"You're all under arrest!"
Captain Holly is a pale grey rabbit who was captain of the Sandleford Owsla.
Captain Holly was the captain of the Sandleford Owsla and was second in command to the Threarah, and would never have joined the rabbits attempting to flee Sandleford. He tried to arrest Hazel and the other rabbits who were leaving Sandleford. Hazel told him if he did not go then they would kill him. This caused Holly to lose patience and try to kill him, but Bigwig stopped him, and Holly, instead of doing something else to Hazel or Bigwig, fled the scene.
Much later in the book, Holly is met on the bottom of Watership Down, crying out "Zorn!" (which means finished, gone) Because he continually cried it out, as well as calling out Bigwig's name, Bigwig thought it was the Black Rabbit of Inlé. Mastering his own fear, Hazel went up and found an exhausted Captain Holly, a rabbit who Hazel never expected to find in such a state. He, Bluebell, Pimpernel, and Toadflax were the last survivors of the Sandleford Warren when the men destroyed it. They left the destroyed warren, and Toadflax soon died. They ran into the Warren of Snares (a.k.a. Cowslip's) where the Snare Rabbits (a.k.a. Cowslip's rabbits) ambushed and attacked the trio. However, Holly threatened to kill Cowslip if he didn't tell him where Bigwig and Hazel were. Cowslip struggled to get away, but then soon gave up. He and his Snare Rabbits told the "Hollilians" that Hazel and his group were going "to the hills".
Meanwhile, Holly cuffed Cowslip, and he and Bluebell fled to a nearby area. But unfortunately they'd forgotten poor Pimpernel. Pimpernel was left behind, and in the novel, was figured either supposedly killed or forced into the evil world of Cowslip and his Snare Rabbits.
On the down Bluebell sensed danger. He tried to get Holly to move but couldn't, so he fled to a bush.
Holly led Silver, Buckthorn , and Strawberry, to Efrafa to get does and bring them back to Watership Down. But they failed and came back with no does. Holly brought the all three back alive, but Strawberry was ill from exhaustion, and Buckthorn was wounded in the face. In the book, he is the one whose two stories are quintessential messages of survival, both when he reiterates his story of flight from Sandleford and his journey to and from Efrafa. Because of Holly, Hazel's position of leader is strengthened, both after Holly tells of the destruction of Sandleford and after Holly warns against returning to Efrafa. Holly becomes the chief of scouts at the Watership Down Warren. He mates with one of the Hutch rabbits Clover in the absence of the majority of the warren in Efrafa. Holly has confidence in Silver from the Sandleford Owsla, because he could tell Silver what he couldn't tell Hazel or Bigwig. He also had a healthy respect for Bigwig.
Though Holly is much more prominent in the book than in the movie adaptation, he retains his book personality and events that contribute him. Holly's two main adventures, the escape from the destroyed warren and the journey of Efrafa are merged into one horrific tale. Seeing as both events were catastrophic on Captain Holly's psyche, it is unlikely that his book counterpart would have survived those two ordeals as one.
Holly also appears in the animated series based on Watership Down, though he has only a minor role and is mostly used as a background character. However, he formed a key part of the Watership Down defenses in the last season.
Holly will appear in the upcoming miniseries, and will be voiced by Freddie Fox.
- Captain Holly is voiced by John Bennett in the film.