Ender is the youngest of the three Wiggin children. Ender has the compassion of Valentine, his older sister, but he also has the ruthlessness of Peter, his older brother. Ender does not wish to cause harm to anyone, yet when he is confronted with a pack of students led by the bully Stilson, Ender knows what he has to do. At age six he beats Stilson to death, although he does not know it at the time. Ender can be a killer like his brother. But Ender hates himself for that quality. Other people put him in situations where his negative side emerges, but Ender always wishes for events to be resolved without violence. His compassion is his strongest trait, and it binds people to him; his ruthlessness wins their unswerving faith in him as a commander.

Ender could be seen as a victim, a brilliant child manipulated by adults into playing a game he never wanted to play, but such an explanation is too simplistic. Ender is brilliant enough to understand the manipulation and knows that it is necessary. In the same way that Graff manipulates Ender, Ender manipulates Bean while he is commander of Dragon Army. Ender is a child in name only, and he represents the best that a human being can be, given the context. There is no part of him that desires control, and when he has it, he wishes only to avoid the abuses that he sees others commit. But Ender learns that in life we are sometimes forced to play games that we would rather not play, and that sometimes winning must be second to nothing else. Still, he manages to retain his humanity and his compassion wins out in the end, as he sets out to repay his debt to the buggers.