My thoughts on Watership Down, so far…

*There will be spoilers*

The author of Watership Down, Richard Adams died this last Christmas, and so Hannah and I set out to read his epic book. 

We are now very close to the end – Bigwig has escaped Efrafa with the does, Keehar has attacked General Woundwort, and the rabbits have sailed down the river on a boat.

I am finding it a very interesting story so far. It’s not a Disneyfied cute story about bunnies. There is serious peril, near death, fighting, bleeding, and a spooky feeling helped by Fiver the seer who can sense doom. 

Here is a bit about my favourite characters: 

Blackberry: He is a clever rabbit, and is responsible for the innovation behind many of the plans. He understands how mechanisms work – when the rabbits escape from their home at the Sandleford warren, he understands that wood floats and puts Fiver and Pipkin on the plank to get them across the Enborne. He also formulates much of the plan which gets the does out of Efrafa. When they find the boat, he has the understanding to see how it could help them. 

Keehar: Not a rabbit. He is a gull. The rabbits need him because he can be fierce and he can fly, which gives the rabbits an advantage over the Efrafans. They meet him because he’s been hurt, they help him to recover and then he helps them. 

Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig: They share the leadership of the rabbits. Bigwig has courage and he can fight, Hazel has a calm air that can inspire the rabbits through anything and Fiver has the power to see the future, he has super senses. There is usually only one leader of a warren, but these rabbits are more diplomatic. 

I think it’s supposed to be quite a scary story. It’s about life and I think it’s actually about death as well. I think it’s a sad story. They are always so close to death, and there are so many dangers that it always feels as if someone might die at any moment. Humans try to kill them; they live in constant fear of enemies: foxes, stoats, weasels, dogs, cats, badgers, and even rats; diseases and wounds; snares, starvation and thirst; and as it turns out other rabbits from another warren. 

Another thing I enjoy is their language, Lapine. My favourite words are: Owsla (the elite rabbits in the hierarchy of a warren), hrududu (vehicles), silflay (grazing time, above ground). They also have a religion. They’ve got Frith who is the sun god, The Black Rabbit of Inlé who is death. El-Ahrairah is like a cheeky Jesus – he’s their mythological leader, and he plays awesome tricks and steals stuff. 

I recommend it, but I don’t think it’s a little kids book. It’s for young people. It makes you think about death. It’s so worth reading for the incredible story, the characters, and the beautiful descriptions of nature. 

I can’t wait to finish it. Afterwards we’re going to watch the film. Later on this year there is going to be a TV series which I so want to watch. It has John Boyega in it as Bigwig, and he’s Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

One last thing: I am very glad that my Patronus is a Wild Rabbit. Rabbit Power!

The End


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