I recently read Speaker For The Dead for the third time and stumbled across an anomaly (forgive my lack of direct quotes, I had to return the book):

Pipo and Libo die in the same ritualistic fashion as Rooter and the rest of the "honored" piggies to bring them into the third life, except they didn't plant seeds in their bodies to grow trees to pass on their "souls" to trees. We know that they meant no harm to Pipo and Libo because they express regret upon learning from Ender that Pipo and Libo suffered and humans don't have third lives in the same sense as piggies.

My question is, if they meant no harm and thought they were bringing them honor, then why omit the seed?


DISCLAIMER: this is all from my memories of reading these books many times as a teenager, and it's possible that I have remembered the details wrong. Other folks should feel free to dispute this answer in the comments, and/or provide other answers with quotations from the books.

There is no "seed" per se. The humans initially believe that the piggies are planting trees in the bodies of the honored piggies. However,

they later realize that the descolada has mixed together the genomes of the pequeniños and the trees, in such a way that a pequeniño literally turns into a tree when they "die".

This is later demonstrated when Ender

"kills" Human himself to seal the peace treaty. A tree grows from the Human's body before the eyes of the humans and piggies present; no seed is planted.

  • Right, I found the text of Rooter's death. It wasn't a seed, but a seedling: a sprouting tree, so there was no seed planted. – spiff Mar 22 '18 at 20:02
  • "Human" is the name of one piggies (don't mistake him as human) – Haha TTpro Apr 18 '18 at 2:41

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