She may be animated, but this character has completed more in her years than most people attempt. She headed a rebellion, saved planet Earth, changed the course of history, betrayed friends and most importantly (for the story) gave birth.
Rose Quartz, from Steven Universe, is over six feet tall, has wild, curly pink hair, and is the main character’s mother. She’s a cunning strategist with a heart of gold, who just happened to take a plethora of secrets to her deathbed.
Age: ageless, until she decided to give up her form to give birth.
Job: Founder and leader of Crystal Gems.
Weapons of choice: A sword and shield. She also had healing abilities and laser light cannons.
RELEVANCE TO PLOT
We first learn of Rose’s existence in season one, episode two. The main characters are facing certain doom when an enemy from their past comes back and without Rose’s power, all seems lost. Until protagonist Steven Universe finds Rose’s laser light cannon and uses its magical power to destroy the enemy.
Viewers learn that she was protagonist’s mom, that she died so he could be born and that she entrusted one of her most powerful weapons with her lover. From there, the enigma of Rose was born. And as this Cartoon Network show enters its fourth season, fans still have questions about who Rose was.
Since Rose is dead before the first episode, viewers had have to see her growth through flashbacks, revealed secrets, and good old-fashioned storytelling. Even after three seasons and four Steven Bombs (a weekly special with a new episode every night), Rose’s identity is still unknown. Our first look at her painted the character as a perfect being who loved all she met.
But as more and more facts about Rose where discovered, that unrealistic image was shattered. In a recent episode, the audience learned how Rose betrayed a comrade after they had a disagreement about how to attack the enemy. After that fight, she imprisoned her ally and didn’t tell any of their friends that person’s fate.
Additionally, Rose committed something akin to a war crime in order to end the war. Her actions may have saved millions but it put an entirely new light or her and her personality.
WHY SHE NEEDS TO BE CELEBRATED
Rose is an enigma. Every morsel of her life brings thousands of new ideas and theories about the kind of person she was. Despite being dead, Rose is a round, dynamic character. We feel her presence throughout the entire show — every time Steven gains a little more control of his powers, we’re reminded that Rose is gone. When minor characters interact with their families, there’s always a moment of loss viewers experience for Steven.
Rose is the kind of character that invites fans to discuss. Her actions, her thoughts, her words, her every movement is worthy of a thousand thought-piece articles dissecting the newest revelation into her psyche. She’s a perfect character for writers to study.
AS A WRITER, WHAT CAN YOU TAKE AWAY
Creator Rebecca Sugar (and her team of writers) have been very clever with how they’ve handled Rose. After introducing her, Rose’s backstory stayed a mystery. It’s clear that the memory of her hangs over the cast like a broken chandelier but there’s been little light shone on her. While the prime story of the show focuses on Steven, every tidbit of information on Rose was a delicacy for viewers. Learning about how her skillful war plans saved the planet, how she found beauty in everything, how she’d cared for the unlovable, every piece of information we learned sent fans into a tizzy.
As a writer, this is an important concept to internalize. Writers want their audience members to talk to each other about the characters. By only showing bits and pieces of Rose, Rebecca Sugar introduced a mystery to the world she built. She gave fans something to discuss, especially since what was actually known about Rose was very little.
The worst thing a writer can do is leave the reader bored and uninterested in the characters. From her very first scene, Rose has inspired fans to discuss her. And while each new episode reveals more and more about Rose, the mystery of who she was has only grown.