The Kid Who Loved The Dark – The Black Rabbit Of Inlé

I’ve been re-watching the scenes from the 1978 film Watership Down which feature the Black Rabbit of Inlé. (You can find them buried at the bottom of this post if you’d like to watch them too.) I wanted to find out if they still brought about the same feelings of foreboding as those I found myself confronting when I was little. (I was legitimately little – about six or seven – when I watched Watership Down for the first time.)

Everything about the Black Rabbit intrigued me and simultaneously set me on edge. From his simplified yet undeniably creepy guise, to the unearthly murmur of his voice, to the way he made tracks through the sky.

Literally seconds into clicking on the first video I was like, ‘Yeah, nothing’s changed. I’m just as unsettled.’ (I was greatly unnerved by General Woundwort too, though weren’t most of us? I’d have written in greater length about him here if I wasn’t trying to get a trillion and one things completed today. He may get a post of his own. The evil bastard deserves one.)

“Some say that the Black Rabbit hates us and wants our destruction. But the truth is — or so they taught me — that he, too, serves Lord Frith and does no more than his appointed task.”

Watership Down

If, by chance, you’re not familiar with The Black Rabbit of Inlé, he’s essentially the grim reaper of the rabbit world, and servant to the rabbits God Frith. The word Inlé is the Lapire – a fictional language created by Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down – term for the moon or darkness.

You’ve been feeling tired, haven’t you. If you’re feeling ready, we might go along now.

Watership Down

The scene that’s always left my heart feeling like it’s stuffed with wet sand, happens at the end of the film. Hazel, a rabbit who’s weary with old age, is greeted by the the Black Rabbit (who initially appears as an ominous floating head) and offered a place in the Black Rabbit’s Owlsa (basically a group of intelligent, strong rabbits). Hazel lies down, takes his final breaths and his spirit leaves with the Black Rabbit. I’ve always found the whole thing profoundly sad, and the music, my gods, the music has always ensured my sorrow is ramped up to almost unbearable levels.

I’ve been mulling over getting a Black Rabbit tattoo for years, despite the fact he rattles my nerves unlike any other fictional character has ever been capable of doing. And I found this face mask which I was on the verge of purchasing, but then I noticed a review which said – and this is SUCH a shame because its such a wonderful mask – the print was dull and fuzzy. So didn’t. I might get this one though.

If you decide to watch the film, please feed back to me what you thought of it! The series from 2018 (it’s on Netflix) is worth a watch too because it’s really quite well done. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the portrayal of the Black Rabbit. Also, the novel is spectacular. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful and enthralling books I’ve ever read.

P.S. I’m blogging here every other day for the time being, as I’m publishing posts on my other blog The Girl With Cold Hands nowadays too.

10 thoughts on “The Kid Who Loved The Dark – The Black Rabbit Of Inlé”

  1. I feel a personal connection to this post! Watership Down was absolutely character forming for me as a child, I watched it for the first time when I was five and have watched it hundreds of times since, it is so beautiful. I have a copy of the book printed on rice paper and it is one of my most prized possessions.

    1. Me too, me too! My goodness. It is so damn GOOD to hear from folk who have a deep bond with it. I think I’m actually going to revisit the book this year. I plan to introduce my Icelandic boyfriend to the film…it will be very interesting to hear what he makes of it! Thank you for writing, thank you so much. X

  2. I love this post. I have a Black Rabbit of Inle tattoo on the back of my neck (if you image search black rabbit of inle tattoo you’ll see it!) and a few weeks ago I was trying to explain it to someone and they looked at me like I was crazy! I also watched it as a small child and then read the book. I just can’t explain why Watership Down means so much to me, I think because it made me feel things. I can’t listen to Bright Eyes by Simon and Garfunkel without crying!

    1. I am so glad you have written and I’m sorry it’s taken me FOREVER to write back to this comment. You’ve actually inspired me to start posting on WW&E again – thank you! I am going to go and search for your tattoo now…I know I’m going to love it. I feel so deeply about Watership Down…most people just raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them, but I’m delighted that someone gets it! Bright Eyes always leaves me in tears too. X

  3. check out the band fall of efrafa. English crust punk with 3 lps that tell the story of watership down. GREAT stuff

  4. I would happily read a post on General Woundwort if you do decide to write one at some point. 😛 That particular evil bastard was my favourite character when I was a kid, though that was based more on the kids’ TV series from the late nineties/early 2000s than on the film. I did enjoy the novel, though.

  5. I’ve known about Watership Down since I was kid. Maybe it’s time to finally read the book or watch the film. From your description, the film sounds like something to watch on a quiet, overcast day, with no interruptions (cell phone off). The tattoo is an interesting idea.

    1. I really hope you fall under their spell, as I did. Please do let me know if you do read the novel and/or watch the film. I’d love to know what you think! And most absolutely yes – cell phone off! X

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