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Comic Book / Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld

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Yes, she had a winged unicorn too.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld was a comic book series about a little girl who discovers that she is really the ruler of a magical world, and must return there to defeat the tyrant who now rules it.

Amethyst began as a 12-issue maxi-series by writers Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn and artist Ernie Colón in 1983. It proved popular enough that it was given its own regular series that lasted until 1985. Despite several similarities, Amethyst predates both She-Ra: Princess of Power and Sailor Moon.

In the story, Amy Winston was a normal 13-year-old girl who was one day taken to the Gemworld, situated in another dimension. There she finds out that she is actually Princess Amethyst, daughter of the rightful rulers of that land. However her parents were killed by the evil Dark Opal when she was a baby, and she only survived because their servant, Citrina, brought her to Earth, where she was adopted by the Winstons. Due to the way time works on Gemworld, Amy finds herself transformed into a 20-year-old woman while there, and the rebellion fighting against Opal's rule wants her to lead them. Amy thus finds herself splitting her time between her normal life on Earth and her secret adventures on the Gemworld.

Other characters in the series include: the two Princesses Emerald, who become Amy's best friends; the handsome Prince Topaz, whom Amethyst falls in love with; Lady Turquoise, an ally who also becomes a rival for Topaz's feelings, and Carnelian, Dark Opal's "son" who turns out to be a boy from Earth raised on Gemworld. (Like Amy, he reverts to his true age on Earth.) Despite the fairy tale trappings, Amethyst was an action/fantasy series, and some characters actually die in battle. Still, Amethyst's forces triumph in the end and Opal is killed.

In the regular series, Amy goes back to living on Earth but continues to have adventures on Gemworld. The Love Triangle was eventually resolved in Turquoise's favor, probably to avoid the issue of Amy's relationship with a much older boy.

After the original creators left, it was decided by DC to boost Amethyst's sales by tying her to the rest of The DCU, in particular the war between the Lords of Order and Chaos, which was a major plotline at the time. But the new stories, written by Keith Giffen and Mindy Newell, shifted entirely from fantasy adventure to horror. Amethyst was blinded; found out that she was actually the product of an illicit affair between a Lord of Order and her mother; several characters met horrible deaths (in particular, Carnelian's was pure horror) and ultimately, Amethyst is forced to merge with a Lord of Chaos in order to save the Gemworld. The series was then, very unsurprisingly cancelled.

Amethyst has since then made a few reappearances, but they have been very inconsistent. In one story, she was now a villain, who tried to conquer the Gemworld herself. More recently, during the Infinite Crisis Crisis Crossover, she was seen again, with no explanations of her current status.

Note: Another story established that the Gemworld would one day enter our universe, becoming Zerox, the "Sorcerers' World" from Legion of Super-Heroes mythos.

It should also be noted that, since she was the only Lord of Order to survive Infinite Crisis (with all but one of the Lords of Chaos also dying), Amethyst was consequently one of the two most powerful magic-users in the DCU.

Amethyst was initially the main feature in Sword of Sorcery, a New 52 anthology comic series that launched in September 2012. This version started things over from scratch with 17-year-old Amy learning her true identity for the first time after a life on the road with her mother. This was significantly Darker and Edgier than previous versions of the character, inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire; her first action scene had her saving a girl from being raped. The series only lasted eight issues. After a short hiatus in comic limbo, she made her grand return in Young Justice (2019) as part of Brian Michael Bendis' new Wonder Comics imprint with a new title by writer/artist Amy Reeder, launched in February 2020. Bendis' take seems to happily borrow from all the previous ones as it sees fit and establishes that Gemworld undergoes serious change every time The Multiverse of DC undergoes a crisis, with inhabitants being at least aware that such thing has already happened seven times.

The series gained some fame when animated shorts based on Amethyst were added to the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network. See that trope page for more info. As far as animated adaptations go, Amethyst is also slated to show up in DC Super Hero Girls.

Not to be confused with Amethyst of the Crystal Gems (though both are TimeWarner properties).

Amethyst appears in:

Notable Comic Books

  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld Vol 1 (1983 - 1984)
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld Vol 2 (1985 - 1986)
  • Amethyst Vol 3 (1987 - 1988)
  • Book of Fate Vol 1 (1997 - 1998) intermittent appearances
  • Sword of Sorcery Vol 2 (2012 - 2013)
  • Young Justice (2019) Vol 2 (2019 - 2020)
  • Amethyst Vol 4 (2020 - 2021)
  • Amethyst Princess of Gemworld graphic novel (2021)

Western Animation

Tropes in the Amethyst comics:

  • Abusive Parents: While not his biological father, the treatment Carnelian receives from Opal is nothing shy of abusive.
  • Action Pet: Taffy's first accomplishment upon entering Gemworld? Tearing out a wolf's throat.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Prince Topaz, though he's more of a young adult than boy.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Dark Opal's ultimate aim was to fashion a piece of armor with shards of each of the totem gems of the various ruling houses and become supremely powerful.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Sardonyx. He's an extremely unpleasant fellow who was a loyal follower of Dark Opal. But he's later seen in a slightly more positive light when concerned about the well being of his family and kingdom.
  • Anyone Can Die: Not so much in the first series, but after Granch, all bets were off.
  • Arranged Marriage: Prince Topaz initially has a politically-driven betrothal with Lady Sapphire, but backs out at the last minute.
  • Badass Adorable: The "Little Princess Emerald".
  • Badass Crew: The twelve royal houses of Gemworld, or more accurately. The houses that allied with Princess Amethyst.
  • Battle Couple: Many. Examples include Amethyst and Topaz, Amethyst and Garnet, and later Topaz and Turquoise.
  • Big Bad: Dark Opal, in the original series. Fire Jade in the first eight issues of the regular series.
  • Body Horror: The second series goes into overdrive on this, especially Carnelian
  • Breakout Character: What Amethyst's creators had originally intended her to be. Needless to say, it didn't work out exactly the way they would have wanted.
  • Burn the Witch!: In Crisis on Infinite Earths #11, she was surrounded by a mob accusing her of being a witch and thinking the red skies are her doing. Fortunately, other mystic heroes came to her rescue.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Prince Carnelian, we'd probably feel more sorry for him if he weren't such an ass all the time.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The comic naturally has this trope in play. Guess what color the eponymous character is?
  • Continuity Nod: When Amethyst learns how to form shields with her magic she compares it to Wonder Woman's bracelets. Makes sense with how there's a very prominent poster of the Amazon Princess on her bedroom wall at home.
  • Cool Horse: A winged unicorn!
  • Evil Costume Switch: From Lady Emerald, to Fire Jade.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Dark Opal and Fire Jade are villainous magic users.
  • Expressive Accessory: Dark Opal's cloak pin.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: the Gemworld's various kingdoms are based on ancient Earth cultures; it is revealed midway through the mini-series that the Gemworlders are actually refugees from Earth's ancient times, who fled to the Gemworld after a celestial event altered how magic works in Earth's dimension.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted; Carnelian uses Earth technology, including guns, to compensate for his lack of magical ability.
  • Fantasy World Map: The comics provided one. Turns out the Gemworld is flat.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: One time Amy told a story full of these to some kids she was babysitting. It was steeped in fairytale tropes.
  • Foil: Carnelian serves as this to Amethyst. Amethyst was born in Gemworld but raised on Earth, while Carnelian was born on Earth but kidnapped to Gemworld. Amethyst has innate magical aptitude; in contrast, Carnelian has to rely on Earth technology to compensate. Amethyst is kind-hearted and compassionate while Carnelian is a smug, opportunistic Jerkass. Amy doesn't have much desire to take on the royal duties of Amethyst, while Carnelian eventually claims his place on the throne of Opal.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Once Princess Topaz declares herself "Lady", her kingdom doesn't do so well from then on.
  • Heir Club for Men: Dark Opal has repeatedly attempted to get himself an heir, but his children are all misshapen and he locks them away in another dimension, except Granch, who understandably rebels against him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After defeating Dark Opal, rather than sticking around and ruling Gemworld, Amethyst decides to go back to Earth and be plain old Amy Winston instead. Invoked again at the end of the second series because of her bitterness at Prince Topaz hooking up with another girl.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Dark Opal's fortress collapses on him when he's mortally wounded, though it had been weakened during the battle.
  • Love at First Sight: Topaz falls for Amethyst the instant he sees her. He ends up with a different princess, though.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Dark Opal talks Sardonyx into signing one for him; as you can imagine, it doesn't turn out very well for him.
  • Magical Girl: Amethyst can be considered an early combination of both the Cute Witch and Magical Girl Warrior types.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: The Winstons are the normal human foster parents of "Amy", who is actually the magical princess Amethyst.
  • Portal Cut: Citrina uses her magic to close a portal while Dark Opal's hand is still on the other side. The end result is obscured by magic, but is incredibly painful and later becomes a brand.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Granch, whose death causes Amethyst to realize just how serious this is and how evil Dark Opal truly is.
  • Theme Naming: Gemworld royalty are normally referred to by their royal title and house name—i.e., the series lead is properly known as Princess Amethyst, her birth parents were Lord and Lady Amethyst, etc. Becomes a bit confusing when royal houses have several children of the same gender; in the original mini-series alone, there were three princesses of the House of Emerald, all of which were named as "Princess Emerald" by lifelong Gemworlders (Amethyst would later nickname the youngest princess "Emmy" to differentiate her).
    • In the third series, the children of the House of Topaz are referred to with individual names by their parents; either Gemworld conventions changed in the years between the second and third series, or possibly they are personal names only used within the families of the individual houses.
  • War Is Hell: By the end of the series, Amethyst laments that her adventure wasn't really that fun as people got hurt and died, and she'd much rather be an ordinary girl.
  • Where the Magic Went: Gemworld was founded by the spellcasters and magical creatures of ancient Earth, who fled to Another Dimension when our universe's Background Magic Field went awry.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time moves differently in Gemworld compared to Earth, so a few hours on Earth is a few days in Gemworld. Amy is physically 20 in Gemworld compared to her earthly 13 years.

Tropes in the Sword of Sorcery comic

  • Action Mom: Our heroine learned all her warrior skills from mom.
  • Big Bad: Lady Mordiel, who is Graciel's sister and Amaya's aunt. She wants to kill her sister and adopt her niece as an heir so she can have all the magic power of House Amethyst for herself.
  • Covers Always Lie: Unusually common for a modern comic, the covers often feature events that are absolutely nothing like, or even completely opposite to, what happens in the issue.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: On her seventeenth birthday, Amy's mother makes good on her promise to take her to their real home. Little did Amy know was that her real home was on Gemworld and that she is a princess of House Amethyst.
  • Dark Is Evil: Eclipso's strength and powers only work in the dark and is a cruel villain who generally operates by taking over their opponents.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: House Onyx, like all the other houses, has good and evil members, their aesthetic is just dark.
  • Delinquent Hair: On Earth, Amy dyed her hair blue, pink, and black, which made her classmates think she's a freak.
  • Drunk with Power: The reason why power-sharing is dangerous. During the power-sharing ceremony between Lady Graciel and Princess Amaya, Lady Mordiel gets into Amaya's mind and tempts her into killing her mother and take all the power for herself. Fortunately, Amaya's love for her mother snaps her out of it.
  • Enemy Mine: Mordiel ends up joining force with Graciel and Amaya against Eclipso.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lady Mordiel has her capturing a peasant girl with a small fraction of the blood power. She talks to her pleasantly and casually murders her to absorb that vestigal of power, then she orders the girl's family to be suitably compensated.
  • Given Name Reveal: On Gemworld, Amy learns that her true name is Amaya and that her mother's name is Graciel.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot:
    • The archers and swordsmen of House Citrine are all female and male, respectively.
    • Averted with the women of House Amethyst, who like to get up close and personal with their enemies.
  • Hired Guns: In issue #3, Lady Mordiel offers two Shadow-Walkers of House Onyx a contract to kill Lady Graciel. If they suceed, their reward will be a pair of powerful portal crystals that will allow them to go anywhere.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The resident mounts on Gemworld are vyala, which look like multicolored winged lions with tusks.
  • How Do I Shot Web?:
    • Even with her mother's training, Amaya is not fully prepared for combat on Gemworld. In her first swordfight, she is horrified when she kills the attacking swordsman and couldn't think straight in the heat of battle.
    • Once she is given the magic of House Amethyst, Amaya has to be trained to use it to her full potential.
  • Lady of War: Lady Graciel and Lady Mordiel
  • Light Is Not Good: House Amethyst and House Diamond are no different from all the other houses, there are good members and there are bad members, the power and status are just to be used as the user wants.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Amy, on Earth. She used to try to fit in, but gave up around sixth grade. She was even called Freaky Amy by her classmates.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Lady Graciel. Princess Amaya becomes one after Graciel shares her power with her.
  • Mystical White Hair: All the house of Diamond royalty, with only the crown prince having White Hair, Black Heart.
  • Noble Demon: Lady Mordiel is undeniably power-hungry and evil, but she does have some moral standards. When killing a girl with a small fraction of her family blood to absorb her power, she has the family compensated for the loss, and when she later arrives on a battlefield, she has the bodies of her sister's followers be properly buried. She also rejects Eclipso's offer to join him.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Eclipso. Until his arrival, the entire plot of the series resolves around a Game of Thrones-esque politic struggle between Mordiel and the rest her family, with most Houses having various positions toward the whole thing. Then this ancient enemy comes back from Earth and proceeds to Mind Control two of the house, essentially becoming the new threat and forcing Mordiel into an alliance with her family.
  • People of Hair Color: In Gemworld, a person's lineage and House allegiance can be traced by their hair and eye color. For example, Princess Amaya's blonde hair and purple eyes indicate that she's from the House Amethyst. Those with brown hair and grey eyes are neutral and can't take sides.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Inverted. On Earth, Amy's mother dyed their hair to hide their true heritage. When they enter Gemworld, the power within them is too strong to hide their true hair colors, which reveals their natural blonde hair. It also lengthened their hair past their shoulders.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Not only do the women of House Amethyst wear purple, the magic of House Amethyst is purple.
  • Royal Blood: Since Lady Mordiel is barren, Princess Amaya is the only heir to House Amethyst. Part of the conflict is that Mordiel wants to raise Amaya as her own to rule House Amethyst with an iron fist.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Lady Mordiel's helmet is adorned with menacing spikes.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: The magic of House Amethyst. Users of the magic not only have Super-Strength, but can create constructs like claws and shields.
  • Transformation Trinket: Amaya can use her amethyst necklace to shift between her Gemworld outfit and her Earth clothes.
  • Translator Microbes: Amaya is given a gem that fires a beam at her forehead, giving her the command of all languages, including nilaian, the language of Nilaa, AKA Gemworld.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Downplayed. When Amaya comes back to Earth in issue #4, it's only been a week since she left, which is about a day longer than she's been on Gemworld.
  • Warrior Princess: Amaya and Ingvie. On earth, Amaya fought off three jocks who were trying to rape a girl.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: At their first dinner on Gemworld, Amaya is uneasy about eating lizard on a stick, a delicacy on Gemworld.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Averted. All the minions and soldiers mean something. Amy almost vomits after her first kill. The mate of one of the dead barbarians comes after the house seeking revenge. Hadran distinguishes himself from his brother by having respect for the soldiers under him, and everyone makes an effort to not kill any brainwashed soldiers.
    • This comes up when Amy fights two rogue onyx agents. She kills one attacker, and the other angrily claims she killed her brother. Amy points out that they're trying to kill her mother.
  • You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: In one issue a corporate witch steals Amaya's pendant, thinking it's the source of her powers. Perhaps to let everyone know this is different from the original comic, it only lets her change her outfit into whatever she wants, her real power is intrinsic, and she promptly conjures up some some weapons and starts smashing her way free.

Tropes in the Wonder Comics' incarnation

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: This take on Gemworld happily mixes tropes and characters from the classic series (Dark Opal as the Big Bad, Turquoise as Amy's friend), the 2011 reboot (Amy's mother being in charge of house Amethyst, inter-house politics and corruption among good houses) and even the animated series, which clearly inspired Amy's new design.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Gemworld undergoes some sort of soft reboot, soft enough for enough people to remember old version and notice the changes, every time main DC Universe has a multiversal Crisis Crossover, supposedly every time coming off worse to wear from it.
  • Got Volunteered: Prince Aquamarine is basically volunteered by his mother to serve as Amethyst's companion.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Phoss rides around a giant caterpillar named Stan.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Amy's newest companion Phoss stands out from other gemworlders by having four arms.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The Gem Houses Council is completely ineffective, unwilling to deal with Dark Opal despite everything pointing out to him causing all troubles in Gemworld, but also unable to kick her out due to Turquoise stonewalling them. Amy suspects their ineffectiveness comes multiple houses having made deal with Opal behind everyone else's back.
  • Only Friend: Implied with Amy and Turquoise in this version
  • Un-person: By the time Amy comes back to Gemworld from her adventures with Young Justice, this fate somehow has befallen entire House Amethyst.