Lion is a half-gem (sort of)
I’ve made a lot of theories about Lion in my time as a fan theorist. Hopefully this will be the last one left standing after July’s impending Stevennuke obliterates the fandom in a fusion-powered shockwave of pure feels. Time is a-wastin’ so let’s get right to the evidence.
Right off the bat, who’s Lion’s gem “parent”? Note I mark that phrase with print-air-quotes (also called “quotes”), there’s a reason for that, but more on that later. I’m sure you can all guess who I’m going to say, but I’ll say it anyway: Pink Diamond
What evidence do I have to support besides a derisive Duuuuhhhh…? A fuckton, that’s what I have!
Well first off there’s the giant pink diamond the the horizon of Lion’s private warp space.That’s a big clue, but it’s not even close to the only one. Besides the obvious overwhelming power and Lion’s thematic connections. In addition to being a giant cat associated in pop culture with royalty, Lion has some pretty obvious connections to the two most famous Pink Diamonds in pop culture
The obvious one is the Pink Panther Diamond, named after the pink panther cartoon character who was literally a fucking pink panther. Now, you’ve probably noticed that Lion is a lion and not a panther.
You’ve noticed wrong, shame on you.
In biology the word panther refers to two things: the panther Species (aka Cougar or Mountain Lion) and the panther Genus: panthera, which includes panthera leo, also known as the African Lion!
The second most well-known pink diamond is the most expensive gemstone ever sold: the Pink Star Diamond. Now say it with me, what does lion’s mane look like?
A Pink Star!
Okay, moving on. Let’s talk about Lion’s mortal “parent”
Prior to Steven’s birth, Greg owned a cat while he lived in beach city. It’s carrier appeared in both Laser Light Canon and Maximum Capacity, alongside a painting of a cat presumably painted by Greg and Amethyst’s old friend Vidalia.
Now, I should probably state the obvious: I don’t think Pink Diamond magically survived the war and had sex Greg’s pet. That’s dumb, and unpleasant to think about given that she was over 20 feet tall and his penis was covered with tiny sharp hooks
No, I think Pink Diamond became part of Greg’s cat through a mystical and arcane mechanic known to obscure occultist sects as “cats eating random shit off the floor”
In Frybo Pearl is seen performing routine inventory of her collected gem shards. This seems a pretty mind-numbing and pointless task considering the sheer number of gem shards they must have collected over the centuries. Taking inventory wouldn’t be routine if gem shards hadn’t gone missing before
So suppose Greg’s Cat popped Pink Diamond’s bubble and ate the shards, (or more likely, Rose fed them to him and didn’t tell Pearl) What could that do? As we learned in Together Breakfast, gem shards can take refuge in organic matter (the evil spirit scroll having been confirmed to have been painting with ground up gem shards) and the results can be monstrous all on their own
Furthermore, in Giant Woman, we met a gem monster who who became unusually powerful by eating gem shards and smaller gems like the heaven beetle and even Steven
It’s safe to say that this is possible, but what about the evidence?
Well, we have plenty: The most important being that Pearl never knew about Lion. I don’t think Rose would have been able to keep training a gem monster a secret, at the very least Pearl would have wandered off after her if she saw her sneaking out. This implies that Lion had to have been tame from the moment he was created, which wouldn’t be possible for a gem monster, but would be if he were a cat who knew rose and who had eaten gem shards.
That “he” is important too, since male gems have been stated again and again not to exist (aside from Steven). The show and the crew have been known for being famously progressive, I don’t think they would just have the characters repeatedly misgender Lion if he was actually a woman.
Beyond that however, there are meta reasons that further back up this theory. In the first episode, we learn that the popular treat Cookie Cat has been taken off the market and replaced with Lion Lickers. As far as these things go that’s actually some pretty ham-handed symbolism.
Also of note is the fact that while Lion normally only seems to tolerate people touching him as long as they’re riding alongside Steven. Lion has absolutely no problem letting Greg lie on him in the second intro
Oh, but the funniest thing of all is where Lion’s name comes from.
Anyone want to guess?