The Book of Shadows, often just referred to as simply the Book or the Halliwell Book of Shadows, is the magical tome of the Warren Line of Witches. It is the most powerful and coveted Books of Shadows in existence and is over 300 years old. The Book has been passed down every generation ever since it was created by Melinda Warren in the 17th century.
Besides information about the craft, the Book contains many entries on several beings from the magical community, including demons, warlocks, and other evil beings. It also contains many spells and potion recipes, most of which were written by Penny Halliwell.
The Charmed Ones' book was started by Melinda Warren, the progenitor of the Warren/Halliwell line of witches, and is dated with the year "1693" written on its cover page. This actually creates a small continuity error within the series, as Melinda is known to have died in 1692; however it is possible that she created the book, and her daughter Prudence started adding to it after her death. Although it was fairly small then, each succeeding generation of Warren witches had added numerous pages to it, including information that they came across and felt necessary to be recorded for future generations of Warren/Halliwell witches. Among the earliest entries added to the book when Melinda was alive is a curse, possibly along with the entry which details the coming of the Charmed Ones in woodcuts (which is mentioned by Phoebe in Something Wicca This Way Goes...?), though this could've been done by a future descendant. After Melinda was burned at the stake, the book first passed to her daughter Prudence before then being inherited by each generation of her descendants.
Penny Halliwell often noted that she created most of the potion recipes in it (as Evil Witch Vanquishing Potion), though the only other entries we know for a fact that she wrote were the entries on the Necromancer, the Ice Cream Man, Gammill, The Collector, and Eames. She also possibly wrote the Belthazor Vanquishing Spell, Upper-Level Demon Vanquishing Potion and the spells To Increase Patience, To Unbind a Bond, To Bind, To Call the Halliwell Matriarchs and Nicholas Must Die.
The Charmed Ones themselves have also added a significant number of pages to the book, including information, spells, and potions for future generations of good witches. Piper added notes on the Charm of Confidence after her first attempt at casting the spell on a nervous and insecure waiter at Quake backfired as a result of her doubling the ingredients. The first spell they added themselves was "The Woogyman Spell", or how to banish the Shadow of the Nexus. Phoebe also added a page on Cole Turner, Belthazor's human half, including personal information like his favorite food and hobbies; "anything that could help future witches" after he'd broken her heart. This was reminiscent of the alterations Penny made to the Necromancer page, adding such things as "likes Clarke Gable movies" to aid in her getting over the end of their romantic relationship. Additionally, Phoebe wrote an entry on the warlock Anton. Prue added her on Animal Conjuring Spell before her untimely death. ("Is There a Woogy in the House?," "Pardon My Past," "Look Who's Barking," "Necromancing the Stone", "Sympathy for the Demon")
A few spells in the Book of Shadows are used for personal gain. No explanation has been given to why such spells would be in the book, but it's likely that these spells were added to teach future witches about the consequences of personal gain, or because they served a magical purpose to deal with evils of the time.
Many of the spells in the book require the Power of Three to be effective and were written before the arrival of the Charmed Ones. It is possible, knowing of the prophecy of the sisters, that the Warren/Halliwell line wrote these spells in preparation for the arrival of the sisters.
At the end of the series, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige added their own entries regarding what they've been through in their years as the Charmed Ones in order to pass down the knowledge to future generations. ("Forever Charmed")
Leo added the entry titled, "Tips for Future Whitelighters," which detailed information about Whitelighters and how to properly use their powers in case he wasn't around to teach his sons Chris and Wyatt himself.
Brad Kern has stated that when a Warren/Halliwell witch dies, their magic is ingrained within the Book of Shadows. He says that when the sisters die, they, like their ancestors, will essentially become a part of the book, so to speak.
He goes on to say that he believes the book to be a living entity within itself.
At the end of the series, when we are given a glimpse into the future, Wyatt and Chris Halliwell can be seen making a potion with the book laying aloft the table top. It can be assumed that the sisters retire from their demon hunting, allowing their progeny to continue the Charmed Ones' destiny.
Attempts at stealing the Book of Shadows
Over the course of the series, there have been 8 attempts at stealing the coveted Halliwell Book of Shadows. Although some were successful in obtaining the Book, the Charmed Ones were able to recover it each time in the end.
|Season 1||"Thank You For Not Morphing"||Shapeshifters||Shapeshifting into a mailman, breaking into the Manor and trying to take the Book out of the Manor||Failed|
|Season 2||"Witch Trial"||Abraxas||Taking the Book to an astral plane||Succeeded|
|Season 3||"Once Upon a Time"||Cole Turner||Transforming into his demon-half Belthazor, trying to take it out of the Manor||Failed|
|"Bride and Gloom"||Dantalian||Turning the Charmed Ones evil by marrying Prue to the warlock Zile then taking the Book out of the Manor||Succeeded|
|Season 5||"A Witch In Time"||Bacarra||Temporarily turning good and taking the Book out of the Manor||Succeeded|
|Season 6||"The Power of Three Blondes"||The Stillman Sisters||Shapeshifting into and impersonating the Charmed Ones||Failed|
|Stealing the identities of the Charmed Ones||Succeeded|
|Season 7||"Death Becomes Them"||Zankou||Weakening the Charmed Ones by killing close friends/innocents then guilt-tripping them by making them undead beings||Succeeded|
The Book of Shadows is very large, about the size of a dictionary or encyclopedia volume. It is bound in green leather, and the front cover has a symbol composed of an interlocking triquetra and circle on it, symbolizing the Power of Three and the Warren/Halliwell Family of Witches. Despite being three hundred years old, the book is actually in very good condition, although the pages have yellowed somewhat with age.
The book's pages are written in ink by hand. Each entry has its titles spelled out in elaborate multicolored calligraphy. The book is written by the whole Warren/Halliwell line, throughout the generations, and possibly by also very close friends. The book contains many illustrations, particularly drawings of demons and other magical creatures so they can be identified by those who have access to the book. Most of the book is in English, but some of the spells within it are written in Italian and Latin.
The book's organization is haphazard at best. The sisters have remarked on several occasions that they searched "the entire book" when looking for specific information, which suggests that the book's previous owners simply filled in the pages sequentially rather than arranging the contents topically. However, given that the Book of Shadows is a collaborative work with contributions by over three centuries worth of Warren/Halliwell witches, a topical organization was likely a practical impossibility.
- Dominus Trinus: the first entry in the Book of Shadows. This spell, unknowingly cast by Phoebe when she first found the book, unbound the sisters' powers and began their Charmed legacy and destiny.
- Barbas, the Demon of Fear: written by Patty Halliwell to guide her daughters through the day on which Barbas would return to Earth (a Friday the 13th in February 1999). She also magically added extra lines to the entry whilst Prue was reading it, encouraging her to trust in her love for other people.
- The entry on Nell: notable for being written entirely in Latin, the entry talks about a witch named Nell who trapped the warlock Malcolm inside a painting in the 1920s.
- To Banish a Suxen: an entry written by The Elders long ago in case the Warren-Halliwell line would lose control over the Nexus.
Since it was inherited by the Charmed Ones, the book has grown three times its original size. This means that the sisters themselves have added a great amount of spells, potions, and notes to the book, possibly more than any other generation as a result of the sisters possessing the Power of Three. They also occasionally wrote down their experiences after vanquishing a demon, which Billie mentions this when she studied the Book of Shadows. Some notable entries include;
- The Woogyman Spell: created by Grams, the spell was added by Phoebe in 1999. It was the first spell that any of the Charmed Ones had added to the book, as they did not want to run the risk of being unable to seal away the Woogyman in the future if he was to get loose again.
- Cole's Human Form: written by Phoebe, the entry lists Cole's favorite things and very little useful information. Phoebe wrote the information in the Book of Shadows should he ever try to charm the future generation. This entry is reminiscent of Grams' notes on The Necromancer.
- Tips For Future Whitelighters: written by Leo Wyatt when he feared that he might not live to see his two sons grow up. The entry teaches how to use Whitelighter-powers and gives general advice on how to help their charges.
- The Final Entries: written by Phoebe, Paige, and Piper, respectively, these entries paraphrased stories of their adventurous years to pass down to the next generation.
Powers and Abilities
The Book of Shadows is also notable because evil cannot touch it, thanks to the shielding and sensing powers with which it is blessed. As a result of this blessing, the book cannot it be taken out of the Halliwell Manor unless it is in the possession of the Charmed Ones, good magical beings, or non-magical mortals. This is particularly important to note, as many evil beings covet the book, both because of the power it holds and because taking it would make the Charmed Ones much weaker and more vulnerable. However, despite the fact that it is protected by good magic, evil has still managed to find ways around this and have captured the book several times.
The book is tied very closely to the Charmed Ones' powers. For example, when Rex Buckland blackmailed them into giving up their Wiccan powers, the Book turned blank immediately after they cast the Relinquishment Spell. However, when Leo healed and restored the Book, their powers were restored as well. ("Wicca Envy") This bond between the Charmed Ones and the Book of Shadows is not infallible, though, as evidenced when the Angel of Destiny offered to take away their powers in the Season 4 finale, Witch Way Now?-- he said the book would not be harmed, and it would pass down to a future descendant.
It can be presumed that the book's magic varies as it is passed on from one generation to the next, depending on its new master's magical state.
Also, if one of the Charmed Ones turns evil through a dark wedding to a warlock, the other two will become evil as well, and the evil will flow through the book (although in later episodes, when one sister has turned evil, the other two did not succumb to it). Dantalian, a high-level demon priestess, realized this loophole and tricked Prue into marrying a warlock, Zile, to try to hijack their power for her own gain. This successfully turned the three sisters evil as expected, which enabled Dantalian to briefly steal the book. In addition, the book's original pages also transformed to those for evildoings. The plan backfired when evil Piper and Phoebe vanquished Zile, breaking the evil bond and restoring the Book to normal. ("Bride and Gloom")
In season four, in the episode Hell Hath No Fury, Paige tried to copy the book on a photocopier, but because of its protective magic, every page came out blank.
The book has a different protection mechanism against evil. In several episodes, various effects resulted from an evil magical being tried to take the book for themselves, including: jumping off the stand in Once Upon a Time and The Seven Year Witch, repelling the being away from the book in Death Becomes Them, projecting a spherical shield around the Book in Death Becomes Them, burning the user's hands in Imaginary Fiends, and so on.
In Thank You For Not Morphing, an evil shapeshifter was able to touch the book and take it as far as the front door before it repels itself from his grasp, preventing him from walking out the front door with it in his grasp. In future episodes, it is established that it is impossible for evil to even touch the book; however, since the Charmed Ones had just recently received their powers at this time, their magic wasn't strong enough to allow the book access to the full extent of its protective magic.
For a demon or half-demon to be able to touch it without triggering its defensive properties, the being must have purely good intentions in his heart. According to one of the videos below, the magic the book possesses came from the deceased family ancestors who then become part of the book, which is presumably how it became so powerful throughout the centuries.
Behind The Scenes
There are four books in total;
- The Hero Book is the main book which contains all the pages. This book was taken by Brad Kern at the end of the show in 2006. Holly Marie Combs wanted the book as well but Brad won, claiming he had written most of it.
- The Foam Book was used mainly as a "stunt book" to throw around so as to not damage the Hero book. For example, this book was used whenever a demon would try to take it and it would fly away, or when Paige threw the book out of the attic window to take it with her without her sisters knowing. This book has a large chunk of foam inside which is most noticeable when the book impacts with the floor or ground and neither the cover nor pages move. The cover is slightly different as well and the pages are all flat. In only one scene, filmed in the later seasons, the Hero book is shown being thrown.
- The Background Book was used in scenes where the Book of Shadows is present but isn't used. It would mostly just sit on its stand or lie on a table. The Hero book was kept in a safe when not filming to prevent it from being stolen. Though it looks the same as the Hero Book, it weighs much less, and it holds copies from the real pages of the aforementioned book. This book was also used in scenes where the sister's magic or powers disappeared leaving the book empty, such in "The Day the Magic Died." The book would then have flat pages without any drawings or text. The flat pages seen in this book were the remaining flat pages from the first season.
- The Back-Up Book was used during the third season and had about 80 pages. The Hero book had been damaged and had to be fixed, and its Triquetra had started to come off, requiring it to be re-glued. This book was an exact copy of the Hero book and had all original pages until the Hero book was fixed again. This book was sold on eBay in August 2003.
- "Without the Book of Shadows, there wouldn't have been a Charmed."
- —John Krechmer, a producer, discussing the Book in the Book of Shadows Documentary
- According to Rose McGowan (Paige Matthews in the series), the Book of Shadows is worth 4 million dollars.
- The Book of Shadows is 326 years old as of 2019.
- A picture of the Book of Shadows and the title page can be seen on Disc 1, of every Charmed DVD set.
- Props master, Roger Montesano, said in an article of Charmed Magazine that Connie wanted the book to be bigger but he worried that the actresses would have a hard time carrying the book around.
- The Book of Shadows' pages were created by 5 artists.
- An unknown artist who did the pilot and 3 to 5 pages for season 1, most likely Carol Wood.
- An artist who did the remainder of season 1 and the first half of season 2.
- Dan Haberkorn did the second half of season 2 through 7.
- Dan's assistent who filled in for 3 tot 6 pages throughout seasons 3 to 7.
- Derek Baron created the pages for the Book in season 8.
- Almost all of the book is hand-drawn, calligraphy and images. Alyssa Milano liked the drawings so much that she had one of the artists paint murals on her walls at home.
- The script of Something Wicca This Way Comes has Phoebe saying "The Book of Shadows" before opening the cover. This means that Connie's original idea was to have "The Book of Shadows" written or engraved on the cover itself as there is also no mentioning of a title page.
- There was an original pitch that a spirit would be contained in the Book that would assist the sisters causing spells and information about demons to appear.
- In the Book of Shadows Documentary, it was stated the book is a crucial part of the show, which is why in the series premiere, the trunk where the book was stored lit up, the thunderstorm became more intense, and the chandelier in the foyer rattled when Phoebe invoked the Dominus Trinus.
- The directors of the series state that the Halliwell Manor was the "womb" for the girls and the Book of Shadows was the heart and soul of their powers.
- At one point the book weighed at 9 pounds, 6 ounces and was the most valuable prop on set.
- Each page is hand-drawn by artists, and a lot of the pictures in the book are actually based on the crew. For example, an artist might base a new demon's facial structure and features on one of the cameramen.
- The Book of Shadows was kept locked in a safe place when the crew was not filming.
- In the Book of Shadows Documentary Rose stated that when kids from the Make-A-Wish foundation or other charities came to visit the Charmed set, she would always make the prop managers take the Book of Shadows out of lock and key and allow the kids to thumb through the Book and look at it.
- A photocopy of the Charmed Book of Shadows (beginning of Season 3, about eighty pages) was sold on e-bay in August 2003. It was supposedly used on the set as a stand-in for the real BOS. The final bid was $202,500.
- The backup versions of the following pages were sold in 2009; the Vinceres pages, the Charm of Multiplicity page, the Dark Priestesses page, Time loops, Deflection, the Banshee pages, and the Ice Cream Man & The Nothing pages. In season 2/season 3, back-ups from the book's pages were made. Other backups have been sold as well.
- There are several pages completely in Latin, though the pages on Nell shows signs of being the most recent, possibly being written by one of the three cousins from the 1920s; it seems odd that entries meant to advise would be in a language the reader would not likely know.
- The book's place in the attic is exactly above the Nexus.
- To this day a lot of mystery surrounds the book. Several alternate pages exist for pages seen on television, along with feature pages that never made it to air due to necessary editing of episodes. Many texts like the ones from Zankou and the Raptor demon still remain unknown.
- Shortly after the show ended, Derek Baron, the artist of the season 8 pages, had a .pdf file on his site which could be downloaded. The pdf contained all texts and fonts which he used on his pages. You can find a JPEG version of the pdf in the image here.
- It is rumored that the foam book was sold on eBay for around $1,000, the resting one for around $4,000 and the backup book for $202,500. This has not been confirmed.
- Holly Marie Combs stated in an interview that when Rose McGowan began working on the show, she once wrote her lines in the Book of Shadows and doodled on the pages as she was unaware of how valuable the prop was to the show, crew and actors/actresses. This creates a real-life parallel to the episode Hell Hath No Fury in which Phoebe remarks that Paige stole the Book of Shadows without care because "it was just a book to her."
- Upon the show's completion, a complete series set of Charmed on DVD was released. The set was packaged to look like the Book of Shadows which included selected pages from the series between seasons and a scan from the real Book's triquetra (only the R1 version).
- The page "To Relinquish Our Powers" was removed by Prue in "Wicca Envy", in "Hell Hath No Fury," Piper marked the page "The Kevmay" with a large black X in marker because she vanquished him. In "How to Make a Quilt Out of Americans," Gail removes the "To Separate a Witch From Her Powers" page from the book.
- It is theorized by fans that the Book magically add pages to itself.
- The Hero book's Triquetra, up until season 3 was rather thick and stitched but was later replaced whilst the backup book was in use. You can see the seams all around and inside the symbol. The new Triquetra was less thick than the previous one and had no seams anymore because it was embossed on the leather.
- The Book of Shadows in Season 1 was stitched/traditionally bound but was later changed so that it would be easier for the artists and the prop department to handle.
- According to Prue, Phoebe knows the Book better than herself and Piper.
- When Charmed ended, Holly Marie Combs and Brad Kern both wanted to keep the Book of Shadows. It was decided that they would have "shared custody", Brad would take it for one year and Holly the next. It was later revealed by Holly on Twitter that Brad Kern never stuck to this agreement and she hasn't had the book at all. She also told him to auction it off and donate the money to charity.
|This gallery shows four pictures, randomly selected, related to the subject of this article.|
A more complete gallery can be found here. Any future additions should be added there as well.
- The Halliwell Book of Shadows/Gallery
- The Halliwell Book of Shadows/Entries
- Book of Shadows (disambiguation)
- Italian and Latin Pages