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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Ender a victim, or Hitler on steroids?
    • The above article makes some interesting points, but largely glasses over the fact that Ender is a pre-pubescent child throughout the original novel. For all his intelligence and maturity, he's still just a kid and, unlike Bean, unaware of the full context of his actions until it's too late.
      • Not only that, he wasn't given enough information to even be able to comprehend the consequences of his actions. He was lied to, and didn't know that he was actually commanding real men in a real war. He was so disgusted with himself that he went into a comatose state for a few days, at least, and spent the next 3000 years trying to repent. He abhorred violence, despite the fact that he was very good at it, and was also devastated after his fight with Bonzo.
      • Not to mention the later revelation that aliens had been dissecting his dreams and trying to enter his mind for weeks leading up to the big moment.
      • And that the military officers running the show did everything in their power to hide the truth from the kids for the specific reason that they needed the little tactical geniuses to never hesitate over loss of life (Human or Formic) during a battle (the officers claim that key battles were lost during the previous wars when commanders hesitated to order soldiers to their deaths, because the Formics DON'T)
    • Oddly enough, this debate takes place inside the story's canon. Ender, the poor kid who saved the world, or Ender the Xenocide?
    • This troper has steadfastly held to the belief that Petra is actually a lesbian. Think about it: she holds her own in a male-dominated community while Valentine was considered too docile and feminine. She eventually gets together with Bean, though the way they have children requires no actual physical contact between the two of them. Afterwards she ends up with Peter, an arguably reprehensible person that not even a straight woman would be interested in. Perhaps she only chose him because she knew no one would expect them to act like a loving and affectionate couple. The fact that Orson Scott Card is extremely against homosexuality and homosexual marriage only helps to fortify this belief. He knew he needed a Token Girl, and turned her into a closet lesbian because he resented that.
      • So any strong female character who holds her own in a male-dominated profession must be a lesbian? Talk about Unfortunate Implications. Val wasn't considered too feminine, she was considered too empathic and unwilling to harm others, and Petra simply didn't have those traits. She was tough and well-suited for a military career. That hardly makes her gay, and your other reasoning just isn't very strong. Peter is shown to be extremely charismatic; after all, he DID become the leader of the entire planet Earth, as well as being described as very handsome. And I can't see Card secretly making a character a lesbian when it's well known that he's strongly against the idea of homosexuality. It's technically a possible reading of the character, but there's far more evidence to suggest that she's not gay.
        • Also the reason why Petra had Bean's children by invitro-fertilization wasn't because she didn't want heterosexual sex, it's because Bean insisted on only giving her children who didn't share his condition. There's plenty of times where the two are subtly mentioned to have had sex, and enjoyed it. Petra typically the one doing the asking!
      • I don't think there's much evidence either way, since she's a minor character and we don't really learn that much about her. But the way Card treats her in Ender's Game should be considered Unfortunate Implications by itself. She rose through the ranks and was part of Ender's final squad, but when he needed her the most she completely broke down and never completely recovered. Sure, Ender had his own Heroic BSOD, but she was the first to lose her head. I just think being a lesbian would have given depth to her character that she never had before. Considering that the future they live in is very mormon-ish (seriously, are there no gay people to persecute in the future?) her need to prove herself and overcompensate could be interpreted as her struggling with homosexuality in a time when it really wasn't accepted.
      • Or - OR - it could be interpreted as a need to prove herself and overcompensate because she's one of the only females in Battle School and believes that's what she needs to do to survive and prevail. She broke down because of exactly this - it's not solely because she's female, which is what you're implying, but because she drove herself much harder than any of the days. In fact, that is more or less outright stated earlier in the book.
        • It was also outright stated that she'd been relied upon for a lot of the battles - possibly more than anyone else save Ender himself, and Ender was a cut above the rest to begin with. So it wasn't that she was weak - it was that she was simply the first to crack from the pressure. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Artistic License Biology: Microbiology and crop cultivation are two overlapping fields but have vastly different implications. Justified by Xenobiologists being extreme Omnidisciplinary Scientist types.
  • Complete Monster: Graff says that he'll either be seen as a militaristic genius or this (for putting Ender through all this crap) depending on whether they win or lose the war.
    • What the Buggers were assumed to be.
    • What Peter appears to be headed for in childhood. He grows out of it once he finds something worthy of focusing his attention on - namely ruling the world.
    • What Ender tried to make himself out as in his final "test" in order to prove himself ethically unfit for command. Epic backfire... Ironically, after he publishes his account of the Bugger War as Speaker for the Dead, all of human civilization starts considering him a Complete Monster, and he knew this would happen and accepted it as part of his atonement.
    • Achilles is certainly this. He has a bizarre obsession with killing anyone who has ever seen him in a position of vulnerability. Over the course of the series he murders or attempts to murder (aside from many nameless war victims) a girl who helped him when he was an orphan dying in the Rotterdam streets, a doctor who fixed his leg, and Bean, who was dumb enough to let him live. Once.
      • Like any sociopath, Achilles doesn't see anything wrong with what he's doing. In his mind, those people shouldn't have done what they did. He's just fixing the world to be "right" again. He's convinced that the universe favors him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Blogging being Serious Business in Ender's Game, enough to cause international tension. Hilarious because of course if politicians took half of actual political blogs seriously these days, we'd probably have had World War III by now.
    • Even better: a Memetic Mutation going viral and managing to save lives. When Petra is in Russian captivity after returning to Earth, she creates a little dragon graphic with a code hidden inside, trusting that it will somehow get to Bean and he'll decode it. It works--she spawns a massive flow of dragon-related memes, Bean recognizes the connection with Ender's Dragon Army, and voila! Big Damn Heroes. Except, of course, Achilles has something of a Plan going on...
  • It Was His Sled: At this point, it's very hard to avoid spoilers of the ending.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Peter Wiggin, who finds opposition in a certain Manipulative Bastard.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Originally, Ender's Game was just another short story that Card wrote to pay the bills. He only expanded it into a novel so that it could serve as an introduction to Speaker for the Dead (the story that he really wanted to tell). While Speaker is certainly well-regarded among sci-fi aficionados, Ender's Game has become one of the most widely read sci-fi novels of all time, and it's now required reading in many middle schools.
  • Mary Sue: Ender can be considered an archetype of this.
  • My Beloved Smother: Novinha, who in this troper's opinion was not smothering but more cold and detached, and neither was she directly abusive.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Orson Scott Card considers "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" to be "the first truly successful adaptation of my novel... to appear on the screen".
  • Spoiled by the Format: If you're paying attention to how many pages are left at the end of the book, you know that the Command School "simulation" has to be the real thing... because there isn't enough time left in the book to do it all over again.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Peter and his last minute hookup with Petra.
  • Sympathetic Sue: Ender. So traumatized - and yet so brilliant in every possible way.
  • Tear Jerker: "Mother. Father. Did I do it right?"
    • In Ender's Shadow, Bean, being the only one who knows what's really going on and knowing all his men are going to die in the final battle, quotes 2 Samuel 19:1. "O my son Absalom. My son, my son Absalom. Would God I could die for thee, O Absalom, my son. My sons!"
  • Villain Sue: Achilles. Come on, how does he do it?
  • The Woobie: Ender
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Ender may be the most literal example of this trope.

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