Watership Down


August 1st, 2003


By Richard Adams


Watership Down is about a band of rabbits who leave their warren (home) for fear that something terrible is about to happen. They envision a place where it is high and dry, where they can see and hear everything around them, a place where it is safe from elil (enemies). They then embark on a long, arduous journey to their new home and find another warren on the way there. However, a psychic rabbit senses danger after one of the toughest rabbits in the group is nearly killed in a rabbit trap nearby. With a few new members joining the group, they finally reach their home and realize that their new warren won\'t last long unless they get some does (female rabbits), as they are just a large group of bucks (males). They learn soon of the existence of another warren nearby, Efrafa, who will not let them exist at Watership Down. After a few rabbits go on a scouting mission to the warren, they understand that Efrafa is a dangerous threat and is headed by a fearless, maniacal rabbit who goes by the name of General Woundwort. With the help of a fierce black-headed gull and after devising a few tricks, another band of rabbits goes back to Efrafa to steal some does from the overcrowded warren and must evade guards and the patrols that have been set out far and wide. They do return safely with them, however Woundwort and a few of his Owsla (guard) are after them and soon come upon the Watership Down warren. A large battle ensues, and the Efrafans are on the losing side. General Woundwort is to be never seen again, and the two warrens are finally at peace. They eventually start another warren between Watership Down and Efrafa, with rabbits from both places.


The theme of this book is mostly about exile, courage, and survival. A band of rabbits must leave their group and survive countless enemies, some rabbits, and must have the courage, strength, and bravery to continue on until they find a suitable spot for their new home. It is also about success and failure, as they try to bring back does to their new warren. I have read reviews of this book online, and some say to try to interpret the thoughts in the book and try to extract a greater meaning out of them. This does not need to be done, as you can plainly see what these rabbits are trying to do and the struggle they are going through to accomplish their goals.


There are many characters in this book, and they all play an important role, whether they are major or minor. There is Hazel, the rabbits\' leader, who guides them through the tough times and gives everyone the courage to keep going. He is one of the main characters in the story. Fiver, a small rabbit who can somehow see into the future, is the reason for the rabbits\' long expedition. He is a good friend of Hazel and is another main character. Bigwig, a large rabbit in the Chief Rabbit\'s guard, is tough and unafraid of most things that come across his path. He is friends with most of the upper rabbits, and is a main character. Holly, a brave rabbit who is captain in the chief\'s guard, is friendly with those who do not want to fight. He joins the new warren at Watership Down after the previous warren, Sandleford, is destroyed by men. He is also friendly with most of the other rabbits. Pipkin, a small, somewhat helpless rabbit like Fiver, gets tired out easily on their long trips and the journey to Watership Down. He was not easily convinced to leave the warren. Silver, the Threarah\'s nephew, was new to the Owsla and got teased and decided to leave with the rest. Kehaar is a large and fierce black-headed gull who helps the rabbits scout around the countryside. They find him injured and after feeding him and nursing him back to health, he becomes their friend. Last but not least, there is the fearsome General Woundwort, leader of the Efrafa Warren, an immensely large rabbit who is fearless