Thursday, 12 August 2010

Character Connection – Hazel

character connection

Character Connection is hosted by IntrovertedJen over at The Introverted Reader every Thursday.

We all have characters we love. Let's spotlight these fantastic creations! Whether you want to be friends with them or you have a full-blown crush on them, you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

My last character connection was with the four most important men in Harry Potter and this time it is about Hazel from Watership Down. If you haven’t read or heard very much about Watership Down then it is an anthropomorphic novel about a group of rabbits who escape human destruction of their home. It isn’t a cute little story about cute little bunnies – it is aimed more at older young adults to adult readers.


Hazel is a kind rabbit who is clever and quick witted. He may not be the strongest in physical strength, but he becomes a good leader because of his kindness and his intelligence.

I have always liked him because of his deep inward strength, he is a rabbit you could rely on. It’s a funny thing thinking of rabbits – they, at first glance, look like cute insipid little things. They are not. When I was younger we had a pet rabbit – mean little thing she was but very clever and mischievous. Rabbits have often been shown as clever tricksters in literature – think about Br’er Rabbit and even Bugs Bunny – neither of them are what you’d call cute and fluffy.

Hazel is such a strong character and he held the little group of rabbits – consisting mostly of runts – together. He is brave, honourable and he always has the group in his mind, rather then himself. He is a brilliant leader – not arrogant or power-hungry like the mean old General Woundwort. He is a fine example of what a good leader should always be – whether human or rabbit.

A Spoiler…

I’d seen the 1978 film before I’d read the book and so my image of Hazel has always been from this most magnificent of films. I’ll never forget the song Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel when Hazel is shot that time. When I read the book I had that song going through my head.

Here is the song Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, it still makes me tear up just listening to it!

If you haven’t seen the film, I strongly recommend it – it follows the book as well as it can. I love the watercolour backgrounds and the detail of the rabbits and that for the most part, they act like rabbits and not cute cartoon versions of the things.


  1. I have always wanted to read this book, but think it would be too heartbreaking. It's a total gut-wrencher isn't it? (I didn't read the spoiler section in case I decide to ever bite the bullet).

  2. I wouldn't say it was a gut wrencher but it is... very true to life as a book about talking rabbits can be. I shed a few tears at a certain point. It is probably a lot darker then it was sad.

    I think I cry more at the film then the book. However that could be because I expected it when reading the book. That Bright Eyes song though... it just gets me every time.

    I hope you do bite the bullet Wallace, it's a great book. I have another couple of his books... one is The Plague Dogs about two dogs who escape from a Vivisection unit. I want to read that but I don't - I started it when I was a kid and it was just so terrible - that'd be a gut wrencher I'm sure.

  3. The film is definitely more heart wrenching than the book. The book concentrates more on the social/political aspects of the different types of (rabbit) society.

    I saw the film, with my family, in the cinema when it first came out. I think it ws one of the first animated films that adults took seriously.
    My mother loved Bright Eyes so much we bought the single (yes, vinyl!!) and whenever she annoyed me I would threaten to play it and make her cry :0)

    I think I really liked Watership Down because of its commentary on society. I wasn't so impressed with The Plague Dogs.

  4. I love Hazel too. When I finally read this book, I was sorry I had waited so long. You're right in saying it's not about cute little bunnies--it is so intense and suspenseful! And I liked Blackberry too, always being clever and figuring things out.

  5. oooh iused to love this song and the film too!

  6. I read this years ago and I don't remember much about it. Wasn't there one group who didn't question anything about life as long as the food kept coming but there were bad things happening? I remember being a little horrified by that. I actually own this, so maybe one day I'll get around to a re-read of it.

  7. Hi Fiona,
    Just happened to stumble across your blog and could not resist commenting on this post! Watership Down is a huge thing in my family, we endlessly quote it to each other "Runner. Digger. Listener. Prince With a Thousand Enemies" "Biiiig Water" "There's a dog loose in the woods"....Hazel is such an awesome character: inspirational leadership in rabbit form!
    Look forward to reading you in future,



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