Lindesfarne Dewclaw is one of the main characters in Kevin and Kell, by Bill Holbrook. She was adopted by Kevin Dewclaw and his first wife Angelique, and after their divorce, lives with her foster father, her stepmother Kell Dewclaw, her stepbrother Rudy Dewclaw, and Kevin and Kell’s daughter Coney Dewclaw. Lindesfarne's name is derived from the Isle of Lindisfarne, where the Lindisfarne Gospels, illuminated Celtic manuscripts, were written. In the German translation of Kevin and Kell, Lindesfarne's name is actually spelled "Lindisfarne."
Lindesfarne (pronounced LIN-dus-farn) is highly intelligent and skilled in many forms of science, including genetics and astronomy, and is a good computer user and hacker. She is sometimes quick-tempered, however, as she often takes retribution on Rudy for teasing her. She is also less social than most characters, having few friends at Caliban Academy besides Tammy and Ray (who have moved, and keep in touch with her electronically), and her boyfriend Fenton. She does, however, socialize with her brother Rudy’s friends (often with Fiona). At college, she is becoming good friends with his former team-mates Rhonda and Rachel, and is getting to know and starting to trust Fenton's roommate, Bob Shrike.
According to Bill Holbrook on the Unofficial FAQ, Lindesfarne was created to have a "sibling rivalry" with Rudy. He made her into a porcupine(later revealed to be a hedgehog) because he did not want another rabbit in the family, and he believed that her quills would dispel concerns about her living with predators. A recent series has Lindesfarne saying that her quills help her feel safe around predators, enabling her to get to know her predator stepmother and stepbrother; she used to eat at the food court with Cara and Colinia, an armadillo and turtle, and they were the only three young herbivores to eat there without the fear of being eaten. The quills, however, make it difficult for people to approach her; Lindesfarne admits that after becoming nocturnal, she has few friends at school besides Tammy and Ray.
Lindesfarne, unlike most of Kevin and Kell’s main characters, was born in the human world as the Princess of England. In infancy, however, she was in a boat accident near England, and was thrown through a portal to the parallel world populated by sentient animals. The portal changed her DNA and transformed her into a hedgehog. Some boaters found her, however, and brought her to an orphanage with her counterpart in the world without humans, Chertsey Ealing, bobbing her ears to increase her chances of adoption. Chertsey Ealing’s foster parents divorced, causing her to run away from home and live on the streets until Lindesfarne later exposed her as royalty.
Kevin and Angelique adopted Lindesfarne and brought her to America; while Kevin wanted to adopt a child (Angelique was sterile and they could not have one), the decision to adopt Lindesfarne was Angelique’s idea, as she wanted to keep her distance from Lindesfarne. However, Lindesfarne, as an English Hedgehog was an insectivore, not an herbivore, and Angelique, who was unable to catch insects for her, had her changed into an American Porcupine. Lindesfarne was led to believe that growing up in America had caused her species and diet type to change. Kevin still did not tell Lindesfarne the truth even after marrying Kell, believing that she had enough identity issues fitting into a new family (when he does reveal this, Lindesfarne has accepted Kell as her mother). Lindesfarne went to a private school while growing up, because her quills made it difficult to fit in among rabbits.
Throughout much of Lindesfarne’s childhood, Angelique ignored her; despite receiving a Kevlar bathrobe for her first Christmas with the infant Lindesfarne; Angelique, like almost all of her other relatives besides Kevin and his father (who was wearing a bulletproof vest), would not hug her. Lindesfarne, who loved her foster mother, worked hard in school and attempted to show affection on Mother’s Day, in an attempt to win Angelique’s approval, but Angelique ignored both gestures, throwing Lindesfarne's cards in the garbage. Lindesfarne was thus upset to hear that Angelique had left her and Kevin, and partly bitter about her doing so, even not knowing about her infidelity. Angelique arranged a marriage with a porcupine named Quinn Rabelai at some point in Lindesfarne's childhood, claiming that she wanted to help Lindesfarne find a husband, and keeping it a secret from Kevin and Lindesfarne until after Lindesfarne's engagement.
When Kell married Kevin, becoming Lindesfarne’s stepmother, she initially had difficulty approaching Lindesfarne because of her quills. However, Lindesfarne came to see her stepmother as her true mother, although she, like some stepchildren, calls her by her first name instead of "Mom" (i.e. "Dad... Kell... now that you know where I came from..."). There have been some exceptions, however; Lindesfarne addresses Kell as "Mom" in one e-mail and says to Rudy, "Ok, let's not tell Mom and Dad just yet" when she realizes that she is human. She also takes to calling Angelique, her foster mother and Kevin's ex-wife by her first name because she considers Kell her mother and believes that her relationship with Angelique has changed.
Role in the plot
Much of Lindesfarne’s role in the plot centers on her past and how she is initially the only person in Domain who knows about humanity; she somehow remembered humans, and once has a dream in which she is thrown through the portal as a human baby and is transformed into a hedgehog. She, however, did not believe that humans exist, and only the realization that Ralph and Martha were briefly in the human world convinces her that humans are real and that she is one.
Lindesfarne is also relevant in developing Angelique as a character. Her perspective on Angelique contrasts with Kevin and Kell taking a somewhat dismissive view of her. While they dislike Angelique but do not dwell on her much, Lindesfarne is perhaps the most hurt by Angelique’s departure, partly because of her unrequited love for her adoptive mother. She, however, resents Angelique's neglect and her simply stepping out of her life after raising her from an infant and as such, is conflicted towards her.
Angelique is initially unwilling to surrender Lindesfarne to Kevin, partly out of spite and partly because she wanted to reconcile with her. She initially hires Lindesfarne as a babysitter in order to have "a grown-up relationship" with her, but Lindesfarne feels burdened by emotional baggage and the fact that she loved Angelique but received little attention in return. She puts an allergy-inducing compound on a memo to Kell, which caused Lindesfarne to believe that she had somehow become allergic to her stepmother. As Lindesfarne's allergies cause her to shoot her quills everywhere, she feels she has no choice but to leave and stay with Angelique. Lindesfarne discovers Angelique’s plan while investigating Vin Vulpen, however, and returns home. At graduation, however, Angelique gives Lindesfarne a hug, presumably for the first time in her life(despite having a blood transfusion bag on hand), tells her the circumstances of her adoption, and relinquishes claims of custody due to Lindesfarne’s coming of age. Despite this, Lindesfarne has not completely put her past with Angelique behind her; she describes her as "the woman with whom I have my own complicated issues" on her blog.
Lindesfarne has possibly undergone the most transitions in her lifestyle. When she learns that Fenton is dating a moth due to his schedule not "overlapping" with Lindesfarne’s, and is told that she was an English Hedgehog she decides to switch back to being an English Hedgehog, becoming a nocturnal insectivore rather than an herbivore in the process. She manages to restore her relationship with Fenton by doing so, and becomes friends with the nocturnal Tammy and Ray. She remains nocturnal even after Fenton’s supposed death months later, partly because she believes that he is alive and partly because she considers it her true nature.
However, her new schedule contrasts with that of her family. She typically gets up in the evening and goes to bed in the morning, although her schedule varies slightly. (At one point, she calls Kell for mother’s Day at 6 a.m., just before she goes to sleep, waking Kell up in the process. At another, she is awake at the time Rudy gets up.) She is thus jealous of the fact that Rudy gets far more attention than she does. However, after seeing Chamilla Moodring with her family, she accepts that her being neglected is not their fault, and Kell promises to spend more time with her when she is awake. Her nocturnal status has given her some advantages, such as being able to drive the family to Animal World at night rather than pay to sleep in a motel.
Lindesfarne also conducts scientific research, and identifies the gene for domestication. However, she realizes that publishing it would expose many people close to her, and that a cure would alter their personalities, and she decides not to take either course of action. Kell appreciates her maturity, but Rudy resents her abandoning the search for a cure. However, after Vin Vulpen’s plan to expose everyone with domestication fails, Rudy forgives her, realizing the harm that publishing her research could do.
Lindesfarne currently attends Beige University with her boyfriend Fenton and roommate and friend Rhonda. She is currently doing a triple major (but the exact subjects are not explicitly stated), and has a 4.0 average. Lindesfarne also volunteers as a research assistant for Professor Antlerhead, working on stem cells. She learned that he falsified his research, but unwilling to be seen as a whistleblower and unwilling to destroy his career, yet still concerned about the impact that his fraud would have on scientific research, completed the research herself and continues to volunteer for him.
Lindesfarne's relationship with Fenton is also important to her role in the strip. Her desire to be with him for longer than their overlapping schedules allowed motivated her to apply for nocturnal status even before she discovered that she was a nocturnal species, and becomes nocturnal out of the belief that doing so will save her relationship with him. She remains convinced that Fenton is alive even after he is abducted by the Great Bird Conspiracy and presumed dead, and remains faithful to him despite Ray Flambeau professing affection for her.
Although Fenton proposes to her some time after getting his job at Hare-Link, Lindesfarne declines, as she does not feel ready to do so until after college. It is implied that she declined other proposals. Lindesfarne and Fenton are currently engaged after Lindesfarne temporarily tricks Fenton into thinking that they are married three years in the future. She said it was to convince him to abandon his thrill-seeking behavior, but suggests that she, too, needed to be convinced to accept a lifelong commitment. Although they are engaged, Lindesfarne wishes to wait until after college until they are married. Lindesfarne is currently working to nullify her contract to marry Quinn, with Rhonda marrying him instead.
The Virtual Quill
Lindesfarne also writes a blog known as the Virtual Quill, which none of the other characters can read (although at one point, Fenton noticed what she was writing). The blog comments on current events in Lindesfarne’s world, whether inside the comic or outside. For example, Lindesfarne writes about Rhonda’s breakup with Edgar, which was not featured in the main strip, and about their subsequent reunion, which was the subject of a brief series. Her blog also reveals some background information that is not disclosed in the comic, such as that Rhonda had been captain of the hunting team in her senior year. The blog also reveals insights about Lindesfarne’s less openly expressed opinions; while she seems outwardly friendly towards her grandmother Dorothy, blog entries reveal some vexation with her actions; she once describes Dorothy’s habitat as "Other People's Business," and says yet notes that she is slightly more sympathetic towards her after learning about her attempt to arrange a marriage for Kevin, and the fact that her failure resulted in her family being ostracized in the rabbit community. Recently, her blog, which was originally for her use alone (meaning that she never answered to any posts anyone sent her because she didn't know they existed), became accessible to readers, so now anyone can communicate with her and talk to her about her posts.
The blog was subject to some controversy in an entry in which Lindesfarne (as a scientist who works on stem cell research with Professor Antlerhead) bemoaned President Butterfly Ballot Bush's vetoing a stem cell research view. Some criticized Bill Holbrook for taking a political stand on the issue, while others disagreed, arguing that it was Bill Holbrook's right to share his views on the issue.
- Holbrook:"LIN dus farn"(April 15, 2015)
- Lindesfarne: "With Ray and Tammy gone, I don't have a lot of friends left at school"(June 19, 2001)
- Angelique:"Fact is, he wanted a kid and a prickly species like you gave me an excuse for staying at arm's length"(May 30, 2005)
- Lindesfarne: "So you and Mother raised me to be a plant-eater. Why didn't you tell me the truth when you married Kell?" Kevin: "Fitting into a new family, you had enough identity issues already."(April 2, 1998)
- Dorothy: "While Kevin was raising you, I know we werent' close." Lindesfarne: "That's okay, it wasn't just you. The whole rabbit community didn't allow for my differences." Dorothy: "Too bad one of the 'no bunny left behind' standards is 'fluffiness.' Lindesfarne: "Why do you think I ended up at a private school?"(January 3, 2006)
- Lindesfarne:(to Kell) "I'm glad Grandpa is working out as your security consultant! When I was growing up, he was the only relative besides Dad who would hold and hug me. Kell: "Awww!" Kevin: "That's 'cause he was usually wearing a bulletproof vest."(April 20, 2002)
- Lindesfarne: "I mean, I was raised by a woman who was cold and distant. I spent my childhood overachieving in a vain attempt to win her approval"(May 13, 2001)
- "Mother's Day never meant much to me in the past, which is probably more of a reflection on Angelique than anything else. Every year I'd make a card out of crayons, macaroni, etc., and every year I've give it to her. Years later when we moved into our current home I found them in a box of Dad's stuff, some with food stains. I think he rescued them from the garbage."(The Virtual Quill: Female Parental Unit Day)
- Lindesfarne: "Dang, I don't know what to call you." Angelique: "Growing up, you called me 'mother.'" Lindesfarne; "But Kell Dewclaw is my mother now!"(September 28, 1999)
- Lindesfarne: "Thanks, Angelique." Angelique: "'Angelique'??? For most of your life you called me 'mom'" Lindesfarne; "I know, but things change, we have a different relationship now." Angelique: Suit yourself. Lindesfarne's e-mail to Kell: "Dear mom,"(September 17, 2001)
- Martha: It's true, Lindesfarne. Ralph and I both saw a place populated by humans and I even briefly returned as one." Lindesfarne: "So these creatures didn't come from my imagination... but my memory!"(January 18, 2004)
- Lindesfarne: "Look, you raised me from an infant and then gave me up without a thought. Of course I'm conflicted towards you! Seeing you again has dredged up feelings of love, betrayal, hurt, rage, and occasional shards of forgiveness."(September 29, 1999)
- Fenton (putting an engagement ring on Lindesfarne's finger) "You forgot the engagement ring." Lindesfarne: "I didn't know where you kept it since the last time I rejected one of your marriage proposals"(May 31, 2007)
- "I'm not a person to rush into things (as Fenton knows from his multiple rejected marriage proposals) "(The Virtual Quill: Stemming the Tide)
|Kevin and Kell by Bill Holbrook|
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