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"A large black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with difficulty, because it was very heavy, and, balancing it on his knee, let it fall open. A piercing, bloodcurdling shriek split the silence — the book was screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on and on, one high, unbroken, earsplitting note."
—Description[src]

This book was large and bound in black and silver. A copy was kept at the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library. Whenever opened, this book would shriek in one high and unbroken note.[1] It appeared to be a collection of Christian sermons.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in the split-second in which the text is shown, one can identify the left-hand page as a transcription of a Christian sermon called "Of sincerity toward God and man", which was delivered by John Tillotson on 29 July, 1694. The right page contains another sermon called "The excellency of Abraham's faith and obedience", preached at Whitehall, in 1686, before Princess Anne. Thus, the book that appears in the film is presumably The Works of the Most Reverend Dr John Tillotson.
  • An Easter Egg, it seems someone in the special effects department digitally replaced some of the book's original text with names: "Laura and Chas" (left page, bottom paragraph), "Terry Michelle Chloe and Aimee" (middle right page), "Debbie Amy and Leon" (right page, bottom paragraph).
  • J.K. Rowling commented in the DVD extras for the films that this was the image which, as an inveterate reader herself, probably scared her the most.
  • In the film adaptation, the shrieking book appears to spawn a human face from its pages, though in the book, the shrieking book wasn't said to have spawned a face and just vaguely made a screaming sound.
  • It’s possible that all the books in the restricted section will scream if opened by an intruder.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 22 (Cloaked in Darkness)