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Ender's Game Free Online Study Guide/Book Notes Summary
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CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Speaker for the Dead


Graff and Anderson are sitting by the lake at the house where Ender stayed during his break on Earth. Graff has been acquitted of the charges against him for the activities involving Ender, primarily by arguing that it was essential to winning the war. Although at the beginning of the conversation, he says now he might just do nothing, he later admits that he is the new Minister of Colonization. The government intends to get rid of the population limitation laws (which had made Ender, a Third, stand out even more when he had first been on Earth) and send the excess population to colonize former bugger colony worlds. He is sure people will go, because of their belief that they can make a better life for themselves.

Anderson, for his part, says he prefers dealing with games, where there are clear rules, and winners and losers. As such, he is considering taking a job as commissioner of a football league. The conversation turns to Ender. Graff tells him that the lakeside property is Enderís now, but the boy will never be allowed back on Earth. It would be too dangerous, since people would want to use him for their own means, even if Ender himself just wants to rest. Demosthenes, whose identity Graff refuses to reveal, at first publicly called for Enderís return, but has since retired from the nets. Graff knows she has realized that her brotherís return is not possible.

Ender has watched Graffís trial from Eros. He realizes that it is really his own actions that are on trial, but he finds it odd that although images of what he did to Stilson and Bonzo are shown, there is no mention of the bugger deaths. He is burdened by it all equally. His life now is limited, as the other children return home and only a few adults continue to listen to his ideas. Eros is busy, with the arrival of colonists about to set out for the bugger worlds, but Ender does his best to avoid them. He can not stand their praises and excuses for his actions during the bugger war.

Valentine is among them though, and she is able to see him. She tells Ender that she is going out with the first colony and she wants Ender to come too. Before she left Earth, she made sure that he could never return there, so Peter, who has become quite powerful, would not be able to use him. With the evidence of Peterís treatment of Ender and the squirrel as blackmail, she arranges for herself and Ender to be free of Peterís control by going to the colony.

Ender has his own opinions about the situation though. He does not want to live on a world of the buggers whom he killed and he thinks Valentine is trying to control him, just as others have. She argues that no one gets to control their own life, but at least she has good intentions. She knows he is still a kid at heart and wants the chance to be with him. She also informs him that Mazer has agreed to be the pilot of the colonization ship, and Ender has been offered the position of governor of the first colony. Ender agrees, to Valentineís happiness, but he tells her he is doing it for the buggers, to try to repair some of what he did to them by learning more about them.

During the voyage and into the early stages of colonization, Valentine writes a history of the bugger war, with the final volume of it about Ender. Ender adapts to being a leader by persuasion and, most importantly, learns about what is left of the buggersí world. The human colonization develops as a world, more concerned about what is going on locally than back on Earth. Peter is by then Hegemon of Earth, and people continue on their way to the colony, called Enderís World, to establish further settlements.

Ender sets out with a boy, Abra, to find a location for the new colony. While looking around at a distant location, Abra makes a comment that leads to Enderís realization of why the area seemed so familiar to him. The buggers have reconstructed scenes from the fantasy game that Ender used to play, with the giantís body and playground now grown over but still evident in the landscape. Although at first they suspect it might be intended as part of a plot of revenge, Ender then thinks of it as a way for them to communicate with him.

Abra argues with Ender so that he is able to come along a little farther, but Ender is set on going into the tower alone. The room inside imitates the scene, with surprisingly well-done artwork depicting the snakeís head on the carpet and an image in the mirror. He then knows that they explored and collected his thoughts to create what is meant as a message.

When he removes the mirror from the wall, he discovers a fertilized pupa of the queen bugger. He realizes he is recalling images that should not be in his memory, such as his first battle with the buggers, seen from the queenís perspective. It was then that she realized that humans did not forgive them and would kill them. Ender asks how the buggers can live again, and she once again communicates with him through images, telling him what to do with the cocoon so that the queen may hatch. When he says that he cannot, the same thing will only happen again, he suddenly feels the depth of the buggersí grief over killing the humans.

The buggers know Ender through his dreams and know he was not aware of what he was doing to them. He is the only human they know though, and thus, the only one they can make an attempt to talk to. They used what time they had left to build the place to bring Ender to the cocoon. The queen then tells Ender that, like himself, they did not know what they were doing was murder, and she wants him to believe that they can live in peace. Ender agrees, saying that he will find a world where they will be safe. He takes the cocoon with him.

Once back at the settlement, Ender writes a short book, telling events from the queen buggerís perspective and writing how the buggers now welcome the humans to fill their old worlds. He signs it ďSpeaker for the DeadĒ, and, as it is quietly read by people all over Earth, it sparks a new tradition. Now when someone dies, there is a service at which someone speaks the truth, both the good and the bad, about the deceased person.

Although the activity is received with mixed feelings on Earth, it becomes the religion in the colonies, with each one having a Speaker for the Dead. Peter, by then dying, communicates with Ender through the ansible and has his brother write as his Speaker. Enderís two books are called the Hive-Queen and the Hegemon.

Eventually, Ender tells Valentine that they need to leave the colony, because Ender needs pain in his life, just as it has always been there. The two go from world to world, Ender speaking for the dead and Valentine writing histories of the living. Ender carries the cocoon of the hive-queen with him, looking for a place for the buggers to be born once again.


The chapter confirms Enderís suspicion that someone was manipulating his dreams; it was the buggers trying to learn from him so they could communicate. Interestingly, it is through images of the game which Ender so disliked because it kept forcing him to be a killer that the buggers, whom he really did kill in a supposed game, are able to do so.

This chapter sets up events for the next book in the series, which even has the same title as the chapter. Without giving away the second book, the ending words, that Ender looked for a long time, hint that he does eventually find a place for the hive-queen.

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