A Father to His Men: There are plenty of rabbits more powerful than Hazel, Bigwig for example, and in most warrens, Asskicking Equals Authority. Hazel never gets challenged as leader though, because he has earned the trust and respect of the rest of his warren.
Handicapped Badass: after he gets shot, his leg causes him infrequent pain and makes it difficult for him to run for the rest of his life. Within the plot he notes that this would normally end his rule as chief rabbit, if not get him exiled or killed, so the fact he keeps on acting as chief-rabbit is impressively badass.
Woundwort spares his life, considering him not worth killing. He don't even consider that he could be the chief rabbit because he is only of average size and walks with a slight limp, and this mistake ultimately dooms Woundwort.
Take a Third Option: Several times. In fact, one of the main reasons why he makes for such a good leader is his willingness to think outside the box and try new solutions.
The Men First: If the group as a whole can't escape he'll remain with the ones that can't (Usually Fiver and Pipkin) to protect them as best he can.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Many characters view him as this; even his own followers sometimes think he's too naive in his belief in the good of everyone. However, when it comes down to it he's usually right when he decides to trust someone.
Hazel's brother, a prophet whose visions spur Hazel to leave.
The Cassandra: Subverted, somebody actually listens and some of them leave Sandleford Warren before it's too late. Furthermore, after the others realize his warning about the danger of Cowslip's Warren is on the money, his counsel effectively becomes Word of God to them.
Cowardly Lion: While he cowers, shakes in fear and having to be coaxed going everywhere, it's also surprisingly a Moment of Awesome when he goes out on his own to find his brother, even though he knows fully well that his brother was shot.
Dissonant Serenity: His little chat with Vervain. Dear God. Fiver, previously thought to be dead by the Efrafrans suddenly sits there, calm, looking at them and then apologizes to Vervain for Vervain's imminent death. And continues to explain that after all it was their own fault. Since they came to kill the rabbits of the Watership Down warren... and he says this all in a very calm, serene, soft voice... while Vervain sees him surrounded by ghosts of 'rabbits done to death months before in the tunnels of Efrafa...' Fiver is a Freakin'. Damn. Scary. Fluffball.
Dream Land/Another Dimension: Fiver discusses the concept with Hazel, as Fiver travels in this land in a vision to find out what’s happened to Hazel after he goes missing. No-one doubts it’s existence because in Lapine mythology El-ahrairah moves between this place and "Another" at will, and Fiver is well aware of its existence from his visions, and claims that this spirit world is, in its own way, just as dangerous as the mundane one most rabbits know.
The Smart Guy: He's the rabbit that discovers the concept of floating. This bit of insight comes in handy later in the book.
The smallest and most timid of the rabbits, Pipkin is a friend of Fiver who is persuaded to go along on the journey.
Character Development: Though it mostly happens in the background, and in small ways, Pipkin does change and develop a lot over the book, starting out as afraid of everything and gradually becoming a loyal and steadfast companion.
Cheerful Child: The TV series not only portrays him as very young, but removes his timid nature as well, making him this.
Cowardly Lion: Timid and easily scared he may be, but thanks to his fierce loyalty to Hazel and Fiver he'll show surprising courage at times.
Spoony Bard: Subverted a bit given that his speed makes him quite useful; when they fight a cat, for instance, Bigwig goes for it first but Dandelion actually reaches it first, giving it a scratch before jumping clear.
And then completely averted in the part with the dog. It's explicitly stated that he had to run faster than even he ever had before to stay ahead of it, meaning that if he had not been there, and Hazel had to make do with a slower rabbit (i.e. any other rabbit), that rabbit would have been caught and killed, the plan would have failed, and the warren would have been destroyed.
Gentle Giant: Of the three Big Guys, Buckthorn is the gentlest and least inclined to fight.
Simple Minded Wisdom: Though he doesn't play the classic trope completely straight, since nobody thinks of him as an idiot and Hazel in fact deliberately labels him as the most sensible one in his crew. At the end of the book, he and Strawberry become Groundsel's chief advisors in the new warren.
The Worf Effect: Twice gets injured in a non-critical fight to demonstrate the dangers of the situation (first by rats during the journey, then in the escape from Efrafa).
One of the outskirters from Sandleford who joins Hazel's crew. Described (by Hazel) as a rather slow, stupid rabbit, he is the first to complain and express doubt in Hazel's abilities as leader, but soon develops into a loyal follower — after which he's barely even mentioned by the narrative for the rest of the book. In the TV series, he has a dramatically increased role as the resident Eeyore.
Ascended Extra: He's an extremely minor character who is left out of every single adaptation of the book except the TV series, where he's one of the main characters.
Deadpan Snarker: Not in the book, but in the TV series he's developed a notable talent for sarcasms.
The Eeyore: He grows out of it in the book. In the series, not so much.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may complain and say mean things, but he proves to ultimately be a loyal and dependable rabbit.
Took a Level in Jerkass: In the ninth episode of the TV series, he harshly blames Fiver for the destruction of the old warren. But after Bigwig gives him a "very serious talk", it's shown that he was so angry at Bigwig earlier that he took his anger out on Fiver. Fortunately, he goes back to normal.
Two outskirters from Sandleford who join Hazel's crew. Apart from a few scenes and lines here and there, they don't get very much attention in the original novel — though Speedwell got A Day in the Limelight in the sequel, Tales From Watership Down.
A Day in the Limelight: Speedwell's Story from the sequel, a nonsense tale which Speedwell tells the other rabbits, is easily the book's Funny Moment (and usually the one part that even fans who didn't like the sequel enjoy).
Heel-Face Turn: In the beginning of the book, Holly tries to arrest Bigwig and Silver. He eventually ends up joining the group.
My Master, Right or Wrong: In a way he is the "good side" version of Campion, always sticks by his chief and is very efficient. He stuck by the Threarah, and when the Threarah died he stuck by Hazel.
Number Two: Described in the novel as a born second-in-command. He was the Threarah's Captain of Owsla and kept discipline in the Sandleford Warren. While serving Hazel he is still a loyal, no-nonsense, officer.
Ascended Extra: Within the novel itself. He's literally a nameless extra in the first part of the book, but upon his re-introduction along with Holly in the second part, he gets not only a name and a characterization, but becomes one of the major characters. In the sequel he's also a constant presence, constantly joking and lightening the mood for the other rabbits when things get difficult.
Heel-Face Turn: He follows Holly's, though unlike Holly he is not named and gets no characterization in the initial confrontation with Bigwig.
The Jester: Though he annoys many of the rabbits with his jokes, Holly notes that if it wasn't for Bluebell's joking, both of them would have given up and died long before reaching Watership Down.
Motor Mouth: He's a chatterer, constantly joking and rambling on about nonsensical things — though his constant talking has a clear purpose, namely to relieve tension and encourage the others to forget how dire their situation really is.
Genius Bruiser: Was this in his prime; his physical strength combined with his wits and his capabilities to think outside the box was what made him Chief Rabbit in the first place. At the time of the story, he's getting old, but isn't quite the Retired Badass just yet.
Head-in-the-Sand Management: Can seem like this to the reader when he refuses to listen to Fiver's warnings, but as Holly later explains, his reasons for doing so were actually quite sound — most self-proclaimed prophets are frauds, and even if Fiver is genuine the warren will lose more rabbits from a mass evacuation than from a flood or hunters. Tragically, the oncoming disaster is more massive than the Threarah can imagine or Fiver can explain coherently.
Spell My Name with a "The": He's always referred to as the Threarah, though nobody can really say why — the narrator theorizes that it might be "because there happened to be only one threar, or rowan, near the warren, from which he took his name."
One of the officers of the Sandleford Owsla; he's a jerk and a bully — which unfortunately seems to be rather common for Sandleford Owsla members. He escapes the warren with Holly and Bluebell but his brains has been addled by the humans' poisons and he dies shortly after.
The Bully: He picks on outskirters like Fiver and Hazel mainly because he's bigger and stronger than them.
Final Speech: One of the few characters in the novel to get one, in which he displays an accurate understanding for why the humans destroyed the colony:
Holly(narrating): Bluebell had been saying that he knew the men hated us for raiding their crops and gardens, and Toadflax answered: "That wasn't why they destroyed the warren. It was just because we were in their way. They killed us to suit themselves." Soon after that he went to sleep, and a little later, when we were alarmed by some noise or other, we tried to wake him and realized he was dead.
Wicked Cultured: poetry, rudimentary cave art, and other human-like mannerisms. And in every dramatization he speaks with a posh accent.
A rabbit who befriends the Sandleford group. He joins them when they depart.
Default To Good: After Nildro-hain, his mate, dies, Strawberry joins the heroes because he realises that they're his best chance to stay alive, and he doesn't want to stay in the place that would ignore the fact that his mate died.
Ascended Extra: A curious version in the TV series; he's not present for his original scenes, but in the third season he appears and gets a large role.
Evil Counterpart: Although he's not actually presented as evil, he's clearly the dark counterpart to Fiver, who is terrified at the truth of Silverweed's poetry. In the TV series, he has more of an antagonistic role, though as we find out, he's actually just misguided.
Fiver: "He smells like barley left out in the rain to rot. He smells like a mole that's wounded and can't get underground."
Trapped in Another World: After Fiver travels in "another place" to find Hazel after he's gone missing, he Tells Hazel that the “other place” exists, and is just as dangerous as the mundane world, if not more so. He then mentions Silverweed and states that:
Such was Woundwort's monument; and perhaps it would not have displeased him.
Evil Counterpart: He manages to be one to both Hazel and Bigwig. Like Hazel, he is a visionary who'll gladly go away from tradition if he finds that the new ways work better, but where Hazel uses cleverness, forms alliances and basically treats everyone with kindness, Woundwort is a military rabbit who bullies and intimidates his followers. And like Bigwig, he's a strong and suicidally brave Lightning Bruiser, but where Bigwig uses his strength to aid his friends, Woundwort uses his to oppress his enemies.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The irony being that, while the words "wound" and "wart" certainly bear negative connotations, the woundwart plant is actually a widely-used medicinal herb.
Visionary Villain: Although this is explicitly rejected by Adams in a crucial scene, when Hazel tries to convince him they can co-exist peacefully:
At that moment, in the sunset on Watership Down, there was offered to General Woundwort the opportunity to show whether he really was the leader of genius and vision which he believed himself to be, or whether he was no more than a tyrant with the courage and cunning of a pirate. For one beat of his pulse the lame rabbit's idea shone clearly before him. He grasped it and realized what it meant. The next, he had pushed it away from him. The sun dipped into the cloud bank and now he could see clearly the track along the ridge, leading to the beech hangar and the bloodshed for which he had prepared with so much energy and care.
"I haven't time to sit here talking nonsense," said Woundwort.
A smart and sensible doe from Efrafa, one of Bigwig's main helpers in the revolt against Woundwort. Like Fiver, she is a prophet who sometimes has visions of the future, though unlike him she isn't always certain she's right.
Action Girl: Less so in the novel than in the film, though she has her moments. In the TV series, she's named Primrose.
The Cassandra: In an interesting variant, she manages to dismiss her own visions as being too ludicrous, even though they turn out to be completely accurate.
The Chick: She's the primary female character, as Clover drops out of the third act.
Love Interest: Not so much in the original book; she bonds with Bigwig and it's implied, rather than outright stated, that she eventually becomes Hazel's mate, but this is notably downplayed. In the TV series, she is definitely Hazel's Love Interest. In the film, she appears to be Bigwig's Love Interest. Of course, these are rabbits we're talking about here...
A prominent rabbit in Efrafa, Campion is an enemy of the Watership Down rabbits and an important soldier of Woundwort.
An Efrafan officer, who despite his obvious hero worship of Woundwort, is a skilled, sensible and decent rabbit. He eventually becomes Chief Rabbit of a third warren, which in Tales from Watership Down gets the name Vleflain.
Heel-Face Turn: He surrenders to the Watership rabbits towards the end and eventually becomes the Chief Rabbit of Vleflain, a new warren that's established between Watership and Efrafa and is populated by rabbits from both warrens.
Hero-Worshipper: To Woundwort (even after his Heel-Face Turn he speaks of Woundwort with awe), although he is far more competent and practical-minded than most other examples of this trope.
A very young and rather silly Efrafan doe, who basically opposes the authority figures for the thrill of it. Originally lauded by Bigwig for being one of the few non-officer Efrafans who still has a bit of fighting spirit, but proves to be too ditzy and unable to take things seriously to be entirely reliable.
An Efrafan doe who's a friend of Hyzenthlay and Thethuthinnang, and who becomes Fiver's mate. She's stated to be one of the few rabbits who understand Fiver's burden and is hinted to have visions herself. This hint is more or less confirmed in the sequel, where she has a larger role.
Cursed with Awesome: "All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."
Expy: Of Brer Rabbit — or, in-universe at least, Brer Rabbit might actually be an Expy of El-ahrairah The narration at leats speculates this briefly:
"Uncle Remus might well have heard of him, for some of El-ahrairah's adventures are those of Brer Rabbit."
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes lapses into true Jerkass status, especially in the first story, but as a rule he is genuinely concerned with the well-being of his people.
Jesus: The rabbit equivalent, anyway. As you can probably tell, though, he is very different from the biblical Jesus.
Meaningful Name: His full name in the lapine language is Elil-hrair-rah. Elil means "Enemy", Hrair is any number bigger than four (but normally taken to mean "A thousand"), and Rah is an honorific applied to chief rabbits. So his name means "Prince with a thousand enemies".
Undying Loyalty: He follows El-ahrairah to the land of the dead and back without hesitation.
Frith's deputy and right-hand man on earth, who has "the power of the sky and the power of the hills." He tries to keep El-ahrairah in check, which lands him the role of antagonist in some stories, but in others he's more friendly and even helps El-ahrairah out with good advice.
Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: He's genuinely trying to keep the peace and be a good ruler for everyone in Frith's stead, though he develops a personal vendetta against El-ahrairah, who just keeps making trouble.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: At least from the rabbits' point of view, a lot of his attempts to keep El-ahrairah in check are unnecessarily cruel.
Really? Cause at the end of the movie when he comes to take Hazel at the end of his days, he's actually quite comforting and nice.
In the novel, it was El-ahrairah who came to Hazel and asked him to join his Owsla - although that does beg the question of why the Black Rabbit did not appear... unless the two are actually one and the same.
Reasonable Authority Figure: As mentioned above. The Black Rabbit is a servant of Frith and bears no malice whatsoever toward El-ahrairah or any rabbit. While he brooks no argument when it is a rabbit's time to die, he simply calls their name; he is neither cruel nor taunting, avenges any rabbit who is killed before their time, and never causes them pain when he takes them.
Only in the prologue; when Bigwig hears Captain Holly calling to him from afar, he whispers fearfully, "It's the Black Rabbit of Inlé!".
A rabbit who is planted in El-ahrairah's warren as a spy for Prince Rainbow, and thwarts many of El-ahrairah's plans before he's found out.
Cassandra Truth: El-ahraira envokes this in order to get rid of him. How do you discredit a spy? By implying to everyone that he's crazy, and then have him "prove" to them that he is when he tells of the many unbeliveable situations he's been in, that you secretly set up.
The Quisling: To rabbits, his name is synonymous with "traitor."
A recurring villain in the El-ahrairah stories; probably an animal of some sort but his species is never confirmed — Dandelion, when telling the story, even directly says that there's no animal alive today who knows what sort of creature King Darzin really was.
Evil Overlord: The closest thing the rabbits' stories have to one.
Uncertain Doom: Nobody knows his, or his people's, final fate — all that's certain is that they are no longer around.
A bad-tempered and incredibly stupid dog who serves as the villain for one of the El-ahrairah stories.
Small Name, Big Ego: Renowned as a tremendous ratter, Rowsby Woof has become incredibly conceited and arrogant with the praise, believing himself to be the finest dog in the world.
Yona the Hedgehog
A minor character in several of the El-arairah stories; an unrepentant gossip who sometimes causes trouble for El-arairah by informing his enemies of his plans, but who occasionally helps him out as well.
Clover, Boxwood, Laurel and Haystack are four tame rabbits from Nuthanger Farm, who are freed by Hazel and the others to become part of the Watership Down warren.
Generic Guy: Apart from being tame rabbits and not knowing a lot about life as wild rabbits, they don't really have much in the ways of characterization. Only Clover gets an actual personality.
Locked Up And Left Behind: Happens to Laurel during the escape; he's the only one of the hutch rabbits who's caught by the humans and returned to his hutch. The other rabbits leave him behind because they know that they have no fighting chance against humans — and besides Laurel isn't going to suffer at their hands.
Odd Name Out: Perhaps as a reference to the fact that they're tame rabbits, Clover and Haystack are the only rabbit does in the book whose names are translated to English rather than kept in Lapine.
The first non-rabbit animal befriended by Hazel; he is saved from being eaten by a kestrel when Hazel warns him and allows him into the burrow. He later on helps the rabbits out on a couple of occasions providing what turns out to be vital information.
Yes-Man: To the rabbits, which ironically enough makes them less inclined to listen to him, because he tends to tell them what he thinks they want to hear rather than the actual truth.
A doe introduced in Tales from Watership Down; she was originally Chief Rabbit of a doe-dominated warren called Thinial, but was overthrown and expelled from it because her obsessive fear of the White Blindness was consuming her.
Humans Are Bastards: The most vocal supporter of this view in either book; while most other rabbits do regard humans as cunning, unpredictable and impossible-to-understand enemies, Flyarth is convinced that any human spotting any rabbit will at once try to infect said rabbit with the White Blindness.
Take a Third Option: Like Hazel and Woundwort, she is good at thinking outside the box and come up with new solutions, which is why she's an effective Chief Rabbit at Thinial — at least until her growing obsession with the White Blindness starts losing her supporters.
A young, but big and strong buck introduced in Tales from Watership Down, who was born in a hutch, but who escaped to the wild. Having grown up in a sheltered environment, he lacks the other rabbits' survival instincts and fear of predators — which would normally have meant he wouldn't last for long, but since he smells so strongly of Man, predators don't dare come near him.
Berserk Button: He functions as one for most of the other rabbits; his strong smell of human means they automatically dislike and distrust him. Several of them even try to kill him, and Hazel loses a lot of respect and support when he doesn't want to let them do it.
Big Damn Heroes: He single-handedly rescues the entire warren of Vleflain by chasing away a group of attacking weasels, which is how he's ultimately accepted by the rabbits.
The Big Guy: Despite not having much experience in the wild, he's definitely big, strong and tough.
Fearless Fool: He refuses to run from any danger, and fearlessly charges a group of weasels (who luckily for him run away because of his smell).