- "Human beings are free except when humanity needs them."
- — Ender's Game, page 35
Hyrum Graff was born fourteen years after the Second Formic War. He grew up on his parent's farm in the midwest with six siblings. Hyrum was fascinated with Formic technology, and used its principles to modify farm equipment. Nevertheless, the farm was failing, and at the age of sixteen, Hyrum accepted an offer from the International Fleet to join Pre-Command School in return for support to his family's farm.
At Pre-Command, Graff's talents at bureaucracy were recognized, allowing him to rise above the level of an engineer. Together with a small group of cadets, Graff successfully stopped a plot to destroy the Ansible and recall the fleet.
Mazer in Prison
As a lieutenant, Hyrum Graff contacted Mazer Rackham through the ansible. Graff asked Mazer about which traits he should look for in new recruits for Battle School, to eventually replace Mazer as a commander in the Third Formic War. Mazer originally was not helpful in Graff's identification of necessary traits for a commander.
Graff eventually compiled messages from Mazer's family, including his wife Kim Arnsbrach. The messages prompted an emotional reaction from Mazer, which was reported back to Graff. Noting the emotional reaction, Graff apologized and informed Mazer that the International Fleet had been observing all of Mazer's actions in his courier ship. Mazer promptly responded by threatening to never return to Earth if Graff was not given ultimate control over finding Mazer's replacement.
Graff worked with the military bureaucrats to follow through with Mazer's plan. Successfully fulfilling Mazer's ultimatum, Graff was promoted to captain. He sent a video message to Mazer informing him that Graff intended to continue communications with Mazer until he found the appropriate commander.
The Polish Boy
Some time later, Graff had become a captain and teacher from the Battle School who attempted to recruit a young Polish boy named John Paul Wieczorek. Ultimately, he gave up on the boy and instead helped arrange for the family to move to the United States under the assumed surname Wiggin. Graff intended to return one day to recruit the boy's son.
Battle School Administrator
Graff was later placed in complete charge of recruiting children for Battle School.
Several months before 9 BX, Graff sired a son, Dabeet Ochoa, but there was some kind of necessity that kept him and Dabeet's mother from interfering with his life. Dabeet was given to a member of the Fleet who was assigned to pretend to be Dabeet's mother and was raised by her. Graff and his unnamed partner were distressed at this separation, but believed it was the best chance for Dabeet to have a normal life.
Several years later, Graff's responsibilities as the Battle School administrator led him to watching Ender Wiggin's actions via the Monitor in his neck. After one final test, Graff realized that Ender was Battle School material, and took him to the orbiting station.
After Ender fought Bonzo Madrid, Graff returned to Earth with Ender for several months, as Ender had given up on his Battle School education. Once his sister Valentine had convinced him to continue, he and Graff returned to space and headed to Command School on Eros.
While at Command School, Graff lied to Ender that he would be using a simulation game to train to fight the Formics in the upcoming Third Formic War, with Mazer Rackham as his opponent. However, in reality these simulations were the actual battles of the Third Invasion, with Ender and his Jeesh commanding human warships attacking the Formic planets. In the final battle, Ender used the Molecular Disruption Device against the Formic Homeworld and destroyed it completely, killing all the Formics due to their hive mind connection. Graff then explained to Ender that it was not a simulation and had in fact just won the Third Formic War. Devastated, Ender went to his quarters and passed out.
Minister of Colonization
Following Ender's defeat of the Formics, Graff was court-martialed for his decisions at the Battle School, with the main case centering on his decision not to interfere with the fight between Ender and Bonzo Madrid. Graff successfully contended in his defense that all of his actions were necessary to ensure that Ender would be able to defeat the Formics. He was acquitted, given a medal, and honorably discharged from the International Fleet.
Children of the Fleet
As the Minister of Colonization, Graff was placed in charge of the newly established Fleet School located in the former Battle School. He once again acted as a recruiting agent, usually choosing children whose parents were in the International Fleet.
Sometime around 2 AX, Graff headed to Indiana to test his son Dabeet Ochoa for Fleet School, although he played it off as a recruitment for an ordinary student he had no connections to. He explained the differences between Battle School and Fleet school to Dabeet and what a commander in the Dispersal Project would experience. Graff pretended that he did not want to accept Dabeet into Fleet School, but was actually looking for how Dabeet would convince him otherwise. Dabeet asked for Graff to tell him the truth of his father's identity, but since Graff could not reveal to him that he was in fact his father he instead told him that his father was a member of the IF and that he had no relation to his supposed "mother". After this, Graff stood up and left, telling Dabeet that he had given him information and a test, and that if he was ready for anything that concerned Graff he would let him know.
After Dabeet was briefly kidnapped by terrorists, Graff communicated with him likely over the Nets, discussing what had happened. At the end of the conversation, Graff told Dabeet that he was accepted into Fleet School. Soon after, Graff communicated with the commandant of Fleet School, Urska Kaluza, that Dabeet would be her best student.
Some time later, Graff received a request from Dabeet to communicate with him over Ansible. Graff opted to connect Ender Wiggin with Dabeet, hoping that he would give him equally good advice.
After the terrorist threat to Fleet School became known, Graff realized that the only person with the connections and influence necessary for the attack would be Achilles de Flandres, a Battle School expulsee who was causing trouble on Earth. He sent a ship to the station to evacuate Urska Kaluza, Dabeet, and the other Fleet officers, but Dabeet hid and the ship left without him. Soon after, Graff communicated with Mazer Rackham and discussed the possible threat of another Formic fleet and how his son would fend off the terrorists.
When the attack had been prevented, Graff had another conversation with Mazer where he discussed descendants, and how nothing compared to having genetic offspring compared to a child that one mentored. Mazer told Graff not to extend his life with relativistic voyages, since he had experienced one and said it was like prison. He also said he felt more of a connection with Ender than his actual great-grandchildren, but Graff said that even Ender or Bean were not the same as his actual son Dabeet.
Several days later Graff arrived at Fleet School to see Dabeet, and used the new commandant Robota Smirnova's request to have advice on school administration as a cover. When Dabeet was called from class into the commandant's office, Robota left the room to give the two privacy. Graff gave Dabeet a choice to stay at Fleet School or return to Earth, where he would not be involved with the Fleet's inquiry into the event. Dabeet chose to remain in Fleet School. Graff then told Dabeet that his mother was an officer of the Fleet assigned to Dabeet, so there would be no reason to go and visit her. When Dabeet inquired further into his parentage, Graff told him not to bother and that he would never find out, though he said they were alive and distressed that their son could not know them. When Dabeet noticed a flash of pain on Graff's face when he disparaged his parents' absence, he asked if Graff was his father. Graff lied to Dabeet and said no, but if he were he would gladly take ownership of him. Graff stood up to signal that Dabeet was dismissed, and stayed at the school for a bit longer to train Robota.
Conflict on Earth
Graff used his role as MinCol to assist Peter Wiggin and Bean in their struggles against Achilles de Flandres. After the Free People of Earth had been established and the wars between China, India, and the Muslim League ended, Graff along with Mazer Rackham convinced many former members of Ender's Jeesh and Battle School Students to become colony governors and leave Earth behind.
After years of going in and out of Stasis to stay alive longer to see the Dispersal Project succeed, he was eventually removed from his office as Minister of Colonization due to nonperformance of his duties. He retired to a spot of land he owned in Ireland.
Graff was a profoundly talented liar, managing to convince Ender Wiggin and his Jeesh that they were merely playing a simulation when they were in fact fighting the Third Formic War. This extended to his relationship with his son, Dabeet, lying to him multiple times about who his mother was and denying that he was his father.
Initially Graff was shown to be an uncaring man who would do anything to bring out the true potential in his students, even telling Ender the lie that he was simply playing a simulation when he was actually fighting the Third Formic War. Later in life, Graff was shown to have become a much more caring person.
- Known email addresses:
- He ate when he was stressed, leading to his obesity.
- Graff was portrayed by Harrison Ford in Ender's Game (Film).
- "I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
- — Ender's Game, Chapter 1
- "For a few minutes there, it actually occurred to me to wonder what kind of a man would heal a broken child of some of his hurt, just so he could throw him back into battle again. A little private moral dilemma. Please overlook it. I was tired."
- — Ender's Game, Chapter 10
- "'War criminal, bully, dictator, and psychoanalyst,' said Dabeet. 'You've only dipped a toe into the ocean of my résumé,' said Graff."
- — Children of the Fleet, page 28