List of Watership Down characters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Blackberry (Watership Down))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is a list of characters in Watership Down, a 1972 novel by Richard Adams. The majority also appear in the 1978 feature film adaptation, the 1999 television series adaptation and/or 1996 follow-up collection of short stories.

Notably, most (though not all) male rabbits in the story are named after plants, whereas female rabbits tend to have names in Lapine, the fictional language Adams created for the story.[1]

The Watership Down rabbits[edit]

  • Hazel: The main character. He is the only rabbit to trust Fiver's visions before Bigwig is snared. He becomes the leader of the rabbits when they reach Watership Down, with a particular talent at bringing out the best in his friends and inspiring their loyalty. He is thought dead when he is shot during the raid on Nuthanger Farm, but Fiver and Blackberry save him. In the epilogue of the novel and the 1978 feature film, Hazel, now an aged rabbit, is invited by El-Ahrairah to join his Owsla (that group of exceptional rabbits with which the Chief Rabbit of a warren surrounds himself and through which he exercises his authority), to which Hazel accepts happily.
  • Fiver: Hazel's younger brother. His Lapine name is Hrairoo, meaning "Little Thousand" (in the Lapine language any number larger than four is "hrair" or "a thousand"; Fiver was the last and smallest of a litter of five or more rabbits). He is a seer or prophet, and his premonitions of the destruction of the Sandleford warren compel him to leave, along with his brother Hazel and several other rabbits. His visions guide his considerable wisdom, such as when he realizes the true danger of the snared warren, which wins him the respect of his fellows who come to accept his counsel without question. Later, when Hazel was dying because of a gunshot in a raid on a human farm's rabbit hutch, Fiver has a vision that enables him to save his brother. He also gives Hazel a vision that inspires Hazel to set up the release of the Nuthanger Farm dog to save the Watership Down warren from General Woundwort. In the TV series, Fiver's visions come in rhymes, and he often feels responsible for the terrible things, blaming himself for their outcome.
  • Bigwig: His name in Lapine is Thlayli, which means "Fur-head" and refers to the large crest or tuft of fur on the top of his head. Formerly an officer in the Sandleford Owsla, he is the toughest and most experienced of the Sandleford survivors. He is often sarcastic and impatient for dangerous action. He quickly befriends Kehaar. Hazel selects him to lead the most dangerous missions, such as the raid on the farm and the infiltration of Efrafa. He defends the warren against General Woundwort in a fight that nearly kills him. Afterwards he becomes captain of the warren's "free-and-easy" Owsla.
  • Blackberry: A clever buck rabbit with black-tipped ears. He is often capable of understanding concepts that the other rabbits find incomprehensible. He realizes, for instance, that wood floats; and the rabbits use this tactic twice to traverse on water. He also works out how to dismantle a snare that traps Bigwig, saving his life. He is one of Hazel's most trusted advisors, given the task of planning a way to rescue does from Efrafa. In the TV series, in a controversial move, Blackberry is rendered a female and is the only doe to escape the Sandleford Warren with Hazel and the others. As with the book and film, Blackberry is still depicted as being ingenious, clever and resourceful as well as an accomplished digger. Later in the series, Blackberry falls in love with Campion and the two eventually settle in Watership Down to start a new life together.
  • Dandelion: A buck rabbit notable for his storytelling ability and speed. He is instrumental in luring the Nuthanger Farm dog into attacking the Efrafans during the siege of Watership Down. He is voice acted by Richard O'Callaghan in the film and Phill Jupitus in the television series, seasons 1 and 2. In the TV series, Dandelion is strangely one of the slowest of rabbits and, though still an accomplished storyteller, is more of a joker similar to Bluebell from the books. He is also a good friend of Hawkbit.
  • Pipkin: A small and timid buck rabbit, the "baby" who looks to Hazel for guidance and protection. Hazel encourages him, and Pipkin grows very loyal to Hazel. He proves to be a constant comforter, particularly for Holly after the destruction of Sandleford warren. In the TV series, Pipkin's characterization is notably different; here he is a very young and adventurous rabbit eager to prove himself in the eyes of his companions—particularly Hazel and Bigwig. During the last season Pipkin grows up to be a responsible rabbit, even leading the "Junior Owsla". His Lapine name is "Hlao-roo".
  • Silver: A large rabbit with grey fur and the Threarah's nephew. A member of the Sandleford Owsla, he chose to leave with Hazel's band. His solid reliability serves Hazel at those times when Bigwig's hot-headedness is more a hindrance than help. He and Buckthorn help to defend the Watership warren against the Efrafans. Silver is absent from the television series.
  • Buckthorn: A tough, sturdy rabbit with a quiet and easygoing nature. Like Silver, he is good in a fight and steadfast and dependable in a crisis.
  • Hawkbit: Described in the beginning as a "rather slow, stupid rabbit", he joins Hazel's company in the escape from Sandleford. Together with Speedwell and Acorn, he begins complaining and insisting on returning to the warren, but is brow-beaten into submission by Bigwig. Later, Hawkbit apologizes to Hazel and from thence forth is a loyal and dependable follower. His solo foray leads him to discover the existing scrape runs on Watership Down, thus saving his comrades from spending their first night there in the open. In the TV series, Hawkbit is an ironical, sardonic rabbit who always has a sarcastic comment for every situation, but he is a dependable member of the warren whenever help is needed. An outstanding example of the effect Hazel has upon those rabbits who would otherwise have been totally disregarded in the warren hierarchy, he later becomes a good friend of the more cerebral Dandelion and during the last season settles down with Clover.
  • Speedwell and Acorn: Outskirters from Sandleford who join up with Hazel's band and early in the journey side with Hawkbit when he wants to go back; but, like him, they are subdued by Bigwig and consequently have a change of heart. Both develop into reliable and loyal sentries. Speedwell is subsequently characterised as an energetic, easy-going joker who later makes a loyal and hard-working contribution to the defence of the warren against General Woundwort. Speedwell is the narrator of one of the short stories in Tales from Watership Down, the nonsense tale Speedwell's Story. Acorn doesn't really get a very strong characterization, though he is mentioned as being one of the most skilled rabbits when it comes to gathering bugs for the wounded Kehaar, and is unflaggingly loyal to Hazel in the battle of the warren against Woundwort. In Tales from Watership Down he dies due to wintertime hardship, and is as such the only one of Hazel's original crew to actually die over the course of the two books (not counting Hazel's own death many years later in the epilogue).
  • Strawberry : Originally from Cowslip's warren, he was initially as aloof and evasive as Cowslip and his fellow rabbits when the Sandleford rabbits first arrive. After the death of his mate, Nildro-hain, by a snare (a threat that is common in his warren and has come to be accepted, but not talked about), Strawberry asks to join the Sandleford rabbits. He eventually becomes a valuable advisor in the construction of the main chamber at the Watership Down warren, similar to the communal burrow in his home warren. Because he comes to them under a cloud due to his behaviour as part of Cowslip's warren, he works especially hard to earn the trust of his new comrades. It is said that he becomes a founding father of the new warren between Watership and Efrafa; this is also told in Tales from Watership Down.
  • Holly: Former captain of the Sandleford Owsla, he tries to arrest Hazel and his group on the night they leave Sandleford but is beaten off by Bigwig. After men destroy the Sandleford Warren, he escapes and finds the Watership Down rabbits, though he is wounded and exhausted. Seeing Hazel's leadership skills in practice, he submits himself to Hazel and follows him loyally. In the TV series, Holly has only a minor role and is mostly used as a background character for two seasons, however he has some roles as the new Owsla trainer in the last season.
  • Bluebell: The only rabbit besides Holly to survive destruction of the Sandleford Warren and reach Watership Down. Bluebell is a compulsive joker whose chattering has often kept the others running, for good or for ill, when physical exertion takes its toll. Holly notes that, after barely surviving the destruction of the Sandleford Warren, he could not have completed his journey to rejoin Hazel's group without Bluebell's constant joking, and is quite attached to Bluebell. When Holly tells the tale of their escape, it is Bluebell who provides the account describing the terrifying effects of the gas on the rabbits underground, and of how he and Pimpernel aided one another to escape. He is the only rabbit in the book apart from Dandelion to tell a story of El-ahrairah.
  • Scabious: A buck in Clover's litter. He eventually joins the "free-and-easy" Owsla, and trains under Bigwig. Probably named after Scabious from the Sandleford warren.
  • Threar: One of the children of Fiver and Vilthuril. Like his father, he is also a seer. Probably named after The Threarah, the Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford warren.

Sandleford rabbits[edit]

  • Threarah: The Threarah ("Lord Rowan Tree"; "Threar" is Lapine for "rowan tree") is the Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford warren and Silver's uncle. He dismisses Fiver's warning as an attempt by Fiver to increase his status in the warren and lambasts Bigwig for interrupting his nap by bringing Hazel and Fiver before him. This leads Bigwig to quit the Owsla and join Hazel in leaving the warren. After Captain Holly tells him of the escape, he decides that they are not worth chasing after. Despite his dismissive behaviour toward Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig, he is remembered by Holly (and acknowledged by Fiver) for his practicality and his ability to think things through in order to make what he thought were informed decisions. He dies in the destruction of the Sandleford warren.
  • Toadflax: A member of the Sandleford Owsla who is also somewhat of a bad-tempered bully; early in the book he "confiscates" a cowslip that Fiver finds, claiming that cowslips are only for the Owsla to enjoy. He, together with Holly, Bluebell and Pimpernel, escapes from the warren at its destruction, but the humans' poison has driven him mad, and he dies the same night. Just before dying, however, he has a moment of lucidity, during which he realises the reason for the Sandleford warren's destruction.
  • Pimpernel: Pimpernel also escapes from the Sandleford warren with Holly and Bluebell, staying with them until they reach Cowslip's warren. Upon learning that they are friends of Hazel and his companions, the rabbits there attack the trio and kill Pimpernel. In the TV series, Pimpernel's fate was slightly different, though no less fatal: Having chosen to stay behind in Cowslip's warren while Holly moved on, he finally ended up in one of the snares. In the original film, he is not mentioned at all.
  • Scabious: The first rabbit to be killed by the men who poison-gassed the Sandleford warren. After smelling the poison gas, he came up and was shot, but only wounded, so one of the men killed him by hitting him on the head with a stick.
  • Willow: Willow is presumably a rabbit from the Sandleford Owsla. After Hazel and the other rabbits escape from Sandleford, he and Holly talk things over with The Threarah. He dies in the destruction of the Sandleford warren.
  • Nightshade: Nightshade is a rabbit who silflayed while The Threarah was outside of his burrow. He tells The Threarah that he should be careful not to tire himself out, as he is getting on in his years. The Threarah cuffs him and knocks him down, proving that he is still a match for him. He dies in the destruction of the Sandleford warren.
  • Celandine: Celandine is a rabbit from the Sandleford warren. When Bluebell goes down a run to escape the poison gas, Celandine's corpse falls through the roof in front of Bluebell, who has to claw past his body to escape.
  • Pine Needles: Another rabbit from the Sandleford warren. When the men poison-gassed the Sandleford warren, he somehow got out through a hole that led to the woods. Since he got to the woods, it is unknown what became of him afterwards.
  • Butterbur: Another rabbit from the Sandleford warren. When the men poison-gassed the Sandleford warren, he somehow got out through a hole that led to the woods. Since he got to the woods, it is unknown what became of him afterwards.
  • Ash: Another rabbit from the Sandleford warren. When the men poison-gassed the warren, he somehow got out through a hole that led to the woods. Since he got to the woods, it is unknown what became of him afterwards.
  • Nose-In-The-Air: Another rabbit from the Sandleford warren. When the men poison gassed the Sandleford warren, he got out into the meadow and managed to evade the men and get away. Since he got out, it is unknown what became of him afterwards.
  • Violet: A female rabbit who appears only in the movie adaptation of Watership Down. In this version she is the only doe to leave Sandelford Warren with Hazel and is killed by a hawk during the journey. Her inclusion stands in contrast to the book wherein the group of rabbits that leaves with Hazel includes no does and the entire group survives to the end of the story.

Nuthanger farm rabbits[edit]

  • Clover: strong and active Angora doe, who mates with Holly and provides the Watership Down warren with its second known litter. In the movie, Clover and the hutch rabbits are all recaptured soon after their escape and are never seen again. In the TV series, she is the only rabbit to escape from the farm.
  • Boxwood: A "black and white Himalayan" buck, and Haystack's mate.
  • Haystack: A Himalayan doe who is Boxwood's mate.
  • Laurel: A "short-haired black Angora" buck. He is freed by the Watership rabbits along with the other hutch rabbits, but is recaptured soon after.

Note: normally, Angora rabbits never are short haired. It seems that no one knows who mated with whom, but the book suggests that it was Clover and Holly, Bigwig and Thethuthinnang, Hazel and Hyzenthlay and Fiver and Vilthuril.

Cowslip's warren (The warren of the shining wire)[edit]

  • Cowslip: Although he is not a Chief Rabbit, his strange warren is usually referred to as "Cowslip's Warren" because he is the first resident therein that Hazel's rabbits meet. Cowslip is laconic and almost too refined, with great size and a strange scent, perhaps from a life of superior food, and he seems typical of his fellows. As Fiver soon discovers, a farmer leaves vegetables out so that he can trap rabbits coming and going, but this is a severely taboo subject in the warren, and Cowslip and his fellows refuse to talk about it, and instead pretend that all is well. Cowslip later refuses to help or even acknowledge Bigwig, when he is trapped and nearly killed by the farmer's snare. When Holly, Bluebell, and Pimpernel later happen into the area, Cowslip leads an attack upon these last surviving Sandleforders. However, while the locals have remarkable cultural sophistication (even art), they are woefully unskilled at fighting, and succeed in killing only the sickened Pimpernel. His warren—a harvesting ground of rabbit meat for a human—goes down in lapine history as being "bewitched". In the TV series, Cowslip becomes angered by Hazel's warren when they help a group of his rabbits escape from his warren, and even helps Woundwort to get his revenge on them, however, as he himself states, "I'm a plotter, not a fighter" and he uses both sides for his own gain. Later he trades his seer, Silverweed, to Woundwort in exchange for the destruction of his escaped rabbit's warren.
  • Nildro-hain: Strawberry's mate in Cowslip's warren; she is killed by a snare, following which incident Strawberry escapes to join Hazel's band. Her name is Lapine for "blackbird's song"—birdsong being one of the many un-rabbitlike qualities that her warren adopts due to its unnatural lifestyle.
  • Silverweed: The local equivalent of a storyteller, Silverweed recites disturbing poetry which makes Fiver fearful and wary. Because he talks in poetry and riddles, he is the only outlet through which the other rabbits in his warren can confront their morbid situation. In the television series, he is given a new backstory, in that he is a seer with mental abilities similar to Fiver, in particular possessing the ability to see into another rabbit's heart by touch. He is traded to Woundwort to help him seek his destiny, but later ends up on Watership Down and becomes a good friend of the rabbits there, even sacrificing most of his youth to help save the warren from Woundwort.
  • Laburnum: An artist, he made the shape on the wall of El-ahrairah. He does not appear in the book or TV series, but he is mentioned by Strawberry when he shows the shape to Hazel. Although his taking the time to make a shape of El-ahrairah and even his name (which in Lapine means "Poison-tree") are considered extremely un-rabbit-like, his art is seen as old-fashioned, since the warren in which he lives has long since abandoned values such as cunning and survival.
  • Kingcup: Another rabbit who was killed by a snare. When the eleven rabbits who left Sandleford arrive, Strawberry looks for him but does not find him in his burrow. Realizing what happened to him, Strawberry removes all traces that any rabbit ever lived in that burrow.
  • Betony: A rabbit whose doe sings like a robin.
  • Strawberry: A former member of this warren (See above listing for this character under Watership Down Rabbits).

Efrafan rabbits[edit]

  • General Woundwort: The Chief Rabbit of Efrafa serves as the main antagonist in the novel, film and television series. Fearless, single-minded, and brutally efficient, Woundwort was orphaned at a young age; his father was shot dead by a human and his mother was killed shortly afterwards by a weasel. Though he was rescued and raised by a kind professor, this trauma was Woundwort's formative experience, as he engineered and founded the Efrafa warren specifically to minimize notice from humans. In keeping with this motive, rabbits must graze in shifts while Efrafa's Owsla maintains a perimeter, partially to detect and drive off elil and partially to prevent escapes. By the time of the story, Woundwort's efforts to protect his rabbits are so successful that Efrafa has become miserably overpopulated, but he still refuses to permit expansion or departures, conceding only to appoint a ruling Council, and to introduce the dangerous Wide Patrols, which keep his Owsla fit and experienced, as well as keeping the warren's numbers down due to encounters with elil. At the same time, any wandering, unknown rabbit is required to be brought to his warren to keep the number of bucks in line with the disproportionate number of does.
    Woundwort is described as the largest and most savage rabbit anyone has ever seen, and is thought by Holly to be the one rabbit that can out-fight Bigwig. He falsely assumes Bigwig to be the opposition's Chief Rabbit, mainly because of the latter's size and strength, but on learning that he is not, automatically assumes that the true Chief Rabbit must be bigger and stronger still. In the television series and the movie, Woundwort is blind in his left eye. A brutal and tyrannical leader who sees himself as the one doing everything for the best of his warren, Woundwort strives to destroy Hazel and his 'outsiders' merely because he sees them as a threat to his power. During the breakout, he reacts quickly and effectively in directing his Owsla in the face of Hazel's multiple surprises until the use of the boat utterly baffles him. Unable to politically withstand the blow to his prestige, Woundwort locates and attacks the Watership Down warren with his Owsla. He fights savagely against Bigwig but neither is able to overcome the other.Woundwort is an extremely powerful fighter by rabbit standards; in the past, he severely wounded a cat, fought rats, magpies and squirrels, and killed the leaders of other warrens. However, at the end of the book and the film, he is presumably killed fighting the Nuthanger Farm dog, but since his body was never found he lives on in rabbit legend as a bogeyman and cousin to the Black Rabbit of Inlé who will come back to fight for those who honour his name.
    In the TV series, Woundwort is depicted as ruling over Efrafa as a personality cult, with his subjects practically worshiping him as a god. He is depicted as unstable and as ruthless as ever, but he treats his officers reasonably well. He deeply respects Campion, even after his betrayal by him, and although he often punishes and threatens Vervain, he still values him as an advisor and loyal subject.[citation needed] He is still troubled by the loss of his parents and has occasional flashbacks to it. After the destruction of Efrafa, Woundwort becomes obsessed with seeking his destiny, which leads him to the warren he was born at, Darkhaven. In the end, he is taken by the Black Rabbit of Inlé to the shadow lands along with most of the Darkhaven rabbits.
  • Hyzenthlay: A doe; she is one of the representative leaders of a group who unsuccessfully tried to convince General Woundwort to extend the warren due to overcrowding. She is thought of by Bigwig as a smart, sensible doe and he depends on her to help him and nine other does escape from Efrafra. She is also a seer who has visions of Woundwort's attack, the freeing of the Nuthanger Farm dog, and Hazel riding in a car. In Tales from Watership Down she mates with Hazel and the two rule the warren as co-Chief Rabbits.[2] Hyzenthlay's name is Lapine for "fur shining like dew".
    In the animated movie adaption, Hyzenthlay is given a role in luring the dog back to the warren, being the last in the relay. The dog becomes distracted and nearly catches Blackberry, but Hyzenthlay saves his life by regaining the dog's attention.
    In the television series adaptation, Hyzenthlay was renamed Primrose, and she hailed from a warren called Redstone. She is otherwise mostly identical to Hyzenthlay. Primrose is very supportive of Hazel, and she and Campion have some strong bond due to being saved by him multiple times back in Efrafa. She also harbors deep hatred for Vervain, who molested and bullied her at every given opportunity back then, despite this she, Fiver, Holly, and Captain Broom saved his life when he was caught in some wire, although in the beginning she protested the idea of helping the rabbit "that made her life miserable". Later she hates herself for letting him go when she finds out he formed an alliance out of fear with Woundwort.
    Primrose also seems to be a dedicated mother to her three children Snowdrop, Mallow, and Gilia (who were fathered by Hazel). In Efrafa she constantly showed a rebellious, and stubborn attitude toward Vervain by constantly disobeying him, and ignoring his snide bullying. Vervain disliked this, and told Campion how he wanted to make her fear him, and almost attacked her until Campion protested, and jumped in the way.
  • Thethuthinnang: Hyzenthlay's friend and also one of the leaders of the Efrafan does. Her name is Lapine for "movement of leaves". She escapes alone with Hyzenthlay and is one of the eleven rabbits to escape Efrafa with Bigwig. She later becomes Bigwig's mate.
  • Groundsel: An Owsla officer. He was captured at the end of Woundwort's raid on the warren at Watership Down and later was allowed to join the warren. In the end, he becomes Chief Rabbit of a new warren between Watership Down and Efrafa, which in Tales from Watership Down gets the name "Vleflain".
  • Thistle: Another rabbit who was captured at the end of the attack on Watership Down. He is a good tracker, even better than Blackavar. In the TV series, he and another Efrafan rabbit called Gorse are killed by a fox that was chasing Bigwig.
  • Campion: A senior captain of the Owsla; he is a brave and skillful officer and respected by General Woundwort. He is well liked by both Hazel and Bigwig despite being their enemy for a while. Campion takes over the warren of Efrafa after Woundwort's disappearance, and agrees that Efrafa and Watership Down can co-exist in peace. In Tales from Watership Down, the final chapter is devoted to Campion; he introduces the Wide Patrol to Vleflain and Watership Down and becomes a respected and well-liked leader. He eventually dies on patrol after a fight with a pair of cats, but like Woundwort lives on in rabbit legends, as a sort of guardian angel for rabbits on patrol. In the film adaption, Campion makes a short non-speaking appearance in a scene with Bigwig and Woundwort, his fate is ultimately left open ended at the end of the film. In the TV series, Campion sees that Woundwort's leadership is destroying Efrafa, but is torn between his feelings for the free ways of Watership Down and his loyalty to his chief. In the end, Campion turns against Woundwort to save his friend's warren, yet sacrifices himself to save Woundwort from a falling boulder. Miraculously surviving, but with terrible scars and losing an ear, Campion is touched by the Black Rabbit of Inlé and is tasked with stopping Woundwort. Feeling empty and half-dead, Campion's will to live is returned thanks to the love of Blackberry. He finally settles with her in Watership Down.
  • Vilthuril: One of the escaping does. Eventually she becomes Fiver's mate who is particularly understanding of his personal burdens acquired in the final battle against the Efrafans.
  • Blackavar: Blackavar is a rabbit with dark fur who tried to escape from Efrafa when he was prevented from joining the Owsla. However, he was apprehended by Campion and as punishment his ears were torn to shreds and he was kept in solitary confinement. When he was liberated by Bigwig, he quickly proved himself as an expert tracker and ranger, and Hazel came to trust and rely upon him. In the book, Blackavar is given some backstory and it is revealed that his mother came from another Warren that Woundwort had conquered and moved back to Efrafa. As such, whilst proud of his father as an Efrafan officer, he harbours some of his mother's resentment, which grows when he is not introduced into the Owsla because of prejudice towards his mother's blood. He shows himself to be quite resourceful as he is being brought back to Hazel's warren, able to detect the presence of a fox when Bigwig himself - an Owsla officer - cannot. In the book, he survives the climactic battle with the Efrafans, but in the film he is shown being brutally killed by Woundwort himself in an anticlimactic attempt to hold back the general's advance in a run. He was voiced by Clifton Jones in the feature film. In the TV series, he is the only rabbit other than Primrose to escape Efrafa along with Bigwig, and he isn't disfigured in any way.
  • Vervain: The head of the Council police in Efrafa. He is a large and bullying rabbit, more used to dealing with prisoners than with active combatants, and he dislikes his peer Campion. As Efrafa's most-hated officer, Vervain depends upon Woundwort's authority for his own. When Woundwort's forces storm the Honeycomb, he is ordered by Woundwort to kill Fiver, but Fiver's supernatural calmness and prophesising of his (Vervain's) death terrify him into fleeing. After the loss of Woundwort and the battle for Watership Down, Vervain is one of the retreating survivors killed by elil, but he had already lost heart and his sense of purpose. His name comes from an alternative name for verbena, a type of small flowering plant found in England. In the TV series, Vervain is a cowardly and sneaky rabbit, more adept at spying on others and threatening the weaker ones than in actual combat. Despite his shortcomings, Woundwort values him (though he would not show this) for his loyalty to him. Although Campion saved his life on more than one occasion, Vervain hates him with a passion and would like nothing better than to make Woundwort realize Campion is a traitor. Kehaar is particularly not fond of Vervain and calls him 'ugly bunny'. After Efrafa's destruction, Vervain tries to live on his own but quickly loses hope, until he is saved by Woundwort. Although somewhat shocked by his master's increasing madness, Vervain continues to serve him, though more out of fear then respect, and he secretly longs to lead a different life, even if such thoughts are futile. Vervain's cowardice saves his life in the end, as by running away when the Black Rabbit of Inlé appears, he avoids the fate of Woundwort.
  • Chervil: An Owsla captain assigned to show Bigwig around the warren when he "joins" Efrafa. Like Vervain he is something of a bully, and has severe contempt for the "lesser" Efrafans. He is very callous towards Blackavar in particular. In the film, Chervil is voiced by Derek Griffiths. His name is also mispronounced and misspelled by some as "Sherbil".
  • Avens: Another Owsla officer who accompanies Chervil while training Bigwig. At the end of the book, he becomes a captain and is sent to the warren between Watership Down and Efrafa leading the first group of rabbits.
  • Nelthilta: A young doe, spirited and rebellious but not especially smart. When she thinks she's going to escape with Bigwig's group she can't resist dropping hints by taunting an Efrafan officer, whereupon she is arrested and forced to confess to the Council, nearly ruining the whole plan.
  • Bartsia: An Owslafa officer who is Blackavar's escort. He is severely injured by Bigwig during the Efrafan does' escape. His fate is unknown, but it is implied that his injuries (including a broken leg) were fatal.
  • Snowdrop: A very old rabbit who acts as Woundwort's advisor on the Council.
  • Charlock: An Owsla captain who was chasing Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry when they escaped from Efrafa. He and the few other officers who were with him were run over by a train as they were chasing the Watership Down rabbits.
  • Mallow: Another Owsla captain. Mallow was killed by a fox, inadvertently led to him by Bigwig, while on a Wide Patrol tracking the other Watership rabbits who were nearby.
  • Bugloss: The captain of the mark that Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry were in when they had been in Efrafa. After the rabbits escape, he is placed under arrest, then later demoted and expelled from the Efrafan Owsla.
  • Orchis: Another Owsla captain. He found another warren on a Wide Patrol and brought news of it to Woundwort, who destroyed it and brought back some prisoners.
  • Sainfoin: Owsla captain of the Neck Mark. His Mark silflayed just before Captain Chervil's Near Hind Mark at the time that Bigwig had infiltrated Efrafa.
  • Marjoram and Moneywort: Two sentries serving under the command of Captain Chervil.
  • Thrayonlosa: One of the does who escaped from Efrafa with Bigwig and Hyzenthlay. While escaping with the others on the boat on the River Test from Woundwort and the Efrafan Owsla, she was struck on the back and seriously injured by a low bridge girder. She left that night, right before she died, knowing she was going to die.
  • Coltsfoot: After the disastrous attack on Watership, Coltsfoot settles on the Down. Despite this, the others give him a wide berth because of his demeanor, which turns out to be a product of a strange encounter he had as a youngster. This event forms the plot of "The Rabbit's Ghost Story" in Tales from Watership Down. Once he has told this story, and after spending much time with Fiver (who seemed to understand it best), he became as agreeable as any rabbit.
  • Thunder: An Owsla veteran with experience in invading warrens. He advised Woundwort at Watership Down, but it is unknown what happened to him after that attack.
  • Ragwort: An unimaginative Owsla rabbit who helped Captain Mallow and others dig out rabbits in the warren found by Captain Orchis. He was at the attack on Watership Down. It is unknown what happened to him after the attack.
  • Nyreem: In the Tales from Watership Down story "Hyzenthlay in Action", Nyreem is one of a group of Efrafan does whom Campion has sent to the Down, in order to deal with overpopulation in his warren. Because she has injured her leg, the others are forced to go on without her. Hyzenthlay (who had just become co-Chief with Hazel) exercised her new authority by sitting with Nyreem all night until Bigwig came to assist her. Later, Nyreem and one of her friends witness Sandwort's lucky escape from the well.

Mythical characters[edit]

"The Blessing of El-ahrairah"[edit]

  • Lord Frith: The sun-god, and creator of the universe. In the rabbits' creation story, he grants all the animals their distinguishing features.
  • El-ahrairah: A rabbit trickster folk hero, who is the protagonist of nearly all of the rabbits' stories. He represents what every rabbit wants to be: smart, devious, tricky, and devoted to the well-being of his warren. A complex folklore was created around him in both Watership Down and Tales from Watership Down. In Lapine, his name is a contraction of the phrase Elil-Hrair-Rah, meaning "prince with a thousand enemies".

"The King's Lettuce"[edit]

  • Prince Rainbow: Frith's deputy on earth, who has "the power of the sky and the power of the hills", often tries to keep El-ahrairah and his people in line, but is invariably thwarted. In Tales, he gives El-ahrairah good advice before he undertakes several adventures.
  • Rabscuttle: Captain of El-ahrairah's Owsla and trusted sidekick on many adventures, Rabscuttle is totally loyal to his "master" and often assists him in his tricks and adventures.
  • King Darzin: Ruler of "one of the biggest animal cities" and sworn enemy of El-ahrairah. In the end, he and his people go to war against the rabbits and are only driven off when El-ahrairah makes a desperate bargain with the Black Rabbit. What kind of animals King Darzin and his ilk are is a mystery; the stories deliberately don't mention it.
  • Yona: Yona's name, which means "hedgehog" in Lapine, is well deserved, since that is what he is. Yona's loyalty often wavers because of his penchant for gossip.

"The Trial of El-ahrairah"[edit]

  • Hufsa: A rabbit placed in El-ahrairah's warren as a spy for Prince Rainbow, thwarting many of El-ahrairah's plots and tricks before he is discovered. To rabbits, Hufsa's name is synonymous with "traitor".
  • Hawock: Hawock is a pheasant who at one point helps El-ahrairah in his plan to get rid of the traitor Hufsa.

"El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé"[edit]

  • The Black Rabbit of Inlé: Also called Inlé-rah, he appears in fictional rabbit folklore as a sinister phantom servant of the Great Frith; he is the rabbit equivalent of a grim reaper in human folklore and similarly ensures all rabbits die at their pre-destined time. He is the moon rabbit, and Inlé is the rabbit name for the moon.

"Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog"[edit]

  • Rowsby Woof: A dog who guards a house garden. He is tricked by El-ahrairah into thinking the rabbit is a dog named Fairy Wogdog and leaving the house. Later he is tricked into thinking there is a disease that will murder his master and the only way he can stop it is if he runs around his master's house four times. When he does this, El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle leave the house with some of the cabbages from the garden.
  • Fairy Wogdog: Presumably a messenger of Queen Dripslobber, impersonated by El-ahrairah by use of a fake dog snout cut from rubber tire. Possibly only extemporaneously invented by El-ahrairah for the prank, though he utters the phrase "Quicker than Wogdog from the Tartar's bow!" suggesting the possibility that it is an established character in Lapine lore.
  • Queen Dripslobber: The supposed "great dog spirit of the East".
  • Postwiddle and Sniffbottom: Fairy dogs supposedly attendant to the great Dog Queen.

"The Sense of Smell"[edit]

  • Glanbrins: rabbit-like creatures with no eyes who live in a land of perpetual darkness and live off roots.
  • Ilips: fierce predators from the land of perpetual darkness who are the guardians of the Sense of Smell.
  • King of Yesterday: an Oregon Bison whose subjects have all been driven to extinction by the human race. He obtained guardianship of the Sense of Smell from the Ilips.
  • King of Tomorrow: a lordly stag whose subjects are all animals whose species are not native to the United Kingdom. He borrowed the Sense of Smell from the King of Yesterday, but later forgot that he had it. After he is reminded of the fact, he personally bestows it on El-ahrairah and all his people.

"The Three Cows"[edit]

  • The First Cow guards a sacred wood that is "enchanted by sunlight and moonlight", through which El-ahrairah must struggle on his quest for immortality.
  • The Second Cow lives in a ravine full of thorns and sharp stones, which are born out of her gloomy heart. However, El-ahrairah is able to warm her heart and takes her through the now-empty ravine to meet the great white bull, with whom she mates.
    • Whitethorn: the calf of the bull and the Second Cow. When the time comes for him to travel on, she accompanies him and helps him greatly.
  • The Third Cow is a manifestation of Time itself. The last stage of El-ahrairah's journey takes place in her body.

"King Fur-Rocious"[edit]

  • King Fur-Rocious: a huge, vicious tyrant of a rabbit who claims rule not only over other rabbits, but rats, weasels, and stoats as well. He briefly usurps El-ahrairah's position as Chief of his warren, but is eventually defeated and driven off. He appears in Tales from Watership Down.

"The Hole in the Sky"[edit]

  • Hallion and Thyken: two Owsla members at a warren whose rabbits are highly conceited. Their rejection of and failure to recognize El-ahrairah in the guise of an injured traveler later leads to their being shamed in front of their chief and comrades.
  • Henthred: the Chief Rabbit of the above-mentioned warren.
  • Anflellen: Henthred's mate, who is said to be lazy.
  • Themmeron: an ancient member of the warren's Owsla who claimed that, had he been in Hallion and Thyken's place, he would have recognized El-ahrairah as never having seen the Hole in the Sky, piquing El-ahrairah's curiosity.
  • timbleer: an unknown fierce animal, with whom El-ahrairah fights and wins.

"The Comical Field"[edit]

  • Greenweed: an old rabbit whose role in the story mirrors that of Cowslip.

"The Great Marsh" and "The Terrible Hay-Making"[edit]

  • Burdock: the tenderfoot Chief Rabbit of the warren bordering the marsh. Although he allows El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle to take charge of the journey across the marsh, he later becomes irritated by their devotion to safety precautions in the presence of humans.
  • Celandine: captain of Burdock's Owsla.

"El-ahrairah and the Lendri"[edit]

  • Old Brock: an old badger (or lendri) living in a gnarled wood. El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle forage for him to gain his favor and assistance, earning them the dislike of all their fellow creatures.


Watership Down[edit]

  • Kehaar: A black-headed gull who is forced, by an injured wing, to take refuge on Watership Down. He is characterized by his frequent impatience, guttural accent and unusual phrasing. Eventually, after Hazel and the others befriend him, he flies over the countryside in an attempt to discover other warrens where the rabbits might find does to mate with. He discovers the Efrafa warren, and after helping the rabbits he flies back to the sea to rejoin his colony, though he frequently returns for a visit. According to Richard Adams, Kehaar was based on a fighter from the Norwegian Resistance in the World War II.[3] In the film adaptation, Kehaar was supplied with a memorably pompous East-European accent by Zero Mostel. In the television series, Kehaar is voiced by English comedian Rik Mayall for series 1 and 2.
  • Mouse: A native of Watership Down. Hazel's warren does him a good turn when they shelter him from a threatening kestrel. He is deeply grateful and later, although he does not understand the situation, he tells the Watership Down rabbits, after their friendly extraction of dissidents from Efrafa, that other rabbits are approaching their warren. Hazel correctly surmises that they must be the Efrafan Owsla coming to retaliate for the raid and without the mouse's warning, they would have taken the Watership Down warren completely by surprise.
    In the television series, the Mouse is a female and is named Hannah. She is a good friend of Kehaar and has a kind of love/hate relationship with Bigwig, who feels she is too small to be of any use in a fight. After Kehaar's departure, Hannah tries to learn magic to help her friends on the Down.
  • Tab: The name or nickname of the cat at Nuthanger Farm. Captured Hazel after he succeeded in gnawing through Bob's tethered rope during the battle against Woundworth, but is prevented from killing him by Lucy.
  • Lucy: Daughter of Nuthanger Farm, who kept the four hutch rabbits. Later on, she shoos away Tab the cat who had Hazel in its grasp. She implores the Doctor to examine Hazel, and he agrees to drive Hazel near the Down to release him in the wild at a safe distance from the farm. In the film adaptation, she has two voice-only cameos (voiced by Michelle Price) and is not actually shown on-screen.
  • Bob: The dog at Nuthanger Farm. Set loose by Hazel, he attacked General Woundwort and other Efrafan rabbits assaulting Watership Down.

Tales from Watership Down[edit]

  • Flyairth: The Watership rabbits first hear of Flyairth from Vilthuril, Hyzenthlay, and Thethuthinnang, who had learned about her from a mysterious "secret river" of knowledge. Flyairth was Chief Rabbit of a doe-dominated warren called Thinial, but she was later expelled from it because of her obsession with preventing an outbreak of the "White Blindness". Later, she moves to Watership, where she continues her campaign against the Blindness. She believes that humans will infect any rabbit they see with it; as such, she sees the Watership warren as being in great danger because it is directly next to a human footpath. Eventually, she leaves, taking a sizable number of rabbits with her.
  • Stonecrop: A rabbit born in a hutch, who eventually escapes and joins the wilderness. He is brave to the point of being foolhardy, knowing nothing of the dangers of elil, but as it turns out predators leave him alone because he smells so strongly of human. Initially the other rabbits fear and want to kill him because of his smell, but he is eventually accepted into Vleflain when this smell drives off a pack of weasels who were attacking the warren.
  • Sandwort: Sandwort is the protagonist of the eponymous story in Tales from Watership Down. He refuses to respect any of his elders (including Hazel and Bigwig), but learns sense when his disobedience nearly brings him to his death at the bottom of a well. After being saved, his temperament becomes much more subdued.


  1. ^ Cynthia Varady. "Dueling Librarians: Watership Down Review". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  2. ^ J. D. Biersdorfer (1996-12-01). "Books in Brief: Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  3. ^ Introduction by Richard Adams in Watership Down, Scribner edition, USA 2005. ISBN 0-7432-7770-8.