This game likes to twist character archetypes and nowhere is that more visible than in Reeve/Cait Sith’s dual identity as both the cute, playful mascot and the most calculating, morally flexible member of your party. This is a fact rather than a value judgement. Though his position as the chief executive of Urban Planning seems fairly bloodless when considered against his colleagues, he still occupies an ivory tower, and you can’t build one of those without first killing a few elephants.
There is a streak of frivolity and brutal pragmatism than runs through Reeve, however much it’s tempered by his apparently genuine desire to do right by the people in his charge. He never seems to feel an apology is in order for holding Barret’s daughter hostage. When he has the result he wants, he moves her out of danger as easily as he moved her into it, and that’s that. He objects to the destruction of the slums, and most especially to the lack of effort toward rebuilding, but neither so much as to challenge the status quo. It gives the impression that people can be his playthings as easily as mechanical mogs, and running Midgar seems not so different to him from running a playhouse - something to put in order, determined at a distance from the lives of those most at stake.
This, I believe, is the line along which Reeve grows and changes. He joins the party as a spy, and it’s not AVALANCHE’s mission (simple and seldom discussed as it is) that moves him. It’s the personal stories of the people involved, and their tragedies in particular. Aeris’ death and Cloud’s subsequent breakdown appear to be the point where his allegiance shifts; after his big to-do about the personal sacrifice required to get the Black Materia, witnessing her death at the hands of a monster Shinra created must have been food for sobering thought.
We don’t know a great deal about Reeve’s personal life, but the little we do know suggests strongly that he has not known the kind of suffering or trauma that has been so foundational for the rest of the cast. We get a glimpse of Reeve’s fairly normal-seeming parents in the Honeybee Inn - an amusingly brazen place to send your parents on vacation, but one which does suggest decent relationships all around. His apparent lack of hardship is a mark of the privilege that surely goes hand-in-hand with his power.
I believe his time with AVALANCHE put him in touch with a reality very different from his own. We know that Reeve does care about the well-being of the people of Midgar, but for the most part he seems to care about them from a safe and respectable distance (much the same as how he fights with the party). It’s noblesse oblige, a sense of responsibility to the people in his power. Cloud and company are the ones to broaden his perspective on what that responsibility truly is, and show him what the people are really like.
Never thought about it much, but pearls are property. Every other gem is confined to their purpose, yes, but they’re still considered to be living beings. Jaspers are alive, and they live to fight. Peridots are alive, and they live to operate technology. Amethysts are alive, and they also live to fight. Even if their purpose defines them, they are alive.
Pearls are objects. Signs of status, like money or a nice car. They’re slaves, and I don’t use that word lightly. For Pearl to have come from a place like that, it suddenly makes everything she does absolutely amazing. Every time she argues with Amethyst or disagrees with Garnet, she’s proving that she’s not property and is allowed to have an opinion.
The writer is controlling deity of a constructed world of human beings who make, obey, and break their own laws within that world, and must stand judged and often condemned by themselves, their fictional peers, readers, and audiences in the universal court of Natural Law.
R. S. White, Natural Law in English Renaissance Literature
The abomination appeared to him one day, with a ridiculously oversized hat and an unreadable expression on his face. Anders knew what the man was, it took one to know one. “I’m not.” The man in hat suddenly said, voice far too young for those eyes. “Abomination. The word tasted like ashes and laughter once. Hurting for the hurt, sacrificed for the truth… your purpose denied by she they called Champion.”
Anders narrowed his eyes, trying to gather enough energy for a reply. “You understand…” A satisfied smile graced his lips. The mage breathed easier. One is enough.
“I don’t. I’m not like you anymore.” Not-Abomination turned around, away from Anders’ cell. “And you shouldn’t be either.”