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 his enemies, and he resolves to defeat them.