β€œMy heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”
December 27, 2016 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, has died aged 96. Read this article on "the power of not-quite-appropriate children's books".
posted by transient (126 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by Cash4Lead at 10:07 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by minsies at 10:08 AM on December 27, 2016


I don't know how I didn't hear about this until today. Your headline is exactly what I put on Twitter when I found out.

Watership Down, book and film, worked its way deep into. For a stretch it was a source of constant jokes from yours truly on MetaFilter.

And Plague Dogs? Man, that just killed me.

RIP.
posted by maxsparber at 10:09 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by skycrashesdown at 10:09 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Countess Elena at 10:09 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by drezdn at 10:13 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Canageek at 10:17 AM on December 27, 2016


I read Watership Down a thousand times as a kid. Thank you Mr. Adams for your books.
posted by fshgrl at 10:17 AM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Wobbuffet at 10:19 AM on December 27, 2016


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best cover ever.
posted by benzenedream at 10:20 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Watership Down was the gateway for me into so much wonderful strangeness. Here's hoping it continues to show future generations the rich complexity of books.
posted by selfnoise at 10:20 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by mumimor at 10:21 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by fight or flight at 10:22 AM on December 27, 2016


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and it was only through the obits that I learned Watership Down (his first novel!) was published when Adams was 52, and that it was rejected fourteen times by publishers.
posted by wintersweet at 10:23 AM on December 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


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posted by Going To Maine at 10:25 AM on December 27, 2016


The last time we discussed Watership Down here, someone blew my mind by pointing out that it's basically The Aeneid, but with rabbits.
posted by thelonius at 10:26 AM on December 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


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I have been recommending this book to everyone who did not read it as a kid. The fascism of Efrafa was what first really gave me the idea of how a government could persecute it's citizens under the banner of keeping them safe. It was also the first really hefty book I ever read, giving me a sense of accomplishment when I finished it.

96 years was hopefully a good life. His writing mattered so much to me.
posted by Hactar at 10:30 AM on December 27, 2016 [16 favorites]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 10:30 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Rabarberofficer at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by thedarksideofprocyon at 10:32 AM on December 27, 2016


just found out in the Carrie Fisher thread... :(
posted by skewed at 10:33 AM on December 27, 2016


I read Watership Down a dozen times as a kid. I was captivated in excitement and terror and hope for the rabbits. The roof of bones gave me nightmares. I would hesitate just a moment before handing it to a youngster, but nor could I bear to deprive them.

Adams made a wonderful contribution.

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posted by postcommunism at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


If there is a better summation for 2016 than "when it catches you, it will kill you", I can't think of one.

But first, it must catch you.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2016 [32 favorites]


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posted by JamesD at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2016


I loved that book so much as a child, my librarian mother bought a hardcover and had it covered with protective plastic. I still read it to pieces.
posted by thebrokedown at 10:35 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


πŸ‡
posted by wanderingmind at 10:36 AM on December 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by Ilira at 10:37 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by riruro at 10:40 AM on December 27, 2016


I read "Watership Down" aloud to my wife a few years ago. In spite of stiff competition from Dickens, Melville, and plenty of other "adult" writers, so far she has loved that story the best. I just called to tell her the news and she said, "I'm in the checkout line at the grocery store and I'm going to cry....."

Silflay hraka, u embleer 2016!
posted by grimjeer at 10:41 AM on December 27, 2016 [22 favorites]


Watership Down was the first real book I ever read. Someone who knew very little (or maybe a lot) about very small children handed it to me at a grown-up party because I looked so bored. I was far too young to really understand it then, but the feeling it gave me was one of familiarity, like I had met someone just like me but who wasn't considered strange or difficult. I re-read it every year and it never fails to move me.
posted by atropos at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2016 [10 favorites]


I told my co-worker, and she said she'd never read it, and I told her not to, because it is perhaps the ultimate example of a book that everyone should have read, but no one should read.
posted by Etrigan at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


'"You've been feeling tired," said the stranger,"but I can do something about that. I've come to ask you to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you'll enjoy it. If you're ready, we might go along now."'

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posted by the primroses were over at 10:43 AM on December 27, 2016 [39 favorites]


I'm not much given to choosing favorites of anything, but Watership Down is absolutely my favorite book. I love the world he built, as brutal and heartbreaking as it is, and I consider those rabbits to be some of my oldest friends. My old copy (not my first- that disintegrated long ago) is right on top of my bookshelf right now. I just took it back from my eldest not long ago - she wasn't quite ready for it, but I'll give it back to her soon. I think I'll reread it first though.
posted by Dojie at 10:50 AM on December 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


Frith moved him as he moves us.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:50 AM on December 27, 2016


πŸ‡
posted by radwolf76 at 10:51 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


The 2016 hrakastorm continues.
posted by otters walk among us at 10:56 AM on December 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


I understand that Watership Down is the reason why the British don't chomp away at rabbit meat like every other European country. That's real proof of the power of literature (cause they're pretty tasty).
posted by rongorongo at 10:58 AM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Numenius at 11:01 AM on December 27, 2016


This is just going too far, 2016. You've freaking crossed the line. Mr. Adams was simply my favorite childhood books author, and for me, Watership Down translates well to adult reading. He lived a long life and, I hope, a good life, but I just can't stand much more.

May he rest in peace.

πŸ‡ πŸ•Š
posted by Silverstone at 11:02 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


96 is a good run but dammit!!! in my lifetime of reading reading reading so many books if I had to pick one favorite it would be Watership Down. I cannot guestimate how many times I have read it over the considerable years since first a 12 or so.

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posted by supermedusa at 11:07 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Black Rabbit of Inle has been working overtime this year.
Goodbye and Frithspeed Mr. Adams.
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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 11:08 AM on December 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


I read Watership Down to my kiddo this year, and I'm not sure what he thought of it, but it was something I had to do. It's an important book to me.

I wish the rest of Adam's books had been nearly as good (though Plague Dogs did bring the nightmare fuel) but really, Watership Down earned him a pass even if he never wrote another word.

Also BBC and Netflix are doing a new animated version.
posted by emjaybee at 11:16 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by allthinky at 11:18 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Iridic at 11:20 AM on December 27, 2016


I loved Watership Down when I read it in the 70s; very moving book. Now I'm thinking I should read it again, then pass it along to my daughter.

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posted by TedW at 11:20 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Faintdreams at 11:23 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by droplet at 11:25 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Diagonalize at 11:30 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Atom Eyes at 11:35 AM on December 27, 2016


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This makes me very sad. I loved this book so much, I've read it dozens of times throughout my life. I'm about to go on a long plane trip and I know what I'll be reading now.

Mr. Adams had a long life full of accomplishments and family, and went out beloved by millions around the world. Not a bad run.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:42 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


This day is so dreadful. Too many childhood memories dredged up all at once.

My dear dad gave me "Watership Down" and it is still one of my favorite books. Plus I also loved "Maia".
posted by narancia at 11:43 AM on December 27, 2016


Some claimed 2016 was a descendant of the Black Rabbit himself.
posted by delfin at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


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posted by detachd at 11:49 AM on December 27, 2016


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posted by mstokes650 at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2016


I went tharn in the Carrie Fisher thread for a while. How horrible to scroll down from that to see this.

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posted by nubs at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2016


"Not-quite-appropriate children's books" literally gave me a life - my world would have been so narrow if not for them, and Watership was an important one. They cracked my head wide open and showed me a world beyond what I knew, expected, or was expected for me.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:58 AM on December 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


The anti-fascist message made a big impression on me as a 12 year old, but so did the docile, fatalistic, devil's bargain of Strawberry's warren.
posted by Rumple at 12:00 PM on December 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


My "." key is getting worn.

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posted by Malingering Hector at 12:02 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by XtinaS at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by superfish at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Gelatin at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2016


Because of where I grew up I'd never heard of _Watership Down_ as a child or a teen. I came to it as an adult. And it was astounding.

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posted by seyirci at 12:08 PM on December 27, 2016


I was just working on an obit post, so I will go ahead and dump my non-overlapping links here:

Lengthier Washington Post obituary

Lapine dictionary

Lapine mythology

Guardian interview/retrospective from last year


Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes"

Watership Down (1978 film directed by Martin Rosen)


The Plague Dogs (1982 film directed by Martin Rosen)

And, . An important author to me. I look forward to seeing 2017's first primroses beginning to bloom.
posted by byanyothername at 12:09 PM on December 27, 2016 [19 favorites]


Also, because I didn't know we could:

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posted by byanyothername at 12:09 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by ubersturm at 12:20 PM on December 27, 2016


I can remember dragging the heavy hardback edition of Watership Down back and forth to the school library in my backpack when I was a lad. I've re-read it more times than I can count.

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posted by bitmage at 12:20 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Smart Dalek at 12:21 PM on December 27, 2016


"2016 will be your enemy, prince with a thousand enemies, and if it catches you, it will kill you...."

2016 took both of the men who gave this book to me. First back in spring was a former Mormon bishop of mine, who decades ago saw this young kid in his congregation devouring books and hungry for more and took it on himself to give me a stack of things to read.

And boy, was this something to read. Almost 500 pages that I read again and again, dozens of times by the time I was a teen, probably multiple hundreds of times at this point in my life. I don't know if he knew that book itself would become a near religious text for me, or plant in my young mind the idea that our myths and understanding of the world (like rabbit stories) can be both fantastically distorted in their particulars even while an unseen world might be real and that regardless stories have core important things packed into them.

I go back to it so often. I don't know if I ever could have *really* understood the warren of the snares until I had jobs like my last job. An ex-girlfriend laughed when she watched the movie with me and said "well, this explains why you hate land developers" and I'd never made the connection but she might be right. I think about my 9th grade english teacher pushing me to say something substantial about it besides recounting plot in the near-yearly book report I did on it -- what's the theme? Various dangerous corruption is everywhere. How do you handle it? I think about this band of small, soft lives that the story is about and how their survival depends on appreciating each other's diversity of gifts and using them together and devoting everything to that, instead of the seemingly safe environment you've always known, or the easy offer of comfort in exchange for the days of your life... or the promise that authoritarianism will keep you safe.

'"You've been feeling tired," said the stranger,"but I can do something about that. I've come to ask you to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you'll enjoy it. If you're ready, we might go along now."'

I came in to post exactly this. I'm glad to come here and know there are many others who can pick up and drop references like this.

I wish I could say that I know we'll be all right, and thousands like us.

"Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed." Maybe.

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posted by weston at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2016 [28 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 12:28 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Token Meme at 12:30 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by miaou at 12:32 PM on December 27, 2016


Today...

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posted by Fizz at 12:36 PM on December 27, 2016


I read Watership Down numerous times as a kid, but as an adult, A Nature Diary is what I keep coming back to.
posted by JanetLand at 12:39 PM on December 27, 2016


I was afraid of Watership Down as a kid, having seen the VHS jacket at the video-rental store and something about that picture scared me without even knowing what the movie was about. I didn't read the book until maybe five years ago? Upon which I became utterly obsessed, read it three times in a row, and made my partner watch the movie with me. He was among those who had been scarred -- this story comes up again and again when I mention the book -- by his parents thinking it was a harmless animated story about some nice rabbits and putting the movie on for him when he was little.

I'm still a little sad that I didn't get to read it as a child, but I'll make up for it in my adulthood.

. for your fantastic storytelling, Richard Adams, there's quite a bit in Dandelion the rabbit that I think is really you.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:41 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


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Sobbing.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 12:43 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by amelliferae at 12:46 PM on December 27, 2016


Like others this was the first real book that I read, and it taught me so many things about loss, change, resourcefulness in the face of overwhelming odds and friendship. I also cried buckets. And buckets.

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I understand that Watership Down is the reason why the British don't chomp away at rabbit meat like every other European country. That's real proof of the power of literature (cause they're pretty tasty).

Well, it wouldn't be a thread that had a mention of animals if someone didn't come into remind people that, yes, you can cook them and eat them. But why would you do this here and right now? Do you think that we, the readers, of this book, weren't aware that you can kill and eat rabbits? It's not like the book shies away from any of that.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:49 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by newdaddy at 12:52 PM on December 27, 2016


And now I understand the tweet someone in the Carrie Fisher thread linked to, about the princess being obviates to join someone's owlsa. It made me cry even though I didn't know about Adams. Christ.

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posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by gusandrews at 1:04 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by ikahime at 1:05 PM on December 27, 2016


Watership Down was my intro to Adams (as a young adult), but my favorite of his book of his has always been Maia. The Girl In A Swing I reemember as a strange story, as well. Never read Plague Dogs, never was able to get into Shardik, never really looked at any of his other work.

Time to do some re-reading, I think.
posted by lhauser at 1:13 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


WTF fuck fuck fuck off 2016

I loved this book when I read it. It took me years to get around to reading it and I was much older than the norm but yes, it opened my eyes.

Yes, time to do some rereading.
posted by infini at 1:21 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by greermahoney at 1:28 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by joannemerriam at 1:36 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:39 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by bswinburn at 2:03 PM on December 27, 2016


One of the things that makes Waterfall Down stand out among so many children's stories is that it's not merely an adventure, it is an epic capturing a truly mythic sense of its world.

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posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:05 PM on December 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


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I'm reading Watership Down right now, it being one of the books I seem to have convinced myself I have read from having seen the movies. I can't wait until my sons are old enough for me to pass this on.
posted by Naib at 2:08 PM on December 27, 2016


I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw on Twitter was someone posting an image of the text of the last page. And I read it and felt the exact same bitter, sad but understanding stab in the pit of my stomach I have felt each one of the dozens of times I've read that page since I was 11.

The point when it hits me is when the book describes the faint silver glow of the Prince with a Thousand Enemies in the darkness of the warren.

Then I read that Adams had died.

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posted by Jimbob at 2:26 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


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(see username)
posted by Occula at 2:50 PM on December 27, 2016


I was an avid reader as a kid, and was affronted when my parents came home telling me that some librarian had declared that the audio book (I was recovering from one of many eye operations at the time) I had ordered was not appropriate for my age (I might have been around eight). I regained my sight, read the book, and loved it. It has remained one of my favourites over the years. Shardik and Plague Dogs are also good, but it is Hazel & Co that have stayed with me.

Richard Adams did an AMA a couple of years ago on Reddit.

πŸ‡
posted by bouvin at 2:51 PM on December 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by pt68 at 2:56 PM on December 27, 2016


A few other little homages I thought of:

You can't spell Richard without r-a-h.

The warren is empty, but our hearts remain full.
posted by weston at 2:58 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by oneironaut at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by BlueHorse at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2016


I was disappointed by his attitude towards rabbits, but Watership Down was a great book.

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posted by tommasz at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Iteki at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Alexandra Michelle at 3:18 PM on December 27, 2016


I discovered the book after the movie. In the 80's the best boss I ever had bought me the book as a birthday gift when she heard me talking about how much I loved the movie. And of course I loved the book....

And today Princess Leah and Richard Adams :(

If indeed 2016 is the "Year of the Very Slow Rapture" as I have been kidding (and now honestly worrying ) about it looks like I'm going to have to spend the next 1000 years under a Trump administration with you guys, the Left-Behinds. I hope one of you remembered to bring the booze.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 3:26 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Off he goes with the Black Rabbit of Inle.
posted by hoanthropos at 3:37 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by tofu_crouton at 3:56 PM on December 27, 2016


I don't feel like I can really blame 2016 for this, given Richard Adams's age, but damn, this is heartbreaking. I've been so absorbed in other stuff today, that I didn't hear about this until this very moment. Seeing this FPP was like a punch in the gut.

Before I ever read Watership Down, I discovered the animated film in a Blockbuster when I was 6 years old or so. I made my mother re-rent it so many times that she finally bought it for me, on VHS naturally. It was my favorite movie as a young kid, even if it is a bit "graphic" for an animated movie about talking rabbits. (My mother was horrified when she finally sat down to watch it with me.)

Bigwig was and is my favorite character, so when we adopted a couple bunnies, I named my favorite one Bigwig, naturally. You'd think that movie wouldn't have made me desperately love bunnies, but it did, even with the whole "bunny rips another bunnies throat out" kind of thing.

Of course, when I was a little older, I absolutely devoured the book. I still re-watch the movie and re-read the book as an adult, and I love it just as much as I did when I was a kid.

I also read Plague Dogs, but Watership Down has such a special place in my heart. It's such a compelling story, great characters, engaging, and I love the world building. Also, bunnies.

I've been meaning to do a re-read of it, which I will now definitely do, although I'll be reading it with an especially heavy heart.

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posted by litera scripta manet at 5:12 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Richard Adams has had a profound influence upon those of us have written about talking animals.
posted by ovvl at 5:22 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by stoneegg21 at 5:35 PM on December 27, 2016


I loved both Watership Down and Plague Dogs (books and movies).

Plague Dogs the film was actually my entry vehicle to Richard Adams. Totally unaware of his name or stature, a group of friends and I were looking for movies to watch in Blockbuster Video and stumbled across it. "Talking Dogs? Sure, I'm sure it's like some knock-off Don Bluth bullshit."

We were totally unprepared for what we got. Later, based on the experience, I read Watership Down and then saw the film. I really, really like Watership Down for it's scope and the ability to read into it about a million different metaphors, but I have always really respected what I saw as the fundamental and honest bleakness of Plague Dogs. Its a story about having come into this world never really having had a chance at all -- and the futility of struggling against that fact -- as well being a clear statement as to why we do.
posted by absalom at 6:18 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by SageLeVoid at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by une_heure_pleine at 7:08 PM on December 27, 2016


My heart is broken, again, once more.

The post title is the most beautiful poignant line. It's the line I want on my gravestone, if it turns out I'm not as immortal as I thought.

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posted by silverstatue at 7:15 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


What a singular contribution to literature, and to the imaginations of children, he made with Watership Down alone.

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posted by mixedmetaphors at 7:44 PM on December 27, 2016


When she was small, my daughter referred to the Watership Down VHS tape we had as " that rabbit movie that always makes you cry" .

It still does, after all these years. The book too of course. I still read it every few years, still watch the movie too.

Thank you , Richard Adams , for this story. It shaped my childhood, and adulthood, in ways that nothing else has.
posted by das_2099 at 8:33 PM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I spent a sizable portion of my childhood, possibly even the majority of it, feeling some combination of terror, shame, and fury. Some of that was the result of things that the adults in my life should have prevented; some of it was the result of things that no one could have done anything about. I was a deeply unhappy child, and as I transitioned into adulthood the years of accumulated distress overwhelmed me.

I didn't read Watership Down until I was 21. I had started it as a child, but quickly lost interest when I realized that the talking rabbits in it were just rabbits, and that their lack of anthropomorphism meant that there weren't going to be any of the sword fights that I'd gotten from Reepicheep and Matthias (my go-to literary adventuring rodents at the time). I picked it up again as an adult because I needed something to read in order to distract me from how wildly out of control my life had become, and my roommate had a copy on his bookshelf.

I needed that story. I needed someone to recognize those of us who were living in a world where anyone bigger than us could do whatever they wanted to us. I needed someone to recognize those of us who were constantly being hurt by things that we'd never been given the perspective necessary to comprehend. I needed protagonists for whom terror and confusion and powerlessness had become intimately familiar. I needed someone to show me that even through all of that, I could survive if I let the right people into my life.

If you ask me today how I'm still alive (because it was far from a sure thing for a while), I'd say that I had a few years where everything lined up and I got exactly what (and who) I needed in my life, exactly when I needed it. Watership Down was a part of that.

Richard Adams died at 96 years old, and that's a pretty good run by anyone's standards. I'm still going to miss knowing that he's in the world. I've been threatening to get a Black Rabbit of InlΓ© tattoo for at least the last decade; I should probably stop putting that off.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:59 PM on December 27, 2016 [22 favorites]


It is comforting to me to find out here, that Watership Down meant so much to so many people. I read it every year near my birthday.

Thank you Mr. Adams, rest in peace.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:17 PM on December 27, 2016


My dad read this to me as one of the many bedtime stories we shared. (In retrospect, looking at the dates, it was probably shortly after my parents divorced and he had set up in a new house, and was trying to form new bedtime rituals and new ways of signifying "home". In retrospect, symbolic much?) He also took me to see it in the theater when it came out. My 8-year-old reaction was something along the lines of "NO! THEY LEFT OUT ALL THE EL-AHRAIRAH STORIES! THAT'S NOT RIGHT!"

I don't know if I feel a need to watch the movie again. I definitely need to reread the book.
posted by Lexica at 9:48 PM on December 27, 2016


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posted by Flashman at 9:50 PM on December 27, 2016


The basic decency of the best children's stories-- Watership Down, Swallows and Amazons, The Dark Is Rising, all of Diana Wynne Jones-- is, I find, at the core of what sustains me, years after first reading. It's a blow, of course, to find that this world is so much more indecent, so resistant to the narrative shape it should have, that these books taught me it ought to have. But knowing that there still could be such decency and such resolution-- that it was even possible to imagine it-- is what sustains.
posted by SandCounty at 9:58 PM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by lapolla at 11:21 PM on December 27, 2016


GAH.

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posted by LMGM at 5:35 AM on December 28, 2016


πŸ‡

I'm glad he lived to a ripe old age.

I loved Watership Down as a young person. I always cry at the endings of books but the first time I reached the end of that book...that was one hard ugly cry.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:22 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Watership Down means so much to me, perhaps even more now in my middle age then in my preteens. I first read it in sixth grade, a time in my life when I began plundering my father's bookshelf for reading material. I have reread it many times since then and have now lived many of the lessons about Life I had once learned from the book, partuclarly that the Black Rabbit of Inle, as terrifying as he can be, is still a servant of Frith. I have a tattoo of Inle-Rah on my chest near my heart, so that he can carry my love to my parents and sister, who reside in his warren now.

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posted by KingEdRa at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Holy God - The Plague Dogs. That movie should be administered in high school as a sociopathy test. If that movie doesn't make you feel, you are a dangerous individual and not in the trite gangsta rap video way.

(and yes I saw Toy Story 3, and Threads, and Peege, and Year of the Dog, and Old Yeller, etc)

Watership Down is a great book and an epic but at least there's a story and an arc and a mythology there - the warren suffers as individuals, but as a whole they triumph.

The Plague Dogs is just about how screwed a dog can be by the rats we call fellow humans, followed by my your dog being confused by why I am you are hugging him and crying.
posted by lon_star at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Like many here, Watership Down was the first serious read I completed. It changed me in a good way and gave me a dose of confidence in the power of collaboration while also an equal dose of reality about the unfairness of life in general. It was the right message at the right time and I'm overdue to re-read it.
posted by dgran at 12:42 PM on December 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by imelcapitan at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2016


When I was nine, utterly broadsided by reading Watership Down and The Plague Dogs, I penned a lengthy fan letter to Richard Adams telling him how much I had enjoyed the books, and what an impression they had made on me. I received a lovely reply from his secretary (plus a list of his other books, with titles that she thought I might particularly like to read highlighted) thanking me. That I was a rather overambitious child can be extrapolated from the sentence: "Mr. Adams is happy for you to write a sequel to Watership Down"...

...and that I never really grew out of that is indicated by a particular BA English Critical Theory module essay of mine, years later: 'A Marxist Analysis of Watership Down'.

When I finally get that Black Rabbit of InlΓ© tattoo I have been planning for over two decades, it'll be in grateful memory of you, Richard.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 12:19 PM on December 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


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