Ender’s Game

Colonel Hyrum Graff Character Analysis

Colonel Graff is one of the most complicated characters in the novel: a stern, callous bureaucrat who believes in the importance of defeating the Buggers at all costs, but also seemingly comes to believe that he’s pushing Ender too hard. Graff is instrumental in spotting Ender’s potential and convincing Ender to come to Battle School. In spite of his persuasive persona, Graff regularly uses manipulation and cruel deceptions, always with the stated goal of making Ender a better soldier. Ender comes to despise Graff for singling him out at Battle School and provoking the hatred of his classmates. His disgust with Graff grows after Graff convinces Valentine to persuade Ender to continue fighting against the Buggers. Graff is ultimately court-martialed for endangering Ender’s life, but he’s acquitted after he argues that his measures were justified by Ender’s growth as a warrior. At the end of the novel, he has accepted a post as the new Minister of Colonization—the agent of war and violence has become an advocate for peace.

Colonel Hyrum Graff Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below are all either spoken by Colonel Hyrum Graff or refer to Colonel Hyrum Graff. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Tor edition of Ender’s Game published in 2008.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“So what do we do? Surround him with enemies all the time?”
“If we have to.”
“I thought you said you liked this kid.”
“If the Buggers get him, they’ll make me look like his favorite uncle.”
“All right. We’re saving the world, after all. Take him.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Major Anderson (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

“Tell me why you kept kicking him. You had already won.”
“Knocking him down won the first fight. I wanted to win all the next ones, too, right then, so they’d leave me alone.”

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (speaker), Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Stilson
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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“They look at you and see you as a badge of pride, because they were able to circumvent the law and have a Third. But you’re also a badge of cowardice, because they dare not go further and practice the noncompliance they still feel is right.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, Mr. Wiggin / Father, Mrs. Wiggin / Mother
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

“I won’t lie now,” said Graff. “My job isn’t to be friends. My job is to produce the best soldiers in the world. In the whole history of the world. We need a Napoleon. An Alexander.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

“Ender Wiggin is ten times smarter and stronger than I am. What I’m doing to him will bring out his genius. If I had to go through it myself, it would crush me.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

“We got the judges to agree that the prosecution had to prove beyond doubt that Ender would have won the war without the training we gave him. After then it was simple. The exigencies of war.”
“Anyway, Graff, it was a great relief to us. I know we quarreled, and I know the prosecution used tapes of our conversation against you. But by then I knew that you were right, and I offered to testify for you.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Major Anderson (speaker)
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

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Colonel Hyrum Graff Character Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the character Colonel Hyrum Graff appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Graff
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
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...fights, too.” The man seems to find this interesting. He introduces himself as Colonel Hyrum Graff, the director of primary training at the Battle School. He explains that he’s come to... (full context)
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Graff turns his attention to Ender, and tells him that Ender has the choice to attend... (full context)
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Ender and Graff speak privately outside Ender’s house. Graff explains the truth: if Ender goes to Battle School,... (full context)
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Ender and Graff continue talking. Graff explains that Valentine loves Ender with all her heart. He also explains... (full context)
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Ender and Graff continue talking. Graff tells Ender that the human race needs another military commander who’s capable... (full context)
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...Mother (who cries), and shakes hands with Peter. Valentine cries and kisses Ender. With this, Graff takes Ender to his car, and drives him away. As they drive away, Ender looks... (full context)
Chapter 4: Launch
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...the Earth, about to “fall” away into space. As Ender thinks, he hears a voice—it’s Graff, greeting him. Graff smiles and jokes, and Ender feels at ease—he’ll have a friend. (full context)
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...Ender has already been thinking about the arbitrariness of gravity, he’s unsurprised when he sees Graff walking “upside down” through the shuttle. He notices the other boys gagging and vomiting—being in... (full context)
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Graff yells at Ender and asks why Ender is smiling. Ender is surprised that Graff is... (full context)
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...shoots out of his seat, toward a nearby wall. The boy screams—he’s broken his arm. Graff emerges from his room, sedates the boy and sends him to a medical facility. He... (full context)
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...or what the docking process consists of). As he climbs off the shuttle, Ender sees Graff, and asks him why Graff tried to manipulate the other children into fighting. Graff tells... (full context)
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As Ender walks away, Graff turns and talks to a teacher named Anderson, who’s been watching the conversation. Graff tells... (full context)
Chapter 5: Games
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...chapter begins with a conversation between X and Y (who, we can now guess, are Graff and Anderson, respectively). Anderson congratulates Graff for “masterfully” manipulating Ender into fighting his fellow students.... (full context)
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...a soldier’s barracks, immediately after the events of the previous chapter. Because he spoke to Graff, he’s the last student to choose a bed, and has been given the worst bed... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Giant’s Drink
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The chapter begins with another anonymous conversation, apparently between Graff and one of his military superiors. The superior points out that Ender seems “Stuck in... (full context)
Chapter 7: Salamander
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The chapter begins with a conversation between Graff and a colleague. Graff and the colleague discuss how Ender is capable of “the impossible”—defeating... (full context)
Chapter 8: Rat
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The chapter begins with a conversation, this time between two named characters, Anderson and Graff. Anderson objects that Graff isn’t being “fair” enough with Ender, to which Graff replies that... (full context)
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
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Graff and one of his subordinates, Major Imbu, have a conversation about Ender’s psychological development. Neither... (full context)
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...telling her to go to the principle’s office immediately. She does so, and finds Colonel Graff waiting for her. Graff reminds Valentine that they met years ago (on the day Graff... (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... (full context)
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Graff watches Valentine crying, and tries to calm her by agreeing with her: he claims he... (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... (full context)
Chapter 10: Dragon
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Anderson and Graff discuss how to teach Ender. For some time now, Ender has been optimistic and happy,... (full context)
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...discontinued because of rumors that Dragon never won more than a third of its games. Graff informs Ender that his soldiers consist entirely of younger soldiers who’ve been promoted to army... (full context)
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After practice, Ender tries to understand why he was hard on Bean. He realizes that Graff used the same strategy on him before he’d even arrived in Battle School—by singling out... (full context)
Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
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Anderson and Graff argue about the battle schedule Graff has planned for Ender. Anderson objects that the schedule... (full context)
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One day, Ender receives a visit from Anderson and Graff. They ask him how his army has been doing, and ask him why he doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 12: Bonzo
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The chapter begins with a conversation between General Pace, an important American officer, and Colonel Graff. Pace has learned from Dap that Graff is intentionally putting Ender’s life in danger. Pace... (full context)
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Suddenly, Colonel Graff enters Ender’s room. Ignoring Bean, he informs Ender that he’s been transferred to Command School.... (full context)
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The next day, Ender prepares to leave Battle School, accompanied by Anderson and Graff. Anderson has been promoted from Major to Colonel in the IF. Graff says that Ender... (full context)
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...that’s occurred in Battle School: Bonzo Madrid’s death in the showers. Anderson tells Imbu that Graff has been summoned by the Polemarch, possibly to be court-martialed for endangering Ender’s life. Anderson... (full context)
Chapter 13: Valentine
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One day Valentine finds Graff waiting for her at school. He explains that Valentine must come with him to visit... (full context)
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Valentine and Graff arrive in Florida, where Graff takes Valentine to a beautiful lake. Valentine runs down to... (full context)
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...this she walks away, and travels back to Greensboro. Ender leaves the lake, and finds Graff waiting for him. He accuses Graff of using Valentine to manipulate him into returning to... (full context)
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Ender and Graff leave the Earth after Ender has been there for three months. Graff informs Ender that... (full context)
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For the next three months, Ender and Graff travel to Eros on their ship. They spend long chunks of time talking about the... (full context)
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Ender asks Graff other questions about the Buggers. He wants to know if the Buggers are sending a... (full context)
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Ender asks Graff, point-blank, why humans are fighting the Buggers. Graff offers various reasons: because the Buggers need... (full context)
Chapter 14: Ender’s Teacher
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The chapter opens with Graff—just arrived at Eros—talking to the director of Command School, Admiral Chamrajnagar. Graff tells the Admiral... (full context)
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...to go to class—he receives private lessons from the school’s professors. He eats with Colonel Graff, and has no other contacts. He decides to devote his free time to studying topics... (full context)
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...an invalid, or if he’s mentally ill. Ender decides to do his daily exercises until Graff arrives in his quarters. This is a mistake: while Ender is doing pushups, the old... (full context)
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...of which are kind and fatherly, and others that are harsher. He thinks he hears Graff and Mazer talking about him, with Graff arguing that Mazer should go easy on Ender.... (full context)
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...waiting for him, as usual. He walks out of his bedroom and sees Mazer and Graff waiting for him, along with a group of men dressed in civilian clothes. Mazer explains... (full context)
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...watching him is cheering. He’s surprised: he’d expected to be chewed out by Mazer and Graff for losing so many of his own ships and “bending” the rules of his game.... (full context)
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Ender wakes up to find Graff and Mazer standing over him. Graff informs Ender that news of his victory over the... (full context)
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Graff then gives Ender some important information: as soon as news of the victory over the... (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
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The final chapter begins with a conversation between Graff and Anderson. Graff has recently been court-martialed for his manipulations of Ender. The court showed... (full context)
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Graff and Anderson talk about Ender’s future. Graff tells Anderson that Locke and Demosthenes have arranged... (full context)