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Literature / Endgame (2006)

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Peter Wilton is pretty much perfect. Handsome, intelligent, and with a promising future in medicine, he’s his father’s pride. His parents love him. Teachers love him. Girls love him. Everyone loves him.

And then there’s Grayson.

Unlike his older brother (“Perfect Peter”), Grayson is a pimply, bullied, D-and-F student. With a history of victimization, he’s desperate for a new start when his family packs up and moves to Greenford. A new town, a new high school…it sounds like the perfect chance to make things better. But during Gray’s first week of high school, enter Zorro, the football star, who leads a gang of his friends in terrorizing Grayson and his friend Ross.


As the school year progresses, the torture escalates. Physical, emotional, and verbal abuse stalks Gray in the hall of his school and at home, at the hands of the father who can’t understand a son that wants to drum instead of shoot ducks, fails classes, and has no interest in sports. Nowhere is safe.

Slowly, every one of the few refuges Gray has built up are taken from him. Faced with the very real fear that one day, the bullies will kill him, and with absolutely no source of happiness left in his life, Grayson turns to what he sees as his only chance of having some form of control—-and some form of revenge.

Endgame was written by Nancy Garden.


This Work Provides Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: Gray’s dad is this; his mother isn’t actually abusive, she just can’t stand up to her husband.
  • Adults Are Useless: An adult helps Grayson out once, over the course of the entire book. Once. By the time they start trying, it’s far, far too late.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Two of Gray’s abusers stand out, having the most screen time and characterization, and perhaps giving him the most pain. One is Zorro. The other is Gray’s father.
  • Break the Cutie: The story is essentially about Gray being abused and abused until he snaps and opens fire on his classmates.
  • Black Sheep: Gray. His mother and brother don’t seem to mind, but his father hates everything that makes Grayson different.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The shooting at the end is relatively non-graphic, but we are seeing it through the eyes of someone who’s a little crazy
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  • Boom, Headshot!: Takes out Zorro.
  • The Bully: Gray seems to attract them…
  • Character Development: Gray gets increasingly pessimistic and angry.
    • Daisy, on the other hand, goes from a sweet, quiet girl, to dating one of Gray’s tormentors.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: They push Gray, and they push him, and they push him. Then they push him too far.
  • Creepy Child: Gray is this by the last few chapters.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gray passes it when Barker gets run over. From then on, there’s no hope.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The climax.
  • Doting Parent: Mr. Wilton is this. To Peter.
  • Driven to Suicide: Part of Gray’s shooting plan. It doesn’t work out for him.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Grayson points out that Zorro’s real name, Eugene, should be one. But since he’s popular and goes by ‘Zorro’, it’s not a problem for him.
  • Evil Former Friend: Ross and Grayson both manage to become this to the other. Ross by abandoning Gray, and Gray by going nuts and killing Ross.
  • Flanderization: In-universe, the newspaper flanderizes Gray’s playing of violent videogames.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Peter is responsible; Gray is foolish.
  • Freak Out!: Gray finally snaps after the breakdown of his friendship with Ross.
  • Gang of Bullies: Zorro and his cronies.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Grayson has this in the transcripts with his attorney.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Gray’s victims get this in-universe, at the end.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The newspaper article turns Gray in a raging psychopath who’s obsessed with violence, and practically omits the months of torture that left him thinking his own classmates were seriously going to kill him.
  • Jerkass Victim: Zorro. Also Grayson, at the same time. You know from the start he’s a murderer, and you still have to feel sorry for the pain he’s handed.
  • Jerk Jock: Zorro and his friends.
  • Keep Away: No Gang of Bullies would be complete without it, right?
  • Kids Are Cruel: Some truly horrific abuse is handed out to Gray and Ross, who more than once seriously wonder if they are going to be killed.
  • Killed Off for Real: Zorro, Hannah, Daisy, and Ross.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Gray is an almost-friendless loser. However, it is the loneliness that makes him into a freak, as it gives him no support system when things get horrible.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: Gray carries a knife in his sock. He still gets beat up on, every time.
  • Only Friend: A pattern in Gray’s life: first it was Jemmy, then it was Ross.
  • Parental Favoritism: Mr. Wilton dishes out ‘’a lot’’ of this. Horrifically, Grayson comes in third out of two siblings; both Peter ‘’and’’ the dog outrank him in his father’s heart.
  • Parental Obliviousness: They just don’t seem to get that their son is going through hell.
  • Pink Mist
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: See The Power Of Friendship, below.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: One of the favorite insults used by Zorro and his friends is “fag”.
  • The Power of Friendship: Subverted towards the end, where Ross and Gray’s friendship cannot survive Zorro and Co.’s attempt to force them into oral sex.
  • The Power of Love: Peter and Lindsay’s relationship survives her being shot and crippled by Gray.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: The parents and teachers espouse this philosophy in-universe.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Peter is cool, intelligent, good-looking, and well liked. Grayson is quiet, fails classes, scrawny, and a complete social reject.
  • Survival Mantra: Gray chants “gonna get better” and “gonna be different here” to himself a lot. Later, this is twisted in on itself as he starts saying “gonna get worse” instead.
  • Sweater Girl: Both Daisy and Lindsay at times.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Yes, Gray killed four people, most of who weren’t his actual tormentors, but he was broken and crazed from months of horrific abuse.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Played straight in both the horrible abuse Grayson receives from the bullies, and the shooting at the end.
  • Threw My Bike on the Roof: Zorro destroying Gray’s drums.
  • Tough Love: Mr. Wilton is doing what he thinks is best for Gray; he’s just an abusive idiot who wants to stamp out Grayson’s own personality and make him into his father’s idea of the perfect son.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Or in this case, the summary on the inside cover.
  • Tragic Bromance: Ross and Gray, apparently both the other’s Only Friend, are separated first by the pressure of the bullying, and second by death. An odd example, as it’s Gray who kills Ross.
  • The Unfavorite: Grayson is much less dear to his father than Peter is.
  • The Unseen: Jemmy.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: with Grayson?

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