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Literature / The Green Ember

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The Green Ember is a series of children's novels written by S.D. Smith.

In a small community within the country of Natalia, siblings Heather and Picket have their lives turned upside-down after a small squadron of deadly wolves raid and burn down their home. Although Heather and Picket manage to escape, they soon find themselves stuck in the middle of a war going on between the dreaded Morbin Blackhawk and the residents of Natalia who long to seek freedom from his tyrannical control. But as they uncover the secrets about the war, they soon realize that their family name isn't beloved by many, and that their greatest threat may not be Morbin at all...

There are currently nine books in the series. The Green Ember, Ember Falls, Ember Rising, and Ember’s End are all sequential books focusing primarily on Heather and Picket as they gradually develop and become prominent figures in the war against Morbin's forces. The prequel series Tales of Old Natalia takes place a century before the events of The Green Ember. It includes the books The Black Star of Kingston and The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner. The books The Last Archer, The First Fowler, and The Archer’s Cup make up the spin-off series A Green Ember Story. These stories are told from the perspective of Jo Shanks, an archer who only had a brief appearance in the first book of the series.


The Green Ember provides examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The wolves and raptors are always villainous, and most of the time, they're directly responsible for the events happening within each book.
  • Anti-Villain: Even though he betrayed everyone in Cloud Mountain and got dozens killed, Prince Kylen truly does care about Heather and wants the war to end in the rabbits' favor. He even saves Heather from an assassination attempt, and nearly got killed in the process.
  • Anyone Can Die: Downplayed. A good chunk of the supporting cast perish throughout the series, but besides Captain Frye and Helmer, almost every major character survives the final battle.
  • Ascended Extra: Jo Shanks is just another Mauve Shirt within the rabbits' army. In The Last Archer, however, he's the main character, and the book is told entirely from his point of view.
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  • Back for the Dead: Garten Longtreader. Despite being a crucial antagonist in Ember Rising, he's largely absent in Ember's End. When he finally does show up, it's towards the end of the book during the final battle, where he quickly perishes.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: There are a slew of candidates who could be considered the "main" villain of each novel, but almost all of them are either dead by the end of the book, or it's revealed that the alleged major villain was either a Mook Lieutenant or an Arc Villain at best.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: None of the wolves or birds are sympathetic, and the narration makes it very clear that all of them are sadistic villains. The rabbits, however, are scattered all over the place. Some rabbits are just as villainous as the birds; some are villains who are Just Following Orders, while others are a Well-Intentioned Extremist or an Anti-Villain. Everyone else seems to be either an Anti-Hero, a slave, or an ordinary protagonist fighting against Morbin's tyrany.
  • Breath Weapon: The dragon keeper has toxic breath capable of warping rabbits' minds when inhaled and can force them to do whatever he commands. He uses it repeatedly on Heather and Smalls to try and free his horde of dragons to raze the country.
  • Disney Villain Death: Bleston falls into a rocky ravine after tumbling over a shattered wall.
  • Eye Scream: Picket manages to stab Morbin in one of his eyes in Ember's End.
  • Grand Finale: Ember's End wraps up all of the stories' subplots and depicts the rabbits' final battle against all of Morbin Blackhawk's forces.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Morbin Blackhawk is directly or indirectly behind everything going on in the series. Despite this, Morbin has very few appearances in each book or he's only mentioned in certain books.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted. During a battle in Ember's End, Captain Frye strikes at King Farlock's head while Farlock is wearing a helm. The sword breaks, giving Farlock time to deal a fatal counterattack on Frye.
  • Hero of Another Story: Jo Shanks is the protagonist of The Last Archer, which takes place during the same time of The Green Ember and shows how he ended up at Cloud Mountain.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Helmer, who exploded the dam at the final battle in First Warren while standing on it. This turned the tide of the battle, but killed him.
  • The Mole:
    • Throughout all of The Green Ember, many residents of Cloud Mountain suspect that there's a traitor amongst them. It turns out to be Kyle.
    • Ember Falls has two: Bleston and Perkinson. The former is another ally of Morbin who wants to kill all of King Jupiter's heirs, while the latter is a spy for the former, and he secretly killed Lord Ramnor during a raid.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Exaggerated. Every named villain who isn't Garten Longtreader or Morbin Blackhawk falls into this category. Even Redeye Garlackson, who formed an alliance with Morbin and was shown to be a menacing threat, was killed off at the end of the first novel and immediately replaced in the next novel.
  • Not Quite Dead: Ember's End reveals that Prince Smalls is still (barely) alive, thanks to the dragon keeper.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Even though he's the primary source of conflict for the entire series (sans The Black Star of Kingston), Morbin Blackhawk rarely ever leaves his stronghold and lets his minions do all the hard work.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Captain Frye is killed very abruptly during the first major battle against Morbin's army in Ember's End.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: It's pretty obvious that General Flox was made to replace Redeye Garlackson after he died. Both are wolves who lead massive battalions and are allies with Morbin Blackhawk. Both of them appear to be a threatening foe and even a possible Arc Villain, but are ultimately just Mook Lieutenants. Both of them are killed abruptly, and their deaths strike a crucial blow for the wolves.
  • Taking the Bullet: Towards the end of Ember Falls, Lord Rake shields Emma with his body and gets an arrow to the chest after an archer attempts to kill her.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Picket, who began the series as a terrible fighter, after training with Helmer, managed to save Prince Smalls by jumping on the backs of the enemy eagles and falling to impale the head wolf.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Picket started off as a stubborn, pessimistic rabbit who constantly pushed others away with his attitude. After training under Helmer and spending more time in Cloud Mountain, he became more courageous and nicer.
    • Captain Frye. He started off as a colossal Jerkass who openly belittled the Longtreader family and refused to trust any of them. After Heather and Picket prove themselves during a raid within Cloud Mountain, he finally trusts them and softens up later on in the series.
  • World of Funny Animals: Everyone in the series is a fully-clothed talking rabbit, wolf, or some kind of bird of prey.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: When Captain Frye gets too close to Wilfred and insults him in The Last Archer, Wilfred seizes the opportunity to comment on the rabbit's breath.
    Frye: "Ah, come to spy out our military readiness, have you, Longtreader scum?"
    Wilfred: "They have been well cared for, Captain. If only your breath had been so diligently addressed."