Watership Down

by: Richard Adams

Hazel

Hazel is the protagonist of Watership Down, and he is the leader of the band of rabbits who leave their home to found a new warren. Although Hazel is young and not very big, he possesses many traits that make him a good leader. Never too hasty with his judgments, he always risks his own life rather than those of the other rabbits. Although brave, he is not foolhardy, and his every action is geared toward the benefit of the entire group. Hazel also sticks up for the smaller rabbits, such as Pipkin and Fiver. He will not leave anyone behind or accept any losses, but when things do go wrong he does not dwell on them. Hazel has an extremely quick mind, and although he see neither as clearly as Blackberry nor as deeply as Fiver, he makes decisions rapidly and confidently and he inspires faith in the rest of the rabbits. Furthermore, Hazel knows how to use the rabbits so that each will benefit the rest of the group the most. He listens to Fiver because he knows his brother can sense things that the rest of them cannot. He seeks the advice of Blackberry, the smartest rabbit, when he cannot figure something out. But Hazel also never counts anyone out, and he takes ideas from whomever suggests them, as long as he believes they will work. Hazel comes up with tricks that are reminiscent of El-ahrairah, and he looks at things from his own perspective. He suggests that the rabbits befriend other animals, and both Kehaar and the mice perform several favors in return. Finally, Hazel trusts his fellow rabbits and believes in them, which sometimes makes all the difference.