a while back, I wrote about Yellow Diamond, and my intent was to present the
character I saw in totality. Even now, when I talk about the Diamonds and how
they read strongly as characters with motives and feelings beyond just hurting
others because they can, I feel like for the most part, I’m addressing
questions about Yellow Diamond in particular.
I hear this sort of characterisation, I think back to these characters. While
it is a very humanising experience to see a character previously presented as a
bastion of unshakable strength question themselves and show a “fatal flaw” or
weakness, it’s not the only way to present a relatable, dynamic character. To
situate this in our world, it’s very rare that people choose to show their inadequacies in the first place. In fact, it
is far more common for people to do everything in their power not to reveal vulnerability.
Diamond is a very complex character precisely because she shows indication of
presenting herself as much more put together than she lets on. And, as usually
happens in real-life as well, it’s not only for others’ sake but also for her
own. In her, we see a character brutally honest, suffering neither formality
nor trivialities for the sake of it. To view her consistently would be taking
her actions into that context, and using that to understand where she stands on
PD’s shattering. That’s something I want to talk about in this post.
let’s get started.
1. Yellow’s relationship with feelings
like to begin by talking about YD as a chest gem. Like Blue Diamond and other
chest gems, she tends to interact with the world in terms of feelings.
Remarkable moments in her life are likely best remembered by what she was
feeling at the time they happened, and her first impressions are probably
marked by how she felt about certain individuals, places, or things.
closer inspection, it’s because the very means Homeworld uses in order to
advance its species is inherently parasitic. They drain planets and have no
means to replenish these resources. What Peridot claimed to find, after
† a deeper appreciation for organic life, was a way to make use of Earth
without damaging said life. And that’s a game-changing discovery, because the
only way for that to happen would be a renewable or sustainable means of using
had expected Yellow Diamond to see the reason and logic of her plan, to be just
as excited about saving Earth as she was because it meant helping all Gems. That was YD’s reputation. Recall that at this point, it was not that Peridot turned her back on Homeworld
because she realised Earth was a better place to live. She realised that Earth
was worth protecting, but she thought the Crystal Gems were unable to meet
their own goals. That’s why she reached out to the most powerful, rational, objective
being she could think of, Yellow Diamond, to help her reach that goal.
was sorely disappointed by that encounter. She realised her hero wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t say she wished for
the destruction of Homeworld. I doubt that her take-away from that was that all
Homeworld gems were evil. There was a time she’d worked with them, lived with
them, learned from them. On her way to destroy the Cluster, the weapon of mass
destruction about to shatter the planet she was currently living on, put there
by Homeworld, she said it was difficult not to have feelings about Homeworld.
I think that’s something to understand about the Homeworld defectors we’ve
seen so far. Earth was a better option for them, but Homeworld would always be
home. For the most part, those who chose to leave still imagine a better life
for their fellow-Gems back home, but found no way to give them that life
without leaving Homeworld altogether.
this leads up to is the idea that all these Gems have strong feelings
associated with Homeworld, and now Earth. But on different occasions, they put
aside these feelings because they felt something better could be realised. Rose
put aside her sentimental feelings of never being able to go “home” because she
wanted to give the Crystal Gems the freedom they currently experience on Earth,
and she wanted to protect the life that was already thriving there. Steven,
more than once, has sacrificed the fear he felt and let himself be placed in
dangerous situations for the sake of protecting others.
The other thing that I want to point out here is how we were led to believe Peridot was going to sell out Earth to Homeworld. We don’t get a lengthy monologue about how she feels or her plan. She just goes through with it and we feel a sense of betrayal, like the gems did. That she was thinking up a solution and pitched it to her Diamond shows that she didn’t just realise Earth’s life had value halfway through the conversation. It was her objective assessment from earlier on. Unlike most short-format shows though, these changes in characters aren’t exaggerated, and more closely reflect the interiority we experience in life.
the other, we have someone like Yellow Diamond, who has had to run everything
in her stead as well as maintain her own duties, and those of Pink Diamond, and
deny those feelings day in and day out. Peridot called her the paragon of
objectivity and reason. Peridot, who prides sound logic above all else when
making a decision, put her faith in YD.
YD couldn’t put aside her feelings about Earth, and the anger she and BD both felt about a planet that destroyed
their friend and comrade, to listen to a plan with the potential to save
something I need to stress because it speaks of the depth of the wound
inflicted by the war. More than that, it paints a more realistic image of YD.
YD is someone trying to be the
perfectly objective and emotionless leader, and most of the time she succeeds.
She is the person she wants to be often enough that it’s become her reputation.
That doesn’t mean the feelings go away. The irony of her being a feeling-gem is
not lost here.
i’m just randomly here to say that that moment in message received where garnet lightening-fast piles all the cushions around the wailing stone and then sets steven on top of it and then stands back all pleased with herself like “well would you look at that there sure is another thing handily fixed by me nice going garnet well thanks garnet i sure do try” is quite possibly the most endearing thing i’ve ever seen a fictional character do