Ender’s Game

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Valentine Wiggin Character Analysis

Ender’s older sister, Valentine Wiggin is gentle and kind—even more so than Ender himself. She’s fiercely intelligent, even if she lacks the same drive as her brothers. For years, Valentine is Ender’s protector and teacher, and as a result, they continue to love one another even after Ender is shipped off to Battle School and forbidden from communicating with his sister. Whereas Ender ultimately influences the world via his military genius, Valentine turns to writing and politics as methods of control. Writing under the pseudonym Demosthenes, she pushes world leaders toward war, deliberately allowing Peter, writing under the pseudonym Locke, to swoop in and bring about peace—ensuring Peter’s rise to power.

Valentine Wiggin Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below are all either spoken by Valentine Wiggin or refer to Valentine Wiggin . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Tor edition of Ender’s Game published in 2008.
Chapter 13 Quotes

He caught her wrist in his hand. His grip was very strong, even though his hands were smaller than hers and his own arms were slender and tight. For a moment he looked dangerous; then he relaxed. “Oh, yes,” he said. “You used to tickle me.”

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (speaker), Valentine Wiggin
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

Ender reunites with his sister, Valentine, back on Earth. One afternoon, they go out to a boat, and Valentine tries to tickle Ender, prompting Ender—like the good soldier he is—to adopt a defensive stance. Ender has been so well trained as a soldier that he naturally treats everyone as a threat, even his own sister. It's only a second later that Ender remembers that Valentine is his beloved big sister, the person he loves most in the world.

Ender's behavior is robotic in this scene, and the robot comparison is pretty accurate. Over the years, Graff and the other teachers at Battle School have reshaped Ender into a lethal weapon who can be manipulated and controlled whenever the need arises. Graff tries to suppress Ender's strongest quality, his compassion. Here, it's clear that Graff has failed to do so: Ender still loves his sister. But Graff has also made Ender a dangerous warrior—someone whom Valentine doesn't really know at all.

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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.

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (speaker), Valentine Wiggin
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Ender Wiggin tells Valentine what he's learned about the role of compassion and empathy in fighting. Ender has always been a particularly compassionate person, as well as a particularly brutal one. For the most part, Ender and the people who know him have thought of these two sides of Ender as strictly separate, even opposite. Ender, however, argues that the greatest brutality is only possible with compassion. Unlike a mediocre bully like Stilson or Bonzo, Ender is smart and empathetic enough to understand his opponents deeply. It's his sense of understanding that allows Ender to defeat his opponents with such ease: because he knows and loves them, he knows how to destroy them.

Ender's speech partly explains why his time in Battle School is so agonizing. Over the course of his years away from Earth, he's instructed to compete for success, hurting anyone who gets in his way. Ender tries to build friendship and collaboration between his peers, but at every turn, Graff and the other teachers turn him against his friends. Yet the passage also hints at a path to redemption for Ender. Ender is taught to hate the Buggers, but he's also capable of boundless love for them. In the end, Ender's capacity for love leads him to protect and nurture the Buggers, atoning for his genocidal crime.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“Val,” he said, “I just want one thing clear. I’m not going for you. I’m not going in order to be governor, or because I’m bored here. I’m going because I know the Buggers better than any other living soul, and maybe if I go there I can understand them better. I stole their future from them; I can only begin to repay by seeing what I can learn from their past.”

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (speaker), Valentine Wiggin
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ender spells out the path he must take to atone for his war crimes. Ender has exterminated the Buggers altogether: as far as he can tell, an entire alien race has been wiped out. He feels incredibly guilty for his act of murder, and wants to do something to make up for his own actions. Ender doesn't think he can bring the Buggers back from the dead, but instead, he tries to use his intelligence and knowledge of the Buggers to respect their culture and history.

Ender's actions remind us of his greatest asset as a commander and as a human being: his military prowess and his compassion are one and the same. As Ender reminds us, he's the world's greatest living authority on the Buggers: if he wasn't, he wouldn't have been able to defeat them in battle. Because Ender understands his enemies, he knows exactly what to do to defeat them.

In the past, Ender's compassion has always been subservient to his talents as a commander: i.e., his compassion has enhanced his commanding, not the other way around. But in the final chapters of the novel, the tides turn. Ender hopes to use his compassion for good, learning about the Buggers and balancing out his past crimes.

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Valentine Wiggin Character Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the character Valentine Wiggin appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Peter
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Ender is sitting at home with his older sister, Valentine. Valentine gently tells Ender that she’s sorry. Suddenly, their brother Peter, the oldest child, walks... (full context)
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...that he didn’t know he was killing his brother, and their parents would believe him. Valentine, who’s been watching the game, says that she’d tell the truth. Peter threatens to kill... (full context)
Chapter 3: Graff
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...that Ender is being taken to jail—as a Third, he has no rights at all. Valentine walks into the room, and notices the military man standing in the hallway. Instinctively, she... (full context)
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...probably more. When he returns to Earth, his family will be different—even his beloved sister, Valentine. Graff adds that he knows Ender very well—in other words, he knows that Ender will... (full context)
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Ender and Graff continue talking. Graff explains that Valentine loves Ender with all her heart. He also explains that Ender will be exposed to... (full context)
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...his family. He hugs his Father and Mother (who cries), and shakes hands with Peter. Valentine cries and kisses Ender. With this, Graff takes Ender to his car, and drives him... (full context)
Chapter 4: Launch
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...to the shuttle and being filmed by a cameraman. He’d considered trying to wave to Valentine. The narrator notes that if he’d done so, the footage would have been censored, since... (full context)
Chapter 5: Games
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At dinner, Ender eats alone. He thinks about his home, and about Valentine. He also notices the other students in the dining hall, who are much older than... (full context)
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
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Back on Earth, Valentine Wiggin celebrates Ender’s eighth birthday alone. Her family has moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, and... (full context)
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One day, Valentine is walking through the woods near her house when Peter approaches her. Peter makes an... (full context)
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Peter proposes to Valentine that they can use their intelligence to influence global politics and keep the world safe.... (full context)
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As they walk through the woods, Peter asks Valentine to ask Father to give his children his “citizen’s access,” which will enable Peter and... (full context)
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In the coming weeks, Valentine succeeds in convincing Father to give his children internet access. Peter and Valentine begin writing... (full context)
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Seven months after Peter and Valentine begin writing as Locke and Demosthenes, “Demosthenes” has received an invitation from a major publication... (full context)
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Valentine notices that her parents have begun reading Demosthenes’ column, and even quote it at diner.... (full context)
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Back on Earth, more than a year after beginning her career as an incognito journalist, Valentine is walking to school. She notices a group of IF soldiers standing outside the building,... (full context)
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Valentine goes to class, where she finds a message telling her to go to the principle’s... (full context)
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Outside, Graff tells Valentine why he’s here: Ender is doing brilliantly at Battle School, but he’s been slumping lately,... (full context)
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Graff watches Valentine crying, and tries to calm her by agreeing with her: he claims he doesn’t think... (full context)
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The narrative cuts back to Ender at Battle School. He receives a letter from Valentine. In the letter, Valentine tells Ender she’s tried to write him hundreds of times before... (full context)
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Frustrated by Valentine’s letter, Ender goes to play the Giant game. He returns to the End of the... (full context)
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Shortly after meeting with Graff, Valentine receives a letter from General Shimon Levy, the Strategos (who is implied to be the... (full context)
Chapter 10: Dragon
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...some time now, Ender has been optimistic and happy, spurred on by his letter from Valentine. Graff now plots how to challenge Ender in new ways. Anderson objects that it’s barbaric... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
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...He thinks about how IF has manipulated his closest friends and family against him: first Valentine, now Alai. This makes him quietly furious. Ender decides that he can use this fury... (full context)
Chapter 13: Valentine
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
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...chapter begins with a conversation between two unnamed government officials. The two officials note that Valentine and Peter Wiggin are Demosthenes and Locke, two highly influential journalists. The officials note that... (full context)
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Valentine has been writing as Demosthenes for more than two years now. Her column is reprinted... (full context)
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One day Valentine finds Graff waiting for her at school. He explains that Valentine must come with him... (full context)
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Valentine and Graff arrive in Florida, where Graff takes Valentine to a beautiful lake. Valentine runs... (full context)
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Valentine tells Ender why she’s here—undoubtedly she’s supposed to convince Ender to continue with Battle School,... (full context)
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Valentine can’t help but tell Ender about Peter. She tells him that Peter is writing under... (full context)
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Ender confesses his deepest secret to Valentine: he can’t beat the Buggers. Even after years of military training, he has no idea... (full context)
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Ender and Valentine lie by the lake for hours, silently. After some time, Valentine sits up and tells... (full context)
Chapter 14: Ender’s Teacher
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
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...sees wolves with the faces of children—Stilson, Bonzo, and Peter, but also Alai, Dink, and Valentine. Once in his dream Ender attacks Valentine and drowns her in a river. He wakes... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
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...computer. In his delirium, he imagines being torn apart by the Buggers, and tended by Valentine. When Ender wakes up, three days have passed. Mazer informs him that he has a... (full context)
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...terms of peace have been drafted by none other than Locke, who Ender knows (from Valentine) to be Peter. (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
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One day, Ender is amazed to see Valentine on Eros. Valentine tells Ender that she’s planning on traveling to the Bugger galaxy to... (full context)
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Valentine insists that Ender can never return to Earth—if he does, then he’ll be Peter’s pawn.... (full context)
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Valentine and Ender proceed on their journey to the new colony. The journey lasts two years... (full context)
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More time passes. Ender and Valentine are in their early twenties, but back on Earth, Peter—now the leader of the Earth—is... (full context)
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Ender and Valentine decide to leave their new home, confident that it will be peaceful and stable for... (full context)