Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has recently come out and Steven Universe returned last week! Why not mix these two great things together and see what that gets us? Well, it gets us a sorting hat post. Let’s run through the Crystal Gems and figure out which houses they belong it.
I’m opening with controversy, but hear me out. It’s easy to peg Slytherin as the villain house but that’s only because JK Rowling seems to hate them all. In the original series the only Slytherin who was a decent person was Narcissa Malfoy1. But if these houses were real then there would have to be good people in Slytherin, or they’d just march all the first year Slytherins straight out of the great hall and into Azkaban.
So now that I’ve made my argument for the house at large, is this really where Pearl belongs? It seems like an odd choice, as the first impulse is to assign her to Ravenclaw, and the second to send her to Gryffindor. But take a moment to really think about why she does what she does and she’s much more like Scorpius in her motivations than anyone else. Pearl is driven and willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. It just so happens that in the current moment everything she wants seems noble at first glance. But if we go back in flashbacks we get to see that she’s more interested in winning over Rose than saving Earth, and so forms the Crystal Gems. Eventually she comes around to love the planet and humans, but she certainly doesn’t start out that way. Even in present day, as evident in her tower activities2 to repeatedly create Sardonyx, she’s not above manipulation to get what she wants. This sort of goal oriented thinking is exactly what defines a Slytherin. She has a good heart, luckily, but a driven one. Scorpius, too, is friendly and outgoing, but it’s in order to win friends. That’s not to say that these displays are hollow facades, but they are engineered with a purpose in mind.
The purest form of Gryffindor at that. She is 100% bravery and heart, throwing herself into any conflict in order to win the fight, even if that conflict is not a fight. An embodiment of bravery and passion. Oh man, just look at her. She’s so puffed up and adorable.
And not just because her coloring pallet matches the house. It’s because she can see the future and relies on that. She’s literally looking ahead, and using her foresight ability to plan her actions. Nearly everything for her is a matter of intellect, which is why she has a harder time coming to terms with her fusion with Ruby. It’s unexpected and irrational, exactly the things to flummox a Ravenclaw. Eventually Sapphire accepts it wholly, but only once she realizes that for the two of them it ‘makes sense’. Garnet is literally the answer she and Ruby have been looking for. And that answer is love.
(with a strong showing of Hufflepuff)
In order to see exactly why you need to take a look at her not as a couple, but as a person. Garnet is strong and centered. She has the future-vision of Sapphire but doesn’t let it dictate her life. She wields it as a tactical advantage. Sapphire uses future-vision to tell her what will happen and how to get there. Garnet uses that ability as a warning system, even going so far as sharing it. Paired with the fire of Ruby, it’s just a strength and not a way of life. And it’s a strength that she uses to help others pull themselves up as well.
Amethyst was perhaps the hardest to pin down for a house. Her character is also one of the most complex on the show so the challenge was fitting. At first I couldn’t sort her at all. She’s not the bravest gem, she’s not outright clever, she’s not driven enough, and she’s too selfish to be called supportive.
But then I thought about her backstory and what she’s been through. Her past is a mix of lost immigrant story (she has never seen Homeworld and doesn’t feel like she has a place to call home) and an un-nurturing childhood (arrived unwanted, never fit in, feels her youth has left her broken). Her defense mechanism is not necessarily one of bravery, but of fearlessness. She’s much like the Marauders in that she is some of the worst qualities of Gryffindor, but still Gryffindor material. In reality (magic, aliens, I know) Gryffindors would have a sizable population of bullies and jocks. As hard as it is to grok, James Potter is a bully in the Harry Potter flashbacks. While Amethyst isn’t explicitly a bully, she does have a tendency to lash out at others in order to make herself feel bigger. This hasn’t been a calculated method to become more powerful, but just a way to convince herself that she has power when she’s feeling small or weak. But that fearlessness does let her power through her own fears and weaknesses.
When I started watching the show, Steven was my least favorite character. I thought he was just milquetoast Hufflepuff type, but he slowly grew on me. It’s not that he loves people, but rather he cares about their needs. That may seem like a semantic split, but it’s really key to understanding Steven. Loving people is a bland, blanket way of showing that a character is kind. But it isn’t really kindness, it’s a lack of judgement. Caring about needs, though, is a different motivation altogether. When Steven cares about someone’s needs it doesn’t mean that he likes the person. It means that he innately understands them and what drives them. He empathizes, which is different from blind acceptance. He comes across as optimistic, but it’s not despite the reality around him. It’s because of what he can see in the people he’s surrounded with.
When he meets up with Peridot this becomes clear for the first time. He repeatedly gives her chances to prove herself, as well as offering things to help her along. He doesn’t try to make her a part of the Crystal Gems immediately, but he does try to help her from the start. Not her cause, but her. And that level of discerning that keeps him from being a tool and a sap shows up when she takes the communication device to contact Yellow Diamond. That betrayal registers with him. She’s been trying to destroy the Earth, but he’s helping her with that. The betrayal to Homeworld is really the first direct action she’s taken against him and his assistance, and that is what hurts him so much. Not that she’s mean.
His caring over people’s needs rather than just unjustified love shows earlier even earlier whenever he deals with the humans of beach city. His relationship with Connie starts as one of awe. It’s easy to dismiss it as a simple crush, but as time goes on it becomes evident that he doesn’t like her simply because she’s cute or nice, but because she’s so human. He seems to delight when she struggles because he believes she can get through it. He rejoices in watching her grow. And look at how Steven regards Lars. He doesn’t idealize or idolize Lars, but he wants to help him be the Lars-iest he can, attempting to get him in with the Buck Dewey/Jenny Pizza/Sour Cream gang. He also does his best to set him up with Sadie because it appears that it’s what they both want.
But when he meets Peridot it is clear he doesn’t want to simply support his friends. It’s that the suffering of others, and even their inability to be themselves, bothers him so deeply he needs help. To him there are no villains, just antagonists. Certain Gems may be working against his aims, but no one is really working against each other. Maybe that’s why Jasper’s fight hurts him so much. Jasper’s delight in destruction and personal pain is the absolute antithesis of what Steven strives for.
She’s green and villainous and yet not a Slytherin. She’s Peridot! And she’s a Ravenclaw. Insanely smart (even her power is a mental ability), Peri is all about function and efficiency. Yes, she’s driven, but it’s apparent that she’s driven to the most logical and intelligent option. She doesn’t side with the gems as much as realizes they have a point. When Peridot turns on Yellow Diamond it’s because she knows that she’s right and YD is wrong. Earth’s most precious resource isn’t the raw materials of the planet and it’s not its location as a base. It’s the organic inhabitants and their culture. Furthermore, she believes YD is wrong because she doesn’t have all the facts and attempts to educate her, not engage in battle. It is when YD’s reaction is so emotional that Peridot knows it’s a lost cause, and siding with the Crystal Gems is the only way to further the cause of what is right. For Peridot, it’s a team up with the Crystal Gems, and not outright joining them. At least, at first.
6) Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli as a great example of how complex these characters can be. Her tendency toward introspection and isolation don’t peg her as a Gryffindor immediately, but like Amethyst we need to look at her in context of her experiences. After escaping her millennia trapped in a mirror, we see her hurt and scared. Someone falsely imprisoned could easily turn to rage at their captors but she doesn’t. Her escape plan and subsequent theft of the ocean is just her following through on her last goal before becoming trapped in the mirror, and her instinct to try to put her life back to something as close as possible to what it had been. Then, after returning to Homeworld and then coming to Earth once more, she finds the strength to do the right thing. Lapis goes home and returns with Jasper and ends up holding Jasper in a forced fusion in order to save the world she just fled. She doesn’t love the earth, and doesn’t particularly like anyone here other than, perhaps, Steven. She’s not driven to do good no matter the method, but she is brave enough to sacrifice herself for what’s right despite it not being her own fight or cause.
Rose is incredibly hard to pin her down. In fact, at this point I will go on record saying it’s impossible to sort her. She’s shown to be this loving force of nature but it’s just through these small snippets, and all through the eyes of people who love her3. But there’s much more to her than what we’ve seen. She has led a team in battle and sacrificed many of her friends. She kept Bismuth secreted away and lied about it to the rest of the Gems. In order to start and fight a war there has to be something harder about a person. It may be that Rose has a bit of every house in her, but it’s more likely that we simply don’t know her well enough to sort her yet. What we do know is romanticized and unreliable. Like Steven says, it’s complicated.