Saturday, June 30, 2007

Watership Down

During the break from Lost the folks over at The Lost Community have decided to create a book club. The first book was Watership Down (view synopsis at Lostpedia). So I decided to post my thoughts on the book, and how it relates to the show.

Conceptually the book Watership Down reflected many many ideas and themes that carry over to the show Lost. The first that really stood out for me was the different warrens and their places on the down:

  • The original watership warren, which were semi-forced to leave their burrows because of some unseen danger that was coming. The danger being "seen" or predicted by Fiver in a jumbled vision. (Flight 815 survivors)
  • The white-lighters, who have a near utopian society, tons of food, does, and wonderful cavernous burrows. The big BUT here is that they could be snared by the men at any time, and it seems this is an unspoken danger. A quid pro quo, utopia for death at any moment. (DHARMA Initiative)
  • Efrafa, led by the brutish Woundwart, was a dictatorship of sorts. Rabbits were marked and separated by these marks. It was overpopulated, the does were unable to have litters, and everyone did what they were told. (Ben's Others)

All three, it could be argued, represent some faction of groups on the island.

An underlying theme throughout the entire book was the search for does, so that litters could be produced. That is the main reason that the rabbits were in contact with other warrens at all, and didn't just go off on their own. Just another theme that is present on the show with the constant fertility issues and Ben's "project".

Another theme falls to the secondary characters, specifically the mouse, and the gull called Kehaar. Both of these animals would not normally connect with a bunch of rabbits, but a relationship was formed where they all helped each other out using their individual skills. Kehaar was the most helpful to the warren, telling them of danger, where to travel, and finding them does.
  • I felt that Kehaar was a counterpart of Danielle's character (right down to the accent) from the show. She is an outsider (as far as we know) to all of the groups, yet seems to be helping our Losties with her knowledge of the others and of the island.
  • The mouse, who was significantly less helpful, but did his best, could represent an Alex or a Karl character. Useful but only to a certain extent as they don't really have a lot of experience to draw from.

There are so many points that are similar between the book, and the show, but in an effort to keep this blog relatively short-ish, the last I'll look at is precognition.
  • On the show we see Desmond having these sort of visions or loops. It has also been speculated that perhaps he isn't the only one on the island experiencing this.
  • In the book Fiver and Hyzenthlay have visions, that eventually lead the rabbits from danger and to their new society. Neither can really explain what they see or even why, but they know that they must take heed of it. This is very similar to Desmond's situation, in that he feels what he sees is canon and needs to be followed, although he tends to keep this information to himself.
  • In the book, Fiver is very vocal about his visions, and is not afraid to share them. Perhaps if Desmond was more like Fiver the Losties would believe his visions and figure out a way to utilize them. That is the one thing that is always a constant on Lost, no one communicates with each other, to the detriment of some of our heroes. In the book, we do see a lack of communication illustrated within the white lighters. They don't talk about the fact that their food and utopia comes from man, and that they are basically living a death's only a matter of time. All of the rabbits there know it, but they just don't discuss it. Similar to the Losties, they all know they are in a strange situation and no one really talks about it or shares their experiences. Perhaps if they did, there wouldn't be so much conflict within the groups.

Final Bullets:
  • I didn't love this book. I know I was supposed to, but I just didn't.
  • Ultimately, the book connects to the show in many ways, and I can see why the writers chose to incorporate it into the scenes with Sawyer, etc... I just wonder how much of this was thought out as a plot point or "easter egg" or if we (obsessed fans ;) ) are just looking at everything with Lost colored glasses.

Next month: A Wrinkle in Time


capcom said...
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capcom said...

Your thoughts on the book are interesting, I like the connections that you made, and they make a lot of sense. But it is also a good question as to how far TPTB want us to carry the similarities along with our viewing. The fact that the book is referenced twice though, might suggest that knowledge of it is helpful.

Lost-colored-glass, too true! :o)

Ange said...

Thanks Capcom! I really like to think that there is a rhyme and reason to everything on the show. I really want that OH YEAH! moment when it's done. I also think that there are huge comparisons to be made between the characters in the book and many of the Losties.

memphish said...

It should be interesting to see what the Season 3 DVDs have to say about the books. There is supposed to be a "book club" on the special features disc.

Jason and Anna who do the Delta Park Gets Lost podcast have written all books on the show off as total red herrings, and to the extent that there will never be one book that we see that has all the answers to LOST they are right. But I enjoy reading the books and identifying themes and character types that TPTB have either incorporated into LOST or have clearly been influenced by.

LOST has exposed me to books that are outside my typical reading patterns and for that I thank them as well.

Ange said...

Memphish: I totally agree with you about this being a tool to expose me to books I would not have normally read. Also, I think it raises the caliber of the show to a different level. It's not many prime time shows that can boast book clubs and research blogs!

capcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
capcom said...

You are both right about the books. It seems crazy to say that the books don't mean anything to the story, even if they are just fun hints that TPTB put there for us. And I don't feel that TPTB are any less creative for being inspired by classic knowledge, history, etc. Unless of course in the final scene, of the final episode, the last dying person on the screen mumbles....."Rosebuuuuud." That will be an hommage too far! :o)