Characters: Watership Down

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Sandleford Warren rabbits

Voiced by: John Hurt (movie), Ian Shaw (TV Series)

The protagonist, Hazel is the leader of the Sandleford Warren group.

  • 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: 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.
  • 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-rabbit is impressively badass.
    • Woundwort spares his life, considering him not worth killing. He doesn'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.
  • 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 (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.

Voiced by: Richard Briers (movie), Anthony Falvey (TV series)

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 has 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 full 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 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
  • 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 Six: His name, "Hrair-roo," literally means something like "little many," since rabbits can't count past four.

Voiced by: Michael Graham Cox (movie), Stephen Mangan (TV series)

An ex-member of the Sandleford Owsla, Bigwig is the best fighter of the group.

Voiced by: Simon Cadell (movie), Sue Elliott Nicholls (TV series)

A friend of Hazel, Blackberry is the closest thing the group have to a mechanical genius.

  • 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)

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.
  • 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), Phil Jupitus (TV series)

A fast runner and gifted storyteller, whose stories of El-ahrairah keep the spirits up among the rabbits (as well as giving the reader insight in Lapine mythology).

  • Composite Character: In the TV series, he has taken on most of Bluebell's character traits.
  • 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.
  • The Storyteller
  • Those Two Guys: With Hawkbit in the TV series.

Voiced by: Terence Rigby (movie)

One of Bigwig's friends from the Sandleford Owsla, who is almost as big and good at fighting, but more placid and less hotheaded. He has gray fur, hence the name.

  • The Big Guy: He's the muscle of the team when Bigwig is incapacitated, not available, or just not willing to follow orders.
  • 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.

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)

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.
  • 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.
  • 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)

Ex-captain of the Sandleford Owsla, he initially tries to stop the group from leaving but survives the massacre and joins the group.

  • 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

Another ex-member of the Sandleford Owsla, Bluebell survives the Sandleford Massacre and is the only one of Holly's group to make it to Watership Down.

  • Adapted Out: Despite being a major character in the latter parts of the novel, as well as the sequel, he has yet to appear in any of the adaptations. The cartoon series gives several of his character traits to Dandelion, though.
  • 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.

     The Threarah 
Voiced by: Ralph Richardson (movie)

The Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford colony; he dismisses Fiver's visions out of hand in the beginning of the book and pays the price for it.

  • Accidental Misnaming: Keeps calling Hazel "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.
  • 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.

Cowslip's warren

Voiced by: Denholm Elliott (movie), Stephen Fry (TV series (Season 1-2)), Anthony Jackson (TV series (Season 3))

A prominent rabbit in his unnamed warren, Cowslip is the rabbit who takes the group to the warren.

Voiced by: Robert Harper (TV series (Season 1-2)), Paul Panting (TV series (Season 3))

A rabbit who befriends the Sandleford group. He joins them when they depart.

Voiced by: Tim McInnerny (TV series (Season 1-2)), Stephen Mangan (TV series (Season 3))

The poet and prophet of Cowslip's warren.

  • 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."
  • 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."

Efrafan rabbits

     General Woundwort 
Voiced by: Harry Andrews (movie), John Hurt (TV series)

The Big Bad of the novel, General Woundwort leads the Efrafa warren.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's killed and mutilated rivals and upstarts to stay at the top of the heap.
  • Badass: Fearless, domineering and vengeful.
  • Big Bad
  • The Brute
  • 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.
  • Founder of the Kingdom
  • 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
  • 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.
  • General Ripper
  • 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.
  • The Heavy
  • Killer Rabbit
  • Knight Templar: Publicly he orders everyone in Efrafa around for their safety, but he's actually just driven by a lust for power.
  • Large And In Charge: Woundwort is probably the largest and strongest rabbit in the entire novel and he rules Efrafa with an iron fist.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Voiced by: Hannah Gordon (movie)

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.
  • 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...

     Captain Campion 
Voiced by: Nigel Hawthorne (movie), Rob Rackstraw (TV series)

A prominent rabbit in Efrafa, Campion is an enemy of the Watership Down rabbits and an important soldier of Woundwort.

Voiced by: Derek Griffiths (movie), David Holt (TV series)

The chief of Efrafa's Owslafa (Council Police) and, according to Woundwort, the most hated officer in Efrafa.

Voiced by: Clifton Jones (movie), Stephen Gately (TV series)

A former member of Efrafa, constantly being punished for his escape attempts. He finally manages to escape with the Watership Down rabbits.

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.

An Efrafan doe, Hyzenthlay's friend and co-conspirator. Implied to later on become Bigwig's mate.

  • Generic Girl: She doesn't really get much of a personality and has very little screen-time.
  • Red Shirt: She doesn't have much of a role in either book and is notable mostly for being one of the Efrafan does that are named.
  • Satellite Character: To Hyzenthlay — possibly to Bigwig.

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.

Mythical characters

Voiced by: Michael Hordern (movie)

The Sun God and creator of the world.

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 Fool: Often masquerades as this.
  • Guile Hero
  • 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.
  • Jesus: The rabbit equivalent, anyway. As you can probably tell, though, he is very different from the biblical Jesus.
  • Locked into Strangeness: When Frith restores his body in 'El-Ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inle', 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.

     Prince Rainbow 
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.

     The Black Rabbit of Inlé 
Voiced by: Joss Ackland (movie)

The rabbit Grim Reaper.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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."

     King Darzin 
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.

     Rowsby Woof 
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.

  • A Dog Named Dog: "Yona" is the Lapine word for "Hedgehog."
  • Gender Flip: Is depicted as female in the TV series.
  • Lovable Traitor: As opposed to Hufsa, who gets no sympathy from the rabbits, Yona is on fairly decent terms with them, even after having spilled their secrets to King Darzin.


Voiced by: Zero Mostel (movie), Rik Mayall (TV series (Season 1-2)), Anthony Jackson (TV series (Season 3))

A black-headed gull, Kehaar is befriended by Hazel and becomes a very important ally.

     The Hutch Rabbits 
Voiced by: Mary Maddox (movie), Joanne Rodriguez (TV series) (Clover)
David Holt (TV series) (Boxwood)

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.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Clover.

     The Mouse 
Voiced by: Jane Horrocks (TV series (Season 1)), Maria Darling (TV series (Season 2))

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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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).