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Shoot Straight - Chapter 6: The Giant's Drink

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: Pinual, Alai

What Happens

International Fleet: Anderson is upset because Ender has not only split his launch group into two angry halves but also seems, well... suicidal: he's stuck on The Giant's Drink in the Mind Game and apparently the only other person who kept going back to try his hand at the Giant's seemingly rigged game was Pinual, the only student to ever commit suicide in Battle School history. Graff insists that Ender be left alone -- he's not suicidal, just persistent -- because he wants to find out how the boy fixes the troubles he's having with his peers. Anderson disagrees but then relents like always. Pushover. ;)

Ender: Finally, the Launchies get to try out the Battle Room. Ender spends quite a bit of time moving this way and that, practicing pushing off with his feet, landing, drifting, etc. In a bit of strategical bridge-building, he gets together to practice null-gravity maneuvering with Bernard's friend Alai and they both find out that the guns they have been given freeze their flash suits. Truly acting their age for the first time, they decide to get together with Bernard and Shen and wage a quick war on the rest of the Launchies -- and, in doing so, bridge the group's gap.

Lost the source for this - email me if you have it!
Time for the Mind Game! Ender is frustrated because the game keeps sending him back to the Giant's Drink, this depressing, apparently unbeatable scenario where a Giant offers him two drinks and tells him to pick one. One is poison, the other is not, and no matter what Ender decides, he always ends up dying and starting over. Frustrated and exhausted of the Giant's smug face, the boy knocks both glasses over and digs into the giant's eyeball and climbs in.

Right?

And this is my favorite part of the whole book: The giant falls over and when Ender climbs out, he is greeted by a little bat who is very surprised to see him. "How did you get here?" he asks. "Nobody ever comes here." And then Ender grabs some of the giant's eyestuff -- great word -- and offers it up to the bat. "Welcome to Fairyland," the creature replies in thanks. I love this book.

But Ender is simply not to be amused. Instead of going and exploring Fairyland which sounds like it might be the coolest place ever, he turns his desk off, takes off his clothes (??), and sulks under his blanket. He has killed a video game character, just like Peter would have done.

Or anyone else. Because it's a video game and that's usually the point, even in the future.

Thoughts

- Alai might be my second favorite character and, after spending a tiny bit of time with Suraj Partha, one that has me really excited about the upcoming movie. Perfect casting, nicest kid.

- I am not even kidding when I go on and on about how much I love this bat. I have doodles in my notebooks of Ender holding up EYESTUFF to the bat and his little "Welcome to Fairyland!" response. I'd show them to you but I can't draw at all and I'm shy.

Fairyland bat spin-off, anyone? I'd read it.

Favorite Quotes

When it came time to choose their launch leader, Alai was the most unanimous choice. Bernard sulked for a few days and then he was fine, and everyone settled into the new pattern. The launch was no longer divided into Bernard's in-group and Ender's outcasts. Alai was the bridge.
 
And instead of pushing his face into one of the liquids, he kicked one over, then the other, and dodged the Giant's huge hands as the Giant shouted, "Cheater, cheater!" He jumped at the Giant's face, clambered up his lip and nose, and began to dig in the Giant's eye. The stuff came away like cottage cheese, and as the Giant screamed, Ender's figure burrowed into the eye, climbed right in, burrowed in and in.
 
He hadn't meant to kill the Giant. This was supposed to be a game. Not a choice between his own grisly death and an even worse murder. I'm a murderer, even when I play. Peter would be proud of me.
 
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