"The Darkhold? That's the Book of the Damned."
Agatha Harkness to Wanda Maximoff[src]

The Darkhold, also known as the Book of Sins, the Book of Spells,[1] or the Book of the Damned,[2] is an ancient book of spells and unspeakable power. The book is made of dark matter from the Hell Dimension.

For many years people tried to find the book. It was finally found by Joseph and Lucy Bauer. However, the Darkhold corrupted them and Eli Morrow, who tried to kill his co-workers to take the book for himself. In 2017, after the defeat of Morrow, the book was used by Aida and Holden Radcliffe to create a virtual world known as the Framework, which was used to trap several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Aida used the Darkhold to create herself a human body using dark matter, and this was felt by Ghost Rider, who joined forces with S.H.I.E.L.D. and later took the book back to Hell.

The Darkhold was used by Morgan le Fay in an attempt to bring the Dark Dimension to Earth. She was eventually stopped by the Runaways and PRIDE members, who used the book's spell to imprison her in the Dark Dimension.

The Book of the Damned was obtained by Agatha Harkness, who brought it with her to Westview in order to amplify her powers so she could manipulate Wanda Maximoff's reality without being noticed. The book was later taken by Maximoff, who began studying it.

History

Search for the Darkhold

"Well, you know where to find it?"
"No one ever has. Not Daniel Whitehall, not the Red Skull, not even Nick Fury himself."
Robbie Reyes and Phil Coulson[src]

The S.H.I.E.L.D. file about the Darkhold

The Darkhold was created in the Hell Dimension and was made of dark matter.[3][4][5] As a higher-level dark-magic power totem[6], it was said to contain infinite knowledge[7], and had a full chapter dedicated to the myth of the "Scarlet Witch."[2] Over the course of history, many individuals searched for the Darkhold, including Red Skull, Daniel Whitehall, and Nick Fury. During the search for the book, S.H.I.E.L.D. created a file on it, including a draft based on a description of the book's design.[1]

In the 21st century, Lucy and Joseph Bauer found the Darkhold in the basement of its former owner's home, who had killed the previous owner of the book,[3] and opened it. When Lucy touched it, she discovered she could read the text in English, whereas when Joseph touched it, he could read it in German.[8] As she studied the Darkhold, Lucy became obsessed with it.[9]

Momentum Labs

Joseph and Lucy Bauer read the Darkhold

"It was a mistake. We never should have taken it. We should've left it buried!"
Joseph Bauer[src]

The Darkhold helped Joseph Bauer in building the Quantum Particle Generator in Momentum Labs in order to help him allegedly create matter out of thin air, when in truth the machine was siphoning energy from another dimension. The engineer of the project, Eli Morrow, desired the book for himself. He tried to reason with Joseph to give him the book, but he refused to give it to him. One day, Morrow put all the Momentum Labs workers inside the machine in order to kill him and take the book for himself.

Joseph Bauer reading from the Darkhold

Morrow personally attacked Joseph, but the latter refused to tell him where he had hidden the Darkhold,[10] so he put him into a coma. Unbeknownst to Morrow, Bauer and three of her co-workers Hugo, Frederick, and Vincent transformed into spiritual entities, contained within the special boxes that were created with the Darkhold's knowledge. Years later, Lucy visited Joseph and snapped him out of his coma to get the current location of the Darkhold.[1]

Targeted by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Eli Morrow reads the Darkhold

"I know you're hurting, but Coulson was clear―Do not open that book."
"He didn't know what was inside it."
"He knew enough. It's Pandora's Box, and you don't know the consequences."
Alphonso Mackenzie and Melinda May[src]

Upon heading back to where the Darkhold was found by her and Joseph, Lucy found herself unable to read it in her current state. In order to get the Darkhold read, she and her remaining ghosts Hugo and Vincent had to infiltrate South Ridge Penitentiary in order to spring Eli Morrow from his prison. Lucy was successful in her mission at the cost of Hugo and Vincent who were taken out by Ghost Rider. At the Pasadena Momentum Laboratory, after killing the security guards there, Lucy had Eli touch the Darkhold and the text appeared before them in Spanish.[8]

Melinda May takes and hides the Darkhold

With the knowledge of the book, Morrow managed to rebuild the Quantum Particle Generator in an abandoned Roxxon Corporation power plant. As S.H.I.E.L.D. stormed into the building, Phil Coulson found the Darkhold unguarded. He asked Melinda May to bring it back to the Quinjet and hide it.[10] Following Coulson and Leo Fitz's sudden vanishing, May thought about using the Darkhold to save them. She tried to explain this to Alphonso Mackenzie, but he tried to talk her out of it, claiming that Coulson had stated that the book was dangerous.

Aida reads the Darkhold

In the Playground, May showed Holden Radcliffe the Darkhold and asked him to read it in order to save Coulson and Fitz. Radcliffe read the book but immediately closed it, saying that it was too much knowledge for a human mind. May, however, still tried to convince him to use the knowledge; however, it was Radcliffe's android assistant, Aida, who volunteered to read the book. With the knowledge she received, Radcliffe built for her the Inter-Dimensional Gate and Laser-Coupling Gloves, which helped her bringing Coulson and Fitz back to Earth.[7]

Targeted by Holden Radcliffe

Aida finds the Darkhold in the Playground

"I only glimpsed it but it opened my eyes to possibilities beyond my wildest imaginings, it can show us how..."
"How to live forever?"
"It's a bit more complicated but yes. Man could once and for all break the bonds of his mortal restraints."
Holden Radcliffe to Aida[src]

While reading the book, apparently, Holden Radcliffe noticed a way to prevent death. The idea had corrupted him and he developed an obsession for the Darkhold, causing him to betray S.H.I.E.L.D.. As part of his plan to steal the book, he programmed Aida to appear as if she had become self-aware via reading the Darkhold as well as taking Melinda May hostage and replacing her with a Life-Model Decoy.

Aida being stopped from taking the Darkhold

Radcliffe planned that Aida would be seen as though she wanted to steal the book for herself. At the same time, Director Jeffrey Mace hid the book in his office and cloaked it, as Mace and Phil Coulson figured out that it was for the best that the Darkhold be destroyed. Radcliffe then initiated his plan, as Aida attacked the base and stole the book. However, Aida was destroyed by Alphonso Mackenzie, and Coulson retrieved the Darkhold in the process.[11]

The Superior reading parts of the Darkhold

Coulson then brought the book to Billy Koenig, who had passed it to his brothers. When LT Koenig returned it to Billy, he hid it inside the Labyrinth. The Watchdogs, assisted by Radcliffe, tried to take the book, but were stopped by S.H.I.E.L.D. However, LMD May took the book and brought it to Radcliffe. Anton Ivanov wanted to use the book to kill both Inhumans and Coulson.[12] Ivanov then briefly read the book, which gave him the answer to use Radcliffe in order to fight the Inhumans. Radcliffe later also read the Darkhold.[13]

Aida's Plan

Aida gives the Darkhold to Anton Ivanov

Under Holden Radcliffe's request, Aida used the Darkhold to improve the Framework so it would be a virtual world. With the knowledge provided by the Darkhold, Aida created a full Life-Model Decoy body for the severely wounded Anton Ivanov. While Ivanov's head was inside a jar, his brain controlled the body remotely.[14]

The Darkhold showed Aida how to accomplish her ultimate goal: to become a human being. Using the Quantum Batteries, Aida could create for herself a human body, so she would no longer be chained to Radcliffe's protocols. Leo Fitz designed for her the machine inside the Framework (known as "Project Looking Glass") and Ivanov's men built it on his oil platform.[15] Aida successfully created a living body with Inhuman abilities.[16]

Aida making her new plan to use the Darkhold

Ivanov told Aida that with the help of the Darkhold, they could ensure that the real world would become its replica in the Framework.[17] Due to Aida's creation, a rift in Hell was created. The Spirit of Vengeance inside Robbie Reyes wanted to retrieve the Darkhold to Hell and kill Aida. Reyes passed to the other side and returned to Earth and came after the book. Aida managed to escape with the Darkhold before the Ghost Rider could get his hands on it. Later on, Ivanov, controlling LMDs of himself and Sergei Mishkin, brought the Darkhold to the International Inquiry Committee and told the attendees to read the book, intending for it to corrupt their minds to make them follow his anti-Inhuman crusade.

Ghost Rider takes the Darkhold into a portal

However, Ghost Rider managed to steal the Darkhold before that could happen. Afterwards, though Reyes asked to take the Darkhold, Phil Coulson asked that he wait, since he intended to use the book in order to lure Aida into a trap. Thus, Coulson held the book close to him when he returned to the Playground. When Aida came for him, having been fooled by Fitz into thinking he was planning to use the Darkhold against her, he revealed himself to be possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance and used its power to destroy her. Afterwards, Coulson handed the book to Reyes, who then opened a portal to Hell and took the Darkhold with him, thereby ensuring that it could no longer corrupt any more innocent lives.[18]

Used by Morgan le Fay

Morgan le Fay opening the Darkhold

"So, uh, what was that book Morgan was reading last night?"
"It's her book of spells. Don't you have one?"
Nico Minoru and Bronwyn[src]

The Darkhold was eventually acquired by Morgan le Fay, who planned to use the knowledge contained in the ancient book to conquer the Earth. It became le Fay's most prized possession, as she had a connection with it. Having escaped from the Dark Dimension, le Fay stored the book at the Essex Tower Hotel.

The Darkhold is used in a witch ritual

Le Fay took the Darkhold to the ritual room, where a ceremony was held to induct Nico Minoru into her Coven of witches. The Darkhold was opened by le Fay during the ritual, with Minoru getting curious about the book. The next morning, Minoru asked Bronwyn for information about the book.[19]

Doorway to Darkness

Robert Minoru finds and reads the Darkhold

"Permit my entry into night, and allow the darkness find its light."
Nico Minoru[src]

In order to rescue Alex Wilder, Nico Minoru had planned to steal the Darkhold from Morgan le Fay to cast the spell required to return to the Dark Dimension. She and her mother Tina infiltrated the Essex Tower Hotel to retrieve the book. When Tina freed Robert from le Fay's Crow Necklace spell, he offered to help his wife and daughter in the search for the grimoire. Robert successfully located the Darkhold in a secret room.

Morgan le Fay taking the Darkhold back

While Robert was using his WizGlasses to record the necessary pages to help Nico to access the Darkhold's spells, including a page with the phrase "doorway to darkness", le Fay sensed that he had found the book. Once Robert finished recording the necessary pages, he try ran from the secret room with the Darkhold. However, le Fay immediately teleported to Robert and took the book from him. Angry at the Minoru family's attempt to steal the Darkhold, le Fay mentioned her connection to the Darkhold and how sacred the book was before killing Robert with her powers.[20]

Cloak, Dagger, and Nico reading the Darkhold

Robert, in his final moments, gave his WizGlasses containing a video of the Darkhold to Nico. At the Hostel, Nico used the content of the book to cast a spell with the Staff of One. However, instead of opening a portal to another dimension, the spell from the Darkhold caused the appearance of two young people: Cloak & Dagger.[20] While explaining her mission, Nico showed the recorded footage of the Darkhold to Cloak and Dagger. The spell from the Darkhold was useful after all: using Cloak's powers, the Runaways and Cloak & Dagger teleported to the Dark Dimension and rescued Wilder.[21]

Banishing Morgan le Fay

"You crossed over to get Alex. How? Your father failed to get the Darkhold."
"No, he didn't."
Tina Minoru and Nico Minoru[src]

When PRIDE united with the Runaways to stop Morgan le Fay's grand plan to merge the Dark Dimension with Earth, Nico Minoru revealed to Tina Minoru that Robert Minoru had recorded pages of the book on his WizGlasses. Using the contents from the book, Tina started working on a banishing spell while Nico and the other kids were fighting le Fay at the Hostel.[22] Joining the battle, Tina cast a powerful spell from the Darkhold and successively banished le Fay from the Earth.[23]

FitzSimmons' Illusion

Leo Fitz reading the Darkhold's recreation

"That's not a good book. That's a bad book, bad story, very poorly written."
Leo Fitz[src]

During a recreation of the shared memories of Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons induced by the Chronicoms, Fitz realized that the book a child version of Simmons wanted him to read from was an illusion of the Darkhold. Fitz, who remembered that the book was dangerous as it had been involved in the creation of the Framework's fascist world, immediately rejected the book, calling it "very poorly written".[24]

Agatha Harkness and Scarlet Witch

Agatha Harkness reads the Darkhold

"Did you know there's an entire chapter devoted to you in the Darkhold?"
Agatha Harkness to Wanda Maximoff[src]

The witch Agatha Harkness had access to the Book of the Damned, which she kept in her basement during her time in the town of Westview, while keeping an eye on Wanda Maximoff.[25][26] The book enhanced Harkness' powers allowing her to break into the Westview Anomaly. Harkness used her amplified powers to manipulate Maximoff's world without being noticed.[6] When she and Maximoff eventually came to blows, Harkness revealed the book to Maximoff and explained to her that there was a whole chapter on the "Scarlet Witch" in it, before using her dark magic against Maximoff.

Scarlet Witch studies the Darkhold

Maximoff took the book from Harkness after defeating the witch, in order to study it, hoping to learn more about her true power. Maximoff mastered astral projection and studied the book while her physical body performed other menial tasks. One day while studying the book, Maximoff heard the voices of her children crying out for their mother, and proceeded to slam the book shut.[2]

Capabilities

The book's content about the Scarlet Witch

"Look, if the internet is a garden hose, this book is Niagara Falls, blasting the universe's deepest thoughts through your eyeballs."
"It's a piece of technology, a tool."
"So's a grenade, until it's in the hands of a child."
Holden Radcliffe and Melinda May[src]

The Darkhold contains infinite knowledge;[1] not only does it have a full chapter on the Scarlet Witch myth[2], but it also contains spells, formulas,[8] information on how to create machines to harness energy from other dimensions,[27] and even coding.[11] While most of the time, its pages are blank, there have been certain occasions when the reader had immediate access to its content, for example, when Robert Minoru opened the book to find the spell to access to the Dark Dimension.[20] When the pages are blank they can be read when they enter in contact with the reader, the dark book reads the readers and adapts to them showing them the information they look for, featuring instructions to make their desires come true, written in the language the reader would fully understand.[8][19] The instructions that came from the book could guide the reader to their ultimate goal by showing them how to build items, some of which harness energy from other dimensions.[7] Therefore, even brilliant scientists, like Leo Fitz, could not understand how the creations work.

Lucy Bauer is unable to read the Darkhold

Witches such as Agatha Harkness and Wanda Maximoff appear to have access to all of the book's content.[2] In the hands of Harkness, the content of the book could be read in prophecy language.[28] It cannot be read by beings trapped between the Hell Dimension and the Earth Plane,[7] as the ghostly Lucy Bauer could not read it.[8] However, Wanda Maximoff was able to read it while she was projecting herself in the Astral Plane.[2]

The secondary ability of the book is to corrupt the reader's mind and create a dangerous obsession over the Darkhold. A person who has used the Darkhold for a long time may not want others to even touch it.[8] Even a brief skim through the book can corrupt the reader's mind, like in the case of Holden Radcliffe, who, despite recognizing the danger the book poses and not even attempting to read it properly, allowed himself to betray his friends simply to regain possession of the book.[27] Abiotic beings, such as the Life-Model Decoy Aida, can also become corrupted if they read the book. The Darkhold can even corrupt people who have yet to read it; an example is Eli Morrow, who attempted to murder his Momentum Labs coworkers after learning the capabilities of the machine they were building.[10]

The book has a third ability. It amplifies the user's magic, as shown with Agatha Harkness. The Salem witch used the book as an amplification totem, it enhanced her magic, which allowed her to break into the reality known as the Hex when she felt Maximoff's mixture of magical energy. Therefore, she was the only person at the moment unable to be controlled by Maximoff. Thanks to this, Harkness could manipulate the course of events of this sitcom reality without being noticed. Harkness was able to hold her own against Maximoff due to her Darkhold-increased powers, however, this was not enough to overpower the Scarlet Witch.[6]

The Darkhold is manifested by Agatha Harkness

The Darkhold has a special connection with beings who are related to the book itself, the dark matter, the Dark Dimension, and dark magic. When Aida built herself a body with the knowledge of the Book of Sins, she used dark matter in the process, which was felt by the Ghost Rider who decided to exterminate Aida and return the Darkhold to Hell, where it belonged.[18] Morgan le Fay considered the Darkhold to be her book of spells and part of herself, due to her having a strong connection with the grimoire. She could even feel when it was used by others.[20] When the book was in possession of Agatha Harkness, a master of the dark arts, she was able to teleport the book from her basement into her presence and then return it without any effort.[2]

Known Inventions

Appearances

Appearances for the Darkhold

In chronological order:

Trivia

  • In the comics, the Darkhold is the ultimate dark grimoire, a collection of all evil spells in existence that was gathered by the Elder God Chthon. Pages of the Darkhold were copied into the Book of Cagliostro. It had different designers across time such as Morgan le Fay and Paolo Montesi. The Darkhold has also had different copies of it spread around the world, as well as different designs.
  • The cover of the Darkhold in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways features an ambigram, which makes the writing on it reads "Darkhold" from both directions. This design was changed for WandaVision.

Behind the Scenes

  • WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer revealed that they did not take into consideration the previous appearance of the Darkhold in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when they decided to include it in WandaVision,[29] and that they used the Darkhold only considering the story they wrote for the Disney+ series.[30] She later added that other projects "would tell more" about the Darkhold outside of what was seen in WandaVision.[28]
  • When WandaVision director Matt Shakman was asked if the Darkhold that appeared in the series was the same book from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or a completely different book, he said that he "would imagine it's the same book".[31]
  • WandaVision co-executive producer Mary Livanos pitched the idea to use the Darkhold in the series as it would increase the level of danger that Agatha Harkness posed to Scarlet Witch.[6]
  • The re-design of the Darkhold and how it functioned in WandaVision was decided after taking a look at how it worked in the comics rather than in its previous iterations in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways. When talking about the design phase of the prop and the book's physical placement within scenes, Matt Shakman said that the design would try to answer questions on what it could look like, how it had been created, and how it would appear and disappear.[6]

References

Transparent AOU Logo.png
The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of images and media related to Darkhold.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.04: Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 WandaVision: 1.09: The Series Finale
  3. 3.0 3.1 Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Four
  4. 'Agent Carter' Bosses Discuss How 'Doctor Strange' Tie-In Impacts Peggy's Love Life
  5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ghost Rider’s Return Explained
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 WANDAVISION'S CREATIVE TEAM DISCUSSES THE DARKHOLD, THE SCARLET WITCH, AND FAN THEORIES
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.07: Deals With Our Devils
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.05: Lockup
  9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.02: Meet the New Boss
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.06: The Good Samaritan
  11. 11.0 11.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.09: Broken Promises
  12. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.12: Hot Potato Soup
  13. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.13: BOOM
  14. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.15: Self Control
  15. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.19: All the Madame's Men
  16. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.20: Farewell, Cruel World!
  17. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.21: The Return
  18. 18.0 18.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.22: World's End
  19. 19.0 19.1 Runaways: 3.06: Merry Meet Again
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Runaways: 3.07: Left-Hand Path
  21. Runaways: 3.08: Devil's Torture Chamber
  22. Runaways: 3.09: The Broken Circle
  23. Runaways: 3.10: Cheat The Gallows
  24. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 6.06: Inescapable
  25. WandaVision: 1.07: Breaking the Fourth Wall
  26. WandaVision: 1.08: Previously On
  27. 27.0 27.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.08: The Laws of Inferno Dynamics
  28. 28.0 28.1 'WandaVision' secrets revealed: The missing Doctor Strange cameo, a goofy 'Growing Pains' reference and the 'Contact' connection
  29. WandaVision Head Writer Jac Schaeffer On Changes, Endings, and Vision's Beautiful Words (Exclusive)
  30. Jac Schaeffer Interview: WandaVision
  31. Matt Shakman Interview: WandaVision

External Links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.