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Sandleford Warren rabbits
- Voiced by: John Hurt (movie), Ian Shaw (TV Series), James McAvoy (Netflix miniseries)
- Anger Born of Worry: Towards Bigwig, who uses himself as bait to drive away a fox.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end of the book, El-ahrairah invites him to join his Owsla.
- Badass Normal: Is not extraordinarily strong or big and certainly nothing against Bigwig or Holly. Still becomes chief rabbit and even keeps the position after he has a permanent slight limp from being shot. Just by having earned the trust and respect of his fellow rabbits before and keeping up to it. Hell, even Bigwig follows his orders without hesitation even though he would only call him Chief Rabbit the day he would stop fighting. In the usual warren structure, he would have been kicked out or even killed by a stronger opponent.
- Big Brother Instinct / Big Brother Mentor: Toward Fiver.
- The Captain
- Deadpan Snarker: Though only towards Bluebell, who just seems to bring out that side in him.
- A Father to His Men: In most warrens, Asskicking Equals Authority. There are at least three better fighters in his group, but Hazel never gets challenged as leader, principally because he leads from the front and will risk his life for any of his followers.
- Founder of the Kingdom
- 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 is impressively badass.
- When they meet, Woundwort doesn't even consider that Hazel could be the chief rabbit because he is of average size and walks with a slight limp, and this mistake ultimately dooms Woundwort.
- The Hero
- Meaningful Name: The hazel tree is a symbol of wisdom.
- Non-Action Guy: He's not very strong to begin with, and after his injury, he'd be pretty much useless in a fight.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He was actually modeled on a British officer the author knew.
- The Quest
- Shrouded in Myth: Hazel-rah.
- Take a Third Option: Several times. In fact, one of the main reasons why he makes 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, to protect them as best he can.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the TV series, Spartina calls him out on letting Bigwig go off to fight Woundwort one on one.
- Spartina: You'd send your best friend to his death? What sort of leader are you!?Campion: He'd go himself but he knows Bigwig has a better chance. That's what sort of leader he is.
- 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.
- Voiced by: Richard Briers (movie), Anthony Falvey (TV series), Nicholas Hoult (Netflix miniseries)
- 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 has to be coaxed going everywhere, it's also surprisingly a Moment of Awesome when he goes down to the farm in broad daylight, risking men as well as innumerable other enemies, because he's the only one convinced that Hazel's wound was not fatal.
- Dissonant Serenity: His little chat with Vervain. Dear God. Fiver 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...' Creepy Good.Fiver: I am sorry. Believe me, I am sorry for your death. But you cannot blame us, for you came to kill us if you could.
- 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 its 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.
- Fainting Seer: He's usually disoriented after visions. The one at the climax of the book leaves him unconscious.
- Herald: Fiver's visions call Hazel to action.
- Intellectual Animal: He's not on Blackberry's level. But he's almost always the only other rabbit to understand the concepts Blackberry tries to explain.
- Indeed, sometimes the others refer to him and Blackberry collectively as "the clever rabbits."
- Waif Prophet: He was the runt of the litter.
- You Are Number 6: His name, "Hrair-roo," is essentially their word for The Runt at the End - he's "littlest of many," the smallest of his litter.
- Voiced by: Michael Graham Cox (movie), Stephen Mangan (TV series), John Boyega (Netflix miniseries)
- The Big Guy: One of three Big Guys, in fact, but he's definitely the Biggest.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Colonel Badass
- Determinator: Shown several times - in getting away from Holly at Sandleford, in surviving the snare at Cowslip's warren, and so forth - although the pinnacle of this trope is shown when he places himself bodily between Watership Down and its complete destruction.
- Fake Defector: Pretends to be a refugee from the Sandleford warren who's specifically come to Efrafa due to its reputation. As General Woundwort is short of quality officers at the time, Bigwig ends up being promoted straight to junior officer.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Despite his bravery, Bigwig starts to crack up under the strain of being The Mole and contemplates just grabbing Hyzenthlay and fleeing. Fortunately he pulls himself together.
- Hidden Depths: It's easy to write him off as Dumb Muscle, but you'd be doing him a great disservice. He's quite a bit smarter than he would appear and his gruff demeanor hides a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Kehaar the gull, as they are both straightforward and cantankerous.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Jumped at the Call: He found Fiver to be very persuasive and joined the group with little additional prompting
- The Lancer: Even though he technically outranked all the other rabbits who left the Sandleford Warren, he becomes this to Hazel as he recognizes Hazel's intelligence and knack for leadership.
- The Mean Brit: He does have a kinder side though.
- Not Quite Dead: On two occasions, his injuries are so terrible that he's momentarily thought to be dead.
- Pardon My Klingon: "Silflay hraka, u embleer rah!"
- Reverse Mole: He infiltrates Efrafa and joins the Owsla for the express purpose of bringing its does to Watership Down.
- Sarcastic Devotee: He can get quite sarcastic if he's being given orders that he thinks are ridiculous. He'll still carry them out though.
- Sergeant Rock: At times he slips into Drill Sergeant Nasty mode as well.
- Victory Is Boring: He becomes very restless in the TV series when it seems that Woundwort is defeated.
- You Shall Not Pass: And unlike many examples, he survives.
- Voiced by: Simon Cadell (movie), Sue Elliott Nicholls (TV series), Miles Jupp (Netflix miniseries)
- Big Brother Mentor: He's the person Hazel turns to for advice.
- Gender Flip: The TV series made him a doe, for some reason.
- Intellectual Animal: Not by very much, but enough.
- The Professor: Has a dim grasp of buoyancy, leverage and other technical matters that go completely over most rabbits' heads.
- The Smart Guy: He's the rabbit that discovers the concept of floating. This bit of insight comes in handy later in the book.
- Voiced by: Roy Kinnear (movie), Elliot Herderson-Boyle (TV series)
- 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.
- Friend to All Living Things : Excluding "Elil" (predators) Pipkin is known to be exceptionally good at befriending animals of other species in the TV series.
- Tagalong Kid: More in the TV series than in the book.
- Took a Level in Badass: Replace "Pippin" with "Pipkin" and you get the idea.
- Undying Loyalty: Towards Hazel. At one point Hazel is considering a suicide-mission into Efrafa to rescue Bigwig and Pipkin responds simply "I will go with you."
- Towards Fiver, as well. He's willing — heck, he begs — to try to save Fiver, despite knowing he would likely be killed in the attempt.
- Voiced by: Richard O'Callaghan (movie), Phill Jupitus (TV series), Daniel Rigby (Netflix miniseries)
- Adaptational Comic Relief: He acts much more goofy in the TV series.
- Composite Character: In the TV series, he has taken on most of Bluebell's character traits.
- Fragile Speedster: Not a fighter like Bigwig, Silver, or Holly, but easily the fastest of the rabbits.
- Spoony Bard: Averted. Although he's their most entertaining storyteller, he's invaluable to Hazel's group for his exceptional speed. (Exceptional even for a rabbit.) In the climax, 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.
- The Storyteller
- Those Two Guys: With Hawkbit in the TV series.
- Voiced by: Terence Rigby (movie)
- The Big Guy: He's the muscle of the team when Bigwig is incapacitated, not available, or just not willing to follow orders.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even moreso than Bigwig. Silver might actually be the snarkiest of the rabbits, with a biting comment for most situations. He's particularly unpleasant to Strawberry when the (former) Poisonous Friend asks to join them.
- Determinator: He certainly has shades of this, particularly when it comes to the defeat of Efrafa.
- Noble Fugitive: Although Silver is the nephew of Threarah (the Chief Rabbit of the warren where the story begins), he joins Hazel's exodus and proves himself a skilled fighter and reliable follower.
- The Reliable One: If Hazel needs something done, odds are Silver will be involved.
Described as a "decent, straight-forward fellow," Buckthorn is an outskirter from Sandleford with a tough, sturdy and sensible nature.
- The Big Guy: Along with Bigwig and Silver.
- 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).
- Voiced by: Lee Ross (TV series), Mackenzie Crook (Netflix miniseries)
- Adaptational Intelligence: He's described as being a "rather slow, stupid rabbit" in the book. In the TV series, he's shown to at least possess a dry wit.
- 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.
- Grumpy Bear
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may complain and say mean things, but he proves to ultimately be a loyal and dependable rabbit.
- Knight in Sour Armor : No matter how cynical he may seem he still cares deeply about his friends. In "A new world" he goes out of his way to save Dandelion from drowning even though the two had previously been fighting for the attention of Heather.
- Morality Pet: Even he can't help but crack a smile when looking after Hazel's kits in "Tale of a mouse".
- 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.
- Sarcastic Devotee
- Sour Supporter
Speedwell and Acorn
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.
- Cloudcuckoolander: In Speedwell's Story the story he tells makes Speedwell come across as this.
- 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).
- Deadpan Snarker: Speedwell has traces of this.
- Generic Guy: Acorn doesn't get much characterization.
- Killed Off for Real: Not in the original novel, but in the sequel Acorn dies.
- Red Shirt: Along with Hawkbit, they're really only in the story to fill out the number of rabbits — though it can be argued that Speedwell, thanks to the sequel has been upgraded to Mauve Shirt.
- Those Two Guys: Or those three guys, with Hawkbit.
- Voiced by: John Bennett (movie), Freddie Fox (Netflix miniseries)
- The Good Chancellor: Reliable, unambitious and not prone to mischief.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: He was the Threarah's Captain of Owsla and tried to stop anyone from deserting the warren.
- 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.
- Officer and a Gentleman
- Pair the Spares: Holly and Clover end up as mates while most of the other characters are on the expedition to Efrafa.
- Supporting Protagonist: Holly gets this duty twice in the book. And neither story is a happy one.
- Hazel: "Don't make it too grim, Holly."Holly: "Grim? I haven't even begun."
- Zen Survivor
- Voiced by: Daniel Kaluuya (Netflix miniseries)
- Adapted Out: Despite being a major character in the latter parts of the novel, as well as the sequel, he did not appear in either the animated movie adaptation or the TV series, the latter of which instead gave several of his character traits to Dandelion. With the advent of the Netflix miniseries, however, his character finally makes a proper appearance, voiced by Daniel Kaluuya.
- 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.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Pretty much his main function as The Jester.
- Rhymes on a Dime: It becomes a minor Running Gag in the novel that Bluebell makes up some nonsense poem and Hazel, in Deadpan Snarker mode, finishes it with a biting final rhyme.
- Spoony Bard: Perhaps even more so than Dandelion.
- The Storyteller: When Dandelion isn't available, or in the mood, for telling stories, Bluebell is the one who steps in.
- Voiced by: Ralph Richardson (movie), Tom Wilkinson (Netflix miniseries)
- Accidental Misnaming: Keeps calling Hazel "Walnut"/"Acorn" to the point where it's hinted he's doing it on purpose.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Mentioned more than actually shown, but the Threarah is noted as being a very dangerous fighter. He makes a point of cuffing around one of his followers when it's suggested that he might be getting too old, just to prove he isn't.
- Corporal Punishment: Hits Bigwig for allowing Hazel to waste his time.
- Dead Guy Junior: One of Fiver's children is named Threar, after him.
- 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 brain 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 of 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.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Notorious for knocking you down first and asking questions later.
- Jerkass: This is his primary characteristic.
- Voiced by: Denholm Elliott (movie), Stephen Fry (TV series (Season 1-2)), Anthony Jackson (TV series (Season 3)), Rory Kinnear (Netflix miniseries)
- Berserk Button: The wires.
- The Captain: Averted as his warren has no Chief Rabbit; he's simply their chosen spokesman.
- The Fatalist: He emphasizes dignified acceptance of death as one of the main principles of his warren, and sees it as useless to try and avoid dying.
- Intellectual Animal: Along with the rest of his Warren. Their warren actually has a mural, which is something the other rabbits can in no way comprehend.
- The Scottish Trope: Never mention the wires, and if someone disappears, never ask where they have gone.
- Sissy Villain: Prissy and physically unimpressive, but still manages to threaten the heroes through his deception.
- Wicked Cultured: Poetry, rudimentary cave art, and other human-like mannerisms. And in every dramatization he speaks with a posh accent.
- Voiced by: Robert Harper (TV series (Season 1-2)), Paul Panting (TV series (Season 3)), Olivia Colman (Netflix miniseries)
- Default to Good: After Nildro-hain, his mate, dies, Strawberry joins the heroes because he realizes 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.
- Defector from Decadence
- Gentle Giant: Like all the rabbits of his warren, he's pretty big, but he's not at all a fighter.
- Heel–Face Turn
- Lazy Bum: At first in the TV series until Character Development kicks in. In Season 3, you can tell that he's worked hard.
- Non-Action Guy: In the TV series to start off with but after some rigorous training by digging he become competent enough to subdue Hawkbit.
- Voiced by: Tim McInnerny (TV series (Season 1-2)), Stephen Mangan (TV series (Season 3))
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Which is why he just wants to be normal.
- 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."Hazel: "He smells like a big fat rabbit to me, with a lot of carrots inside."
- Rapid Aging: The price he pays by using a Forbidden Technique in the TV series. He remains content knowing that Watership Down is now safe from General Woundwort and that he has been Brought Down to Normal.
- Telepathy: His power in the TV series.
- The Fatalist: Most prominent in Silverweed's poem.
- 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:"He knew where he belonged, and it wasn't here. Poor fellow, I'm sure he's dead. They'd got him all right—the ones in that country. They don’t give away their secrets for nothing, you know."
- Voiced by: Harry Andrews (movie), John Hurt (TV series), Ben Kingsley (Netflix miniseries)
- Asskicking Equals Authority: His great size and total ruthlessness in battle make him The Dreaded. He's very much aware of this trope as well, rejecting the idea of starving Hazel's warren because his reputation depends on a fighting victory. When he fails to defeat Bigwig in single combat, Woundwort starts to feel his authority slip away.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's killed and mutilated rivals and upstarts to stay at the top of the heap.
- Berserk Button: Deserters and traitors.
- Big Bad: Though he doesn't assume this role until about halfway through the story.
- Blood Knight: His eagerness for battle gives him the advantage over those rabbits who only fight because they have to.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: In-universe example. Defeating Watership Down would have left him a tyrant: being defeated would have marked him a failure. Taking A Third Option made him a legend.
- 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.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: In the battle at Watership Down, he is attacked by a dog that was lured there by Hazel. He fights back, and we never learn the outcome of the battle.
- False Friend: Invokes this as part of his plan to take over Redstone Warren rather than rule through fear
- Founder of the Kingdom: Darkhaven await his arrival as the "Dark one""Call me General Woundwort, Dark One sounds a bit melodramatic"
- Four-Star Badass: Discontent with the ordinary title of Chief, Woundwort has created a police state and given himself the rank of General.
- Freudian Excuse: His family was killed trying to run from humans, leading Woundwort to prefer fighting and dying to running.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Last survivor of an isolated rabbit family destroyed by weasels, he was taken in by a kindly human. Once he felt strong enough to make his own way, he escaped, survived the perils of a lone rabbit in the wilderness, found a warren and fought his way to the top.
- Front Line General: Is the first one through the breach when the Efrafans assault Watership Down.
- General Ripper: He bears the title "General", and is an iron-fisted and warlike leader of the Efrafa warren.
- Genius Bruiser: He's physically by far the most intimidating rabbit in the whole story, but he's also got a sharp mind and a capability to think outside the box shared by few other characters in the story. This combination of cunning and sheer brute strength allowed him to gain control of a warren he entered at the bottom rung.
- Hair-Raising Hare: He's pictured on the main page for a reason.
- Handicapped Badass: The film version only has one working eye, but kicks ass regardless.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: His obsession with keeping Efrafa secure leads him to completely ignore its rampant overpopulation.
- The Heavy
- Killer Rabbit: One of the few rabbits who has managed to slay a weasel, by himself.
- Knight Templar: Publicly he orders everyone in Efrafa around for their safety, but he's actually just driven by a lust for power.
- Ignored Epiphany: In the book he has the chance to make peace with the Watership Down rabbits, he considers it for a few moments before stubbornly deciding to forget it.
"If destruction be my legacy, then let it begin!"
- In The Series he gets a Heel Realization after he witnesses Campion's Heroic Sacrifice for him out of loyalty. Just when he is about to consider changing his ways, Effrafa is destroyed in a counterattack by the Watership Down rabbits. Thus he decides to remain a villain as he believes that's what the world wants him to be.
- I Owe You My Life: He spares Campion in Darkhaven for saving his life even allowing him to leave in spite of his betrayal.
- Large and in Charge: Woundwort is probably the largest and strongest rabbit in the entire novel and he rules Efrafa with an iron fist.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Takes up the name "Wheat-stalk" when infiltrating Redstone, and "Chaff" for Vervain.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After losing the battle against Watership Down and being haunted by the memory of Campion's death he finally has an epiphany. Unfortunately it doesn't last too long as mentioned above."He saved me... So he didn't hate me, did he? He hated what I'd done... to my people. To establish an empire you need force... to maintain it you need kindness. Oh what have I done...?"
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The irony being that, while the word "wound" certainly bears negative connotations, the woundwort plant is actually a widely-used medicinal herb.
- Never Found the Body: General Woundwort's body is never found, so Efrafans are convinced that he didn't die, but went away to find a more worthy warren. Eventually, he becomes a legendary bogeyman figure in the rabbit mythology."Mother rabbits would tell their kittens that if they did not do as they were told, the General would get them - the General who was first cousin to the Black Rabbit himself. Such was Woundwort's monument: and perhaps it would not have displeased him."
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: In the TV series, he goes mad with power thinking he can scare off the human poacher while the others see this as a suicide mission. Predictably he gets caught however the noise he makes coincidentally causes a police officer to find and arrest the poacher allowing Woundwort to escape.
- Sedgwick Speech: "Dogs aren't dangerous!"
- Villainous Valor: A severe case, possibly even a mental illness. Even his determination to keep Efrafa hidden from humans is based not on fear, but on his knowledge of humanity's abilities.
- 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.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Knowing his backstory, it's hard not to feel sympathy for the little rabbit kitten crying over his dead mother.
- Worthy Opponent: Regards Campion as this, which is why he lets him stick around
- Voiced by: Hannah Gordon (movie), Anne-Marie Duff (Netflix miniseries)
- Action Girl: Less so in the novel than in the film, though she has her moments.
- Adaptation Name Change: 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.
- Defector from Decadence: Hyzenthlay helps lead the does out of Efrafa.
- 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...
- Voiced by: Nigel Hawthorne (movie), Rob Rackstraw (TV series), Lee Ingleby (Netflix miniseries)
- Big Brother Instinct: Feels this way towards Primrose after seeing her plight.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the TV series
- Defector from Decadence: TV series only.
- The Dragon: Subverted, more stereotypically The Lancer than Bigwig.
- The Good Chancellor: Vis-a-vis the other Efrafan leaders.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end of the novel, he becomes the head of Efrafa and establishes good relations with the Watership Down rabbits.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the books, he eventually dies saving his subordinates from a pfeffa.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: In the TV series, he has to fake a fox attack to explain his absence to Woundwort. However there is only one way for him to fake injuries and asks for Bigwig's help. Bigwig orders the others to leave at once.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Why he never tries to fight Woundwort one on one, he knows he would lose. Ironically enough, Woundwort keeps him around not because of this, but because he considers Campion to be a worthy foe if ever they should come to blows.
- Love at First Sight: In the TV series, with the doe Blackberry.
- Though they act like they've known each other for ages when separated.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: In the TV series he eventually begins to realize that Woundwort isn't the ideal leader he once thought however he feels it's his duty to stay loyal to him as Captain of Owsla.
- Noble Demon: Even though he serves Woundwort he has his standards such as scolding Vervain for his treatment of Primrose.
- No Place for Me There: Hazel and Primrose repeatedly try to convince him to settle down at Watership Down however he declines on the ground that he broke the Owsla code by betraying Woundwort thus he doesn't deserve peace. However he remains content Primrose is living a better life.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He is just doing his job in the book, and Hazel and Bigwig grudgingly admire him for it.
- That Man Is Dead: In the TV series, after surviving his Heroic Sacrifice and seeing his scarred visage he instructs Pipkin not to tell anyone that he's still alive, believing his final mission to be to kill Woundwort.
- Even when Blackberry finds him alive, he insists the Campion she knew is gone forever and that she should just forget about him.
- Worthy Opponent: To Bigwig.
- Voiced by: Derek Griffiths (movie), David Holt (TV series), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbage (Netflix miniseries)
- The Bully: As long as he has Woundwort by his side.
- Break the Cutie: In the TV series, tries to invoke this on Primrose much to the disgust of Campion who threatens to kill him if he ever treats another rabbit like that.
- Dirty Coward: In the TV series, even Spartina a doe challenging him to a fight frightens him.
- Defiant to the End: In the TV series, he is about to drown and the only ones who can save him are the Watership Down rabbits but he arrogantly refuses to beg for his life. Fiver convinces the others to spare him anyway on the grounds that if they let him die they'd be no better than him."I won't beg for my life! Go, leave me in peace!"
- The Dragon: Not really for the heroes, but in Efrafa he is certainly this.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He does show a hint of sympathy upon watching Redstone get destroyed by bulldozers, on the pretense that "they're still rabbits" whether their allies or foes.
- Evil Chancellor: Made out as such in the TV series.
- Jerkass: He has few, if any, positive qualities.
- Pet the Dog: In the TV Series, after the fall of Efrafa he agrees to be "the best of friends" with fellow rabbit Aspen to cheer him up, though he does it more out of necessity than anything else.
- Phrase Catcher: A running gag involves Keehaar calling him ugly.
- Properly Paranoid: In the TV series his constant suspicions about Keehaw and Campion and their relationship to Hazel make him sound like a raving madman at times, but he was correct in almost every instance
- What Have I Done: The only time he ever shows a hint of remorse is when he leaves Aspen to die at the hands of a weasel while he runs away.
- Voiced by: Clifton Jones (movie), Stephen Gately (TV series), Henry Goodman (Netflix miniseries)
- Adaptational Wimp: Is much more meek and timid in the TV series.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappears with no mention in season 3 of the series. There is the possibility that he died off screen.
- Defector from Decadence
- Death by Adaptation: In the movie.
- Escape from the Crazy Place
- Good Scars, Evil Scars
- Last Stand: Attempted.
- Make an Example of Them: The Council rip up his ears and order him displayed to every Mark on silflay. By the time Bigwig encounters him, he's started to crack up.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran
- Tranquil Fury
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.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As Chief Rabbit of Vleflain.
- Voiced by: Rosie Day (Netflix miniseries)
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.
- Brainless Beauty: She's noted as being very pretty, but rather short on brains.
- Deadpan Snarker: "May we have permission to go, sir? The company of officers absolutely overpowers us, you see: we find a little of it goes an awfully long way."
- The Ditz: Hyzenthlay warns Bigwig against trusting her too much because she never realizes the gravity of a situation.
- The Stool Pigeon: Still thinking it's all a big game, she gives one too many gleeful hints of the upcoming escape to the officers of Efrafa, upon which she is imprisoned and tortured into giving out the details.
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.
- Ascended Extra: In the sequel.
- Granola Girl: Can come across as this sometimes, insofar as a rabbit is able to.
- Mauve Shirt: Like Speedwell, she's upgraded from Red Shirt to this in the sequel.
- Nice Girl: Despite Bigwig's claims that she's impossible to understand, she gets along with everyone and is well-thought of all around.
- Voiced by: Michael Hordern (movie), James Faulkner (Netflix miniseries)
- Energy Beings
- God: The Creator in lapine myth.
- Light 'em Up
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He did try to politely warn El-ahrairah to take the other animals into consideration when he and his people were scavenging for food, and only made all of the other animals the enemy of rabbits because El-ahraiah was unwilling to compromise and they would have likely starved to death. Frith even gives the rabbits survival skills to help them.
- The Power of the Sun: As the God of the Sun.
An Anglicized rendering of the rabbit term elil-hrair-rah, "thousand-enemies-prince." The rabbit folk-hero, El-ahrairah is the protagonist of most if not all of their stories.
- Batman Gambit: He's an expert at these.
- Composite Character: Of all the best Chief Rabbits.
- 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: In-universe, the narrator speculates that Br'er Rabbit might be an Expy of El-ahrairah."Uncle Remus might well have heard of him, for some of El-ahrairah's adventures are those of Brer Rabbit."
- Folk Hero: The rabbits' most famous one.
- The Fool: Often masquerades as this.
- Guile Hero: Being a rabbit—basically the definition of a prey species—he kind of has to be. And he's very good at it.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rabscuttle.
- Honorific: His name itself is one ('Prince with a thousand enemies'), but he also has the honorific 'Lord of the Starlit Ears.'
- 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.
- Locked into Strangeness: When Frith restores his body in 'El-Ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé', his new ears have a glow of starlight.
- 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".
- The Men First: Although some of his adventures are merely for his own amusement, most of them start with his warren in trouble. This gives him a more sympathetic motivation than most tricksters.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His arrogance is what curses the rabbits to be hunted in the rabbit mythology.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: A common ploy of his, as mentioned above.
- Rascally Rabbit: It's why he's the idol and hero of all rabbits.
- The Trickster: Considered a role model for it.
Captain of El-ahrairah's Owsla, as well as his closest friend and ally.
- Composite Character: Like El-ahrairah, he is every great Captain of Owsla or faithful companion to the Chief. By the end of the book, some deeds of Fiver's are credited to him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not the most prominent of examples, but he can sling sarcasms with the best of them when in that mood.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With El-ahrairah.
- Only Sane Rabbit: He's more sensible and level-headed than El-ahrairah and will (with varying success) try to be the voice of reason when his Chief Rabbit's schemes and ideas get too far-fetched.
- Rascally Rabbit: He's almost, but not quite, El-ahrairah's equal when it comes to tricks.
- Sidekick: To El-ahrairah.
- 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.
- Energy Beings
- Hero Antagonist: He opposes El-ahrairah in many of his stories, but he's really just trying to do his job as Firth's deputy on Earth, and El-ahrairah keeps causing trouble for him.
- 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 the unreformed troublemaker El-ahrairah.
- 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.
The Black Rabbit of Inlé
- Voiced by: Joss Ackland (movie)
- Dark Is Not Evil: Mortal rabbits regard him with terror and awe, although they concede that he is not one of the elil: he was assigned his duty by Frith.
- The Black Rabbit: I have no wish to make you suffer. I am not one of the Thousand.
- The Dreaded: The Black Rabbit of Inlé is not evil, but in the book he is terrifying. In his presence even El-ahrairah cannot think straight, and therefore loses all of the Black Rabbit's games.
- The Grim Reaper: Not malicious, but merciless.
- Moon Rabbit: He is associated in rabbit-lore with the moon and shares its name.
- No-Sell: El-ahrairah's efforts to defeat the Black Rabbit are completely futile.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: 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.
- Red Eyes! Take Warning: Has red eyes that glow with a light that gives no light.
- Summoning Ritual: Silverweed does one to summon him, in the finale of the TV series.
- Woundwort: I am your servant Black Rabbit of Inle, I am here to do your work.
- Uncanny Valley: Invoked. Dandelion's description makes him rabbit-shaped, but not a rabbit. He digs a burrow like any rabbit, except that it's through solid stone: he sniffs like any rabbit, but 'thrusts his nose forward, like a dog' rather than wiggling it side-to-side.
- Villain Teleportation: When our heroes first see the Black Rabbit, they instinctively flee down a nearby rabbit hole, only to find the Black Rabbit waiting for them inside.
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-ahrairah invokes 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 unbelievable situations he's been in, that you secretly set up.
- The Quisling: To rabbits, his name is synonymous with "traitor."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: El-ahrairah considers killing Hufsa, but realizes this will just bring the wrath of Prince Rainbow down on their heads. Instead he decides to discredit Hufsa so the Prince won't try the same trick again.
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.
A bad-tempered and incredibly stupid dog who serves as the villain for one of the El-ahrairah stories.
- Dogs Are Dumb: A prime example.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Rowsby Woof is easily the least threatening and most comical of all El-ahrairah's villains.
- 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.
- Tuckerization: "Rowsby Woof" was also the name of a celebrated violin instructor at the Royal Academy of Music; One of Adams's daughters was having trouble with one of his pieces, so he told her he'd "take care of him" by writing him into a story as a stupid guard dog.
Yona the Hedgehog
A minor character in several of the El-ahrairah stories; an unrepentant gossip who sometimes causes trouble for El-ahrairah by informing his enemies of his plans, but who occasionally helps him out as well.
- Voiced by: Zero Mostel (movie), Rik Mayall (TV series (Season 1-2)), Anthony Jackson (TV series (Season 3)), Kim Bodnia (Netflix miniseries)
- Androcles' Lion: An Invoked Trope; knowing they need a scout to find other warrens with does, the rabbits help Kehaar when he's wounded and hostile, in the hope that he'll reciprocate.
- The Dreaded: Among the Efrafan Owsla; even Woundwort is secretly afraid of him.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue
- Feathered Fiend: Subverted. Aggressive and disagreeable, but firmly on the protagonists' side.
- Funetik Aksent
- Funny Foreigner: Heavily accented speech, strange habits, and goofiness.
- Giant Flyer: Sort of. Black-headed gulls are quite small birds, but he's huge from a rabbit's point of view. Used to great advantage on the Efrafa Warren raid.
- Odd Friendship: He and Bigwig form an unlikely pair.
- Plucky Comic Relief: In the movie and TV series; to a lesser extent in the novel.
- Polly Wants a Microphone
- Predator Turned Protector: While he's not exactly a true predator of the rabbits, in the TV series he becomes very protective of the Watership Down rabbits after they save him to the point where his fellow gulls call him out on becoming soft.
- Precision F-Strike: When he's first approached by the rabbits, his first reaction is "Piss off!"
- Put on a Bus: As a way of Holding Back the Phlebotinum, he leaves for the Big Water after helping the rabbits escape from Efrafa, and so isn't there to help them in the last battle. In the movie, his departure doubles as Shoo Out the Clowns.
- Speech-Impaired Animal: He's using his own dialect of the pidgin 'hedgerow' speech and isn't too proficient with it. Presumably he's fully fluent in Black-Headed Gull.
The Hutch Rabbits
- Voiced by: Mary Maddox (movie), Joanne Rodriguez (TV series), Gemma Arterton (Netflix miniseries) (Clover)David Holt (TV series) (Boxwood)
- 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.
- Spirited Young Lady: Clover.
- Voiced by: Jane Horrocks (TV series (Season 1)), Maria Darling (TV series (Season 2))
- Ascended Extra: Is a main character in the TV series, where he is turned into a female and given the name Hannah.
- Funetik Aksent: A Super Mario Bros. style Italian accent, no less.
- Gender Flip: In the TV series.
- 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.
- Action Survivor: Very much so.
- Breakup Breakout: In her backstory, she and a rabbit named Prake established Thinial. Somewhere in the backstory Prake just vanished into thin air, leaving the whole story about Flyairth.
- 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She's willing to do anything to avoid an outbreak of the White Blindness.
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).