I read The Polish Boy (part of First Meetings) by Orson Scott Card, which is located in the Ender universe. It tells us that Graff tried to recruit Ender's father John Paul Wiggin, who was only 5 years old at that time. In the short story Graff already has a powerful position. He's allowed to make any deal he wants. Therefore I assume he's not a youngster anymore.

Based on that, Graff must be an very old man at the end of Ender's Game, but I didn't get that impression from the books.

Do we know how old Graff is compared to Ender or John Paul?

  • Card doesn't really care that much about continuity.
    – ibid
    Apr 4, 2016 at 19:39
  • @ibid - Nope. All he cares about is milking every last possible iota of money out of Enderverse fans.
    – Valorum
    Apr 4, 2016 at 19:45
  • 1
    According to Mazer in Prison, he got that position of power when he was young.
    – ibid
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


Graff is sixty years older than Ender

Hyrum Graff was born roughly fourteen years after the Second Invasion:

Hyrum Graff’s personal history has not yet been fully examined. However, in an upcoming novel by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, many more details about the future commander of Battle School and Minister of Colonization will be revealed. Aaron Johnston explains:

The novel (or series, should there be more than one) attempts to answer how Battle School came to be. And it does so by telling the story of young Hyrum Graff.

About thirty years have passed since the Second Invasion, and the International Fleet claims to have posted a huge army of warships out beyond the comet shield to protect Earth from another Formic attack.

Many on Earth resent the I.F. for this strategy, preferring instead to have the fleet’s protection much closer to home. If the people knew the truth, that there is no fleet at the comet shield, that the fleet is in fact heading toward the Formic home world to destroy it, and that Earth is even less defended than believed, there would be even greater political unrest.

Amidst all this is sixteen-year-old Hyrum Graff, who lives on a farm in the Midwest with his parents and six siblings. Hyrum is fascinated with Formic technology and has been studying it on the nets for years, even going so far as to make modifications to the farm’s equipment and machines, using principles of Formic engineering.

Despite his dedication to the farm, however, Hyrum always seems to be in the shadow of his older, stronger brother, Quin, on whom his father dotes.

As for the farm, it’s been struggling for years despite the family’s hard work, and is now near bankruptcy. Everything changes when the I.F. arrives. They’ve been observing Hyrum for some time now —following his movements on the nets, as well as through other means— and their offer is simple: they’ll give him a place at their prestigious Precommand training school and pay a stipend to Hyrum’s family that will keep the farm afloat.

Hyrum accepts, and at Precommand, the I.F. recognizes that Hyrum’s skills exceed those of a would-be engineer: his greatest talent is bureaucracy, organizing and motivating people, managing systems, and helping others exceed their own expectations—precisely how he managed the migrant workers on the farm back home.

But when a dignitary visits Precommand, Hyrum discovers the truth about the fleet and a secret plot to destroy the ansible and force the fleet back to earth. Young, barely trained, and inexperienced, Hyrum and a small group of cadets must stop those behind the coup and keep the fleet on course.”

The Authorised Ender Companion

Ender was born roughly seventy-four years after the second invasion:

Then he settled down to the serious business of designing a security system for his own desk, since the safeguards built into the system were obviously inadequate. If a six-year-old could break them down, they were obviously put there as a plaything, not serious security. Just another game that the teachers set up for us. And this is one I'm good at.
Ender's Game - Chapter 5 - "Games"


We've scraped together everything mankind could produce, a fleet that makes the one they sent against us last time seem like a bunch of kids playing in a swimming pool. We have some new weapons, too. But it might not be enough, even so. Because in the eighty years since the last war, they've had as much time to prepare as we have. We need the best we can get, and we need them fast.
Ender's Game - Chapter 3 - "Graff"

74 - 14 = 60, so Hyrum Graff was 60 years older than Ender.

Note that in the new timeline established in Earth Awakens, the Second Invasion takes place ten years earlier, which may make Graff be seventy years older than Ender.


I don't think that means he's very old. Whatever his age is, it's only 20 give or take years between John Wiggins and Ender Wiggins. Even if it's 30 years. Graff could easily have been in a position of power by the same he was say 30 if he had talent for leadership, and it's only + another 20 or 25 or let's even go so far as to say 30 years between john's and ender's recruitments, that would make Graf between 50 and 60 years old. That's not very old.

  • Thanks so far. Ender's Game spans several years (even more if you include the Shadow books), so how old is he at the end?
    – Chris
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:21
  • @Chris - Something like 130. Card tries fixing this in Ender in Exile.
    – ibid
    Apr 4, 2016 at 23:04
  • @ibid: I haven't read Ender in Exile yet. If you have more accurate data, I'd be happy to see an answer from you.
    – Chris
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:32
  • @Chris - Answering Ender's Game questions is hard due to Card's near total disregard for continuity. Also, IMO, Exile was one of the better books in the series, and you probably don't want it spoiled. Maybe I'll try answering later.
    – ibid
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:36

Graff is a captain in The Polish Boy, since that is relatively low rank, and because (at least in the US military) everyone is pretty much guaranteed to achieve that rank within 4 years of service, he could be in his mid-twenties or younger.

"If we have more time before we need our commander," she said, "then do we have time for him to marry and have children and then the children grow up enough to be the right age?"

"Just barely, yes. We have just barely enough time. If he marries young. If he marries somebody who is very, very brilliant so the gene mix is good." - First Meetings, The Polish Boy (last page).

John Wiggin is a senior in college when he meets Theresa, so probably 20 or 21, and pretty soon after marries her, then is approached by Graff to conceive Peter. When Peter is 10, Valentine is 8, and Ender is 6 (the age he goes to Battle School), that means he'd be around 28-30 years older when Ender is recruited.

So call it 55 at the young end, or maybe 60 if he was a little older before he made captain. I can't find any mention of his physical appearance in Ender's Game, other than he gained a lot of weight during Ender's training, and then subsequently lost it after the war.

Ender leaves to be governor of a colony when he is 13 (making Graff 62-67 years old). It is a 40 year voyage (Earth time).

"Doesn't matter," said Graff. "I'll be dead before you get to your destination."- Ender in Exile, ch 4.

So Graff isn't expecting to live another 40 years. Incidentally thanks to him taking breaks in a sleeping pod, he ultimately does live long enough for Ender to arrive at the first colony.

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