body of a wolf.
After that, Ender is able to go on through the game. He comes to a door labeled “The End of the World” and steps through it. He finds his way to a castle, where a snake threatens to kill him. Before he can fight the snake, he gets a message that he must stop playing the game and go on to his new dormitory.
At the new barracks, Ender immediately finds himself an outcast. The only person who shows him any kindness is Petra Arkanian, the only girl. Her attention places Ender in a worse social position because she is an outcast as well. Ender’s new commander, Bonzo Madrid, announces that he will neither train Ender nor let...
(The entire section is 783 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Colonel Graff has ordered Major Anderson, who runs the games the boys play at Battle School, to brainstorm ways to make battles unfair. Anderson protests, saying the game will be ruined for all the boys if the teachers rig the battles. Graff insists, saying they need to give Ender the hardest possible challenges in order to bring out the boy’s genius.
Ender finds himself a part of Rat Army, with a boy called Rose the Nose as his new commander. Ender reports directly to Dink Meeker, who is a subofficer called a toon leader. Ender is still practicing on his own with launchies every day. Rose the Nose orders Ender to stop, but Dink says Ender should continue.
Ender follows Dink’s advice, and Rose the Nose is upset. Upon learning that Ender disobeyed Bonzo as well, Rose grows even more furious. At Ender’s first battle as a soldier for Rat Army, Rose orders Ender into the battleroom first. This move is calculated to get Ender frozen quickly, but it does not work. Ender employs some strategies he has been working on with his launchies; he retains his status as the number one soldier in the school.
One afternoon Dink confesses privately that he hates being manipulated by the teachers at Battle School. He loves the game but he has twice refused to accept promotions to commander. Dink believes the bugger threat no longer exists. He thinks the teachers are really training the Battle School students for wars on Earth. Ender disagrees, but he shares Dink’s attitude that the teachers are enemies.
Ender’s next evening practice session has far fewer attendees than usual. Several jealous commanders have threatened to hurt any launchy who works with Ender. Alai, Shen, and a few other loyal stalwarts are willing to accept this threat and keep practicing.
During the session, a group of big boys comes into the battle room. The boys jeer at Ender and his friends. The verbal bullying quickly turns into a physical fight. Ender sends his friends to safety and then faces the older boys himself. By fighting intelligently within the zero-gravity situation, he injures several of them and comes out of the situation intact. He is surprised that teachers do not intervene. The injuries Ender inflicts are officially recorded as accidents.
Returning to his barracks, Ender plays the mind game on his computer. He...
(The entire section is 456 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Colonel Graff argues with Major Imbu, another teacher at Battle School. Graff is appalled that the computer showed Ender a picture of Peter in the mirror. He wants to know why the game showed that image. Imbu has no explanation; he says that the computer is making up Ender’s training as it goes along. Graff finds this comforting because he is doing the same thing.
Back on Earth, Valentine celebrates Ender’s eighth birthday by lighting a small fire and imagining that Ender, in outer space at Battle School, can see the smoke. Valentine and her family now live in the wilderness of North Carolina. She knows her parents hope that these natural surroundings will have a softening effect on Peter, but she also knows it is not working. Peter now shows his violent side less readily in public, but he is as ruthless as ever. Valentine has seen evidence that he tortures squirrels in the woods.
Peter finds Valentine in the woods and threatens to kill her, but she is not afraid because she knows he has nothing to gain from hurting her. Peter explains that he thinks the Russians are moving troops in preparation for a war on their neighbors. This goes against the Second Warsaw Pact, which helped to keep peace between countries on Earth when Earth faced the bugger invasions. Peter says that either the buggers are no longer a threat or the threat is about to be eliminated. The Russians are preparing for a land war.
Peter confesses that he wants to find a way to influence world events. Valentine mocks this desire, saying that no adult listens to a twelve-year-old boy no matter how smart he is. Peter explains that he has a plan to go on the nets and write columns anonymously until people start listening.
In spite of herself, Valentine grows increasingly excited about this plan. She likes the idea of writing articles that influence people. Still, she does not agree right away. She does not really think Peter will gain much power, but she is reluctant to help him because she knows he might hurt people.
Peter senses her feelings. He cries and says he does not want to be a monster. He begs Valentine to help him with is plan and also to be a good influence on him. Valentine assumes Peter is trying to manipulate her, but she wonders if he might be sincere. She agrees to help him, hoping that she can maintain a little power...
(The entire section is 808 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Colonel Graff tells Major Anderson that it is time to make Ender a commander. Anderson says Ender is a top candidate even though he is a year and a half younger than usual. Still, Anderson is reluctant to change Ender's life when Ender finally seems content. Graff refuses to act out of compassion. He sends Anderson to get the boy.
When Anderson comes for him, Ender knows immediately that he is being promoted to commander. He will lead Dragon Army, a name he has never heard before. Anderson explains that the name was discontinued four years ago because the boys got superstitious about it. In the history of Battle School, no Dragon Army ever won more than a third of its battles.
In his new barracks, Ender places his youngest soldiers at the front of the room and his oldest at the back—the reverse of the usual pattern. He notices that none of the boys is older than him, a fact which improves his authority but also gives him inexperienced soldiers with whom to work. He orders the boys out to practice immediately.
In the battleroom, Ender pushes his soldiers to abandon their psychological connection to the up-down relationships of full gravity. His smallest soldier, Bean, seems to understand the lesson best. Ender singles Bean out in front of the others, praising the little boy in a way that makes the others hate him. Ender despises himself for hurting Bean in the way he was hurt as a newcomer, but he does not stop doing it.
After the practice, Ender analyzes his own first performance as commander. In particular he puzzles about why he treated Bean so poorly. Ender realizes that isolating a good soldier can force him to work harder and become better. Ender knows he will watch Bean carefully, feeling compassion that he does not show.
That night, Ender goes to the battleroom for his ordinary extra practice with launchies and with members of other armies. However, Major Anderson is waiting for him and says the practices are no longer allowed. Instead, Ender leads a second practice for Dragon Army. It goes well but Ender feels lonely without his friends. Later he sees Alai in the game room and realizes that the forced competitiveness of their environment is creating tension between them. Ender hates the teachers for harming his friendships, but he refuses to cry about it. He concludes that his teachers are...
(The entire section is 418 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Graff protests against the grueling schedule of battles Anderson has prepared for Ender’s Dragon Army. Normally soldiers get three months before a battle and then have only one battle every two weeks. Anderson wants Ender to do much more, but this may wear Ender out beyond the limits of his abilities. Anderson says a computer created the difficult schedule and predicted that Ender would do best under these harsh conditions.
At the end of the conversation, the two men discuss recent news that Russia and America want to destroy each other as soon as the battle with the buggers is finished. Both men are incredulous. Graff jokes that humanity may not be worth saving.
After less than a month of practice, Ender is beginning to realize that his army is excellent. He knows he does not need the full three months of training that most groups get, and he silently wishes for a battle. At that moment, he receives his orders to appear for a battle the following morning.
At the battle, everyone in Dragon Army knows what to do, and all of Ender’s toon leaders have clear authority over their groups. Dragon Army destroys its opponent, Rabbit Army, in three minutes. When all of Rabbit Army’s soldiers are frozen, Ender’s five toon leaders perform the ritual that ends the game: four of them plug their helmets into spaces by Rabbit Army’s door, and the fifth passes through.
Now that he has won a battle, Ender is entitled to eat in the commander’s mess. At first the other commanders refuse to speak to him. Ender pretends not to notice, and eventually Dink Meeker, who is now a commander, comes by to say that the other boys see Ender as a threat. Even Petra Arkanian, whom Ender had counted as a friend, avoids talking to Ender. Only Carn Carnby, the commander of the army Ender just defeated, acts friendly. Carn says nobody believes him when he says Ender’s army is the best. “So I hope you beat the snot out of the next army you fight. As a favor to me,” Carn says.
The next morning, Ender is assigned another battle. Dragon Army is shocked. “I can’t pretend I like the way they’re screwing around with us,” Ender tells them, “but I do like one thing—that I’ve got an army that can handle it.” Dragon Army easily beats Phoenix Army, led by Petra Arkanian. Petra feels humiliated, but Ender knows she...
(The entire section is 829 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
General Pace, a member of the military police, says that some teachers think Colonel Graff is neglecting a “potentially lethal” situation. Pace has heard that Bonzo Madrid and several other boys are conspiring to beat up Ender Wiggin. When Graff says he must stand by and do nothing, Pace is incredulous. Graff insists that Ender must believe that adults will never rescue him from any problem, no matter how large. Reluctantly, Pace agrees to go along with Graff’s plan.
At practice in the battleroom, Ender watches Bean experiment with a strong, thin string. Bean figures out how to use the string to change direction in midair, and all of Dragon Army gets excited. On the way back to his quarters, Ender feels proud about the strength and mutual trust within his army. Dragon Army has now fought and won at least one battle every day for over four weeks.
As he walks, Ender notices many older boys hanging around in the corridors. He realizes they are lying in wait to beat him up. Ender’s friends work hard to protect him, but Ender remains convinced that the teachers will never allow anything truly dangerous to happen.
Some time later, Ender is showering alone in the bathroom when seven large boys come in. Bonzo Madrid is with them. Ender stands his ground and questions Bonzo’s honor in bringing six friends to fight a small, naked boy. Bonzo strips naked himself and orders the others to stand down. Ender knows he is in a desperately bad situation. Bonzo is bigger and stronger and wants Ender dead.
Before the fight begins, Dink Meeker bursts in. He begs Bonzo to let Ender go. “Who else can fight the buggers!” Dink exclaims. This display of loyalty only increases Bonzo’s jealousy.
Bonzo and Ender fight viciously. When Ender bloodies Bonzo’s nose, he does not stop because he does not want to have to fight again. He continues assaulting Bonzo until Bonzo is unconscious.
After the fight, Ender cries himself to sleep. When he awakes, he is shocked to realize he has been assigned another battle, the second formal game of the day—this time against two armies at once. “The bastards know what I’ve been through, and they’re doing this to me,” he thinks.
Furious at the unfairness of the teachers, Ender decides he no longer cares about the game. He makes no conventional...
(The entire section is 656 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
The International Fleet has discovered that Demosthenes and Locke are pseudonyms for Peter and Valentine Wiggin. In a discussion, two officials decide not to reveal this knowledge to the public. They fear that the Russians will think there is an American plot to use the Wiggin children to gain power. They agree to leave the children alone, at least for now.
Valentine enjoys being Demosthenes. She likes having power and prestige even though she is still a child. There are downsides, however. It upsets her that Father likes Demosthenes’s columns. It also scares her when Peter gets jealous: Demosthenes continues to get more attention than Locke does.
One afternoon, Graff takes Valentine to visit Ender. Ender has spent the past few months at a lake on Earth, refusing to go to Command School. Valentine tells Ender about Locke and Demosthenes, and Ender tells Valentine about Battle School. Ender realizes he still loves Valentine, and he confesses that he wants Peter to love him too. By the time Valentine leaves, Ender has decided to continue his education.
Ender and Graff spend three months on a ship to Eros, where Command School is located. Ender uses the time to learn as much as he can about the buggers. Humans know little about this alien species, but they think the buggers are a bit like ants, with queens and workers and soldiers. In the invasions, the queens seemed to do all the thinking and feeling, communicating instantly with the soldiers who fight the human fleet.
Graff explains that the buggers’ instant communication convinced people that they, too, could learn to communicate instantly across space and time. After the bugger invasions, human scientists used this insight to invent the ansible, a secret military device that allows instant long-distance communication.
Graff also reveals that Ender is not being prepared to defend Earth against an attack at home. Instead, he is being prepared to command, via the ansible, a set of ships that are already on their way to attack the buggers. Graff does not know exactly when those ships will arrive, but he believes Ender will need to be ready within five years.
Ender asks why the humans and buggers are fighting, but Graff does not know. Communication with the buggers is impossible. Buggers communicate only with their minds, so they have no...
(The entire section is 453 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Admiral Chamrajnagar berates Graff for taking so long to bring Ender to Eros. The war is approaching quickly, and every moment of preparation is precious. As Graff and Chamrajnagar talk, Graff reveals that he owns nothing and cares for little except his students.
Ender hates Eros, a small asteroid full of tunnels, which all seem to be the wrong size. Many other students live on Eros, but the teachers keep Ender totally isolated. Ender does not complain; he knows it will do no good.
For a year, Ender is drilled on a game called the simulator, “the most perfect videogame he had ever played.” The simulator reacts to Ender’s every strategy, and Ender enjoys meeting new challenges as the teachers add more and more complex wrinkles into the game. Soon he is deftly speaking commands into a microphone and manipulating many fighters at once.
One day Ender gets a new teacher, Mazer Rakham, the military leader responsible for defeating the buggers in the last invasion. Mazer explains that he won by killing the bugger queen that was leading the invasion. When she died, the rest of the bugger army died on its own. They were like many separate parts of one body, unable to live without their guiding mind.
Buggers are smart; Mazer believes the remaining buggers will have learned to keep their queens out of harm’s way. That means Ender will need a different strategy. To Ender’s advantage, he has a new weapon, called Dr. Device, which sets off a chain reaction to destroy everything around it. Also, Ender’s officers and soldiers will be intelligent individuals, unlike their bugger counterparts. A fight between humans and buggers is a fight of many minds against only one.
When Ender goes to his next session on the simulator, he learns that he has a new set of squadron leaders to command. They are Petra, Bean, Dink, and many of Ender’s other friends from Battle School. Although the squadron leaders are now on Eros, Ender is kept separate from them. He works with them through the simulator but never sees them face to face. Nevertheless, they work hard together, and soon the ships on their screens fly together as well as a bugger fleet but with more individual independence.
One day Mazer tells Ender that he is starting simulations of real battles with bugger forces. Ender and his friends win the...
(The entire section is 968 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Graff sits with Anderson by the lake Ender once visited. Graff has been on trial for the way he treated his students in preparation for the war. He was acquitted, and now he has no plans for the rest of his life.
Ender remains on Eros, marooned there by politicians who feel his political influence would be dangerous on Earth. He helps with efforts to prepare massive groups of human colonists to embark for the now-empty bugger worlds. One by one, Ender’s friends leave, and he is alone again.
One day Ender is surprised to find Valentine waiting for him. She has decided to immigrate to the bugger worlds, and she wants Ender to come along. Peter, she says, is now a statesman and a major figure of power on Earth. Valentine is most responsible for preventing Ender from going back; she wanted to protect Ender from Peter’s manipulation. Before leaving Earth, Valentine used her personality as Demosthenes to win Ender a position of power. If Ender chooses, he can be governor of the first new colony.
At first, Ender rejects the idea of becoming governor, but his natural capacity for leadership emerges. The colonists love and trust him, and he leads them in their new life. In spite of his responsibilities, he is most interested in learning the history of the buggers. He looks everywhere for clues about who the buggers were and how they lived.
After many years have passed, Ender gets word that another group of people wants to settle on his new world. He takes an eleven-year-old friend to scout out suitable locations. The two of them find a monument the buggers built to Ender. It is a replica of scenes Ender remembers from the mind game back at Battle School: the rotting corpse of the Giant, the playground in Fairyland, and the tower at the End of the World. In the tower, behind the mirror, Ender finds a pupa waiting to grow into a new queen bugger.
The pupa communicates with Ender’s mind, showing him the history of the buggers. The buggers had hoped the humans would forgive their original invasions of Earth. When the human ships came to destroy them, they knew they would die. They tried to reach out to humanity with their thoughts, and they sensed Ender’s mind. They learned about his life. They realized he did not know he was killing them. They forgave him.
The pupa wants Ender to let her breed, to bring a new race of buggers into being....
(The entire section is 565 words.)