Was Ender the only third child whose birth was sanctioned by the Hegemony? Or were there others whose births were also permitted despite the population control laws?

Obviously, the question excludes non-compliant nations/families.

  • Of course not. "Third" was already common enough to be used as an insult.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 17:33
  • @GEdgar - Not necessarily. It very well may have been made up on the spot by the kids in Ender's school. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 19:22
  • @DVK - His sister published an op-ed stating that the highest accolade is to be "a third". Clearly the term is in general usage.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 19:23
  • @Richard - possibly, yes. Clearly, no. (1) She could very well have been simply riffing off of Ender's personal experience (and that would be my own interpretation) when he was teased. (2) For that matter, there obviously were non-compliant "Thirds", plenty of them in USA. That also addesses GEdgar's comment as well. So this doesn't in any way prove existance of other officially sanctioned ones. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 19:29
  • @DVK - No. I'd argue that (at best) it shows that the term "third" is in common usage, not that there are lots of thirds, nor that there are any other govt-licensed thirds.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


Ender was not the only third child that was sanctioned. From what I understood reading the book, the Hegemony would offer some families the permission to have a third child, however they reserve the right to have that child go to battle school if the third child desires to do so. In the third chapter, Graff. It is mentioned that per the agreement, a third child can be conceived if the the Hegemony allows them into Battle School:

"Here are the requisitions. Your son has been cleared by the I.F Selective Service. Of course we already have your consent, granted in writing at the time conception was confirmed, or he could not have been born. He has been ours from then, if he qualified."

  • 1
    Where in the quoted text does it say that this isn't a situation unique to Ender? Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 19:23

No, I believe it was stated in Ender's Game (or the book of short stories, First Meetings) that he was permitted as was the standard practice when the first two children were promising.

In the second chapter of Ender's Game, after initially losing his monitor, Ender is nearly driven to screaming "I'm sorry I lost the monitor and now you have three children and no obvious explanation," which would imply that this isn't an entirely unusual.

I'm afraid I don't have a copy of First Meetings with me, but will check a little later.

  • Please provide the quote that it was "standard" practice (and not a one-off special case - and we know upfront it was a special case from First Meetings as his parents were paired up by Graff). Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 11:59
  • As mentioned in my edit, I don't have a copy of First Meetings accessible currently. Will do so later today.
    – Jeeva
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:01
  • no rush, whenever you can :) Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:24

Yes, because HE'S THE ONE

  1. The books never mention any other case like Ender (or that what i understand when reading those books).
  2. His birth was sanctioned for the hope of the right one the war need (or at least as close as IF going to get and because his brother and sister have been reject by other reasons have nothing to do with their ability), and back in the past, not everything have been set up from the beginning? In 'The Polish Boy', near the end, between the conversation of Graff and Cap.Helena, Graff so sure JP wont go to BS, so he change plan, still do as the deal with JP but then set up to take his first born (but in the end it be the Third)

    Graff: "...If he marries young. If he marries somebody who is very, very brilliant so the gene mix is good."
    Cap.Helena: "But you aren't going to try to control that,are you?"
    Graff: "There are many steps on the continuum between controlling something and doing nothing at all."
    Cap.Helena: "You really do think in the long term, don't you?"

    And then time pass, JP meet Theresa and we know what happen next

  • #2 is a good argument for it being true, but not proof. #1 is insufficient - you have other canon sources. Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 1:14

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