Wandering over the hills unseen

I drew some fan art for Watership Down this week. It’s my absolute favorite book. **spoilers ahead**

I watched the 1978 animated film when I was little (my mom wasn’t ignorant of the content–I was just persistent in asking to be allowed to see it). In 5th grade, I was surprised to see a book by the same title on the shelf of our neighborhood library. It was so fun rediscovering the story; some scenes were familiar but I was still surprised by each twist in the journey. I bought the book and read it every summer until my paperback copy fell apart. Even when it was in 3 pieces and the pages fell off one by one when you turned them, I kept it. I can’t find it now, though…I must have finally given it up when I moved out of my parents’ house last fall. I need to find a good hardback copy…
In 7th grade, I was reading Watership Down on the sidelines of soccer practice during one of my frequent sprained ankle recoveries. A friend’s mom came up and commented on the book. We started talking about the movie, and in my teenage eagerness to distance myself from anything emotional, I made a joke about how terrible the musical sequence in the middle was. My friend’s mom mused, “That’s my favorite part, actually,” and explained why. I was suddenly ashamed, wishing I had the confidence to admit that it was mine, too. She passed away a few years ago. I didn’t know her well, but this is something I will always remember.

So this fan art is for that scene from the movie, where Fiver’s vision leads him to Hazel. It’s so beautiful–the feverish imagery and the Art Garfunkel song and the symphonic suite in the middle of it. I love poor Fiver, set upon by his gift/curse, thought to be mad by just about everyone, and how he saves the lot of them time and again. I especially love the sun/moon bleeding into the field (and the music that accompanies it), and how this is a metaphor for where Fiver finds Hazel, bleeding out in a storm drain–something that hit me while rewatching the movie this week.

Fiver’s ears should probably be down to tag him, but I liked the composition much better with them up.

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