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Ender Wiggin the novel Ender

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    “Sometimes, lies are more dependable than the truth.” This famous one-liner mentioned in the novel, Ender’s Game, is the foundation of Ender’s experiences throughout his journey towards the Third Invasion. However, it is never mentioned in the movie adaption— how could the director possibly leave such an important message out? Unfortunately, this isn’t the only major detail excluded from the book. Ender’s Game is a novel about Ender Wiggin, or also known as Andrew Wiggin, a prodigy child who is chosen as “the one” to save humanity from an alien force called the Buggers for the upcoming Third Invasion. He is dragged through many training courses like Battle School and Command School, which all are used to train him to become the greatest commander in history.

    He succeeds and defeats the buggers, only to learn that they weren’t trying to wipe out humanity but to communicate with humans. Thankfully, the buggers left a hive queen for Ender to find, and at the end, Ender travels alongside Valentine, his sister, to find various planets for the Buggers to thrive on. And when a 2013 science fiction action film based on Card’s novel released, there was plenty of controversy. One might argue that the 2013 movie adaption of Ender’s Game is superior to the book, but the novel far surpasses the movie in pacing, having emotional impact, and actually building relationships between the characters.

    To begin with, the book masters the concept of pacing while the movie does not. In fact, the movie seems rushed. The movie doesn’t allow the audience to settle and fully grasp the importance of a scene for too long; this also dampens the emotional impact the movie was supposed to deliver, which correlates to the second reason. For example, the movie skips over a lot of important events such as the whole subplot of Locke and Demosthenes. This subplot is extremely crucial because it helps provide the context to understand Ender. During the chapter, “Locke and Demosthenes” there are examples of how Peter is ruthless, “Peter could always see what other people hated most about themselves… and bully them… Peter could only make them fear what he wanted to fear “ and examples of how Valentine is compassionate, “For you, Ender, she said to herself as she wrote “ This demonstrates how brilliant his siblings are and how Ender is the middle ground between Peter’s ruthlessness and Valentine’s compassion, which is very important in defining his character.

    One might argue that leaving out the subplot of Locke and Demosthenes was crucial because the movie would end up being too long, and it wouldn’t have any meaning for the characters. However, this part is very important because these demonstrated traits are what makes it possible for Ender to strategize against the buggers, become the best commander in history, and ultimately, save the bugger specie as well. In addition, the movie director could have produced a trilogy of movies like the Hunger Games to include all of the important scenes mentioned in the book.

    Secondly, the movie lacks emotional impact towards the audience, while the novel is praised for its ability to resonance feelings towards the readers. For example, Ender constantly fights an internal conflict in the book; he is scared of becoming a murderer like Peter, “He hadn’t meant to kill the Giant. This was supposed to be a game. I’m a murderer, even when I play.” This scene occurs after Ender brutally murders the Giant in the Giant’s Drink game; Ender shows signs of fear and regret that he actually killed the Giant because murder was something Peter would do. However, in the movie, while he gouges the Giant’s eyes out, he shows no sign of remorse and he even explains to Alai that what he chose to do was necessary. Another example is when Ender nearly wipes out the entire Bugger specie in the book, he first screams at Mazer, “I’m not a killer!” and then submits to a form of misery by explaining, “You’re finished with me… now leave me alone.”

    This submission has a emotional impact with the readers because a majority of society has dealt with feelings of giving up, lack of motivation, or simply wanting to be left alone. However, in the movie, it’s as if the director ordered, “Hoarse voice. Go.” to the actor, and the movie Ender actually tries to argue and walk away from Graff; his reaction provides very little impact towards the audience. These feelings of fear, giving up, and remorse were a key part in how Ender connected with the audience; although he may be an “out of this world” prodigy child, he still has human instincts that everyone can relate to. One might argue that Ender constantly repeating his fear of becoming like Peter is redundant, but on the other hand, his fear is actually an important element of who he is; it is his unhealable wound. If Ender were to be this godlike child with no faults or flaws, he would have no appeal and would not resonance well with the audience.

    Lastly, the demonstration of relationships between Ender and other characters, especially his siblings, fell short in the movie compared to the book. For instance, in the novel, Peter plays a much more important role; he is always seen as having a controlling relationship over Ender. One example is towards the falling action and resolution part of the novel, when the Locke Proposal is introduced to the Russians, “The Locke Proposal… Russia agreed to it… Locke is the one who argued for Ender to stay on Eros..”. Peter, under a pseudonym named Locke, brought up the proposal to steer Ender away from Earth so he could take control and become hegemon of it. This action exhibits how Peter always has some sort of control over Ender, which is a crucial relationship throughout the plot. However, in the movie, the only part where Peter is mentioned is at the very beginning when he beats up Ender during their buggers and astronauts game.

    The total removal of the subplot, Locke and Demosthenes, and other scenes where Peter interacts with Ender limits how Peter is seen as always having control over him. Another example is the relationship between Ender and Valentine. Towards the resolution in the book, she invites him to travel with her as the first colonists of a planet, and he invites her to travel with him to find a place for the Bugger specie to thrive on. “Alright, I’ll go… as long as you and Mazer are there to help me… She squealed and hugged him.” (pg. 314) This demonstrates how Valentine loves Ender unconditionally and how Ender loves her back equally as well. However, in the movie, the ending is different because Ender journeys to different planets without Val and just simply writes a note to her explaining that he won’t be back for a long time. This gesture somewhat insinuates that he doesn’t care for Valentine as much as she does for him, which is completely wrong when compared to his relationship in the book. It would be easy for one to interpret the constant indication of Peter always controlling Ender as unnecessary, but in reality, it is a significant reason why Ender was chosen as commander instead of him. Peter was too aggressive, too controlling, while Ender had equal amounts of ambition and compassion that Valentine shared with him during her and Ender’s relationship.

    Ultimately, the movie adaption falls short compared to the book; it lacks in pacing of the plot, possessing emotional impact, and developing relationships between Ender and other characters. The movie is not an entire disaster, but in order to fully enjoy what the book offers, one should watch the movie adaption after reading the actual novel, Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card, author of the novel, once said, “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.” The novel is a perfect example of this quote; by reading through text, everyone can fully enjoy it through influence of their own experiences, desires, hopes, and fears, which is something movies cannot provide— movies only show what directors envision. Therefore, it is evident that the book is far superior than the movie.

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