Books

Characters Who Should Get a POV: Peter Wiggin

Enders Game CoverAs soon as I read about the Wiggins siblings, I knew I wanted to write a post about them.

There is something really interesting about the Wiggins siblings: they think they are the same person, while at the same time, they deny each other.

Each of them known how to empathize with others and how to use it to their advantage. Ender, once he empathizes with a person, knows how they think and can defeat them. Valentine uses it to flatter people. And Peter uses it to subdue by inspiring fear.

What’s interesting, though, is that the reader never gets Peter’s point of view. The majority of the story follows Ender, and when they move to his elder siblings, it focuses on Valentine’s thoughts.

Why not Peter?

Valentine and Ender live in fear of their older brother—which is reasonable since he’s a big bully and threatens to kill them often. They’re especially afraid of becoming Peter, because they know how much alike they are. Ender’s greatest fear is definitely becoming Peter because (1) he knows they analyze others in the same way  and (2) people want him to do what Peter does: hurt others.

Which makes it interesting that Ender wants Peter…to love him? Furthermore, when they think Ender was rejected for the military program, Peter apologizes to him and tries to comfort him. Later, when it turns out the military does want Ender, instead of acting angry and jealous, Peter says to him, “Kill some buggers for me!” Makes it seem like Ender already has what he wants, right?

This gets more complicated when Valentine comes into the picture. While she claims to love Ender and fear Peter, she supports the latter’s rise to power by helping him create political internet personalities Demosthenes and Locke. She regularly converses with him and in some instances, even appears to enjoy his company.

It’s possible that Valentine and Ender have hope for Peter because they want to hope for themselves: all three of them are capable of identifying a person’s fears and using it to manipulate a person to their will. (Valentine even uses this to remove herself and Ender from Peter by threatening to reveal him as a brutal psychopath.)

But I want to know what’s going on in Peter’s head. Is he jealous of his siblings and their softer temperaments? Does he think they are weak? Does he see himself as a monster? Does he think he can’t change? Does he think he isn’t good enough because the military rejected him and ordered for his siblings to be born as “improvements”?

Peter, like his siblings, is extremely intelligent. The best part of Ender’s game is following their thoughts, trying to piece together their mindset. It’s interesting that Card allows us to empathize with Ender and Valentine in the way they can empathize with others.  But knowing Peter would be the third dimension that I’m missing.

Well, there is always Ender’s Shadow, which follows the events of Earth, but from Bean’s perspective. I know Peter comes into the story eventually, but I don’t have high hopes for his point of view featuring much.

If you’ve read the books, comment below with your thoughts on Peter. If not, was there any character you really wanted to know their thoughts? Who and why? Alongside Peter, I’d like to know the thoughts of Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games), Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Cadvan (The Books of Pellinor), Nico di Angelo and Reyna (Percy Jackson/ Heroes of Olympus).

“You didn’t want me, you bastards, you wanted Peter, but you made me do it, you tricked me into it!” -(Ender) Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

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