Not long ago I discovered that Richard Adams, the author of “Watership Down”, passed away this last Christmas. I was surprised, probably because I had assumed he’d died years ago. His book is such a classic and dearly loved by many. I remember staying up late at night while on vacation in Florida when I was fifteen, trying to convince myself to go to bed but too much on the edge of my seat to let go of reading about the adventures of rabbits. I remember being a little bit afraid (and maybe this is why I was intrigued by it) that it was partly evil because of the worship of the sun-god El-Ahrairah and Fiver’s prophetic visions. But I pressed on anyway because I couldn’t stop. This is debatable, but I personally never liked the animated version. It just didn’t look and feel like it did in my head.
I tried recommending the book to my sister years later, but she disdainfully said she didn’t want to read about “bunnies.” Oh, how erroneous an assumption! Only readers (and they must be lovers) of the story know that it is much more than about little fluffy animals. As author Jeffrey Overstreet says about the novel, there is nothing ‘cute’ about it. I am posting a link to a lecture piece Overstreet wrote and read at the 2016 Hutchmoot, which I thought was excellent.
I don’t think I grasped at fifteen how much of a spiritual story “Watership Down” is. Probably one of those that is best not to be consciously appreciated in that sense, but is soaked in through the subtle influence of good storytelling.