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Ender's Parents; Which is the Military Genius?

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:01 am
by pscheyer
I was reading through the Ender's Shadow series this week and noticed a couple of discrepancies between them and the short stories 'Teacher's Pest' and 'The Polish Boy.'

In the short stories, John Paul is carefully noted by Graff to have an impressive ability to read and control people, qualifying in Graff's mind as a prodigy of sorts in the field of Command.

In Teacher's Pest, Theresa is noted to be the daughter of a famously brilliant military strategist, and a careful yet brilliant researcher in her own right.

However, in the Shadow series, the skill sets are almost flip flopped. John Paul is noted as a logistics guy in Shadow Puppets, capable of making sure every t is crossed and i dotted, while his interpersonal skills are fairly commonplace, relying on reflex. This isn't necessarily in contradiction with the earlier assessment, I just thought it was interesting that his character is no longer so good at adapting to and understanding everyone that he waves his hand and they do what he wants.

Theresa, on the other hand, is noted by Bean (undoubtedly the most observant character in the series) to have the skill at understanding people which allows Ender, Peter, and Valentine alike to be so clever at what they do. This is shown when she speaks with Bean in Shadow of the Hegemon about how they raised their children and who Peter is, as well as whether he's worth allying with as a person. This is an interesting contradiction to her self in Teacher's Pest, where she's a stubborn genius who can't get along very well with her associate faculty members and has been marginalized as a result of that and her father's unpopular policies.

I was curious if anyone else noticed these things, whether I'm making mountains out of molehills, or if anyone has any idea of which IFF eugenics programs yielded which attributes of the Wiggin kids. :)

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:03 am
by wigginboy
Card wrote First Meetings, where the short stories appear, after he wrote the bulk of the Shadow Series. Shadow Puppets was published in 2002 while First Meetings was in 2003. The characters of John Paul and Theresa Wiggin were only first introduced in Shadow Puppets so I imagine the short stories in First Meetings were meant to develop these characters further.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:27 pm
by shadow_8818
make sense

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:32 pm
by Darth Petra
make sense
:o :( :) :D :? :? :?

As to the topic on hand....perhaps as the characters matured as people (because they're older in the Shadow series), they changed a bit? Or maybe OSC was lazy. Or maybe he forgot and fudged the details...

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:40 pm
by locke
I've always been a bit disturbed by the implied eugenics in the Enderverse. Especially as Bean had to have an explanation of possessing a "secret heritage he never knew about" in order to be smart/important.

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:53 pm
by wigginboy
*mild First Meetings spoilers*
I kind of agree. I thought it was a bit odd in First Meetings that OSC conveniently had Theresa's father be a brilliant strategist. To me it kind of seems like it drops into place perfectly. As well, in Polish Boy, John Paul is a brilliant kid, but his parents do not seem to have any military grounding at all, just a professor. So obviously the Wieczorek side of the family is academic, but not military. It just seems like OSC tried too hard to make Ender brilliant based on his family.

Edit: hit shift+9 instead of 8

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:00 pm
by neo-dragon
And Aragorn from LotR is only special because of who his ancestors are, and Luke Skywalker is special because of who his father is, and Paul Atreides from Dune is specifically bred to be special, etc. It's not exactly an uncommon theme in fiction. The hero's specialness is often inherited.

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:14 pm
by wigginboy
True. I guess what I was trying to get at, even though it might not be indicated in my previous post is that in EG, Ender is a brilliant soldier and strategist and Val and Peter are brilliant too. There is little mention of Ender's parents and no mention of his grandparents so I guess it was just a little disturbing to see Card revisit the issue and kind of, add things. There is no doubt that genes play a huge role in intelligence and ability. I mean, I inherited my mind from my mother, and I am proficient in all the areas she is, for the most part. That's not a stretch. I guess it is kind of like my disdain for what George Lucas did to The Force in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Suddenly the Force isn't this mystical religion that has a dark side and a good side, now its chemicals in someone's bloodstream. To make it seem better, you go back and change something that was already good in the first place. That's my rant.