Chapter 12 Summary

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Opening Section

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.

Main Narrative

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 attempt to fight the two armies who are assigned to battle against him. Instead, he sends a formation of boys to the opposite side of the room to perform the ritual that means his team has won. It works, and Dragon Army gets credit for a victory.

Later Ender retreats to his quarters to be alone, but Bean intrudes. Bean says that he and all of Ender’s other leaders have been promoted to commander positions in other armies. Ender insists that he does not care, and that he will never play the game again. “I hurt Bonzo really bad today,” he says.

As the boys are talking, Major Anderson and Colonel Graff come in. They bring a transfer slip. Ender is graduating from Battle School two years early. He is being transferred directly to Command School, and he is leaving in twenty minutes. He is not even allowed to say good-bye to his army.

Closing Section

Colonel Anderson, who has been promoted to the leadership of Battle School, talks with one of the other teachers, Major Imbu. Imbu thinks Graff, who has suddenly left Battle School, may have been arrested for negligence in the matter of Ender’s fight. Anderson disagrees, but neither man is sure.

One thing, however, is certain: Ender killed Bonzo. Although Ender does not know it, this is the second time he has killed another boy. On Earth, when he was six, he killed the bully Stilson. “The kid is scary,” Anderson says.

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Chapter 11 Summary

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Chapter 13 Summary