Books That Bite

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Book monster colored2 7012.jpg
"Oh, I get it. It's a book of biting satire."

Sometimes, when enough magic or Phlebotinum has seeped into the area, you get animate inanimate objects. And they bite. Or, you know, bump you. Not all of them can be books. Somebody has to be a vacuum.

See also Chest Monster. Frequently found in places with Everything Trying to Kill You.

Examples of Books That Bite include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Marvel Comics story Inferno featured this as a side effect of Limbo's demons invading New York.

Film[edit | hide]

  • One of the fake Necronomicons bites Ash's hand in the graveyard scene in Army of Darkness.
  • The Addams Family; they don't bite, but the books in the family's collection can be dangerous, as opening one turns the title into a Literal Metaphor. Opening Gone with the Wind creates a fierce windstorm; The Sun Also Rises is more benign, filling the room with sunlight. The most dangerous, however, is Hurricane Irene. ("Dirty pool, old man," chuckles Gomez to Fester when he decides to use it against the villains.)

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Harry Potter:
    • The Monster Book of Monsters, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a monster that is simultaneously a book about monsters, if you can get it to stay open long enough to read without it closing on your hand and biting it off. It turns completely docile if you stroke it, but the students weren't too keen on getting near them.
    • Apparently, there's also an "Invisible Book of Invisibility" ("cost a fortune, and we never found them")
    • Madame Pince has put various spells on her books to protect them from mistreatment. In Quidditch Through the Ages, Dumbledore recalls how he once started doodling in the margins without thinking and found the book beating him around the head the next second.
  • While this didn't originally apply to the Necronomicon, it's a common trait in adaptations. What better way to advertise a Tome of Eldritch Lore than having it possibly kill you before you even read it?
  • Discworld: The magic books inside the Unseen University's Library have to be chained to their shelves. Sourcery describes a few of the books. The Necrotelicomnocon is bound in iron plates, the Guide to Levitation has been floating in the rafters for about a hundred and fifty years, and the Booke of Forbidden Sex Majyk is kept in a deep-frozen room and should only be read if you are over the age of 80 and, if possible, dead.
It Gets Worse, the books, apart from a fair number of them being able to rip the skin from your bones, they can read each other and learn methods to kill you with everything from magic to a door handle. There's a very good reason why the students only venture into the library in large numbers (or scouting expeditions).
    • The Octavo, the creator's own grimoire is so powerful that it can overload the most powerful anti-magic spell in existence and change reality.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons: Variants of this (killer candles, etc.) are some of the weakest monsters available for players to fight, generally used as a challenge for loner characters at level 1.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Sourcebook Tome of Corruption has a section on grimoires - at least one of them is daemonically possessed and will attack people.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The entire basis of the ZOMG game on Gaia Online.
  • Super Mario 64 has them, too.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy V: The possessed books don't actually bite themselves, but the demons inside them take forms based on their pictures when they attack, often switching forms during battle. (They're known for the occasional party wipe, as some cast Level 5 doom, and you enter the library around level 25).
    • Final Fantasy IX: The book monster had poisonous fangs.
  • Donkey Kong 64 : There are monster books in the Creepy Castle Library.
  • Maple Story; mobs found in the Ellinel Academy library include Grumpy Tomes and the stronger Raging Tomes.
  • Overlord Zetta in Makai Kingdom ends up becoming one of these. He doesn't bite, but he does possess Eye Beams that vary in strength from simply being really painful to causing explosions the size of a small nuke. In his cameo appearances in other Nippon Ichi games, he almost always attempts to blast someone with them after they mistake him for a normal book.
  • Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night: There are two varieties. The first type merely flies at you and tries to slam into you. The second type opens up and tries to skewer you with an array of magically summoned weapons.
  • EarthBound: There are a lot of monsters like this.
  • King's Quest II: In the Fan Remake, one of the puzzles involves Graham solving a riddle at a bookshelf. If he gets it wrong, he is eaten by the bookshelf's guardian.
  • Ridewords and Deathwords in Ragnarok Online.
  • Baten Kaitos has them in the library.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has a level set in the library. You will regularly get the shit beaten out of you by books flying in and out of the shelves.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Sinfest: Criminy received a demon book as a gift from Fuchsia. He's somehow gotten it to behave, and now it's more like a fiercely-loyal guard dog that also makes for good reading.
  • The Evil Flying Book from Axe Cop did this.
  • The Unspeakable Vault of Doom shows how it works in Miskatonic Library

Real Life[edit | hide]