Competition Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes:
"I'm glad you won. If I ever beat you, Ender, I want to do it fair." (12.66)
To drive home that idea of competition and fairness, here’s Pol Slattery commenting on his loss to Ender when Pol's team had a ridiculous unfair advantage. (His team’s frozen players were becoming unfrozen – which doesn’t seem like a good model for anything that Ender actually faces when he fights the buggers.) Now, Ender is so good that some people think playing against him will never be fair (see 12.177), but there’s still the hope that these competitions could be fair. Except these competitions are meant to be education for dealing with an unfair life (see the previous quote).
Everything they can do to beat me, thought Ender. Everything they can think of, change all the rules, they don't care, just so they beat me. Well, I'm sick of the game. (12.137)
Here’s one of the clearest statements of an issue that bothers Ender (and will continue to bother him): that even though he’s competing against the other boys, the school administrators are screwing with him. They make Dragon Army fight earlier and more often than any other team. Ender feels like his competition isn’t just against the other boys – it’s against the whole school.
"Ender Wiggin isn't a killer. He just wins – thoroughly.” (12.264)
What does this mean? Anderson tries to tell Imbu that Ender isn’t really scary (at least not to people) because he’s not a killer, just a winner. This seems like a slight cheat since what Ender is winning (and will continue to win) is a competition to the death. It’s like saying of a gladiator that he’s not a killer, he just wins… by killing the other guy. By putting this into terms of winning, Anderson seems to hide the dangerous aspect of competition here – that competition is about war.