Ender's Game

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Ender's Game (1985) is the best-known novel by Orson Scott Card. In a future where mankind has barely survived an invasion by the insectoid "buggers," the world's most talented children, including the extraordinary Ender Wiggin, are taken into "Battle School" at a very young age to supply commanders for the expected Third Invasion. The book originated as a science fiction novelette in Analog magazine (1977). Card later expanded the novel into the Ender's Game series, dealing with the long-term results of the war.


  • The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.
    • Intro
  • The power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.
    • Ender Wiggin to Valentine
  • As he thought of it, though, he could not imagine what "just living" might actually be. He had never done it in his life. But he wanted to do it anyway.
  • Well I'm your man. I'm the bloody bastard you wanted when you had me spawned. I'm your tool, and what difference does it make if I hate the part of me that you most need? What difference does it make that when the little serpents killed me in the game, I agreed with them, and was glad.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • He had the respect of everyone, and he was treated with deference in his evening practices. Commanders came to study what he did. Other soldiers approached his table at mess and asked permission to sit down. Even the teachers were respectful. He had so much damn respect he wanted to scream.
  • I need you to be clever, Bean. I need you to think of solutions to problems we haven't seen yet. I want you to try things that no one has ever tried because they're absolutely stupid.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • I keep thinking of things I don't want to remember. My whole life keeps playing out as if I were a recorder and someone else wanted to watch the most terrible parts of my life.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • He toyed with the idea of trying to be like the other boys. But he couldn't think of any jokes, and none of theirs seemed funny. Wherever their laughter came from, Ender couldn't find such a place in himself. He was afraid and fear made him serious.
  • We have to go. I'm almost happy here.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • It was just him and me. He fought with honor. If it weren't for his honor, he and the others would have beaten me together. They might have killed me, then. His sense of honor saved my life. I didn't fight with honor... I fought to win.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • So he believed. Believed, but the seed of doubt was there, and it stayed, and every now and then sent out a little root. It changed everything, to have that seed growing. It made [him] listen more carefully to what people meant, instead of what they said. It made him wise.
  • I will remember this, when I am defeated. To keep dignity, and give honor where it’s due, so that defeat is not a disgrace. And I hope I don't have to do it often.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.
    • Valentine
  • The world is always a democracy in times of flux, and the man with the best voice will win.
    • Peter
  • Everyone thinks Hitler got to power because of his armies, because they were willing to kill, and that's partly true, because in the real world power is always build on the threat of death and dishonor. But mostly he got to power on words, on the right words at the right time.
  • He was a soldier, and if anyone had asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wouldn't have known what they meant.
  • "I'll lie to him."
    "And if that doesn't work?"
    "Then I'll tell the truth. We're allowed to do that, in emergencies. We can't plan for everything, you know."
  • Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.
    • Colonel Graff
  • There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong.
    • Mazer Rackham
  • Since when do you have to tell the enemy when he has won?
    • Mazer Rackham
  • Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes.
    • Mazer Rackham
  • Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf. Survival first, then happiness as we can manage it.
    • Mazer Rackham
  • No. Your face is the same. I just don't know what beautiful means anymore.
    • Ender Wiggin
  • Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to be controlled by good people, by people who love you.
  • At last he came to a door, with these words in glowing emeralds: The End Of The World. He did not hesitate. He opened the door and stepped through.
  • Killing is the first thing we learned. And a good thing we did, or we'd be dead, and the tigers would rule the earth.
  • It was a lie of course, that it wouldn't hurt a bit. But since adults always said that when it was going to hurt, he could count on that statement as an accurate prediction of the future. Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.
  • He can never come to believe that anyone will ever help him out, ever. If he once thinks there's an easy way out, he's wrecked.
  • His accent made him exotic and interesting; his broken arm made him a martyr; his sadism made him a natural focus for all those who loved pain in others.
  • You remember this little boy, they never tell you any more truth than they have to.
  • He has a life now that will be no part of mine, and that means that when I see him we will not know each other.
  • He isn't a killer. He just wins — thoroughly.
  • Somebody with that much compassion could never be the killer we needed. Could never go into battle willing to win at all costs. If you knew, you couldn't do it. If you were the kind of person who would do it even if you knew, you could never have understood [them] well enough.
  • There is no teacher but the enemy.
  • He is dead... because we have forgotten him.
  • It was a kind of magic; a sacrifice that somehow stilled the dark gods that hunted for his soul.
  • None of us could be happy living with no other company than ourself.
  • The game is everything. Win, win, win. It amounts to nothing. We kill ourselves, go crazy trying to beat each other, and all the time the old bastards are watching us, studying us, discovering our weak points, deciding whether we're good enough or not.
  • I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly — I'll beat you unfairly first.
  • I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.

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