This chapter starts with another Shakespeare quote from Julius Caesar. This quote includes the phrase "let slip the dogs of war," so we're betting you can see what's coming down the pike.
Hazel, Dandelion, and Blackberry escape from Watership Down.
Hazel explains his plan: he's going to free the dog; then Dandelion and Blackberry will lure the dog back to Watership Down. Then the dog can kill Woundwort's rabbits.
And the plan goes perfectly and every one is happy.
No, wait, that's not right. The plan goes pretty well—Dandelion and Blackberry lead the dog on a chase.
The only problem is that Hazel is caught by a farm cat. Goodbye, Hazel, it was nice knowing you.
Bigwig Stands His Ground
This chapter starts with a quote from the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, where he (and some other people) defeated Napoleon and ended all those pesky Napoleonic wars. The quote involves the issue of who has more stamina for fighting. (The chapter title kind of gives the answer away: it's Bigwig.)
Woundwort leads an attack on the warren after his soldier-rabbits dig through to the Honeycomb. They find Fiver in a trance. And also a wall that blocks them from getting to all the other rabbits.
Then we switch points of view to check out what Bigwig has been up to. Holly gave Bigwig an idea about hiding and surprising Woundwort. (We hope you're paying attention in case you ever have to fight a bunny war.)
So when Woundwort breaks through to get at the other rabbits, Bigwig rises up to fight him. (We picture Batman vs. Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, though you should feel free to imagine this as whatever Batman movie you want, provided it's properly epic.)
It's a serious fight with serious wounds on both sides. Because this is a serious book.
The Sky Suspended
The epigraph here is a Flora Thompson quote about a man charging a bull and the man winning.
Dandelion and Blackberry are leading the dog towards Watership Down. They're trying to run fast enough not to get caught but slow enough to keep the dog running for them.
Back at Watership Down, Woundwort tempts Bigwig to stop fighting and join him.
Since Woundwort can't beat Bigwig, he asks his officer Vervain to take care of it. Which makes Vervain realize that they're probably going to lose.
Woundwort feels like he'd rather be taking a relaxing bath, rather than fighting to the death. And when Bigwig drops the knowledge that he's not Chief Rabbit—that there's another rabbit who's even smarter (and maybe bigger)—well, that just ruins Woundwort's day.
Some of Woundwort's rabbits start running away.
Fiver freaks Vervain out by saying that he (Fiver) is sorry for his (Vervain's) death, which is coming… wait for it… soon.
And that's about when the dog rushes in and attacks Woundwort, which really ruins his day. But Woundwort is a brave and violent rabbit, so he stands and fights with the dog (though luckily, we don't have to see it.)
And that ends the war. A couple of Efrafan rabbits even take shelter in the Watership Down Warren with the rabbits they were trying to kill, which is probably awkward.