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Throw the Book at Them

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"They used to call me 'Biblethumper'. Then I realized the Bible is an excellent book to thump with."
Old preacher joke

Where people decide to use both words and action by hitting someone with a book really, really hard; because being bonked on the head with a few thousand pages' worth of hard-bound literature hurts something fierce (the fact that watching someone get conked on the head with a book is inherently funny helps too).

Also an alternative melee weapon for the Squishy Wizard, White Mage, Black Mage, and other magical or scholarly types if the writer decides that a Magic Staff is too fearsome. After all, what better way to make the hapless wizard even more hapless at close-range than to have them trying to kill the slathering, three-headed, pointy-clawed, saber-toothed, flaming beast of hell by whacking it repeatedly with a leather-bound tome?

Often, this will be prompted by a character saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me," or something of the sort. For additional humor value, the book that's used as a weapon will often have a title that's thematically appropriate to the user, the target, and/or the situation at hand. Bonus points if it's being used by a Badass Bookworm, established or developing.

A Sub-Trope of Improbable Weapon User. Related to Useful Book. See Bookshelf Dominoes, for when bookshelves are a weapon. If the book is only used to show the character's angry, see Book Snap. A softer version of Throw a Barrel at It.

Note that this is for books being used to physically attack. For books used offensively by casting spells from it, see Spell Book; although the two can overlap if you physically bonk people with a spellbook. For the paper of books being used as a supernatural weapon, see Paper Master. For books with dangerous words in them, see Brown Note or Deadly Book. For the other meaning of "throw the book at them",note  see the courtroom tropes on the Crime and Punishment Tropes page; it's been known to overlap, especially in comedies and especially when a Joker Jury is involved. No relation to trying to walk with a Book on the Head.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom: The incredibly thick and detailed guidebooks of Kyoto Koro-sensei prepared for his students aren't just helpful to know what to do when a bunch of thugs kidnap your friends. They're also good for bonking said kidnappers unconscious.
  • Battle Royale: Kiriyama is seen beating up some upperclassmen who were picking on him with an anatomy book. Apparently he used what he learned in combat.
  • Berserk: Non-comedic example: Bishop Mozgus, in a much parodied scene, smashes some poor guy's head in with his big metal-bound tome of scriptures for daring to question him, screaming "HERETIC!"
  • CLANNAD: If you make Kyou angry, you'll be on the receiving end of either a high kick or a thrown dictionary to the face (that can crack concrete). DOUBLE if you're bothering her sister.
  • Fruits Basket
    • Happens early on: Yuki whaps Shigure over the head with his bookbag to stem his flirting with Tohru.
    Shigure: What do you have in there, a dictionary?
    Yuki: Two of them.
    • Kyo seems to be a magnet for these sort of attacks. Mayu-sensei uses this on him on occasion and, of course, Shigure attacks him the same way.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: In a flashback extra, a very young Ed bonks poor little toddler Al over the head with a book.
  • Gosick: Victorica occasionally hits Kazuya with a book when he's being stupid. She later uses a pile of them to knock the fake Avril Bradley down a flight of stairs.
  • Hellsing: Alexander Anderson threw a book (presumably a bible) at Alucard once in the anime.
  • Hyakko: There's a fake preview in one episode which makes it seem the next episode will be something more along Neon Genesis Evangelion lines than Hyakko - including a scene where Amagasa-sensei holds the students at gunpoint until Touma knocks the gun out of his hand with a blow from a book.
  • Junjou Romantica: Hiroki, a professor in literature, has a tendency to pelt things at people, books being his forte. He throws quite a few at Nowaki during their lovers' spat in the university library.
  • Kanon: Mai Kawasumi bonks Yuuichi with the veterinarian book she was reading when he doubted her chances of becoming a Kindly Vet. Said book was thin and hard-bound, and she smacked him over the head with its spine. Ouch.
  • Kill la Kill: Ira Gamagoori can use school regulation pocket books as weapons because they're made of folded steel.
  • Played for Laughs in The Kindaichi Case Files.
    • One case arc begins with Miyuki telling Kindaichi the local legend of Hakuja village while Kenmochi is driving the three of them there. After Miyuki finishes the recitation, she asks for Kindaichi's feedback, only for him to respond that he's most excited about the part where the white snake deity was wrapping around the village head's daughter-in-law, prompting Miyuki to smack him on the head with the book she was reading from at the time.
      Kindaichi: Ow...! Are you trying to kill me?!
      Miyuki: It's because of your perverted thoughts!
    • Fumi, while making a visit to Kindaichi one day, smacks him on the head with a book to make him wake up.
      Fumi: What time do you think it is?
  • Kiss Him, Not Me: In episode 10 Mutsumi hits his older brother with a book when he flirts with Serinuma.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Yue cheated once during a pillow fight by hiding thick dictionaries in her pillows.
    • The other Hot Librarian Nodoka sometimes does this as well (usually to Haruna).
  • Monster: Done in an effective but realistic way: Christof was reading when Eva jumped him; after she shoots his ear off and still has a gun trained on him, he turns the tables by throwing his book at her, throwing her off-balance for long enough to disarm her and wrestle her to the floor. It was only thanks to Tenma's timely arrival that she survived.
  • Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream: Patchouli Knowledge ironically gets hit in the face with one of her own books. Which pissed her off.
  • Nabari no Ou: Gau actually saves Raikou once by throwing a book at Yukimi. Several chapters later, Raikou throws a book at Gau's face to shut him up.
  • Queen's Blade: A bonus skit on one of the soundtrack CDs has Noa being hit on the head with a book by her trainer, not thirty seconds after being told by said trainer that books were not for hitting people with.
  • Ranma ½: In an anime-only scene, Ranma hangs upside-down outside Akane's window to check up on her. Despondent, Akane throws a couple books at her - which Ranma dodges deftly - but then hefts a much larger one that smacks spine-first on the redhead's face, stunning her long enough for Akane to follow up with a barbell.
  • While paper is the ammunition of a Paper-User in Read or Die and R.O.D the TV (thus any book can be sacrificed for an attack), special mention goes to Anita in ROD the TV when she flung a copy of the original Dracula at a vampire-like villain across the room without using her powers with enough force to break his nose (and fling him backwards; setting off his sonic disrupter on himself).
  • RIN-NE: "BIBLE CORNER CRUSH!" For some reason, Tsubasa claims he can only do this one time a week.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin tries chucking books at Aoshi and pushing a bookcase over on him in their rematch. Doesn't work.
  • Samurai Champloo: This is Bundai's preferred method of discipline to Mugen when the former's teaching the latter how to read.
  • Servant × Service: this is Yamagami's favoured method of attacking Hasebe whenever he gets onto her nerves. In the manga, when Taishi complained about Yamagami attacking people with work documents, she replied there was only waste paper in those folders; which means she specifically prepared those folders to hit people with.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Subverted with Margery Daw and Marcosius. Margery regularly abuses Marcosius, who has the form of a book.
  • Shaman King: Asakura Yoh's satellite Manta always carries around an encyclopedia, and occasionally he refers to it as his Hammer of Knowledge and hits someone with it.
  • Soul Eater:
    • The Maka Chop, a purely comedic attack, apparently imitating Death's "Death Chop" which leaves a similar mark, because Death's hands are the same rough shape as a thick book. This becomes a plot point when Maka does the Maka Chop on someone when they desperately needed a certain Tome of Eldritch Lore, and the Eldritch Location they were really does summon out of Hammerspace.
    • In Soul Eater Not!, Tsugumi and Anya play a game of janken where the winner beats the loser in the head with a rolled-up newspaper and the loser has to try and block with a book, but when Tsugumi loses she fumbles and drops it on her own head.
  • Okabe from Steins;Gate gets one from Kurisu after discovering Ruka's genderswap through a rather... inappropriate method.
  • SWOT: Manabizaki uses his textbooks (or whatever books he has handy) as weapons against all the delinquents in his school. It does fit with him being a Badass Bookworm.
  • Wagnaria!!: Souta's sister Kazue is a lawyer with a habit of using quite large legal texts as weapons. Souta at one point outright says that Kazue became a lawyer precisely because then she'd have an excuse to carry around law books to use as weapons.
  • The early Yu-Gi-Oh! manga has a fake psychic who predicts Yugi's death by "falling letters", then pushes some heavy bookcases (filled with books) over on the kid to make it come true.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In "The Book of Kells", the librarian Brother Bernard escapes from the Doctor by shoving a stack of books on top of him and fleeing while the Doctor is temporarily buried.

    Card Games 
  • Several books appear as weapons in Munchkin, including the Very Holy Book, the Splatbook, and, in Munchkin Zombies, The Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Illustration: a zombie dropping it on an unsuspecting human's head. Flavor text: "It's useful for zombies too, though in a different way."
  • In Magic: The Gathering, we have a Wizarding School known as Strixhaven University, among which is a campus called Lorehold...basically a school of Adventurer Archaeologist-type students. Among Lorehold's student body, you have a lot of Scrollbashers and Tomewielders who, if they're not using the spells written in ancient texts, they are literally smacking their enemies across the face with very heavy books.

    Comic Books 
  • In 52, Bruno Mannheim grabs a man by the back of his head and smashes his face on the Crime Bible which is sitting atop a podium. The book itself is made out of stone, presumably to facilitate this.
  • Fanhunter: Father Merrin uses bibles, signed by Mike Tyson and Jet Li for extra "oomph", as throwing weapons with a force stated to be akin to a Stinger missile.
  • Ghost Rider once found himself in a fight with a religious fanatic, armed with two swords able to kill him. He won by beating him with a big Bible.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: In the Van Helsing mini-series, Liesel is attacked by vampires in a bookstore. She drops a shelf full of books on top of one of the vamps, who proceeds to smash her way out.
  • Issue six of the Comic-Book Adaptation of James Bond Jr. had James assaulting Oddjob with a hardbound copy of Murder on the Orient Express no less than three times.
  • Jimmy Olsen pitched a book at two crooks who'd been stalking him in "The Hunted Messenger."
  • In Judge Colt #1, Colt captures a gang of outlaws by tipping a bookshelf full of law books on top of them.
  • Gabe gets hit in the face by a roleplaying book when a fleeing suspect overturns a table in The Maze Agency #22. The book is open to a chapter titled "Pain".
  • In a Monica's Gang story, Jimmy Five uses fancy words to pick on Monica—but she thinks they are compliments, and gets happy after hearing them. As she goes offscreen, he starts to gloat about the power of words... and the last panel is a thrown dictionary approaching him from behind.
  • Robin: In one issue, Tim is at school when some mafia goons come gunning for another student. He takes one of them out by clubbing him with one of his textbooks.
  • Brainy in The Smurfs story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything" whacks a few Smurfs in the head with the titular book in order to get them away from him.
  • Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen: In "The Hunted Messenger", Jimmy gets stalked by two outlaws while he's delivering a book. He responds by pitching it at them and yanking the rug out from under their feet.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Andy Capp, a shop owner calls Andy some bad names. Andy quips "Words can't hurt me, mate." He is hit in the head with a dictionary the shop owner throws at him.
  • Done to Garfield once or twice.
  • Get Fuzzy: Bucky Katt often hits Satchel on the head with books that Rob gives to him (to read, of course.)

    Fan Works 
  • In The Black Bunny Draco discovers the hazards of annoying Hermione in a library.
  • Dangerverse: Hermione does this to Pettigrew when he tries to kidnap her Pack-sister Megan. With her Monster Book of Monsters.
  • In one story of the Facing the Future Series, a brainwashed Jazz hit Danny repeatedly over the head with a scroll. When Danny took it from her, she pulled out a dagger.
  • Edward prevents an assassination in Full Circle by chucking a heavy leather-bound copy of the Constitution at the shooter.
  • In Naruto's Kit, Sasuke Uchiha is on trial, charged with "Betrayal of the village to a well-known and confirmed enemy. Attempted murder of a leaf shinobi with lethal intent on several occasions. Conspired to aid a criminal organization. Attempted kidnapping of a leaf shinobi with lethal intent. And endangerment of a leaf village child on one proven occasion." When asked for his professional opinion, Naruto says they should throw the book at him. Subsequently, when court adjourns for a recess, the fic's title character, Akane Uzumaki, borrows Kakashi's copy of Icha Icha and throws it, hitting Sasuke in the back of the head. When everyone looks at her in surprise, her only reply is "What? Otou-san said to throw a book at him."
  • In Retro Chill, Galaxoid tosses a planet field guide at Rupert. It doesn't do much, but its contents reveal (to them, anyway) that Calvin is not the Earth's leader.
  • In the second story of Raven Child's The Smurfette Village series, Brainette does this to Brainy when she becomes rather irritated with his attitude towards her.
  • The Sue Slayers: A New Fangirologist has the protagonist hit another girl over the head with a dictionary. Before this, though, she mentions testing out different kinds of books and says though a Bartimaeus Trilogy book can hurt, the Half-Blood Prince can knock people out.
  • A non-comedic example of this happens in System Restore when Togami almost hits Nanami with a book upon realizing that she knows they're the Super High School Level Imposter.
  • Not in Sunset Shimmer Is Mad About Everything itself except as backstory, but in many of the other stories in its continuity, Sunset Shimmer is very fond of using books, scrolls, and especially newspapers as weapons. Depending on the story, it is played for laughs (eg, A Newspaper Solves Everypony's Problem) or for drama (eg, The Beard with a Jerk-Ass Hanging off of It).
  • Sixes and Sevens: During their time in college, Crichton was enough of a creep to Edith that she beat him up with a copy of A Hero of Our Time.

    Films — Animation 
  • Felix the Cat: The Movie: In a strange way, this is how Felix the Cat saved the day, by throwing an ancient book at the Duke of Zil's Master Cylinder, resulting in the destruction of the Duke's entire army. Poindexter surmised that the book had an adverse effect on the Master Cylinder's circuitry and the rest of the army went down with it because it was the source of their power. Felix believes that it was the power of good in the book that did the job.
  • In Lilo & Stitch, when Cobra Bubbles visits Lilo and Nani's house to talk abut the latter losing her job, Stitch comes up to him with a book... before suddenly growling at him and chucking the book at his face, which gets Nani in even more trouble with Cobra.
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Vanellope and Knowsmore pelt Ralph with books when he bursts into Knowsmore's stall. This is then followed by Knowsmore throwing the book cart at him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 5ive Girls, Cecilia throws a heavy book at the head of the possessed Leah, aiming at the sound of her voice. She then uses the book to pound Leah's head in.
  • Accident Man: At the Russian health club, Mike knocks Fred out by hitting him in the head with the phone book.
  • In Bad Kids Go to Hell, Tricia hits Craig in the face with a hardcover book, resulting in a fatal Staircase Tumble.
  • A Jerk Jock is beat to death with a book in Bad Reputation.
  • In The Bourne Ultimatum, during a high-speed fight where every single object in the room is used as a weapon, one of them happens to be a book. It's used both as a shield and as a bludgeon.
  • In The Butchers, JB uses the hefty Tome of Eldritch Lore to smash Ed Gein in the face.
  • A police officer smacks a man around with a copy of the Yellow Pages in The Crying Tree.
  • In Dead Again in Tombstone, Lady Du Vere uses the 'the Devil's Book' to hit Alicia in the face when she enters the town hall. Later, Boomer hits her several times with it and looks like he might beat her to death until Guerrero enters.
  • Friday the 13th Part III had a scene where Chris, while on the floor above Jason, knocks a bookcase over the balcony ledge, causing hundreds of books to rain down on Jason.
  • In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, John's first fight scene takes place in a library as an assassin twice as big as he is comes in after him. He has a knife, while John has a book in hand. John wins.
  • In Logan's Run, Francis and Logan are fighting in the House of Representatives in the Capitol Building (It Makes Sense in Context), during which Francis throws books as weapons.
  • The French comedic movie Les Ripouxnote  (known as My New Partner or Le Cop in English) have a few scenes when suspects are hit on the head with a telephone book while being interrogated by the heroes.
  • In Saved!, a parody about over-the-top Christians, the Alpha Bitch throws a Bible at a "sinful" girl. Which is followed by one of the best and/or most Anvilicious lines in the entire movie.
    Mary: This (holding the Bible) is not a weapon!
  • Keanu Reeves gets to use a phone book for an interrogation in Street Kings.
  • The film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the melee with the slavers, when Lucy clocks two of them upside the head with their own ledger.
  • Attempted by Travis in The Visitation, but instead turns into a Pocket Protector moment as the Bible instead catches the incoming weapon.

  • Adrian Mole contemplates knocking somebody out with a well-aimed blow of his hardback edition of War and Peace.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries: How one victim dies in Book Bandit, having been knocked out by a blow to the back of the head from an encyclopedia, and then hit several more times to finish her. Then the killer pushed a bookcase over on her to Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • Codex Alera:
  • Discworld
    • Poor old Albert in Mort discovers just how painful this trope can be when his charges drop part of Albert's "biography" (the book in Death's library that contains his life story) on top of his head. And since he's a wizard who's stayed alive for hundreds of years by living in Death's domain, Albert's got a whole shelf to himself full of very long and heavy books.
    • Death himself is buried under a pile of books in The Last Continent upon asking for a list of dangerous creatures of XXXX. He decides it would be easier to ask for a list of safe creatures of XXXX, whereupon a tiny piece of paper flutters down reading "some of the sheep".
    • In Guards! Guards!, Vimes orders Carrot to "throw the book" at the perpetrator. Carrot takes this literally. Since the book weighs about ten pounds and the criminal is standing near a ledge, the criminal is knocked over the edge and falls to his death.
    • Shawn Ogg (Lancre's standing army; except when he's lying down) in Lords and Ladies is trying to learn martial arts from a book, and then, when push comes to shove, ends up whacking the enemy with the book.
    • Another lethal Discworld book: How to Kille Insects, which is about three thousand pages long; presumably if all else fails, one could use the book to squash insects. In Men at Arms, the Librarian whacks Cuddy over the head with this book so hard, his helmet gets stuck.
  • In The Nicholas Book, when the villain attempts to stab the children's rescuer, Joshua strikes the former hard on the head with the largest book he can find. This gives their rescuer the upper hand for a moment.
  • In The Shadow of the Lion, the villain is knocked out by a falling Bible. Then a voice declares "Let Evil Feel The Weight of the Word of God!".
  • In The Secret Series, the author, Pseudonymous Bosch, often brings up this point in more than one of his books.
    The Name of This Book is Secret: [This book] probably won't injure you at all. Unless somebody throws it at you, which is a possibility that should never be discounted.
    This Isn't What It Looks Like: Use of this book for other than the intended purpose is not advised. While it may seem like an ideal projectile, the makers of this book cannot guarantee your safety if you throw it at someone. There is always the possibility that that person will throw it back.''
  • In Space Marine Battles novel Malodrax, Lysander spends a decent chunk of his first trip to the planet with nothing to his name but an Apocalyptic Log about Malodrax. It's a heavy, iron-bound book with a chain that lets him swing it like an Epic Flail, and he doesn't hesitate to use it against many, many horrors of the daemon world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used by name on Arrested Development, both figuratively and literally.
    • In the episode "Altar Egos", a flashback has young Michael playing the prosecutor in the school play The Trial of Captain Hook and requesting the judge to do this (in song).
    • In the following episode, "Justice Is Blind", adult Michael actually does throw a book at Maggie Lizer to prove she's only pretending to be blind. Unfortunately, she's been temporarily blinded for real and the book connects.
  • The Avengers (1960s): During a fight in the village library in "Murdersville", Steed grabs an armful of books off the shelf and hurls them at an attacker.
  • Babylon 5 does this in one episode late in the series. G'Kar, having unwillingly acquired followers after writing a book, uses the book to teach one unthinking follower an object lesson. "If the book is holy and I am holy, then I must help you to become closer to thoughts of the Universe. Put your face in the book." Despite the follower's nervousness, he finally does as he is asked. The predictable happens with a satisfying slap, followed by the sound of the follower groaning in pain.
  • Boy Meets World's slasher episode "And Then There Was Shawn". Dozens of books are being pushed off their shelves to crush the victims to death while the gang tries to hide from the killer in the library, to no avail. The victims of this are Eric Matthews and Jennifer Love "Feffy" Fefferman, and they serve as the penultimate victims of the episode before Angela and Jack are killed.
    Eric: Feffy! I'll save you!
    Feffy: No, it's too late! But I think I know who the killer is!
    Eric: Save your breath, Feffy! There'll be plenty of time for that later!
    Feffy: Eric, I'm dying.
    Eric: Oh, right, okay, then maybe you should tell me now.
    Feffy: I caught a glimpse of the killer just before the books hit me. The killer is...
    (this is quickly cut off, as the killer dumps more books on Feffy and Eric, killing them both)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy does this literally in "Prophecy Girl" when Giles finds a prophecy that she will die.
    Buffy: 'Signs'? [hurls book] READ ME THE SIGNS! [throws another one] TELL ME MY FORTUNE! You're so useful sitting here with ALL YOUR BOOKS!
  • In El Caso, one of Commissioner Camacho's favorite ways to soften up suspects is clobbering them with a phone book.
  • In one of the Get Smart made-for-TV movies, Max uses a book as a shield when someone attacks him with a knife in a book warehouse.
    Max: Nobody gets through War and Peace!
  • The main character of The Invisible Man has a massive book of famous quotes, that he apparently uses when narrating the opening of each episode. Once, his nemesis ambushes him in his apartment by clubbing him over the head with that book.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Olivia Benson uses this on the guy who attacks her in the episode "Svengali".
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: In "Raisins and Almonds", Phryne Fisher confronts an intruder in a bookstore. The intruder tips over a bookshelf and dumps a pile of books on her.
  • Subverted by The Monkees: A police detective says "Throw the book at them!" while interrogating the boys; Micky catches the book and begins to read it.
  • Once Upon a Time: Belle does this trope one better by overturning a library cart full of books on her attacker.
  • Penn and Teller did this with a Bible on the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode on Creationism.
  • Person of Interest. John Reese defeats a mook who is attacking that week's Number at a library by clubbing him unconscious with a text on criminal law.
  • Psychopath Diary: Dong-sik hits In-woo with a book. A book containing a camera that just filmed In-woo's murder attempt, no less.
  • Shadow and Bone. In "The Heart is an Arrow", the Crows decide to get out of town by stealing General Kirigan's carriage. Jesper opens the carriage door to find David Kostyk reading a book. Jesper grins and says hello, upon which a panicked David throws the book at Jesper's head and scrambles out of the other side of the carriage, only to get whacked across the face by Kaz's cane and knocked out. Even funnier? A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows that the book is actually a Ravkan "translation" of Shadow & Bone.
    Jesper: He threw a book at me.
  • Vic Mackey from The Shield has occasionally beaten suspects with a Door Stopper.

  • Moxy Früvous' "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" is about reconciling the relationship tension between the narrator and his bookworm girlfriend, which is a series of set-ups for library-themed puns. This specific threat is inevitably used, in the second verse:
    So I started watching some TV
    Played my new CD player, too
    She said: "Turn it off!
    Or I'll call the cops,
    And I'll throw the book at you."

  • In The Complete Nonsense Of Edward Lear, an old sage in the poem "Two Old Bachelors" uses his book as a weapon against the bachelors.
    But that old sage looked calmly up, and with his awful book,
    At those two bachelors' bald heads a certain aim he took.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • On one edition of Monday Night Raw, Lita was being interviewed in the ring, plugging her recently-released autobiography. Molly Holly later came down, clobbered Lita with her own book, tore several pages out, and shoved them down Lita's throat.
  • During his feud with Samoa Joe, Christian Sting and Scott Hall in 2007, Kurt Angle bewilderingly decided he didn't have enough enemies and assaulted Eric Young with a phone book, leading Young to later pay him back in kind in an iMPACT main event.
  • Truth Martini in Ring of Honor is a Life Intervention Expert, who has a tendency to smack his clients' opponents with the Book of Truth, of which we never know the contents but has been instrumental in converting people to his cause, most notably Christopher Daniels.
  • Paige Turner carries hardcover books. Promotes literacy and they're great for clapping around faces of belligerents.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A popular way of dealing with members of a gaming group when they become too much of an idiot, or an asshole to handle diplomatically. The Game Master is not exempt from this.
  • Deadlands: A very characteristic illustration of Reverend Grimme in his sourcebook Lost Angels shows him using his Bible as a slashing weapon with, appropriately, a Slasher Smile across his face.
  • In Pathfinder the Living Grimoire archetype of the inquisitor hits people with their deity's holy book, as well as using it as a Spell Book.
    • The Scrollmaster archetype of the wizard is a slight variant, using magic scrolls as slashing weapons and shields and getting bonuses to casting spells from scrolls.
  • In Flying Frog's Touch of Evil, the schoolteacher starts out with 2 hit points and 2 attack points. For every book you can find and give her, she gets a 2-point bonus to her attacks. At maximum (10 books in the deck), she still has two hit points, but an attack rating of 22 points; which, by the game's mechanics, theoretically could knock Cthulhu out in one punch.

    Video Games 
  • In Atelier Annie books are rather weak physically but give their users decent magic boosts.
  • In the video game of And Then There Were None, Justice Wargrave is beaten to death by a law book that he wrote.
  • Mentioned in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, there exists a rivalry between Lita and Veola. Veola, a shopkeeper and inventor, is able to use books you find throughout the series to discover formulas for powerful items, and often claims that Lita would only use the books to bash someone on the head with.
  • Avalon Code requires you to do this to gather information on flowers, items, and people (!) to be stored in the Book of Prophecy for the impending Apocalypse.
  • Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite throws books at Booker DeWitt when she finds he has entered her quarters inside the Statue Of Columbia on Monument Island.
  • One Limit Break of Jason Bourne's in The Bourne Conspiracy involves him beating his opponent with a book.
  • Brain Dead 13: One of the many, many things trying to kill Lance is a skeleton in the library, who tosses lethal books.
  • Silent Wise King Cai from Brigandine whacks people with his tome when he is forced to fight up close.
  • In Cardinal Quest 2, a Flash game available on Kongregate, one of the classes is the Pugilist. The Pugilist is a Blood Knight Idiot Hero. While other classes can read Tomes for skills/stat boosts, the Pugilist is apparently illiterate. The Pugilist simply throws the Tomes at enemies.
  • Castlevania:
  • In Dark Souls III, the Evangelist carries a large book and smacks whoever gets too close to her with it.
  • Variant: Fumi Kanno attacks Trumpeter with several laptops in Devil Survivor 2. Throw The MacBook At Them?
  • This method was how the Detective of Disco Elysium ended up solving the so-called THE UNSOLVABLE CASE, a problem with a duo of two drunken unemployed men who constantly went around committing petty vandalism and indecent exposure respectively. Since the two men had next to no money, threatening them with fines weren't working, and since their crimes weren't serious enough to warrant jail time (due to overcrowded jails), that wasn't a solution either. The "solution" came unexpectedly, when the vandal attempted to steal and and commit vandalism against the Detective's ledger, which is a beloved Companion Cube for him. This freaked out and angered the Detective so much that he impulsively used the ledger to savagely beat the vandal within an inch of his life, leaving him an invalid, who therefore couldn't go outside and commit acts of vandalism any more. This also forced the indecent exposurer to stay at home all the time and take care of the vandal, meaning that he also become unable to roam around and commit indecent exposure. That this actually solved THE UNSOLVABLE CASE was the only reason why the Detective didn't get a formal disciplinary hearing over beating up a prep and leaving him a cripple.
  • Disgaea D2 adds a new class of weapons: Books. Books are Int-based weapons, but while Staves are used to enhance the range and area of spells, Books are better for straight-up damage and have weapon skills.
  • In the .hack//G.U. Games, Shadow Warlocks (like Gaspard and Sakubo) use a weird floating pedestal with an open book as a weapon. It's a floating Spell Book for their special attacks, but their weak regular attacks involve grabbing the pedestal / handle and swinging the whole contraption like a club.
  • Cassandra Pentaghast in Dragon Age II throws a book at Varric Tethras in the introduction to get him to start talking about the Champion of Kirkwall. Subsequent dialogue reveals it is, in fact, a book that he wrote.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online: Artificers have a Rune Arm called "Whirling Words", that fires a stream of books at the enemy.
  • In Eternal Poison, books are a favorite weapon of witches (such as Thage) and can be used to break spiritual barriers on certain Majin.
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: Books are a weapon type in the game. Interestingly, while the character art presents them as the Zodiac's weapon, any character can equip and use books... probably because it doesn't take much training to smack people around with one.
  • In Faery: Legends of Avalon, Bert (an unusually educated troll) carries a hefty book around with him and hits people with it in combat. He also uses it as part of his spells, using it to swat magically-formed projectiles at enemies.
  • In the "Collapse" DLC of Far Cry 6, Joseph Seed (the cult leader villain of Far Cry 5) has several Takedowns where he bashes enemies' brains in with a bible or uses it to snap necks by jamming it into someone's mouth and twisting it.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has books as one weapons type, and you do clonk people on the head if you use a melee attack. Makes a really satisfying sound too...
    • The weapon of choice for Scholars in Final Fantasy III. Like all weapons in this game, they can be Dual Wielded. Makes a highly satisfying "whump" noise on contact, too.
    • While characters' artwork in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance have a variety of weapons in their hands, from large swords to cool rods to a simple wooden bow, Montblanc carries a book. Unfortunately, books couldn't be equipped in that game though.
    • Speaking of throwing books, Final Fantasy Tactics also allows you to do just that, literally, via the Ninja class (the Mediator/Orator class has books for weapons, though they read from it to attack so they don't count), which has the ability to throw almost any weapon in the game. Thrown weapons always do damage based on the weapon's attack power, even when that doesn't make any logical sense (as is the case with books, whose attack power isn't based on physically attacking).
    • While the Arcanists, Scholars, and Summoners of Final Fantasy XIV normally use their grimoires as Spell Books, getting up close and initiating auto-attack will cause them to smack enemies upside the head with the book's spine.
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, you spend one stage inside a public library. Many of the supernatural forces pitted against you involve books of some sort: ranging from Book Bats (possessed books that fly at you) to Paper Constructs and Book Centurions (paper and books that collect into a shape to attack you) to Book Golems (hundreds of books collected into a giant that chases you around).
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Ordinarily, Goofy uses shields as his Improbable Weapon. However, one of The Heartless enemies is a living book called a Bookmaster. They sometimes Randomly Drop inert versions of themselves called Akashic Record. What does Goofy do with what possibly might be a record of the mind of God or the universal consciousness? Hit people with it. The Bookmaster's Underground Monkey variant, the Runemaster, also drops a stronger version of the Akashic Record creatively named the Akashic Record+.
    • Organization XIII's Master of Illusion, Zexion, has a lexicon as his weapon. He uses it both for magic and good, ol' physical beating.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, there is an Optional Boss Unversed in the Mirage Arena called the Mimic Master, which wields a tome that it can use to fire Yin-Yang Bomb beams at the heroes, create clones of them, set it on fire to attack them, or just plain whack them with it.
  • Throwing the book at Ganon in Link: The Faces of Evil is the only way to kill him... and the only weapon you'll need.
    "No, not into the pit! It BUUUUURRRRRRNS!"
  • Hayate whacks her enemies with her tome in Magical Battle Arena... which is weird since she has a perfectly serviceable staff with pointy bits on it. Well, it is a Tome of Eldritch Lore.
  • Enforced in Makai Kingdom, a later Nippon Ichi game. Zetta, the most powerful badass FREAKIN overlord in the entire cosmos, gets turned into a book, and can't fight except for his Zetta beams of energy. Also, the Book weapons in the game only have magical attacks.
  • Minecraft Dungeons: Normally, Enchanters avoid direct confrontation and will actually walk away from you if you go near them. However, if you walk up to their face and don't immediately kill them, they will actually start smacking you with their book as a last-ditch attack.
  • As of currently, in My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle's melee moveset consists of telekinetically whacking opponents with a book. (The book can apparently fire a Kamehame Hadoken as well.)
  • In Octopath Traveler, Cyrus's first boss, Russell, has an attack called "Tome Tempest," implying that he's quite literally throwing books as an attack.
  • In Okage: Shadow King, Cloud Cuckoolander Kisling is a Squishy Wizard whose weapons consist of scientific books. While he mostly uses them for magic, he can also use them for physical attacks—not that it's recommended, as his strength is far lower than his arcane skill.
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, a certain Shy Guy going by the name of "Pry Guy" has a journal that he found. When you fight him, one of his attacks is the "HARDCOVER JUSTICE MISSILE", which consists of bashing Mario with the book.
  • Elizabeth uses a book as her weapon during the Optional Boss fight in Persona 3. She throws it at you for Strike attacks but conjures cards from the pages for Slash and Pierce attacks. Her brother Theodore does the same in the Updated Re-release. Elizabeth's Book of Death returns in Persona 4: Arena.
  • Phantom Brave, of course. It's actually one of the more normal weapons. Oddly, the books' basic attack, called "Thwap", fires a beam of energy.
  • Aloutte of La Pucelle: Tactics wields a book as her weapon in battle. She also uses it to smack the main character in the head when she's being particularly difficult.
  • In Puyo Puyo, the animation for Ringo's penultimate puyo chain attack, Integral (Algorithm in the English dub), shows her slamming a book down.
  • Ragnarok Online:
    • The MMORPG has a vast variety of book-type weapons for priests and sages. They're more effective (And amusing) for direct combat than rods and staves but tend to be less effective at boosting spell damage. The Sage class line in particular specializes in wielding books, having the ability to cast while book slapping, along with causing spells of their choosing to randomly go off with each hit.
    • Star Gladiators actually attack enemies physically. Not with the books, no, though they equip them as weapons. They kick the enemy to death and seem to use the books they've equipped as some sort of manual or something rather than as actual weapons.
  • In Riviera: The Promised Land, Fia can use a book to heal the party, while Cierra will use it to cast a spell on the enemy. Other characters will simply opt to throw the book for damage. Some enemy magicians also use their books as projectile weapons, though they prefer to use them for summoning or offensive magic.
  • RuneScape has a boss called Lexicus Runewright. He is described as a Libraromancer and summons magical books that attack you, known as the Almanac Army. Book Barrage is similar - several books are thrown directly at your location, and then explode.
  • Science Girls!: When the teachers are being attacked, one of them uses a textbook as a weapon against the Plant Aliens:
    Ms. Bullfinch swings her full-size Teacher's Edition textbook at the carrot - and it moves to dodge her blow!
  • Velma throws books as her weapon of choice in Scooby-Doo! First Frights and Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp.
  • Alice from Shadow Hearts is a good example of a White Mage that uses books as a bludgeoning device.
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. The Clerics, while in the front row, will hit the opponent with their holy book. A useless attack, but worth watching purely for a good laugh. If you don't put your clerics in the front row to see this in action, fear not, because a Cleric Gatekeeper at Zazana uses this same attack to keep a noisome intruder from going into town — one who goes by the name of Odie.
  • In Suikoden II, Nina uses books, tied to the end of a belt, to smack enemies out of her way.
  • Robin in Super Smash Bros. normally uses his/her spell books as, well, spell books. But true to Fire Emblem mechanics, they can only be used so many times before they break, at which point Robin will automatically toss it aside or drop it. It can be grabbed again then thrown at opponents to deal damage and knockback rivaling that of a smash attack, and actually hurts more than the alternative improvised throwing weapon of a discarded Levin Sword.
  • Tales Series:
    • Claus from Tales of Phantasia will use his books as a weapon if he doesn't have enough mana to summon something, an enemy is too close, or he is told not to use magic.
    • Hitting people with Rita's spellbook is a possible melee option in Tales of Vesperia as well.
  • In a variant, Tibia has mages using Spell Books as shields.
  • Oleander of Them's Fightin' Herds carries a Tome of Eldritch Lore that's used in many of her attacks to cast dark magic. Given that the book is almost as big as she is, an equal number of attacks have her just smacking them with it to roughly the same effect.
  • How do you register a monster in the bestiary in 3D Dot Game Heroes? By whacking them with said bestiary until their entry shows up, of course!
  • Touhou Project: Patchouli Knowledge, the Elementalist Badass Bookworm, carries no weapons, ever... so in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, which is a fighting game, when people get near her, she is forced to rely on her trusty tomes to smack people's faces away from her and back in range of her more explosive spells. These book attacks are also surprisingly strong, for being wielded by an anemic, asthmatic mage.
  • In Triangle Strategy, Frederica and Corentin, who are otherwise spellcasting mages, can opt to physically smack enemies with their tomes if they're too low on TP to use magic.
  • One of the weapons in Undertale is a torn notebook, which, when you attack with, plays an animation of a spinning book.
  • In Vandal Hearts 2, there's a Special-type item called Textbook. While it does hold more spells/skills than other weapons, it has a second-highest ATK power of all Special-Type weapon, even described "the edges of this book is a deadly weapon."
  • In the 1996 version of Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego?, depending on which state you caught the various crooks in, one of the Good Guides would make an appearance and forcibly arrest the crook. One of these, Herman Nootix, literally threw books at the criminals to take them down.
  • In one of the "Where in the World" games, Herman would sometimes pull a huge book out of his coat and close it on the thief, flattening them.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nageki Fujishiro of Hatoful Boyfriend has been known in the manga and the Drama CD to throw books at people being overly disruptive or disrespectful to the books when in the library. Ryouta lampshades this by saying hitting people with books will hurt the books too - especially since Nageki says someone defiling books in front of him a second time will be hit with the corners. ...In the games themselves, he's rather more shy.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Jigoro Hakamichi once threatens to beat Hisao with his autobiography.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY Chibi has this with the very first episode. Ruby discovers Blake's romance novel, "Ninjas of Love." She declares, "This is filth! Filth!" and then smacks her upside the head with it before walking away.


    Web Original 
  • The Cracked article "5 Things Movies Don't Tell You About Mental Institutions" included an anecdote where the co-author of the piece found herself being harassed by a creepy guy who whispered to any women he passed that he was going to rape her at night. One day, he suddenly decided to barge into the co-author's room uninvited. Thankfully, she was not shy about being violent when in danger and was reading one of the later, and more importantly, thicker Harry Potter books. So, after the guy refused to leave despite her screaming at him, pushing him out, and threatening to hurt him, she socked him one right in the face and proceeded to beat him with the Doorstopper until nearby orderlies heard the commotion, separated them, and put the guy under stricter supervision.
  • Cobra Kai: "No Mercy" sees Chris get put on the ground by Mitch, who proceeds to mock his fighting skills. Chris uses this opportunity to snatch a textbook, jump right back up, and put Mitch on the ground in response.
    (quietly) "Who's badass now?"
  • Played With in The Weather. One skit involves the cops investigating some murders. The fifth man murdered was killed with books. Books used as stabbing tools piercing and stuck his body.
  • Books are the weapon of choice for thirteen-year-old rebel militia leader Tamika Flynn of Welcome to Night Vale. Usually fired from a slingshot. Despite living in a town where students are regularly provided firearms by paramilitary government agencies (and often have to use them against the horrors of everyday life), Tamika and her "book club" are among the most effective combatants around.
    • It probably helps that certain books, like the hardback edition of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, are apparently sold with things like teargas canisters attached to the back cover.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time Episode "Paper Pete" Finn resorts to this.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender. In "The Library", Sokka manages a stunning sneak attack on the knowledge spirit Wan-Shi-tong by having Aang drop him from his glider from about 4 meters up, then pounding down on the owl's skull with a really big book while falling.
    Sokka: That's called "Sokka style". Learn it!
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Judgement Day", courtroom-themed vigilante The Judge tells The Riddler, "It's about time someone threw the book at you!" and drops a car-sized book on him, nearly killing him.
  • Celebrity Death Match likes this one.
  • Chowder: In "The Poultry Geist", Mung attempts to drive out the spirit possessing Chowder by using a copy of the Snackronomicon. He does this by whacking Chowder with the book.
  • In one of the promotional shorts for DuckTales (2017), Huey knocks out Bigfoot by throwing the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook at him. If you look carefully, Huey consults the book before throwing it, implying that the guidebook instructed him to use it as a weapon.
  • In one Ed, Edd n Eddy episode, the Eds (read: Double D) are trying to figure out how to get the especially amorous Kankers off their backs. After watching Rolf using a smaller rock to break down bigger rocks, he comes up with the analogy that "only a rock can break a rock" (annoying Eddy) and notes that to win, they'll use reverse psychology. Of course, when Double D pulled out the textbook on the subject, Eddy assumed they were going to hit the Kankers with it.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: In "Yellow Pantera", Frida announces that she found something at the library to help them defeat El Mal Verde. Rather than finding his weakness in a book, she just grabbed the biggest book she could find and threw it at Mal Verde... where it bounces off with no effect.
    Frida: Well, that's all I got. Thoughts?
  • Garfield once used a "good, BIG book" in an attempt to cure his insomnia by hitting himself over the head with it repeatedly.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 9, Mr. Cat (acting as a Dirty Cop) attempts to torture a confession out of Quack-Quack for a crime he didn't commit by repeatedly whacking him over the head with a book. Kaeloo brings in a book with Smileyland's laws to read out to Mr. Cat that Quack-Quack has the right to an attorney, but Mr. Cat realizes that her book is bigger and uses it to hit Quack-Quack instead of the one he was using before.
  • Looney Tunes examples:
    • Some cartoons featuring a cat waking a character up at night have the character throwing a book (say, The Thin Man) at That Poor Cat, but the book's sequel is thrown back at him (thus, The Thin Man Returns). Such cartoons include Porky's Badtime Story and its remake, Tick Tock Tuckered.
    • In From Hare To Heir, Yosemite Sam institutes the "nose in the book" penalty on his accountant.
    • In the Wartime Cartoon Brother Brat, a Rosie the Riveter type leaves her baby in Porky's care, along with a book on child-rearing for help. After following the advice fails to control the unruly kid, she shows Porky the correct way of using the book - as a spanking paddle.
  • In the first episode of the second season of Miraculous Ladybug, the Villain of the Week is The Collector, who is attempting to replace his lost book of inspiration. Anything hit by his book, or that hits his book, is imprisoned as a sketch on one of its pages.
  • One Robot Chicken short showed a courtroom judge lob a book at the defendant and fall short. He asks the bailiff to retrieve it and throws it again, hitting his mark.
  • On Rocky and Bullwinkle, one segment of "Bullwinkle's Corner" featured the Longfellow poem "The Children's Hour". At the outset, Bullwinkle is reading a book with this title ("a very useful book" as he described it) and ends up using it to paddle the unruly children (similar to the Looney Toons mentioned above).
  • Humorously used in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer is trying to think of a way to get out of jail when Hans Moleman comes by with a book cart. Homer picks up a book on digging tunnels and says that the book gives him an idea. He then knocks out Moleman by hitting him with the book and runs out the open cell door.
    • In another episode, Cletus tries to crack a turtle's shell with a heavy book, saying "Nothing cracks a turtle like Leon Uris".
    • In the Treehouse of Horror telling of The Raven, the Raven (Bart) drops several books on Homer's head — all of which are other works by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • In The Smurfs episode "Tailor's Magic Needle", when Brainy pesters Tailor about using the magic needle to sew up his hard-cover books, Brainy gets thrown out of the village along with his books.
  • In The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, Brainy does this to Gutsy when he finds out that Gutsy tricked him with a fake Headless Horseman shadow he had created to scare him.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Sleep Spells", Princess Smooshy captures Star and attempts to literally steal her face. When Marco's attempts to talk her down fail, he instead throws his psychology book, which nails Smooshy in the head and knocks her out.

    Real Life 
  • Heavy books are handy to use on humans like squirting water at cats... though if you really want to use them as a weapon, a hard cover one works great, especially the corners.
  • In 2002, the leaders of the already-unstable coalition government of Turkey convened at a high-level meeting. Story goes that during the meeting, an argument broke out and one of the coalition leaders hurled a book (or a dossier) containing the constitution at the then-Prime Minister, Ecevit. The coalition collapsed soon after and took the country to a period of recession with it.
  • Not quite a book, but a legislator in Taiwan once attacked a colleague on the floor with a newspaper. Since it was in one of those wooden holders libraries use (a third cousin of the shinai used in kendo), it probably hurt. note 
  • Evidently, the phrase that is the Trope Namer used to be literal; if a criminal was going to be given a harsh sentence, the judge would throw a law book at the crook.
  • After Leon Trotsky's assassin whacked him on the head with an ice-ax, Trotsky was still conscious enough to throw several books at his assassin.
  • The Boar's Head Feast celebrates the time in the 1300s that an Oxford student was attacked by a boar. He shoved his book down the animal's throat, and it choked and died.
  • The spine of a sufficiently thick mass-market paperback might as well be a piece of petrified wood, as it's very tightly-bound (glued) paper. Clock someone upside the head with a paperback version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Silmarillion, or Dune, and they might well fall victim to a VERY substantial concussion. Ironically, the spine of a hardcover book softens the blow in comparison, as there's a piece of cardboard and some air between the paper and the head.
    • The most common size and binding for the average manga makes it nicely hand-sized when gripped opposite to the spine, and just thin and strong enough for effective aimed strikes to areas such as the wrist. If you're already holding a book, there are much worse choices for an Improvised Weapon.
  • An essay by Evan Connell mentions that when Thomas Huxley, while defending Charles Darwin's theory, responded to a nasty remark with a magnificent comebacknote , one of the onlookers, "trembling with honorable Christian rage, picked up a Bible and was just prevented from throwing it at Huxley."
  • In an interesting love declaration to this trope, some German self-defence classes suggest that one should always carry an issue of Der Spiegel with oneself, because, since the magazine is thick, unusually short, and printed on rather sturdy (and heavier-than-average) paper, it can make quite a potent (not to mention, legal) billy club replacement when curled up.
    • Having been prevented from carrying *actual* weapons into the away end at football matches, the famously violent fans of Millwall FC discovered that nobody would stop a man with a newspaper under his arm. A tightly rolled and folded newspaper is called a 'Millwall brick'.


Video Example(s):


Silmarillion Shot

In a no-disqualification match, "The Librarian" Peter Avalon escapes a pin attempt by hitting Brandon Cutler in the head with a copy of The Silmarillion.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThrowTheBookAtThem

Media sources: