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Books of Ember (series of books and movie)

Last modified: 2016-03-19 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: ember | grid | sparks | light bulb | hydroelectric generator | lightning bolts |
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Introduction

The People of Sparks, by Jeanne DuPrau, 2004. ISBN 0-375-92824-3. Intended for young readers (c. 10-15 years old), it is the sequel to The City of Ember, a post-apocalyptic novel about an escape from an underground refuge city. In The People of Sparks, the Ember escapees come upon, are taken in by, and come into conflict with, the people of the town of Sparks (quite possibly a reference to Sparks, Nevada, since in the book The People of Sparks one character journeys over mountains to the ruins of a great city on a bay, clearly San Francisco).
Ben Carnehl, 2 November 2009

City of Ember was adapted into a film in 2008. (Good art design, but otherwise listless.) In it, the city has [a different flag,] a kind of banner or banners.
Eugene Ipavec, 30 December 2009

Ember city

City flag (books)

[Ember city flag]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 January 2010

The book The People of Sparks mentions a flag for Ember, and when it is unfurled, it prompts the people of Sparks to design a flag of their own. The sections that describe the flags also include some thoughts on the purpose and meaning of flags:

One of Tick's ideas was to hoist the flag of Ember over the Pioneer Hotel… Doon didn't really see the point of flying Ember's flag over the hotel — everyone knew that it was the people of Ember who lived there — but he helped with the project, sawing the limbs off a tall, thin tree to make a flagpole. Soon the flag of Ember, deep blue with a yellow grid, flapped above the Pioneer.
Beautiful,' said Tick, gazing up at it. He turned to the people gathered arond him. 'We have to show them,' he said, 'that we're proud of being the people of Ember. They have all the advantages right now… But we can't let any of that matter. If we want them to respect us, we have to respect ourselves.

(from pp. 137-138 of The People of Sparks)
Ben Carnehl, 2 November 2009

I would guess this is probably meant as a depiction of the city lights of Ember amid the subterranean darkness.
Eugene Ipavec, 31 December 2009

City banner (movie)

[Ember city banner]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 January 2010

In the 2008 film City of Ember, the city has [a different flag,] a kind of banner or banners, seen in the mayor's office and hanging from its balcony; dark-red or silver velvet, with the seal of Ember in gold. The seal is an Art-Deco-ish design centered on a light bulb, surrounded by a hydroelectric generator and lightning bolts; it can be seen here, as well as on the mayor's chain of office.
Eugene Ipavec, 30 December 2009

The gold-seal-on-red banner: (from memory, so may be off; I think there was also a silver-on-silver version.
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 January 2010

In the film at least, the hydroelectric generator is the "heart" of the city, the only think keeping the darkness at bay — there is almost a secular cult around it.
Eugene Ipavec, 31 December 2009

(I prefer the flag as described in the book, but who is to say the film people bothered with reading the sequel?)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 30 December 2009

Sparks town flag

[Sparks city flag]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 January 2010

When the flag for Ember is unfurled, it prompts the people of Sparks to design a flag of their own:

Several days later, as Doon was walking through the plaza, he noticed that a flag was also flying from the tower of the town hall. It was black with a spray of orange dots rising from the corner — sparks, Doon thought. He wondered if they'd had this flag all along, of if someone had made it and put it up after seeing the one at the Pioneer Hotel.

(from pp. 137-138 of The People of Sparks)

'I suppose it will make things better,' said Wilmer.
'I'm sure it will,' said Ben. 'We need to make it clear that this town belongs to us. This is our place, and these people are only here because of our generosity.'
'I think we have made it clear,' said Mary. 'We went to all that trouble to make a flag and put it up on the town hall.'

(from p. 208 of The People of Sparks) Near the end of The People of Sparks, the Sparks flag is destroyed. Nothing (I think) is said about the Ember flag.
Ben Carnehl, 2 November 2009

The flag of Sparks and that of Sparks, Nevada seem to have little in common. I fear vexillology will not have survived in that world.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 30 December 2009