Creating a Character for a Story

Ask IR

Creating a Character for a Story

Women walking the streets of Reykjavík. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Q: How do I make my character less stereotypic Icelandic/Norwegian?

I’m writing a story with one of my characters being Icelandic/Norwegian with her name being Aurora. I absolutely adore the name Aurora because of the Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, it’s easily connected to Sleeping Beauty.

I described her as having light blonde hair and blue eyes, which appears to be the most common, stereotypical look for Scandanavians.

Do you have any advice on how to make my character less stereotypic? She would be 14-15 years old, so would she still have light blonde hair?

I read your article, ‘Icelandic Stereotypes,’ and it got me wondering if I’m creating my characters correctly. The movie Frozen got me thinking about strawberry blonde hair since the setting is in Norway and with Anna’s hair being that color.

Have a good day,



A: In Norway, approximately 1,500 girls and women have the name Aurora, so it’s not very common. In Iceland, where the name is even rarer, it’s spelled Áróra. Only 79 girls and women in Iceland have it as their first or second name.

The stereotypical Scandinavian look you describe exists in Iceland, but is probably less common than in the other Nordic countries. Many children are light blond but grow dark blond as teenagers, although some people remain light blond, or mousy, as adults.

In contempt of their common natural hair color, many Icelandic women dye their hair light blond, so looks can be deceiving.

There are comparatively more redheads in Iceland compared to the other Nordic countries and strawberry blond exists as a natural hair color, even though it’s not especially common.

Blue eyes are very common in Iceland.

You could pass your character off as an Icelandic/Norwegian, even though the name is rare and look stereotypical. Red or dark hair could also work, as well as a different eye color. There’s not just one Scandinavian or Nordic look.