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Headscratchers / Watership Down

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  • Didn't the film adaptation do well? You'd think that someone would say "You know Watership Down did really well, lets make another animated film for adults." Thus ending the Animation Age Ghetto.
    • They followed it up by making The Plague Dogs, which everybody thought was too depressing.
  • While it was awesome to watch, just what in the world was on that dog's mind? Even if he was trained by his farmer owners to kill rabbits and other pests, it looked like the only thing it was capable of thinking was "KILL" and "DESTROY". Seriously, a dog like that would be a danger to everyone around it.
    • This the farmdog that "killed" Woundwort? That is your standard farm dog, and if it came across a human would probably be no threat to them at all.
    • Yes, that one. And while I know that this dogs are usually trained to kill pests, it still looked like it was obsessed with killing anything that moves rather then just rabbits. Hell, it looks RABID while killing the rabbits. I wouldn´t be surprised if a passing human thought it was a dog going deranged rather than a farm animal.
    • The rabbits (Dandelion and Blackberry) quite deliberately whipped the dog into a frenzy. The idea was to make it think of nothing else but killing rabbits, and lead it at full gallop onto the Efrafans so there was no warning. It wasn't necessarily a vicious dog; the two rabbits specifically set out to make it so, and succeeded.
    • It's also being colored by a case of extremely unreliable narrators. From a rabbit's point of view, a massive black lab tearing over the hillside barking would be like the ground opening up and releasing Cerberus, even if it didn't kill anyone. As it is, the farm dog was accustomed to killing pests and so took out one or two rabbits while scattering the others; the rabid slavering monster was likely not how it would appear to a human passerby, who would likely just see a large dog chasing rabbits normally.
  • Am I the only one who never saw Campion as a Worthy Opponent to the Watership rabbits and wished that he would die of the white blindness or something suitably horrible along with Woundwort and the others? He does reform Efrafa in the ending, but prior to that I didn't see any indication that he was cut from a different moral cloth than Woundwort and the others — basically, I didn't see what Hazel and Bigwig seemed to see in him.
    • Campion was a classic Card-Carrying Villain — he believed in the Efrafan system, but thought Woundwort took it way too far and tied too much of his own greed for power into it. Hazel was always a very farsighted rabbit, and probably saw in Campion someone that could be reasoned with — compared with Woundwort, Campion was a Reasonable Authority Figure (and Woundwort, had he listened to him, probably would have won the battle). He willingly parleyed with the Watership rabbits as equals after Efrafa lost the war. Efrafa was badly overcrowded, the Watership rabbits just wanted to exist in peace, so Hazel and Campion settled on a solution that benefited everyone.
      • I'll admit that Campion proved to be reasonable in the end, but I'm still not sure what would lead to Hazel or Bigwig or the reader drawing this conclusion before the actual parley occurred.
    • Hazel and Bigwig were in part persuaded by Campion's leadership ability, and he didn't do it through fear, like Woundwart did.
  • So, in the book, Tab the Cat is referred to as male... but in the movie it sounds like and is referred to as female. So just what gender is it? Did they just changed its gender because they wanted a female antagonist or something?
    • Book Tab is a tom, Movie Tab is female—likely, yes, to keep the movie from being a complete sausage fest.
    • Tab is a farmcat, and so is less a pet than a pest-control expert. Female farmcats are often thought to be better hunters (possibly with a grain of truth, since female cats would be providing for a litter and also teaching that litter to hunt). Or it could be on the assumption that audiences might think "Tab" was short for "Tabitha," or be more used to the notion that cat = feminine. Or, as the troper above observed, not every character can be a dude.
  • What is Rabscuttle's gift that he got from Frith in "Tale of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé"?
    • Given that Hazel's relationship with Fiver is equivalent to that between El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle, maybe prophetic visions?
      • This seems a reasonable assumption, as a later story does mention Rabscuttle getting a dream from Frith.
  • Is Bluebell a member of the Sandleford Owsla? It would appear so because he was there to assist Holly in arresting Bigwig. However, at the beginning of the chapter "Kehaar," Bigwig and Silver are stated to be very pleased with themselves for being the only survivors of the Sandleford Owsla besides Holly. He never acts like an Owsla rabbit. Is it possible that he was just a random rabbit that Holly grabbed on his way to get Bigwig?
    • The book never says that Bluebell was amongst the rabbits who came with Holly to arrest Bigwig. Holly says that he rounded up Bluebell and another rabbit in the woods after their escape from Sandleford, and that seems to be where they first met.
    • When Woundwort gathers rabbits for the assault on Watership Down, he mentions taking along some promising young bucks that aren't quite old enough to be in the Owsla. Bluebell may have been one of those to Holly, or it may have just been as you said.
    • In the book it is Hazel who specifically remembers Bluebell as one of the rabbits who was with with Holly when he tried to arrest Bigwig. His lack of portrayal as an Owsla member after that could be an oversight by the author.
      • Just did an e-book search for the word "Bluebell" and re-read the section where Holly came to arrest Bigwig. The other two guards with Holly are not named, and Hazel's specific remembering of Bluebell's identity came down to saying, "Oh, it's you, Bluebell." It never specifies why Hazel recognized him. When Holly is telling his own story, he notes that he had Bluebell, Pimpernel, and Toadflax, and that Toadflax was the only member of the Owsla he'd seen.
      • Reading straight from the book, in the chapter ‘A Honeycomb and a Mouse’ the passage word for word is: “Hazel recognized him as one of the rabbits who had come to arrest Bigwig, but he did not know his name.” After that, Bigwig appears and says “Oh it’s you, Bluebell.”
So he was there to arrest Bigwig and Bigwig knew him directly which would make sense if he were in the owsla.
  • In the film, Frith blesses El-Ahrairah, even after giving all the animals in the Watership Down world the urge to kill rabbits. You'd think that Frith wouldn't want El-Ahrairah and his children to live after doing something like that.
    • It wasn't really that Frith wanted El-Ahrairah and his species to die, exactly - they were over-breeding and thusly out-competing other animals for food. The rabbits weren't really doing anything wrong, there simply needed to be a way to balance the population, and El-Ahrairah wasn't interested in helping control them. Frith had no problem with the rabbits continuing to exist, and so blessed them so that they wouldn't be wiped out completely. As for why Frith allowed El-Ahrairah himself to live, there's hints throughout the book (and its sequel) that Frith was actually on somewhat friendly terms with him, and probably wanted him to have a fighting chance.
    • In the book, Dandelion-the-narrator directly spells out Frith's motivation — after El-ahrairah refused to control his people, Dandelion says that "Frith could have killed El-arairah at once, but he had a mind to keep him in the world, because he needed him to sport and jest and play tricks. So he determined to get the better of him, not by his own great power, but by means of a trick." The trick, of course, being turning a good portion of the animal kingdom into predators. But then, when he saw how El-ahrairah refused to give up even when he thought himself about to get killed by predators, Frith felt sympathy for him and blessed him with great speed and sharp senses.