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Author Topic: Building on Flyairth  (Read 1029 times)

Offline Alderab

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Building on Flyairth
« on: October 19, 2019, 10:41:34 PM »
While I enjoyed much of Tales from Watership Down, the biggest downer for me was the sudden evaporation of the Flyairth plot in the last third of the book.  With 80 pages of build up (25% of the book!), mysterious visions, a coincidental arrival, the titular doe simply falls off the pages of book and is never mentioned again.  It's just a bit anticlimactic is what I'm saying.  Chipster-roo's summaries of chapter 12-14 are an excellent refresher for those who aren't too familiar with it:

Now, I'm all for plot twists, they keep a story interesting.  But the way Flyairth's story ended up, it seemed more like a plot dump.  And that after such a big payoff seemed to be foreshadowed!  The Secret River and Flyairth provided fantastic foundation for a solid thriller, but the story changed before anything was built on it.  From glancing around at some of your other comments, I don't think I was the only one at least a little perturbed by this. 

So what do you feel would have been a more natural climax to Flyairth's story, if you think there is one?  To me, it seemed like much of her story was leading up to what seemed like it was going to be a paranoid thriller, where the rabbits and readers were left guessing whether a white blindness epidemic was going to break out on Watership Down.  The Efrafa chapters in the original were among my favorite in the first book and extremely well written, and I think revisiting some of the feeling brought in from that suspicious episode would have been a fun read.  Perhaps it would be based on increasingly telling clues that can be interpreted many ways, like a solid Micheal Crichton novel. 

I don't think a civil war would have been in the cards, but certainly a good deal of discontent as rabbits grow increasingly fearful.  This, to me, would have been a much more interesting way for Hazel's authority to ultimately become strained, rather than the hampawed way it was in Stonecrop's chapter. 

How do you think Flyairth's story should have been built on?

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Maybe a more glorious death for Acorn could be slipped in there too, poor guy.
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Offline Kili

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Re: Building on Flyairth
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 07:07:36 PM »
It is a let down in the book. I sometimes got the feeling that as I read it, much of it was an outline for a novel which didn't get finished properly before it was published. (I get that feeling with much of the The Silmarillion stories too in Tolkien's writings and there are a number of other books of Lost Tales and Unfinished Tales that are very similiar.) When I first found Tales it was in the library and I was just glad that I had found it. We don't know how his health was when he was writing it and he would have been quite old - that was bound to have an effect on his work. There is always fan fiction.