I recently watched "Ender's Game" and found the character of Ender's sister Valentine quite fascinating. The film seems to hint at a deeper background for her, but I'm left with some questions about her history and role:

What is the detailed background of Valentine in the movie? Does the film provide any insights into her past experiences?

Was Valentine ever considered or positioned similarly to Ender in terms of the training program or military expectations?

  • AFAIR one of the things that carried over from the books is that Valentine represented, in a fashion, Ender's humanity; his connection to (and memory of) "normal" human emotions and relationships outside of the pressures, indoctrination, and regimentation of Battle School. Most of Valentine's character, and all of her plot arc, was dropped from the movie for storytelling (and time) reasons.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 19 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


For those of us who read the book long before the movie, it is sometimes hard to separate the sources and remember how much is fully explained in the movie. So this explanation might have some parts not fully explained in the movie.

All three siblings were considered for the Battle School leadership programme. Peter and Valentine had both been rejected before Ender entered the program (and the book makes clear that Ender's existence may have been influenced by both their potential and failure as third children were normally not allowed but the potential shown by his elder siblings suggested a further experiment might be worthwhile). His childhood experience was certainly influenced because he was a highly frowned up third and subjected to abuse because of it.

It is clearly stated in the book but only hinted at in the movie that Valentine was rejected for having too much empathy so would be too "soft" and that Peter was rejected for not having enough empathy and was too cruel. Ender struck a better balance having enough empathy to understand the enemy but enough ruthlessness to fight to win (though the school still has to trick him to make this work in the real battle).

Other parts of the sibling relationships are far clearer in the book but hinted at in the movie. Peter is prone to cruelty and tortures his siblings a little (alongside other acts of cruelty). This somewhat enhances the bond Ender has with Valentine as she is sympathetic to Ender and offers him confort when needed. Hence the bond and hence her ability to persuade Ender to go back to the school. His love for her is part of what motivates him to continue the program so he can fight the formics ("buggers" in the book) to save her and the planet. Ender also has a persistent fear of turning into his cruel brother.

Both his siblings play a big part in creating Ender's complex character. The movie hints at much of this but is far less explicit in showing it than the book.

  • The book also includes a subplot where Peter and Valentine are talented enough that while "left behind" on Earth, their internet avatars arise to world prominence and the contest between them essentially decides Earth's political future - reinforcing the level of talent the three Wiggin children are supposed to possess.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jan 19 at 16:19
  • All right, then we’re in sync. What if you were a person who really liked the relationship between Peter and Valentine? Then I’m your fucking enemy, man! I’m just wrong, right? At that point you realize this movie is the way I saw that battle room. It’s a black room in the book and I think, “Fuck this black room! I want to jump out into space and see space. Let’s change the light, to let there be a golden light coming through or sometimes a pitch black battle.” I can’t do that in a black room, so I hope the purists understand that. - tinyurl.com/2u3zdw64
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 19 at 17:44

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