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QUESTION:

I was wondering if you could explain who the shadow is supposed to be throughout the "Shadow" companion novels of Ender's Game. I have had a few ideas, but none of them are quite satisfactory. I'm not even sure if all four books refer to the same person in their titles, or if to different people. I think it's pretty clear that Ender's Shadow refers to Bean, but what about Shadow of the Hegemon? I have constructed for my self arguments that this could be Peter because of his desire to become Hegemon, or Bean. I already gave you my main reason that it could be Peter, I think it could be Bean because of the progression the books are making. Bean spends his whole life in the shadow of others. Physically, because of his height, but also internally as he struggles to find who he really is. He makes a progression standing first in Ender's shadow, then that of Hegemon, in the shadow of death as he struggles with the truth about his short life and finally comes into his own in the fourth book. This is pure speculation. It is impossible to know, until you write the other two books and maybe we won't even know then. But, please let me know what you have planned and if my idea has any merit or if it is completely bogus.

-- Submitted by Lara Hoover

OSC REPLIES: - November 30, 2001

The "shadow" is not always a person. It can also be a person's reputation, as in when we say, "She never got any credit, because she was always in her husband's shadow." Or it can be a dark memory or a dread, as in "the valley of the shadow of death" in the 23rd psalm. Or it can be a forecast of what is to come. Or it can be a way of saying that a person is weak, as in when we say, "The president was only a shadow of the powerful figure he used to be." That's why the "shadow" titles are so fun. They can have so many simultaneous meanings. For instance, one meaning of "Ender's Shadow" is, yes, Bean. But another meaning is that everyone in Battle School was constantly working in Ender's Shadow -- his reputation, looming over everyone and everything -- in which case the shadow is not a "who" but a "what." In short, there will not always be a "who" associated with the shadow titles.

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