Also known as Ender, he is the protagonist of the novel. Ender is only six years old when we first meet him, but he is a brilliant boy who has been monitored to see whether or not he should go to "Battle School" to become an International Fleet commander. Ender is the hope of the Fleet against the alien "buggers." Due to his incredibly quick learning and perfectly developed temperament, Ender becomes the commander who destroys the buggers. He thus saves humanity. Ender is a "Third," the third child in a world where parents are normally limited to two due to overcrowding--but his parents were permitted a third due to the great promise of his older siblings. He is thus a combination of his older brother, who is vicious and ruthless, and his older sister, who is extremely compassionate. This combination gives Ender an identity crisis: he wants to win victories in order to win peace, but when he employs severe violence, he is unsure whether he has been motivated by necessity or a more violent part of his character. In order to prevent harassment or even his own death later on, Ender defends himself against his enemies Stilson and Bonzo Madrid to such a degree that he kills them both. At the same time, he is motivated by fairness and compassion, evidenced by his conversations with superiors and subordinates as well as by his feelings and actions after killing the buggers. He eventually saves the last bugger queen in order to restore the bugger species.
Peter is Ender's older brother. He is ruthless and brilliant but also sadistic. He skins squirrels and threatens Ender's life. At first, the International Fleet considered him to be a candidate they might train to be a commander against the buggers, but they decided that his temperament was too vicious--he would not be able to win the love of his subordinates and work with a team. He was underestimated, however, in that he is willing to do whatever it takes to take control over the world. Peter matures and mellows during the novel, taking on some of the character of his younger sister, Valentine, through her influence. He and Valentine become more like one another by working together on his persona Locke and her persona Demosthenes, who anonymously affect public opinion through their writings. Peter's persona, Locke, expresses a calm and wise influence on the world, which is Peter's strategy for earning the respect that he needs to influence others. At the end of the book, Peter has become Hegemon, a ruler of the world, and he has persuaded the world to adopt Locke's plan for peace instead of constant fighting.
Valentine is the middle Wiggin child. She is extremely compassionate and is just as smart as Ender and Peter, but she has little or none of the ruthlessness that would enable her to win victories in brutal battles, like Peter and Ender can do. Valentine is the only person whom Ender truly loves in the world, and she also is the only one who truly loves him. She protects him from Peter when they are very young, before he is shipped to Battle School. Valentine is used twice by Colonel Graff to convince Ender to continue with his studies. She influences public opinion through her persona Demosthenes, an anti-Russian warmonger who is very different from Valentine herself, but whose personality begins to grow on her.
Stilson is a bully from Ender's class on Earth. After Ender's monitor is removed, Stilson and his gang decide to beat Ender up after school. Ender tricks him into fighting against him one-on-one, and then he beats Stilson so badly that he dies. Stilson is Ender's first "murder" victim, although Ender believes he is acting decisively in self defense.
Mrs. Wiggin is the mother of Ender, Valentine, and Peter. She was raised a Mormon, but she officially denounced her religion when she grew up and the population laws were in effect. She did, however, continue to pray occasionally, and some of Ender's fondest memories of her include her praying over him.
Mr. Wiggin is the father of Ender, Valentine, and Peter. He was raised a Catholic, and his family had nine children, which was way beyond the population control regulations. Like his wife, he still believes in his religion. Valentine often feels ashamed for him, because he reads Demosthenes and quotes him at the breakfast table, not knowing that his daughter is writing in that persona's name and that she dislikes most of the views that her father repeats with praise.
Colonel Graff is the head of Battle School until he travels with Ender to Command School. He personally invites Ender to go to Battle School, and he feels a special affection for our protagonist, despite the fact that he isolates Ender and often causes him pain and frustration. Graff is the one who decides not to step in when Stilson and Bonzo attack Ender and then are beaten and killed by Ender in return, and while he later is court-marshaled for this, he is acquitted. It is clear that Graff is doing everything he can to make sure that Ender develops in the right way. Graff tricks Ender into fighting against the buggers by using Mazer Rackham to make him believe that the battles are all just simulations like the many games that have been used in his training.
General Pace is the chief of the I.F. military police. He travels to Battle School to have a discussion with Graff about his concern that Graff is not handling the situation between Bonzo and Ender well in that Graff is leaving them alone to work it out. But the general has no real authority over Graff, and Graff refuses to change his plan of action, understanding that Ender must think he always has to fight his own battles alone. General Pace is also on the flight back to Earth with Ender and Colonel Graff after Ender graduates from Battle School, and Ender notices Pace studying him.
Major Anderson has been following Ender's progress, and he now controls the battleroom at Battle School. He is promoted to head of the school when Graff is transferred to join Ender en route to Command School. Anderson, helped by his computer, comes up with the many different battle variations that Graff throws at Ender while he is Commander of Dragon Army at school.
Major Imbu is the head technician of the computer system, especially the fantasy game, at Battle School. He does not fully understand how the game works, because he was not there when it was designed. When Ender plays it, the game and its computer start doing things that no one has seen before. The computer has been designed to adapt to the mental functions of each player, and Ender takes the game where no one has gone before.
Mazer Rackham was the hero of the Second Invasion. He succeeded when he blew up the queen bugger's ship and thus wiped out all of her "worker" buggers. Using relativity, he has survived to the present in order to be Ender's teacher at Command School. He remains extremely quick, physically strong, and very smart. Mazer tells Ender right away that he is Ender's enemy, because the only teacher worth having is one who takes the role of an enemy. Mazer and Ender are the only two people to be able to pick out the queen's ship, it seems, from the videos. Later, Mazer and Graff trick Ender into thinking that the battles against the buggers are just more battle games.
Bernard is the boy in Ender's launch group who hits Ender on the head repeatedly during their flight to Battle School--until Ender reaches up and tugs on his arm, sending Bernard flying through the air and breaking his arm. Bernard, for a short period of time, is the "leader" of their launch group, and he is a bully to Ender. He is one of the seven boys with Bonzo when he tries to beat Ender up.
Alai is Bernard's best friend when they first arrive at Battle School. But Alai and Ender become friends when they work together to figure out null gravity and their suits and weapons in the battleroom. Alai is elected the leader of his and Ender's launch group. When Ender moves up to the armies, Alai whispers "Salaam," or "peace," in Ender's ear and kisses him on the cheek. Ender understands that their young friendship is a secret and sacred expression of Alai's religion. Finally, Alai is one of Ender's squadron leaders during the Third Invasion of the bugger war. Ender has progressed so far that he cannot really be friends with Alai anymore, although they respect one another tremendously.
Bean becomes one of Ender's closest friends in Battle School, while Ender is the commander of Dragon Army. Bean is exceptionally brilliant, although he is very young and even small for his age. Bean might be as capable as Ender, having similar qualities and far outshining his colleagues. On their first day in the new Dragon Army, Ender finds himself isolating Bean much like Colonel Graff and Dap isolated him. Bean becomes Ender's sixth toon leader after proving himself, and he is in charge of coming up with crazy ideas to deal with the variations of the battlerooms that Anderson and Graff keep throwing at them. Finally, Bean is one of Ender's squadron leaders during the real bugger battles. Bean would probably be his replacement if something were to go wrong with Ender.
Shen is part of Ender's launch group. He becomes Ender's first friend at Battle School, when Ender defends him from Bernard's teasing. After Bernard points out to everybody that Shen's butt wiggles when he walks, Ender finds a way to send a message to the whole launch group saying, "Cover your butt. Bernard is watching"--signed "God." Even though Ender never owns up to sending the message, he is the first to point it out to Shen, so Shen understands that Ender is his ally. Shen is later one of Ender's squad leaders during the bugger battles at Command School.
Petra takes Ender under her wing when he is first assigned to Salamander Army, while Bonzo, the commander, refuses to teach him anything. She works with him during their free time after breakfast, and she teaches him things that he needs to know to battle with an army. She is an excellent shot. She is also his commander in Phoenix Army when he is a toon leader, and later she becomes one of his most relied-upon squad leaders. During their hardest work together during the final training, she becomes weary and loses her battle group. From then on, she is still excellent, but according to Ender, she has lost much of what made her a good commander: her willingness to take risks.
Bonzo is Ender's first commander, in Salamander Army. He hates Ender for being young, brilliant, and talented, and because Ender has no experience in battles, Bonzo refuses to let him practice or fight with the army. Bonzo leads a group of older boys to attack Ender's practice group in the battleroom during free-time practice. When Ender is made commander and makes Bonzo's army look foolish during their battle, Bonzo corners Ender in the showers with seven large friends, intending to kill him. But Bonzo is motivated by Spanish honor, so Ender convinces him to fight one-on-one. Ender wins decisively, knocking Bonzo's nose into his brain, unintentionally killing him.
Carn serves as commander of Rabbit Army when Ender is commander of Dragon Army. Rabbit Army is the first army to battle the newly created Dragon Army. When Ender's army destroys his, Carn retains his dignity and remains kind to Ender despite the loss. Carn becomes one of Ender's squad leaders during the bugger war.
Dink Meeker is Ender's second friend, after Petra, once he is promoted to soldier. Dink is a toon leader in the Rat Army when he asks his commander, Rose de Nose, to trade someone for Ender. Dink and Petra teach Ender pretty much everything he knows, and Dink is not afraid to learn from Ender. Dink is also the first person to teach Ender that the game of Battle School itself is not what matters--and that the teachers are the enemy, not the other armies. Dink remains Ender's friend despite Ender beating him in combat when both Ender and Dink are commanders. Dink tries unsuccessfully to get Bonzo not to attack Ender in the bathroom. He is another of Ender's most trustworthy squad leaders in the bugger war.
Rose de Nose
Rose is the commander of Rat Army when Dink asks him to trade someone for Ender. Rose becomes angry when he realizes that Ender's rankings in the game are because Bonzo refused to let him fight. Rose also runs an extremely disordered army and hates Ender for being so good. Rose's incompetence hardly matters for Ender, however, because Dink runs his toon independently. Rose relies heavily on being Jewish, because the Strategos of the I.F. has always been Jewish and because there is a superstition that no Jewish general loses a war.
Dap is Ender's "mother" at Battle School. He is the only teacher there whose work includes showing affection to the boys, but he too isolates Ender from the rest of his launch group.
Pinual is not an active character in the novel, because he died earlier at Battle School. He is mentioned by Graff and another I.F. officer on two occasions. Pinual committed suicide at some unknown time and for some unknown reason, but his death seems related to the Giant's Drink, a putatively unwinnable game that Ender eventually solves.
General Levy is the official commander of the International Fleet. He has a discussion with Graff about Ender's participation in the fantasy game and warns Graff not to hurt Ender more than he has to.
Pol Slattery is the commander of Leopard Army while Ender is in Salamander, and he is the commander of Badger Army while Ender is commander of Dragon.
William Bee is the commander of Griffin Army, which fights with Talo Momoe's Tiger Army against Ender's Dragon Army in a two-on-one battle. Bee tells Ender, when he defeats their two armies, "Ender, if you're on one side of the battle, it won't be equal no matter what the conditions are."
Talo Momoe is the commander of Tiger Army, which fights with William Bee's Griffin Army against Ender's Dragon Army in a two-on-one battle. Despite losing, Momoe starts the clapping and chanting of Ender's name after the battle.
Crazy Tom is the veteran leader of C toon in Dragon Army. He is also one of Ender's squadron leaders during the real bugger battles. Crazy Tom seems to be the head toon leader in Dragon Army, being mentioned more than any of the other toon leaders besides Bean.
Hot Soup/Han Tzu
Hot Soup is one of Ender's toon leaders in Dragon Army. He is also one of Ender's squadron leaders during the real bugger battles. His nickname comes from his bad temper.
Fly Molo is the leader of A toon in Dragon Army and one of Ender's squadron leaders during the real bugger battles.
Vlad is one of Ender's toon leaders in Dragon Army, but he is not mentioned by name until the final battles with the buggers, when Vlad is one of Ender's squadron leaders.
Dumper is another of Ender's toon leaders in Dragon Army and then another of Ender's squadron leaders during the real bugger battles.
Admiral Chamrajnagar is one of the leaders of the International Fleet. He and Graff dislike each other. The admiral tries to keep Ender from watching Colonel Graff's court-marshal and thus the videos and pictures of Stilson's and Bonzo's deaths, but since Ender was awarded Admiral status after the war, Chamrajnagar may not exert any control over Ender.
Ender’s Game Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Ender’s Game is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Graff is a military man and Ender's superior. He cannot be Ender's "friend", the chain of command and military conditioning forbids this. Graff has to be dominant over Ender if he is to be trained properly.