When Ender is observing Rabbit Army's instantaneous emergence from their gate during Dragon Army's their first battle, he thinks to himself that this was learned from when Bonzo Madrid had done this to Ender.

In the distance, in the dim light, he could see the enemy door, their lighted flash suits already pouring out. Ender knew a moment's pleasure. Everyone had learned the wrong lesson from Bonzo's misuse of Ender Wiggin. They all dumped through the door immediately, so that there was no chance to do anything other than name the formation they would use.

But it was really Rose da Nose who had made Ender emerge as soon as the gate opened.

"Shivering? Trembling? Don't wet your pants, little Launchy." Rose hooked a finger over the butt of Ender's gun and pulled him to the forcefield that hid the battleroom from view. "We'll see how well you do now, Ender. As soon as that door opens, you jump through, go straight ahead toward the enemy's door."

So why does Ender get this mixed up?

  • 1
    This seems like an author mix-up without in-universe retcon. So far I don't recall any interviews where he explained that away Nov 25, 2015 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


It's a mistake, where the wrong name was used. It should properly read:

Everyone learned the wrong lesson from Rose's misuse of Ender Wiggin.

Between the scene with Ender, while in the Rat Army, jumping into the battle immediately per Rose's orders and the scene where he thinks about "Bonzo's misuse", we see this:

Dink Meeker began to practice instant emergence from the corridor—Ender’s attack on the enemy while they were still coming out of the door had been devastating. “If one man can do that much damage, think what a toon can do.” Dink got Major Anderson to open a door in the middle of a wall, even during practice sessions, instead of just the floor level door, so they could practice launching under battle conditions. Word got around. From now on no one could take five or ten or fifteen seconds in the corridor to size things up. The game had changed.

This directly follows Ender's achievements in the Rat vs. Centipede battle, where Rose made him jump out early. The game had changed, and "everyone learned" to jump out early. This is the only strategy in the entire book that is mentioned to have changed things based on one of Ender's previous commander's actions. The use of Bonzo here was erroneous.

While, it doesn't name it as being a result Rose's actions, it's pretty clear that the strategy of the other commanders was altered because of Ender's accomplishments in the battle, even while he was being misused by Rose.

I've read and re-read the sections about Bonzo's misuse, and it's clear that there's no way that Bonzo's lack of using Ender at all could be construed to have been a motivator for putting entire teams out the gates immediately. There's no reason to believe Ender actually thought the Rabbit Army's actions are a result of how Bonzo treated him.

In Ender's Shadow, we also see that Bonzo's actions weren't known for misusing Ender, but rather for not using him at all:

 Petra to Dink: "It wasn't Ender's fault that Bonzo wouldn't let him fire his weapon."

The author's intentions were clear in the rest of the book what was "learned" or taught to the armies based on Ender's interactions with his earlier commanders, and Bonzo's name clearly does not fit in this passage. This passage is generally listed on fan sites as a mistake/slip-up/error, although the author has not yet made a comment on it, and there hasn't been a revised edition of the book that addresses the matter.

  • 1
    Sorry, -1 - you're basically just explaining what the question asker asked in the question instead of addressing the question of "why". Nov 25, 2015 at 22:27
  • 2
    @DVK There's no why to prove it's a typographical error without getting OSC here to say, "Yup, I screwed up." The excerpt I provided offers the proper context for Ender's later thoughts.
    – user31178
    Nov 25, 2015 at 22:29
  • I've attempted to contact OSC to see what he says, but I'm not holding my breath.
    – user31178
    Nov 25, 2015 at 22:53

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