Sunday, December 21, 2003
After being told for a while that I ought to do so, I finally sat down and read Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Improbably enough, it's a story about rabbits and it's absolutely fascinating. Perhaps the thing that most struck me was that any reader could probably identify with one of the rabbits. Hazel is something of an Arthur-type, though without the Guinevere/Lancelot problem. Fiver is a visionary. Pipkin is small but resolute. Holly is a professional who is willing to admit when he is wrong and to take orders. Bigwig is a big galoot who is utterly loyal to his leader (somewhere between Gawaine and Lancelot, for Arthurian fans). Blackavar is the grateful refugee. Dandelion is a storyteller and the fastest of the rabbits. Blackberry has a knack for thinking outside the box. Strawberry, like Holly, had made a mistake but makes good on it. Silver, Buckthorn, Acorn, and Speedwell, to varying extents, are rank-and-file. I think I most resemble Bluebell, who escaped the original warren as it was being destroyed, survived an attack by Cowslip's warren, and helped encourage Holly until they made it to Watership. Bluebell is relentlessly light-hearted, and sometimes has trouble taking things seriously enough. He loves encouraging others, and while he's not the best rabbit, his support often gets others through patches where they would otherwise give up in despair. Though nothing special in himself, he carries his own weight and has a knack for helping others to do their best.