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Recap / Ender's Game

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The Synopsis of Ender's Game

20 Minutes into the Future, Earth has fended off two alien invasions from a race known as the Buggers. 6-year-old Ender Wiggin, a third child under a “two children” policy, has his monitor removed, leaving him open for bullies. Ender managed to disable the leader, Stilson, and to make sure he does not retaliate, brutalizes him further. Regretful of his actions, Ender goes home to his psychopathic older brother, Peter, and protective older sister, Valentine, all of which are child prodigies. The next day, Interplanetary Fleet Colonel Hyrum Graff pays a visit to the Wiggin household, having noticed his retaliation to Stilson. He feels Ender is eligible to enroll in Battle School and train to fight an upcoming third invasion by the Buggers. Despite the very real possibly that he will have a miserable childhood, Ender accepts the offer and bids his family goodbye.

Throughout his tenure at Battle School, Colonel Graff secretly pushes Ender with challenge after challenge, under the belief that he will prove to be the deciding factor against the Buggers. The first was causing him isolation among his fellow “Launchies”, but Ender managed to make a friend named Alai. The most important feature of Battle School is the war games held in the Anti-Gravity Battleroom. In between training sessions, Ender tested his wits against a video game. For figuring out zero gravity and advancing in the Game further than anyone else, Ender becomes the youngest cadet promoted to an Army.

In Salamander Army, Ender befriends the only girl, Petra. The Army leader, Bonzo Madrid, instantly takes a disliking towards Ender, seeing him as a runt. Ender undergoes private tutelage from Petra, and it turn teaches what he knows to the Launchies. Eventually, Bonzo gets Ender transferred to Rat Army, where he now serves in a Platoon under Dink Meeker. Ender’s brilliance and unorthodox methods earn resentment among the soldiers. Ender thus gets into a fight during a battle, which makes him realize the teachers will not intervene or help him in any way. He is on his own.

Two years later, back at Earth, the ambitious Peter formulates a plan to create a new world order, under the pretense that when the Bugger Wars end, the leading powers will fall out of fearful unity and go to war. Valentine, despite being wary of Peter’s skills with manipulation, joins in hopes of making a positive impact. The two post political blogs under the Sock Puppet pseudonyms Locke and Demosthenes, respectively, and prove to be highly influential. Meanwhile on Battle School, Ender is now a toon leader under Petra’s command in Phoenix Army, and has the respect and admiration of many. However, Ender is still depressed and stuck in the Game. Colonel Graff, now overweight from the stress, coerces Valentine into writing a letter to raise his spirits. The letter makes Ender realize that the system censored Valentine’s previous attempts to reach out to him and made her another of their tools. However, it does strengthen his resolve and teach him how to break his impasse.

Because of his advancements, Battle School begins to break the rules to challenge Ender; Ender becomes the leader of his own army, the Dragon Army, made up of inexperienced Launchies. The smallest, Bean, reminds Ender of himself all those years ago. Despite an intense battle schedule, his revolutionary tactics and strategies lead Dragon Army to victory every day. Issuing Salamander Army a humiliating defeat, Bonzo retaliates by ambushing Ender in the showers. Much like his clash against Stilson, Ender has to brutalize Bonzo to survive, and instantly feels remorse. Almost no time later, Ender must battle again two armies, and only wins via Instant-Win Condition loophole. Graff quickly issues a rule disallowing this kind of victory. Still reeling from the day’s events, Ender finds almost all of his soldiers transferred to other armies. This day proves to be too much for Ender, who decides to never participate in another battle.

Graff gives Ender a brief leave in a small boathouse on Earth. He chooses not to contact Ender’s family, but allows Valentine to visit him. He also reveals that they know about her and Peter being Demosthenes and Locke, but will allow them to continue. Valentine, after learning just how much they have changed, convinces Ender to resume his schooling. She instantly realizes they made her a tool yet again to lead Ender in the path they want, but accepts that it had to be done.

Ender travels to Command School on planet Eros, where he notices a man silently watching him. After finally asking who the man is, he responds by tackling Ender and revealing he is Mazer Rackham, the war hero responsible for the first two defeats of the Buggers, and will be his greatest teacher and enemy. Ender has been watching the videos of Rackham’s defeat of the Buggers, and notes that they did not show how Rackham actually defeated them. Rackham reveals that the Buggers operate under a Hive Mind; the Hive Queen mentally communicating commands to the drones. While this makes them more coordinated, it also means there is only one source of sentience among them. He then shows Ender a Doomsday Device, quite literally called Dr. Device, which creates a chain reaction of molecular dis-assembly.

Rackham shows Ender his simulation module, and introduces his troops via headset. They are the friends Ender made in battle school. Under Rackham’s eye, they begin training, and once they become a consolidated unit, Rackham ups the intensity; unless Ender can handle it, he stands no chance against the Buggers. As the training takes its toil on the students, they feel less and less like friends. Petra nearly cracks under the pressure, and Ender’s spirit slowly weakens as he begins having strange dreams about the Buggers. Eventually, Ender comes face to face with a battle where the odds appear impossible, under watch by several officers of the IF. Ender, tired of the strife, decides to cheat by firing Dr. Device straight at the planet. Expecting berating and expulsion, Ender instead gets cheers from the officers. One reveals that none of his battles was simulations, and he destroyed the Bugger race. They needed Ender to lead the assault because his empathy as a child means he can understand his opponent unlike anyone else, but since he would not willingly do such a task, they used the “simulation” to trick him. Distraught by these revelations, Ender falls asleep for days, where his bizarre nightmares reach an apex. When he awakens, his friends greet him, and they cheer that their stressful life under the IF is finally over.

As predicted, the world powers fall into conflict, but Peter’s plan led him to rise in political power and stop their fight before it starts. Ironically, the suspected sociopath Peter brought about world peace, whereas the kindhearted Ender was the deciding factor in genocide. Ender also finally learns that he indeed killed Stilson and Bonzo. His friends go their separate ways to colonize new worlds, with Ender and Valentine colonizing the ruined Bugger home world rather than return to Earth and be a tool by Peter and other politicians. As Ender starts anew and learns about the race he killed, he discovers a replica of the video game world he played in Battle School. In the final chamber contains the pupa of a fertilized Bugger queen. With her contains the revelation that the Buggers did not know that humans were sentient individuals, not drones, and learned when their mental communication hit the same wavelength as Ender’s Subspace Ansible. Knowing that they had brought destruction upon themselves, the Buggers built this as an apology for their repeated attacks on humanity and hid the queen with intent to repopulate their race and atone for their mistake.

Ender then writes the Hive Queen under the pseudonymSpeaker for the Dead”. The now elderly Peter commissions Ender to write his biography, titled Hegemon. The two books form the basis of a new funerary practice as Ender and the Queen set off Redemption Quest as they search for a safe place to repopulate the Bugger race.