"The Champion's name became a rallying cry, a reminder the mighty templars could be defied."Whenever a revolution is taking place, when people rebel against an authority, certain motifs often come to be associated with the uprisings. This can take the form of many things such as gestures, songs, objects, figureheads, phrases or even landmarks. Basically anything that can be used to symbolize a societal/political upheaval. The nature of the icon means that it frequently becomes memetic among supporters of the rebellion. Certain icons, hand gestures being the most common, tend to be reused across media and history alike. The "V" gesture (Index and middle fingers pointing upwards with the rest of the hand held in a fist and facing away from the user) is a symbol in the V (1983) miniseries, was used to represent the anti-war movement of The '60s, and also stood for the Victory of the Allies in World War II. Because the icon is usually something that is fairly innocuous, it can be displayed openly amongst rebels as a subversive sort of "Screw you" to the people in power. Only in the most Orwellian of societies is this ever punished. Compare Graffiti of the Resistance.
— Varric, Dragon Age II
open/close all folders
Anime And Manga
- The Black Knights of Code Geass use a corrupt Geass Symbol.
- The protagonist deliberately styles himself as ZERO!
- Gundam provides several examples:
- Victory Gundam: By this point in time for the UC universe, Gundams as a whole are a symbol of resistance. Which is why the League Militaire's modeled their mobile suits to be either Gundams or Gundam look a likes.
- Gundam Wing: The Gundams themselves become a symbol of Colonial Resistance.
- Gundam 00, where Gundams become synonymous with Celestial Being.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeon's emblem.
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: The Zeta Gundam itself is AEUG's symbol of defiance against the corrupt Titans.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Kudelia Aina Berstein actively tries to become this, and becomes known as "The Maiden of Revolution". She favors diplomacy and reform over open warfare, though.
- From Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: The Team (Dai-)Gurren symbol and flag.
- From Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the Laughing Man's logo.
- The David connected with the people of Florence because they saw David's confidence in the face of mighty Goliath as a bar set for them in their struggle to maintain Florence's independence from the rest of Italy. It also helps that the David's Roman influence helped connect it to Florence's ideal of the Republic, which Florentines thought was in jeopardy from Italian tyranny. For a long time, the statue was placed in public before the Palazzo Vecchio. Today a replica stands there while the real one was moved indoors to protect it in 1873.
- V for Vendetta has wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and the "V" in general. V himself is both rebellion and icon.
- Invoked by the campaign of The Smiler in Transmetropolitan. While campaigning to be president, he has his campaign manager Vita, who is also the most visible, decent, and publicly admired member of his campaign, become this as they campaign against the current highly corrupt and widely hated President. It even goes to the extent of having her adopt the buns on the side of the head hairstyle of Princess Leia from Star Wars to get people subconsciously thinking of her as fighting against the Evil Empire. She later lampshades this to Spider.
Vita: That haircut was all cultural buttonpushing... made me look tough and smart, but also the underdog, fighting an evil empire as best I can.
Film - Live Action
- Star Wars: the Rebel Alliance's emblem.
- In the prequels, Count Dooku serves as the figurehead of the rebel Separatists.
- According to The Force Unleashed video game, the emblem belongs to the House of Marek and adopted by the Rebels after Galen Marek (AKA Starkiller) gives his life to save them from the Emperor and Darth Vader.
- After the Continuity Reboot, Star Wars Rebels gave a new origin for the emblem as a creation of rebel artist Sabine Wren, who based it on a phoenix as a symbol of the rebel alliance rising from the ashes of their defeats, burning despite the Empire's attempts to stamp it out.
- The Hunger Games: The mockingjay pin, and eventually Katniss Everdeen herself.
- In the Bas-Lag Cycle:
- In Perdido Street Station, Jack Half-a-Prayer is a figure Shrouded in Myth who endured being "Remade" by New Crobuzon's brutal justice system and escaped to become an iconic freedom fighter. Having one arm replaced by a giant praying mantis limb was pretty good for his visibility too.
- Benjamin Flex, the Voice of the Resistance via his seditious newsletter. Although he's captured in Perdido Street Station, his execution only inspires many more people to take up the torch on his behalf.
- The Perpetual Train in Iron Council was formed when indentured railway labourers rebelled against their New Crobuzon overseers and claimed the train (and the tracks) as a free socialist enclave. When they decide to make a heroic assault against New Crobuzon, Judah Law uses golemetry to freeze them in time indefinitely, keeping the icon alive and untouchable at its proudest moment.
- Spiral Jacobs, the vagabond, roams around the city of New Crobuzon and spends his days vandalizing the city with drawings of spirals. This occurs during a time of political unrest, and the masses of New Crobuzon adopt it as a symbol of the rebellion, wearing it on their clothing and making the marks themselves. Subverted in that Jacobs is actually the ambassador of an enemy city and the spirals are part of an extremely powerful and intricate magic that would completely destroy the New Crobuzon, sending ripples of destruction backwards through time.
- In Magicians of Gor Tarl and his friend Marcus start a rebellion in Ar by claiming to have heard of the "Delta Brigade" (named after the events in a previous book where the forces of Ar were defeated in a delta) and scratch deltas everywhere. There later becomes an actual Delta Brigade which they have nothing to do with It's like al-Qaeda - no one group has any interaction with any other group, they just call themselves that and engage in uncivil disobedience.
- The mockingjay in The Hunger Games (or Katniss putting a bunch of flowers on the recently slain Rue).
- Likewise, District 12's three-finger salute along with Rue's four note whistle - originally District 11's whistle to indicate the day's labor is over.
- In the second Inkheart book, the face of the commoners' uprising was the fabricated folk-hero, The Blue-Jay. He was known by his fairness, thieving, and mask rather than his face, but the songs of the Blue-Jay stirred public favor for the uprising without a face.
- In Les MisÚrables, two of them: the flag Mabeuf dies waving, and Mabeuf's bullet-ridden coat afterwards.
- From Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress:
A matchstick drawing of a little horned devil with big grin and forked tail. Sometimes he was stabbing a fat man with a pitchfork. Sometimes just his face would appear, big grin and horns, until shortly even horns and grin meant "Simon was here".
- Rebels against the Lunar Authority wore red caps called Liberty Caps. Heinlein got the idea from the French Revolution example in Real Life below.
- The "Simon Jester" symbol, which was used with anti-Lunar Authority graffiti.
- In the Daughter of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce, the symbol for the cultural uprising of an ethnic group enslaved and kept on the bottom rung of society was a crude broken manacle: three small circles as a chain attached to a larger broken circle. This tiny sign of the underground rebellion could be seen anywhere—vegetable stands, scratched into the corners of glass windows.
- In the prequel Legends of Dune novels, Serena Butler's infant son Manion becomes the symbol of what becomes known as the Butlerian Jihad against the tyrannical Thinking Machines, after he is thrown from a balcony by the robot Erasmus. He becomes the first martyr in the fight as Manion the Innocent. "Saint" Serena herself joins the ranks of martyrs after she lets herself be taken and killed by the machines to invigorate the masses.
- Serena's grand-niece Rayna Butler is this for the Butlerian movement during and after the Jihad. She herself becomes yet another martyr when she is publicly assassinated by someone opposing her radical anti-technology views. Rayna's Number Two Manford Torondo, who lost his legs from a bomb, becomes another strong symbol for the movement, although it's less about rebellion now and more about (in their twisted minds) keeping the Imperium from becoming dependent on technology again. Manford's followers (especially his loyal Swordmaster Anari Idaho, who always carries him on her back) see him as nothing less than a living saint.
- Boko Berikuka in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story "Walkin' City Blues" is both a nickname for the walking city of the title, and a symbol of injustice for the city's working classes. It turns out that the city is Powered by a Forsaken Child, and Boko Berikuka was the name of that child.
- The short story "Numismatics in the Reigns of Naranh and Viu" by Alex Dally McFarlane in The Mammoth Book of Steampunk is a steampunk-fantasy tale of rebellion against a tyrannical king. Largely, as the title suggests, from the perspective of the coins minted. The coins of the rebel faction are icons of the rebellion.
- The Ralad symbol meaning "bird" or "freedom" is used by the Resistance in Deltora Quest to identify members.
- In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Kelsier invokes this in his rebellion against the Lord Ruler. Up close, he slowly reveals himself to be an outright Sociopathic Hero, but as the ever-smiling "Survivor of Hasthin", he's a Hope Bringer and highly charismatic leader who rallies the masses and whose Thanatos Gambit cements him in this role as a messianic religious figure for centuries.
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones: Robb Stark, for the North. By Season 6, his legacy is still inspiring a new Northern Rebellion.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In a story arc, Bajor is threaten by a nationalistic group called the Circle. These extremists would spray paint their symbol as vandalism or in their headquarters. When a beloved war hero from the resistance returns to Bajor, the Circle makes sure to keep him isolated and out of the political scene, lest he become an Icon of Unity as they try to destabilize the existing government in the lead up to their coup-d'etat.
- V: the Miniseries: The "V" hand gesture, and as spray-painted graffiti.
- In the Enemy at the Door episode "V for Victory", the V sign is used to express disaffection with the German occupiers, with cut-out paper Vs appearing in unexpected places, painted Vs appearing on walls, and an enormous burning V appearing in a field one night.
- The main character in the Green Day song "She's A Rebel" actually calls the subject of the song this:
"She's a symbol of resistance and she's holding on my heart like a hand grenade."
- The red flag in the musical version of Les MisÚrables, having its basis in real life revolutions also using the red flag.
- G.I. Joe: COBRA, naturally enough, has a red cobra's head with its hood open.
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series: The scorpion tail of the Brotherhood of Nod. In addition to their emblem (a scorpion's tail) , the motif includes tank names, their Obelisk's of Light shaped like a Scorpion's tail, and their Temples designed to look like a scorpion. In addition, Kane himself is just a ubiquitous icon for Nod.
- The Wild Rose of the Wild Rose Rebellion from Final Fantasy II. It can be seen on the rebels' Badass Capes and the phrase itself is used as a password.
- Half-Life 2 has Gordon Freeman, who certainly becomes a Messiah-type figure to the ragtag human rebellion in City 17, and the Lambda symbol itself becomes a common symbol to denote rebels and the caches they hide around the city and surrounding countryside.
- The Raynor's Raiders insignia from StarCraft II.
- In Dragon Age II, due to their actions at the Gallows, Hawke's name becomes a rallying cry for oppressed Mages to rise up, ultimately leading to the Mage-Templar War engulfing Thedas. This is despite Hawke having very little to do with the actual reason for those events having occurred, ultimately simply being the Right Man in the Wrong Place, who was forced to use all of their badassery to ride out the wave.
- There is also the Kirkwall Rebel Symbol, which appears throughout the city. It is basically a crude figure of a dragon scrawled upon walls.
- Le Diamant ("The Diamond") and L'Épurateur ("The Purifier"), two famous figures of the alternate French Revolution in Look to the West. While Le Diamant was a figure with well known beliefs that went on to influence radical thought for years after his death, L'Épurateur was an unknown soldier who posed dramatically atop the Bastille with a bloodied, upside-down flag and the decapitated head of a reactionary leader. note They inspired a stylised diamond symbol and a red flag with an upside-down fleur-de-lys respectively.
- In the Alternate History story Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, the villainous Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life gets turned into this by the anti-government activists. Ironically, it started because the authoritarian, far-right corporate regime running America in The '80s tried to promote It's a Wonderful Life as The Moral Substitute to A Christmas Carol. A story about a greedy businessman learning the error of his ways — and a quintessentially British story, at that (the Special Relationship having thoroughly gone to hell by that point in time) — was unacceptable to the political classes, while It's a Wonderful Life was seen as supporting the conservative, pro-capitalist, Everytown, America values of George Bailey and Bedford Falls. Unfortunately, the downtrodden masses came to identify Mr. Potter as representative of America's leadership, and before long, protesters and activists were often comparing the state of America to that of Pottersville, the dystopian Alternate Universe Bedford Falls that the angel shows to George.
- Some continuities of Transformers have the Autobot symbol be their slave brand until they threw off their shackles and turned it into a badge of honor.
- In season 5 of Samurai Jack Ashi discovers the rave that Jack freed in "Jack and the Rave" and once they hear that she is looking for Jack they make a S-salute with their hands while singing a tribute about him.
- Guy Fawkes masks were worn by members of the anti-Scientology movement, Project Chanology. The masks have become more heavily associated with Internet vigilante/hacker group Anonymous, though. This was inspired by the film/comic book, V for Vendetta. Alan Moore himself is quite proud of this, but is slightly disappointed that the inspiration likely comes more from the film than the comic.
- Which in and of itself is rather... ironic. Yes, Fawkes was trying to depose the Protestant Regime... but only so a Catholic one could rise.
- Guy Fawkes masks have also become synonymous with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Amusingly, these masks are copyrighted themselves and Mega Corp. Time Warner has made a significant profit selling them to protesters.
- Older Than Feudalism: the Ichthys was a symbol for the persecuted Christians in Roman times. Written in Greek, the initials of "Jesus Christ God's son Savior" spelled Ichthys, the Greek word for fish.
- The inverted cross is often used as a symbol of anti-Christian rebellion. Generally, however, people forget it is actually the symbol of St Peter (who, it is said, asked to be crucified upside-down out of respect for his Rabbi, and/or as a "screw you" to the Romans, with his request one-upping them in power), and as such is often used by the Catholic Church as a specific symbol representing him and the Pope.
- World War II:
- The Dutch would wear Orange in defiance to the Nazis. Orange was the symbol of the Dutch ruling family - The House of Orange.
- The V for Victory sign - not exactly an icon of rebellion in Britain, where it originated, but certainly in occupied Europe.
- The audio equivalent of the V for Victory sign was the "da-da-da daaa" opening notes of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which form the Morse Code symbol for the letter "V", three dots followed by a dash.
- In occupied Denmark people took to wearing knitted red, white and blue caps; it took a while for the Germans to recognize that their design was based on the roundels of the Royal Air Force.
- In occupied Norway people used the monogram H7 (Standing for Haakon VII, the Norwegian head of state during and after the war) as a symbol of resistance. The paperclip - supposedly invented in Norway - was also used for a while, until the Nazi occupation forces saw through it.
- The Croix de Lorraine (Cross of Lorraine) of the Free French forces, also painted onto walls in occupied France, often in combination with the V pour Victoire. French resistance members liked to sing the Chant des partisans.
- For anti-fascist Italian partisans the song Bella Ciao.
- During The French Revolution, wearing the bonnet rouge (red Phrygian cap) was a symbol of Revolutionary sympathies that later became a national symbol.
- Also the red, white and blue cockade, originally a combination of the red and blue cockade worn by the National Guard of Paris and the white cockade of the Bourbon monarchy.
- Also the planting of "liberty trees".
- Songs like Ca ira, the Carmagnole, the Chant du départ and the Marseillaise.
- There is an Urban Legend about when they announced at the Mexico City Theater that France had invaded Mexico at 1839, the audience, out of Patriotic Fervor, stand out to sing La Marseillaise. At that time, Mexico still didn�t have a National Anthem, and the Mexican audience felt La Marseillaise was a song about heroes fighting for Liberty, and they felt the song represented them better than The Empire France was at that time. It's also important to note that "La Marseillaise" was suppressed at the time by the French government. Authoritarian French governments saw that song as too revolutionary for a national anthem and it would take years before they embraced it.
- The red cap had a forerunner in the red and blue caps worn by the supporters of Etienne Marcel's uprising in Paris during The Hundred Years War. The colours are taken from the coat of arms of the city of Paris.
- For royalist rebels against the French Revolution the white cockade and the "sacred heart" (a heart with a cross on top).
- Later revolutions also used the red flag (e.g. 1848).
- The Libyan rebels' flag◊
- Similarly, the Syrian rebels' flag
- During the Jewish Revolts, the Jews would mint their own money and mark it with nationalistic/religious references as a sign of loyalty to the cause.
- Revival of Hebrew as a colloquial language was an icon of the Zionist cause. That wasn't exactly rebellion as they were as often allies of The British Empire as enemies.
- A similar phenomenon can be observed with the revival of Irish Gaelic.
- The song "Yankee Doodle" for The American Revolution.
- Also the "Don't tread on me" snake flag and the forerunners of the Stars and Stripes.
- Symbols of Anarchism, including but not limited to: the Black Flag, the Red/Black Flag (used in Europa Universalis III, even!), the A within a circle and the Black Cat.
- Communists have the red star and the hammer and sickle, originating in Soviet iconography. However, the color red as a symbol of revolution and/or socialism is much older than Marxist-Leninism.
- The popular song Le temps des cérises (The Season of Cherries) for the supporters of the Paris Commune of 1870/71.
- During the Japanese Colonization, Koreans used the flag TaeGeukgi(now South Korea's national flag) as the symbol of resistance. One of the most notable event was March First Movement of the 1919, when approximately two million people protested against the Japanese rule, all waving Taegeukgis and shouting "Long live Korean Independence!".
- Apparently Taegeukgis also became associated with democracy and freedom as well; they were used in countless South Korean democracy movements against its totalitarian governments(which, ironically enough, made bowing to Taegeukgi mandatory for all Koreans), especially during the June Democratic Uprising in Seoul.
- Keffiyeh for Palestinian, and the Palestine solidarity movements. Wikipedia has a long and comprehensive history of how it came to be an icon, which might be useful to clear some confusion in regards of its image in the west.
- The black, red and gold tricolor of Germany goes back to the barricade fighters of the revolution of 1848.
- The Polish national anthem, originally written for a Polish legion serving in exile for the French Republic.
- The "L" sign used in the uprising that brought down the Marcos régime in the Philippines.
- Sea-green was the colour of the radicals in England in the 17th century. Not to be confused with the emerald green used by Irish rebels against British rule.
- Easter Lilies are worn in Ireland every Easter to commemorate the Easter Rising and the following revolution against the British government. In Northern Ireland, the phoenix is also used as a symbol of revolution against British rule.
- Che Guevara's face has been made the the symbol of rebellious communists. Ironically, it's also been utilized as icon to sell products by capitalism, which Che opposed.
- Ayatollah Khomeini's posters during the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
- The Clenched Fist Salute is still a popular symbol of rebellion. It has socialist/communist connotations - it was used, for example, by Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. In America, it is also associated with the Civil Rights Movement.