This is a list of characters in Watership Down
, a 1972 novel by Richard Adams
. The majority also appear in the 1978 feature film adapation
, 1996 follow-up collection of short stories
, and 1999–2001 television adaptation
Watership Down rabbits
- Hazel – Fiver's older brother; he leads the rabbits from Sandleford and eventually becomes Chief Rabbit. He is shot and almost dies, but is saved by his brother Fiver. At the Watership Down warren, he mates with Hyzenthlay from Efrafa, and the two become co-Chief Rabbit. At the end of the novel, he dies of old age and is taken away by El-ahrairah to join his Owsla. Voiced by John Hurt in the film (John Hurt also provides the voice of Woundwort in the series)
- Bigwig – A large rabbit who was formerly an officer in the Sandleford Owsla. His name in Lapine is Thlayli, which means "Fur-head" and refers to the shock of fur on the back of his head. Resilient and powerful, he survives both a snare and an attack by General Woundwort, and infiltrates Efrafa to rescue Hyzenthlay and Blackavar, among others. Later, he becomes captain of the Watership warren's "free-and-easy" Owsla.
- Fiver – A small, runt rabbit; his Lapine name is Hrairoo, which means "Little-five" or "Little-thousand" (rabbits are stated to be capable of counting only up to four, so there are no specific numerical fixes beyond four). He is a seer, and his visions of the destruction of the Sandleford warren led him to leave, along with his brother Hazel and several other rabbits. He saves Hazel's life when he is shot, and inspires Hazel to set up the release of the Nuthanger Farm dog, which saves the Watership Down warren. In the TV Series, Fiver's visions come in rhymes, and he often feels responsible for forseeing terrible things, blaming himself for their outcome.
- Blackberry – A clever buck rabbit with characteristically black-tipped ears. He is often capable of understanding concepts that the other rabbits find incomprehensible. He realises, for instance, that wood floats, and the rabbits use this twice to traverse on water. In the television series, Blackberry was made a doe and falls in love with Campion.
- Dandelion – A buck rabbit, notable for his storytelling ability and speed; he is instrumental in luring the Nuthanger Farm dog up the hill to scatter the Efrafans near the end of the book. He is voice acted by Richard O'Callaghan in the film and Phill Jupitus in the television series. In the TV series, Dandelion is strangely one of the slowest of rabbits and, though still an accomplished storyteller, is more of a joker and wiseguy (much in the vein of Bluebell from the books), and provides much of the series' comedy relief. He is also a good friend of Hawkbit.
- Pipkin - A young and rather timid buck rabbit. Because of this, he is courageously loyal to Hazel, to whom he constantly looks for guidance and protection. In the TV series, Pipkin's characterization is notably different; here he is a very young and adventurous rabbit eager to prove himself in the eyes of the bigger companions -- particularly Hazel and Bigwig. During the last season Pipkin grows up to be a responsible rabbit, even leading the 'Junior Owsla'.
- Silver - A large rabbit with grey fur (hence his name) and the Threarah's nephew. He was a member of the Sandleford Owsla but decided to desert along with Hazel's band. His stolid reliability have served Hazel at those times when Bigwig's hot-headedness is more a hindrance than help. Silver is strangely absent in the Television series.
- Buckthorn - A tough, sturdy rabbit with a quiet and easygoing nature. Like Silver, he is steadfast and dependable in a crisis.
- Hawkbit - Described in the beginning as a "rather slow, stupid rabbit," he joins Hazel's company in the escape from Sandleford. Together with Speedwell and Acorn, he begins complaining and insisting on returning to the warren, but is brutally beaten into submission by Bigwig. Later, at Cowslip's warren, Hawkbit apologizes to Hazel and afterwards remains a loyal follower. In the TV series, Hawkbit is a pessimistic, grouchy and sarcastic rabbit who always has a biting comment for every situation, but is a dependable member of the warren when his help is needed. He's a good friend of Dandelion and during the last season, settles down with Clover.
- Speedwell and Acorn - Outskirters from Sandleford who joins up with Hazel's band and early in the journey side with Hawkbit when he wants to go back; but like him they are subdued by Bigwig and later on have a change of heart. Speedwell, described as a bit of a joker, is also the narrator of one of the short stories in Tales from Watership Down, the nonsense tale Speedwell's Story. Acorn doesn't really get a very strong characterization, though he is mentioned as being one of the most skilled rabbits when it comes to gathering bugs for the wounded Kehaar. In Tales from Watership Down he dies due to wintertime hardship, and is as such the only one of Hazel's original crew to actually die over the course of the two books (not counting Hazel's own death many years later in the epilogue).
- Strawberry – Originally from Cowslip's warren, he was initially as aloof and evasive as Cowslip and his fellow rabbits. After his mate Nildro-hain is killed by a snare, Strawberry chases after the Sandleford rabbits as they were about to leave the area and asks to join them. When they eventually consent to this, he becomes a valuable advisor in the construction of the main chamber at the Watership Down warren. Later, while some of the Watership Down rabbits go to Efrafa, he acquires a new mate in the form of one of the hutch does that had been taken from Nuthanger Farm. In Tales from Watership Down, he becomes a founding father of the new warren between Watership and Efrafa.
- Holly – Former captain of the Sandleford Owsla, he tries but fails to arrest Hazel and his group when they leave Sandleford. Later, when men poison-gas the Sandleford warren to exterminate the rabbits, he manages to escape and eventually finds the Watership Down rabbits, though he is ill and exhausted. Following his harrowing escape, he subjugates himself to Hazel and follows him loyally. In the TV series, Holly has only a minor role and is mostly used as a background character for two seasons, however he has some roles as the new Owsla trainer in the last season.
- Bluebell - The only rabbit besides Holly to join Hazel's band after the Sandleford warren's destruction. Bluebell is a compulsive joker whose chattering has often kept the others running, for good or for ill, when physical exertion takes its toll. Like Dandelion, he is a gifted storyteller, and he's the also the only rabbit in the book apart from Dandelion to tell a story of El-ahrairah.
- Sandwort - Sandwort is the protagonist of the eponymous story in Tales from Watership Down. He refuses to respect any of his elders (including Hazel and Bigwig), but learns sense when his disrespect lands him at the bottom of a well.
- Captain Broom - A character from the TV series. The aged ex-Owsla captain of Redstone warren, he has gone somewhat mad after all the warren died of the great sickness. The old captain joins the Watership Down rabbits, and although he usually bores them with his tall tales, he also sometimes offers useful advice due to his age and experience.
- The Threarah – The Threarah (also known as "Lord Rowan Tree", since "Threar" is Lapine for "rowan tree") is the Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford warren. He dismisses Fiver's warning as an attempt by Fiver to increase his status in the warren. He later gives the order to have Bigwig arrested, but when Bigwig and the rest of Hazel's party escape, he decides that they are not worth chasing after. He dies in the destruction of Sandleford.
- Toadflax - A member of the Sandleford Owsla who is also somewhat of a bad-tempered bully; early in the book he "confiscates" a cowslip that Fiver finds, claiming that cowslips are only for the Owsla to enjoy. He, together with Holly, Bluebell and Pimpernel, escapes from the warren at its destruction, but the humans' poison has driven him mad, and he dies the same night.
- Pimpernel - Pimpernel also escapes from the Sandleford warren with Holly and Bluebell, staying with them until they reach Cowslip's warren. Upon learning that they are friends of Hazel and his companions, the rabbits there attack the trio and kill Pimpernel. In the TV series, Pimpernel's fate was slightly different, though no less fatal: Having chosen to stay behind in Cowslip's warren while Holly moved on, he finally ended up in one of the snares.
- Clover – A strong and active Angora doe, who mates with Holly and provides the Watership Down warren with its first litter. In the TV series, she is the only rabbit to escape from the farm, albeit not too willingly. Later she becomes Hawkbit's mate.
- Boxwood – A "black and white Himalayan" buck, and Haystack's mate.
- Haystack – A Himalayan doe who is Boxwood's mate.
- Laurel – A "short-haired black Angora" buck, he fails to escape the farm and consequentially doesn't join the Watership Down warren.
Cowslip's warren (the Warren of Snares)
- Cowslip – Although he is not a Chief Rabbit, his strange warren is usually referred to as "Cowslip's Warren" because he is the first resident therein that Hazel's rabbits meet. Cowslip is laconic and almost too refined, with great size and a strange scent, perhaps from a life of superior food, and he seems typical of his fellows. As Fiver soon discovers, a farmer leaves vegetables out so that he can trap rabbits coming and going, but this is a severely taboo subject in the warren, and Cowslip and his fellows refuse to talk about it, and instead pretend that all is well. Cowslip later refuses to help or even acknowledge Bigwig, when he is trapped and nearly killed by the farmer's snare. When Holly, Bluebell,and Pimpernel later happen into the area, Cowslip leads an attack upon these last surviving Sandleforders. However, while the locals have remarkable cultural sophistication (even art), they are woefully unskilled at fighting, and succeed in killing only the sickened Pimpernel. His warren— a harvesting ground of rabbit meat for a human— goes down in lapine history as being "bewitched". In the TV series, Cowslip becomes angered by Hazel's warren when they help a group of his rabbits escape from his warren, and even helps Woundwort to get his revenge on them, however, as he himself states, "I'm a plotter, not a fighter" and he uses boths sides for his own gain. Later he trades his seer, Silverweed, to Woundwort in exchange for the destruction of his escaped rabbit's warren.
- Nildro-hain – Strawberry's mate in Cowslip's warren; she is killed by a snare, following which incident Strawberry escapes to join Hazel's band. Her name is Lapine for "blackbird's song"- birdsong being one of the many un-rabbitlike qualities that her warren adopts due to its unnatural lifestyle.
- Silverweed – The local equivalent of a storyteller, Silverweed recites disturbing poetry which makes Fiver fearful and wary. Because he talks in poetry and riddles, he is the only outlet through which the other rabbits in his warren can confront their morbid situation. In the television series, he is given a new backstory, in that he is a seer with mental abilities similar to Fiver, in particular possessing the ability to see into another rabbit's mind by touch. He is traded to Woundwort to help him seek his destiny, but later ends up on Watership Down and becomes a good friend of the rabbits there, even sacrificing some of his youth to help save the warren from Woundwort.
- Hickory - A character from the TV Series, Hickory is a buck who decides to leave the dreaded warren, he is prepared for the harsh life outside by Hazel and his friends. Although somewhat naive and eager to prove himself, after some learning, Hickory successfully leads the new warren of Redstone as chief rabbit. Still lacking in experience, he is later tricked to appoint General Woundwort (under the alias of Weedstalk) to chief of his Owsla, not realizing that the seemingly helpful rabbit wants to take over his warren. Ignoring the warnings of his mate, Marigold, Hickory is only awakened to the evil of Woundwort after the (supposed) death of his mate. After leading his warren to safety, Hickory and his warren join Watership Down.
- Marigold - A character from the TV Series, and Hickory's mate. More level-headed then him, Marigold is the voice of reason on Redstone warren and the first to doubt the good intentions of the incognito Woundwort. She later joins the Watership Down warren with the rest of her warren.
- General Woundwort – The Chief Rabbit of Efrafa. He is a hard and brutally efficient rabbit, who was orphaned at a young age, and founded the Efrafa warren. He attacked the Watership Down warren, and, after fighting (and losing to) Bigwig, was thought to have been killed fighting the Nuthanger Farm dog, but he lives on in rabbit legend as a bogeyman. In the Television series and the movie, he is blind to left eye. A brutal and tryannical leader who yet sees himself as the one doing everything for the best of his warren, Woundwort strives to destroy Hazel and his 'outsiders' because of the hope for free life they represent for his own subjects. He deeply respects Campion, even after his betrayal by him, and although he often punishes and threatens Vervain, he still values him as an advisor and loyal subject. After the destruction of Efrafa, Woundwort becomes obsessed with seeking his destiny, which leads him to the warren he was born at, Darkhaven. In the end, he is taken by the Black Rabbit of Inlé along with most of the Darkhaven rabbits.
- Hyzenthlay – A doe; she is one of the representative leaders of a group who unsuccessfully tried to convince General Woundwort to extend the warren due to overcrowding. Later, she and several other Efrafan does escape while Bigwig distracts the guards. In Tales from Watership Down she mates with Hazel and the two rule the warren as co-Chief Rabbits. Hyzenthlay's name is Lapine for "fur shining like dew." In the television series adaptation, Hyzenthlay was renamed Primrose, and she hailed from a warren called Redstone. She is otherwise mostly identical to Hyzenthlay. Primrose is very supportive of Hazel, and she and Campion have some strong bond due to being saved by him multiple times back in Efrafa. She also harbors deep hatred for Vervain, who molested and bullied her at every given opportunity back then, despite this she, Fiver, Holly, and Captain Broom saved his life when he was caught in some wire, although in the beggining she protested the idea of helping that rabbit "that made her life miserable." Later she hates herself for letting him go when she finds out he formed an alliance out of fear with Woundwart. Primrose also seems to be a dedicated mom to her three children Snowdrop, Mallow, and Gilia. In Efrafa she constantly showed a rebellious, and stubborn attitude toward Vervion by constantly disobeying him, and ignoring his snide bullying. Vervain disliked this, and told Campion how he wanted to make her fear him, and almost attacked her untill Campion protested, and jumped in the way.
- Thethuthinnang - Hyzenthlay's friend and also one of the leaders of the Efrafan does. Her name is Lapine for "movement of leaves."
- Groundsel - A general in the Efrafan army. He was captured at the end of Woundwort's raid on the warren at Watership Down and later was allowed to join the warren. In the end, he becomes Chief Rabbit of a new warren between Watership Down and Efrafa.
- Campion – A captain of the Owsla; he is a brave and a skillful leader, and respected by General Woundwort. He takes over the warren of Efrafa after Woundwort's disappearance, and agrees that Efrafa and Watership Down can co-exist in peace. In Tales from Watership Down, the final chapter is devoted to Campion; he eventually dies on patrol after a fight with a pair of cats. In the television series, Campion sees that Woundwort's leadership is destroying Efrafa, but is torn between his feelings for the free ways of Watership Down and his loyalty to his chief rabbit. In the end, Campion turns against Woundwort to save his friend's warren, yet sacrifices himself to save Woundwort from a falling rock. Surviving miraculously but with terrible scars and losing an ear, Campion is touched by the Black Rabbit of Inlé and is tasked with stopping Woundwort. Feeling empty and half-dead, Campion's will to live is returned thanks to the love of Blackberry. He finally settles with her in Watership Down.
- Vilthuril - One of the escaping does. Eventually she becomes Fiver's mate.
- Blackavar – A rabbit with very dark fur. He tried to escape from Efrafa when he was prevented from joining the Owsla, but when he was apprehended by Campion, his ears were slashed to ribbons and he was kept in solitary confinement. When he was liberated by Bigwig, he quickly proved himself as an expert tracker and ranger, and Hazel came to trust and rely upon him. In the book, Blackavar survives the climactic battle with the Efrafans, but in the film he is shown being killed by Woundwort himself. He was voiced by Clifton Jones in the feature film In the television series he seems to be a but negative, and questionive. He is one of the few rabbits who tries to escape, and as a result is sentenced to death, untill Primrose saves him by convincing Woundwart that "he was only trying to get away from that gull."
- Vervain – The head of the Owslafa (Council police) in Efrafa. He is a large and bullying rabbit, more used to dealing with prisoners than with active combatants, and dislikes his peer Campion. After the loss of Woundwort and the battle for Watership Down, elil kill half of the retreating survivors including Vervain, but he had already lost heart and his sense of purpose. His name comes from an alternative name for verbena, a type of small flowering plant found in England. In the TV series, Vervain is a cowardly and sneaky rabbit, more adept at spying on others and theratening the weaker ones then in actual combat. Despite his shortcomings, Woundwort values him (though he would not show this) for his loyalty to him. Although Campion saved his life on more then one occasion, Vervain hates him with a passion and would like nothing better then to make Woundwort realize Campion is a traitor. Kehaar is particulary not fond of Vervain and calls him 'ugly bunny'. After Efrafa's destruction, Vervain tries to live on his own but quickly loses hope, until he is saved by Woundwort. Although somewhat shocked by his master's increasing maddness, Vervain continues to serve him, though more out of fear then respect, and he secretly longs to lead a different life, even if such thoughts are futile. Vervain's cowardice saves his life in the end, as by running away when the Black Rabbit of Inlé appears, he awoids the fate of Woundwort.
- Moss - A character from the TV series, Moss is a 'by the book' Owsla corporal in Efrafa. He respects Campion and dislikes Vervain. During the series, he starts to lose faith in Woundwort. After the failed attack on Watership Down, Moss plans a rebellion against his chief, and later is elected the new chief rabbit of Efrafa, leading them away to build a new warren.
- Heather - A character from the TV series. She is a doe kidnapped and forced into Efrafa, who with her frequent escape attempts gets the attention of Moss. She seems to be sarcastic, and tries to suck up to an owlsla officer to let her escape. After seeing Woundwort starting to go mad, Moss confides in Heather about his plans of rebellion. Heather later becomes Moss' mate.
- Chervil – An Owsla officer assigned to show Bigwig around the warren when he "joins" Efrafa. Like Vervain he is something of a bully, and has severe contempt for the "lesser" Efrafans. He is very mean to Blackavar in particular. When Bigwig escapes with the does, he attacks and injures Chervil. In the film, Chervil is voiced by Derek Griffiths (who is misidentified in the credits as voicing Vervain, who has no speaking lines). His name is also mispronounced as "Sherbil."
- Avens - Another Owsla officer who accompanies Chervil while training Bigwig.
- Nelthilta – A young doe, spirited and rebellious but not especially smart. When she thinks she's going to escape with Bigwig's group she can't resist dropping hints by taunting an Efrafan officer, whereupon she is arrested and forced to confess to the Council, nearly ruining the whole plan.
- Bartsia - An Owslafa officer who is Blackavar's escort.
- Snowdrop - A very old rabbit who acts as Woundwort's advisor on the Council.
- Charlock - An Owsla captain who was chasing Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry when they escaped from Efrafa. He and the few other officers who were with him were run over by a train as they were chasing the Down rabbits.
- Mallow - Another Owsla captain. Mallow was killed while on a Wide Patrol tracking the other Down rabbits who were nearby.
- Marjoram and Moneywort - A couple sentries under Captain Chervil who, one way or another, are known to Woundwort.
- Thrayonlosa - One of the does who escaped from Efrafa with Bigwig and Hyzenthlay. She sustains severe injuries from a bridge on the river Test after escaping from the Efrafan Owsla. She died in her sleep that night.
- Coltsfoot - After the disastrous attack on Watership, Coltsfoot settles on the Down. Despite this, the others give him a wide berth because of his demeanor, which turns out to be a product of a strange encounter he had as a youngster. This event forms the plot of "The Rabbit's Ghost Story" in Tales from Watership Down. Once he has told this story, and after spending much time with Fiver (who seemed to understand it best), he became as agreeable as any rabbit.
- Nyreem - In the Tales from Watership Down story "Hyzenthlay in Action," Nyreem is one of a group of Efrafan does whom Campion has sent to the Down, in order to deal with overpopulation in his warren. Because she has injured her leg, the others are forced to go on without her. Hyzenthlay (who had just become co-Chief with Hazel) exercised her new authority by sitting with Nyreem all night until Bigwig came to assist her. Later, Nyreem and one of her friends witness Sandwort's lucky escape from the well.
- Aspen - A character from the TV series. A somewhat dim-witted member of the Owsla, he joins Vervain after the destruction of Efrafa. Their friendship is short-lived as Aspen is attacked and killed by a weasel.
Darkhaven rabbits (From the TV series)
- Granite - The former chief of the warren, he is bested by Campion who takes his place. A strong and stubborn warrior, Granite refuses to give up and constantly challanges Campion. He later faces an internal crisis when he's nursed back to health by Blackberry yet he'd have to kill her under orders from Spartina - Granite instead helps Blackberry and Campion to escape, breaking his warrior code. Although he is often spared or saved by Campion, he still remains on Woundwort's side due to his code of honor, but is swayed by the different lifestyle of Watership Down. Granite is the only Darkhaven rabbit to escape alive from the last battle, fleeing before the Black Rabbit sucked the others to his nether realm.
- Spartina - A strong-willed and crafty doe, Spartina learned to lie and to side with the strongest just to stay alive in Darkhaven. She helps Campion for her own reasons in the beginning, but for her own gain. Spartina pretends to be an injured doe to infiltrate Watership Down and reveal the location to Woundwort, and insures her life by ordering Granite to kill Blackberry is she doesn't return in time. But, her days on Watership Down and especially her relationship with Bigwig produce a change of heart in her. Even after being revealed as a spy, she convinces Bigwig and Hazel to let her help them break Blackberry out of Darkhaven, and almost succeeds. However Vervain reveals her treachery to Woundwort, and only Campion saves her from execution. Joining the Watership rabbits in the last battle, she later settles there as the mate of Bigwig.
- Shale - A very competitive buck, who like most of the darkhaven rabbits, loves to start fights. He seems to have a distinctive disliking for Campion since the beggining, and challanges him when he becomes the new cheif.
- Felspar - There is not much to say here, only that Felaspar seems to be a high ranking member of the owlsa, as he is always seen with Granite, Spartina, and Shale on their patrols. He too tries to stop Campion from becoming cheif with Shale.
- Lord Frith - The sun-god, and creator of the universe. In the rabbits' creation story, he grants all the animals their distinguishing features.
- The Black Rabbit of Inlé – He appears in fictional rabbit folklore as a sinister phantom servant of the Great Frith; he is the rabbit equivalent of a grim reaper in human folklore and similarly ensures all rabbits die at their pre-destined time.
- El-ahrairah – A rabbit trickster folk hero, who is the protagonist of nearly all of the rabbits' stories. He represents what every rabbit wants to be: smart, devious, tricky, and devoted to the well-being of his warren. A complex folklore was created around him in both Watership Down and Tales from Watership Down. In Lapine, his name is a contraction of the phrase Elil-Hrair-Rah, meaning "prince with a thousand enemies".
- Rabscuttle - Captain of El-ahrairah's Owsla, Rabscuttle is totally loyal to his "master" and often assists him in his tricks and adventures.
- Prince Rainbow - Frith's deputy on earth, who has "the power of the sky and the power of the hills," often tries to keep El-ahrairah and his people in line, but is invariably thwarted. In Tales, he gives El-ahrairah good advice before he undertakes several adventures.
- Yona - Yona's name, which means "hedgehog" in Lapine, is well deserved, since that is what he is. Yona's loyalty often wavers because of his penchant for gossip.
- Kehaar – A black-headed gull who is forced, by an injured wing, to take refuge on Watership Down. He is characterized by his frequent impatience, guttural accent and unusual phrasing. Eventually, after Hazel and the others befriend him, he flies over the countryside in an attempt to discover other warrens where the rabbits might find does to mate with. He discovers the Efrafa warren, and after helping the rabbits he flies back to the sea to rejoin his colony, though he frequently returns for a visit. According to Richard Adams, Kehaar was based on a fighter from the Norwegian Resistance in the Second World War. In the film adaptation, Kehaar was supplied with a memorably pompous East-European accent by Zero Mostel. In the television series, Kehaar is voiced by English comedian Rik Mayall.
- Mouse - A native of Watership Down. Hazel's warren does him a good turn when they shelter him from a threatening kestrel. He is deeply grateful and later, although he does not understand the situation, he tells the Watership Down rabbits, after their friendly extraction of dissidents from Efrafa, that other rabbits are approaching their warren. Hazel correctly surmises that they must be the Efrafan Owsla coming to retaliate for the raid and without the mouse's warning, they would have taken the Watership Down warren completely by surprise. In the television series Mouse is a female and is named Hannah. She is a good friend of Kehaar and has a kind of love/hate relationship with Bigwig who feels she is too small to be of any use in a fight. After Kehaar's departure, Hannah tries to learn magic to help her friends on the Down.
- Flyairth - The Watership rabbits first hear of Flyairth from Vilthuril, Hyzenthlay, and Thethuthinnang, who had learned about her from a mysterious "secret river" of knowledge. Flyairth was Chief Rabbit of a doe-dominated warren called Thinial, but she was later expelled from it because of her obsession with preventing an outbreak of the "White Blindness." Later, she moves to Watership, where she continues her campaign against the Blindness. She believes that humans will infect any rabbit they see with it; as such, she sees the Watership warren as being in great danger because it is directly next to a human footpath. Eventually, she leaves, taking a sizable number of rabbits with her.