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Author Topic: Watership Down Mythology  (Read 1245 times)

Offline Darkling Nocturnal

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Watership Down Mythology
« on: January 09, 2016, 11:05:25 PM »
I wanted to post this on my website, but first, I wanted to share it here and hear your thoughts. I mean, Watership Down has an interesting mythology. So I prepared a text for newbies, who are interested in getting deeper into the world of Watership Down.

Note: I want to post this on my website. This is my elaboration. If you have suggestions or additions, feel free to post them here. I will regard them on my website and credit you, of course.

Quote from: Quote:on 
For his book Watership Down, Richard Adams created not only an own language, but also an own mythology for the rabbits. People, who know the story know this, of course. But for newbies I want to give a short view into the spiritual world of Watership Down.

Frith - the Creator
In Watership Down, Frith describes the sun as well as the creator of all life. Different from the christian mythology e.g., the rabbits in Watership Down are making an figure of their god, who brought life into the world.

El-ahrairah - the Forerabbit
According to Richard Adams' mythology, Frith created all animals in the world. One of them was El-ahrairah. He is known as the first rabbit on earth. And according to delivered stories, all rabbits are his descendants. This suggests of course, that El-ahrairah must have been a hermaphrodite creature, regarded to scientific aspects, because as the only living rabbit on earth, he had to copulate himself.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé - Death
The Black Rabbit of Inlé represents the death in Watership Down. Unlike in christian mythology, Richard Adams does not talk about heaven nor hell. Finally, all rabbits will meet Inlé-rah, as the Black Rabbit of Inlé is called, too. It follows a spoiler! One exception is Hazel. When his time has come, El-ahrairah visited him, with whom he disappeared into eternity.

The Shadowland - Netherworld
The shadowland describes the realm of the Black Rabbit of Inlé. At this, I want to emphasize the visualization of the series. The Shadowland resembles an surreal, desert-like environment. Besides rock-similar cliffs, we see spiky raisings and high, meandering towers. At their ends, rabbit-similar shapes are towering to the sky.

The Shadowland describes the netherworld in Watership Down's mythology. It's either heaven or hell, but the place, where every rabbit goes, when it's time has come. The journey to the Shadowland is no worthwhile goal, because no one is expecting a reward for his hard life. The depiction of the shadowland is depressing  and hopeless. But the path to the shadowland is inevitable. And so, the rabbits remain to make the best of their life.

Before I forget: It's late here in Germany and I'm tired and I'll go to bed now. So this text may not be completely accurate. Have mercy  :buttercup2
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 08:55:12 AM by Darkling Nocturnal »


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Watership Down Mythology
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2016, 11:51:25 PM »
This is rather good.  I did not find any inaccuracies in this and your description of the Shadowland in the series is really good.  Perhaps those rabbit shapes are actually real rabbits that had previously been taken by :inle-series ?

I found it rather strange that you actually analyzed :el-ahrairah being the first rabbit in a scientific manner, but your conclusion makes sense.  In the book, it was said that he had "many wives", but since he is the first rabbit, where they came from is a mystery which unfortunately remains unexplained.

Finally, I think it would be a good idea to add a paragraph about :prince-rainbow , if possible.  It is said that he "had the power of the sky and the power tof the hills and Frith had told him to order the world as he thought best", but apart from that, exactly what he is isn't very clear.  I remember reading somewhere that he might be a representation of humanity, but I can't find the link anymore...
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Offline Myrkin

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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2016, 11:23:23 AM »
Hmm... The story of blessing of El-ahrairah says he had many wives and he was the father of all rabbits at the time (and thus the ancestor of all rabbits afterwards). He probably was the first buck rabbit to exist, but the text doesn't say he was the only rabbit at the beginning or that there weren't any does created alongside him. It could be that when world was created there was one male rabbit and several female rabbits.
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Offline mistercynical

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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2016, 06:34:51 PM »
There's plenty of debate over exactly who came for Hazel on his deathbed, but I'm still fairly certain it was the Black Rabbit, and not El-ahrairah. Here's a mini-essay that may sway your opinion: http://www.angelfire.com/nc2/watershipdown/literarytheory.html

Oh, and perhaps it's worth adding that El-ahrairah seems to be a composite character of all the heroes of rabbits combined under his name; in the book, it's explained how a doe is telling her kits a story of El-ahrairah but it becomes obvious that the story is the true story of Hazel's journey. Essentially, El-ahrairah represents the valiant and cunning nature of rabbits, and thus El-ahrairah lives vicariously through the ventures of his people.
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Offline Claws

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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 03:49:55 AM »
Maybe you should expand a little more in what happens with the Rabbits after they have met with the Black Rabbit of Inlè. The description is pretty solid, but this is a text meant for newbies and they are going to have more questions under their sleeve.

The books told us about his Owsla and own warren. You should totally quote those here :)

Offline Darkling Nocturnal

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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 04:07:17 PM »
Alright, I must admit, that my elaboration is based on the tv-series  :marigold2


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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 04:19:10 PM »
I think the first rabbit is Prince Rainbow. And El-ahrairah was one of many rabbits in the world, but was the best, smartest and intelligent whole story of rabbits. That's why he is so respected and remembered.
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Offline Darkling Nocturnal

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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 04:31:57 PM »
I thought, Prince Rainbow was just the messenger of Frith. He was no rabbit, he was... well, a rainbow.

And Adams chose him, because a rainbow looks like a connection between sky and earth.


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Offline Acacia Heartstrings

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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 07:35:12 PM »
Quote from: Darkling Nocturnal on Jan 13 2016, 11:31:57 AM
I thought, Prince Rainbow was just the messenger of Frith. He was no rabbit, he was... well, a rainbow.

And Adams chose him, because a rainbow looks like a connection between sky and earth.
The book never described the prince rainbow .... But I always interpreted as the rabbit rainbow. The truth is a mystery .. I think that left to the free interpretation of the reader.   :blackberry2

« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 07:36:49 PM by Acacia Heartstrings »
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Offline Darkling Nocturnal

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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2016, 05:58:29 AM »
I'm still happy with my interpretation :)

But your posted image looks amazing!" :pipkin-oh


Kneel down before the greatness of Darkling's dark ... ... ... Darkness!!!
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