Garnet (Steven Universe)

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Garnet
Steven Universe character
Garnet - Steven Universe.png
Garnet's appearance from "Jail Break" onward
First appearance Pilot (2013) "Gem Glow" (2013) (main series)
Created by Rebecca Sugar
Voiced by Estelle
Voice of Ruby Charlyne Yi
Voice of Sapphire Erica Luttrell
Information
Species Gem
Gender Sexless[1][2] / Non-binary woman[3] (female pronouns used)

Garnet is a fictional character from the animated series Steven Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar. She is a "gem", a fictional alien being that exists as a magical gemstone projecting a holographic body. Garnet is a "fusion gem" — i.e., two gemstones combining personalities and appearances as one shared holographic body — formed by two Gems named Ruby and Sapphire; they chose to remain permanently fused out of love for each other.

Garnet is voiced by Estelle, a performance that has seen a positive reception. Garnet is frequently praised for being a depiction of a positive lesbian relationship.

Character

The de-facto leader of the Crystal Gems, the group of Gems that protect humanity and the Earth from danger,[4] in the absence of Steven's mother Rose Quartz, Garnet is initially presented as stoic and unfeeling but pragmatic and capable. The show's writers have described Garnet as characterized by great self-confidence; they represent this in their writing of the character through the fact that she never asks questions.[5] Eric Thurm of The A.V. Club described Garnet as "initially the most reticent, distant, and simply alien" of the Crystal Gems. Garnet took on the role of this group's de facto leader, appearing relatively distant as she rarely speaks out.[6] As the story of Steven Universe progresses, however, she becomes more relatable. Writing for Minnesota Daily, Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger pointed out that Garnet is far from a perfect leader and can make mistakes.[7]

Garnet can use a skill called "future vision", which allows her to view different possible outcomes in order to effectively predict future events accurately. Eric Thurm noted that scenes in which Garnet uses her future vision are among the show's best visual accomplishments.[4] Garnet also appears on OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes during its crossover episode "Crossover Nexus", explaining during the episode's storyline that her sunglasses help her channel her future vision.

Ruby and Sapphire

According to Sugar, Garnet was intended to be a fusion since the pilot episode, though the characters of Ruby and Sapphire came into focus while Sugar was writing for Garnet. Sugar described the process as "reverse engineering" the two personalities based on what the production team brought to the show.[8]

The first time viewers learn that Garnet is a fusion is the finale of the first season, "Jail Break", but hints and foreshadowing in earlier episodes had led many viewers to suspect it earlier. Neither Ruby nor Sapphire is given real character depth in "Jail Break", but their presence shows how Garnet's two parts blend into one character. Ruby is characterized as a feisty and aggressive fighter, while Sapphire is a stoic and contemplative oracle, resulting in a complex dynamic when Garnet is fused together. Garnet's stable relationship while fused is used as a metaphor in the series, as Ruby and Sapphire together are stronger than any one Gem on their own.[4] Garnet is described as being made of "literal love, the romantic love of two queer individuals," as all Gems, including Ruby and Sapphire, present in a feminine manner.[9]

The second-season episode "The Answer" features a flashback of Ruby and Sapphire's first meeting: Sapphire was a member of Blue Diamond's court who came to Earth to assist in the capture of Rose Quartz, and Ruby was one of her bodyguards. Ruby and Sapphire accidentally fuse for the first time when Ruby pushes her out of the way of danger, and they flee to escape execution for the taboo of mixed-Gem fusion. Garnet joins the Crystal Gems after encountering Rose Quartz, who tells her that Ruby and Sapphire's love is "the answer" to all her questions.[6] A later episode, "Now We're Only Falling Apart", reveals how Garnet's creation influenced Rose Quartz's ideals to fight for the fusion's right to exist.

In a story arc at the end of the fifth season, Garnet unfuses when Sapphire feels betrayed by Rose, who had encouraged their fusion in the first place, and parts ways with Ruby, saying that their relationship is based on a lie. As Sapphire learns Rose's full story from Pearl, Ruby realizes she has never spent any time exploring her own identity apart from Sapphire, and leaves to embark on a quest of self-discovery. Eventually the two both realize that they still want to be together, and in the episode "Reunited", they are married as their way of being together on their own terms, rather than just because of Rose Quartz.

Reception

Garnet is voiced by Estelle.

Garnet is voiced by Estelle in the original dub of Steven Universe. Estelle's vocal performance is commonly praised by critics: Vrai Kaiser of The Mary Sue commended Estelle's voice work in "Jail Break" by stating that "the amount of love, layers, and history she packs into so few words goes right to the heart no matter how many times you watch it."[9] Garnet's narration in "The Answer" was praised by Eric Thurn because Estelle got the opportunity to do voice work that was more fun and "soft".[6] AJ Adejare of The Fandom Post criticized the voice director of Steven Universe for under-utilizing Estelle's talents, as Garnet is mostly silent in the show.[10] Garnet is Estelle's first voice-over role, and the character was designed by Rebecca Sugar while she was listening to Estelle's music.[11]

Garnet has commonly been praised as a depiction of a romantic lesbian relationship in an animated series. Since 2010, animated television series such as Adventure Time and The Legend of Korra have shown a larger amount of LGBT representation. Steven Universe makes frequent use of LGBT-related themes: Pearl has strong romantic feelings to Rose Quartz, and Stevonnie is a genderqueer character.[12][13][14] Writing for The Lawrentian in January 2016, Bridget Keenan described Garnet as "first canon lesbian couple on Cartoon Network". However, Keenan also criticized Garnet for portraying as healthy a relationship that would realistically be "unhealthy, unstable and controlling," as Ruby and Sapphire seemed completely controlled by the relationship.[15]

Censorship

Some of the romantic interactions between Ruby and Sapphire have been censored during localization to other countries. In the Swedish translation of Steven Universe episode "Hit the Diamond", flirting between the two Gem characters was replaced with more neutral dialogue, causing controversy in Sweden, some fans of the series demanding that Cartoon Network Sweden not censor Ruby and Sapphire's relationship again.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Sugar, Rebecca (2015). "I am Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, and former Adventure Time storyboarder, AMA!". Reddit.com.
  2. ^ Jones-Quartey, Ian (2015-03-16). "IAN JQ dot com". Tumblr.com.
  3. ^ Necessary, Terra (July 18, 2018). "Rebecca Sugar Opens Up About Being Non-binary". Pride.com. Sugar: […] the Gems are all non-binary women...They’re coded female […] [T]hey appear to be female, but they’re a little more representative of nonbinary women. They wouldn’t think of themselves as women, but they’re fine with being interpreted that way amongst humans.
  4. ^ a b c Thurm, Eric (2015-03-12). "Steven Universe: "The Return"/"Jail Break"". The A.V. Club.
  5. ^ Glennon, Christopher (2015-07-22). "SDCC2015: 'Steven Universe' Roundtable Interview". Toonzone.
  6. ^ a b c Thurm, Eric (2016-01-04). "Garnet gets a fairy tale Steven Universe origin story". The A.V. Club.
  7. ^ Stanger, Cecilia Mazumdar (2014-07-09). "Steven Universe, the Boy with Girl Power". Minnesota Daily.
  8. ^ Pitts, Lan (2015-06-12). "New STEVEN UNIVERSE Episodes Beginning Of New Era For Show Says REBECCA SUGAR". Newsarama.
  9. ^ a b Kaiser, Vrai (2015-03-18). "The Great Big Steven Universe Recap; Or, The Femme Smooch Heard 'Round the World". The Mary Sue.
  10. ^ Adejare, AJ (2015-03-26). "Steven Universe Season One Review". The Fandom Post.
  11. ^ "Estelle Talks About Her Role as Garnet on 'Steven Universe'". ABC News.
  12. ^ Payton, Naith (2015-07-17). "Comment: Lots of children's programmes already have LGBT characters". Pink News.
  13. ^ Ewart, Asia (2015-06-10). "Four cartoons that are leading the way in LGBT visibility". Metro New York.
  14. ^ Nichols, James Michael (2015-07-21). "Cartoon Network's 'Steven Universe' Includes Lesbian Couple". The Huffington Post.
  15. ^ Keenan, Bridget (2016-01-22). "Why Steven Universe's "Garnet" is an unhealthy relationship". The Lawrentian.
  16. ^ Borgert, Linnéa (2016-06-10). "Lesbiska flörtscenen censurerades bort – i svenska versionen" [The lesbian flirt scene was censored – in the Swedish version]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Schibsted. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016.

External links

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