|“||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 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.
- In the 1978 film, he was voiced by the late Harry Andrews.
- In the first two seasons of the 1999 TV series, he was voiced by the late John Hurt, who also portrayed The Horned King in The Black Cauldron, Caligula in I Claudius, Claudandus in Felidae, Adam Sutler in V For Vendetta, Sailor John in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Harry in Pride, Mr. Mole in Thumbelina, Percival Graves in King Ralph, and Lord Cotys in Hercules. In the third season, due to Hurt's departure from the series, he was voiced by Nigel Pegram.
- In the 2018 Netflix miniseries, he is voiced by Ben Kingsley, who also played Nizam in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Archibald Snatcher in The Boxtrolls, Don Logan in Sexy Beast, Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3, and The Rabbi in Lucky Number Slevin.
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.
Woundwort's physical description varies in the different adaptions of Watership Down. However, in all versions, he is depicted as an exceptionally large, strong and muscular rabbit, larger 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, sharp 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 jet black (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 has ragged, dark grey fur and numerous scars, most notably a long, red gash over his blind left eye, which is white while his good eye is amber. Both his ears are damaged; the right one has a few small bits missing from the sides, while the left has a huge chunk missing from near the top.
General Woundwort is an extraordinarily powerful fighter by rabbit standards, and is arguably the deadliest fighter in any adaption of Watership Down.
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 all his life, he has never been bestd by another rabbit. In the original novel, Woundwort has slain the leaders of other warrens personally and defeated groups of other rabbits all by himself on more than one occasion. In the climax of all but one adaption, Woundwort also comes very close to killing Bigwig in single combat, despite the latter using a surprise attack on him. In the TV series, during one of his "daily exercises", Woundwort is able to defeat three members of his Owsla at once effortlessly, and later defeats five Efrafan captains at once as a show of strength. He also overpowers the Darkhaven warriors Granite, Shale and Felspar at once easily.
Woundwort's fighting prowess rivals or even surpasses that of Eil (a rabbit's natural enemies) in some cases. In the original novel, he has fought and defeated a cat, a crow, a stoat, and an Aberdeen puppy, respectively, as well as rats, magpies, and grey squirrels. Also, in the climax of all but one adaption, Woundwort fearlessly stands his ground against a powerful farm dog, despite being wounded and exhausted from his fight with Bigwig. Although his body is never found, making it unclear if he survives the battle, he manages to injure the dog severel enough that it soon returns home.
In the TV series, Woundwort also fights off two weasels, individually, and slays a hawk all by himself, not even attempting to take cover but instead facing them in direct combat. Campion also revealed that Woundwort and his soldiers fought and killed a fox, and subsequently used the skull of said fox as a warning to other enemies.
In the Miniseries, Woundwort's strength is more than enough to take on Bigwig, though his hind-leg wound from Bigwig's ambush possibly made him slower. Even with this injury, Woundwort manages to fight Bigwig to a standstill. Even with all of his wounds, he still has enough strength to launch himself at Bob the Rottweiler.
In addition to his incredible fighting skills, Woundwort is highly intelligent and cunning; he is an excellent tactician and manipulator.
- 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.
- Even more ironically, his voice actor in the third season of the series, Nigel Pegram, also voiced Hazel in the same season.
- 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 is shown as less of a monster than in the Movie and in the Miniseries, like he respected Campion very much and was able to forgive him his first betrayal for having saved his life or his trust in Vervain for his loyauty. In Miniseries, Woundwort shows no esteem for his officers, like he 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 or when he brutalizes Saifoin for his cowardice and without hesitation kills a reluctant soldier. The Movie does not show how he treats his minions.