Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a brilliant work of science fiction and an excellent work of literature.  Last summer, Card’s novel finally came to the silver screen.  I thought it was a good adaptation as it preserved the essence of the novel.  Card explores highly complex dilemmas and themes, which elevate his novel far above the standard, young adult genre of literature.  In Ender’s Game, one of the major conflicts and plot strands focuses on the relationship between the two worlds of adulthood and childhood.  The following quotation depicts this within a chilling dialogue section that opens the second chapter.  The two leaders remain unidentified until a little later on in the story.  For the sake of clarity, I label them as Leader one and Leader two.


Leader One

“All right, it’s off.  How’s he doing?”

Leader Two

“You live inside somebody’s body for a few years, you get used to it.  I look at his face now.  I can’t tell what’s going on.  I’m not used to seeing his facial expressions.  I’m used to feeling them.”

Leader One

“Come on, we’re not talking about psychoanalysis here.  We’re soldiers, not witch doctors.  You just saw him beat the guts out of the leader of a gang.”

Leader Two

“He was thorough.  He didn’t just beat him, he beat him deep.  Like Mazer Rackham at the—”

Leader One

“Spare me.  So in the judgment of the committee, he passes.”

Leader Two

“Mostly.  Let’s see what he does with his brother, now that the monitor’s off.”

Leader One

“His brother.  Aren’t you afraid of what his brother will do to him?”

Leader Two

“You were the one who told me that this wasn’t a no-risk business.”

Leader One

“I went back through the tapes.  I can’t help it.  I like the kid.  I think we’re going to screw him up.”

Leader Two

“Of course we are.  It’s our job.  We’re the wicked witch.  We promise gingerbread, but we eat the little bastards alive.”


(Orson Scott Card, Chapter 2 – Peter, Ender’s Game, pp 9-10, 1985)

The Wicked Witch and Gingerbread


2 thoughts on “The Wicked Witch and Gingerbread

  1. gjoelfranco says:

    Did you like the film? I was not sure…The ending kind of saved the film, but the built up was uneven, or is it just me? I didn’t read the book. I still felt a little cheated at the end. I cannot point my finger to anything in particular, just a feeling throughout…


  2. mjabate says:

    I did like the film, but I went in with low expectations. In fact, I expected the movie to be shallow in comparison to the book. I thought the movie captured the heart of the book by depicting the bullying and Ender’s character. What I do think the movie lacked is the novel’s conflict between the worlds of adulthood and childhood. I don’t think that quite comes through enough…


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