Ender's Game Characters
by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game book cover
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Ender's Game Characters

The main characters in Ender's Game are Ender Wiggin, Peter Wiggin, Valentine Wiggin, Colonel Graff, Bonzo Madrid, Stilson, and Mazer Rackham.

  • Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is a brilliant boy trained to be Earth's greatest military leader.
  • Peter Wiggin is Ender's cruel older brother, who writes political essays under the assumed name Locke.
  • Valentine Wiggin is Ender's older sister and the only person Ender truly loves.
  • Colonel  Graff runs the Battle School and is responsible for overseeing Ender's training.
  • Mazer Rackham is the hero of the Second Invasion and Ender's mentor.
  • Bonzo Madrid and Stilson are bullies whom Ender accidentally kills in self-defense.

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Ender Wiggin

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is the brilliantly intelligent protagonist of Ender’s Game. A rare “third” child, Ender grows up socially isolated, with no close friends or relationships aside from his elder sister, Valentine, whom he dearly loves. Ender, who is only six at the start of the novel, exhibits a combination of the personality traits of his two older siblings: all three are intelligent, but in Ender, the kindness and sensitivity of Valentine are mixed with the ruthless brutality of his brother, Peter. Ender recognizes this streak of violence in himself and is greatly disturbed by it, though he is also intelligent enough to see that Colonel Graff and his other mentors deliberately exploit and encourage this aspect of his personality to increase his effectiveness as a warrior and a commander. 

Despite his general alienation from others, Ender possesses a keen sense of empathy, and his rare ability to truly understand what his enemy is thinking is ultimately the key to his strategic genius. However, though these traits lead to victories in battle, they also contribute greatly to Ender’s personal unhappiness, for he can only defeat an enemy after he has come to truly know and “love” them. Ender is repulsed by conflict and aggression, which he associates with Peter, and he is wracked by guilt on the occasions where he is forced to become violent to “win”—as shown after his confrontations with Stilson and Bonzo. The tension between Ender’s natural desire for peace and the violence he is forced to enact eventually comes to a head in the final battle, the aftermath of which devastates Ender to his core. As the novel closes, Ender learns to accept that though he can’t change the past, he can take ownership over his own destiny and try to make amends for the wrongs he has committed.

Peter Wiggin

Peter, who is ten years old at the beginning of the story, is Ender’s intelligent and manipulative older brother. The eldest of the three Wiggin children, Peter is a bully who enjoys torturing his siblings and those weaker than himself—particularly Ender, who is the primary object of Peter’s jealousy and resentment. Though his natural inclination is toward violence and cruelty, Peter can be remarkably polite, persuasive, and reasonable when occasion demands. Indeed, most of the adults in his life are convinced Peter is the perfect child. Peter is constantly in pursuit of power, which is his main motivation in crafting a plan with Valentine that will allow them to become political leaders and shape global affairs. In many ways, Peter is a foil for Ender, as the novel traces each brother’s individual path to power and leadership. Ironically, while the compassionate Ender saves the world by committing a terrible genocide, the cruel Peter saves the world through a gloabl peace treaty. Unlike Ender, Peter has no altruistic motivations nor any empathy for those he must destroy to succeed; however, despite this ruthlessness of character, Peter ultimately makes great contributions to humanity—if only because he calculates that doing so is the most efficient way to gain and keep power.

Valentine Wiggin

Valentine, Ender’s elder sister, is the second child of the family. Like her siblings, she is extremely smart and capable, though her gentle nature made her...

(The entire section is 1,711 words.)