Many people who read Watership Down, a dark and weird book about a bunch of rabbits looking for a new home, became lightly obsessed with what it all “means.” Well, the author’s daughters want to assure that it’s really just a book about rabbits.
The Guardian has pointed to a Radio Times interview with Richard Adams’s daughters, Rosamond and Juliet, in advance of a new adaptation. For one thing, they explained all the weird violence: “Daddy didn’t like the way people babied, and pandered to and ‘icky-ised’ children, lying to them about death and so on,” explained Juliet. They also made it clear that there’s no elaborate allegory, no encoded messages, nothing about Stanley Kubrick faking the moon landing:
They also address the multiple theories about the true message of Watership Down. “Honestly, the stuff we got through the post from fans about what they think the book is about,” said Rosamond.
“‘Is Woundwort an allegory of Stalin?’ ‘Is Hazel Jesus Christ?’ It shows that people really connect with the story, they really think hard about it, but it cut no ice with Dad. ‘Rubbish!’ he always said. ‘It’s just a story about rabbits.’”
Rabbits. It’s just about rabbits. It’s not about Stalin, or Jesus—just rabbits.