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[[folder: For the book:]]
* AccidentalInnuendo: The first book is chock-full of scenes with boys as young as seven [[NoNudityTaboo going around the Battle School barracks bare-ass naked most of the time.]] Granted, there's nothing sexual intended here, but good luck explaining that in this era of the PedoHunt. Especially given that Card is [[HeteronormativeCrusader so notoriously anti-gay]], leading to [[http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_251_23-rejected-covers-famous-books_p23/#8 this little joke.]] (Slightly NSFW, but entirely self-explanatory.)
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Is Ender a misunderstood victim of forces beyond his control, or [[http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm Hitler on steroids]]?
** The above article makes some interesting points, but largely glosses 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 [[MartyStu 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. 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, [[WeHaveReserves because the Formics]] ''[[TheUnfettered don't]]''). The article also makes it sound like "to be a killer, you must know you are killing" is a bad thing, even though it's what most people would think anyways. The claims that we never get a chance to find out the motives of Bernard, Stilson, Peter, etc. only Ender's, is somewhat moot when you remember that in all of his acts of violence Ender was acting in self-defence, while those bullying him were attacking out of jealousy. The claims that Ender committed genocide is highly suspect when you remember that the buggers are a hive-mind, meaning most of them aren't even sentient, so at worst it was large-scale animal cruelty, at best Ender caused a power outage. So yeah, Ender kinda is a victim.
** Oddly enough, this debate takes place inside the story's canon. Ender, the poor kid who saved the world, or Ender the Xenocide? It goes both ways depending on where you are in the timeline and how the Formics are perceived--which, itself, is a plot point.
** The point of the article is that the plot is a series of incredibly contrived circumstances where Ender can commit what, to the reader at least, feel like sublimely satisfying revenge murders, and yet always somehow walk away looking like a plaster saint because he's innocent on a technicality (even if that technicality is just that "he didn't enjoy it," or "he only meant to cripple them," or ''"he didn't hang around to watch the children he'd beaten to death actually die").'' In-story, Ender feels guilty, but we the readers get to simultaneously enjoy a couple of savage murders, and then get the added bonus of feeling indignant that Ender would even blame himself for deaths that are clearly never, ever his fault. It's the ultimate revenge fantasy, getting to beat your persecutors mercilessly to death with your bare hands, and yet be magically blameless for the deed. The article argues that this is not a good fantasy to indulge in.
** Complicating the matter with Ender's killing of Bonzo and the first bully (who are the only people Ender killed directly), Ender would use excessive force in attacking them and (in the case of the first bully) kept beating them after he'd already won. At the same time, there was no ''intent'' to kill either of them, only badly hurt them, which makes the question of Ender's guilt in those issues much blurrier.
* DeathOfTheAuthor: An odd example. Card's unapologetic statements on homosexuality have attracted a lot of controversy, but he's stated the book to not be about homosexuality in any way (instead pointing out that gay marriage was not a hot-button issue at the time the book was written). All the same, many readers attempt to attribute his beliefs to the novel, reading into the UnfortunateImplications listed below. Others believe the book could be applied to gay oppression due to its theme of being an outcast and attempting to function in a society where one doesn't fit in. In the midst of all this, readers argue if Card's own personal views can be removed from the book at all and how much it should effect their enjoyment of it.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Deliberate cruelty is the best form of education.
** [[{{Jesus}} Love your enemies...]] [[CompletelyMissingThePoint so you can kill them more effectively.]]
** Always fight dirty. Only horrible bullies fight fair or show restraint.
* HarsherInHindsight: The book says that the French, in their "arrogant separatism", refuse to teach Standard (English) to their kids until they're older than is ideal. Nowadays, a large percentage of French people speak English and/or some other non-French language. Meanwhile, there are huge controversies in America, the author's country, over teaching non-English languages to children.
* HilariousInHindsight: Blogging being SeriousBusiness in ''Ender's Game'', enough to cause international tension. Hilarious because if politicians took half of actual political blogs seriously these days, we'd probably have had World War III by now.
** Even better: a MemeticMutation [[spoiler: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! BigDamnHeroes. Except, of course, Achilles has something of a {{plan}} going on...]]
** The rather nuanced morality of the book is rather hilariously in contrast with Orson's extremely black and white views on politics and LGBT topics, culminating in his recent rewriting of Hamlet with gay demons.
* HoYay: Hilariously, considering the politics of the author, but the book is chock-full of homo eroticism. Part of the book takes place on planet ''Eros'', the relationship between the boys in the school is something akin to the homosexual ones between Greco-Roman cadets, Ender refers to Bonzo as being beautiful, Alai has what is very strongly implied to be a gay crush on Ender, oh - and the boys sleep together and wrestle buck-ass naked for most of the story.
* ItWasHisSled: At this point, it's very hard to avoid spoilers of the ending.
* MagnificentBastard: Peter Wiggin, who finds opposition in a certain ManipulativeBastard.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: 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.
* MisBlamed: ''Ender's Shadow'' is sometimes blamed for giving some of Ender's accomplishments to Bean to as to make him look smarter. All of Bean's actions there (gaining the deadline, leading Dragon Army in the final battle, saying the joke that gives Ender his epiphany) are in ''Ender's Game''. Only two are semi-retcons; the kid who takes the brunt of the assault in the first battle wasn't named, and Ender himself notes someone may have given him a great army, though he assumes a teacher organized it.
* NightmareFuel: Ender's sessions in the mind game are horrific. First, he kills the giant by clawing its eye out and digging into its brain. Then, there are the werewolf children that brutally murder Ender's avatar until he kills them. And then the end of the world...
* OneSceneWonder: Though Achilles is present throughout most of the ''Shadow'' series, there is exactly one chapter from his point of view. '''[[AGodAmI HOLY COW]].'''
* RonTheDeathEater: Ender himself, see AlternateCharacterInterpretation above.
* SpiritualLicensee: Orson Scott Card considers ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes'' to be "[[http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2011-08-11.shtml the first truly successful adaptation of my novel... to appear on the screen]]".
* SpoiledByTheFormat: If you're paying attention to how many pages are left at the end of the book, you know that [[spoiler: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.]]
** Averted in the digital (iTunes) version. They placed a preview for another book at the end, so you finished the story while still believing there were many more pages to go.
* StrangledByTheRedString: Peter and his last minute hookup with [[spoiler:Petra]].
* SympatheticSue: Ender. So [[TheWoobie traumatized]] - and yet so brilliant in every possible way.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Colonel Graff's reaction to the news that his years of formalized child abuse [[spoiler:- and the ApocalypseHow genocide that it led to - were all completely unnecessary must have been... interesting.]]
* UnfortunateImplications: Humanity is fighting the "buggers," and the word is used as an insult among humans throughout the book. In the ''Shadow'' series, they're referred to more often by their official name "the Formics", though some still call them buggers as an insult. May be unintentional--"bugger" isn't a widely known homophobic slur in the U.S.--but Card's public stance on gay issues inevitably begs the question.
** The completely superfluous detail that the original war against the Buggers was almost lost by a cabal of Jewish admirals, plus the grasping Jewish "Rose the Nose" character raise some eyebrows.
* VillainSue: Achilles. Come on, how ''does'' he do it?
* WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids: Inverted. Card was always really confused when people referred to this book as children's literature, instead insisting, "There's no such thing as children's literature."
-->'''Card:''' Ender's Game was written with no concessions to young readers. My protagonists were children, but the book was definitely not aimed at kids. I was perfectly aware that the rule of thumb for children’s literature is that the protagonist must be a couple of years older than the target audience. You want ten-year-old readers, you have a twelve-year-old hero. At the beginning of the book, Ender is six. Who, exactly, is the target audience?
* TheWoobie: Ender
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[[folder: For the film:]]
* BrokenBase:
** Right after the first trailer was released, debate erupted over whether it spoiled the twist ending or whether ''the complainers'' were the ones spoiling it by openly whining about it.
** Fans of the book are torn on whether the increased age of the cadets in the film is justified.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The Flaming Lips' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTWcn8xFGCo Peace Sword: Open Your Heart.]] Which plays over the end credits.
** Steve Jablonsky's score definitely qualifies as well. The tracks "Ender's War", "Ender's Promise", "Salamander Battle", "Final Test", and "Commander" being the main standouts.
* HilariousInHindsight: Bean grew up on the streets of Rotterdam, [[Film/TheDarkKnightRises or did he mean]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REpnyMheSeg Gotham?]]
* IncestYayShipping: Valentine and Ender are very loving towards each other, and the fandom noticed.
* ItsShortSoItSucks: Primarily for fans of the book - those that hadn't read it seem largely satisfied with the result, while those that had wish it was longer than the 1 hour, 45 minute runtime for 300+ pages of source material.
* {{Misblamed}}:
** The reviews often attribute positives like the ethnic diversity of the cast and non-pejorative name "Formics" to the film, while blaming Card for negatives like the name "Buggers". Both positive aspects come from Card's books too.
** Many have protested the film because of Card's negative views of gay marriage, threatening to boycott the film so as to not give him money. [[http://www.thewrap.com/orson-scott-card-boycott-enders-game-box-office-book-instead Turns out Card actually makes NO money from the film's ticket sales]]. He got all his money years ago from selling the rights, and from sales of the book itself.
** Many fans of the book blamed the film for dumbing down the reveal that [[spoiler:the Formics are a KeystoneArmy led by a queen]], by making the ship Mazer Rackham's attacks be a big obvious mothership that looks more important than the fighters. Not only are there other "motherships" of the same size in the background, but the book itself mentions Formic ships of different sizes, including starships that hold hangars of fighters.
* {{Narm}}:
** It can seem kinda unbelievable that Bonzo is really a threat to Ender's life in the showers, since he's so much shorter than him. It doesn't help that his actor also played Rico in ''Series/HannahMontana'', which can kill any atmosphere the film's trying to build. Let's be honest: Bonzo is all but impossible to take seriously as a villain, with his whiny high-pitched voice, his petulant personality, and his cheesy ''"Salamander's number one!"'' chant (which sounds like something ripped out of a summer camp comedy).
** The "Giant's Drink" scene falls victim to this, partly thanks to TechnologyMarchesOn. Apparently in 1985, when ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' and ''VideoGame/{{Galaga}}'' were still all the rage, a realistic 3-D video game was still "futuristic," and the idea of graphically murdering someone in a video game was still shocking. But in 2013? The supposedly hyper-advanced "Mind Game" just looks like an unremarkable tablet game, and Major Anderson's extreme reaction to Ender killing the Giant can seem kind of ridiculous. We're supposed to believe that Ender was the first person to even ''attempt'' killing the Giant? Has Anderson never heard of VideoGameCrueltyPotential? Hell, has she ever ''met'' a gamer?
*** Of course, this is compounded by the fact that it's presented as a stand-alone game in the film, while the book had it as part of a WideOpenSandbox game, which would make it more likely that players would finally give up on it in the latter.
** Ender's reaction to being hit in the chest when he and Bean are trying out the Battle Room weapons. If the weird, stilted delivery wasn't enough to put it here, the fact that he seems ''way'' to happy to be paralyzed across his entire body does.
** The dragon army's symbol is eeriely similar to the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' logo, only with an orange dragon on a black circle rather than a black dragon on an orange circle. Good luck unseeing that.
* OlderThanTheyThink: "They're ripping off [[Franchise/{{Halo}} the training of the SPARTANs and the invading Covenant]]!" "The Formic spaceships [[Franchise/MassEffect look like Reapers]]!" "[[Franchise/HarryPotter Ender is a child messiah at a school for special children]]!" ''Ender's Game'' precedes ''Halo'', ''Mass Effect'', and ''Harry Potter'' by nearly 20 years.
* OneSceneWonder:
** Peter is more like a one scene ''terror'', really.
** [[spoiler:The last Hive Queen who gives Ender the cocoon. Nothing ''can'' be said between them, but their peaceful contact is enough to let them trust each other.]]
* OvershadowedByControversy: Card's negative stance on homosexuality has tainted the film's publicity, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enders_Game_(film)#Controversy enough that it got noted on Wikipedia]]. It's since sparked much debate about whether one should separate an artist from their work, or if merely paying for it is a vote for their ideology. Unusually for an adaptation like this, the first trailer does not mention Card except for a very tiny credit in the mass credit roll at the very end. The people behind the film have also naturally made a massive effort to distance themselves from Card, saying that it's just a sci-fi story that in and of itself doesn't indicate anything about homosexuality.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: From what was revealed in the trailers, plenty of complaints arose that the candidates are too old, that Mazer Rackham's battle was at Jupiter instead of Earth, that Ender's training at the Battle School is too short, etc. This, of course, escalated with the movie itself, which cut other elements like Valentine and Peter's side-plot, most of Dragon Army's career, most of Ender's jeesh, and the epilogue where Ender writes his book ''The Hive Queen''.
** On top of this is that, due to time constraints, characterization was dropped in favor of getting the critical details inserted appropriately. It also violates ShowDontTell (ironically, given the medium) by having Ender mention that Command School had been going on for months, where he and his team were going at it every day - so Petra's HeroicBSOD in the middle of one fight is completely omitted, and Ender's reaction at the final simulation was ''vastly'' different than in the book.[[note]]In the novel, it's portrayed as him getting fed up with the vindictive cruelty he sees from the adults in forcing them into a hopeless fight, and ''trying'' to cross the MoralEventHorizon in order to flunk out. In the movie, he cheered alongside his jeesh for overcoming impossible odds in the simulation.[[/note]]
* VisualEffectsOfAwesome: Yes, the Battle School teaches TrainingFromHell. But it looks so cool that who wouldn't want to attend it?
** At the end of the movie, [[spoiler:the Formic queen--unspeakably beautiful, and a welcome intimation that both Ender and his victims can begin to make peace with his crimes.]]
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical: In the current geopolitical climate, the film is bound to elicit a lot of politicized commentary, especially given that it features {{Child Soldier}}s, drone warfare, and the dehumanization of the enemy.
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