Redwall

The Redwall books, written by Brian Jacques, are about the adventures of anthropomorphic animals such as mice, rats, otters, and other creatures, fighting and questing in bold new adventures.

Image Courtesy of xkcd.com

Just The Facts

  1. The Redwall series has over 20 books, with new ones coming out every so often.
  2. Critics have favorably compared the series to works such as The Wind in The Willows, Watership Down, and even Tolkein's Lord of the Rings.
  3. The books are notorious for dividing the lines between good and evil by specie.
  4. Brian Jacques is an Englishman living in Liverpool who has held a wide variety of jobs before he started writing the Redwall series.

The Books of the Redwall series

Name of Book
Year of Publication
Chronological Order
2000
1
The Legend of Luke - Book 2 substory
1999
2
1993
3
1988
4
1999
5
1995
6
1991
7
1994
8
1992
9
1986
10
1989
11
1996
12
1997
13
1998
14
2001
15
2002
16
2003
17
2004
18
2005
19
2007
20
2008
21

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redwall#Books

[Book titles link to the appropriate Wikipedia articles for each book. Some of the books are really stories being told in a later time; however, this list arranges them by the timeline of the main storyline.]

Locations

There are many different locales that exist within the Redwall universe. Apart from Mossflower Woods, there are only two places that show up consistently (or at least the most frequently):

Redwall Abbey

Many of the Redwall books focus on the title structure, Redwall Abbey. Redwall was not around before Mossflower; at that point, the fortress of Kortir existed, until it was destroyed by a ballista. The Abbey is a large structure built out of red sandstone from a nearby quarry, hence the name. In terms of architecture, there is a wall that surrounds the entire Abbey, with a few doors leading out into the nearby woods (Mossflower) and a central gatehouse. A belltower is added in later books. Inside the safety of the walls, there exist a pond, an orchard, and the central building. Within, there is a Great Hall, kitchen, wine cellar, sick bay, and dormitories.

The Abbey is pretty much the Redwall equivalent of a monestary, minus the kung-fu monks. Even so, it has been nearly impossible to take over, despite the fact that most of the residents of Redwall have never used a weapon, proving that literary villains are just as incompetent as their TV show cousins (www.cracked.com/article_17129_7-badass-cartoon-villains-who-lost-retarded-heroes.html). Redwall has only been taken over once in the entire series (Redwall) and the outer wall has been breached on a few occasions (Rakkety Tam, Marlfox).

Salamandastron

The Mountain of the Fire Lizard. A kick-ass name for a heavy metal rock song and another name for Salamandastron, the extinct volcano stronghold that is home to the legendary Badger Lord and his/her Long Patrol. A towering natural structure, Salamandastron essentially functions as a fortress and military barracks. From here, the Badger Lord commands his/her troops, sometimes sending them out to patrol the surrounding area. The mountain is feared by most searats and vermin, except for the boldest and most cunning. Salamandastron has only been conquered once (Lord Brocktree) and breached once by an invading force (Salamandastron), although assassins and poisoners have gained entrance in attempts by vermin leaders to gain the upper hand.

Species of Creatures in the Redwall Universe

There are multiple species of creatures mentioned in the Redwall series, all of them native to England, the author's home country. They are divided up into two groups: woodlanders and vermin. Here are some brief descriptions of the principal species of each group:

Woodlanders

Mice

Mice are pretty much the main species within the Redwall series. There is always a mouse warrior in every book and they have no features that really separate them from the other woodland creatures. Many live in Redwall Abbey and most of the books have a mouse as Abbot. There is no shortage of personalities within mice; each book has a different mouse with a different personality.

The most famous mouse, and the guiding spirit of Redwall Abbey, is Martin the Warrior. A wanderer from the north, he eventually got caught up in a battle with the ruthless wildcat tyrant Tsarmina. Even after his death, many characters in future books are visited by the spirit of Martin in a dream or in a vision. A warrior who, after his death, appeared to others in visions... where have we seen that before?

Oh. Right.

His sword was forged from the metal of a falling star, making it by far one of the most legendary weapon of the series. In numerous occasions, the sword is described cleaving straight through other weapons without so much a scratch and being able to support the weight of a logboat and five other creatures for several seconds while wedged in a crack. It has been lost and found over the course of the series and continues to make appearances.

Otters

Otters are very much loose and carefree. There is usually an otter or two living at Redwall, but most usually live out in Mossflower in tribes, with a leader called Skipper. Otters are fond of a fictional dish called hotroot soup, a spicy dish that combines hotroot and watershrimp. Overall, otters are portrayed as truly great companions, thanks to their loyalty, fun-loving attitude, and warmth. However, this changes on the battlefield. Otters are fierce combatants, showing no mercy and deadly precision with slings, bows, spears, and javelins. They are fearless, but if their friends are safe and the battle is lost, a tatical retreat is perfectly acceptable. They are also skilled in the water, often out-manuvering their opponents and moving quickly with great speed and agility.

Badgers

Badgers are the Bruce Banners of the Redwall universe. Although they are hulking creatures, badgers can be very gentle, often displaying great wisdom and warmth to others. In battle, they are terrifying, often wielding weapons described to be so massive that it would take ten of any other creature just to lift it, let alone wield it with one paw. Badgers sometimes enter battle with a piercing battlecry of "Eulaliaaaaaaa!" sending vermin fleeing in terror. Badgers are also capable of entering a state known as the Bloodwrath. While in its embrace, no weapon can stop or slow them down and they are oblivious to everything but their target, usually the main villain. Allies have to be careful or risk becoming a casualty; friend and foe are obscured by a pink mist that is described to cloud a badger's vision while in Bloodwrath.

There is usually a badger living at Redwall, often female and called a Badgermother. Male badgers are more often than not found living in the mountain stronghold of Salamandastron. An extinct volcano, this fortress is home to the mighty Badger Lord and his Long Patrol, a regiment of fighting hares. This force keeps watch over the coastline and protects it from marauding bands of searats. Sometimes, the Long Patrol leaves to search out vermin in other parts of the land. Most of the badgers in the Redwall series either go questing for Salamandastron and become Badger Lords or are already Badger Lords. There is also a sense of mystery about it, as many of the books talk of carvings that tell prophecies about future Badger Lords and hidden tombs.

Hares

The one outstanding aspect of hares is their speech. Every hare in the series speaks like an British military leader, referring to allies as "chaps and chapesses," with "wot wot" and "sah" being commonly used. Hares are excellent fighters, able to use almost any weapon elegantly and efficiently, and they make up the entirety of the Long Patrol, the elite fighting force of Salamandstron. Within the Long Patrol, there are different ranks like Captain and Corporal- all obey the Badger Lords. Hares are not to be confused with rabbits, who, while also mentioned in the series, are very prissy and stuck-up, if not elitist. Hares have lived at Redwall before, but most usually go to Salamandastron. Not all hares are in the Long Patrol; some are performers, but they are still formidable opponents

Moles

Moles are great diggers, as is mentioned/demonstrated/stated again and again and again and again and again... you get the point. They are not great swimmers, however, and avoid boating as much as possible.

Like this, except with a mole

The most quaint (read: confusing) aspect about moles is their speech. Whereas a normal creature might say "I like soup," a mole would say that same sentence as "Oi loik zoop!" Other gems include the words "noice" (nice), "owly-bird" (owl-bird), and "zoopurcallifragealishtikeckspieloilidooshus" (supercalifrag- okay, they don't actually say that one).

Moles don't get a lot of long speeches in the series.

Other woodlanders: hedgehogs, shrews, squirrels, voles, dormice

Vermin

Rats

Rats, like mice, come in many different personality types, but more often than not display negative character traits, like cruelty, callousness, stupidity, and filthiness. There have been many different variations of rats, the largest group being searats (sometimes called Corsairs), who, as would be expected, sail on the sea. Nearly all rats are evil, with only one notable exception- Blaggut the reformed searat in The Bellmaker.

Several of the main villains were rats, the first being Cluny the Scourge in the first published Redwall book, Redwall. One noticeable aspect about Cluny is that he has an extraordinarily long tail, which he uses as a whip-like weapon. He has even gone as far as to sometimes place a poison barb on the end of his tail, making it an even deadlier weapon. He sometimes goes into battle wearing a cape made of bat wings and a helmet adorned with the horns of a stag, making him the original badass of the series. Right up until the point where he died by being crushed by a bell.

Wildcats

Wildcats almost never show up as rank and file soldiers (High Rhulian was the first and only book to do so); they are often leaders and tyrants who display catlike reflexes, agility, and ferocity. Some wildcats fight with weapons, some use claws, and all are cunning combatants who will fight dirty just to win.

One notable example is Tsarmina, Queen of a Thousand Eyes and Ruler of Kotir. Tsarmina, first appearing in Mossflower, fought against Martin the Warrior for control of Mossflower and its inhabitants. She has a crippling phobia of water and degrades her troops when they foul up, but she can silence dissent with one quick strike of her claws. Tsarmina, like Cluny, also died a retarded death, mainly by backing up into a lake and drowning.

Foxes

Foxes are sly, cunning, sneaky, and sometime double dealers. All have the characteristic bushy tail and facial features. Some are vicious fighters, but others (most often females) become seers and are highly prized by vermin warlords. The only variation in the species are Marlfoxes, who have the ability to seemingly appear and disappear at will, but it was more or less just clever camoflauge. Famous foxes include Slagar the Cruel and Urgan Nagru.

Other Vermin: ermine, ferrets, pine martens, wolverines, stoats

Other creatures

There are so many creatures in the Redwall universe that it would be impossible to describe them all. Aside from the creatures listed here, there are birds (owls, hawks/kites/eagles, crows, herons, gulls, swans), reptiles (lizards of different varieties), snakes (adders are the most prominent), and fish (pike and other large fish). A few creatures show up only once in the series (seals, whales, dolphins), some as only one character (hamster, beaver, scorpion, sea lion, horse, beetle, tortoise).

Almost all reptiles are evil. Snakes are always evil. Birds like owls and hawks are almost always good. Crows, gulls, swans, and herons are almost always evil, swans only being fiercely territorial. Pike and other big fish aren't necessarily evil, but they are dangerous and will eat other creatrues if they are hungry. The lone hamster, beaver, sea lion, beetle, and tortoise of the series are all good. The scorpion first made its appearance in Mariel of Redwall as a pet of the villainous Gabool the Wild and was larger than even the book's Badger Lord. It is the only example of a large (as in, larger than any of the other characters) arachnid, to date, in the series.