In the book, Vervain is the head of the Owslafa (Council police) in Efrafa. He is a large and bullying rabbit, more used to dealing with prisoners than with active combatants, and dislikes his peer, Campion. As Efrafa's most-hated officer, Vervain depends upon Woundwort's authority for his own. He is first introduced during Woundwort and Chervil's interagation of Nelthilta, where he cuffs her repeatedly in the face to get information out of her until Woundwort orders him to stop. Later, when Woundwort's forces storm the Honeycomb, Vervain is ordered by Woundwort to kill Fiver, but Fiver's supernatural calmness and prophesising of his death terrify him into fleeing. After the loss of Woundwort and the battle for Watership Down, Vervain is one of the retreating survivors killed by elil, but he had already lost heart and his sense of purpose.
Vervain also appears in the film in a few scenes, mostly as a background character. Just as his book counterpart did, he threatened Blackavar and wanted him to tell Bigwig why is he here. Then Vervain was explaining what he thinks about Blackavar and Hyzenthlay. These moments were the only speaking roles of Vervain. When Hazel frees Bob, as with other Efrafans, Vervain's fate remains unknown.
TV SeriesEditIn the TV series, Vervain is a cowardly and sneaky rabbit, more adept at spying on others and threatening the weaker ones then in actual combat and is (next to Woundwort) the most hated and despised rabbit of the Watership Down story. Despite his shortcomings, Woundwort values him (though he would not show this) for his loyalty to him. Although Campion saved his life on more than one occasion, Vervain hates him with a passion and would like nothing better than to make Woundwort realize that Campion is a traitor. Kehaar is particularly not fond of Vervain and calls him an 'ugly bunny'.
After Efrafa's destruction, Vervain tries to live on his own but quickly loses hope, until he is saved by Woundwort from a weasel. Although somewhat shocked by his master's increasing madness, Vervain continues to serve Woundwort, though more out of fear than respect, and he secretly longs to lead a different life, even if such thoughts are futile. In the season's finale, Vervain's cowardice saves his life in the end, as by running away when the Black Rabbit of Inlé appears, he avoids the fate of Woundwort. His future fate remains unknown, just like that of his film counterpart.
MiniseriesEditVervain appears in the miniseries where he is voiced by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. He is depicted as a large, stocky, brownish-grey rabbit with dark brown eyes and a few, barely visible scars on his face.
In this adaptation, he is the brother of Captain Orchis, who takes his role as the secondary antagonist, while Vervain himself is given the role of another rabbit named Charlock. He is also the complete opposite of the character he was in the TV series, being very brave, and very threatening. He's the one who leads Captain Holly, Blackberry, and Bluebell down into Efrafa after they are captured by guards and taken there. When Holly tells the Efrafans that they came to ask for some of their does, Vervain ridicules him, along with the other Efrafans. He later pursues the three as they escape Efrafa. Hyzenthlay tackles him in an attempt to delay him long enough, but he calls some more guards to pursue the escaping rabbits. He then tells Hyzenthlay to enjoy her last moments beneath the stars, before striking her in the face, which she barely survives. Guards come and retrieve Hyzenthlay off screen. The escapees run across a rail track just as a train is coming. Vervain catches up to them, and assaults them. Holly manages to knock him down, and jump out of the way in time, before the train comes through, killing Vervain. This devastates Orchis, and fuels his murderous hatred of both Holly and Hyzenthlay for their roles in Vervain's death.
Vervain is a very horrible rabbit who enjoys bullying those who are weaker than him. However, when faced with Elil or other powerful opponents, he is a coward and flees instead of fighting. On more than one occasion his cowardice has resulted in him abandoning his own allies. Vervain is power-hungry and constantly sucks up to General Woundwort in the hopes of gaining his favour. However, Woundwort favours Campion which results in Vervain's jealousy and hatred of him, even though Campion saves his life when Woundwort accuses him of abandoning him.
Vervain is not entirely heartless, however, and has enough honour to try and persuade Woundwort to warn the rabbits of Redstone Warren and give them a fighting chance when man arrives to destroy their home. He is also ashamed of his cowardice and tries to hide it behind a facade of a "trained warrior" even though he has never displayed any great fighting talent. Despite his tendency to run away from danger, Vervain is surprisingly brave if the danger actually catches him. When trapped in barbed wire and in danger of drowning, he initially calls for help, but upon realising that he would be helped by his enemies he tells them that he will not beg for his life. Furthermore, despite usually sucking up to Woundwort, he will occasionally insult him, most notably when they are trapped in a mans bag.
- Vervain is voiced by Derek Griffiths in the film.
- Vervain is voiced by David Holt in the TV series. He is described as a sneaky coward and a bully.
- Vervain is the name of an herb.
- In the film, the captain that appears threatening Blackavar is implied to be Vervain because these moments match a similar part in the book. However, his name is not mentioned in the entire film. This led some viewers think that the character is actually Chervil, who also appeared in the film and therefore had his name mentioned once by Captain Campion, unlike Vervain. The only time Vervain's name is seen is during the credits. Though Chervil does not appear in the credits, it has been confirmed that both characters appeared and were voiced by Derek Griffiths.
- Vervain had 2 major roles in 2 episodes The Great Game and The Wanderer.