Spoilers are unmarked below.
Sandleford Warren rabbits
Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Ismael Larumbe (movie), Wolfang Galindo (TV series), Irwin Daayán (Netflix miniseries)
Voiced in Japanese by: Toshio Furukawa (movie), Tokuyoshi Kawashima (TV series), Chikahiro Kobayashi (Netflix miniseries)
The protagonist, Hazel is the leader of the Sandleford Warren group.
- Anger Born of Worry: Towards Bigwig, who uses himself as bait to drive away a fox. Also towards Fiver in the early parts of the story, when Fiver's visions cause him to act in worrying ways.
- 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.
- The Captain: Pretty much falls into this position in the early parts of the book, and then throughout the rest of the story he just keeps proving himself in the role.
- 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.
- Jerkass to One: He's normally a pretty reasonably guy, but Bluebell is the one rabbit who really tries his patience. Hazel usually answers the frequent japes with a sarcastic reply or direct order to shut up.
- 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.
- Not So Above It All: Hazel plans the hutch raid purely as a lark to show up Holly, despite Fiver warning him against it.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He was actually modeled on a British officer the author knew.
- 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 in Latin American Spanish by: Ricardo Mendoza (movie), Carlos Alberto Gutierrez (TV series), Víctor Ugarte (Netflix miniseries)
Voiced in Japanese by: Kazuko Sugiyama (movie), Kouki Miyata (TV series), Yujiro Kakuda (Netflix miniseries)
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, they stop questioning his counsel.
- Cassandra Truth: Played straight when Hazel twice ignores Fiver's warnings (about Cowslip, and later the farm raid) despite the fact that he should know better. The Threarah is also skeptical about such prophets.
- 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 for you with all my heart. But you cannot blame us, for you came to kill us if you could.
Vervain: Blame you? Blame you for what?
Fiver: For your death. Believe me, I am sorry for your death.
- When told Hazel's been shot, and is probably with the Black Rabbit, Fiver becomes unnaturally calm.Fiver: No. Hazel's not dead.
- 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.
- Dream Land/Another Dimension: Fiver discusses the concept with Hazel, as Fiver travels in this land in a vision to find out whats 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, but freaks out the Efrafan Secret Police.
- 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 in Latin American Spanish by: Humberto Vélez (movie), Antonio Puentes (TV series), Alejandro Orozco (Netflix TV series)
Voiced in Japanese by: Yasuo Muramatsu (movie), Joji Nakata (TV series), Masaki Aizawa (Netflix miniseries)
An ex-member of the Sandleford Owsla, Bigwig is the best fighter of the group.
- Adaptational Jerkass: The Netflix series really plays up the "Jerk" half of his Jerk with a Heart of Gold characterization. As opposed to the book and movie, which has him being gruff and stern yet having a kinder and nobler side, the Netflix series has him being more aggressive and confrontational.
- The Big Guy: One of three Big Guys, in fact, but he's definitely the Biggest.
- Boisterous Bruiser: By far the most gung-ho and willing to fight of all the rabbits, with the possible exception of Woundwort.
- Blood Knight: He's a fighter and by Frith he'll be damned if he leaves this world doing anything else.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Bigwig's You Shall Not Pass! stand against General Woundwort takes everything that he has in order to succeed. And while Bigwig does survive, the ordeal nearly kills him and even takes all of the fight out of the usually hot-headed rabbit; so much so that Bigwig opts to become a Retired Badass in the aftermath of the battle.
- Colonel Badass: The biggest, toughest and strongest of the rabbits, bar none. As an officer in the Sandleford warren, he's usually a Reasonable Authority Figure, but can occasionally slip into Drill Sergeant Nasty.
- 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 BSoD: 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.
- Hot-Blooded: He's is the most hot-headed rabbit out of all the characters and will not simply let you push him around. Even more so in the remake where he's very brash and way more aggressive in the original.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Kehaar the gull, as they are both straightforward and cantankerous.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's temperamental, contrary, impatient and insensitive, but he's not a bad rabbit at heart and is capable of great acts of kindness.
- 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.
- The Mole: He infiltrates Efrafa and joins the Owsla for the express purpose of bringing its does to Watership Down.
- 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!"
- 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.
- Take This Job and Shove It: He gets so mad at the Threarah scolding him for allowing Hazel and Fiver to see him that he quits the Owsla right there, saying he doesn't care for the privileges that much.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the book, during the early chapters he's a jerk most of the time. It isn't until he has his run-in with the snare and for several days afterwards is too weak to throw his weight around that he starts mellowing out.
- Victory Is Boring: He becomes very restless in the TV series when it seems that Woundwort is defeated.
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.
- 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.
- Team Mom: In the TV series as a result of a Gender Flip.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bluebell in the Netflix series. Bluebell thinks they're best friends — Blackberry doesn't quite agree, even though he doesn't dislike Bluebell as much as he lets on.
The smallest and most timid of the rabbits, Pipkin is a friend of Fiver who is persuaded to go along on the journey.
- Adapted Out: The Netflix series is the only adaptation in which he doesn't appear. Some of his traits have been given to Bluebell.
- Age Lift: He was already the youngest of the rabbits, but the tv series made him a child.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Especially in the tv series, as a result of an Age Lift.
- 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.
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).
- 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. Interestingly enough, this is inverted in the Netflix series, where Bluebell takes on Dandelion's role of being the group's storyteller.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's more noted for his speed than for his fighting ability, but when things get physical he'll throw down, and is the fourth toughest of the group behind Bigwig, Silver and Buckthorn.
- 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: The primary source of Lapine mythology in the books; he's a masterful storyteller with a story for every occasion. There are occasional hints that he possesses some faint traces of a Fiver-like insight into the unknown, and his stories sometimes reflect this.
- Those Two Guys: With Hawkbit in both the TV series and the Netflix series.
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.
- 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.
- Adapted Out: No adaptations ever seem to be able to fit him in.
- The Big Guy: Along with Bigwig and Silver.
- Flat Character: He's the kind of dependable fellow any group would want to have in it, but the most characterization he gets is very early on when Hazel speculates he might be impatient about getting into the Sandleford Owsla.
- The Generic Guy: In the best way possible. Buckthorn is tough without being overly irascable, sensible enough to never screw anything up without being brilliant enough to stand out, and pleasant to everyone without being the type to get involved in emotional situations.
- Gentle Giant: Of the three Big Guys, Buckthorn is the gentlest and least inclined to fight.
- The Lancer: At the end of the novel he actually leaves Watership Down to become this to Groundsel in the new warren Vleflain.
- 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.
- 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 — and the Netflix series, where he forms Those Two Guys dynamic with Dandelion.
- 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 either series, not so much.
- Grumpy Bear: In the TV series, and how.
- 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
- Character Death: Not in the original novel, but in the sequel Acorn dies of old age and winter conditions.
- 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.
- 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.
Ex-captain of the Sandleford Owsla, he initially tries to stop the group from leaving but survives the massacre and joins the group.
- Death by Adaptation: Holly is killed in the siege in the 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.
- HeelFace 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: He is the Watership counterpart to Campion, intelligent, efficient, and loyal. He stuck by the Threarah and defended his decisions, and after the Threarah died he stuck by Hazel, making it clear that he accepts Hazel's role as Chief Rabbit and has no intention of challenging him.
- 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
- OOC Is Serious Business: He's disciplined, serious, and self-controlled. When he turns up at Waterford exhausted, injured, and nearly out of his mind, everyone knows something terrible has happened.
- 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: He weathers two of the book's major catastrophes but doesn't take any psychological harm from it. In the book he forms an attachment to Blackavar, who is similarly resilient.
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 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.
- The Netflix series gives him a larger role from the start, as in this version he's one of the rabbits who join Hazel's crew at the beginning.
- Composite Character: In the Netflix series, he's taken traits from both Pipkin (being a Cowardly Lion and a big fan of Hazel) and Silver (silvery-gray fur). He even takes on Dandelion's role as the storyteller of the group, even though Dandelion is still in the series.
- HeelFace Turn: He follows Holly's, though unlike Holly he is not named and gets no characterization in the initial confrontation with Bigwig.
- Mirth to Power: 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 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. He easily shares Dandelion's way with words and gift for engaging the audience, but doesn't quite have his range when it comes to story themes — where Dandelion's stories vary from the silly to the serious to the downright tragic, Bluebell's stories are always lighthearted and comical.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Blackberry, of all rabbits, in the Netflix series.
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 "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 anyone could expect.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He gives Hazel and Fiver a hearing, even though they're nobodies and Fiver is nearly incoherent with fear. He doesn't dismiss their warning offhand either, even though he concludes that it's safer to weather a disaster than to try to escape it.
- 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.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Not exactly a villain, but his bullying behavior represents everything wrong with Sandleford warren. Nevertheless, his death as described by Holly is treated as a tragedy that could have been avoided.
- 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.
A prominent rabbit in his unnamed warren, Cowslip is the rabbit who takes the group to the warren.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the original novel, Cowslip is merely the first rabbit the party meets from his warren. Adaptations tend to give him some kind of leadership role for the warren, simply because so few actual characters from his warren exist.
- 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.
- Karma Houdini: Downplayed. The reader never actually witnesses him getting his comeuppance. However, given how the nature of Cowslip's warren guarantees a shortened life expectancy, it's practically a given that his time will come eventually.
- Large Ham: Tends to be played as this in the adaptations, particularly in the TV series where he's voiced by Stephen Fry.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sissy Villain quirks aside, Cowslip does prove that he and his followers can pose a physical threat in their own right when they ambush Holly's group in the novel, managing to kill one of them and forcing the others to flee.
- The Quisling: On what turns out to be a Vichy Earth.
- 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.
- Starter Villain: He's the first of of the villains (not counting the elil) encountered by the Sandleford rabbits. Overcoming him and his deception is the last major trial that the heroes must pass before they reach Watership Down and begin the next stage in their adventure.
- 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.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: Not that he was ever less than nice in the book, but the Netflix series, in addition to the Gender Flip, Strawberry has become a lot more actively friendly from the get-go.
- 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: At first he doesn't question the way of life in his warren. Hazel's crew (and the death of his mate) makes him re-think his life and leave for something better.
- Gender Flip: In the Netflix series, Strawberry is a doe and voiced by Olivia Colman.
- Genki Girl: Introduced as one in the Netflix series, though it's very quickly revealed that she's a Sad Clown.
- Gentle Giant: Like all the rabbits of his warren, he's pretty big, but he's not at all a fighter thanks to his upbringing.
- HeelFace Turn: While never actually a bad guy (he's polite and friendly to Hazel's crew from the get-go), he did aid in the deception and at first pretended he hadn't heard when asked to help Bigwig in the snare. When his mate dies, he realizes just how oppressive his old warren was and leaves with the outsiders, soon proving himself to be a loyal and steadfast friend.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: In the Netflix series, where Nildro-hain has been Adapted Out, this is Strawberry's main reason for wanting to come with Hazel:"I don't have any friends. People don't like to make friends here in case they get...!"
- 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.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He lacks many basic survival skills the other rabbits have thanks to the nature of the warren he grew up in, but the rich diet he enjoyed for most of his life makes him very, very large, and he has a great deal of stamina.
The poet and prophet of Cowslip's warren.
- 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 dont give away their secrets for nothing, you know."
The Big Bad of the novel, General Woundwort leads the Efrafa warren.
- Adaptational Villainy: Not that he wasn't always a villain, but the Netflix series also makes him into an explicit rapist.
- 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.
- Dark Is Evil: In adaptations he has gradually taken on a darker coloration. In the 1978 film, Woundwort was brown, neither light or dark. In the tv series, he was a dark brown, at least until the third season where he was suddenly grey. The miniseries features the darkest coloration by having Woundwort have black fur.
- 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.
- He's essentially a younger, more brutal version of the Threarah, the chief rabbit of the Sandleford Warren. Like the Threarah, Woundwort is a Genius Bruiser who relies on a heavily militaristic Owsla to keep order. Also, both rabbits adhere to a Head-in-the-Sand Management when confronted with a crisis. However, unlike the Threarah — who is later revealed to be a Reasonable Authority Figure who only wants what's best for his warren — Woundwort uses his resources to oppress the rabbits under his rule.
- Evil Sounds Deep: All three adaptations give him a guttural, growly voice with a British accent.
- 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
- Fearless Fool: The only damn rabbit to jump into battle and attack a dog head on knowing he will die but his fearlessness from his past make him a stone cold but brave warrior.
- 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. It also led to an obsession with the threat presented by humans that he uses to justify his dictatorial rule.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was the last survivor of an isolated rabbit family shot by a farmer, and 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. Holly says this about him in the end: "He was a fighting animal - fierce as a rat or a dog. He fought because he actually felt safer fighting than running. [...] I believe he'd have hunted like the elil if he could."
- Handicapped Badass: In adaptations he 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.
- Hero Killer: A ferocious combatant renowned for his brutal and effective fighting prowess. All of the Watership Down rabbits, including Bigwig, are terrified at the prospect of facing him. The guy's been known to successfully drive off rabbits' natural predators like birds and stoats with nothing but his teeth and claws. Even the dog that supposedly eats him doesn't get away without a few scars.
- 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. 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."If destruction be my legacy, then let it begin!"
- He also ignores Hyzenthlay's warning that the does are infertile because of him, leading to his downfall.
- 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. 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.
- It's Personal: Woundwort takes Bigwig's betrayal and escape very personally.
- 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.
- Lack of Empathy: Woundwort basically has no empathy for anyone or anything. His lack of fear towards attacking the dog really shows how emotionless he is.
- 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.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Bigwig betrays him, Woundwort goes on a warpath fueled by anger and vows to kill every last one of Bigwig's warren.
- The Stoic: Woundwort doesn't really emote much. The only thing that he is able to feel is probably anger, as when Bigwig betrays him.
- Sedgwick Speech: "Dogs aren't dangerous!"
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The flashback in the Netflix miniseries depicting how he got his first scar paints him as this, showing the transformation from frightened, innocent kitten to battle hardened veteran.
- 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
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.
- Heroic BSoD: When Bigwig first encounters her, he thinks she's on the verge of a Death by Despair from being trapped in Efrafa with all their hopes of escape dashed. Fortunately she's got enough Hidden Depths to rally to the opportunity that Bigwig offers.
- Living Lie Detector: How she knows that Bigwig isn't a spy sent to entrap her.
- 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. In the miniseries, she is apparently Holly'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.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the TV series, he is very conflicted, because his loyalty to Woundwort clashes with his awareness that he's a tyrant. He ends up siding with the Watership Down rabbits a lot and eventually decides that killing Woundwort is a necessity. Contrast with the book and film, where he's still one of the more honorable and reasonable Efrafans, but is completely loyal to Woundwort and only becomes friendly to Watership Down after Efrafa loses the battle with them and a truce is established.
- 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.
- HeelFace 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.
The chief of Efrafa's Owslafa (Council Police) and, according to Woundwort, the most hated officer in Efrafa.
- The Bully: As long as he has Woundwort by his side. Once the General is out of the picture, Vervain's days are numbered, as Woundwort himself pointed out.
- 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.
- Death by Adaptation: The Netflix miniseries has him killed by a train.
- 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!"
- Dirty Coward: In the TV series, even Spartina a doe challenging him to a fight frightens him.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In the Netflix miniseries, where he does not survive the Watership Down rabbits' initial (failed) escape attempt.
- 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.
- Never Found the Body: Vervian goes missing on the return journey to Efrafa, either taken by elil or murdered by the other Efrafans given that he's so hated.
- 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.
A character created for the Netflix miniseries. As a Captain in the Erfafa Wide Patrol, Orchis initially captures Holly, Bluebell, and Blackberry. He oversees those enslaved and imprisoned by Woundwort's forces, determined to break their will.
- Adaptation Expansion: Was absent from earlier adaptations, in the miniseries he's a prominent supporting villain.
- Arch-Enemy: Bigwig, who he blames for the death of his brother.
- Composite Character: Elements of the TV series version of Vervain have been worked into his character, as have some of Captain Chervil and a bit of Bartsia from the book.
- Dirty Coward: Zigzagged. Goes into Revenge Before Reason territory with Bigwig, but he doesn't quite have the courage to fight Campion on equal terms.
- The Dragon: To Woundwort in the miniseries, since Vervain gets punked out a little earlier.
- Evil Sounds Deep: At his lowest when he's trying to break Hyzenthlay, going into Creepy Monotone territory.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Orders Bigwig to execute Hyzenthlay. Bigwig refuses.
- Related in the Adaptation: In the miniseries he is Vervain's brother.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Orchis and Campion arguing over "being an ideal soldier" versus "being an ideal rabbit" seems to paint Orchis as this.
- Wardens Are Evil: Physically cruel and psychologically manipulative to the imprisoned rabbits, even when it serves no practical purpose.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Offers to commute Hyzenthlay's execution if she agrees to spy on her fellow does for him. She agrees only to save them from a suicidal plan which was sure to get them killed, but then Orchis reveals that it was never a genuine offer, as he already has spies everywhere. He made it partially as a Secret Test of Character, and partially because he was a little bored that day.
A former member of Efrafa, constantly being punished for his escape attempts. He finally manages to escape with the Watership Down rabbits.
- Adaptational Wimp: Is much more meek and timid in the TV series than in the book.
- Badass in Distress: Turns out to be one of these in the book at least. Whereas most Efrafa escapees are stopped by sentries, Blackavar beat up two sentries at once. However, Campion ran further out into the field and intercepted Blackavar when he was tired. Then he was tortured, which lead to him being in the depressed state Bigwig found him in. Also, when Bigwig provides another chance to escape, Blackavar quickly collects himself. He even gets the better of Campion during the escape, and he beats the crap out of Groundsel during the seige at Watership. The book version of Blackavar was a stone cold badass.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappears with no mention in season 3 of the series.
- Death by Adaptation: He's killed in the movie, although he survives in the book.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Combined with Composite Character in the Netflix series. In the book, a passing hare warns Holly against going to Efrafa — in the Netflix series, Blackavar gets this role, showing up very briefly in the beginning of the second episode as a very nervous rabbit who pleads for Holly to get away before the Efrafans catch him. We don't learn who he is until later on, when Holly, Blackberry and Bluebell meet him in Efrafa.
- Ignored Expert: In the novel there's a scene taking place during the journey back from Efrafa,where he spends some time trying to convince the others that they're in fox territory. Since there's no physical sign of a fox around, Bigwig tells him to drop it. Then a fox kills one of the does.
- 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.
- The Resenter: Blackavar's father was originally from the Nutley Copse warren that Efrafa destroyed. It left him feeling, as the novel put it, that Efrafa "should have no more of him than he chose to give." Because of this detachment he was passed over for promotion to owsla, which is what lead to him deciding to leave.
- Scars Are Forever: The Efrafans tore his ears up so badly that they're not just scarred, but physically damaged, and his hearing is a bit weak for it.
- HeelFace 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 HeelFace 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.
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.
- Adaptation Name Change: In the Netflix series, she's named Nettle.
- 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.
The Sun God and creator of the world.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Even the wily El-ahrairah pays severely for goading Frith.
- God: He's the Creator in lapine myth.
- God Is Displeased: When he makes the world his original vision was an idyllic paradise where all the animals were friends that eat grass. El-ahrairah however, refuses to behave like a leader and control his people who are consuming all the food. The other animals begin to starve. He's unable to ignore their suffering and prayers for help. When Frith's requests for him to be a prince and show authority fall on deaf ears, he's pissed off with the trickster rabbit, condemning creation to a fight of the survival of the fittest.
- God of Light: He's the god of the sun, and the ultimate creator and source of order in the world.
- God's Hands Are Tied: While Frith is more than willing to settle disputes between species, he's Fantastically Indifferent to the affairs of his creations should they choose to wage war on themselves. Hazel's bargaining to stop Woundwort is shut down immediately.
- 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.
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.
- Adaptational Heroism: The 2018 version leaves out the key formality of Frith first simply asking El-Ahrairah to be more considerate of the other animals, thus it seems the curses put against him were more down to unknowing ignorance rather than him acting like a selfish elitist that taunted a God. He's also less of a Miles Gloriosus in this version, calling out Frith for his harshness and refusing his gift in a defiant tone.
- Composite Character: Of all the best Chief Rabbits.
- Create Your Own Villain: A less direct case, but El-ahrairah's kind taking all nourishment from the other animals that leads Frith to empower them into carnivores to keep balance. Frith even asked him to keep things under control as a first strategy, but El-ahrairah was apathetic, and pretty much dared Frith to do something about it.
- 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."
- The Determinator: His main character trait apart from being The Trickster. El-ahrairah does not give up, ever. No matter how hopeless the situation, or how impossible the task, he carries on until he's achieved his goal.
- 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."
- Fatal Flaw: Hubris. Seriously, bragging to God that your people are the best around and can do what they want, and there's nothing God can do about it?
- 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.'
- Jerkass: He was once friends with many animals in the beginning of the world, but refused to keep his own kind in-line as they consumed all resources, condemning his friends to starve to death. He shows no restraint or remorse. Once Frith blesses those animals to become predators of the rabbits, any kinship they once had, is forever severed.
- 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.
- Also a more negative case since it stems as the whole reason for his downfall originally, as he let his people overproduce and consume Frith's land, leaving the other animals with little food of their own. In the original story when Frith points out the unfairness of this, El-Ahrairah scoffs, reasoning that his people deserve the lion's share since they are the strongest and most responsive to Frith's gifts on the land. At this point Frith realises El-Ahrairah had come to care about his people, but care nothing for anyone else.
- Miles Gloriosus: Prior to Frith blessing him with his skills, El-Ahrairah arrogantly snubbed him, claiming his people were too powerful for him to intervene with. When Frith proves him wrong in the deadliest of manners, El-Ahrairah panics and hides pathetically in an unfinished burrow. An amused Frith blesses his bottom sticking out.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His arrogance is what curses the rabbits to be hunted in the rabbit mythology.
- Refuge in Audacity: His whole schtick.
- When Frith first warns El-Ahrairah that his people are overpopulating, the latter scoffs and says that the fact they eat and breed so much only conveys how much they love Frith as they are the most responsive to his gifts on the land, and thus Frith should feel they deserve to flourish as much as they want. Unlike later cases however, this attempt does not work on Frith.
- When Frith comes by (after giving some animals the power to become elil) and wants to give El-ahrairah's people their blessing, El-ahrairah (then knowing of the other animals' gifts and desperately digging a burrow to hide in) basically says "I am busy digging a hole, so you can just bless my backside". Frith likes El-ahrairah's spirit and indeed gives rabbitkind a white tail to flash warning, strong back legs and the speed to evade predators.
- In other stories, he goes on to sass Frith's lieutenant Prince Rainbow and other earthly kings and powers... who usually don't like it but have no way to punish him for it. Even the Black Rabbit eventually yields to El-ahrairah's sheer persistence.
- The Social Darwinist: When Frith calls him out for taking food and resources from the other animals that were his friends, El-ahrairah shows No Sympathy and points out since his people are the strongest of all animals that they have all the right to take the lion's share. Frith punishes him by turning the other animals into powerful carnivores that eat his kind, testing his faith in this ethic.
- The Trickster: Considered a role model for it.
- Victory by Endurance: How he convinces the Black Rabbit to save his people from King Darzin; no matter how many games he lost or what it cost him the Prince would not give up — either out of pity (or annoyance) the Black Rabbit finally granted his request just so he would leave him alone.
- With Friends Like These...: He was initially friends with the other animals, but when his kind multiplied and robbed the other animals of their food he had become too arrogant to care. Frith hands him a bit of karma in this regard.
- 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.
- The Determinator: Second only to El-ahrairah in this respect, though where El-ahrairah is determined that the goals should be reached, Rabscuttle is just determined that El-ahrairah shouldn't die.
- 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.
- The Unreveal: We know Frith gave him a gift after the journey to the land of the dead, but we never find out what this gift was because the story is interrupted.
- Energy Beings: Rabbits seem to picture him as the actual rainbow, which gives him power in the heavens and power on earth. For example, he can talk to both Frith and the humans and let them know what the rabbits are up to.
- 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.
- Friendly Enemy: It depends rather heavily on the story, but he and El-ahrairah seem to settle in on this dynamic after a time. In a couple of stories they even talk like old friends.
- Remember the New Guy?: He doesn't appear in the first El-ahrairah story, shows up without warning in the stories in the middle of the book, and then is absent again for the late-book "The Black Rabbit of Inlé" and "Rowsby Woof".
- 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.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In Tales from Watership Down, is more of a stern but ultimately benevolent figure of authority.
- 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 rabbit Grim Reaper.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: The Netflix series presents a far gentler, softer Black Rabbit who speaks in a friendly and comforting tone.
- 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. In the film, Hazel doesn't react with fear, but with reverence.
- Gender Flip: Male in the book and most other adaptations, female in the Netflix series.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Not he himself, but a line from the original novel implies that he serves Inlé - that is, the Moon.
- The Grim Reaper: Not malicious, but merciless.
- Moon Rabbit: He is associated in rabbit-lore with the moon and shares its name. The association is presumably because most rabbit predators hunt at night.
- 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 that rabbits name; he is neither cruel nor taunting, avenges all rabbits who are 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 Inlé, I am here to do your work.
The Black Rabbit: My empire is not of this world, Woundwort, and no creature invokes my name for their own dark ends!
- 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.
- 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."
- The Starscream: Prince Rainbow drops a strong hint that Hufsa will be made Chief Rabbit if El-ahrairah should defy him. El-ahrairah plays on this to lure Hufsa into his trap.
- 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.
- 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.
A black-headed gull who is befriended by Hazel and becomes a very important ally.
- Adaptational Wimp: The film plays up his Funny Foreigner aspects but plays down how incredibly useful he really is to the protagonists, and what a dangerous combatant he is when he gets involved with directly fighting rabbits.
- 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.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Kehaar has a ridiculous accent and several habits that seem strange and funny to the rabbits. He is also an ace up the protagonists' sleeves for most of the Efrafa story arc, not only providing them with aerial intelligence but serving as an anti-personnel combatant who can take on any rabbit one-on-one, even General Woundwort, with ease, and escape just as easily.
- The Dreaded: Among the Efrafan Owsla; even Woundwort is secretly afraid of him.
- Feathered Fiend: Subverted. Aggressive and disagreeable, but firmly on the protagonists' side.
- Funetik Aksent: His pidgin speech is often rendered in dialect, making him take effort for readers to understand, just like the rabbits.
- 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.
- 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.
David Holt (TV series) (Boxwood)
Lizzie Clark (Netflix miniseries) (Haystack)
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.
- Ascended Extra: Clover gets a much bigger role in the Netflix series, becoming Hazel's Love Interest.
- 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.
- Adaptational Nationality: In the novel, he speaks with an Italian accent. In the TV series, Hannah speaks with an English regional accent.
- Adapted Out: He does not appear in the animated film and the Netflix series, leaving only Kehaar as the only non-rabbit ally for the rabbits of Watership.
- 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.
- Spanner in the Works: By passing on a rumor that more rabbits have arrived on the Down, he unwittingly foils Woundwort's plan to take Hazel's warren in a surprise attack.
- 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.
- Action Survivor: Very much so.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: 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.
- 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).
- Cosmic Horror Story: Humanity's power over the animal kingdom results in this, in particular Cowslip's and the protagonist's original warrens.