On Ender's Game

Mirror, Mirror

By Alethea Kontis

So you’re attending Battle School with Ender and Bean. You’ve signed your name into the desk (and probably hacked into the teacher accounts) and now it’s time for more frivolous pursuits, so you log on to the game. You’ve passed the Giant’s Drink, you’ve survived Fairyland, and you’re standing at the End of the World, looking into the mirror. Who do you see? Ender? Bean? Peter? Valentine?

Mirrors are some of the most powerful objects in literature, and in fairy stories old and new in particular. Mirrors can be used for locating one’s enemy (Snow White) or defeating them (Medusa). They are handy when a fictional character needs to travel to another universe (Through the Looking Glass), reveal one’s heart’s desire (Harry Potter), or get insight into one’s true inner self (The Neverending Story).

Orson Scott Card favored this last one in his famous futuristic fairy tale, Ender’s Game, but it is not only Ender who gets the chance to have his soul (or his perception of it) reflected back from the mirror’s depths. As the mirror at the End of the Universe shows the game player his inner demons, so too does Ender’s Game itself act as a magic mirror, revealing facets of the Enderverse characters inside each of us.

For we are all characters in the tales of our own lives, are we not? We begin in life as the characters of a story begin: unblemished, untried, and unknowing. We make choices—and mistakes—and we learn from them. And when we are  …

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