Though the Golden One undergoes several name changes, she herself is fairly static throughout the novella. From the beginning, she is haughty and proud, rejecting all society except Equality 7-2521, whom she adores from the outset because he is stronger and sharper than the rest of her brothers. She becomes subservient to him almost immediately, seeking to care for him as early as the third time they meet, when she provides him with water to cool himself. By the time she follows him into the forest, she has become totally his possession, and she remains that way until the end.
Although she is a static character, the Golden One does exhibit extraordinary curiosity when it comes to finding the “I” and her uncommon beauty. Though the only reason the Golden One seeks to say “I” is to tell Equality 7-2521 that she loves him, a far less noble goal than his effort at self-actualization, she is nevertheless superior to those around her because she at least suspects that there is more to the world than the collective equality enforced in her society. Additionally, she stands out from the faceless, nameless masses because she is incredibly beautiful, a sign from Rand, who views physical beauty as the natural counterpart to intellectual and personal integrity, that she is a good character in the novella. Despite the poor development of her character, then, we know quite a bit about the Golden One’s attitude toward her culture and society, and her rejection of both is enough to exalt her in the novella to special status.
The Golden One is a problematic character, however, because her originality is at odds with her subservience to Equality 7-2521. On the one hand, she is the female counterpart to Equality 7-2521 in that she is curious and seeks solitude. For this reason, we might expect to read a considerable amount about her thoughts and reactions or conversation with Equality 7-2521. But the Golden One has almost no lines in the novella, and she fades into the background when Equality 7-2521 finally realizes his own self-importance. On the other hand, though she is Equality 7-2521’s counterpart she totally abdicates control to him and is remarkably underdeveloped, especially considering that she is the only other consistently present character in the novella. Though her name is originally Liberty 5-3000, she allows Equality 7-2521 to rename her the Golden One and, later, Gaea. Her willingness to accept the new names that Equality 7-2521 gives her is a symptom of her broader willingness to accept the identity that he conceives for her. Her subservience and underdevelopment are troubling because in her character Rand presents the novella’s only other example of goodness in a collective society. But because the Golden One has no personal characteristics of her own, she ultimately serves as a flat mirror to Equality 7-2521, revealing little about Rand’s philosophy that we do not already glean from Equality 7-2521.