Bean is Ender’s second in command. The little boy with the brilliant mind who is virtually ignored past a few brilliant decisions and teasing him for his small size. Bean makes some strange decisions through the course of the first book, decisions that don’t make sense to the reader but seem simple to brush aside.
Bean first makes his appearance in Ender’s Game but Card found this character so intriguing that he spawned his own series, which I find arguably even better than the original. Bean is child who was engineered to be one of the smartest people on the planet. He was a failed experiment. While brilliant, he and the others like him, were cursed with a tragically short lifespan. All the other children were destroyed but something made Bean leave before they could kill him. Bean ends up on the streets of a large city, starving and far too small to be useful to anyone except for his brain. The section of the book where Bean is trying to make it as a homeless toddler, never fail to effect me. I usually end up in tears, simple because it is so intense. He is found by a nun who helps him get into battle school, where he becomes the man behind Enter Wiggin, ready to take his place should he fail. While Ender thought it was a game, Bean knew the truth. It never had been a game.
Bean is a very interesting character because he has to deal with very difficult situations that are unique to the experiments they did on him. He also has a bit of inhumanness that he struggles with, due to the genetic manipulation forced on him before birth. Bean also is interesting because he must deal with his mortality at a young age.
I think one of the reasons I find Bean’s story so compelling is that , unlike Ender, Bean returns to Earth and gets thrown into the world’s politics. Ender never goes back home and by the time the reader reaches the second book, everyone thinks that the real Ender Wiggin died thousands of years before. Bean has to deal with a world that considers him a hero, military asset and danger all at the same time. Through Bean’s story we see what happens to the rest of the former students at the Battle School.
For me, Bean is the most complex character of the series. Dealing with his emotions, falling in love, trying to have children, and realizing that he will never see 30 makes him compelling to read. Bean always feels apart in a way that is easy to connect with, as the reader. We have all had those moments where we feel like we are different from everyone else and Bean is the literary embodiment of that. Bean also has to deal with knowing more than anyone ever should and how to handle the fact that no one in the world can see what he does. Throw in multiple world governments trying to sue him for their own agenda, and Bean literally leaps of the page.
In the latest book of the Bean series, I cried when it ended. The end of a hero. The end of little Bean who grows until he becomes the giant. The giant with a heart that won’t support his size.