Watership Down

by

Richard Adams

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Holly Character Analysis

At the start of the novel, Holly is the captain of the Sandleford Owsla, and opposes Hazel, Fiver, and their band of rabbits’ decision to leave the warren. Later in the novel, Holly, having been driven out of the Sandleford warren, joins up with Hazel and his group, and helps them on their adventures.

Holly Quotes in Watership Down

The Watership Down quotes below are all either spoken by Holly or refer to Holly. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Watership Down published in 1972.
Chapter 21 Quotes

“The four of us went wandering away and we must have gone almost in a half-circle, because after a long time we came to the brook, below what had been our field. We followed it down into a big wood; and that night, while we were still in the wood, Toadflax died. He was clear-headed for a short time before and I remember something he said. Bluebell had been saying that he knew the men hated us for raiding their crops and gardens, and Toadflax answered, ‘That wasn’t why they destroyed the warren. It was just because we were in their way. They killed us to suit themselves.’ Soon after that he went to sleep, and a little later, when we were alarmed by some noise or other, we tried to wake him and realized he was dead.

Related Characters: Holly (speaker), Bluebell
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

Things had not looked better since they had first set out from Sandleford.

A spirit of happy mischief entered into Hazel. He felt as he had on the morning when they crossed the Enborne and he had set out alone and found the beanfield. He was confident and ready for adventure. But what adventure? Something worth telling to Holly and Silver on their return. Something to—well, not to diminish what they were going to do. No, of course not—but just to show them that their Chief Rabbit was up to anything that they were up to.

Related Characters: Hazel, Silver, Holly
Related Symbols: Watership Down
Page Number: 197-198
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

“But surely it alters them very much, living like that?” asked Dandelion.

“Very much indeed,” replied Holly. “Most of them can’t do anything but what they’re told. They’ve never been out of Efrafa and never smelled an enemy. The one aim of every rabbit in Efrafa is to get into the Owsla, because of the privileges: and the one aim of everyone in the Owsla is to get into the Council. The Council have the best of everything. But the Owsla have to keep very strong and tough. They take it in turn to do what they call Wide Patrol. They go out over the country—all round the place—living in the open for days at a time. It’s partly to find out anything they can, and partly to train them and make them tough and cunning. Any hlessil they find they pick up and bring back to Efrafa. If they won’t come, they kill them. They reckon hlessil a danger, because they may attract the attention of men.”

Related Characters: Dandelion (speaker), Holly (speaker)
Related Symbols: Efrafa
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

“We can’t go on with nothing but these two does.”

“But what else can we do?”

“I know what we’ve got to do,” said Hazel, “but I still can’t see how. We’ve got to go back and get some does out of Efrafa.”

“You might as well say you were going to get them out of Inlé, Hazel-rah. I’m afraid I can’t have given you a very clear description of Efrafa.”

“Oh, yes, you have—the whole idea scares me stiff. But we’re going to do it.”

“It can’t be done.”

“It can’t be done by fighting or fair words, no. So it will have to be done by means of a trick.”

Related Characters: Hazel (speaker), Holly (speaker)
Related Symbols: El-ahrairah, Efrafa
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Watership Down LitChart as a printable PDF.
Watership Down PDF

Holly Character Timeline in Watership Down

The timeline below shows where the character Holly appears in Watership Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: The Departure
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Holly, the captain of the Owsla, tells the rabbits they’re under arrest for “spreading dissension and... (full context)
Chapter 19: Fear in the Dark
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...Black Rabbit, though, whom Hazel finds himself face to face with—it is the exhausted, injured Holly, former captain of the Sandleford Owsla. (full context)
Chapter 20: A Honeycomb and a Mouse
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The rabbits are astonished not just to see Holly alive, all the way at Watership Down, but to find him in such a miserable... (full context)
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Dandelion emerges from his burrow to update Hazel on Holly and Bluebell. After a very bad, sleepless night, Holly is finally awake and doing better—Bluebell... (full context)
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Back at the warren, Holly reunites with Silver and thanks Fiver for attempting to warn the Threarah about his vision... (full context)
Chapter 21: “For El-ahrairah to Cry”
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Holly begins his tale. The day after Hazel, Fiver, and the others left, some rumors about... (full context)
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Holly resumes his story. The following day, it was raining, and Holly went up from the... (full context)
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Holly picks the story back up. He reports that any rabbit who made it up into... (full context)
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Cowslip pursued Holly and Bluebell, but seeing that Cowslip was a poor fighter, Holly chose to engage him.... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Story of the Trial of El-ahrairah
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After Holly is done telling his story, Hazel begins cleaning the rabbit’s mangled ear. Silver helps, and... (full context)
Chapter 23: Kehaar
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...All the rabbits agree that Hazel, as de facto Chief, should stay behind, and that Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry should go. At first light the next morning, the four start... (full context)
Chapter 24: Nuthanger Farm
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A few days later, things are looking good. Kehaar has confirmed that Holly and the others are on the right course, and, meanwhile, back at Watership Down, the... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Raid
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The next morning, Holly comes limping into the warren. Buckthorn, Silver, and Strawberry are with them, but they have... (full context)
Chapter 26: Fiver Beyond
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...him that Hazel has gone to be with Lord Frith. He also informs Fiver that Holly and the others have returned, maimed and ill—“everything’s as bad as it could be.” (full context)
Chapter 27: “You Can’t Imagine It Unless You’ve Been There”
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Back at Watership Down, in the Honeycomb, Bigwig and Holly call the other rabbits to a meeting. The mood in the room is solemn—all are... (full context)
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Three large rabbits approached and asked to see the group’s “marks.” When Holly expressed confusion, the rabbits asked if they were from Efrafa. Holly replied that they weren’t... (full context)
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When Bigwig asks how the Owsla keeps control over the other rabbits, Holly replies that “you can’t imagine it unless you’ve been there.” According to him the Chief... (full context)
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Dandelion asks if living in such a way has “alter[ed]” the Efrafan rabbits, and Holly says that it has. Most Efrafans can’t do anything but what they’re told. The Efrafans’... (full context)
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One of the rabbits who took Holly and the others in, Captain Campion, led them down to the burrow and told to... (full context)
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A short while later, Holly and the others were brought to a Council meeting. While waiting, they saw another rabbit... (full context)
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At their own Council meeting, Holly and the others met with General Woundwort, who explained the rules of the warren to... (full context)
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That night at silflay, Holly and the others realized there was no way to escape—there were sentries stationed everywhere. Over... (full context)
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Holly and the others took their chance to escape and plowed through the sentries that tried... (full context)
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After regaining their wits, Holly and the others resumed their journey, and the next day made it home. As he... (full context)
Chapter 28: At the Foot of the Hill
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Bigwig commends Holly on being brave and intrepid enough to navigate himself and the others back to safety,... (full context)
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...him, attending to his wound and keeping him company. The others come to visit, and Holly relays the story of his time in Efrafa. Hazel laments that both the excursion to... (full context)
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...warren with Fiver the next morning and they’ll all set to work on a plan. Holly warns Hazel that returning to Efrafa will get them all killed, but Fiver says he... (full context)
Chapter 29: Return and Departure
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Holly speaks up. He apologizes for having to speak against Hazel, but states that he cannot... (full context)
Chapter 30: A New Journey
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...of rabbits including Blackberry, Bluebell, Dandelion, Pipkin, Fiver, Silver, and Bigwig set out for Efrafa, Holly leads them as far as the edge of the wood to see them off. There,... (full context)
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...pause in a thorn patch. They are at the edge of a thick wood, which Holly had previously described to them as strange and dangerous. As the group decides whether or... (full context)
Chapter 35: Groping
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...who came to Efrafa many days ago, and if she recalls talking to their leader, Holly. Bigwig tells Hyzenthlay that he is from their warren, and explains their whole journey and... (full context)
Chapter 40: The Way Back
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The next morning, the group catches the familiar scent of rabbits—they believe they have gotten Holly’s scent. The rabbits are happily talking about home when suddenly a fox runs up and... (full context)
Chapter 42: News at Sunset
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...mouse’s story, but Hazel is determined to get to the bottom of things. He asks Holly and Blackavar to go down and check things out. Speedwell comes over to excitedly announce... (full context)
Chapter 43: The Great Patrol
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Now, having been spotted by Blackavar and Holly, Woundwort and his troops wait to see whether the Watership Down rabbits will run away... (full context)
Chapter 46: Bigwig Stands His Ground
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On the other side of the wall, Bigwig and Holly, sensing the Efrafans’ approach, devise a plan. Bigwig tells Holly to bury him in earth—he... (full context)
Chapter 47: The Sky Suspended
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Bigwig defends the tunnel against Woundwort. Holly sees that Bigwig is bleeding and offers to take his place, but Bigwig insists this... (full context)
Chapter 50: And Last
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...themselves for the “hardship” of winter. Hazel and Fiver are sitting atop the down with Holly, Silver, and Groundsel. The Efrafan survivors have been allowed to join the warren and have... (full context)
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...have begun adjusting to a more natural life. Everything about Efrafa—most notably General Woundwort—was unnatural, Holly reflects. Groundsel speaks up and says that Woundwort—whose body was never found—is not dead. He... (full context)
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...their two burrows, made half of rabbits from Watership Down and half of Efrafans. Though Holly wonders if this will be difficult arrange, Hazel is confident that once Kehaar returns from... (full context)
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...elil. The young kits ask Bigwig to tell them tales of his grand adventures. Hazel, Holly, Groundsel, and Silver talk about how much they owe to Bigwig, and how grateful they... (full context)