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Author Topic: TFWD reviews  (Read 1877 times)

Offline Chipster-roo

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TFWD reviews
« on: December 28, 2015, 12:32:00 AM »
I finally got an ebook of TFWD.  In this thread, I shall review each chapter as I read them.

First there is the introduction, that talks about the organization of the book.  Part 1 is mostly :el-ahrairah stories, part 2 is :el-ahrairah stories during the trip back from :inle-series s warren, part 3 is about the rabbits of WD.

Then, there is a short note about how to pronounce El-ahrairah.  Essentially, just take the one used in the film and roll the r's.

Then Chapter 1: The Sense of Smell.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
Rabbits cannot smell, so :el-ahrairah tries to find the sense of smell.  He goes to the land of perpetual darkness to find the Ilips and gets helped by a glanbrin (some mythical creature) along the way.  He finds the Ilips who don't kill him because he has a collar from Prince Rainbow.  They take him to the King of Yesterday, who rules over all extinct species destroyed by humans.  He then gets referred to the King of Tomorrow and gets an audience with him thanks to a trick.  The King of Tomorrow gives him the sense of smell because that will allow rabbits to become humanity's' greatest enemy.

Review
This story has a very different style from those of the original book.  :rabscuttle hardly does anything.  The idea that Prince Rainbow would actually do something helpful for :el-ahrairah seems strange (granted, the gift originally came from :frith , but still).  Another unusual thing is the fact many creatures refer to :el-ahrairah as an "English rabbit".  This is rather strange considering that all rabbits are of the same species.

The good things?  Firstly, this story is actually told by Dandelion.  There are a few paragraphs at the beginning that talk about a quiet May evening on the Down.  The subplot with Flairgold was interesting, but could have been longer.  The story is exciting, despite the fact you know the whole way that :el-ahrairah will succeed.  The idea of the Kingdom of Yesterday is also interesting.

Rating: 4/5.
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Offline Claws

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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 12:35:33 AM »
I won't be reading this thread because I have to catch up with the book (left it after the first chapter because life got busy and stuff) but I applaud your initiative :)

Heckuva job, mate :)

Offline Darkling Nocturnal

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 07:12:55 AM »
@Silverweed's Claws:

You will read it - and you will LOVE IT! Watership Down is everywhere :pipkin-oh


Kneel down before the greatness of Darkling's dark ... ... ... Darkness!!!
(note to myself: I need a new scriptwriter) (Avatar by Silverweed's Claws)

Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 11:56:32 PM »
:darkling :silverweed3 you two are really funny.

Anyway, chapter 2: The Story of the Three Cows.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
:el-ahrairah searches for eternal youth.  The yellowhammer tells him cryptically how to achieve it (something about the Three Cows), and gives him further information along the journey.  He tricks the First Cow into letting him into the enchanted wood.  He helps the Second Cow melt her stony heart (literally) and find love with a bull.  He reaches the Third Cow, who is Time.  He journeys inside her body and eventually succeeds in finding eternal youth, and escapes with the help of Whitehorn, the second cow's female calf.


Review
The first story was different from those in the original book?  This one is even weirder.  I mean seriously, in the original book, the :el-ahrairah stories were mostly realistic, except maybe that with :inle-series .  But even the story with the Black Rabbit remained within the limits of sanity.  This is all beyond crazy, especially with the third cow.  The yellowhammer comes out of nowhere and helps :el-ahrairah for no apparent reason.  :rabscuttle absolutely does not appear in this one and isn't even mentioned.  Pretty much the only good thing about this one is the argument between :fiver and :bigwig3 regarding whether :el-ahrairah grows old, which occurs at the beginning.  Yes, this story is told by :dandelion too.  Another interesting thing is that :el-ahrairah being immortal or not was used as an argument to determine who came for :hazel2 at the end of the book (source).

Rating: 2/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2015, 12:08:45 AM »
Chapter 3: The Story of King Fur-Rocious

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
King Fur-Rocious decides to kick :el-ahrairah off the Downs and take them for himself.  He also takes :el-ahrairah s favourite doe, Nur-Rama.  Prince Rainbow is of little help.  :el-ahrairah wanders around and finds a cat, some ants, some crows and a stream, all of whom hate King Fur-Rocious and hide in his ear to help :el-ahrairah defeat him.  King Fur-Rocious tries to have :el-ahrairah killed, but the creatures in his ear always save him.  King Fur-Rocious finally surrenders when the stream nearly drowns him, leaves the Downs, gives back Nur-Rama and :el-ahrairah never goes to war again.

Review
This story is shorter than the other two and, unlike the other two, is told by Bluebell instead of :dandelion .  But I have to say that it is crazy.  Seriously :el-ahrairah keeping all that stuff in his ear?  That is beyond unrealistic.  The character of King Fur-Rocious does not really have any character development at all, other than he has been known to kill and keep elil prisonner.  However, maybe Bluebell just made it all up as he told it.  He is known for telling jokes, after all.  Anyway, this is rather silly, and funny.

Rating: 4/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2015, 11:30:54 PM »
Chapter 4: The Fox in the Water.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
A group of :fox :fox2 live near :el-ahrairah s warren and the rabbits need to be constantly alert.  It is getting exhausting.  :el-ahrairah wanders around and helps several creatures, until finally a snake rewards him with the power of hypnosis.  He uses it to get rid of the :fox :fox2 .

Review
This is the story Bluebell tells everyone while :bigwig3 is busy fighting :woundwort .  We all know how it ends.  But unfortunately, it is not as good as I expected.  Many minor events have absolutely no importance to the story itself and the idea of :el-ahrairah hypnotising :fox is anticlimactic.  The short passage used in the original book was good, and it is written word-for-word here, but the rest ruins it.  Also isn't it weird that the word homba isn't used a single time in this?

Rating: 2/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2015, 11:51:53 PM »
Chapter 5: The Hole in the Sky.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
Hallion and Thyken, two rabbits from the owsla of Parda-rail, find a hlessi in a terrible condition near the warren but refuse to help him because he would only bring disgrace to the warren.  A few days later, :el-ahrairah shows up at the warren and reveals that he was the hlessi.  An old rabbit, Themmeron, tells :el-ahrairah about the Hole in the Sky, but does not add anything else.  Later on, :el-ahrairah fights a timbleer and wins, but is seriously injured.  After a while, he sees the Hole in the Sky which is absolutely terrible.  Later on, once :el-ahrairah has healed, :frith tells him that the Hole in the Sky was only in :el-ahrairah s mind and that he should stop going on dangerous adventures for a while.

Review
???  This story feels like Richard Adams started on one idea, then halfway through decide to go with something completely different.  The original part about Parda-rail felt somewhat unfinished.  The warren's chief, Henthred, hardly does anything, and his mate, Anflellen, is only mentionned and does absolutely nothing.  As for the rest, it is really weird.  And not just the Hole in the Sky.  There is a point where :el-ahrairah "thought he was :hazel , telling :hyzenthlay to take good care of the warren while he was gone with :campion on a special Wide Patrol".  Seriously :el-ahrairah knowing about the rabbits of WD?  Also, what a timbleer is is not mentionned, not even in the Lapiné glossary at the end of the book.  Finally, the ending is a major disappointment.

Another thing is that in the original book, someone (I don't remember who) suggested that :dandelion tell this story, but eventually :bigwig decides that it will be... :el-ahrairah and :inle-series .  If anything, this one is even scarier, so why was :bigwig2 s choice so terrible?

Rating: 1/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 12:39:01 AM »
Chapter 6: The Rabbit's Ghost Story.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
Scabious (one of :clover s kittens) and Threar (one of :fiver and :vilthuril s kittens) are taken on a raid by :blackavar .  Once they come back, Scabious says that he saw :woundwort3 s ghost.  Coltsfoot, one of the Efrafan survivors, talks about how he saw a ghost once near Nutley Copse.  A boy purposely injured it because watching animals suffering is fun.  Other humans arrive, the boy and the rabbit vanish and the other humans put a rabbit dead from the White Blindness in a nearby hole.  Coltsfoot never got over the whole incident, but finally succeeds with :fiver s help, as he explains that the whole incident saved Nutley Copse, as if it hadn't happened, the humans would have put the dead rabbit there.

Review
This story is different from the others.  It was originally published in 1981 in "Richard Adams's Favorite Animal Stories".  It is also different in that the rabbits of WD are actually very important to the story, while in the others their presence was unnecessary.  Also :el-ahrairah does not appear.  Anyway...

:blackavar seems like an unsympathetic character in this.  He recklessly takes two young kittens on a patrol that offers little to gain.  The last time he made a decision, one of the Efrafan escapees got killed.  Luckily, this time everyone survives.  Also, when Scabious talks about the ghost, :blackavar behaved impatiently and is even somewhat rude.  Things like this make me happy he did so little in the series.

Anyway, the interesting stuff is Coltsfoot telling the ghost story.  And it is really great: well written, constant suspense, and a few occasional jokes by Bluebell.  This is the kind of story that is enjoyable, there should be more like this in TFWD.

Rating: 5/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2016, 12:02:19 AM »
Chapter 7: Speedwell's Story.

This is one story that cannot be summarized.  It makes no sense at all.  Essentially, :dandelion asks Speedwell to tell a story and he does, but it makes no sense.  He says that the first one who interrupts will be sent out in the rain.  In the end, nobody goes out in the rain, although it almost happened to :hawkbit3 .

But the fact is it's funny.  Sure, it makes no sense, but that's what makes it funny.  The only problem I can find is this: how do the rabbits know that the farm girl's name is Lucy?

Rating: 4/5.

And that's the end of part 1.  The average rating of the stories in this part is of 3.142857/5, which is slightly higher than I expected.  The Rabbit's Ghost story is as good as the original :el-ahrairah stories.  The Sense of Smell, the Story of King Fur-Rocious and Speedwell's story are all right, but not as good as the original.  The Story of the Three Cows and the Hole in the Sky are not that good and I recommend that you skip them.
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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2016, 12:32:45 AM »
Chapter 8: The Story of the Comical Field.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
Along the way back from :inle-series s warren, :el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle find an old rabbit called Greenweed who lives near a hedge maze near an abandonned house.  :el-ahrairah decides to explore the maze and succesfully finds the center.  However, he and :rabscuttle get lost while trying to find the way out and are soon confronted by a creature that is not described.  They then find the way out; it turns out that this creature protects Greenweed and eats any other rabbits that get into the maze.  They drop off Greenweed at the next warren they find.

Review
With this story comes a feeling of redundency.  The fact that it happened on the way back from the :inle-series s warren has no importance whatsoever, even the fact that :el-ahrairah has no ears, nor whiskers, nor tail does not matter.  The hedge maze reminds me of :buttercup s warren in the series (however, since TFWD was written before the series was produced, it is the series that is redundent, but anyway).  Greenweed also bears strong resemblence to :cowslip , to the point that this fanfic actually puts Greenweed as :cowslip s ancestor.  But all right.  It's well written, if nothing special.

Rating: 3/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2016, 03:05:32 AM »
Chapter 9: The Story of the Great Marsh.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
Along the way back from :inle-series2 s warren, :el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle stop at another warren.  The chief is Burdock and the captain of owsla is Celandine.  A hlessi shows up and warns everyone that an extremely large number of rats will arrive at the warren soon and kill everyone.  Most of the rabbits, led by :el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle , end up having to cross the marsh to escape from the rats.  It takes forever and they only succeed thanks to a heron who simply wanted them to leave his marsh as soon as possible.  Not everyone survives the journey.

Review
This one isn't that good.  Nothing much happens, and the ending happens suddenly without any feeling of closure.  But then, it doesn't have anything that makes it bad.  It is just entirely ordinary.  Once again, the fact that they came back from :inle-movie s warren is unimportant.  Also, the fact that the owsla captain is called Celandine is rather uncreative, as the name was used for one of the Sandleford victims in the original book.

Rating: 3/5.
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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2016, 01:48:12 AM »
Chapter 10: The Story of the Terrible Hay-Making.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
On the other side of the marsh of the previous chapter, there is a farm.  :el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle are worried that this will be dangerous, but Burdock and Celandine do not listen and the rabbits destroy the garden, bark the trees and kill the cat.  This results in all of them being run over by a hrududu, beaten with clubs or shot.  :el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle are probably the only survivors.

Review
Firstly, I wish to apologize about the previous chapter's sudden ending: this one happens immediately afterwards.  Anyway...The scene where the rabbits kill the cat is much more graphic than anything found in the original book.  Also, it is rather strange that :el-ahrairah does nothing to help the other rabbits.  No, I don't seriously expect him to just run into the group of humans that are busy killing the rabbits, but seriously, he should have tried to save a few of them before this happened.  I know that Burdock and Celandine told :el-ahrairah to shut up, but he could have done better.  Also, the title only describes the ending of the story.  Pretty much the whole thing occurs before the terrible hay-making.

Rating: 2/5.
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Offline Myrkin

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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2016, 11:47:45 AM »
Quote from: Quote:on 
Also, it is rather strange that :el-ahrairah does nothing to help the other rabbits. No, I don't seriously expect him to just run into the group of humans that are busy killing the rabbits, but seriously, he should have tried to save a few of them before this happened. I know that Burdock and Celandine told :el-ahrairah to shut up, but he could have done better.

I agree with you. Hazel and Fiver, for example, didn't just give up on the whole warren when Threa-rah refused to listen to them. They tried to convince as many rabbits as they could to leave the warren with them and they succeeded in saving more than a few rabbits.
"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel

Pessimist sees a dark tunnel. Optimist sees a light in the tunnel. Realist sees the light of coming train. And the train driver sees three idiots standing on the track.

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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2016, 01:27:32 AM »
Quote from: Myrkin on Jan 6 2016, 06:47:45 AM
I agree with you. Hazel and Fiver, for example, didn't just give up on the whole warren when Threa-rah refused to listen to them. They tried to convince as many rabbits as they could to leave the warren with them and they succeeded in saving more than a few rabbits.
This is an interesting comparison, Myrkin.  I hadn't really seen the similarity between the destruction of this warren and that of Sandleford, but you do have a point that :hazel2 :fiver3 are more heroic than :el-ahrairah .

Anyway, chapter 11: El-ahrairah and the Lendri.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
:el-ahrairah and :rabscuttle find a forest and learn that the only way they could get out of it safely would be if Lord Brock, an old lendri (badger), helped them.  To do so, they feed him for a long time until all the other creatures hate them.  Also, it seems that Lord Brock will not free them until they die or run away.  However, soon afterwards, they find the corpse of a murdered human and dig it up.  Many humans hang around the place afterwards, so Lord Brock runs away and they follow him.  They go back to their warren and the original book tells what happens next.

Review
Firstly, I wish to point out that while :dandelion is still telling the stories in this part, this is generally limited to a "said Dandelion" at some point in the story.  This one is no exception.  But this also makes the last sentence rather unusual: "However, as has been recounted elsewhere, their homecoming was by no means all that they could have wished." This only makes sense if Richard Adams himself is the narrator, as :dandelion could not have "recounted [their homecoming] elsewhere".  Another minor (but still annoying) thing is that :rabscuttle says that they would be lost in the forest "in half an hour", which makes no sense since rabbits have no way to understand the concept of hours.  The story itself is nothing special. :el-ahrairah s trick was based on sheer luck instead of his own skill as a trickster.  The idea of rabbits staying with a lendri was reused in the series with :bark and quite frankly, The Orchard is better than this. :bark actually has character development; here, Lord Brock doesn't go beyond being a badger with an exploitative personality.

Rating: 1/5.

That's it for part 2.  The average rating is 2.25, which is lower than for part 1.  The stories in this part are at best ordinary.  You can easily skip the whole thing and stick with the original :inle-series2 story.  The total average is of 2.81.
This brings us to the really interesting part: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RABBITS OF WD.
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2016, 11:56:24 PM »
Chapter 12: The Secret River.

Summary (WARNING SPOILERS)
While in Efrafa, :vilthuril discovered a secret river of knowledge that gave her information if she was in its path.  :hyzenthlay and Thethuthinnang felt it too, but not as strongly.  The river told her about a warren dominated by does, Thinial.  The two leaders are Flyairth and Prake.  One day, Flyairth encounters a rabbit infected with the White Blindness, and over time she becomes obsessed in preventing the disease from entering the warren as it would destroy it.  The obsession eventually results in several other rabbits opposing her and bringing in (against her will) four rabbits whose mother was infected but themselves show no sign of infection.  Then the escape from Efrafa occurs and nobody knows how it all turns out.

Review
I originally thought that while the first two parts consisted of isolated stories with no link with each other, the last part would be one single story, telling what happened after :woundwort s defeat.  How wrong I was.  This is another isolated story, told by :vilthuril about her time in Efrafa.

Nobody in Efrafa knows what a river is.  The ordinary Mark rabbits never leave the warren so they never saw one.  Even those in the owsla might not know, as the Wide Patrols rarely went beyond the iron road and the river Test is on the other side of the iron road.  So why is it that suddenly the three main Efrafan does talk about a river? :hyzenthlay said it plainly in the original: "What is a river?".  Oh well, in all fairness, maybe she just didn't make the connection because HEY THIS RABBIT CAN HELP YOU ESCAPE FROM EFRAFA! (and this river of knowledge could not be of any help anyway since the information it provided was about Thinial, not Efrafa, and this :bigwig was clearly not from Thinial).

Anyway, the idea of a warren dominated by does obviously comes from the accusations of sexism regarding the original book, but the idea of such a warren is not unbelievable.  It is handled well, but so far, this chapter opens more questions than it answers.  But then, remember what :blackberry-buck said: "I doubt whether we've heard the last of it." And with another chapter later on being called "Flyairth", he's probably right.

Another thing is that this is :vilthuril we're talking about.  In the original book, she shows no sign of having the ability to feel things like :fiver or :hyzenthlay (but in all fairness, it wasn't said that she didn't have any such feelings).  In the original, :hyzenthlay feels that :bigwig2 isn't a spy and has a vision of the final battle.  The whole thing also gets added into the movie and not in the series because :primrose has no visions.

Anyway...wouldn't it have been more consistent if it was :hyzenthlay who had a special connection with the river?  Let's be plain: in the original, she, Nelthilta and :clover were the only does who actually got any character development. :vilthuril hardly got anything, so there just isn't enough information to say that this is inconsistant with the original.

You know, right now I feel like I'm all over the place.  I just write about many different aspects of this chapter and overanalyze them.  This is the longest review so far.  So what about it?  What rating shall I give it?  Uh...I really don't know.  Oh well.  It's written better than many of the :el-ahrairah stories, the secret river thing makes much more sense than the hole in the sky or the Third Cow, :vilthuril finally gets character development and THE WD RABBITS ARE BAAACK!!!

Rating: 5/5.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!!