Pearl Theories (Steven Universe Roundtable #6) – Overly Animated Podcast #150

By: Dylan Hysen


We discuss theories about Pearl including whether she belonged to White Diamond, Pink Diamond, or Rose, and others on this week’s Steven Universe Roundtable.

On this week: Dylan Hysen, Delaney Stovall, Justin Cummings, and Michelle Anderer.

Dylan is a software developer from the DC area who hosts the Overly Animated podcast discussing everything animation.



  1. Mr Makulu says:

    Personally I think that both answers to the question of whether Pearl had belonged to Rose carry some tragedy to them but for different reasons.

    If Pearl didn’t belong to Rose and her decision to follow Rose into the rebellion was purely out of love for Rose, then you get the tragedy of Pearl sacrificing so much out of love for someone who didn’t love her back the same way. Yes Rose did love Pearl, but not in a romantic love, more in the same love she feels for all living creatures.

    If Pearl actually belonged to Rose, I find it tragic because it carries the unfortunate question of how much was Pearls choice to stay actually her own choice? Yes, she loved Rose but at the same time Pearls are bred to be subservient to their masters and follow orders. Yes in Pearl’s memory from “Rose’s Scabbard” we see Rose giving Pearl a choice but how do we know that Pearl had developed enough free will yet to make a choice instead of it just reverting to her default programing of following her master regardless.

    Even her response to Rose of saying “Why would I want to go anywhere if you’re here”, you could look at it romantically but you can also look at it from the perspective that Pearl doesn’t seem to comprehend the idea of wanting to be anywhere else other than by her masters side.

    It’s like the house elves the house elves from Harry Potter. Aside from Dobby, who was abused unbelievably, none of the house elves comprehend the idea of wanting freedom and even see it as punishment. If they were given the choice to stay or leave, they would choose to stay but does that really mean that they do so out of their own free will?

    And even Pearl had chosen to leave Rose, could she actually go back to Homeworld? If she is just a possession (namely Roses) gem sociaty would view her as property, so best case she gets given to some other gem to serve or worst case she gets shattered for simply being property of a rebel leader.

    That is why on an emotional level, I prefer the idea of Peal having belonged to someone else other than Rose. It means that Pearl had actively made the choice to leave homeworld and instead stand by Rose. Yes it was a choice made out of unrequited love but it was still an active choice.

    I think they show provides enough ‘evidence’ both for and against Pearl having belonged to Rose. Even certain evidence can depend on how you view it.

    In Back to the Barn you have Pearl responding to Peridots question by saying she doesn’t belong to anyone. Now on the one hand, it might seem as proof that she belonged to another gem because she wouldn’t be as ashamed of admitting she belonged to Rose. On the other hand, if she had belonged to Rose, it makes her statement of not belonging to anyone true since Rose is dead. And finally you could simply interpret the statement as Pearl casting aside the idea of Pearls belonging to anyone and taking Garnet’s statement of her being her own gem to heart.

    • Dylan Hysen says:

      Great analysis! I think you’re right, Pearl having belonged to Rose is even more tragic than if it was just unrequited love of her own free will (which it wasn’t always necessarily, they could have been together at one point but yeah now it is unrequited) because if she was Rose’s it gets into all the free will stuff with gems. Love your analysis of Rose’s Scabbard, that scene definitely has different interpretations and it’ll be interesting to see which one was “right” when we get an answer on this question.

      • Mr Makulu says:

        Also, while I don’t know if it will ever be addressed, that scene in Rose’s Scabbard where Pearl is talking to Holo Rose isn’t a recording, it’s a scene recreated from Pearls memories.

        While most shows tend to treat memories as 100% accurate unless the story calls for them to be altered in some way, memories in reality are often self serving and change with time. Yes Gems are different from humans but we don’t know if the exchange between Pearl and Rose actually went like this, the broad strokes fit the characters as they have been established but things like the affection Rose has in her voice at the end and even saying stuff like “My pearl” could have been how pearl had interpreted the scene.

        It’s very possible that Rose had actually been saddened by Pearl’s declaration of not being want to go anywhere else if Rose was on earth. If Pearl had belonged to Rose, I honestly think Rose would have been stuck dealing with the doubt whether Pearl was actually there out her own free will or because of her programing. Yes we see in time Pearl develop well past what is expected but the doubt would most likely always be there in Roses mind.

        Did Pearl love/follow Rose out of choice or was it still because Pearls are made to be devoted to their masters?

        Even in that scene in Roses Scabbard with Holo Rose, Rose is almost pleading with Pearl, not to necessarily leave but to stop and actively think about her actions. Rose is willing to sacrifice herself for sake of earth but she couldn’t deal with the fact that Pearl just followed because she felt she had to.

        I think that’s what makes this scene so great, how open to interpretation it is.

        • Dylan Hysen says:

          I think that’s super fascinating and not an angle in that scene that I’ve thought about much. It could totally be Pearl’s memories influencing it. I completely agree human memories are super unreliable and susceptible to emotions. It’s interesting to think about if gem memories work the same way. My initial impression would be that unlike humans they’re capable of storing memories perfectly (since I think of gems as computers), but they can also experience emotions so maybe those can cloud them. Great stuff Mr Makulu!

  2. Sel says:

    The Rose/Pearl ship has never been portrayed as some healthy, perfect romance. There have always been aspects of it that have been deliberately very uncomfortable, with the way Pearl puts Rose on a pedestal at her own expense. SU is a story about imperfection. Any future portrayal of the Rose/pearl relationship that’ll portray it as having an unhealthy power imbalance will not go against what the show has been trying to portray, because that’s how it’s freaking always been portrayed.

    And while SU is all about imperfection, it’s very definitely not a dichotomy of something being either all pure, or terrible because it’s imperfect. It’s a story about the hues of imperfection, and the good things that come from that (if every pork chop were perfect…). The show weaves negative and positive aspects of life together all the time.

    • Dylan Hysen says:

      I mean I certainly agree Pearl’s devotion has been portrayed as unhealthy (that’s definitely how I’ve always interpreted it), but I think there’s always been an aspect of legitimacy to her feelings that it’s hard to see the show going without. Like, I think the show is arguing Pearl’s feelings aren’t maybe great for her, but are important and big. It’s very hard for me to see them going away in the show, I could never see the show concluding that plotline by saying something like “this is unhealthy for you Pearl tsk tsk”, which is what I meant on this podcast.

  3. gurrenprime says:

    My theory is either that Pearl was White Diamond’s Pearl (since they look similar) or Rose Quartz’s Pearl (since she’s so obsessed with her).
    Also, the Rose Quartz is Pink Diamond theory does not make any sense anymore: we know what Quartz gems look like (via Jasper and the ones we saw in The Answer), and we know what Diamonds look like, and Rose is the size of a Quartz gem, and about a quarter the size of a Diamond. In addition, the Diamond’s diamonds are all shaped like, well, diamonds (rhombuses) so we can assume the same is true for Pink Diamond. #justaquartz

    • Dylan Hysen says:

      noted, #justaquartz +1 vote. thanks for listening and making it to the end! I don’t agree at all that it’s a definitive that she’s not a diamond. I think to state it definitively you’d have to take all the things you said as facts in the show, and I just don’t think they are yet. Basically, gems probably can just change their projections almost at will so I think anything is possible. That being said, yeah, there’s a lot to point towards her not being a diamond (but maybe that’s what they want us to think! -Renaldo)

      • gurrenprime says:

        I didn’t say that she was definitively not PD, just that it wouldn’t make sense given what we know. The PD theory basically lives entirely off of “what if” questions and gaps in our knowledge, rather than actual evidence, so I think we should put it to the side until something actually comes up relating to it.

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