Ender’s Game

The Giant Symbol Analysis

The Giant Symbol Icon

During Ender Wiggin’s time at Battle School, he’s encouraged to play a virtual reality in which he confronts a Giant, who challenges him to choose between two potions, one of which is poisonous and one of which is harmless. Ender discovers that the game is a cheat—no matter which potion he chooses, he always “dies.” Ender demonstrates his genius for lateral thinking by refusing to obey the Giant’s rules: instead of choosing between potions, he chooses to attack the Giant, winning an unwinnable game. Ender’s attack on the Giant is one of the more overt symbols in Ender’s Game: as Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Anderson study Ender’s game playing, they recognize that Ender’s victory symbolizes his refusal to play by the rules, his ability to think outside the box, and his disturbing ability to be brutal and violent at the right time.

The Giant Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Giant. 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 6 Quotes

He hadn’t meant to kill the Giant. This was supposed to be a game. Not a choice between his own grisly death and an even worse murder. I’m a murderer, even when I play. Peter would be proud of me.

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (speaker), Peter Wiggin
Related Symbols: The Giant
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Giant Symbol Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Giant appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Giant’s Drink
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...one of his military superiors. The superior points out that Ender seems “Stuck in the Giant’s Drink.” (We don’t yet know what this means.) Graff proposes that the IF “speed up”... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
...a fantasyland full of castles and lakes. In the game, Ender always comes to a Giant who kills Ender in brutal ways. This time, the Giant tells Ender to choose between... (full context)
Chapter 7: Salamander
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...a colleague. Graff and the colleague discuss how Ender is capable of “the impossible”—defeating the Giant in the virtual reality game. They also agree that Ender handled the conflict with Bernard... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...wait to join up with his new Salamander teammates. To pass time, he plays the Giant game, picking up where he left off, with the Giant’s death. He walks to a... (full context)
Chapter 8: Rat
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
A few days after his fight, Ender plays the Giant game again. In the game, he confronts a monster with the body of a snake... (full context)
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
In his free time, Ender plays the Giant game. He journeys to a strange place called the End of the World. There, he... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...School, but he’s been slumping lately, and needs something to inspire him. He describes the Giant game that Ender plays, and mentions the images of Peter that Ender repeatedly sees. Valentine... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Frustrated by Valentine’s letter, Ender goes to play the Giant game. He returns to the End of the World, and sees Peter’s face in the... (full context)
Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...him how his army has been doing, and ask him why he doesn’t play the Giant’s game anymore. Ender, who’s been frustrated with Graff for months now, fires back that his... (full context)
Chapter 14: Ender’s Teacher
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...friend in any way. At night, Ender worries about his friends, and dreams about the Giant. Sometimes in his dreams he sees wolves with the faces of children—Stilson, Bonzo, and Peter,... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...his eyes and sees a group of adults standing over him. He dreams about the Giant, and sees the Dr. Device destroying an entire world of Buggers. He sees Bonzo, who... (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...and an old, rusty playground—details from Ender’s old elementary school, as well as from the Giant game that Ender played at Battle School. Ender realizes the truth: the Buggers built this... (full context)