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WMG / Watership Down

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The rabbit at the end who takes Hazel into his Owsla is not El-ahrairah, but is the Black Rabbit of Inle instead.
The Other Wiki's synopsis states that the rabbit who appears before Hazel at the end is El-ahrairah, but I'd like to suggest that it is the Black Rabbit instead.

First, if you watch the film, you see what we know is the Black Rabbit when he guides Fiver to find Hazel after he gets shot. At the end of the film, we see a black ghost of a rabbit, but this one has more defined features. However, if you watch closely, not only does this rabbit's eyes glow red (just like the Black Rabbit's did), but also while it is bounding away from the warren, it looks just like the rabbit that led Fiver down the hill earlier in the film.


Second, if you think about it, the rabbit being El-ahrairah doesn't make sense — El-ahrairah is a folk hero. Most rabbits believe he exists, but in both the book and the film, we're never shown beyond a doubt that he does indeed exist, truly. However, in the book, Fiver has a dream where he directly meets the Black Rabbit, and the film has that awesome "Bright Eyes" scene where he chases said Black Rabbit.

Third, If that really was El-ahrairah, then that means El-ahrairah is actually dead (shouldn't he be in the Black Rabbit's Owsla now, then? The book teaches us that the Black Rabbit is even more clever/powerful/etc than he is).

Fourth, the book teaches us that the Black Rabbit does indeed have an Owsla; as seen in El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inle story told two-thirds of the way through the book. Where else would the Black Rabbit have gotten his Owsla, except from truly exceptional rabbits that lived and passed on? Hazel definitely fits that category.

  • In the Film's credits at the end (watched it just now), it says Joss Ackland did the voice of "The Black Rabbit". Seeing that the Black Rabbit of Inle has no spoken lines anywhere else in the film (the only other scene featuring him is the Bright Eyes scene), this is the only scene that they could possibly be referring to.
    • Unless a scene featuring him was filmed and then cut.
  • Either that, or El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit are one and the same. Which was my initial interpretation of that scene...
    • Could be a deal like how the trinity is the father, son and holy spirit.
      • When Frith turns the fox, dog, cat, weasel and hawk into merciless predators bent on destroying the rabbits, it is shown that El-ahrairah sees the Black Rabbit
  • It's definitely El-ahrairah, I'm afraid... In the book, Hazel initially does not recognise him, but then identifies him by the starlight in his ears, which was a gift from Frith when he replaced El-ahrairah's missing ears at the end of the tale of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit. The Black Rabbit does not have illuminated ears. The film does confuse things a bit, but it's still supposed to be El-ahrairah - a caption in the relevant part of the picture book of the film identifies him by name.
    • The film version is probably meant to be the Black Rabbit, confirmed by the fact that Hazel initially doesn't recognize him...until his face changes briefly into the stylized version of the Black Rabbit seen in the Bright Eyes sequence. Likewise, the film also has the hints given above, including the voice actor info, to indicate that the rabbit who comes for Hazel is the Black Rabbit. In the novel, however, the hints go the other direction and seem to point to El-ahrairah.

Bigwig was invited to join El-ahrairah's Owsla too.
Sure, Hazel got them out of Sandleford and to Watership, but after everything Bigwig did, you can't say that he didn't deserve a spot in the Owsla.
  • I'd like to think they weren't the only ones. Blackberry for his intelligence, Dandelion for his storytelling, and Pipkin for bravery far above and beyond his weight class. Fiver probably got an invite, too, but chose to explore elsewhere.
    • There's so much Hero's Journey-ing going on in that novel that it seems possible that every one of the main rabbits was meant to stand for an archetypical rabbit virtue: Dandelion was the storyteller; Blackberry was the embodiment of ingenuity, etc. Probably El-ahrairah rounded them all up, like Jason gathering Argonauts.
  • Perhaps there are other positions besides Owsla in the rabbit afterlife — somehow I don't picture Pipkin or Fiver wanting to be in an Owsla.

The story of Cowslip's warren is a religious allegory.
The part about Cowslip's warren is an allegory for the readers, showing that civilization, art, and leisure are parts of a trap set by Satan to ensnare the souls of humanity, and hard work and fellowship in a natural life are part of the path to salvation.

Edit: Not exactly. Watership Down draws heavily on The Odyssey, and Cowslip's warren is meant to evoke the Lotus Eaters stage of that epic.

Hazel is a Time Lord
John Hurt was the War Doctor on Doctor Who 50th AS "The Day of the Doctor". The Tenth doctor yells at a rabbit in it. John Hurt voiced Hazel. Rabbit holes look small but have many runs inside.

King Darzin and his people were wolves
Wolves used to live in the UK but were wiped out centuries ago, the short-lived rabbits wouldn't have remembered what he or his people were but they would remember his name from El-ahrairah's stories.
  • Well, bears and lynxes used to live in the UK before being wiped out, as well, at least during ancient times.


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