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Book and Film Versions:

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TV Version:

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For the next proposal, I will be doing Hazel from the 1972 epic adventure novel, Watership Down. I'm mostly going to be focused on the original novel and its 1996 sequel short story cycle, Tales from Watership Down, as I am most familiar with those works. I've seen the 1978 film and believe he also qualifies in that film. I haven't seen the 1999 television show, though if the article on Heroes Wiki is correct, he wouldn't count anyway because of his arrogance. I gave up on watching the 2018 miniseries half-way through the first episode, so I am not particularly sure about that adaptation's incarnation of Hazel, though I wouldn't be surprised if that one also counted.

What is the Work?

Watership Down is a 1972 epic adventure novel written by Richard Adams. It is about a group of buck rabbits led by Hazel who escape from Sandleford Warren in Hampshire, England after a vision from Hazel's brother predicts a great danger that will come to the warren. They venture to a hill called Watership Down to form Honeycomb Warren. After realizing they don't have does to mate with, Hazel, now Chief Rabbit, sends Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry to scout out the Efrafa warren which was made aware of to them by a bird named Kehaar. After the mission fails because of the ruthlessness of General Woundwort, leader of Efrafa, Hazel devises a plan in which Bigwig, a trusted member of Honeycomb, joins Efrafa temporarily, convinces does to escape Efrafa with him, and escape on a boat. After the plan succeeds, the escaping group is tracked to Honeycomb. After the warren is found by Woundwort and the Efrafans, they attack Honeycomb. Hazel sets free a dog from a nearby farm who scares off the Efrafans and is implied to have killed Woundwort. Afterwards, Hazel becomes well-renown, Efrafa is taken over by Captain Campion who does away with Woundwort's previous policies, and Honeycomb and Efrafa start an alliance.

The novel was eventually followed a 1978 animated film adaptation, a 1996 sequel in the form of a short story cycle called Tales from Watership Down, a 1999 animated television show, and a 2018 miniseries released on Netflix.

Who is He? What Has He Done?

Hazel is the main protagonist of Watership Down, the brother of Fiver, and Chief Rabbit of Honeycomb. He started out as an outcast in Sandleford. After Fiver warns Hazel about a great danger coming to Sandleford, Hazel tells the Chief Rabbit, Threarah, but is ignored. Afterwards, Hazel escapes along with a group of buck rabbits from Sandleford. Adopting a peaceful leadership style, Hazel proves to be a competent leader thanks to his level-headedness and sensibility. With the help of Bigwig's strength and Blackberry's cleverness, Hazel's group reaches a warren nicknamed "Cowslip's Warren", named as such because Cowslip was the first member they discovered. Initially, Hazel and the group ignore Fiver's vague warnings about the warren, they realize the dark truth of the warren after Bigwig survives being snared. Afterwards, they escape the warren, bringing an inhabitant, Strawberry, along.

Guided by Fiver's visions, Hazel and the group eventually reach the titular hill, Watership Down, where they can be free of fear of getting eaten or killed. They form a warren known as Honeycomb and build a burrow based off of Cowslip's Warren. They accept former Sandleford members, Captain Holly and Bluebell, after hearing of their escape from the warren being suffocated by humans. Hazel allies with the foreign creatures on Watership Down to gain a better advantage in building the warren, particularly the bird named Kehaar. After realizing that they don't have any does to mate with, Hazel sends Kehaar to find another warren that contains does. Kehaar succeeds in doing so, discovering a warren named Efrafa. Hazel sends Holly and a few other members to scout out the warren. Meanwhile, he raids a nearby farm called Nuthanger Farm for its hutch rabbits with Bigwig and few others, ignoring a warning from Fiver. After Hazel gets shot trying to distract the farmers for the other rabbits to escape, he is rescued by Fiver and Blackberry, at which point Hazel decides to listen to Fiver from then on.

Holly and his team return from Efrafa, having failed to bring does. After explaining the tyrannical leadership in Efrafa, Hazel devises a plan to gather some does from Efrafa and travels to the warren with a few other rabbits, particularly Bigwig. Planning to use a boat on a river to escape, Hazel enacts his plan. Bigwig joins the Efrafa and gains the trust of the leader, General Woundwort. He convinces Hyzenthlay to gather some does and escape Efrafa. As they escape, Woundwort and a group of officers chase them, but are stalled by Kehaar. Eventually, Bigwig and the does escape on the boat. As Hazel and the group reach land and travel back to Honeycomb, they are tracked by Woundwort and his group of officers. At one point, Hazel encounters an officer named Captain Campion, who he spares. Eventually, Hazel and his group reach Honeycomb, and Woundwort sets up a settlement nearby Honeycomb with plans to attack the warren.

Hazel prepares the warren for attack after discovering the settlement thanks to Holly. Hazel initially tries to negotiate an alliance with Efrafa, but is rebuffed by Woundwort. When Woundwort starts to infiltrate the warren, Fiver collapses and implants a vision in Hazel which he leads to him getting the idea of sending a dog to scare off the Efrafans. Bringing along Blackberry and another member named Dandelion to Nuthanger Farm. Hazel frees the farm dog, Bob, who chases after Dandelion and Blackberry back to Honeycomb. Bob scares off the Efrafan rabbits, with the exception of Woundwort who fights the dog and is never seen again. Meanwhile, Hazel is attacked by a farm cat named Tab before being rescued by the little girl, Lucy Case. After Hazel is checked out by a doctor, Lucy brings Hazel to the wild near Watership Down. After Campion brings the Efrafan troops back to Efrafa, Honeycomb establishes an alliance with Efrafa. Hazel becomes one of the most renown Chief Rabbits, being admired for his cleverness. He eventually dies peacefully of old age and goes to heaven.

In Tales from Watership Down, a few months after Woundwort's attack, Hazel arranges with Campion to build a new warren between Efrafa and Honeycomb to prevent overpopulation, but postpones it after Kehaar warns of frost. After a period of frost and snow, Hazel discovers Flyairth in one of the winter burrows and welcomes her to Honeycomb. Flyairth proves to be popular at Watership Down, but has an obsession with a disease called the White Blindness. She starts demanding various rabbits to leave Honeycomb after learning that Hazel and the warren are not afraid of humans, as humans can cause the White Blindness. During this time, Hazel successfully forms a new warren with Campion, which would be led by former Efrafan Groundsel. Eventually, Hazel allows Flyairth to leave with a few rabbits to start a new warren. Afterwards, inspired by Flyairth's previous position of being a Chief Rabbit at a far away warren called Thinial, Hazel sets up a matriarchal Chief Rabbit position for Hyzenthlay.

Hazel saves a stranger rabbit named Stonecrop from being killed by Honeycomb members even though he smells distinctly like man, who rabbits instinctively kill. Hazel disallows anyone to kill Stonecrop and places him under refuge, compromising Hazel's leadership. Eventually, Hazel takes Stonecrop to Groundsel's warren upon Fiver's recommendation. There, Stonecrop's stench scares off weasels from Groundsel's warren, resulting in him being hailed as hero by the warren and being accepted in. A few months later, Hazel resolves a dispute between Goundsel (whose warren is now known as Vleflain) and Campion. Campion has been doing patrols of the forest with Vleflain members after Efrafa members refused to do them because of their association with Woundwort, which has resulted in casualties. Hazel allows Campion to have Honeycomb members to do patrols after hearing Campion's explanation (Campion believes that the patrols train rabbits in a variety of skills). These patrols would become popular among Honeycomb and Campion would become well-renown and eventually a legendary figure after his honorable death during the patrols.

Corrupting Qualities

Hazel doesn't really have any qualities that could be considered corrupting. Any quality that could be corrupting is shed by the end of the novel. He is initially often skeptical of Fiver's visions, even when they have proven to be trustworthy. Hazel ignored Fiver's warnings of Cowslip's Warren being more than what it seemed and ignored Fiver's warnings of Hazel coming under the harm during the raid. Fiver turned out to be right in both instances. However, after the latter incident ended with Hazel being shot, he realizes that Fiver really is trustworthy and stops being skeptical of him from then on. He even points out to Bigwig in Tales from Watership Down that Fiver is often right when it comes to his visions.

Other than that, aside from a few heating-up moments which he quickly cools from, he doesn't have any corrupting qualities. At most, he does seem to not like Bluebell because of his jokes, but it doesn't ever reach the point of outright disdain. Though he clearly enjoys being leader of Honeycomb, he isn't tyrannical or sadist at all; Watership Down makes it clear that he is willing to risk his life to protect Honeycomb, and Tales from Watership Down reveals that he is even willing to risk his credibility to protect someone from being killed. In Watership Down, he does send a dog towards Honeycomb which ends up killing a few rabbits, but it was the only way to scare off Efrafa from attacking Honeycomb, not to mention Hazel did try negotiating with Woundwort before the attack but failed. Despite being a rabbit, he clearly is sentient and does have moral agency and a defined personality. He initially does not like humans and views them as "elil" (enemy), but not only is it justified as the humans are notorious for killing off rabbits easily, he gains an appreciation for humans after being saved by Lucy.

Admirable Standard

Easily passes the general admirable standard. He successfully manages to evacuate many inhabitants of Sandleford before they were killed by some unknown danger, later revealed to be humans. He proves to be a great leader and forms Honeycomb at Watership Down. Afterwards, he spearheads efforts to gain does for the warren. When it eventually leads to Efrafa attacking Honeycomb, Hazel saves Honeycomb by sending a dog towards it. Afterwards, he starts an alliance with Efrafa and builds a new warren to prevent overpopulation. Keep in mind, These are just the basics of what Hazel has done. Hazel is just a rabbit and yet he does so much heroism that he becomes well-renown among the rabbits.

He also passes the in-universe admirable standard, as although Fiver was the one who had the vision of the great danger, Hazel was the one evacuated the inhabitants. He is the greatest driving force throughout the story. Hazel's heroism is unmatched throughout the story, with the only other character coming close to match Hazel in terms of heroism and focus being Bigwig. However, even Bigwig does less than Hazel despite arguably having similar resources, not to mention he is lethal and brash.

Final Verdict

I think it should be clear that Hazel is pure good considering his heroic actions. What do you guys think?

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