Name: Ebony Alfhild Larsson
Date of Birth: March 4th, 1966
Hometown: Isle of Hue, Scottish Outer Hebrides
Height: 5ft 7in
In terms of development, Ebony Alfhild Larsson comes second in terms of the work I put into creating her. The reason why is largely her connection with Siobhan, but also the historical backstory of her character to give a bit of culture to the audience, a cultural aspect that even today still exists in many parts of the British Isles.
Ebony was born on March 4th, 1966, to Terrence (b. 1940) and Annie (b.1938) Larsson (née McClain). Both Sheep Farmers, Terrence, like his daughter, was born on the Isle of Hue and belongs to a long family line that descended from Vikings which have inhabited the island since around 800AD. Annie on the other hand was the daughter of a local land owner near Achnasheen deep in the Highlands, and spent her early years working her father’s sizeable estate. Her and Terrence met at the market in Inverness, and the pair soon started a relationship, resulting in their marriage in 1960. Initially, the pair stayed on Annie’s estate, but following the death of Terrence’s father in 1963, the couple returned to Hue to take over the running of the Sheep farm.
Ebony has spent her entire life on the Isle of Hue, and was raised from the start to farm sheep, including shaving their wool and herding them. Her native tongue is Danish, a trait carried on by her family from their Viking ancestors, but is fluent in English as well. She is also well rooted in her ancestry, knowing through stories passed down of what her great, great grandparents did in the times when Vikings ruled the high seas and plundered the coastlines of northeast England. Though her existence has only been limited to the 5 square miles the island inhabits, she still finds ways to enjoy herself, and, until recently, owned a Border Collie named Chestnut.
Ebony’s dream however is to become a pilot, her fascination with aircraft and flying spawning from watching flights from Europe and England flying towards America. Seeing them scoot across the skies gives Ebony an impression of limitless potential, the ability to go anywhere without barriers. With this in mind, she dedicates her education to those subjects required by flight schools. With there being no school on the island, Ebony is completely home educated, learning her lessons through factual magazines and books brought home by her father after visits to the market in Inverness. These also include books regarding mathematics and brainteasers to help her develop a skill at maths, which she declares as being very important for her dream job of being a pilot.
At the age of 9, Ebony first laid eyes on another girl of her own age, that being Siobhan Pattinson. Secretly watching their arrival at the dock, Ebony remained aloof after Siobhan and her recently divorced mother Renée moved to the island, unsure of how to deal with another girl of the same age group. Eventually she was able to buck up the courage to talk to Siobhan, visiting her as she worked in her garden. Very soon the pair had become the best of friends, helping each other and generally enjoying their youth.
Ebony’s personality could be considered somewhat stereotypical of a Lesbian character; tomboyish, somewhat angsty and slightly arrogant at times, showing many male traits. But, if you want to know that characters like Ebony do exist in real life, you should’ve met my fencing partner in University. A Belgian girl and a Lesbian, she was an amazingly fun person to know and I really do miss her. I miss her energy, her free-spirited fun, her ability to lighten everyone’s mood, her athleticism, her drive and her general love of life. Ebony is basically her as a cartoon character (though different physical appearances, if anything she looked more like Siobhan!). From the very start I wanted to make a Lesbian character based off her to dispel the common stereotype that all Lesbian’s are nothing but tattooed, fat, arrogant and extremely unpleasant people who’ll snap your neck so much as look at you! Indeed there are those types out there, but isn’t that the same with every society? We all have our unpleasant characters, but that doesn’t make up the majority.
Anyway, the principal characteristics of Ebony in relation to the story is that she’s honest to herself, but honest to Siobhan as well. Though she loves her more than anyone else in the world, she would never do anything to hurt her or put her in a bad situation, which is where her deceit comes in. I felt that Ebony faking her hatred of Siobhan was less to try and make the fact that Siobhan was bisexual more of a ‘twist’, but more to help emphasise her despair and discomfort with her sexuality, the fact that she’d be willing to keep it secret and deny herself true happiness for so long. It could have been very easy for Ebony to ‘out’ her in this situation, but what would have Siobhan learnt? If anything it would have exacerbated the situation and made Siobhan more insular if she had told the rest of the island the truth, as well as the fact Ebony would probably never forgive herself. Instead, for the benefit of her love, to make her a stronger person in the end, to eventually face up to the truth, no matter how painful it may be, Ebony was willing to sacrifice her true feelings.
In terms of Ebony’s design, I wanted to reflect a contemporary look that matched her ancestry. Ebony’s descent from a Viking family was based largely off interesting stories from the Shetland and Faeroe Islands I saw on National Geographic once about Viking families, some as old as 1,500 years. This idea intrigued me, and I not only wanted to create a character with similar physical distinctions, such as light blonde hair and pale skin like those from Scandinavian countries, but also someone who has a true connection with their history, being able to describe to Maddie what their family used to do on their adventures across the North Sea, pillaging towns on the northeast coast of England!
Another interesting choice I decided to give her was the fact that she can speak Danish. I felt that to give her an extra bit of culture and to further cement her foreign roots, Danish would be her first language and English her second, with her communicating in her native tongue with her parents, while speaking English to those not related to her. If this series was to be put to film (sleep per chance to dream) then Ebony would have a noticeable accent, though not as heavy as those who were born and grew up in Denmark, her association with British people diluting it somewhat.
The interesting juxtaposition of her character is reflected largely in her dress. Rather than wearing the accomplishments of a Viking princess back in 800AD; a bearskin slung over her shoulder, a helmet you could skewer a Bull on and enough battle armour to fortify a small army, she instead wears a selection of contemporary T-shirts and baggy Tracksuit trousers, not exactly the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think about Vikings! 😀