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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » IMO Xenocide has 2 of the most annoying characters ever written (spoilers)

   
Author Topic: IMO Xenocide has 2 of the most annoying characters ever written (spoilers)
badman
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Qing Jao and Novinha are so irrationally antagonistic I get so enraged while reading this book. This is my second time reading the ender series, I'm about 3/4 through Xenocide now and I forgot how infuriating they both are.
True that Novinha is damaged goods and is annoying over the course of several books, but in Xenocide she takes it to a whole new level.
Qing Jao is OSC's example of the worst of religious indoctrination, and the absolute worst thing is that (as far as I recall) she dies still believing she did the right thing.
I can't recall exactly what happened with Novinha after this book but I don't remember her ever admitting she was being a total b**** either, which just makes reading it for a second time even more annoying than the first. At least the first time you're thinking "they'll realize in the end how wrong they were..." (like Grego) nope...

Please don't take this as a criticism of the book. I just want to vent on how annoying these 2 women are.

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Jeff C.
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I agree that they are both annoying, but I believe it's intentional. Well, maybe not with Novinha, but I don't see her character working any other way.

My only beef with it is that I think Ender deserves a better wife. But then, at the end, I guess he gets one when he essentially gets reincarnated as Peter. Hooray!

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Synesthesia
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Novinha drove me insane. Yes, I feel bad for her, but there was no reason for her to be so perceptually unpleasant. Especially towards Ender who bent over backwards for her, gave up his best friend because of her insecurities and nearly killed himself trying to save their marriage. URG! I do not like her at all.


Also Valentine NAGS too much.

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neo-dragon
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My first thoughts were actually Qing Jao and Quara rather than Novinha.


quote:
and the absolute worst thing is that (as far as I recall) [Qing Jao] dies still believing she did the right thing.
Yeah, it may be petty of me but I really wanted her to realize that she was wrong at some point and have to live with it. The fact that she died with a smile on her face thinking that she "did it right" still irks me.

But of course, for all we know she was right and the gods are real and she did exactly what they wanted her to...

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badman
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Quara is just misguided, Novinho is actually a poisonous bitch
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TJ
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I completely agree about both of them, and Quara to boot. Who does OSC hate so much that he would base these characters on them?
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Scott R
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Hm...

There are reasons that Novinha acted the way she did toward Ender. Firstly, Jane; in the end, it was Jane, not Novinha, who Ender trusted and relied on most. It's difficult enough for a spouse to get along with the other spouse's friends; but when the other spouse insists on wearing that friend in his ear, and talking to her all the time? And when the friendship is THOUSANDS of years old?

Andrew Wiggin may not be an adulterer by physical standards; but by emotional ones, a good argument can be made that he was unfaithful.

Secondly, to a certain extent Ender is responsible for the death of Esteban. He *did* encourage Novinha's son to reach out to Warmaker, after all; essentially signing his death warrant.

Lastly, who was Ender's image of a perfection? NOT Novinha, his wife-- but Valentine.

How much do you people expect a wife to take? She's being cheated on, he killed her child, and it's revealed that he really DOESN'T think the world of her.

Of course she's ticked off.

(I'm not fond of Novinha either, but try to show some understanding. Ender loves her, for all of that.)

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Synesthesia
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I'm trying to, but she's like one of those people you try to feel empathy towards, but then they do something that is rather asinine and you get frustrated, but then you think, aw poor her, but she proceeds to make her mattress out of rocks and lays there going, ARG! This bed is so HARD.
Plus, it was unfair of her to blame Ender and expect him to protect her from all of that. Esteban WANTED to be a martyr. He probably was like, YAY! I'm going to get sainted for this. He made his choice, and Ender would have had to tie him up to make him not make that choice and most people hate being tied up.

I'm probably a bit jealous of a fictional character for having such a nice man and mad at her for being so mean to him and not being as good a wife as he was a husband to her.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
not being as good a wife as he was a husband to her.

Except that as Scott so ably pointed out, he WASN'T so wonderful a husband.

Imperfect, flawed, HUMAN people deserve to be loved too.

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neo-dragon
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How was Ender at all responsible for Quim's death? Quim was a grown man. Was Ender supposed to club him and tie him up? Quim made it very clear that nothing short of physical restraint would stop him. If a man joins the army and dies in the line of duty, do you say that his dad is to blame for not stopping him? More likely you commend his parents for raising such a brave son. Even Novinha herself eventually admits that Ender did nothing wrong as far as Quim was concerned.

As for creating Young Val, you can't blame a man for his subconscious. Novinha might very well have created Libo if she went Outside. He was her first love during a time when she was a much less damaged person, after all.

Ender was as good a husband to Novinha as was possible for him, but Novinha eventually lashes out at people who love her for the simple crime of not being perfect, where perfection is defined as doing exactly what she wants them to.

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Scott R
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quote:
Ender was as good a husband to Novinha as was possible for him,
He really wasn't. He was a terrific father, but there were elements in his marriage that he absolutely failed at-- specifically, he was unable to give up Jane, even after Jane had moved on to Miro.

quote:
Novinha eventually lashes out at people who love her for the simple crime of not being perfect, where perfection is defined as doing exactly what she wants them to.
Yes-- she's a human character, after all. And for most of her life, she was used to keeping people at an emotional arm's length. It scarred her. Andrew was just as broken, because it was that scarring that attracted him to her.

quote:
How was Ender at all responsible for Quim's death?
IIRC, he encouraged Esteban to go to Warmaker. Novinha-- right or wrong-- saw that as contributing to his death.
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neo-dragon
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*CotM SPOILERS*


Ender actually did give up Jane onece he realized that she was a problem. It honestly never occurred to him that Novinha had a problem with their relationship, and he in fact assumed that it was Valentine that she was jealous of. Ender's only failing there was ignorance which could have been avoided if in 30 years Novinha had actually said anything rather than let it fester.

You have to remember that as understanding as Ender was, the only people he had had close relationships with before Novinha were his own sister, Jane, and one could say the Hive Queen. It's sort of understandable that he would make certain mistakes as a husband. Tell me, what kind of wife was Novinha?

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TJ
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quote:
Originally posted by neo-dragon:
Tell me, what kind of wife was Novinha?

According to all of the evidence we have; a horrible, horrible wife.
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badman
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quote:
How much do you people expect a wife to take? She's being cheated on, he killed her child, and it's revealed that he really DOESN'T think the world of her.
Jane was born from the philotic connections between the hive queen, and ender's own mind via the fantasy game. In this respect she is more like Ender's daughter. Ender's contact with Jane was fleeting in the years between speaker for the dead and xenocide anyway, maybe once every few weeks. Also if it bothered Novinha that much, she could have...I dunno...mentioned it? Before totally blowing her stack? Cheating? I guess it's arguable, but not even close imo.

Ender killed Esteban? Out of all her children Ender had the least influence over him, he was a fully grown man and Novinha had as much if not more influence to stop him leaving than Ender did. He was intent on going so Ender supported him. Something his mother could never do. He killed her son? Absolutely laughable.

It is revealed Ender thinks Jane not Novinha is perfect after she has put him through all this shit, so it's hardly surprising. He doesn't think the world of her after all this? Obviously not.

I realise you are trying to make a counter argument, a devil's advocate as it were, but the fact is I know all that stuff and she's still totally annoying, I don't sympathise with her side of it whatsoever. Her petulant responses to situations make her even worse. Like sealing off her own work, going off to a nunnery, only thinking about her own problems when the fate of the world and possibly whole human race are at stake etc. She reacts so badly to losing her son, then deliberately distances herself from the rest of her family. Maybe this is to cope with further disappointment, or maybe it because she only wants to love and be loved on HER terms and will not accommodate anything else. Whatever her particular mental disorder is, it annoys the hell out of me.

Yes she is a flawed, human character, as is Ender, he does not annoy me, she does. Her actions are deliberately childish, ignorant and completely selfish and I hate her.

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Synesthesia
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True this. Also, Jane was like his mind child. Why be jealous of her? She didn't have a body or anything. Ender nearly killed himself trying to be a better husband and nearly killed Jane to, who was the key to everything. She should have tried to be a bit less prickly. And he was better than her first husband who was rather cruel to her and she kept thinking she deserved it.
No matter what that speech of Valentine that I hate so much once I noticed what she was saying was, that fellow was NOT good for the kids. It's not good for a spouse to be abusive towards his spouse even if she is cheating and such. It hurts the kids.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Everyone is broken one way or another, the trick is to find a spouse who's broken, jagged pieces fulfill a void in your own brokenness.

Novinha was just the exact unforgiving, hurtful bitch that Ender wanted her to be. He never forgave himself for any of his own sins, but couldn't punish himself nearly enough by simply removing himself from humanity, so he joined back in and found the whip who would punish him and married her.

Novinha believed that her love was poison, and she hurt all those around her, and found in Ender the always reasonable, always forgiving balm she needed.

They are both broken, but together they get to be broken for each other.

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TJ
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I think the more important point isn't that Novinha, Quara and Qing Jao are irritating and difficult (everyone knows that), but that they are so one-dimensional that they are not believable characters.
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Synesthesia
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Broken for each other? That does not sound healthy...
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neo-dragon
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I think that what Stone_Wolf_ means is finding someone who is complementary to yourself. That is, someone who strengthens your weak spots as you do the same for them. It sounds much healthier than being with someone who just compounds your failings.
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Jeff C.
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I don't really think Quing Jao died happy. Her final words were "Mother, father. Did I do it right?"

That tells me she was uncertain, and uncertainty is like a poison. She died with that poison, eating at the back of her conscience because she really didn't know what she was doing and part of her knew she'd done something wrong. It also tells me that even though she died an old woman, she was really still a child, pursuing childish dreams. All she wanted was her parent's approval, and she never got it. She was a sad character, plain and simple, but at least in the end she inspired her world to believe in something again, and that's worth a thing or two, even if she was wrong.

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neo-dragon
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After speaking those words she smiled and died peacefully. I take that to mean that she probably had some delusion that her parents granted her their approval and thus in her mind validated all she had done.

In other words, she learned nothing.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Everyone is broken one way or another, the trick is to find a spouse who's broken, jagged pieces fulfill a void in your own brokenness.

Agreed.
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Emreecheek
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TJ,

I actually think that the reason that the characters in question are so annoying is that they aren't one-dimensional. I've read books with characters that were meant to be annoying, and I steeled myself to be annoyed and moved on. With so many of OSC's characters, he gets us to so very-nearly sympathize with them, and then have them do horrible things that we partway understand to the nice people that we do like.

I completely believed the characters he wrote.

I also really, really hated some of them. And that's something that arose because they were so well-written.

On an unrelated note, I agree about the recent interpretation of events concerning Qing Jao. Qing Jao died questioning things. She died in a really pathetic way, too. Kind of broke my heart, for all I didn't like her that much. (I found her significantly less annoying than Novinha)

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scifibum
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Novinha is completely infuriating. So are a lot of real people. I thought the reasons for Novinha's behavior were just about as good as any of the discernible motivations for other characters I've read about. She had a tragic life, and she couldn't handle it very well. (She could have been different - someone who could heal faster, someone who could let reason dominate her emotions - but then the plot would have to be different too. [Wink] )

Qing Jao was also infuriating but it's important to realize she was literally bred and trained to be the way she was. Her life was one of duty and misery. It's hard to be too angry at someone for being exactly what they are meant to be.

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kmbboots
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Yeah. But that doesn't mean you want to spend time with them.
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Emreecheek
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But then the book is in your hands, and your afraid to skip any of the bits from their point of view for fear of not finding out what philotes are.
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kmbboots
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Yeah. So not worth it.
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Stone_Wolf_
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To be honest I am vastly disappointed with the sequels to Speaker (Xeno and Children are definitely direct sequels to Speaker, not EG). EG and Speaker where such wonderful books which truly impacted my life, as well as being just amazing writing. Xenocide and Children of the Mind fall far short, in many way, and also took Ender in a direction I would he rather not...*shrug*
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mr_porteiro_head
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That's pretty common.
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Scott R
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Xenocide is one of my favorite books; I liked it a lot more than Ender's Game or Speaker for the Dead.
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Emreecheek
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So Scott is a freak.

[Wink]

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Emreecheek:
So Scott is a freak.

[Wink]

Yeah. Duh. [Big Grin]
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Hobbes
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Xenocide is one of my favorite books; I liked it a lot more than Ender's Game or Speaker for the Dead.

Same here. I think it's my favorite 'true' sci-fi book by OSC. I'm not sure how I'm defining that exactly, but it leaves Hart's Hope and Songmaster out of it.

Hobbes [Smile]

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0Megabyte
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Do we really need to bring out the XKCD strip for this? I believe it may be time.
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rivka
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This one?

Or this one?

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Hobbes
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Heh, that one (the first one) always bothered me for that reason. Though I think part of the reason I like Xenocide most is that due to availability from the library I read it before Speaker for the Dead.

Also, I liked the Qing Jao story. She might have been frustrating but I also found her incredibly realistic.

Hobbes [Smile]

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kmbboots
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And dull.
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Scott R
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I think it's everything about the Qing Jao story that works for me-- not just her. It's Wang-Mu, and her father, and the history of Path, and all the interactions she has...I found them all riveting. The story of the father who lies to his daughter because of a promise he hated to make but made anyway for his beloved, dying wife...

That's great story-telling, to me. The tragedy of Qing Jao going throughout the rest of her life, tracing lines to call the gods, and the misinterpretation of her devotion by the people of Path...it's some of the most tragic and heart wrenching story-telling ever. I love it.

The scene where Grego incites the crowd, and Olhado's son pushes them over the top; where Quim and Warmaker meet and talk religion; where Valentine recruits Olhado and his family; where Ender retrieves Quim's body from Warmaker; where Ender describes what makes a good God to Qing Jao; all some of my favorite scenes in literature.

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kmbboots
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Hey. Different things for different people. Good thing we aren't all the same.
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Scott R
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I just finished listening to Peter Watts's "The Things" on EscapePod.

Apparently, it's NOT a good thing we aren't all the same.

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kmbboots
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I like Peter Watts, but it is a good thing that we don't actually live in his mind. [Wink]
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Karly Rose
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I agree (with all of the earlier points. xD)

Novinha irritated me so much. Why would she leave Ender for something he didn't do? And adopt a lifestyle that completely DID NOT suit her?
She is so stubborn...

Qing Jao irritated me for other reasons. Her naivete, her non willingness to accept change... It's infuriating. But understandable in some respects.

Don't we all resist change in one thing or another? Perhaps not as drastically... but put yourself in her shoes.

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docmagik
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Xenocide remains one of my favorite books--for a long part of my life, it was my favorite book, period.

I never put Gloriously Bright into the same catgory as Novinha. I hate Novinha, but adore Gloriously Bright.

And the idea that's she's one dimensional makes my jaw drop. Not saying you didn't see her that way, TJ--you obviously did. She just didn't seem that way to me at all.

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T:man
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I have never read Xenocide a second time.

I finished it just to say I finished it, but I've never picked it up again.

I don't remember finding Novinha as annoying as Qing Jao, I always felt that she at least had some depth to her, reasons she was such a bitch.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I stopped reading Xenocide halfway through the first time, only picking it back up and starting over when Children of the Mind came out...I've reread the whole series once or twice since then...but I've read EG and Speaker about once a year or so.

Xenocide and CotM are just so...alien to me. They don't feel like home.

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Emreecheek
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I think it's everything about the Qing Jao story that works for me-- not just her. It's Wang-Mu, and her father, and the history of Path, and all the interactions she has...I found them all riveting. The story of the father who lies to his daughter because of a promise he hated to make but made anyway for his beloved, dying wife...

That's great story-telling, to me. The tragedy of Qing Jao going throughout the rest of her life, tracing lines to call the gods, and the misinterpretation of her devotion by the people of Path...it's some of the most tragic and heart wrenching story-telling ever. I love it.

The scene where Grego incites the crowd, and Olhado's son pushes them over the top; where Quim and Warmaker meet and talk religion; where Valentine recruits Olhado and his family; where Ender retrieves Quim's body from Warmaker; where Ender describes what makes a good God to Qing Jao; all some of my favorite scenes in literature.

I loved all of those scenes as well.

I also loved the part of HP7 where they wandered in the woods. So, take that with a grain of salt.

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salcedocine
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I love the XKCD on Xenocide posted by Rivka.

I'm one of seven! Or am I? Anyone else who finds Xenocide to be his/her favorite book of the series?

Besides Novinha (who I think we all hate so much because she hurts a character we love), I actually really liked Qing Jao precisely because she was complex and conflicted. What "gets" me most about Xenocide though are the conversations between the Hive Queen and Human.

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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by salcedocine:
I love the XKCD on Xenocide posted by Rivka.

I'm one of seven! Or am I? Anyone else who finds Xenocide to be his/her favorite book of the series?

Besides Novinha (who I think we all hate so much because she hurts a character we love), I actually really liked Qing Jao precisely because she was complex and conflicted. What "gets" me most about Xenocide though are the conversations between the Hive Queen and Human.

Xenocide has always been my favorite.

And to add to the OP-- I loved Novinha in Speaker. Then she just got stupid and annoying and anyone who hurts Ender I want to slap.

I hated Qing Jao for what she did, but the story of her character was good. She wasn't supposed to be loved. She was supposed to be a complex character who did bad things for good reasons. And in that she succeeded. And I did find that the final "God Whispers" chapter with her was very moving. She wasn't evil. Just misled by her upbringing and her pride.

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salcedocine
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In a way, Qing Jao's logic even made sense, if you saw it entirely from her eyes. That's the beauty of most of Card's characters, you can see the world from their point of view and it's not "good" or "evil". Except with Achilles, I always thought he was too over-the-top evil - not as human as all other Ender "villains".
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Damon
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quote:
Originally posted by TJ:
I think the more important point isn't that Novinha, Quara and Qing Jao are irritating and difficult (everyone knows that), but that they are so one-dimensional that they are not believable characters.

This.

For all of OSC's strengths, he can't write women.

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