25 votes

Why is it called Watership Down?

Watership Down is a real place in Hampshire that just happens to sound as if there is some connection to water. (image by Loganberry of Wikipedia; public domain) It's not a fictitious name invented ...
user avatar
  • 1,334
24 votes

What does "skimmish" mean, in this eye dialect?

The context is that Lucy is “’ollerin’ and carryin’ on” (that is, crying) because she is unhappy at the prospect of killing the rabbit: Lucy began to cry. She had not lived all her life on a farm for ...
user avatar
  • 40.9k
21 votes
Accepted

What is the foundation of the religion in Watership Down?

In-universe El-ahrairah is much more legendary than mythical, more like a hero than a god. Here's how the text describes him the very first time his name appears: What Robin Hood is to the English ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
20 votes
Accepted

Is Doctor Adams a self-insertion in Watership Down?

Doctor Adams is the author's father. Richard Adams is the son of Evelyn Adams, who worked as a country doctor. I can find no definitive quote from the author to confirm this was his intention: ...
user avatar
  • 14.9k
17 votes
Accepted

What did the men use to destroy Sandleford Warren?

Is this some established rabbit-hunting technique? Yes: it's called rabbit warren fumigation. I found this by searching the internet for gas canisters rabbit warren, since I'd always assumed the "...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
15 votes
Accepted

How long does the story of Watership Down take?

Making some reasonable assumptions, ~95 days Note that 95 days is for what I consider the "main story" - from when Fiver has his first vision to when the Efrafan attackers are defeated. ...
user avatar
  • 7,905
13 votes
Accepted

Why is it called Watership Down?

As Aurorar0001 says, Watership Down is a real place name in Hampshire, England. The following comments are meant to shed some light on the origin of this place name. The second part, Down, is a noun ...
user avatar
  • 246
11 votes
Accepted

What is King Darzin?

Some fan sites, such as the Watership Down Wikia, have speculated or even presumed that King Darzin and his followers are hares, but without providing much evidence to support this conclusion, and in ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
9 votes
Accepted

Why do some Lapine words have pronunciation guidelines as footnotes?

The book originated as stories that the author told to his daughters to while away long travelling hours. Being an oral tale, Adams would know the pronunciations he used and it is likely that he ...
user avatar
  • 15.8k
9 votes

What is King Darzin?

In the story we read: The next night Rabscuttle, who had been told by El-ahrairah what he had to do, went to the garden and dug a scrape. He hid in the scrape all night; and the next morning, when ...
user avatar
  • 15.8k
7 votes

What is the significance of Blackberry's name in Watership Down?

Blackberry had black tips to his ears. It is possible that, especially when he was a kit those tips reminded people of two blackberries. There may also be an aspect of being tenacious and difficult to ...
user avatar
  • 15.8k
6 votes
Accepted

Why are primroses emphasized at the start and end of Watership Down?

Primroses symbolise springtime. Primroses are among the first flowers to start blooming in the springtime, sometimes called the heralds of spring. Even their name in English comes from "prima ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Identification of Kehaar's accent

Kehaar's accent is based on a Norwegian one, and is consistent in itself. In fact, Kehaar's accent and entire character are based on a real Norwegian man that Richard Adams knew. As he wrote himself (...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
6 votes
Accepted

What does this simile about Fiver rounding up Efrafan prisoners mean?

I think you're overthinking this quote a bit. Bluebell's joke and simile are just based on the fact that the runty Fiver is the last rabbit anyone would expect a bunch of burly Efrafans to surrender ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
4 votes
Accepted

What does Silverweed's poem signify?

(tl; dr answer at the bottom) The plight of the rabbits in Cowslip's warren is one of the things that really hit home with me in the book and the adaptations, and the poem helps especially much. I ...
user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Why is Dandelion named so?

Let me preface this answer by mentioning that I'm not convinced Richard Adams intended any particular significance or symbolism in the character names of Watership Down. As I've written about before, ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k
2 votes

Why do some Lapine words have pronunciation guidelines as footnotes?

English is one of the languages where stress is very important to pronunciation. This is in contrast to many other languages where stress is either not an important feature of the language at all (e.g....
user avatar
  • 64.3k
2 votes
Accepted

Was Lapine ever developed beyond the small glossary in Watership Down?

Yes, but not by Adams ... as far as I can tell, anyhow. Unless you count the sequel. As the Wikipedia page for the language says: Linguists, academics, and fans of the original novel have further ...
user avatar
  • 7,905
2 votes

What does "skimmish" mean, in this eye dialect?

According to Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, skimmish is a variant of skimish, which means beer or alcohol. skimish n. (also skimmish) [1900s-70s] (mainly tramp) beer, alcohol; thus skimisher/...
user avatar
  • 15.3k
1 vote

How can "Salamandastron" be considered "In the Tradition of 'Watership Down'"?

Sometimes odd lines like that on covers are quotes, even if they aren't attributed. A possible source for this would be the brief review paragraph, by Tynan Laurie, for the 8 cassette recorded book, ...
user avatar
  • 15.8k
1 vote
Accepted

Why is the encounter with the rats not covered in detail?

Here's my interpretation of how the story is changed by not covering that segment of the rabbits' journey in detail. Off-stage character development enables the plot to proceed more swiftly. At the ...
user avatar
  • 64.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible