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It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his 22nd book and 18th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by an entity that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. "It" primarily appears in the form of a clown to attract its preferred prey of young children.
The novel is told through narratives alternating between two periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes that eventually became King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma and its recurrent echoes in adulthood, the ugliness lurking behind a façade of small-town quaintness, and overcoming evil through mutual trust and sacrifice.
King has stated that he first conceived the story in 1978, and began writing it in 1981. He also stated that he originally wanted the title character to be a troll like the one in the children's story Three Billy Goats Gruff, but who inhabited the local sewer system rather than just the area beneath one bridge. He also wanted the story to interweave the stories of children and the adults they later become.
The novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and received nominations for the Locus and World Fantasy Awards that same year. Publishers Weekly listed It as the best-selling book in the United States in 1986. It has been adapted into a 1990 two-part miniseries directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, and into a 2017 film directed by Andy Muschietti.
First edition cover
||Bob Giusti (illustration)
Amy Hill (lettering)
|September 15, 1986
During a heavy rainstorm in Derry, Maine, six-year-old George "Georgie" Denbrough is chasing a paper boat down a gutter. The boat is washed down a storm drain to the dismay of Georgie, who had received the boat as a gift from his older brother Bill. Peering into the drain, Georgie sees a pair of glowing yellow eyes. Startled, Georgie is suddenly confronted by a man dressed in a silver clown suit who introduces himself as "Mr. Bob Gray", a.k.a. "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". Pennywise offers Georgie a balloon which he cautiously refuses; however, the clown entices Georgie to reach into the drain to retrieve his boat and then severs his arm, leaving the boy to bleed to death or die of shock in the gutter. Moments later, when neighbor Dave Gardener gets to Georgie, Georgie is already dead.
The following June, Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom, an overweight eleven-year-old boy, is harassed by a gang of bullies led by the feared Henry Bowers. On the last day of school, Ben hides from his tormentors in the Barrens after Henry threatens to carve his name onto Ben's stomach with a switchblade, where he befriends Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak, a hypochondriac boy who believes he has asthma, and William "Bill" Denbrough, Georgie's elder brother who suffers from a stutter and rides on a rusty bike named "Silver". The three boys later befriend fellow misfits Richard "Richie" Tozier, Stanley "Stan" Uris, and Beverly "Bev" Marsh, who eventually refer to themselves as "The Losers Club".
As the summer draws on, the Losers realize that they have each had an encounter with a seemingly omniscient, alien shape-shifting entity that takes the form of whatever they fear the most: Ben as a mummy, Eddie as a leper, Bill as Georgie's ghost, Richie as a werewolf, Stan as two drowned boys, Beverly as a fountain of blood spurting from her bathroom sink, and Mike as a large, vicious, otherworldly bird, one not found in any of Stan's bird-watching books, that tried to kill him in an encounter at the Ironworks remains. Due to the unknown origin of the monster, the Losers refer to the creature as "It" and link It with a series of recent child murders, including that of Edward "Eddie" Corcoran who is killed by the monster in the form of the Gill-man.
Meanwhile, an increasingly unhinged and sadistic Henry Bowers begins focusing his attention on his African-American neighbor, Michael "Mike" Hanlon and his father, including killing the boy's dog. During early July, Henry and his gang chase the terrified Mike into the Barrens, where he meets and is rescued by the Losers, who defeat the bullies in a violent rock fight. Henry, left humiliated and defeated, swears revenge, and Mike joins the now-complete Losers Club. He tells the Losers that he was attacked by It in the form of a flesh-eating bird and shows them his father's scrapbook of old Derry photos, which reveals It has been around for hundreds of years. The Losers begin to suspect that It has control over Derry due to the number of unsolved disappearances and violent tragedies that go unnoticed or seem forgotten by the adults in the town.
After further encounters with It in the form of Pennywise and various other manifestations, the Losers construct a makeshift American-Indian smokehole which Richie and Mike use to hallucinate It's origins. In doing so they discover that It came to Derry millions of years before in an asteroid-like impact and that every 27 years It awakens from a slumber underneath the town's sewers, usually after some kind of terrible event or tragedy, to feed on children for a period of 12–16 months.
In late July, Eddie is hospitalized after an attack by Henry Bowers and several of his friends. Spying on them, Beverly witnesses one of the bullies, Patrick Hockstetter, trying to empty a refrigerator which he had been using to trap and kill injured animals, only to be killed by It in the form of flying bloodsucking leeches. Later, the Losers discover a message from It written in Patrick's blood warning them that It will kill them.
After Eddie is released from the hospital with a broken arm, Ben makes two silver slugs out of a silver dollar, believing that silver will harm It. The kids return to the house on Neibolt Street where Eddie, Bill, and Richie had previously encountered It, and It attacks them in the form of a werewolf. Beverly shoots a slug from Bill's slingshot at the werewolf, injuring It, and causing It to flee back to the sewers. It, now seeing the Losers as a threat, manipulates the minds of Beverly's abusive father, Alvin Marsh, making him angry enough to attempt to kill his daughter, and Henry Bowers, providing him back his missing switchblade (which he had lost earlier while chasing Ben) which he uses to first kill his violent, alcoholic father, Oscar "Butch" Bowers. Henry, accompanied by his two closest friends, Victor "Vic" Criss and Reginald "Belch" Huggins chases the Losers into the sewers with the intention of killing them.
At this point the narrative changes and "It" informs the reader that it existed originally in a void between our universe and others, in a dimension known as the Macroverse. It boasts to the reader that It is superior to anything on earth and confirms that it chooses to prey on children because It believes their fears are easier to interpret in a physical form, which It claims is akin to "salting the meat". It attacks the three bullies in the form of Frankenstein's monster, ripping Vic's head off and mutilating Belch's face. Henry, driven insane, chases the Losers and gets lost. He eventually washes out of the sewers into a nearby river and is blamed for all of the child murders. Meanwhile, Bill discovers the "Ritual of Chüd", an ancient ritual that requires biting the tongue of It, that allows him to enter the Macroverse to confront It, who appears to the children as a giant spider. During the ritual Bill encounters Maturin, an ancient turtle and the creator of our universe as well as It (the latter of which it vomited up following a stomach-ache), who explains that It can only be defeated during a battle of wills.
Bill enters the monster's mind through the Ritual of Chüd and discovers It's true form is a mass of destructive orange lights which It refers to as the "Deadlights". With the help of Maturin, Bill is able to defeat It and send it back to its slumber. After the battle, the Losers get lost in the sewers until Beverly has sex with all the boys to connect childhood and adulthood and bring unity back to the group. The Losers then swear a blood oath to return to Derry should It return in the future.
In July 1984 at the annual Derry carnival, three youths brutally attack a young gay man named Adrian Mellon and throw him off a bridge. They are arrested and charged with murder when Mellon's mutilated corpse is found. One of the murderers claims that he saw a clown dressed in a silver suit kill Mellon underneath the bridge. Adrian's partner, the other victim in the attack, had also noticed the clown but the prosecutors convince him not to mention it during the trial.
When a string of child murders occurs in Derry once again, an adult Mike Hanlon, now the town's librarian and the only one of the Losers to remain in Derry, calls up the six former members of the Losers Club, all now in their thirties, and reminds them of their childhood promise to return should the killings start again. Bill Denbrough is now a successful horror writer living in England with his actress wife, Audra. Beverly Marsh is a fashion designer in Chicago, and is married to an abusive man named Tom Rogan. Eddie Kaspbrak has moved to New York City, where he runs a limousine rental company and has married a hysterical, codependent woman similar to his controlling mother.
Richie Tozier lives in Los Angeles and works as a disc jockey. Ben Hanscom is now thin and a successful architect, living in Nebraska. Stan Uris is a wealthy accountant residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to Mike's phone calls, the Losers had buried the horror of their encounters with It. However, all but Stan reluctantly agree to return to Derry. After Mike's phone call, Stan is so terrified of facing It again that he slits his wrists in the bathtub, writing "IT" on the wall in his own blood. Tom refuses to let Beverly go and tries to beat her, but she lashes out at him before fleeing, causing him serious injury. The five return to Derry with only the dimmest awareness of why they are doing so, remembering only the absolute terror and their promise to return.
The Losers meet for lunch, where Mike reminds them that It awakens once roughly every 27 years for 12–16 months at a time, feeding on children before going into slumber again. The group decides to kill It once and for all. At Mike's suggestion, each person explores different parts of Derry to help restore their memories. While exploring, Eddie, Richie, Beverly, and Ben are faced with manifestations of It (Eddie as Belch Huggins in leper form, Richie as a Paul Bunyan statue, Beverly as the witch from Hansel & Gretel and Ben as Dracula). Bill finds his childhood Schwinn, "Silver", and brings it to Mike's.
Three other people are also converging on the town: Audra, who is worried about Bill; Tom, who plans to kill Beverly; and Henry Bowers, who has escaped from Juniper Hill Mental Asylum with help from It. Mike and Henry have a violent confrontation at the library. Mike is nearly killed but Henry escapes, severely injured. Henry is driven to the hotel where It instructs him to kill the rest of the Losers. Henry attacks Eddie, breaking his arm once again, but in the fight, Henry is killed.
It appears to Tom and orders him to capture Audra. Tom brings Audra to its lair. Upon seeing It's true form, Audra becomes catatonic and Tom drops dead from shock. Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, and Eddie learn that Mike is near death and realize they are being forced into another confrontation with It. They descend into the sewers and use their strength as a group to "send energy" to a hospitalized Mike, who fights off a nurse that is under the control of It. They reach its lair and find It has taken the form of a giant spider. Bill and Richie enter It's mind through the Ritual of Chüd, and are able to injure It. Eddie helps successfully bring Bill and Richie back from the Ritual, but in the process It rips off Eddie's arm, killing him. It runs away to tend to its injuries, but Bill, Richie, and Ben chase after It and find that It has laid eggs. Ben stays behind to destroy the eggs, while Bill and Richie head toward their final confrontation with It. Bill fights his way inside its body, locates It's heart and destroys it. The group meets up to head out of its lair, and although they try to bring Audra and Eddie's bodies with them, they are forced to leave Eddie behind. They make it to the surface and realize that the scars on their hands from when they were children have disappeared, indicating that their ordeal is finally over.
During the Ritual, the worst storm in Maine's history sweeps through Derry, destroying most of the buildings as the downtown area collapses. Mike concludes that Derry is finally dying. Richie returns to LA, Ben and Beverly leave town together, and while Mike is in the hospital, Bill stays in Mike's house to look after Audra in hopes she will snap out of her catatonic state. The Losers gradually begin to forget about It, Derry, and each other. Mike's memory of his friends and events with It also begins to fade, as well as his Derry memoir and journal, much to his relief, and he considers starting a new life elsewhere. Before Bill leaves Derry, he takes Audra, still catatonic, for a ride on Silver. Rushing through downtown Derry like he did as a kid, Audra awakens her from her catatonia with no recollection of what happened upon arriving in Maine.
(Although Pennywise seems to have been destroyed during the final showdown, there are indications in King's later books that It may have survived.)
The Losers Club
The Losers Club is a group of seven misfit eleven-year-old children who are united by their unhappy lives. They share the same misery and torment from being the victims of a gang of local bullies led by the increasingly sociopathic Henry Bowers and band together as they struggle to overcome It. The seven children find themselves caught up in a nefarious situation, which they cannot quite comprehend but against which they must fight.
- Bill Denbrough
- Bill is the leader and most self-assured member of the Losers Club as well as the main protagonist of the story. He wants to get revenge on the monster for the death of his younger brother, Georgie. He feels responsible for Georgie's death as it was he who made Georgie the boat and sent him outside to play with it during a rainstorm. In addition, his parents have become cold and withdrawn towards him after the loss of their youngest son, and he secretly hopes the death of the murderer will awaken his parents to his presence again. He has a severe stutter, which has earned him the nickname "Stuttering Bill". His mother attributes the stutter to a car accident that occurred when he was three years old, but his stutter is implied to be psychosomatic rather than physical: it worsens considerably after Georgie's death, and fades during his teenage years entirely, returning suddenly when Bill returns to Derry in 1985. He is the most determined and resourceful of the Losers and is their unofficial leader. It is Bill who eventually destroys It, engaging It in the Ritual of Chüd in both 1958 and 1985, and eventually killing It's physical form by ripping its heart out. As an adult, he becomes a successful writer and marries film star Audra Phillips, who bears a strong resemblance to Beverly.
- Ben Hanscom
- Known as "Haystack" to his friends, Ben is a highly intelligent boy who, before joining the Losers Club, often spent his free time reading books at the public library. He is also obese, and due to this has become a favorite victim of Henry Bowers. His mechanical skills become useful to the Losers, from making two silver slugs to building an underground clubhouse. He develops a crush on Beverly Marsh and the two leave Derry together after the 1985 defeat of It. As he grows up, he sheds his excess weight and becomes an internationally renowned architect.
- Beverly Marsh (later Rogan)
- The only girl in the group, she is an attractive and tomboyish redhead on whom each of the boys has a secret crush at some point during the story. She is from the poorest part of Derry, and is frequently abused by her father, Alvin, while her mother, Elfrida is out working. In 1958, she develops a crush on Bill Denbrough. Her skill with a slingshot is a key factor in battling It. As an adult, she becomes a successful fashion designer in Chicago, but endures several abusive relationships, culminating in her marriage to Tom Rogan, who sees her as a sex object and frequently beats her. She departs Derry with Ben following the destruction of It.
- Richie Tozier
- Known as "Trashmouth", Richie is the Losers' self-appointed comic relief, always cracking jokes and doing impersonations or "Voices", which prove very powerful weapons against It. He is "too intelligent for his own good" and channels his boredom in hyper-active wisecracking, which frequently leads to trouble. His flippant remarks to Henry Bowers lead to almost getting beaten up by Henry and his friends, and several times he mocks adults to their faces. He is the most devoted to keeping the group together, as he sees seven as a magical number and believes the group should have no more, no less. In adulthood, he is a successful disc jockey in Los Angeles. As the DJ, he uses his once-annoying and unrealistic voices as one of his main attractions. He is extremely nearsighted and wears thick glasses as a child, but changes to contact lenses as an adult. He loses his contact lenses in an encounter with It and is forced to return to his glasses, one of several ways the Losers return to their childhood. Although it is unclear if he was the basis of the character's name and occupation, Maine Public Radio has a music program hosted by a Rich Tozier.
- Eddie Kaspbrak
- Eddie is a frail and asthmatic hypochondriac, who carries his inhaler with him everywhere. His father died when he was very young, and his mother is domineering and constantly worries about his health. Later in the story, it is revealed that Eddie's asthma is psychosomatic: the pharmacist has been all along giving him water instead of medicine in his inhaler. The root of Eddie's problems is his mother, who has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Her constant worrying about his health has been a way to manipulate him into caring for her. When Henry and his friends break his arm and his mother tries to prevent the Losers from visiting Eddie in the hospital, he finally stands up to his mother and tells her that he is no longer the helpless kid she thinks he is. As an adult, he runs a successful limousine business in New York City, but is married to a woman, Myra, who is very similar to his mother. He also finds the strength to defend himself from Henry Bowers, eventually killing him in self-defense with a broken bottle, even though in the fight his arm is re-broken in the same spot Henry broke it in a scuffle when they were kids. He bleeds to death in the sewers after his arm is bitten off by It, ultimately dying in his friends' arms.
- Mike Hanlon
- Mike is the last to join the Losers. He is the only African-American in the group and lives with his parents on a large farm. He goes to a different school from the other kids due to his Baptist faith. Mike is racially persecuted by Henry Bowers, whose father holds a long-standing grudge against Mike's father. Mike meets The Losers when they help him fight back against Bowers in a massive rock fight. His father kept an album filled with photos that were important to Derry's history, including several of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He is the only one of the Losers to stay behind in Derry (and thus the only one to retain his memory of the events of 1958) and becomes the town librarian. He researches Derry history and It, and is the one who beckons the others back when the killings begin again in 1985. Though he survives, Mike is seriously wounded by Henry and is unable to join the remaining Losers (Bill, Ben, Bev, Eddie, and Richie) in the final battle against It. He later recovers from his wounds but, like the others, starts to lose his memory of the experience. It was later revealed in Insomnia that Mike continued as a librarian and was the boss of one of that book's primary characters in 1993.
- Stanley Uris
- Stan is the most skeptical member of the Club. He is Jewish and is persecuted by Henry Bowers for this reason. Logic, order, and cleanliness are deeply ingrained in his psyche. He relies on logic more than anything else and is the least willing to accept that It actually exists. As an adult, he becomes a partner in a large Atlanta-based accounting firm and marries Patty Blum, a teacher. However, upon receiving Mike's phone call in 1985, he commits suicide by slitting his wrists in the bathtub and writing "IT" in his blood on the wall. In addition, it is heavily implied that Stan was the only one aware that It was not only female but was also pregnant, hence he chose death over returning to Derry to face the ancient terror despite being the one to slice the Losers palms in a blood oath. It is also implied in the book that Stan remembers more about the children's encounters with It than the others do, sometimes commenting on the Turtle and other events from his time in Derry, though he claims that he doesn't remember what those phrases mean. It can be implied throughout the story that he was psychic to a mild degree (accurately predicting which job his wife should apply for, a higher sensitivity to Its activities, frequent references from the other Losers to his "ordered mind"). Besides blaming It for Georgie's death, Bill also blames It for Stan's death.
"Pennywise" / It
Described as a mysterious, eldritch demonic entity of evil, It is a monster of unknown origin that preys on Derry's children and humans every twenty-seven years, stating It finds the fear in children akin to "salt(ing) the meat". Among It's powers is shapeshifting into a form that induces fear while killing the victim, normally assuming the form of a middle-aged man dressed in a clown costume, calling itself "Pennywise the Dancing Clown" and occasionally Bob or Robert Gray, modeled after Bozo, Clarabell and Ronald McDonald.
It can also manipulate people and use them as pawns in doing its bidding, either by assuming a form most familiar to them, promising them their desires or through subliminal influence. Because of this control over what happens in Derry, many of the child murders It commits are never solved; the adults of Derry act as though either nothing is happening or they have forgotten about It. Its true form as perceived by the human eye is that of a giant spider that houses Its essence: namely writhing orange lights (termed "Deadlights"), looking directly into which can either kill a person or drive them insane.
It's awakening and returns to hibernation mark the greatest instances of violence during its time awake, such as the disappearance of over three hundred settlers from Derry Township in 1740–43. In 1957, It awoke during a great storm which flooded part of the city, whereupon It went on a feeding spree, starting by murdering Georgie Denbrough. However, the Losers Club forced It to return to an early hibernation when heavily wounded by the young Bill Denbrough in the first Ritual of Chüd. As the story opens, It has awakened approximately 27 years later and is first seen when three bullies beat up a homosexual couple, Adrian Mellon and Don Hagarty.
It kills Adrian after the bullies throw him off a bridge. When the adult members of the Losers Club gather, It recognizes them as a threat and resolves to drive them away both through illusions and by controlling Henry Bowers, the Losers' long-time childhood bully. Bill, Richie, Beverly, Eddie, and Ben manage to confront It's spider form after It arranges to have Audra in its possession. It is finally destroyed in the second Ritual of Chüd, and an enormous storm damages the downtown part of Derry to signify It's death. In the novel "Dreamcatcher", when Mr. Gray tries to put a worm in Derry's water by use of the Standpipe, It is no longer there due to the 1985 flood. In its place is a memorial featuring a cast-bronze statue of two children and a plaque underneath, dedicated to the victims of the 1985 flood and of It. The plaque has been vandalized with graffiti reading, "PENNYWISE LIVES".
The character has been named by several outlets as one of the scariest clowns in film or pop culture.
The Bowers Gang
The Bowers Gang is a group of seven twelve-year-old neighborhood bullies who attend the same school as and are the worst enemies of the Losers Club after It. The gang is led by the crazed and mischievous Henry Bowers, while also being co-led by Henry's two best friends and sidekicks, the smarter and more moral Victor "Vic" Criss and the unusually larger, stronger, and more slow-witted Reginald "Belch" Huggins. Although the fates of three of them (Peter Gordon, Steve "Moose" Sadler, Gard Jagermeyer) were never made official, it is stated in the novel that the remaining child murders during the summer of 1958 after that of minor character Jimmy Cullum were of all of Henry's friends, creating the assumption that they were attacked and killed by It (possibly as means to worsen Henry's sociopathism).
- Henry Bowers
- Henry Bowers is the sadistic and crazed leader of the Bowers Gang who torments the Losers and other kids ceaselessly before and throughout the summer of 1958. The novel portrays him as a hateful and violent twelve-year-old boy filled with mischief and malice. Henry's sanity slowly deteriorates throughout the summer due to the influence of It and abuse from his equally crazy and abusive father, Butch Bowers, who has taught Henry to be a racist. Henry shares his father's intense hatred for the Hanlon family, the only black family in Derry, in addition to being a sexist and anti-semite. He inflicts many acts of cruelty and humiliation upon the Losers during and before the summer of '58, such as attempting to carve his name onto Ben Hanscom's stomach (though he only gets as far as the first letter), ceaselessly mocking Bill Denbrough's pronounced stutter, harassing Beverly and threatening her with sexual violence, killing Mike Hanlon's dog and bathing Mike in mud to make him a "tar baby", breaking Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, breaking Richie Tozier's glasses numerous times, and white-washing Stan Uris' face in snow until it bleeds. His deteriorating sanity becomes apparent during his attacks on Eddie and Beverly: with the former, he pushed a man to the ground and threatened him into going back inside a building when the man tried to stand up for Eddie after Henry starts attacking Eddie with rocks; he kicked out an old lady's taillight when she tried to stand up for Beverly. After a violent rock fight in early July, Henry becomes increasingly sadistic until he eventually murders his father in mid-August with a switchblade provided by It, and also tries to kill the Losers. He chases them into the town sewers with his friends Victor "Vic" Criss and Reginald "Belch" Huggins, only to encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster, who decapitates Vic and mutilates Belch's face. Henry fails to kill any of the Losers and manages to escape from It. When he eventually finds his way out of the sewers, the shock of witnessing his friends being slaughtered has driven him completely insane. He is convicted of the murder of his father and is framed for most of It's murders throughout the summer. He is placed in an insane asylum and remains there until May 29, 1985, when he escapes with It's assistance, and heads back to Derry to attempt to murder the Losers once more. After critically wounding Mike in the town library and being injured himself in the process, Henry then goes to the hotel where most of the Losers are staying, and finds Eddie's room first, only to be killed in the confrontation with Eddie.
- Victor "Vic" Criss
- Victor "Vic" Criss is a bully, and one of Henry's sidekicks. Among Henry's gang, Vic is most likely the smartest and most intelligent member and is the only one who truly realizes Henry's insanity, and becomes increasingly reluctant to follow him. The novel describes Vic as having good morals despite helping Henry torment the Losers, often wanting to scare or intimidate the Losers rather than actually cause physical harm. When he makes comments and jokes, he often uses heavy profanity as well as implied or explicit violence. It is also noted that he is a more than fair pitcher during the rock fight, where he causes the most damage (partly and somewhat paradoxically because he did not want to be there). In early August, while in the Tracker Brothers store, Vic warns the Losers of Henry's deteriorating sanity. He also almost approaches the Losers to join them but decides against it. By doing this, he seals his fate and joins Henry and Belch in following the Losers into the sewers, where the three encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster, who kills Vic by decapitating him. Later It appears before Henry taking the form of Vic and Henry continually remembers Vic's decapitation. His corpse along with Belch's is later discovered by the adult Losers when they go to face It for the final time.
- Reginald "Belch" Huggins
- Reginald "Belch" Huggins is another sidekick of Henry's, and earned his nickname due to his ability to belch on command. He is very big for his age, being six feet tall at twelve years old. Belch is considered stupid by most people, which he makes up for in physical strength and his fierce loyalty to his friends, especially Henry. He is believed to be a professional grade baseball batter. Belch follows Henry and Vic into the sewers to murder the Losers, only to encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster. After It kills Vic and goes after Henry, Belch defends him and attacks It. Henry leaves Belch behind and It overpowers him and kills him by mutilating his face. It appears as a mutilated Belch to drive Henry to the hotel where the Losers are staying. During this encounter, Belch shows a great deal of resentment towards Henry, which uneases Henry. His corpse along with Vic's is later discovered by the adult Losers when they go to face It for the final time.
- Patrick Hockstetter
- Patrick Hockstetter is a psychopathic and solipsistic bully who is part of Henry's gang (despite his generally low reputation, even as a bully). Patrick keeps a pencil box full of dead flies, which he kills with his ruler, and shows it to other students. He makes sexual advances to Henry at one point. He also takes small, usually injured animals and locks them in a broken refrigerator in a junkyard, and leaves them there to die. Along with killing animals, Patrick has also murdered his infant brother, Avery, by suffocation when he was five years old. When alone with Henry after lighting farts with him and his gang one July afternoon in 1958, Patrick gives Henry a handjob and offers to give him oral sex, which snaps Henry out of his daze and prompts him to punch Patrick in the mouth. Henry then reveals that he knows about Patrick's refrigerator, and threatens to tell everyone about it if Patrick tells about the handjob. Once Henry has left, Patrick opens the refrigerator to dispose of the animal corpses but is attacked by a swarm of flying leeches, his only fear. The swarm sucks Patrick's blood leaving large holes all over his body, which causes him to slowly lose consciousness as he is dragged away by It. When he awakens, It begins to feed on him. His death is witnessed by Beverly, and his corpse is discovered by the Losers when they go into the sewers to face It for the first time.
- Peter Gordon
- A well-off friend of Henry's that lives on West Broadway, who thinks of chasing Mike Hanlon as a game, though Henry's crazed and increasingly violent behavior (such as attempting to outright kill Mike with cherry bombs and M-80s) begins to alienate him. He is also the boyfriend of an unattractive girl with heavy acne named Marcia Fadden. When school goes out for the summer, Peter (menacingly) invites Ben Hanscom to play baseball with him and while on a date with Marcia, he insults the Losers at the movies. Like Vic Criss, he also realizes Henry's eroding sanity, albeit only after the rock fight. He is never seen again after the rock fight.
- Steve "Moose" Sadler
- A slightly developmentally disabled and very slow friend of Henry's, whose father works on the Hanlon family farm. He joins Henry in tormenting Mike Hanlon and also helps him break Eddie's arm in the park. However, Moose is shown to be more of a minion or a follower to Henry rather than a friend and is more of a friend to Vic and Belch.
- Gard Jagermeyer
- A very slow and dumb friend of Henry's. He once pushed Richie Tozier to the ground, breaking his glasses. Aside from this instance, Gard is mentioned a few times throughout the novel, arguably making him the most minor of Henry's gang.
- George "Georgie" Denbrough
- The first character introduced in the book. He is the six-year-old brother of Bill Denbrough, and he goes out to sail his boat made from a sheet of newspaper only for it to be swept into a storm drain. Seconds later Pennywise appears and tempts him with balloons and circus food. Georgie says no and as Georgie reaches for the boat, Pennywise grabs him and rips his arm off, whispering to him 'they float' while he bleeds to death.
- Edward "Eddie" Corcoran
- Eddie Corcoran is a classmate of the Losers Club and Henry's gang. Like Beverly Marsh, Eddie and his younger brother Dorsey are victims of child abuse by their stepfather, Richard Macklin. Eddie's stepfather would often beat both boys brutally and without warning, at one point throwing Eddie into a coat rack with enough force to make him urinate blood for two weeks for accidentally slamming the door while Macklin was sleeping. In May 1957, Macklin hit Dorsey in the back of the head with a hammer, accidentally killing him, which he covered up to look like an accident. Two days before summer vacation in June 1958, Eddie runs away from home and decides to rest in the park. However, using Dorsey's form, It approaches Eddie and chases after him before assuming the form of the Gill-man to kill him. Eddie is the only child who is actually shown getting killed by It besides George Denbrough and Patrick Hockstetter.
- Adrian Mellon
- Adrian Mellon is a young homosexual man in Derry. He grows fond of the town, despite its violently homophobic mindset, and only agrees to leave to please his partner, Don Hagarty. Before leaving, however, the two attend a town fair in July 1984, and on the way home, they are harassed by three gay-hating youths. The three attack them, Adrian especially because of a hat he won at the fair, and throw him from a bridge over a canal. When he hits the bottom, Adrian is attacked by Pennywise as It briefly pressured his ribs until he shrieked, and dragged him away to kill. Though Don and one of the bullies, Chris Unwin, witnessed this, no mention of Pennywise is made at the trial.
- Will Hanlon
- Will Hanlon is the father of Mike Hanlon. While dying of cancer in 1962, he tells Mike about his experiences in the Army Air Corps in the 1920s and about establishing the Black Spot, a club started by Will and his black Air Force buddies and originally meant exclusively for black members, but gradually began accepting members of other races as well. He recounts how, in the fall of 1930, the club was burned down by a group of Maine Legion of White Decency members, causing numerous deaths. He narrowly survived the fire due to the intervention of his friend Dick Halloran, a character who also appears in King's The Shining. He also tells Mike that he witnessed a giant bird - the same bird that nearly killed Mike in 1958 — carry off a Legion of White Decency member and fly away with him in its talons.
- Norbert Keene
- The owner and operator of the Center Street Drug Store for fifty years, from 1925 to 1975. The Losers dislike him, thinking of him as cruel and snide. He administers Eddie's asthma medication and later reveals to him, for unclear motives, that it is only a placebo ordered by his mother. Many years later, when Keene is 85 and retired, Mike interviews him, and Mr. Keene tells him the story of the Bradley Gang, a group of outlaws who were hiding out in Maine after several bank robberies in the Midwest. He tells Mike that, in 1929, a year before the fire at the Black Spot, the entire gang was murdered by Derry residents when stopping through town to buy ammunition. Mr. Keene says that, rather than covering up the event, the whole town instead pretended that it never occurred, including police chief Jim Sullivan, who even took part in the slayings. Finally, Mr. Keene mentions seeing a clown participating in the shooting, but that it was wearing farmer's attire rather than a traditional clown suit. He speculates that the clown was in fact a disguised member of the Derry citizenry or possibly a performer from a nearby carnival, but cannot explain reports out that the clown was seem at several different places at once and that it cast no shadow.
- Tom Rogan
- The insane, abusive, violent and sadistic husband of Beverly Marsh. Tom has a very predatory view of women, and he thrives on the control he has over his vulnerable wife. When Beverly tries to leave for Derry, he refuses to let her, whipping her with a belt. Tom is surprised when the normally docile Beverly fights back and almost kills him. He follows Beverly to Derry with the intent of killing her, but is manipulated by It to kidnap Bill's wife, Audra, instead. He later dies from shock after seeing It's true form.
- Alvin Marsh
- Beverly Marsh's abusive father. Although he is not an alcoholic or drug user, he abuses Bev and her mother and acts misogynistically, though there are times when Alvin is shown to be a loving and caring father to Bev. As an adult, Beverly falls out of contact with her father, and when she returns to Derry in 1985, she discovers he has died five years before.
- Kay McCall
- Beverly Marsh's close friend, a divorcee and an affluent writer of feminist literature. Beverly turns to her when fleeing her husband Tom. She is brutally assaulted by Tom, who successfully extracts all she knows about his missing wife's whereabouts.
- Audra Philips Denbrough
- Bill's wife, a famous film actress who bears a marked resemblance to Beverly. She follows Bill to Derry due to her concern over his mental state and is kidnapped by Tom Rogan, who is acting on It's orders. She becomes catatonic after seeing It's true form, but Bill revives her by taking her on a ride on his childhood bike Silver. She is the only person who has survived after seeing It's true form.
- Zack and Sharon Denbrough
- Bill and Georgie's father and mother. Initially loving and supportive parents, they become distant from their son and from each other in their grief over Georgie's death, and Bill's hope of regaining their love is one of his biggest motives in fighting It. Zack, an electrician for a hydroelectric firm, has knowledge of Derry's sewer system that becomes instrumental in helping Bill determine where It can be found. Both have died by the time the Losers reunite in 1985.
- Sonia Kaspbrak
- Eddie's mother. A morbidly obese widow, she has convinced herself that Eddie is seriously ill with multiple illnesses including asthma, despite repeatedly assurances from doctors and teachers that he is basically healthy. She uses her son's health as a way of controlling him, refusing to let him participate in physical activities (which Eddie enjoys) and limiting his contact with friends. Eddie is terrified of upsetting her, but manages to stand up to her after she blames his friends for Henry Bowers breaking his arm. She dies in 1980, by which point she weighs over 400 pounds.
- Maturin the Turtle
- One of the twelve guardians of the Beams that support the Dark Tower in "Mid-World" (the dark fantasy world in the Dark Tower novels). He is a long time enemy of the creature, IT. This ancient turtle is said to have vomited out our Universe when he had a stomach ache. Maturin is kind, wise, gentle, compassionate and benevolent, having a very grandfather-like demeanor when speaking to humans. In 1958, he communicates with Bill Denbrough for a minute while he is under an illusion created by IT. Bill pleads for help in defeating IT and Maturin simply gives Bill advice that he must stand by his friends and perform the Ritual of Chüd. During the second Ritual of Chüd in 1985, It tells Bill that the Turtle has since died by "choking on a galaxy", but it is ambiguous as to whether or not this is true.
25th Anniversary Special Edition
On December 13, 2011, Cemetery Dance published a special limited edition of It for the 25th anniversary of the novel (ISBN 978-1-58767-270-5) in three editions: an unsigned limited gift edition of 2,750, a signed limited edition of 750, and a signed and lettered limited edition of 52. All three editions are oversized hardcovers, housed in a slipcase or traycase, and feature premium binding materials. This anniversary edition features a new dust jacket illustration by Glen Orbik, as well as numerous interior illustrations by Alan M. Clark and Erin Wells. The book also contains a new afterword by Stephen King discussing his reasons for writing the novel.
Connections to Other Works
The book reveals that one of Will Hanlon's army friends (and the cook in the Black Spot) is Dick Halloran from The Shining. Richie Tozier and Beverly Marsh appear in 11/22/63 when Jake goes back to Derry in 1958.
Shawshank Prison from King's short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" is mentioned. In the novel Dreamcatcher, there is the description of graffiti in Derry stating "Pennywise Lives!" In the novel The Tommyknockers, there is mention of children disappearing in Derry and one of the characters sees the clown Pennywise.
Pennywise Circus is first mentioned in the book NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King. In the 2017 film version of The Dark Tower, Pennywise Circus reappears as a decrepit, long-abandoned amusement park and is one of the landmarks that Roland Deschain and Jake Chambers notice and even make camp next to during a portion of the film.
The car being driven by Belch to give Henry a ride is a red 1958 Plymouth Fury, as seen in King's book Christine.
In 1985, Mike explains that there had been nine children murdered since the start of Pennywise's most recent cycle. Beverly expresses astonishment, stating that she would have heard about it and mentioned two other high-profile murders that became national news. She alludes to the Atlanta child murders, but also refers to 'when that crazy cop killed all those women in Castle Rock', which is a reference to The Dead Zone, when John Smith helps Castle Rock police track down serial killer Frank Dodd.
In 1990, the novel was adapted into a television miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown, John Ritter as Ben Hanscom, Harry Anderson as Richie Tozier, Richard Masur as Stan Uris, Tim Reid as Mike Hanlon, Annette O'Toole as Beverly Marsh, Richard Thomas as Bill Denbrough, Olivia Hussey as Audra Phillips, Dennis Christopher as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Michael Cole as Henry Bowers. The younger versions of the characters were played by Brandon Crane (Ben), Seth Green (Richie), Ben Heller (Stan), Marlon Taylor (Mike), Emily Perkins (Beverly), Jonathan Brandis (Bill), Adam Faraizl (Eddie), and Jarred Blancard (Henry). The miniseries was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and scripted by Wallace and Lawrence D. Cohen.
The first of a two-part feature film adaptation, It, was released on September 8, 2017. It is directed by Andy Muschietti, with a screenplay by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. Instead of a dual narrative, the first film is solely an adaptation of the section that features the characters as children, though the setting has been updated to the late 1980s. It stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise and Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough. Supporting roles are played by Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Owen Teague, Nicholas Hamilton, Logan Thompson and Jake Sim. The second film, yet to be produced, will adapt the "adult" section and update the setting to the 2010s.
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- ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 22, 2016). "Warner Bros. Sets 'CHiPs', 'It' & Untitled PG-13 Comedy For 2017". Deadline.
- ^ Rouner, Jef (September 18, 2012). "Top 5 Sickest Stephen King Sex Scenes (NSFW)". Houston Press. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- ^ Glenza, Jessica (October 29, 2014). "The 10 most terrifying clowns". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- ^ "10 Most Terrifying Clowns in Horror Movies". Screen Rant. September 23, 2015. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- ^ "The Scariest Clowns in Pop Culture". Nerdist. October 22, 2015. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- ^ Martin, Amy. ""Hey Kid, Want A Balloon?" – Horror's 5 Creepiest Clowns". Movie Pilot. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
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- ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 22, 2016). "Warner Bros. Sets 'CHiPs', 'It' & Untitled PG-13 Comedy For 2017". Deadline.
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