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 of Choice for the Squishy Wizard, White Mage, Black Mage, and other magical or scholarly types if the writer decides that a Simple 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.

A Sub-Trope of Improbable Weapon User. Related to Useful Book. See Bookshelf Dominoes, for when bookshelves are a weapon.

Note that this is for books being used to physically attack. For books used offensively by casting spells from it, see Spell Book. For the paper of books being used as a supernatural weapon, see Paper Master. For books with dangerous words in them, see Brown Note. For books thrown by the reader due to the atrocious quality of their content, see Wall Banger. For the other meaning of Throw the Book At Them, see the courtroom tropes on the Crime and Punishment Tropes page.

Examples of Throw the Book At Them include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 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.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima
    • Yue cheated once during a pillow fight once by hiding thick dictionaries in her pillows.
    • The other Hot Librarian Nodoka sometimes does this as well (usually to Haruna).
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Done in an effective but realistic way in Manga/Monster: 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.
  • If you make Kyou from Clannad 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.
  • A popular clip for Ranma ½ fanvids is Akane bashing Ranma with her bookbag. Hell, he even brings it up at one point.

Ranma: Akane, do you always gotta be throwin' the book at guys ya don't like, huh?!
Akane: No, only at you!

  • 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.
  • Non-comedic example used in Berserk: Bishop Mozgus, in a much parodied scene, smashes some poor guy's head in with his big metal-bound tome of scriptures and screams "HERETIC!"
  • 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 as demonstrated here and, of course, Shigure attacks him the same way.
  • Mai Kawasumi of Kanon 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.
  • In a Fullmetal Alchemist flashback extra, a very young Ed bonks poor little toddler Al over the head with a book.
  • Battle Royale sees Kiriyama beat some people picking on him at school with a book. Awesomely.
  • Alexander Anderson threw a book (presumably a bible) at Alucard once in the Hellsing anime.
  • 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).
  • Hiroki from Junjou Romantica, a professor in literature, has a tendency to pelt things at people, books being his forte. He throws quite few at Nowaki during their lovers spat in the university library.
  • Gau from Nabari no Ou 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.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin tries chucking books at Aoshi and pushing a bookcase over on him in their rematch. Doesn't work.
  • RIN-NE: "BIBLE CORNER CRUSH!" For some reason, Tsubasa claims he can only do this one time a week.
  • Manabizaki from SWOT 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.
  • In 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.
  • In Working!!, Souta's sister Kazue is a lawyer with a habit of using quite large legal texts as weapons.
  • Subverted in Shakugan no Shana with Margery Daw and Marcosius. Margery regularly abuses Marcosius, who has the form of a book.
  • There's a fake preview in one of the Hyakko episodes 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.


Card Games[edit | hide]

  • 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."


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • 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 fricking big Bible.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Comic Strips[edit | hide]

  • Get Fuzzy: Bucky Katt often hits Satchel on the head with books that Rob gives to him (to read, of course.)
  • Done to Garfield once or twice.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • In 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 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 or most Anvilicious lines in the entire movie.

Mary: This (holding the bible) is not a weapon!

  • The third Friday the 13 th 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.
  • A Jerk Jock is beat to death with a book in Bad Reputation.
  • The French comedic movie Les Ripoux[1] (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.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Discworld
    • Poor old Albert in Mort discovers just how painful his trope can be when his charges drops the book that contained the story of his entire life 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, it's a very long and heavy book.
    • Death himself is buried under a pile of books in The Last Continent upon asking for a list of dangerous creatures of XXXX.
    • 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. Considering that Carrot's literal-mindedness is one of his defining characteristics, and Vimes's gradually increasing wiliness, it's very difficult to figure out if this outcome was accidental or intentional.
    • 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 ridiculously huge and weighs about ten pounds; 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 beginning of the final book of the Codex Alera, the Canim Warmaster Varg cuts off a ritual-master's attempts to kill him with Blood Magic by hitting him in the throat with a thrown copy of Gaius Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Towards the end of the first book, the resident Obstructive Bureaucrat is mentioned to have bludgeoned what is strongly implied to be a terror bird to death with his accounts ledger.
  • 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.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Penn and Teller did this with a Bible on the Penn and Teller Bullshit episode on Creationism.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Vic Mackey from The Shield has occasionally beaten suspects with a Doorstopper.
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit: Olivia Benson uses this on the guy who attacks her in the episode "Svengali".
  • 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.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Alice from Shadow Hearts is a good example of a White Mage that uses books as a bludgeoning device.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Ordinarily, Goofy uses shields as his Improbable Weapon. However, one of The Heartless enemies is a living book called a Bookmaster. Sometimes have Randomly Drops of inert versions of themselves called Akashic Records. What does Goofy do with what possibly might be a record of the mind of God or the universal consciousness? Hit people with it.
    • Zexion also uses his book for spells and good, ol' physical beating.
  • Castlevania
  • Hayate whacks her enemies with her tome in Magical Battle Arena... which is weird since she has a perfectly servicable staff with pointy bits on it. Well it is a Tome of Eldritch Lore.
  • Ragnarok Online
    • The MMORPG has a vast variety of book-type weapons for priests and magicians. Though in stats they do more-or-less the same as staffs and wands, they're much much more enjoying to hit monsters with when not casting spells!
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tales (series)
    • Claus from Tales of Phantasia will use his books as a weapon if he doesn't have enough mana to summon something.
    • Hitting people with Rita's spellbook is a possible melee option in Tales of Vesperia as well.
  • Touhou
    • 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.
    • Then in Touhou Musou Kakyou, she ironically gets hit in the face with one of her own books. Which pissed her off.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Silent Wise King Cai from Brigandine whacks people with his tome when he is forced to fight up close.
  • In a variant, Tibia has mages using Spell Books as shields.
  • In Suikoden II, Nina uses books, tied to the end of a belt, to smack enemies out of her way.
  • 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!"

  • 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.
  • Played With / Averted 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.
  • In Eternal Poison, books are a favorite weapon of witches (such as Thage), and can be used to break spiritual barriers on certain Majin.
  • 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.
  • Soul Nomad and 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 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 Atelier Annie books are rather weak physically, but give their users decent magic boosts.
  • 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.
  • Elizabeth uses a book as her weapon during the Bonus Boss fight in Persona 3. She throws it at you for Strike attacks, but conjures cards from the pages for Slash and Pierce attacks.
  • In the .hack GU 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.
  • One of Jason Bourne's Limit Break in The Bourne Conspiracy involves him beating his opponent with a book.
  • 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.
  • Books are a weapon type in Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City. Interestingly, while the character art presents them as the Zodiac's Weapon of Choice, any character can equip and use books... probably because it doesn't take much training to smack people around with one.
  • 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.
  • In the 2009 Ghostbusters 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).
  • In the 1996 version of Where is the USA 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 Katawa Shoujo, Jigoro Hakamichi once threatens to beat Hisao with his autobiography.
  • As of currently, in 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.)


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Garfield once used a "good, BIG book" in an attempt to cure his insomnia by hitting himself over the head with it repeatedly.
  • 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.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch likes this one.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender. In "The Library", Sokka manages to beat back knowledge spirit Wan-Shi-tong by sneak attacking him with really big book. Specifically, Sokka had Aang drop him from his glider from about 4 meters up then pounded down on the owl's skull while falling.

Sokka: That's called "Sokka style". Learn it!

  • 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 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.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • This occurred in Turkey around 2002, during a high-level meeting of the already-unstable coalition government. Story goes that during the meeting, an argument broke out between the members of the coalition and one of the coalition leaders hurled a book (or dossier) containing the constitution at the then-Prime Minister Ecevit. It Got Worse and the whole coalition collapsed soon after.
  • 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.
  • 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 paper. Clock someone upside the head with a paperback version of Harry Potter 7, The Silmarillion, or Dune, and they might well fall victim to a VERY substantial concussion. Ironically, the bindings of a hardcover book soften the blow in comparison.
    • 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 comeback,[2] one of the onlookers, "trembling with honorable Christian rage, picked up a Bible and was just prevented from throwing it at Huxley."
  1. a slang word which mean Corrupt Cop, it is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  2. The other fellow asked if Huxley were descended from an ape on his grandfather's or his grandmother's side. Huxley replied, in effect, "I'd rather be descended from an ape than from you."