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Shoot Straight - Chapter 2: "Peter"

Ender's Game Blog
An Ender's Game reread

From here on out there is a huge spoiler warning: do not keep reading if you haven't read the book and are afraid of having something ruined for you. Go finish the novel! Then come back and chat with us. :)

New Characters: Valentine Wiggin, Peter Wiggin, John Paul Wiggin, Theresa Wiggin

What Happens

International Fleet: It seems those same two unnamed people we were introduced to last chapter are actually observing Ender. They know his monitor is off and seem to have somehow watched the entire incident with Stilson from their location, which... where exactly are they? A black van across the street? Some Big Brother-esque IF Selective Services hub? Wherever they are, they seem to have video-recorded Ender's entire monitored life -- and have been reviewing it over the course of the past few weeks.

They've decided that, while Ender has "passed," they still want to wait and see how he handles his brother, Peter. We know from last week that Ender is desperate for his relationship with Peter to improve, but he seemed almost certain the lack of monitor would change nothing.

Let's see how he does.

Ender: Oh, Valentine. Ender's sister greets him at the door and we can already tell she's as different from Peter as night and day. She takes one look at the band aid on the back of Ender's neck and immediately rushes to console him but her younger brother insists he's glad it's gone. "What's gone?" Peter has entered the building. He's meant to be a beautiful, Alexander the Great-sort of boy, but as he's currently stuffing his face with peanut butter and being a huge jerk to Ender, I'm having a hard time picturing it.

Peter notices immediately that Ender's monitor is missing and, for whatever reason, this pushes all of his jealous brother buttons. We find out that Valentine and Peter had previously both worn monitors well, losing theirs as a much earlier age than Ender. Forget that the 6-year-old has now seemingly flunked out of the program; Peter is simply mad that Ender kept monitor longer. He goes on a bitter tirade and then, seemingly cheered, suggests they play Buggers and Astronauts -- yay, a game!

Except, for Ender, it might be the least fun game ever. Picture playing a two-person game of Cowboys and Indians with someone you suspect has always wanted to kill you and might have just realized that now is his big chance. Peter believes the younger boy is no longer being watched by the Fleet, and since his parents are out, he decides to take the opportunity to put Ender in his place. He knocks his brother to the ground and pins him there by pressing his knee down on Ender's breastbone so he can barely breathe.
"I could kill you like this," Peter whispered. "Just press and press until you're dead. And I could say that I didn't know it would hurt you, that we were just playing, and they'd believe me, and everything would be fine. And you'd be dead. Everything would be fine."
Well.

Valentine cleverly maneuvers Peter into a corner, convincing him he can't kill both of them and make it look like an accident -- and that she'd obviously tell anyone who would listen what really happened. But they can't possibly be together forever, Peter points out, and one day when Valentine is not around, Ender is toast. Jeez, what is with this kid? However, his sister already thought about this possibility as well and has hidden a letter in her secret file which is to be opened upon her death.

To Whom It May Concern: My brother Peter is a sociopathic little creep.

But none of this matters because Peter is just joking. It was all a game, he can make them believe whatever he wants, ha ha ha. "I'm going to kill you and chop you into little pieces and put you into the garbage hole." Please see above.

The children's mother and father come home later that evening and commiserate with Ender about the loss of his monitor which just makes him feel awful. They are clearly trying to put a spin on the situation but Ender knows they now they have a forbidden Third child with "no obvious explanation."

That night while in bed, Ender hears Peter -- how he shares a room and a bunkbed with the little psycho, I can't even imagine -- pop out to visit the bathroom. On his way back, he stops at Ender's bed and the younger boy is positive he's about to be murdered but he isn't. Instead:
[Peter] whispered, "Ender, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know how it feels. I'm sorry, I'm your brother. I love you."
Worst day ever.

Thoughts

- I really am very curious now how the IF was watching the incident with Stilson and his interactions with his brother later that afternoon. Admittedly, I'm mostly excited to see how it's done in the film at this point, mostly because the Fleet logo looks like an eyeball and I love the whole "we are watching you" feel in the trailer.

- Since they were watching, would the IF have intervened if Peter really would have tried to kill Ender that afternoon? How far would they have let it go?

- Here's the big question: in the last scene, was Peter really sorry or was he trying to manipulate him further, knowing he was awake?

Favorite Quotes

It would not be a good game, Ender knew. It was not a question of winning. When kids played in the corridors, whole troops of them, the buggers never won, and sometimes the games got mean. But here in their flat, the game would start mean, and the bugger couldn't just go empty and quit the way the buggers did in the real wars. The bugger was in it until the astronaut decided it was over.

"Ender and I aren't stupid. We scored just as well as you did on everything. Better on some things. We're all such wonderfully bright children. You're not the smartest, Peter, just the biggest."

I know I'm a third, I know it, if you want I'll go away so you don't have to be embarrassed in front of everybody, I'm sorry I lost the monitor and now you have three kids with no obvious explanation, so inconvenient for you, I'm sorry sorry sorry.

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