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History of the nightmarish interdimensional eldritch fiend known as IT from the extraordinary titular 1986 coming-of-age horror novel It by legendary horror writer Stephen King.

Background

Then the clown’s face changed. And what little George Denbrough saw next was terrible enough to make his worst imaginings of the things in the basement look like sweet, angelic dreams; what he saw destroyed his sanity in one clawing stroke.
~ Stephen King on It during his murder of Georgie.

No mortal knows, or can know, the true form of It. The final physical form It takes is that of an enormous spider, but this is the closest the human mind can understand. What the children actually see is not It's actual form, but its form in the physical realm. The true form of It's exists in an inter-dimensional realm referred to as "Deadlights", existing outside the physical world. Any living being that sees the "deadlights" goes insane almost instantly, or dies. Bill comes dangerously close to seeing the deadlights and the shape behind the shape for a brief moment. He described it as an endless, crawling hairy creature made of orange light.

Throughout the book, It is generally referred to as male, even by itself, calling himself "Mr. Bob Gray" and taking a male form as Pennywise the Clown. However, when confronting It's spider form, the characters find out that It is most likely female, due to its final form in the physical realm being that of a giant female spider which was also pregnant. However, his is not It's true form. Just the true form of the creature in the physical realm which is the closest representation of Its true form, as It's true form is genderless.

Novel

The TV miniseries film lacked many elements of It that the novel included. In the novel, It was an eternal entity that was almost as old as time itself. It was the natural enemy of Maturin (The Turtle), who both existed in the Macroverse.

Its awakening was always marked by a great act of violence, and another great act of violence ends Its spree and send It back into hibernation. It committed other crimes not mentioned in the film, such as murdering over 300 settlers some time from 1740 to 1773, as well as a group of lumberjacks between 1876 and 1879.

It also took on many more forms than in the film, such as Dracula, a homeless leper, a giant bird, Frankenstein's Monster, leeches, piranhas, the witch from the classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel, Tony Tracker, the statue of Paul Bunyan, the Gill-man, Jimmy Donlin's mother, a giant eye, Dorsey Corcoran's re-animated corpse and the shark from Jaws.

It is also responsible for deaths of Alvin Marsh, and Beverly's husband, Tom Rogan, once the later goes looking for her when she goes to Derry. Also, in the novel, he appears to the psychotic school bully Henry Bowers as Vic Criss instead of Belch while manipulating the former gang leader.

When It appears to one of the guards at the asylum Henry Bowers is kept at, it takes on the form of an eight-foot-tall Doberman Pinscher, as opposed to a cross between the clown and the shorter different looking Doberman pinscher in the film.

In the novel, Pennywise appeared to Ben as the mummy, and to Stan as the rotting corpses, while in the film it was the other way around. Also, in the novel, It was only able to be stopped when Bill performed the Ritual of Chüd. The book also implies that It may be female, given it laid eggs when in its spider form.

Another detail left out of the film is that It's spider form is not that of its official true form; it is merely the closest representation of its true form that the human mind can comprehend.

Despite being apparently killed by the Losers, there are several hints throughout King's other works that may show that It is still very much alive.

It is mentioned in Dreamcatcher, Insomnia, 11/22/63, and appears as a possible hallucination in The Tommyknockers. The 25th Anniversary Cover for the book shows "PENNYWISE LIVES" written in what appears to be blood.

1990s Miniseries

It was part of the disasters that occurred every 30 years in the main town of Derry.

IT was never against killing children. In fact, it actually preferred to kill children as they were an easier target. That was probably why it chose the form of a clown, a figure that both entertained and terrified many young children. It had razor sharp teeth that it could use to kill people.

As the film progressed, a group of children known as the Lucky Seven (also mockingly referred to as the "Losers' Club" by Henry Bowers) banded together to kill Pennywise and end its murderous reign (after it had killed the brother of one of them) and apparently succeed after they tracked it down to its lair. However, Pennywise, being a lesser-aspect of a higher being, was not going to stay dead forever and it swore revenge on the gang for its defeat before it vanished into nothingness.

30 years later, Pennywise kept its promise and came after members of the gang, who were all adults in the present day, to kill them. That prompted the gang to reform and battle Pennywise again in order to kill it yet again and save themselves from its wrath. IT Also manipulates Henry Bowers disguised as Belch and helps him out of the asylum murdering Koontz in the form of the guard's worst fear, Doberman pinscher.

At the end of the film after JUST saving Mike from dying due to injuries from Henry Bowers, the gang did manage to defeat Pennywise again, but in that final battle, it took the form of a grotesque spider-like monster that was revealed to be its true form rather than the clown disguise (which it used for most of the film). It was killed when they pulled out its heart. After they killed It, the group left IT's corpse to rot and took Eddie's body and Audra, who IT had kidnapped out of the sewers. The miniseries ends shortly later with Mike recovering and planning to find somewhere other than Derry and the other four enjoying successful lives.

It/It Chapter One

My grandfather thinks this town is cursed. He said that all the bad things that happened in this town are because of one thing. An evil thing that feeds off the people of Derry.
~ Mike Hanlon about It.

Like the novel, It was part of the disasters that occurred every 27 years in the main town of Derry. He is presented as a simple ravenous eldrich horror instead of the enemy of Maturin, who is totally absent of this universe.

October 1988

It first appears to Georgie and talks friendly wih him to gain his trust. It reveals his true colors when Georgie was about to get back his boat, by ripping off his arm and gragging him into the sewer to finish him.

June 1989

Mike, escaping from Henry Bowers's gang runs off into an alley and as he walks through a locked door, he hears screaming and pounding. The door opens a little and several burned hands start to come out alongside the cries for help from Mike's parents (who died in a fire when Mike was little). A little later, the hands were hidden and the screaming stopped, but suddenly the door swings open and Mike watches Pennywise murdering a sheep behind plastic curtains.

Stanley is in a synagogue studying for his bar mitzvah. As he walks through the rabbi's office, he observes a painting showing a woman with a deformed face in the style of Amedeo Modigliani. The paint falls off, and when Stan picks it up, the woman is no longer there. When Stanley turns, "IT" manifests as the woman and smiles at him with her fangs, but Stanley manages to run away.

Ben is in the library looking for Derry's story. From a series of articles, he learns that Derry's children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances for centuries. The book contains a representation of Pennywise and the head of a missing boy in a tree. After observing a red balloon floating towards the library corridor, Ben follows him only to discover an Easter egg that begins to follow the trail down the hall to the basement. When Ben goes down to the basement, he is suddenly chased by Pennywise turned into a headless boy, then the librarian appears to ask Ben what he is doing in the basement, while Pennywise disappears without a trace, leaving Ben totally scared.

It appears when Mike is bullied by Henry Bowers and his gang behind trees, eating a blooding arm. He salutes him by making greetings movements with the arm. Mike is pursued by Patrick Hocksetter in the sewers. The latter, separated from the rest of his friends, gets lost and meets some demonic looking children who make him run, but he reaches a dead end. A red balloon appears before him with the phrase: "I love Derry", when it explodes reveals Pennywise with a bloody mouth. Pennywise immediately brutally murders Patrick.

Later, Eddie is walking back home when he passes an abandoned house on Neibolt Street, he is suddenly frightened by "It" disguised in a leper, causing Eddie to run around the courtyard of the house. Upon reaching a fence, Pennywise tries to lure him with balloons, but horrified Eddie runs under the fence and escapes.

Pennywise then attacked Beverly from the bathroom, by making voices of some children coming from the bathroom and when she goes to observe, the strands of her hair come out of the bathroom and hold her by the neck before a source of blood shoots out of the washbasin and stains the entire bathroom.

Bill is sleeping inside his house when he sees Georgie running to the basement. Surprised, he enters the basement, which is flooded. Georgie appears and invites Bill to join him saying, "We all float here." Georgie repeats the words "You'll float too" until he screams and decomposes. So, Pennywise emerges from the water and tries to catch Bill, but he runs outside.

The children go to Bill's garage where they observe Derry's map through a projector. They discover that all the sewers in the town are attached to the Neibolt Street house, where they believe It lives. The projector then begins to show images of Bill and Georgie with their parents, but with Pennywise's face appearing above their mother. Mike kicks the projector in order to turn it off, but it continues to display images until Pennywise (with a giant size and a very terrifying and disturbing smile) comes off the screen and tries to attack them. But they manage to get out of the garage before the creature can harm them.

The Losers's club goes to the Neibolt house to confront Pennywise. It first attacks Eddie, again in the form of the leper, causing Eddie to fall in the kitchen of the house, breaking his arm in the process. Meanwhile, Bill and Richie try to help him but Richie finds a door, revealing a room full of clown dolls. Richie observes a coffin where he finds a doll of himself. After closing the coffin, Pennywise jumps out of it and utters the phrase, "Beep Beep Richie," attempts to attack him, but Richie manages to flee the room with the help of Bill causing Pennywise to turn his attention back to Eddie, who sees Pennywise exit from a refrigerator and try to attack it. Meanwhile Bill and Richie try to go help him, but they find three doors in which the following bloody phrases are written: "Not scary" in the first, "Scary" in the second and "Very scary" in the third. These choose to open the first door, revealing a girl with no legs. After this Richie panics, but Bill tries to calm him by saying that none of it is real, when they open the second door they discover the clear hallway and hear Eddie's screams in the kitchen asking for help and they run to help him. They get to where Pennywise and Eddie meet and prevent the clown from murdering him. The clown reveals to Bill that he was Georgie's killer, tries to kill them, and suddenly, Beverly appears and sticks a spear into Pennywise's head. However, all three are cornered while Pennywise is willing to murder them. He manages to hurt Ben and runs away from the place.

August

Henry finds a red balloon in his mailbox. Inside, he finds a box with his father's knife, sent by It. Henry enters his house, where he finds his father sleeping with the television on. A woman with children (all victims of It) appears on the screen, prompting Henry to kill her father. He does so by driving the knife into his neck and letting him bleed to death. Then the kids on TV start singing, "Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!" being followed by Pennywise with a macabre smile.

After that, Pennywise kidnaps Beverly after she killed her father. It write on the wall with blood : "You die if you try". Bill, entering Beverky's house, realizes that Pennywise kidnapped Beverly, so he decides to repair his friendship with Richie, Stanley, Ben and Mike to rescue her.

Beverly wakes up in the sewer, and observes a mountain of objects and all the children killed by Pennywise floating. She tries to leave the place, until Pennywise appears dancing, she finds a way out, but the clown catches her and Beverly admits not being afraid of him. Unfortnuately, Pennywise opens his mouth, revealing the Deadlights inside (if heard correctly, people can be heard screaming "Help!" "Help!") and this causes Beverly to go into a kind of trance.

As the Losers walk down the sewers, Stanley is attacked by It in the guise of the misshapen woman. She bites her head, but the children manage to push her away from him while comforting a traumatized Stanley.

Finally, the children find Pennywise's lair: where they discover all the children that "It" once murdered floating in daylight under some kind of trance. The group finds Beverly floating and throws her down while Ben kisses her to free her from the trance. Bill watches Georgie emerge from the shadows. Georgie tells Bill that he missed him and that he was waiting for him to come and rescue him. Bill hugs his brother, but he knows he really isn't Georgie, and shoots him in the head with Mike's nail gun. Georgie's body writhes on the floor until it becomes Pennywise. The clown attempts to kill all seven children, but the children fight him until Pennywise catches Bill. Pennywise gives them the option to leave and let him murder Bill or have everyone die together. Bill tells them to run away, but Richie decides not to leave his best friend and runs against Pennywise to attack him. All the children start beating Pennywise (he also fights with them transforming himself into their worst nightmares) with metal things until leaving him powerless and unable to hurt them because they no longer fear him. Before Bill can deliver the final blow, the head of a badly wounded Pennywise begins to crack and the creature whispers: "Fear" before retreating into darkness.

All of the children killed by Pennywise begin to float down as Bill finds Georgie's waterproof jacket. He realizes that his younger brother really is dead and cries while his friends hug him to comfort him for his loss.

Sptember

1 month later after their eventual triumph against It, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had while catatonic, where she saw them fighting It as adults. The Losers form a blood oath that if this evil that is It should ever revive, they will return to Derry in 27 years and destroy him once and for all. After the other Losers depart one by one, Beverly tells Bill that she is moving to live with her aunt in Portland, Oregon the following morning.

It Chapter Two

27 years after the events of the first film, It resurfaces when a group of homophobic teenagers beat up and toss a gay man named Adrian Mellon off the bridge. He then slaughters Adrian in front of his lover before presumably using his blood to write a message to Mike about its return. As such, It wasted no time in hunting the children of Derry, such as when it uses empathy to lure a young girl named Victoria into getting closer to it under the false assumption that he'd help make the birthmark on her face disappear. To further torment Bill, It sends him a skateboard, explicitly letting him know that it was going to go after the young Dean next. Realizing that Dean was heading to the carnival, he chases after him into the hall of mirrors. Unfortunately, It gets the upper hand and gruesomely kills the young boy in front of him. Horrified to have lost another young boy after Georgie, Bill decides to head to the Neibolt house to personally kill It after Henry wounds Mike and Eddie.

After each member of the Losers Club went down their own quests to retrieve artifacts from their pasts to complete the Ritual of Chud, the ritual seems to work when it traps Its Deadlights inside of the vase, but it goes awry. A giant version of Pennywise emerges, revealing that the 7 members of the original natives known as the Shokopiwah tribe who had performed the ritual were immediately slaughtered by It. This version of It is a combination of its default form Pennywise the Dancing Clown and the Giant Spider as described in the book. It then warps the Losers Club into different nightmarish scenarios, but they inevitably overcome their fears. It traps Richie in its Deadlights, forcing Eddie to grab the pole Beverly gave him earlier and attacks Pennywise with it under the belief that it could kill It. Unfortunately, Pennywise impales Eddie with one of its spider-like appendages, swings him around like a ragdoll, and tosses him, leaving him with a large wound in his abdomen.

This one-act proves to be its undoing, however, when the Losers Club realize that in order to defeat it, they had to make it believe it was smaller. Despite its insistence that it was the "eater of worlds," the remaining Losers insult the clown repeatedly until It is forced into a smaller, infantile form. It attempts to lash out at Mike but is too weakened. To its horror, Mike reaches into its chest and grabs its beating heart. It tries to grab it to no avail and is left crying like a baby, its final words being "Look at you...you've all grown up!" with weak laughter.

The Losers each mutually take ahold of the heart and crush it slowly. It reacts in pain until the heart exploded into a pasty substance, killing it and avenging all of its victims It had killed including Georgie. It falls silent, its body turns to ash and the Deadlights vanishes, implying heavily that the Deadlights was his true form. After its death, Richie tries to coerce Eddie's corpse awake, not accepting that he was truly gone til near the film's end after jumping into the lake with his partners. His attempts of taking the body with him, but fails when It's lair and the Neibolt house start to crumble and collapse in response to it's master's demise. The Losers are forced to leave Eddie's body in It's lair and the Neibolt house collapses on itself, sinking into a hole in the ground. After Richie accepts Eddie's death, he writes R and E on this fence shortly later in memory of Eddie.

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