Best Selling Author

Television Producer and Executive

Adjunct Professor at the NY Stern School of Business

Katniss or Ender: Who Are You Rooting For?

October 5, 2013

From the same studio, two young heroes are presented very differently.

In their respective worlds, both Katniss Everdeen and Ender Wiggin have drawn dire lots:  do the impossible or everyone dies.

Why is it so much easier to root for Katniss than for Ender?  In Katniss we see a hero who is suffering, facing impossible odds, therefore earning our empathy.  Meanwhile, Ender looks like he’s doing just fine (Harrison Ford’s narration leaves little doubt).

We never see that Ender’s childhood is a hellish fight to survive, as Katniss, maybe more so.  But the Enders Game trailer shows us a boy who’s trying really hard to win a war and seems to be doing a pretty good job of it.  What it doesn’t show is that Ender started his life as “a third” – a government sanctioned third child that only exists because his older brother and sister didn’t make it to battle school.

Ender is a scrawny pipsqeek who is hounded by his peers and physically tortured by his jealous brother, and nearly beaten to death by a school bully.  But he gets through that and goes to battle school where he is further tortured and psychologically isolated, all while being humanity’s only hope for survival against an alien invasion.

But all we see in the trailer are some adult officers saying hey, he’s pretty good.  Hope he wins.

Meanwhile, Katniss is being applauded when she sees an old man is being beaten to death because of her.  That’s only five seconds in.

Why does one trailer shows us a hero who’s earned the right to be a hero, while another one doesn’t?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that we will never see Ender Wiggin in a sequel.