Reading 'Redwall' and Discovering a Treat for the Senses


When a book helps you appreciate the little details that make for beautiful moments.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


yeah, great book series, the biggest problem is the formula gets old pretty fast and the quality of the later books is see saw. also surprised there hasnt been a game yet. hell not even a mount and blade mod.


Does the Mouseguard RPG count?


And “Mice and Mystics”.

I think all “Zelda” games give me similar feeling. Because, for example, it’s not just a bottle that you can find in chests or is a drop from a monster, that is a very specific bottle, the bottle, one of three or four in the whole game. And that “uniqueness of a (small) thing” is everywhere. In sounds and music of specific places, in characters, in animals, even in dungeons and bosses. You still saving the world, but it’s not vastness and epicness of “Skyrim”, it’s this miniatureness of the whole thing. Not sure how to describe it, but I feel that I can just put the whole game world on my table.

BotW lost some of it, you don’t even have bottles, but it gained other stuff. It’s a huge world, that full of not very unique things to do and see, but, I feel, that at every moment you still in this small bubble of small stuff, that you can pick, or throw, or cook, or burn, or whatever, even if you can see the whole Hyrule from that spot.

But maybe I’m talking about something complete different :­)


Although I never read “Redwall” specifically, I do remember in middle school reading two other books in the “Redwall”-series, specifically “Mattimeo” and “Martin the Warrior”. I also remember seeing the cover of “Mariel of Redwall” in the library, but I never got around to reading them.

I guess the main thing that drew my interest to those books were both the covers of the books, and also the idea of a fantasy setting where anthropomorphic animals were the main characters, but still having the story presented in a kinda dark and mature way (with the series being specifically aimed at older children in mind).


I think the book that most does this for me is Dune - though sort of for the reverse reason. I feel like that book actively limits a lot of the sensory details, save for the cinnamon notes of The Spice, but because of that I end up walking through town noticing little things, smelling all the smells. Maybe it’s like an eye adjusting to the dark. I come out of the book into the real world ready to drink in every detail.


My dad really enjoys listening to Philip Glass & his entire body of work just goes really well when I’m on either in a car or walking. Maybe it’s just the association with some of the documentaries his music has been in but his music just makes everything feel like it is being taken through an ultra wide lens. His music just has so many different details that feel incredibly crisp yet together form a sound that feels greater than life. His music just goes so well with movement & the passage of time.


Its striking how present death is throughout the whole series. Not just that main characters are dying in a book aimed at children, but the variety and tone. Everything from being poisoned by giant snakes, to decapitation, to going peacefully in the night, to sudden and senseless accidents happen to characters who seemed like they were gonna make it to the end.

Also, for anyone looking to get into the series I highly recommend The Legend of Luke (the origin story of the origin story) and Loamhedge.


Hjartasteinn has a strong emphasis on tact and the human skin, for a long while i would catch myself looking and touching skin and taking special notice of its feel.


Thought for sure this was going to come around to mentioning Tooth and Tail, a new RTS by Pocketwatch (who also made Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine), which is very evocative of Redwall.

I read Redwall pretty young and have fond, but non-specific memories as it was a long time ago. Every once and a while I think maybe I will reread it. Maybe I will to my daughters. It wasn’t a series back then, maybe one or two books. So I suppose if they like it there is a lot to read.

Lately I’ve been reading the Lumberjanes comics to them, which has encouraged us to go out into the wilderness (they’re young, so not the deep wilderness or anything), take a look around, and appreciate it. They’re on the look out for fantastic creatures and magic portals and while we haven’t found any of those, we have found some cool mushrooms and neat moss.


I assumed this was a tie-in too! Tooth and Tail is dramatically more bleak and politically oriented, but there are few enough worlds with anthropomorphic animals that deal with somewhat-adult themes that it definitely seems like a touch point. I didn’t totally realize T&T had a Russian Revolution thing going on either, and happened to be knee deep in China Mieville’s retelling of that time period.


Redwall is one of the first book series I ever read, and one of my favorites. My mom would gather my 3 siblings and I around here and part of a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. The reason the series appeals to the senses so much is because Brian Jacques originally began telling the stories at a school for blind children before the books even existed. After he began writing them down, he would continue to tell new Redwall stories at the same school before they were even printed. It’s part of the reason the differing accents exist and are so pronounced. The dialect of the moles, for example, really brings them to life in sound alone.


Rob really nailed the essence of Redwall—I’ve been craving a nice warm bowl of hotroot soup since I read the first book as an eight or nine-year-old kid, and the series is absolutely overflowing with all kinds of wonderful imagery. Along with Harry Potter, this was the series that really defined my childhood and made me into the reader/writer I am now, so much so that I can still pick out some of its influences in my fiction.

Also, @FlipIron you’re completely right—the series is brutal and really unsparing when it comes to death. Some of the moments I remember most vividly are character deaths (one of which came flooding back when you mentioned Loamhedge), and the series really does make death feel like a natural and unavoidable part of life.


The books that do this for me are some of Mitch Albom’s early novels, especially Tuesdays with Morrie.

It’s forever a classic to me. That book made me appreciate all the little things in life more, both tangible and the nonphysical. Oh and the way he described Asian takeout made me hungry for it in a way nothing else ever has haha.


Redwall was seriously my thing since I first saw Outcast of Redwall, which was rather ahead in the series. I caught the old ones in the library, and actually bought the newer ones as they released. I looked into the animated series when I heard of it, but turns out Redwall is really too brutal for PBS.

It took like another year or so into my anime fandom that someone pointed out the series’ whole racist stance, which rarely changed. Outcast had I think a weasel live in Redwall for a while, not quite get it, and dying at the end. Taggerrun had an Otter kidnapped by a bandit gang and taught how to be deadly, but hand waves off any actual evil thing for him to do. There was a bobcat in Martin IIRC, and then a bird of prey somewhere.

I still want to get a copy of THe Feast of Redwall.


There’s an old Redwall MUCK that I spent years roleplaying on, and it had exactly the same vibe. it was a pretty massive game world to explore, thanks to the fact that players could add locations/rooms/etc. Over the years, its gotten incredibly fleshed out.

i think its still up, I wonder if anyone still plays on it.


Some of my earliest involvement in online community revolved around messageboard RPing Redwall stuff (I was an otter because otters are cool), and I met Brian Jacques on a few occasions as a younger lad. He was the ĂĽr-gentle old British grandfather, and I have several autographed books from him floating around somewhere. It is definitely a series you outgrow though - once I twigged to the course of all his stories it kind of ruined them, and only a few weird outliers (Salamandastron, Mariel of Redwall, and maybe one or two others) broke with the usual structure (also I named my first dog Mariel).

The racial politics of the whole thing never sat right with me, in the same way that the racial politics of Tolkein always felt weird. There was a searat who ended up being a good dude in one of the books (I actually think it might have been in Mariel of Redwall) and becomes a shipwright by the end. It’s a weird series of books, and I’ll wager they don’t hold up now, but man it’s true that Jaques loves him some food descriptions. I forget where I saw it, but once I saw someone compare George Martin’s food descriptions against Jacques’ by saying Jacques was the food equivalent of Playboy, while Martin’s were Hustler.


The interesting part about Redwall and why its so descriptive, is that Brian Jacques was writing for children at a school for the blind. He was a truck driver at the time. I love it and the audio version is wonderful and yeah the food description is so great.


The light on the trees…I read all these books as a kid and for years fussed over the proper words to ascribe to varying aspects of light. Most of the words I stockpiled had their root, for me, in Redwall.

Some of that concern remains, I think. Light mods are always the first thing I install when a beloved game starts to show its wear around the edges. I want to see the flash of light speckled through trees, reflected on water. I want the sunstars when you tilt the camera right up toward the sun. I flinch instinctively, saying as much, expecting a backlash along the lines of “you’re part of what’s wrong with the industry when you seek out realistic visual effects of this expensive-to-acquire caliber,” but I’m not sure how realistic sunstars really are, when in reality if I were to look where I send my in-game camera, I’d be forced to slam my eyes shut. In-game, I can sit and stare and drink it in, in a way that would burn my retinas to toast in real life.

But I’m very much concerned with the play of light anywhere, not just in games – and I think a childhood spent reading books as detail-soaked as Redwall, especially vis-a-vis descriptions of the natural world, played a huge part in that. This is, er, another target ripe for derision, but well, in Infinite Jest? The part where he describes the sunlight at 4-5 PM, and how hopeless and desolate it feels? That bowled me over, accurately capturing as it did a lifelong distaste for the twilight hours, when energy wanes and everyone goes home and all that’s left is a laundry list of humdrum responsibilities to attend to before your body caves in and you’re out. And here was some stranger not only saying he felt the same way, but saying so through the description of it. I know this isn’t the sort of stop-and-pause attention to detail that fills your heart the way Redwall does, with warmth, but it’s probably just as important to see your despair reflected in others, and thus rendered somewhat more valid, as it is to see your joy there, too.

@Ziven001 I used to log into that illegally in grade school in the basic telnet client. I can’t believe I’m hearing from someone else who played! <3


omg wait! Yo, if you played back around like… 2006-2010, I might know
you! I was on a lot when i was 11-14 I just logged back in last night,
servers are still up. Doesn’t look like there is all that much activity
though :’(

I have so many good memories surrounding the game. I wish text-based
anything was still remotely popular, it can be such an engrossing medium.