Is Watership Down all right?

My son, age 13, is interasted in Watership Down, which is written by Richard Adams. However, l am not sure whether it is anti-Christion or have any imoral contents.

Anyone ever read it?

it is a book about rabbits which anthropomorphizes their society. what exactly do you find problematical about the book? If you child is into a certain book or author it behooves the parents to read what the child is interested in and make your own judgement.


And I could read it again and again and again. :slight_smile:

Two thumbs-up :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I LOVED it! Thanks to Sawyer on LOST for reading it and making me aware of its existence.

I don’t recall anything that was problematic. Basically as puzzleannie said, it’s a book about rabbits.

They even made a movie of it. Eh. But I let my kids watch the movie.

I think all of Richard Adams’s novels should be read – especially Shardik, about how a certain tribe worshipped a mammoth bear.

‘Shardik’ should be required reading for people serious about faith: it challenges us to accept the savior we are given, and not try to change him into the savior we expected. It’s a great analogy for the pharisees of Bible times, but also asks us to look at ourselves critically. Makes the case that we can’t be vessels of God’s love, made in his image, until he breaks us down, glues us back together in a new way.

This is a very adult, serious book, which is probably why it isn’t as well known as Watership, and it isn’t ‘PC’ enough to be a pop culture phenom, like ‘Plague Dogs’.

I named my Akita ‘Shardik’. I’ve given up trying to explain why, the book just isn’t well known enough.

To address the OPs concerns though: There are a few things about Watership Down that some people may find troublesome:

First, it tells a creation story from a rabbit’s point of veiw. It’s compatible with Genisis, and the first rabbit has some amusing similarity to the biblical patriarchs. He’s given his long ears and short tail as a result of being naughty, and these things are both a curse and a blessing [good message about differences there]. But rabbits are the entire point of creation, in the rabbits point of veiw.
Second, when one of the rabbits is praying for divine intervention to save his brother, offering his own life in exchange, the writer makes a statement along the lines of ‘all things are as they must be, God makes no bargains’-- it seems to be against intercessory prayer, though the petition is granted.
Third, one of the rabbits [Fiver] is psychic. Shouldn’t be an issue, but could be for some people.
Lastly, though this is a classic of modern fantasy, a must read for anyone with any openness to the genre, it ain’t no kiddie book: there’s a surprising amount of violence, and ‘breeding rights’ are mentioned frankly. Nothing pornographic of course, but not for every 9 yr. old, either.

This book could be a phenominal conversation starter for parents and kids that could greatly enhance the faith life of both, but the parent would have to read it first, and do some thinking about [for instance] when and how God answers prayer, and why he sometimes doesn’t…

Disclaimer: I haven’t read this one for 30+ years, so forgive me if I have some details muddled…


I did not enjoy *Shardik *as much as the others, but that is no reason others might not.

Was *The Plague Dogs *a pop phenom? I understand why it could be, and I do enjoy reading that, though not so often as Watership Down. Caveat: If you are interested, by all means read this book – Do not settle for watching the horrible, radical-end-altering film. (P-U, what a stinker!)

According to Wikipedia, there has also apparently been criticism of *Watership Down *as “misogynistic”, the does being an after-thought, plot-wise. My feeling: It is a book about *rabbits *-- Don’t hold them to human standards (even if they are anthropomorphised).

All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you…


It was a longtime ago that I read it, but thought it was great. My whole family loved it. Don’t remember anything questionable about it. The rabbit legends are a great part of it.

I also found Shardik great. However, I couldn’t get interested in Plague Dogs. Gave up after 30 or 40 pages.

I love Watership Down and its sequel, Tales from Watership Down.

The first chapter is a bore. After that I couldn’t put it down, and the last thirty pages I read in a gulp.

Bigwig is one of my personal heros! When he tells Woundwort, “My Chief Rabbit told me to hold this warren, and I will hold it,” and Woundwort says, “Your Chief Rabbit?”–Oh, my gosh, what a thrilling moment! I think that it will stay in my brain even if I end up with Alzheimers’–I’ll be sitting there repeating "Bigwig Bigwig over and over, and all the CNAs will think I’m bonkers!

Excellent book for young people. Teaches teamwork and love for each other. Also personal sacrifice.

Also, it teaches them to be wary of “the easy way” and to ask questions when things look too good to be true.

I read Watership Down when it first came out in the 70 s- I was a teenager at the time and loved it.

Of course their theology is a bit off - they’re rabbits! but the book is very enjoyable.

My aunt and uncle live very close to where the original Watership Down was based, in Hampshire, and we once drove out to see where it all took place. Didn’t see any rabbits, but caught my foot in a rabbit hole and fell over! Sadly the site is all built up now with houses.

I would like to thank all of you for your input, although I take issue with the member who suggested that a parent should read their children’s literature when they have a question about it. That is fine if one does not have many children! Otherwise, it “behooves” us to seek the opinion of other members of the Church Militant!
Thank you again!

As an aside, the Duncton Wood books about a society of antromorphised moles are good reading and thought provoking. Not as well known as Watership Down but as good (or in my opinion at times better).

My brothers, old and young, adored the book. They finally convinced me to read it. They had to really talk me into it… I was traumatised by the scary cartoon adaptation when I was small. :stuck_out_tongue:

Unfortunately, I have yet to read it. Simultaneously with convincing me that I wouldn’t be scared out of my wits if I read it, they lost our copy. :shrug: I’ve been tearing the house apart, with no luck yet. I do long to read it, though. My TAC brother went on enthusiastically for weeks about it, relating it to all sorts of theology and philosophy, and he still brings it up on occasion, so I know it must be good.

Cat, as much as I was scared by the cartoon adaptation, I was totally in love with Bigwig… if it’s permissible for a six-year-old girl to be in love with a rabbit. :smiley:

Watership Down is, without rival, my favourite book of all time:thumbsup:
Mt whole family loves it, too.:smiley:

Shardik is great. The quasi-prequel Maia, though, is basically soft porn. We can argue over whether it has any value (I think it has some but not much–it’s a self-indulgent book in more than just the sexual sense), but it is certainly not good reading for an adolescent male. Just as a caveat to your statement about how all of Adams’s novels should be read.


Yes, that’s one of the great moments in modern heroic literature. Up there with Eowyn taking off her helmet on the field of Pelennor.


Hey, great book; not a children’s book, but 13 is probably old enough. It’s very enjoyable, especially if you like fantasy and wildlife. I loved it, my son who isn’t much of a reader enjoyed it, and my 15-year-old daughter just read it in order to write a book report on it and has been raving about it.
It isn’t Tolkien, though, admittedly.
And do stay away from the cartoon, if you’re young anyway. This is one of those cartoons really not intended for children. As I recall it came out in the early 80s, on TV, and parts of it were nightmarish.

Watership Down is a wonderful book. I’ve read it at least 5 times over my lifetime, and will read it again, God willing. And after reading this thread, I think I will have to pick up Shardik again and try to finish it. I got stuck half-way through. Maybe after the holidays…

I can still see the nightmarish scenes from that movie, and it has been at least 20 years since I watched it.

I thought it was a great book, too. Not everything has to be assumed to have symbolic religious undercurrents or themes. Enjoy it for the children’s literature that it is. My wife so disliked the cartoon, however, that it ruined the book for her. I’d agree on steering clear of the cartoon, but the book is very good.

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