25

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 for the book; it's an area near where Richard Adams lived as a child: The title refers to the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of ...


24

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 nothing and she knew very well that everything her father had said was right. But she was upset by the idea of killing the rabbit in cold blood. Richard Adams (...


21

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 and John Henry to the American Negroes, Elil-Hrair-Rah, or El-ahrairah - The Prince with a Thousand Enemies - is to rabbits. Uncle Remus might well have heard of ...


20

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: however the similarity in name, profession and locale make it seem extremely likely. Some critics have taken the similarity as read. For instance in his essay "The ...


17

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 "heavy metal things" to be gas canisters, connected to some flexible pipes which transported the gas underground. There is a YouTube video on rabbit warren ...


14

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. There's some stuff after that but the timing gets fuzzy. If you just want the timeline, skip past the "Timeline discussion" section. (Though you may want ...


13

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 and here has a meaning similar to 'hill'. To quote the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a down is "an undulating usually treeless upland with sparse soil — ...


11

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 spite of evidence against it such as the fact that the rabbits have supposedly never seen the type of creature that Darzin was. A fan asked Richard Adams this ...


9

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 included the information for the sake of helping the reader hear the words as he originally intended. While he did not specifically address this question in his AMA ...


9

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 the children were brought to play, he slipped out and joined them. There were so many children that each one of the mothers and nursemaids thought that he must ...


7

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 eradicate. My thinking is less that as an individual Blackberry singularly embodies tenacity as a quality, but that there are a group of rabbits many of whose ...


6

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 rosa", meaning "first rose", alluding to the fact that they're one of the first flowers to appear at the start of the season. With this in mind, ...


6

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 (I haven't tracked down the primary source to check it myself, but the secondary source Douglas Leatherland, "The Capacities and Limitations of Language in ...


5

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 to. Fiver is one of the smallest rabbits in the story, protected by his brother Hazel (ultimately the Chief Rabbit) and his clairvoyance that sometimes enables ...


4

(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 think that yes, it does have very direct connotations to the life in this warren. Here's why: As you said yourself, the rabbits in the Warren of Snares have ...


2

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, the story started off as a road-trip tale for his children, so he may not have put much thought into the names if he was creating many of them on the spur of ...


2

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. French and Arabic don't really have well-defined stresses) or is always in the same place in each word (e.g. always on the first syllable in Hungarian, always ...


2

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 developed and refined the Lapine language since its 1972 creation.[6][13] Authors, such as Patrick Jemmer (who corresponded briefly with Adams regarding Lapine), ...


2

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/skimmisher, a heavy drinker. [Shelta skimis, to drink, skimisk, drunk] The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang agrees: skimish /ˈskɪmɪʃ/ noun Alcoholic drink. 1908–. J....


1

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, which appeared in a 1988 edition of Journal called 'Emergency Librarian'. I've not been able to find out much about the journal, but it later became called '...


1

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 beginning of the story, when the band of 11 rabbits start their journey from Sandleford, they're essentially a bunch of misfits, not having much in common, many ...


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