So I just watched Enders Game, great flick, but I'm a little confused. They talk in the movie about how Ender had two older siblings that had the same genius as Ender, but flunked out of the program because one was too passive, and the other (Peter) was way too aggressive. Ender was the balance between the two. At the end of the movie, Ender wins the war by completely annihilating the bugs home planet. How could Peter have been considered too violent to commit a total genocide of a species?

In the end Ender was left a broken little child because he was fooled into killing an entire species, and probably never would have done what he did if he'd known that the "simulation" were the real thing. Peter on the other hand, could have probably done the same job, knowingly eradicated the entire homeworld of their enemy, and come out at the end unaffected.

If the end result was the brutal slaughter of an entire race, then why was Peter considered "too aggressive" for the job?

  • Related, kind of helps answer the question, but I'm going off the movie, not the book: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/23525/…
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 4:14
  • 1
    the movie does not offer any explanation that contradicts what that question's answer says. Short short version, it was NOT about aggression: Peter couldn't lead the same way Ender could, and they were looking for a leader, not just a brilliant tactician. Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 4:38
  • You're confusing passive/aggressive with empathic/sociopathic. Val is too compassionate, Peter is the opposite. Ender is a nice balance between the two.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


Because to destroy the Buggers, the child-general had to not only be aggressive enough to wipe out an entire species - though, to be fair, Ender didn't know he was wiping out the Buggers - but he had to be compassionate enough to form the relationships necessary with his/ her subordinates to get the sort of fear/ love relationship a good general instils in their soldiers. Simply having soldiers act out of fear tends to blunt their usefulness, and if your own troops despise you, they're unlikely to willingly follow you into combat, especially if they think they're only playing a game.

Peter was too aggressive for this. He tortured animals, threatened to murder his own younger brother, and eventually led a violent military campaign to subdue his own planet. These aspects, while unpleasant, were very beneficial for humankind; Peter was the first person to unite humanity under a single leader, and led it to the stars. But those 'skills,' if we can call his sociopathy such, would not enable him to build a military force capable of dealing with an external, non-human threat. Valentine was too compassionate; she did not have the requisite aggression, and drive to win, to destroy the Buggers. Peter was not compassionate enough to make his soldiers love him.

  • 1
    I also want to add that in the future books they mention the irony that Peter is remembered as one of the greatest leaders in human history, and ender is pretty much reviled as one of the worst mass murderers to ever live.
    – Iankill
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 13:56
  • 1
    i believe another key point, is peter is far more distrustful, and i doubt he would have let them manipulate him in the ways they manipulated ender, while ender had to be trick'd to destroy the buggers, peter probably would have found out or realized what was happening. Ender had a balance in the engagements to try to keep as much of his force alive as he could while still winning, peter would sacrifice more lives to just win, less strategy more brute force as lives are meaningless to him.
    – Himarm
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 14:51
  • 1
    "His brother is dangerous, his brother was rejected for this program because he's one of the most ruthless and unreliable human beings we've laid hands on." - page 122 in my paperback version.
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 14:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.