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Villain Overview
Come back! Come back, you fools! Come back! Come back and fight! Dogs aren't dangerous!
~ Woundwort's last words before fighting the dog and disappearing without a trace.
I'll... Never stop, Hazel! NEVER!
~ Woundwort's last words to Hazel before he was taken by the Black Rabbit of Inlé in the show.
We fear no Elil. I fear no dog. I fear nothing.
~ Woundwort's last words before fighting the dog and disappearing in the miniseries.

General Woundwort (also simply known as Woundwort) is the main antagonist of the 1972 Richard Adams book Watership Down, its 1978 animated film adaptation by Martin Rosen, its 1999-2001 TV series, and its 2018 BBC and Netflix miniseries adaptation. He is a savage, vicious and powerful rabbit who is the tyrannical leader and chief rabbit of the warren Efrafa.

Portrayals

Personality

General Woundwort is the cruel, brutal, arrogant, domineering and tyrannical overlord of Efrafa, ruling with an iron claw, and is very cunning, but also extremely powerful and truly menacing. He is willing to face many dangers himself, fighting predators such as weasels, stoats, and once a cat. He inspires his fellow rabbits to do the same; the General's refrain is that such animals "aren't dangerous". He seems to feel more comfortable fighting threats than running from them.

He is capable of keeping his courage and wits about him when danger and the unexpected occur. However, his rage clouds his judgement, and he occasionally lacks common sense, such as when he launched himself at the Nuthanger Farm guard dog (although we never saw the outcome, it is assumed the dog killed him). However, he does have his limits; he wouldn't take on a fox and Kehaar the seagull was a bit more than he could handle. However, he is extremely suspicious to the point of paranoia and inflexibility; even when Efrafa faces a desperate situation because the population continually increases beyond the warren's ability to contain it, he refuses to allow further digging to expand living space or any of its inhabitants to leave, and as a result Efrafa appears on the verge of explosion or collapse.

Being the savage brute he is, Woundwort lives by a concept of "power from strength", believing that leadership be given to the strongest rabbits. This is seen in the scene when Woundwort discovers that Bigwig is not Watership's chief rabbit, and Woundwort is afraid of a rabbit that could be bigger and stronger than Bigwig.

For all his flaws however, Woundwort does show a strong sense of duty to his warren, taking over digging for the doe's while they rest and personally looking out for threats instead of always relying on his underlings. He also rewards loyalty by showing admirable loyalty in return. In the TV series, when Vervain was trapped whilst the Efrafens were trying to escape a collapsing tunnel, Woundwort personally went back to rescue him. Woundwort also shows such respect for Campion in that series that after the latter betrayed him, Woundwort briefly considered changing his ways because Campion, despite being a traitor, had saved his life. Ironically it was Hazel, who had wanted peace with Woundwort all along, ensured that the General would never find redemption by continuing the war without giving Woundwort a chance to negotiate.

Appearance

Woundwort's physical description varies in the different adaptions of Watership Down. However, in all versions, he is depicted as an exceptionally large rabbit, bigger than any other rabbit in the storyline (in the book he is described as being "almost as big as a hare").

In the original novel, Woundwort is described as a savage-looking rabbit with long claws and pale eyes. However, no description is given on his fur colour.

In the film, Woundwort is depicted as a brown rabbit with a dark green right eye, while his left is blind. He is the only rabbit who is shown with extra teeth. He shares the other characteristics of the other movie Efrafans, including a darker colour, a more ragged appearance, prominent claws, and dark circles under his eyes. 

In the TV series, Woundwort is shown as a jet black rabbit (though for some reason he is changed to grey in the third season), with ragged fur, notched ears, a blood red right eye and a blind left eye.

In the Netflix miniseries, Woundwort is dark grey with ragged fur, torn ears, and numerous scars including one over his blind left eye, which is white while his good eye is amber.

Abilities

Woundwort is an exceptionally vicious and powerful fighter by rabbit standards, and is arguably the deadliest fighter in any adaption of Watership Down.

In the past, Woundwort has fought and bested a cat, a crow, and an aberdeen puppy, respectively, as well as rats, squirrels, magpies, and other rabbits. In the novel, he is also fights off a pair of stoats. In the climax of most adaption, Woundwort comes very close to killing Bigwig in single combat, despite being ambushed and given a severe wound by him. Woundwort's massive size gives him a significant advantage over most opponents; it is said that he won almost every fight of his life by using his weight.

In the TV series, Woundwort also fights off a weasel and slays a hawk all by himself, not even attempting to take cover but instead facing them in direct combat. Also, during one of his "daily exercises", Woundwort is able to defeat three members of his Owsla at once effortlessly.

In addition to his incredible fighting skills, Woundwort is highly intelligent and cunning; he is an excellent tactician and manipulator.

Quotes

Movies

(Campion: A young doe has a request, sire.) A doe wants to see me? (Campion: Says she represents a group, sire.) I see. Your name? (Hyzenthlay: Hyzenthlay, sir.) Don't be frightened. You're safe here. Get on with it! (Hyzenthlay: Sir, several of us proposed an expedition to start... a new warren somewhere else.) A new warren? Out of the question. (Hyzenthlay: But, you don't understand. The system is breaking down.) Explain that. (Hyzenthlay: We can't produce litters. We're overcrowded.) I want no further discussion. (Hyzenthlay: We'll go as far as you like.) Here or anywhere else. (Hyzenthlay: Thank you, sir.) Campion, have her watched.
~ Woundwort rejects Hyzenthlay's ideas.
(Campion: Sir, we've picked up this hlessi and brought him in.) Who are you ? (Bigwig: My name is Bigwig) (Campion: Bigwig, sir!) What were you doing? (Bigwig: I've come to join Efrafa.) Why ? (Bigwig: I'm suprised you ask. Sir.) Hmm. (Bigwig: Is there anything odd about wainting to join?) I'll ask the questions. What can you do ? Hmm? (Bigwig: I can run and fight.) Hmm. Fight, can you? (Bigwig: I'v been an officer in an Owsla.) So, you came to join us? (Bigwig: I thought you might have some news for me.) Well, for the time being you'll be assigned a post in a patrol. You'll take orders frome Captain Campion. And if you. Uh. Want a doe...you have choice here. You're not an officer for nothing. (Bigwig: Thank you, sir.) And. Uh. You'll be identified...by your mark.
~ Woundwort meets Bigwig come infiltrated Efrafa.
Bigwig! That white bird you were talking to this morning...(Bigwig: Talking to, sir?) You were very close to it. Why? (Bigwig: Well, I've never been hurt by a bird.) That's not what I asked. (Bigwig: To tell you the truth, sir, I think I was trying to impress you.) In future, stay in your own mark. (Bigwig: Sir.) One more thing: What do you know about a homba? (Bigwig: A homba, sir?) You led it onto some rabbits? (Bigwig: I didn't intend to. I didn't know they were there.) You didn't report it. Everything out of the ordinary is to be reported. (Bigwig: I didn't know running from a homba was out of the ordinary.) That was a patrol on the track of a band of strangers. Do you know anything about them? (Bigwig: I saw some tracks, but I can't tell you anymore than that, sir.) I'm taking out a wide patrol tomorrow. We'll cross the iron road and try to pick up their tracks. I want you to come along. (Bigwig: Yes, sir.) (Watch Bigwig go away and talk to Campion) Campion, follow him. Don't let him out of your sight.
~ Woundwort begin to beware of Bigwig after seeing him talking to Kehaar.
(Campion: The new officer, sir, he's gone.) Bigwig? (Campion: He's wounded Sherbil and taken a crowd of the mark with him.) Embleer Frith! I'll blind him. I'LL BLIND HIM!
~ Woundwort become enraged when he learns Bigwig's betrayal.
Bigwig, you traitorous...! Campion, get this miserable group back to their Marks. I'll settle you myself, Bigwig. There's no need to take you back. (Bigwig: Come on and try, you cracked-brain slave driver!)
~ Woundwort confronts Bigwig.
Get away, you damned white bird!
~ Woundwort attacked by Kehaar.
You were one of those on the riverbank. Did Bigwig send you? (Hazel: I'm a friend of Bigwig's.) What was left unfinished on the riverbank will be finished now. (Hazel: It would be better for both of us if we could come to terms.) Terms?... Very well. These are my terms. Hand over all the deserters immediately. (Hazel: We couldn't agree to that. But I can suggest something better, for both of us...) You're in no position to bargain. (Hazel: We shouldn't be fighting each other. We have enough enemies as it is. Perhaps we should be together. A joining of free, independent warrens.) Ah, I have no time for this nonsense! (Campion: Shall I kill him, sir?) No. You take back our terms. And you tell your chief, Bigwig, that if he and Hyzenthlay and the others aren't waiting outside when I come for them, I'll tear out every throat in the place!
~ Woundwort deny Hazel's request for peace.
(Bigwig: I told you once, I was trying to impress you. I hope I have.) And I told you that I would kill you myself. There's no white bird here, Bigwig.

~ Woundwort fight Bigwig in Watership Down.

TV Series

Nothing's impossible for Woundwort. Nothing can kill me. Nothing in the air, or the woods. Nothing in this world, or in the shadow land beyond!
~ Woundwort in the TV Series.
Surrender, Hazel. Perhaps I'll let some of your Warren live. (Hazel: We stand or fall here, Woundwort.) Then you will die. Attack
~ Woundwort invades Watership Down.
I'll find you outsider! The world isn't a big enough place to hide, I'll hunt you till Frith falls from the sky outsider! Do you hear me?!
~ Woundwort's threat towards Hazel.
There is only Woundwort witness the truth. [Fight and take advantage of Bigwig] This is how it ends, Bigwig. (Campion: NO!) [Campion attacks him from behind] Campion? (Campion: Forgive me, general.) [Him and Campion fights and then Campion flees with the other rabbits] (Vervain: See. See. I...I told sir. I knew it all along he's a traitor to Efrafa.) STOP THEM. [...] Campion! (Campion: Yes, sir?) You betrayed me, Campion. I TEAR YOU APART.
~ Woundwort fights Bigwig and discovers the treason of Campion, before his former captain is crushed by a rock in his place.
Campion, you betrayed me. Because of you, Efrafa was lost. (Campion: I've been expecting you, General.) And all this time, I tought you were dead. (Campion: Like you, sir. I'm hard to kill.) Then let's try it again shall we. I challenge you to fight in single combat for the chieftainship of Dark Haven. Come Campion. Fight me. I'll send you to meet the Black Rabbit of Inle.
~ Woundword to Campion.
Called me General Woudwort. Dark One sounds rather melodramatic.
~ Woundwort become the leader of Darhaven.
Why did you run Campion? (Campion: Because I can't defeat you in single combat, Woundwort. We both know that.) [Woundwort laugh] You were never a fool. That's what made you to find this captain of Owsla, I have ever know. [...] You saved my life at the battle of the caverns...I returned you the favor. You may leave Darkhaven. (Campion: Sir, I wish to stay and serve you.) Why? (Campion: Because I have nowhere to go.) (Vervain:Don't trust him, sir. He knows where to find Hazel's Warren. If he truly wants to join us he'll tell us where it is.) (Campion: These injuries stole my memories.) (Vervain: Lies.) (Campion: All I know is Hazel and his tribe left me for dead. I owe them nothing but hate.) Silver, we'd look into his heart seek the truth. (Silver: There's a shadow on his soul a darkness. That's all I can see.) (Campion: I was touched by the Black Rabbit of Inle. I have traveled to the shadow lands. I am cursed.) As am I, Campion. Welcome Back.
~ Woundwort forgives Campion.
Our shared destiny is an event, Campion. Your time is done.
~ Woundwort betrayed by Campion once too often.
(Bigwig: I've been looking forwad to this a long time, General.) Then you're a bigger fool than you look.
~ Woundwort before fighting Bigwig for the last time.
No quarter this time, traitor. (Campion: Than asked, General.)
~ Woundwort finally recognizes Campion as a traitor and fights him for the last time.

Miniseries

He who thinks death is the greatest of punishments knows nothing of what it is to suffer.
~ Woundwort to Orchis, on what is really suffering.
So we finally meet, Thlayli. They told me you weren't a fighter, but I know a fighter when I see one. I'm going to take great pleasure in killing you.
~ Woundwort faces Bigwig for the first time in the Miniserie.
Are you really concerned by the life of your bucks or are you concerned for own life ? Are you afraid, sergeant ? (Sainfoin: Maybe...maybe I afraid) (Throw Sainfoin to the ground) You disgust me! If you expire serving this warren, you should consider yourself fortunate to have the glory of such a death. Those of you are not loyal to me invites outsiders to steal our does. Man to kill us and the elil to bring the white blindness. Those of you not loyal to me, hate efrafa. Are you loyal, sergeant? (Sainfoin: Yes, sir.) And what about you, Campion? (Campion: I am, general.) Good, I don't care if everything take one frifth or thousand, you will find the outsiders who stole our does and when you do, we will destroy their warren and leave no trace of them on this earth. And the those of you who tremble in the wake of birds, or foxes or anyone of the thousand ennemy of rabbits, i said this: In Efrafa we run for no Elil. We are the Elil.
~ Woundwort reprimands Sainfoin's cowardice, Campion's loyalty and orders the ruthless attack of Watership Down.
We are going to destroy you.
~ Woundwort to Hazel.
I told you the bird is gone. [Slaps Sainfoin] I should have killed you in the council chamber. (Campion: My bucks grow restless too, sir. I'm not used to sitting out to the open like this. What is the brief in terms of taking prisoners, sir?) No Prisoners. (Efrafan: But sir, what about those not engage in the fight? Capturing the strongest bucks and sparing the dairies would surely be the wiser...) [Kill the Efrafan] If you continue to make a habit of questioning me, captain. Believe me. I will kill you of it.
~ Woundwort takes no prisoners.
(Sainfoin: The men say they heard a noise, a great wailing. You don't think that bird's back?) If you mention that bird one more time, I will destroy you. Campion, prepare to follow me in, but not too close, in case we're ambushed. (Campion: I will not.) You dare disobey me? What kind of a soldier are you? (Campion: I'd rather be a good rabbit than a good soldier, sir.) Orchis, finish him. Sainfoin, come with me.
~ Woundwort threatens Sainfoin and is betrayed by Campion before ordering Orchis to kill the traitor during the Watership Down attack.
I once told you that I would kill you, Thlayli. And this time, there's no white bird to save you!
~ Woundwort fight Bigwig in a death battle.
I could send my bucks down here one after the other if need be, Thlayli. But it seems a waste to kill you. Come back to Efrafa, and you can lead any mark you want. (Bigwig: Silflay hraka! U embleer rah! My chief rabbit ordered me to defend this run. And until he says otherwise, I will stay right here.) (Sainfoin: His chief rabbit? He's not chief rabbit?)
~ Woundwort offers one last chance to join Efrafa in Bigwig, but the latter refuses and reveals that he is not the Chief Rabbit.

Trivia

  • In the TV series, it was John Hurt's second time working on an adaptation of Watership Down, as he had previously voiced Hazel in the film, along with the irony in that since Woundwort is Hazel's enemy. He also voiced Snitter from the 1982 animated film The Plague Dogs, which is another film directed by Martin Rosen and based on a book by Richard Adams.
  • Woundwort is a name of an herb.
  • In the TV series, Woundwort was born in Darkhaven and is also known as "the Dark One". He shares that moniker with Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time.
  • Woundwort's design in the TV series is a bit similar to Dr. Calico from Bolt. This is mainly thanks to how his right eye is an abnormal color, but instead of green, it's red.
  • In the Miniseries, it is shown that when Woundwort was a young rabbit, it was a fox that made the scar over his left eye. It is never shown how he escaped death when the predator was right in front of him.
  • Woundwort's appearance in the Miniseries looks a bit like his appearance from the first two seasons of the TV series.
  • While in the TV series, Woundwort respected Campion very much and was able to forgive him his first betrayal for having saved his life. In Miniseries, Woundwort has absolutely no regard for Campion, has no confidence in his loyalty and does not hesitate for a second to order his execution after Campion turns against him.

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Watership Down: General Woundwort | Efrafa (Vervain and Campion) | Tab
The Plague Dogs: Dr. Boycott | Lynn Driver | William Harbottle | Under Secretary | Dr. Goodner | Ackland

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