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Ender's Shadow: Of Audio Books and Political Inclinations

I was first introduced to Ender's Game through the movie at my friend, Mary's place.

It's hard to not fall in love with the plot. It's combined emotions and facts into this perfect mush of confusion. What would you have done? How would you have felt? What was really right?

I loved the movie even as I hated it for so many reasons. Because I understood the "bad guys". They did they right thing. They weren't really bad. They were thinking long term: "Save the world, prevent the Formics from every trying to destroy Earth again."

So I understand a lot of people have told me that the movie wasn't nearly as good as the books. So I may not have as full of an understanding of the Formics as I could. But here are my thoughts about the movie and the Ender's Shadow audio books.

Though one blogger did say she preferred the movie for various reasons, one being there was less inappropriate content in the movie.

Also, be warned, I'm not holding back spoilers in this post for the sake of tearing apart the ideas I want to address. 

Ender's Game Movie:
The movie was amazing. Full of everything I love: character driven, strong plot, great concepts, politics, conflicting emotions.
Plus the movie was super well made.

But the ending message . . . I saw this movie over a year ago and I still think about it a lot.

The government of the story have taken the best of the smart children of the world, training them for one day when they will all be grown up and able to destroy the Formics, and alien type creature that I think of as large ants.

A hundred years before the Formics had come and started plowing Earth so that they could live there. Of course humanity didn't just roll over and die, but fought the Formics and won.

And ever since humanity has been watching the Formics, preparing an army to completely wipe them out. Put your enemy out before they can touch you and you've won without a sweat, is the thought.

And so the government trains the best minds.

But what they children don't know is the video games they are playing aren't just video games. They are real battles.

At the end of the movie, when all of the Formics are destroying, Ender is shattered. He just . . . killed an entire species. And he sacrificed men thinking they weren't real. Yes, he won. But he killed.

As it turns out the aliens probably wouldn't have attacked again. Also, they may not have been simply large ants, but sentient, communicating telepathically.

So, what did I have a problem with? 
The emotions were real. I could understand them. I would have felt the exact same as Ender. Imagine killing so many people. Just imagine finding out the video game you had just played was real. Real blood. Real life.

Real death.

I, too, would have been devastated.

But . . . that doesn't mean the government did wrong.

They didn't know the Formics were sentient. All actions had proved the Formics to be beastly and wanting to kill humanity. If you had a chance to wipe out all mosquitoes, wouldn't you? Why let them kill you first?

War isn't about being fair. It's about winning. There's no room for sentiment or feelings. You have to be calculated, cold, exacting.

Die or win.

It was clever what they did. Using kids who were smart and young and unbiased to win a war. It was wise to wipe out any possible threat. It is not murder to kill animals (at least if you believe in the Bible rather than new-age beliefs). It is good to save humanity.

But their mistake came when they told the children.

Why break the innocence? Why put that burden on twelve-year olds? War is cruel, children are innocent. Yes, it was clever to use them, but his was horrible to inform them.

Many think the government were in the wrong. They should have tried harder to communicate with the Formics, some say. They shouldn't have made children fight in a war. War shouldn't even have been an option.

And while I understand those arguments, I also know they are naive.

We live in a terrible, sinful world. And war is a part of it. And there is nothing wrong with protecting your own against threats. It's as simple as that.

Ender's Shadow Books:
I heard that Ender's Shadow were from the perspective of Ender's friend, Bean. And I also heard that Bean had been aware that the government was using them and that the video games were real, but that Bean had remained silent because he knew they were doing what was right.

So when I heard that I decided to read the books.

I ended up listening to the audios instead as I cleaned houses. This was actually a new experience for me - I had never listened to an audio before, but I was getting tired of listening to only music as I cleaned. I really, REALLY love audios now.

Book One Review
Book Two Review
Book Three Review

My sister listened to book #2  and #3 with me - so that kinda shows there that each book in itself if it's own story. Yet, it does help reading them in order. We are still working through the last couple audio books - I think there are like five or six books in the series?

I loved these books so much. Bean is an amazing, unique character. Super smart, especially when it comes to insulting people.

What I didn't like about these books was the inappropriate content. Wow, there's a lot. When my sister and I listened to the last one we made sure kids weren't ever in hearing distance, because it's just so . . . cringy.

I definitely got a wider perspective listening to the audios.

Though Bean agreed with what the government was doing he also hated them. Because they were selfish and greedy. Or at least most of them were.

And I think that really shows up with how they treated the kids in telling them the truth.

I really love this world Orson Scott Card created. Or more like, I love the characters and love the concepts they face. You can't leave one of the stories without experiencing conflicting thoughts of, "What would I have done in their shoes? What is right?"

I think the only way to be able to truly know is to have deep beliefs in what is right stemmed from God's word.

Because your worldview is really going to influence what side you sympathize most with when you are done reading, watching, or listening.

Have you read any of the Ender or Shadow books? Watched the movie? Tell me your thoughts! 


  1. Oh this movie. There was way too much content in the books which is why I don’t read them, but the good. <3

  2. I'll need to check this out it sounds really interesting and your review is so good.

    1. Thanks! I'd love to know what you think when you do ;D

  3. Yes, I liked the movie better because of the language as well. I know that Orson has received thousands of letters from boys nearly crying because they finally read a book that understood them. So, there's that.
    I haven't read the Bean books, but I have read some of the sequels. And, wow, just wow, you need to read Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide.

    1. His books ARE amazing. I love how real his boys are, and if it weren't for the content I'd just adore all the books. I still plan to listen to those last two, as it seems I'm on an audio book roll for all the Ender books. First I'll finish up the Shadow series though :)

  4. I read Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, as well as watched the movie. The movie was good, if not slightly less emotional than the books and just a bit less heavy.

    First, nice review and it is great to hear your opinion! These books don't get enough credit.

    I think you are totally right -- the government should have wiped that race out. In reality, aliens aren't good, and should get no mercy. And, sure, war 'shouldn't' exist maybe -- but be honest, folks. It does. It will until Jesus comes back. And war is NEVER fair. In today's world, people disagree about everything. War is just another terrible thing that no one can agree on... but it is still true. And innocents will be lost in war either way -- hey, innocent lives are lost EVERY day, without war!

    On the note of children's innocence... Do I think a twelve year old should be in a war zone like the books? No. As brilliant as they are. They're still kids, and God tells us to protect the young. Not saying aliens taking over isn't a reason to have brilliant kids help. :P It's the age old 'the heart of the fix might be good, but how that is carried out can be sneaky'... Ya know? (on that note BEAN WAS SUCH A BABY AHH)

    ANYWAY. In no way am I trying to argue because, yep, the books are realistic in the way everyone can have their own view point. As you say, in the end, our opinions should match with God's Word! We can't conform to anything else. Which helps me when it comes to politics and such.

    God bless!

    1. I love your comment so much! And yes, I think these books could be appreciated so much more than the are (which is hard for a lot of people with the content, I understand).

      I'm so glad that you think about stuff like this realistically for how our world currently is :)

      And I'm even more glad you aren't hating me for not quite agreeing on everything, lol. I've had a few people be like, "No, the government was 100% wrong to kill the aliens without trying harder."

      Like they tried pretty hard, I think ;p

      I'm quite surprised that this post has received more positivism than my in-real-life-words have. But that just makes me happy. Yay for positivism ;D

      and thank you for commenting!

    2. I am totally frustrated with folks trying to be friends with aliens (HAHA) sooo... no disagreements there, girl! 0-o

      Thanks for sharing this post!!

    3. Hahaha! Especially when people refuse to love the people around them. Huminty first. ����


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