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Author Topic: El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè  (Read 937 times)

Offline Claws

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« on: November 21, 2015, 05:16:35 PM »
Let's talk about what's -arguably- the best part of the book and undeniably the best of all El-Ahrairah's stories presented on it.

Gotta be honest with you all: up to that point, I found all his stories to be annoying and distracting from the main plot and I was completely eager to move on from those and to return to the main story every time they showed up. But after I have read it... I was honestly mad by the fact that we HAD to go back to the story. It was THAT good.

I couldn't point out what's so great about the tale, but I guess that it had a lot to do with the darker and grimmer theme it has (while the rest of El-Ahrairah's stories were light and not so "awful"). Not only that, this is the only tale in the book in which the trickiest of rabbits is outsmarted and outmaneuvered every time, and that certainly added to the flavor in my opinion, showing that he's actually not that invincible nor incapable of failure. Demolishing El-Ahrairah's "aura" of invincibility was one of the best tricks pulled off by Adams and a master hit.  

The things he had to go thru during the story also worked as a redeeming quality for me, since they showed that he couldn't come unscratched from every adventure he hopped into.

I could go on for hours, but I don't want to spoil the fun for those who haven't read it.

But for those who did... what's your opinion on the tale, guys?

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 09:32:41 PM »
The best :el-ahrairah story of the book?  Probably, although I haven't read the ones in TFWD, but from what I hear, they aren't as good as the ones in the original.  But the best part of the book?  I disagree.  I think :cowslip 's warren and :bigwig3 in Efrafa are better.

I generally liked these short stories.  They were generally rather funny and interesting, although sometimes they felt slightly misplaced (the original story of Frith's Blessing, per example, felt slightly out of place in the middle of the journey, I think).

As :silverweed2 's Claws points out, this story does prove that :el-ahrairah is not invincible.  In the other stories, it seems that it is impossible to defeat him, but this one shows that nobody is perfect.

If the episode :dandelion 's Big Story had been made, it probably would have been the scariest episode of the series.  Maybe that's why it was replaced with :bigwig3 's Way.

Also does anyone want to speculate on what Rabscuttle's gift at the end is?
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Offline Claws

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 10:34:24 PM »
Quote from: Quote:on 
Also does anyone want to speculate on what Rabscuttle's gift at the end is?

Oh yeah, what was up with that? I'm -slowly- reading Tales, so it is probably explained there, but I'm curious. VERY curious.

Offline Naylte

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 02:44:50 AM »
I had to reread the chapter and refresh my memory on this one; it has been a while since I last read the book in its entirety and I tend to remember the main plot more than the stories.

This was a good story. I really liked the Black Rabbit's cold, emotionless personality. As El-ahrairah had noted, it would never do anything to him unless he consented, an interesting quality that I would not expect from the manifestation of death. I guess the Black Rabbit really does stick to its plan.

What I don't understand is why El-ahrairah thought he could beat the Black Rabbit in any sort of competition whatsoever. I wouldn't say that El-ahrairah was "outsmarted" as much as he was foolish. Challenging an immortal being of fear like the Black Rabbit is bound to result in a loss, especially with the nature of the competitions. El-ahrairah couldn't even think straight. That's probably why he forgot about the important detail in his final attempt.

I can only imagine how horrifying the Black Rabbit's story must have been, especially when it was convincing enough that El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle knew that it was true. It would probably give anyone nightmares for the rest of his or her life. But that doesn't mean I'm not willing to hear it  :hawkbit3

Rabscuttle's gift? It's hard to say, seeing as he did not suffer the same losses as El-ahrairah. This makes me wish Pipkin didn't cut the story short!
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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 04:06:12 AM »
Quote from: Quote:on 
What I don't understand is why El-ahrairah thought he could beat the Black Rabbit in any sort of competition whatsoever. I wouldn't say that El-ahrairah was "outsmarted" as much as he was foolish. Challenging an immortal being of fear like the Black Rabbit is bound to result in a loss, especially with the nature of the competitions. El-ahrairah couldn't even think straight. That's probably why he forgot about the important detail in his final attempt.

Well, he didn't have much to choose from neither. His people were dying from starvation and under constant attack by the King's troops, so his options were very limited at that point (in fact, if I remember correctly, his original plan was to "surrender" and give up his life to the Black Rabbit in order to save all those rabbits back at home. The competitions were merely a resource conceived out of sheer desperation given the unwillingness of Inlè to take on the offer). El-Ahrairah was truly brave... but, like you said, he was bound to lose every time they faced.  

Quote from: Quote:on 
Rabscuttle's gift? It's hard to say, seeing as he did not suffer the same losses as El-ahrairah. This makes me wish Pipkin didn't cut the story short!

I know, right? So frustrating!

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2015, 05:26:34 AM »
The idea of gods having flaws is a distinct similarity to Greek/Roman mythology, in which devine entities behave as humans would, becoming arrogant in their infinite power. It's really a brilliant move on Adam's part, as this flawed god idea means there is some depth to the character they warship, as opposed to a infinitely perfect being - mortals cannot understand perfection, so why try to make them?

It all adds to the "shades of grey" theme used it in whole story - sometimes, the leader's choice isn't the best, the Protagonist isn't invincible, the brave and valiant move will fail, and in the end it always ends the same way.

I also find it interesting how El-Arairah, basically the god of bravery, cunningness, trickery and most importantly, survival, is portrayed as flawed, whereas Frith (life) and the Black Rabbit (death) are portrayed as static, mechanical and righteous entities. This leads me to think that the rabbits' mindsets are that the elements of survival are flawed and imperfect, but life and death are constants in their universe. Which, if you know how rabbits live (and die), makes perfect sense as means to explain and justify the tragedy of being everything's prey - a thousand enemies.
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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 05:59:41 AM »
@mistercynical

Did you know, that you've written down my thoughts of the book and the reason, why I like it so much? :yes


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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 12:06:41 AM »
Sorry to steal your words, then. :)

Although there's so much more to this book than what I have said, so take solace in that.
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Offline Capt. Rake Nightfur

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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2015, 12:20:54 AM »
"The Black Rabbit spoke with the voice of water that falls into pools in the echoing places in the dark,"

That right there, is among my favorite sentences in any book ever. Just saying.
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El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2015, 03:59:00 PM »
Quote from: mistercynical on Nov 30 2015, 07:06:41 PM
Sorry to steal your words, then. :)
Don't worry. Claws does it ongoing.

Sneaking into my mind and steal my great thoughts. Everything, he does was my work  :pipkin-oh *paranoid glimpse*

...

Alright, maybe not all  :tassel


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Re: El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2018, 02:06:35 AM »
This may be kind of random, but...
I have been writer's-blocked on an attempt to figure out the Bargain Story (about Frith granting a doe's privilege to take kittens back into herself unborn); one thing I WOULD like (if it ever gets written!) is to tie it in with the story of the Black Rabbit of Inlé. While El-ahrairah is away, back at the warren his doe finds she has to take certain matters into her own paws-? (and maybe ends up somehow gaining Frith's gifts of the tail, whiskers, and starlit ears for her mate, in the process?)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 02:11:13 AM by StoryMing »

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Re: El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2018, 03:46:19 AM »
Oh yeah, what was up with that? I'm -slowly- reading Tales, so it is probably explained there, but I'm curious. VERY curious.
Since my last post in this thread, I've read TFWD, and sadly, Rabscuttle's gift isn't mentioned :(

@mistercynical makes a very interesting analysis of the story.

"The Black Rabbit spoke with the voice of water that falls into pools in the echoing places in the dark,"

That right there, is among my favorite sentences in any book ever. Just saying.
It is a pretty great quote, and it fits the Black Rabbit perfectly.  Pretty hard to portray, though, and the series' interpretation of Inlé-rah was completely different.  Hopefully in the miniseries, the voice will be better, despite the gender flip.
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Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

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Re: El-Ahrairah and The Black Rabbit of Inlè
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2020, 10:00:46 AM »
Oh yeah, what was up with that? I'm -slowly- reading Tales, so it is probably explained there, but I'm curious. VERY curious.
Since my last post in this thread, I've read TFWD, and sadly, Rabscuttle's gift isn't mentioned :(

@mistercynical makes a very interesting analysis of the story.

"The Black Rabbit spoke with the voice of water that falls into pools in the echoing places in the dark,"

That right there, is among my favorite sentences in any book ever. Just saying.
It is a pretty great quote, and it fits the Black Rabbit perfectly.  Pretty hard to portray, though, and the series' interpretation of Inlé-rah was completely different.  Hopefully in the miniseries, the voice will be better, despite the gender flip.

This is my favourite story too!

It's interesting that you note the 'gender flip', to use your phrase. I see the Black Rabbit as a genderless entity, comparable to the Holy Spirit, I suppose.

The dynamic between both the Black Rabbit and El-ahrairah is so wonderfully complex, in that you can tell that the latter wants to outwit him and indeed, feels as though he should blame him (I use said pronoun as the one that people will recognise) to some degree, for the suffering of his people. However, ultimately I think that El-ahrairah admires him. He isn't truly scared, as there is something that draws him closer (ie, he continues to gamble, although he must begin to realise that he cannot win) and he is willing to accept the Rabbit's will, just as he is Frith's.

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