Just ran across this valuable resource:

http://www.sullivanet.com/redwall/

Amazingly useful… This site contains everything from the chronology of the Redwall stories, to brief entries on a pletora of characters throughout the series, to lists of Badger Lords, Abbots/Abbesses, and and F.A.Q about Redwall.

There's also the Redwall Wiki, but I don't have a link handy for that.

The Wiki is kind of a pain. And it's gross looking, I'm not gonna lie.

I think my favorite thing on this whole site is this short article in the FAQ:

(Quote) Why are all the rats, ferrets, foxes, weasels, and other vermin animals evil?  Isn't it prejudiced to say every member of a species is evil?  I have a pet rat or a pet ferret, and they're cuddly and nice!

Contrary to some conspiracy theories floating around, the Redwall "vermin" species are not the victim of some great plot to make them all seem like evil incarnate.  Brian Jacques chose certain species to represent the "baddies" in his books because of folk traditions in Europe.  In the English language we say people can be "sly as a fox," or try to "weasel" their way out of a situation, "ferret" out information, or be a "dirty rat."  These images are called archetypes, and they exist in many cultures.  Europeans are definitely not the only people in the world who think of foxes as sly tricksters.  Does this mean real foxes are bad?  Depends on your point of view.  If you have a chicken coop in your back yard, yes.  If you're a naturalist or a painter, perhaps not.

The absolute best way, in my opinion, to explain the casting of Redwall characters as certain species is this:

"Cluny isn't evil because he's a rat.  He's a rat because he's evil."

Brian Jacques creates a villainous character, with all the cruel, nasty characteristics needed for a "baddie."  Then he picks a traditionally nasty animal from the folk tradition of Europe and uses it to represent the character.

"Matthias is not pure-hearted because he's a mouse.   He's a mouse because he's pure-hearted."

There is no great conspiracy for or against certain species in the Redwall world.  It's simply a matter of symbolism.

And of course, let us not forget that there are exceptions to the vermin/woodlander rule.  Blaggut, Romsca, arguably Veil, and others have crossed into grey areas. (end quote)

Those are really REALLY CONFUSING!

Who would ask questions like that….but I must admit they are pretty good.

Hmm…I never thought of it that way. So the characters were certain animals based on their personality. That makes sense.

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