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Ender’s Game Quotes From The Orson Scott Card Novel

Ender’s Game is a military science fiction novel from 1985 written by American author Orson Scott Card. These Ender’s Game quotes are from several characters, including Ender, Colonel Graff, and Mazer Rackham. In 2013, the book was adapted to film and starred Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford.

The events of the book are set at an unspecified date in Earth’s future. Humankind is in danger after two conflicts with the Formics, an insectoid alien species also known as the ‘buggers.’ A third invasion is imminent.

Children, including the novel’s protagonist, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, are trained from a very young age. The training comprises the children taking part in tough games, including some in zero gravity. Ender turns out to be a tactical genius.

The novel has been translated into 34 languages and has become a cult favorite among fans. It has also been adapted into two comic book series.

These Ender’s Game quotes come from both the book and the movie! Keep reading through to the end to learn more about the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.

Don’t forget to also check out these Dune quotes from the novel that reshaped science fiction.

Ender’s Game quotes from Colonel Graff

1. “Let’s see how he handles rejection.” — Colonel Graff

2. “There’s only one kid on this launch with any brains at all so far, and that’s Ender Wiggin.” — Colonel Graff

3. “You have a habit of upsetting your commander.” — Colonel Graff

4. “Don’t threaten me, boy, I’m not the enemy.” — Colonel Graff

5. “I want him to save lives.” — Colonel Graff

6. “We won! That’s all that matters.” — Colonel Graff

7. “I told them you were the best. We need a Julius Caesar, a Napoleon.” — Colonel Graff

8. “Well, that does make me feel a little better. I thought I was the only one.” — Colonel Graff

9. “He’s clean. Right to the heart, he’s good.” — Colonel Graff

10. “There is an art to it, and I’m very, very good at it. But enjoy? Well, maybe. When they put back the pieces afterward, and it makes them better.” — Colonel Graff

Ender’s Game quotes from Ender Wiggin

11. “We have to go. I’m almost happy here.” — Ender Wiggin

12. “I find it hard to respect someone just because they outrank me, sir.” — Ender Wiggin

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13. “I need to find out if I’m as gifted at peace as I am at war.” — Ender Wiggin

14. “I’ve lived too long with pain. I won’t know who I am without it.” — Ender Wiggin

15. “Knocking him down was the first fight. I wanted to win all the others, so they’d leave me alone.” — Ender Wiggin

16. “I don’t care if I pass your test. I don’t care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won’t let you beat me unfairly. I’ll beat you unfairly first.” — Ender Wiggin

17. “They’ve awarded me the rank of Admiral and left me to my own devices, which suits me fine. I’ll travel the universe and carry with me a precious cargo. Because I have a promise to keep.” — Ender Wiggin

18. “If anybody has an idea they think is better than mine, I wanna hear it. I can’t be expected to do all the thinking in this army, can I, Bean?” — Ender Wiggin

19. “In the moment, when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.” — Ender Wiggin

20. “I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.” — Ender Wiggin

Ender’s Game quotes from Mazer Rackham

21. “I am your enemy, the first one you’ve ever had who was smarter than you.” — Mazer Rackham

22. “There is no teacher but the enemy.” — Mazer Rackham

23. “No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do.” — Mazer Rackham

24. “No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer.” — Mazer Rackham

25. “Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong.” — Mazer Rackham

26. “And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you.” — Mazer Rackham

27. “I am your enemy from now on. From now on, I am your teacher.” — Mazer Rackham

28. “You will have to win this war one battle at a time.” — Mazer Rackham

29. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes.” — Mazer Rackham

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30. “You will have to win this war one battle at a time.” — Mazer Rackham

Meaningful Ender’s Game quotes about humanity, truth, and fiction

31. Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth. — Ender Wiggin

32. “Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” — Valentine Wiggin

33. “Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.” — Ender Wiggin

34. “What if they could *think* to each other? What if *we* could think to them?” — Ender Wiggin

35. “Fiction, because it is not about someone who lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.” ― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

36. “Maybe humanity needs me—to find out what you’re good for. We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.” — Mazer Rackham

37. “Peter, you’re twelve years old. I’m ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice.” — Valentine Wiggin

38. “Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something.” — Mazer Rackham

39. “I may have used Valentine, and you may hate me for it, Ender, but keep this in mind—it only works because what’s between you, that’s real, that’s what matters. Billions of those connections between human beings. That’s what you’re fighting to keep alive.” — Colonel Graff

40. “I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not ‘true’ because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story.” ― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game quotes from other characters

41. “The enemy’s gate is down.” ― Bean

42. [to Bernard] “Your mother cheated, that’s why you look like a plumber.” ― Bean

43. “At least you don’t have any bad habits.” ― Petra Arkanian

44. “Ender Wiggin isn’t a killer. He just wins—thoroughly.” ― Major Gwen Anderson

45. “It’s the teachers, they’re the enemy. They get us to fight each other, to hate each other. The game is everything. Win, win, win. It amounts to nothing.” ― Dink

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46. “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.” ― Peter Wiggin

47. “Brother. I was cruel to you and crueler to Ender before they took him. But I didn’t hate you. I loved you both, I just had to be—had to have control, do you understand that?” ― Peter Wiggin

48. “Right now is the time when I can shape events. The world is always a democracy in times of flux, and the man with the best voice will win.” ― Valentine Wiggin

49. “Here’s the deal snot. When we go into battle, you will not pass through the gates until all my soldiers are through, then you will remain just inside the gate with weapon undrawn and unfired until the game ends.” ― Bonzo Madrid

50. “Now, the problem was simple: How do you slingshot your forces into an attack position on the blind side of this planet using the gravitational pull from this planet? This is basic rocket science!” ― Behari

Ender’s Game—book versus movie

A film adaptation was directed by Gavin Hood. Card co-produced the film. While the book may have received primarily positive reviews, the movie did not fare so well. In fact, Ender’s Game got mixed reviews from critics and bombed at the box office, grossing only $125.5 million on a $110–115 million budget.

Many people were not happy with the differences between the book and the movie. The film begins with a historical context of why humans are fighting the aliens, instead of the more detailed view in the book.

Ender is also aged up in the movie. When we meet him in the book, he is a six-year-old child. However, in the movie, he is much older. He is also much less violent in the movie version. We also see much less of Ender’s siblings in the movie.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Ender’s Game quotes and lines? Have you read the book and watched the movie? What was the biggest difference you noticed? Let us know in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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