I finished reading Watership Down, just in time for the new animated limited series that premieres on Netflix Christmas Day.
In the introduction to his best-selling 1972 novel, the late Richard Adams insisted that this story “was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simply the story about rabbits made up and told in the car.”
Though his characters do things real animals cannot do 1, like tell stories and form political structures, Adams’ characters are believable because their struggles and triumphs would be the ones actual rabbits would experience as creatures that are low to the ground and constantly hunted by elil2.
As someone who has read thousand-page fantasy novels that include elaborate maps of entire made-up continents, I appreciated that Watership Down includes a map of where its story takes place: a field somewhere in England that you would likely drive past on a winding road that looks like any other random field somewhere in England. And yet, for Adams’ characters, this is their entire world:
What else did you do this weekend?