Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Novel recap: Watership Down

So I've been thinking of different writing projects for the blog and I've always wanted to do a recap of a novel, chapter by chapter. Which novel? There are the obvious pop-culture ones: Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, but those have been reviewed and recapped and done to death. All right, what's a novel that's old school, that's wacky but still pretty well known? Lord of the Rings? Maybe.

Then looking across my bookshelves my eyes caught the title of a book I bought long ago and haven't read in at least a decade; Watership Down. Everybody remembers the movie, right? Made in...oh I don't even remember, the 70's?

Yeah, that one. The one that's one big acid trip with rabbits? So you're in luck because I own the book, I don't remember what it's about except vague recollections of crazy rabbits and blood and guts and why not go over the chapters one by one?

Alrighty then.

Watership Down, Part One: The Journey. The notice board.

Aw, what a picturesque opening; tis' a lovely English landscape full of bramble and warm evenings, primrose and...hey! Wait-a-minute, this is like a rabbit Shire! All those adorable lazy hobb- er, bunnies, munching and pooping in the countryside (the book made a special mention of the rabbit droppings - so prodigious it deserves a mention?)

At the opening of one of the warrens is Frodo and Sam - eh, wait no, Fiver and Hazel but I'm seeing some parallels; Fiver, being the fifth born and runt of the litter (which, wait, I thought rabbits pumped out dozens of babies, hence the phrase 'breeding like rabbits'?) and apparently rabbits can count because - Five --> Fiver? Well, you can already see that he's the underdog-lagomorpha-RABBIT and next to him is the sturdy and stupid Hazel.

Some of the descriptions are kind of hilarious - there are comparisons to an 'aristocratic' demeanor and a 'shrewd and buoyant nature about him' that makes me think of West Side Story bunnies complete with leather jacket and cigarette hanging out his mouth.

Ah ha - this is one of those books with annotations. Oh dear. Not my favorite thing. Oh goody, AND made up rabbit language. Things to remember kids: an Owsla is a badass in the hierarchy of rabbitdom. Good to know.

The appropriately named Toadflax is one of those Owsla bunnies that bullies poor Fiver and Hazel and they turn-heel flounce away to another part of the meadow to pout when Fiver gets one of 'those' feelings. From now on I'm going to call it The Tingle because it's funny. Yup, Fiver spazzes out and screams, "Oh, Hazel look! The field! It's covered with blood!"

Wow, not even five pages in and we get Massive Foreshadowing. Actually, this chapter is so short it's only about seven pages long. Ohh, spooky - look; Fivers Tingle has got it right because a sign has been posted on the edge of the field and what does it say? New, 'high class, modern residences' are going to be built right where the warrens are. Shit be going DOWN in rabbit town.

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