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"Want a balloon? They float. They ALL float..."

"The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years — if it ever did end — began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain."
— Opening line

It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The story is about seven children being terrorized by a malevolent, primordial monster — known only as "It" — that shapeshifts to take the form of their deepest fears, but primarily appears in the guise of "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". The novel features a nonlinear narrative which alternates between two different time periods (1958 and 1985) and shifts among the different perspectives and stories of its seven protagonists. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma and the ugliness lurking behind a small-town façade.

One of the most popular of Stephen King’s novels and widely regarded as a horror classic, It is also considered one of the darkest and most frightening, its subject matter being a child-killing supernatural monster with Adults Are Useless in effect for at least half the story — although there are some really uplifting moments, weirdly enough. Along with The Stand, it is one of the stories that cemented King's reputation as the premier modern horror writer, and like The Stand, it is one of the few examples of an epic horror novel in literature, totalling at over a thousand pages in length.

In 1990, the novel was loosely adapted into a television miniseries featuring Tim Curry in the title role. In 2009, Warner Bros. (who owned Lorimar when the original TV adaption was made, but was folded into Warner Bros. TV in 1993) announced that a theatrical remake of It was being planned, with Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison tabbed to produce. However, the project spent some time in Development Hell until Andrés Muschietti, director of Mama, was attached and production began in summer 2016, with Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. The story was split into two chapters — the first was released in 2017 (27 years after the 1990 adaptation, funnily enough), and the second was released in 2019.

Not to be confused with the 1927 silent film of the same name, which introduced the phrase "It Girl" to the world. Or 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space. Or the debut album by Pulp. Or the Big Bad of A Wrinkle in Time. Or the Psammead of Five Children and It. Or Cousin Itt. Or "It", the deadliest STD ever. Or the guys down in the sub-basement who (we hope) run the TV Tropes Server. Or the pronoun.

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It provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Crucial events (in both time periods) occur in the sewers under Derry, which feature pipes big enough for adults to walk in without having to bend down, and chambers large enough for multiple adults to have plenty of elbow room. The uncommonly large pipes are remarked upon by the characters and implied to having been influenced by It.
  • Abusive Parents: A short list: Beverly's father, Henry's father, Tom Rogan's mother, Eddie Corcoran's stepfather and Eddie Kaspbrak's mother (even if she didn't mean it that way).
  • Adults Are Useless / Invisible to Adults: Actually justified, as IT has taken complete control over Derry, and that therefore the adults cannot see what is going on - or worse, they simply don't want to see. It's implied that by the time they reach old age, many of Derry's adults (such as Betty Ripsom's father) have seen enough inexplicable things or learned from repeated terrible experiences to realize something is wrong with the town of Derry, and keep their heads down out of fear.
  • Afraid of Clowns: Ironically inverted by probably the most fearsome Monster Clown in all media, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Since the book is set far before coulrophobia became a commonly known fear, It actually uses its clown guise to lure children into its grasp, before it shapeshifts into whatever the victim fears most.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Played with. Derry has regular periods where the local Eldritch Abomination eats kids. The Losers end the killing spree twice. When they're kids, they recover quickly from all the scares, and they don't get caught up in angsting about all the dead kids. When they're adults...
  • Agent Scully: Eddie Corcoran doesn't believe in monsters. When the very real monster It attacks him, he assumes it's just an actor in a costume, and he's still searching for the zipper on the 'costume' — even while he's being eaten alive.
    • Stan Uris is this way as well. Even after an actual encounter with IT, he tries very hard to deny the idea that there's anything supernatural going on. As an adult, once he's forced to come face to face with it again, he takes his own life.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: IT pleads for its life when it's on death's doorstep.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Both Victor and Belch suffer horrific fates at the hands of IT. The Losers even express pity for them when seeing their corpses in 1985.
    • Peter, Moose, Gard, and possibly even Marcia Fadden are all speculated by the Losers to have been killed by IT.
    • Henry also counts. By the end, he's been driven to insanity and so pathetic that it's not hard to pity him. Even Mike feels bad for him.
    • IT itself even counts. Though it is evil to the core, IT never experienced pain itself before the events of the book, so it's kinda sad. However, Stephen King didn't intend the reader to feel that way.
  • All Take and No Give: Eddie and his mother (in the past) and Eddie and his wife (in the book's present) both come off as the second variety, with the woman as the domineering Giver, and Eddie as the Taker who is being controlled.
    • It's particularly sad because Eddie is firmly aware of this. He knows that he married a woman just like his mother, and that she's keeping him close with food and pampering. Trouble is, he doesn't know how to fight back.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Many fans believe Eddie Kaspbrak to be gay as he is frequently coded that way and seems to have no interest in his wife (though this may be due to her being very overweight). His relationship with Richie and his death seem to push this point further.
  • Amnesia Danger: The Losers Club loses its memories after initially defeating IT in the late 50's. When they re-assemble in Derry in the 80's without Stanley Uris, their memories are still quite spotty, and they don't have the knowledge they need to defeat IT until the very last moments. Of course, that might all have been part of the plan.
  • Anachronic Order: The novel jumps back-and-forth between two time periods (the '50s and the '80s), but follows each of these two periods chronologically. (That is, if we don't count normal flashbacks which also appear within each of the two narrative threads.)
  • An Arm and a Leg: Pennywise pulls off Georgie Denbrough's arm.
  • Antagonist Title: "IT" is the Eldritch Abomination villain who takes the form of the Monster Clown Pennywise.
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: When the Losers go to It's lair, the sign above the door of the lair is like this: each of them sees it differently.
  • Arc Words:
    • "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts." This is a tip of the hat by Stephen King to Curt Siodmak's story "Donovan's Brain."
    • "The Turtle can't help you."
    • "They float. They all float."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "I have come to rob all the women... rape all the men... and learn to do the Peppermint Twist!"
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The infamous "All-Dead Rock Show" poster Pennywise uses to scare Richie lists Phil Lynott as bass guitarist. Lynott passed away in January 1986, and the adult Derry sections take place in mid-1985.
    • A scene in 1958 briefly references the landmark medical drama Ben Casey, which started airing in 1961.
  • Artistic License – Sports: The producer of Audra's movie (being shot in England) is stated to have once bowled a century at cricket. "Century" in cricket terminology is an individual score of at least 100 runs, a significant landmark for a batsman. Bowling a century can be used ironically to refer to a bowler who gives up over 100 runs in an innings, but it's obviously not an achievement to brag about in that case.
  • Asshole Victim: Patrick Hockstetter, Butch Bowers, and Tom Rogan. Also, Eddie Corcoran's stepfather. No one will miss any of them much.
  • Author Avatar:
    • In this case, Bill (tall, redhead, stutter, horror writer) the author is not Stephen King but Peter Straub.
    • One of the men Claude Heroux chopped up in the Silver Dollar was "Eddie King—a bearded man whose spectacles were almost as fat as his gut." (Stephen King's middle name is Edwin.)
  • Author Tract: One occurs a few chapters in: we're given details about Bill's struggle in a college writing class, particularly with the instructor. Essentially, the professor feels that writing should be an art form to exclusively express political opinions (and is incapable of seeing outside of that lens), whereas Bill is interested in writing stories for their own sake. On a whim, Bill submits one of his works — one which the teacher had flunked (had, in fact, scribbled "PULP CRAP" across the front page of) to a horror fiction magazine and gets high praise and a reasonably good cheque; he pins a copy of the acceptance letter to the cork board on the door of the instructor's office. This is the start of a nasty falling out which ends with Bill dropping out of college and going on to become a success anyway.
  • Axe-Crazy: Claude Heroux.
  • Badass Boast: IT.
    I am the eater of worlds, and of children. And you...are...NEXT!
  • Balloon of Doom: Pennywise the Dancing Clown is frequently seen holding balloons of various colors. In the 1990 miniseries, the balloons burst with blood and come out in masses out of small containers.
  • Bath Suicide: This is how the adult Stan Uris kills himself when he learns that It has returned.
  • Bathos:
    • It is a monster from beyond space and time that will feast upon your fear and your flesh...and it wants to know if you have Prince Albert in a can.
    • When It hijacks the narrative, It spends half of the time telling the reader what an Outer God's perspective on the universe is - and the other half trash-talking about the Turtle.
  • Batman Gambit: It is vaguely implied that the so-called Other had a hand in bringing the Losers together and infusing them with the courage necessary to face IT.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Bill kills IT by tearing out IT's heart and smashing it between his hands.
  • Bedlam House: The manner in which Juniper Hill is described leaves no doubt that it's more like a Hellhole Prison than a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane. For instance, the guards—er, "counsellors" carry rolls of quarters in their pockets so as to add that extra "oomph" when their fists gently counsel the back of an inmate's neck.
  • Berserk Button: Ben's temperament might be on the meek side under normal circumstances, but make fun of or hurt Beverly in front of him, and he will get righteously pissed.
  • Big Bad: It, an Eldritch Abomination that takes the form of Pennywise.
  • Big Friendly Dog: A sad version. Mike's dog, Mr. Chips, is so friendly he eats the poisoned treats that Henry Bowers feeds him. He even wags his tail as he's dying.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Kind of. During the sewer sex scene, Ben goes fifth, and he's well-equipped enough that it's just as painful to Beverly as losing her virginity was, but it also leads to her first orgasm.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The house at 29 Neibolt Street, and the smoke-hole.
  • Big Good: The Turtle. An even higher godlike entity is implied but never explored (except in The Dark Tower novels). That they forget about their friendship after finally killing it seems to ratify the Other used this bond to its breaking point without having them all go mad.
    • As far as the Losers go, Bill fills this role. Mike also has shades of it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Many of IT's manifestations, including Mrs. Kersh and Pennywise himself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: IT is finally defeated and vanquished, but two of the Losers' Club members are dead and the others aren't sure if they stomped out all of the eggs IT laid. Also, most of their hometown is destroyed by a flood with IT's death and the surviving members' memories slowly fade away until they completely forget about each other, but somehow they know that they will be friends forever. King's later works state that as a city, Derry bounces back from the storm and flooding.
    • Later books imply that IT survived, though 27 years later no sequel book occurred. This may be implied by one of the rituals the Losers emulated: The monster is only banished for a century, not killed forever.
  • Blood Oath: After surviving their 1958 battle, the seven Losers slit their palms and link hands to swear they'll come back if IT isn't dead.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality
    • "The Turtle," a Big Good that's heavily implied to be influencing the Losers in 1958. The Turtle may be good, but it also sees no issue with using eleven-year-olds to fight It.
    • Discussed with It itself. The Losers question whether they can judge the morality of a creature older than the human race since this kind of implies it's simply part of the natural order. They conclude that it doesn't matter because natural or not, it kills and eats children. Its own perspective does indicate that it sees the world very differently than humans, but once again, it hardly matters.
  • Brats with Slingshots: A slingshot is employed against Pennywise after the Losers make silver slugs to use against the teenage werewolf. Of the seven protagonists, Bev is by far the best shot.
  • Brick Joke:
    • A rather ghastly one in the book. During one scene, the chief of police shows Mike Hanlon the "tramp chair," a torture device used to discourage transients from stopping in Derry. It falls through the ceiling and kills the police chief at the end of the book.
    • The moose blower, introduced in the first part of the book, shows up at the house on Neibolt Street.
    • Richie jokes about the futility of fighting IT by sarcastically suggesting bringing a slingshot and sneezing powder. Later in the novel he actually does it. And it works.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Eddie Kaspbrak loses his arm battling It and dies. He does weaken It enough for the rest of the Losers to kill It.
  • Brown Note: The "deadlights", IT's true form, can cause whoever sees them to go insane or die on the spot.
  • Bug Catching: One of the summer pastimes undertaken by the children is catching insects, frogs and other creepy crawlies in the Barrens.
  • Bully Brutality: Henry Bowers is shown as perfectly willing to do such things as carve his name into Ben Hanscom's belly (only managing the "H" before Ben gets away), poison Mike Hanlon's pet dog, break Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, nearly drown Bill Denbrough in a dunk tank, and white-wash Stan Uris' face in snow until he draws blood. The other members of his gang are actually horrified that he would go so far. Needless to say, it's easy for It to use him as The Scapegoat for Its killing spree.
  • Bury Your Gays: Adrian Mellon's death is a prime example of Bury Your Gays. There is plenty of speculation that Eddie Kaspbrak is gay as well, making his death a Bury Your Gays situation.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The Losers notice the shockingly high level of this in Derry, caused by IT's toxic influence on the town.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": At the climax, when the Losers behold Its true form, the best their frail human minds can come up with is "Giant Spider". But the benevolent cosmological entity that helps Stuttering Bill really is a giant turtle.
  • Call to Adventure: The 1985 storyline begins when Mike Hanlon telephones his six childhood friends and reminds them of their promise to return to Derry and fight IT again if IT resurfaced.
  • The Cameo:
    • Christine shows up to give Henry Bowers a lift.
    • Dick Hallorann of The Shining fame also shows up in Will Hanlon's story of how the future cook of the Overlook hotel saved him from the Black Spot fire.
    • The 1930s flashback includes an appearance by "Pickman, the guy who paints those funny pictures", from the H. P. Lovecraft story Pickman's Model.
    • King injects himself into the 1905 flashback, describing a character with thick glasses and a gut named "Eddie King." (His middle name is Edwin.)
    • Pennywise appears in other Stephen King novels featuring Derry, and is even mentioned in The Dark Tower saga.
    • Beverly and Richie as well as several other Derry residents make an appearance in 11/22/63.
    • Rebecca Paulson from Haven Village (see The Tommyknockers and also her own standalone short story "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson"), makes an appearance in the climax; it's mentioned she found some of the money which was lost when the roof blew off of the Derry Farmer's Trust.
  • Camp Gay: Adrian Mellon, IT's first victim in 1985, and his boyfriend, Don Hagarty.
  • Carved Mark: Henry begins to carve the first letter of his name into Ben's belly with a knife, and would have put his whole name down there if Ben hadn't fought back and gotten away. The scar fades with age, until Ben is reminded of his obligation and it returns as visibly as the day he received it.
  • Catchphrase:
    • I worry about you, Bevvie. Sometimes I worry a lot.
    • B-B-B-(*beat*)-Billy Boy.
    • I'll kill you all.
    • Dontcha wanna balloon?
    • We/they all float (down here).
      • When you're down here (with us/me), YOU'LL FLOAT TOO!
    • Beep beep, Richie.
    • There's also one from Bill's taxi driver, "Pardon my French if you're a religious man." He even has a nicely-done inversion when Bill swears; "Not being a religious man, I'll pardon your French."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Lots of past events that are mentioned fairly early in the story — like the 1931 execution of the Bradley gang or the fire at the Black Spot — are returned to and expanded later on.
  • Child Eater: IT. So very, very much.
  • Child Hater: Again, Pennywise. Though the one thing he loves about children is their taste.
  • Children Are Innocent: Averted with the bullies, Henry Bowers and Patrick Hockstetter being the most psychotic. For example, Henry chases down Ben, pins him to the ground with help of his fellow bullies, and proceeds to carve his name into Ben's stomach. Patrick Hockstetter is a solipsist, but his world view is shaken when his baby brother is born and he loses some attention from his parents. This makes him afraid that his little brother may exist, so he smothers the baby with a pillow. No one ever finds out. His father does see the evidence and realizes that Patrick is the culprit, but the very concept horrifies him to the point that he goes into immediate and complete denial.
  • Children Are Special: In that they're the only ones able to see IT, and resist the mass hypnosis the monster seems to have placed upon the town's adults to make them callous and indifferent to the evil happenings in Derry.
  • Circle of Friendship: The main characters do this to help Mike defend himself from a Brainwashed and Crazy nurse after Henry's attack sends him to the hospital.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
    • The Losers use their childlike beliefs as weapons, so that IT can be damaged by things such as silver bullets or an aspirator. Also pretty brutally (if subtly) deconstructed: the ability of beliefs to change the real world works both ways. The kids can use belief to fight back against IT, but the things they believe about their day-to-day lives (which are not so pleasant) become more and more true as time goes on. It's most noticeable with Eddie, whose mother has convinced him he has asthma to the point where he carries a placebo inhaler. Bill's parents are deeply grieving for their murdered younger son, but the more Bill wants them to come around, the more he believes they've stopped loving him altogether, and the more distant his parents become. The returning of Ben's scar, too; it didn't come back until he remembered getting it.
    • A lack of belief in the supernatural, however, doesn't affect It in the slightest. When It takes the form of the Creature from the Black Lagoon to kill Eddie Corcoran, Eddie is fumbling to find the zipper in the back of the thing's "costume" even as it rips the unfortunate boy's head from his shoulders.
      "You're...not...real," Eddie choked, but clouds of grayness were closing in now, and he realized faintly that it was real enough, this Creature. It was, after all, killing him.
  • Collapsing Lair: On a rather large scale. Throughout Derry, the weather goes crazy, the river turns into a flash flood and much of the city collapses into the ground. This seems to start when the Loser's Club begins to battle with It, and the destruction peaks at Its death... but trails off rapidly. It seems that the act of actually defying It was enough to unbalance things on a big scale.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Bev mentions the murders in Castle Rock that took place in The Dead Zone.
    • Dick Hallorann from The Shining appears in a section of the book as a friend of Will Hanlon during the 1920s and 30s when they opened up The Black Spot. When the Maine Legion of White Decency burn the club down, Dick actually saves Will's life.
    • They are several references made to Shawshank State Prison.
    • As an adult, Ben lives near Gatlin, Nebraska in the town of Hemingford Home.
    • One of Bill's former university classmates "...has written a play in which there are nine characters. Each of them says only a single word." In Cujo, Steve Kemp wrote "...a surreal play in which the characters spoke a grand total of nine words..."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Due to the nature of Derry and It, this happens very frequently.
    It was one of those odd quirks of fate or coincidence which sometimes obtain (and which, in truth, obtain more frequently in Derry).
  • Control Freak: Tom Rogan, who micromanages every single aspect of his wife's life and beats her when she doesn't do exactly what he wants. It's not made entirely clear whether he carries this attitude to work with him, or if his wife is the sole victim of it.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The monster is perceived as a Giant Spider by the protagonists, because this was the closest analogue that their rational minds could find for Its appearance. Attempting to fight It can result in one's mind being flung beyond the edge of the universe, then being driven mad by the Deadlights (which It is merely an appendage of). After the protagonists succeed in killing It, they magically forget about the entire incident; apparently this was the only way they could have lived a normal life afterward. The novel could also be seen as Lovecraft Lite: The Turtle may be an Eldritch Abomination and may have died in the years between 1958 and 1986 but it is strongly implied that there is something that still wants them to destroy It once and for all.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Stan Uris commits suicide in his bathtub because he doesn't want to go back to Derry to face It again. When his wife finds him, she finds that he's written the single word "IT" on the bathroom wall in his own blood.
  • Creepy Basement: Georgie Denbrough hates going down to the cellar. He should have been more worried about the drains...
  • Creepy Circus Music: Stan hears a calliope playing "Camptown Races" during his encounter with It at the Derry standpipe. When he finally senses the danger and struggles to open the building's door, the music becomes a louder and more menacing dirge as It gets closer.
  • Dad the Veteran: Bill's father fought in World War II and brought back a German pistol that Bill uses against It.
  • Deadly Doctor: Mark Lamonica (coincidentally, the younger brother of one of Its 1958 victims, Cheryl), a nurse who is possessed/influenced by It to try and kill Mike Hanlon when Mike is in hospital from his attack by Henry.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All the characters have moments of this, but special recognition goes to Richie's ex-girlfriend, Sandy.
    Richie: When did you change your mind about bringing kids into this shitty world?
    Sandy: When I finally met a man who wasn't a shit.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the second prologue, when the police are investigating the murder of Adrian Mellon, one of the cops notices that one of the attackers and Mellon's boyfriend both described seeing a clown attack Mellon at the end. The other cops mock him for taking this seriously, but he's sure he's onto something. First-time readers could be forgiven for thinking that this cop will play a large role in defeating It. He's never seen again.
  • Deep South:
    • Mike's father Will tells a story from when he was in the Army about a sergeant from Georgia, a grade-A redneck racist asshole, who gave him a hard time just because Will had the audacity to look him in the eye, salute and say "Good afternoon, Sergeant" while on the way back from spending his three-day pass in Boston.
    • Averted in Stan's experience. When he gets married, he and his wife Patricia moved to rural Georgia and later Atlanta. Patricia is a bit worried that two Jewish Yankees may face some discrimination (both she and Stan had been victims of it in the past) but nothing like that ever happens to themnote .
  • Delinquents: Henry Bowers and his friends.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The 1950s sections make no bones about the prejudices of the period. For instance, Eddie casually mentions that his mother wouldn't let him listen to a musician anymore if she found out said musician was black, which no one comments on as out of the ordinary, and has to hide his friendship with Mike for the same reason. Many adults are also quick to decide Beverly must be a slut because she's friends with boys.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "A nagging unpleasantness began to nag at him."
  • Depraved Bisexual: Patrick Hocksetter, who fondles the girls in his class but is also interested in propositioning Henry for sex.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Bev has sex in the sewer with the other members of the Losers Club. Apparently it's supposed to be a metaphor for moving from childhood to adulthood. In-universe, they are lost in the sewers, and losing the magic that helped Eddie find their way down, and the act is about bringing them closer, to fan the tiny flickering spark of magic into enough of a flame to get them out. Another level of irony also exists here, when you contrast this with another scene in the book. Bev's father is portrayed as an abusive, overprotective, borderline psychopath. When he learns that she's been playing with boys, he insists — violently — on physically checking to see if she's still a virgin. Fortunately, she escapes him. At this point, she still is, and the scene plays out like an attempted rape. The real irony of the matter is that Beverly is inspired to have sex with the boys because of what her father did. He put the idea in her head.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Seven pre-teens managed to defeat a devourer demon from the dawn of time.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Ben Hanscom and Eddie Kapsbrak's fathers both no longer figure in their lives — Eddie's dad is definitely dead, making his mother extremely overprotective of him, while it's never specified whether Ben's dad died or just up and left when Ben was little. In the TV series he and his mother live with his aunt and cousins who bully him and say he's lucky they're willing to take him in, and It takes the form of his father and points to a mausoleum saying 'that's my home now', confirming that he's dead.
    • Bev's dad is present in 1958, but apparently in 1985 she hasn't spoken to him in so long she's not even sure if he's still alive. She goes to visit their old apartment to see if he still lives there and finds Mrs. Kersh instead.
  • Disposable Woman: It goes after Audra just to cause Bill further pain. Luckily, Bill is able to save her from being Stuffed in the Fridge and cure her Deadlights-induced catatonia.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Deadlights (It's true form) are, for all intents and purposes, Yog-Sothoth.
    • IT lures his young victim Georgie closer to the dark sewers with the promise of cotton candy, balloons, carnival rides, prizes and his toy boat. Very similar to how an adult pedophile would lure a child victim to his trap with the promises of candy.
    • With verbs like "thrusting", Pennywise begging and pleading by saying "NO" and Bill's excitement and pleasure with ripping out IT's heart, IT's demise plays out like a rape.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Half of why It went down the first time. In all It's years of killing and eating children, none of them ever really tried to fight back.
    • Embodied in the event referred to as "the Apocalyptic Rockfight". It began when Henry and his gang (Victor Criss, Belch Huggins, Dumb Muscle farmboy Moose Sadler, and rich Jerkass Peter Gordon) chase Mike to the gravel pit at the end of the dump, and the Losers happen to be nearby. They decide to help Mike, and the sheer act of them putting up a fight sends Henry's gang (with the exception of Vic) into blind fury, and shortly thereafter, surprised panic. They manage to fight off all of the bullies and declare that henceforth, the Barrens is officially Losers' Club territory.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ben Hanscom to Beverly Marsh.
  • Domestic Abuser: Tom Rogan. He even has a belt dedicated to using on his wife.
  • Doorstopper: In Holland, a woman pressed charges against a mail company because a copy of IT killed her chihuahua when it dropped through the mail chute. The hardcover copy of IT is 1,135 pages long.
    • Hilariously lampooned in Charles McGrath's "ID," originally published in The New Yorker and reprinted in George Beahm's The Stephen King Companion. Six-year-old Chuckie Douglas watches as men with chainsaws cut down every tree in Weesquapeckett, Maine, and proceed to clear-cut the entire state ("Paper, Sonny," says one lumberjack who bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain author. "Got to have more paper!"). Not long after, he notices that his dad's right arm is now three feet longer than his left, from carrying a book in his briefcase. Meanwhile, around the world, a luxury liner carrying members of the Book-of-the-Month Club lists to port, a book-delivery truck falls through a solid-iron trestle bridge, and the "Authors Ka-Ki" section of a library floor collapses into the basement and crushes a janitor.
  • Down in the Dumps: The Barrens, the place where all the kids go to do anything.
  • Drawing Straws: To decide who would take part in the smoke-induced vision. It backfires when everybody participates, Because Destiny Says So.
  • The Dreaded:
  • Driven to Suicide: After Mike calls Stan with the news that IT has returned, Stan kills himself by slashing his wrists while taking a bath and writes "IT" on the wall in his blood.
    • Implied to have been the fate of Branson Buddinger, author of A History of Old Derry.
    • Eddie Corcoran's stepfather also meets this fate, heavily implied to have been caused by IT.
  • Eldritch Abomination: IT's terrestrial form is a being that can change shape, alter reality, and whose very presence causes the population of Derry to become more callous, hateful, and violent. IT's true form is a destructive orange light that exists outside of our universe.
  • Empathic Environment: The apocalyptic (and highly localized) storm that takes place in Derry when the Losers kill It in 1985.
  • The End... Or Is It?: From the first line, it's uncertain as to whether "the terror" ever really did end. In the final chapters, the possibility is noted that Ben may have missed one of IT's eggs when he was executing her offspring.
  • Energy Beings: It, itself. When Bill initiates the Ritual of Chüd, "It" flings him through It's mind into a "Darkness beyond the universe", towards where It's true form resides as a swirling mass of Orange Light.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Henry Bowers's gang, despite being brutal bullies themselves, are actually appalled by some of the things Henry does to the Losers, such as trying to carve his name into Ben Hanscom's belly or trying to blow up Mike Hanlon with cherry bombs and M-80s. In comparison, this could only apply to Victor. Henry's a terrifying man, and Patrick is really moreso creepy than offensive. It's highly implied in the film that they follow Henry around out of fear than respect or even friendship. Better to side with the psycho than it is to be against him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The police officers who process the youths who assaulted Adrian Mellon and apparently murdered him (although he was actually killed by It) are homophobic, but they're also appalled by what happened to Mellon and are determined to see his 'murderers' sent to prison.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: An in-universe example: when Bill Denbrough follows a writing course in college, he gets an instructor who keeps insisting that each story has deeper meanings and messages, be it political, religious etc. One day Bill has enough and finally stands up to his instructor, asking him point blank if it has ever occurred to him that sometimes a story can be just a story, without socio-anything. His instructor disagrees.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Pennywise has his/Its moments in the novel.
  • Evil Takes a Nap: The titular It habitually slumbers for roughly 27 years before awakening, spending a few months feeding on the children of the small town of Derry, Maine, and returning to sleep.
  • Farts on Fire: Not played for laughs: A fart-lighting scene leads to a homosexual encounter between Henry and Patrick Hockstetter. It's one of the most suspenseful scenes in the book, because the whole thing is witnessed by a hidden Bev who is struggling desperately not to be noticed by them.
  • Fauxshadow: There are a few hints that Benjamin Hanscom will be killed by It; he's straight up told he will die tonight by It, and he's the second to leave the fire after Stanley Uris, the character who dies first. By the end of the novel, he's still alive.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: After defeating IT for the first time, the seven members of the Loser's Club never meet again. Eventually, they all go their separate ways, and completely forget about each other (except for Mike but he implies that even with desperate efforts to remember, he will forget why he's even carrying out the measures. Specifically he brings up the example that he will write his friends down but the ink itself may fade, and even if he can keep renewing the ink, he may forget why he's doing it and why these names are even relevant). Downplayed in the film as the forgetting isn't really mentioned and it's confirmed that Ben and Beverly end up together, which was only implied in the book.
  • Female Monster Surprise: It is apparently female and has given birth to eggs.
  • Fictional Document: Bill Denbrough's novels, some of which have similar titles to Stephen King's ones.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The terrestrial form of IT as the spider is just the physical avatar of the Deadlights outside the universe. Even after the Losers kill the Spider, hints in later novels suggest that IT isn't entirely gone from Derry, even if ITs ability to physically manifest is.
  • Final Battle: Foreshadowed right from the first page.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback: happens as a side-effect of the book's time-jumping structure. For instance, the adult Ben thinks back on being chased into the woods by Henry as a kid, and within that flashback is another flashback in which he thinks back on the first time he encountered Pennywise months earlier.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Stan.
  • Food Eats You: Certainly how IT's fights with the Losers Club must seem to IT, though in this case the "food" was always sentient.
  • Foregone Conclusion: No matter how scary or even deadly things get in 1958, we know the Losers Club is going to survive, since they're still alive to come together and decide what to do in 1985.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • IT scares Beverly in the bathroom and her dad rushes in, demanding to know what all the screaming was about. Beverly lies and says that she just saw a spider in the drain. Which is IT's true physical manifestation. They even fight it in the sewer.
    • The dragon/magic stones story Bill tells the others in the TV series is very similar to how the Final Battle plays out.
  • Formerly Fat: Ben Hanscom was fat as a kid, but ended up slimming down as a teenager.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: IT, at one point, hijacks the narration and boasts about Its age and killing prowess.
  • Free-Range Children:
    • The parents of the main kids might as well be nonexistent, considering how they let their kids roam around unsupervised all day despite there being a killer preying on children loose in town, even given the more relaxed attitude of the time period. Of course, one of Pennywise/It's powers seems to be making the townsfolk indifferent to—perhaps even accepting of—his evils, so it might be justified.
      • Partially justified in story for Bill Denbrough's parents, whose grief over the death of his younger brother has made them both withdraw emotionally (even by the standards of the era).
      • Ben's mother at least gives him a watch to make certain he knows to be home by a certain time, ready to call the police if he's at all late.
  • Friendlessness Insult: Harry Bowers taunts the "Losers' Club" by reminding them they've no other friends than themselves, due to them being a motley group of an African-American, a Jew, a stutterer and a girl.
  • Gang of Bullies: Henry Bowers and co.
  • Gasshole: One of the bullies has a tendency to burp into victims' faces; he is aptly named Belch.
  • Gay Bar Reveal: The landlord of a failing bar in Derry, the Falcon, is relieved when business picks up, in the form of quiet, youngish men who start patronizing his establishment. It takes him months to work out that his bar has become the unofficial gay bar of the town. He isn't bothered too much by the revelation however, as he has the only bar in Derry that both turns a profit and doesn't regularly get trashed by the patrons.
  • Genius Loci: It is often equated with Derry, the town itself.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: One of Pennywise's forms in the Derry sewers is a giant eye, as seen in The Crawling Eye. Eddie drives it back by spraying it with his asthma inhaler and claiming the liquid is battery acid; a direct comparison to the medicine's taste when he uses it. In reality, his inhaler is a placebo, water with a dash of camphor, prescribed to Eddie in order to placate his mother who uses guilt and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy to keep Eddie under her thumb.
  • Giant Spider: Its true visible human form.
  • Gilligan Cut: Used frequently to jump between the adult and child sections of the novel.
  • Glamour Failure: Most of Its forms are overtly supernatural while the Pennywise/Bob Gray persona is meant to pass as a normal man in a clown suit, but there are always giveaways that something is wrong with "him," such as a total lack of a shadow, color-changing eyes, and a habit of doing things gravity shouldn't allow.
  • God Is Dead: The Turtle created the universe (because of a stomach ache). Later, it's revealed that the Turtle died in the thirty-year time gap. The cause? It merely choked on a few galaxies it couldn't belch up.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: A common reaction upon seeing It's true form.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In the movie when IT returns and the now adult Mike calls the rest of his lucky 7 The Losers Club.
  • Great Gazoo: Pennywise is a malevolent form of this trope. Wacky, powerful, and completely evil and murderous, and invisible to most people.
  • Group Hug : In both the book and the movie. The group draws strength from it.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Childhood power is strongly rooted in how temporary it is, and no matter how well one might hold onto it, childlike wonder is doomed to fade in the end. Ultimately symbolized in the book by the explosion of the hallway that connects the children's library to the adults' library, never to be rebuilt, and eventually the people of Derry forget that the two buildings were ever connected.

  • Hate Sink: It is an ancient, vile monster hailing from the Macroverse. Arriving at Derry millennia ago, It awakens every 27 years to feed on Derry's children, salting their flesh with fear. Killing Georgie Denbrough as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, It continuously harasses the Losers Club, including taking sadistic delight in relishing Bill's guilt over his brother's death, and views itself as the supreme being. Even when its views are challenged after its first defeat at the hands of the Losers, It devotes the next 27 years calculating revenge to rectify it. When the Losers defeat It for the final time, It spends its last moments as a Dirty Coward desperately bargaining for its life, revealing It to be just a hollow bully who needs fear to keep itself ticking.
  • Hero of Another Story: Vincent "Boogers" Taliendo, an old grade-school chum of a few of the Losers, is still in Derry in 1985. As the town begins to crumble, he heads for the hills; King tells us "his journey to the Derry town limits and beyond would make a saga in itself....suffice it to say that he did eventually get out of town."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Butch Bowers, Henry's father, who already hated Will Hanlon, Mike's father, for being black, was pushed over the edge when Will started undercutting Butch's produce prices (Will was mainly able to do this because unlike Butch he was a competent farmer and not a lazy dumbass). In retaliation Butch poisons all of Will's chickens. He would have most likely gotten away with it as a jury of Derry's citizens probably wouldn't care that Butch had killed some n***'s chickens, but Butch decided to go the extra mile and paint a swastika on the chicken coop as well, and they would bring him up on charges for that little shenanigan, what with World War II being quite fresh in everyone's mind. So Butch has to pay for the value of the chickens, and he has to sell his prized Mercury automobile in order to afford it.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Eddie Corcoran almost gets away from It...then he trips over a bench, pushed over by vandals that was hidden in the grass.
    • When the now grown up Losers find out IT is still alive and is getting back to eating children, the last thirty odd years become this.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Its favorite form is Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Of a sort. Mike is only stopped from killing Henry because he realizes that if he does so, he would be a pawn of It just like Henry.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You: How the Losers manage to defeat It once and for all.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: A surprisingly rare example for a Stephen King adaptation, probably because the title on its own is extremely generic.
  • Incest-ant Admirer:
    • Beverly Marsh's father Alvin physically abuses her and is revealed to be sexually attracted to her. Beverly only fears him and wishes to escape.
    • Eddie's mother Sonja is implied to be one, as she constantly hovers over him, gaslights him, excessively worries for his well-being and considers everyone he befriends (minus herself) to being a bad influence on him.
  • Informed Judaism: An early chapter describes the home where Stan Uris lived as an adult. There is a key-board that was given to the family as a present "2 Christmases ago". Granted, it might have been a generic 'holiday' gift from a Christian friend, but it's really odd that Stan's wife would describe it that way, instead of saying that it was given to them around Hanukkah. His wife Patricia also tries to assure Stan that he is not a "klutz" (meaning he's not stupid instead of not clumsy) when the actual Yiddish word for a fool is "yutz" and a Jewish person is unlikely to confuse the terms. Many of Stanley's other behaviours (he admits that his family sometimes eats ham, and when he was about 12 years old he still didn't know what 'kosher' meant) seem at odds with a Jewish upbringing. His pals at the Loser's Club sometimes even forget that Stan is a Jew. When a friend suggests using a crucifix to warn off a supernatural creature Stan gets mad and says it won't work for him, but never considers that a symbol of the Jewish faith (such as a Star of David) might grant him protection.
    • Truth in Television. There are many ethnic Jewish Americans who eat pork, who have little connection to their ancestral faith, and who don’t know the nuances of the Yiddish language.
  • Irony: Mrs. Kaspbrak manages to find mortal dangers in the most innocuous things, but fails to notice the child-killing eldritch abomination that threatens her beloved son.
  • It Came from the Sink: The kids can hear the cries of Pennywise's victims through the pipes. Beverly specifically hears the voices of her dead classmates from the sink, telling her that she'll be next.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Mrs. Kaspbrak usually doesn't let Eddie do anything, because she lives in terror of him dying of illness or injury.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Keene, the drugstore owner. He certainly is not a nice person but feels it is right to inform Eddie that his asthma medicine is simply a placebo.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: The way he goes about it, though, could be specifically tailored to cause as much discomfort as possible. His appearance in 11/22/63 also lends to this interpretation; he seems to relish pain in others.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal example; Henry poisons Mike's dog For the Evulz. Followed by a righteous The Dog Bites Back moment during the "apocalyptic rock fight." While chasing and taunting Mike, Henry reveals that he killed Mr. Chips. The Losers' Club, all seven, who've all had run-ins with Henry by that point, pelt Henry with rocks until he gives in. Henry stays out of the Barrens from that point forward.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The members of the Losers Club all suffer Derry-related amnesia after defeating IT in the 50's and leaving Derry. The exception is Mike, who stuck around town.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Eddie Corcoran's stepfather, Richard Macklin, beat his little brother Dorsey to death and then pretended he fell off a ladder. While Richard didn't kill Eddie (that was courtesy of IT as the Creature from the Black Lagoon) he's a prime suspect when Eddie disappears, and the authorities launch an investigation into what really happened to Dorsey. Richard is found guilty of the murder of both his stepsons, spends years in prison and eventually commits suicide.
    • At the climax of the book, we see numerous unsympathetic side characters die to freak accidents, such as a racist police chief being crushed to death by a massive chair designed to torture drifters.
  • Laugh Themselves Sick / Laughing Mad / Tension-Cutting Laughter: The Losers laugh a lot, because Richie is the Class Clown, but noted in the book as a response to terror.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Subverted. When Bill and Richie are exploring the basement of the house on Neibolt Street, Bill starts to suggest this. Richie cuts him off with a resounding "Fuck that!"
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse:
    • A rather dark example. Beverly had an abusive father, and later went on to marry a man who also abused her. Sadly, this is Truth in Television for many real-life abuse victims.
    • Eddie Kasprak's mother and wife are also an example, although the abuse is more emotional in their case.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Tom Rogan uses one of these after arriving in Derry.
  • Living Photo: It uses it's powers to abuse this effect as a sort of psychological terrorism. It causes Georgie's picture to wink at Bill and in another scene It brings an old photo in Mike Hanlon's scrapbook to come to life to threaten The Loser's Club.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: A truly apocalyptic flood destroys Derry and kills most of its inhabitants not long after It's death. It's implied that IT was allowing the town to exist in exchange for providing IT victims every 27 years, and the flood is a cleansing of the terrible poison IT left behind.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Kay McCall (Beverly's feminist friend) had an Awful Wedded Life with her ex-husband and has nothing good to say about what he was like in the sack.
    Kay: Two pumps a tickle and a squirt, that was ole Sammy's motto. The only time he could keep it up for longer than seventy seconds was when he was pulling off in the tub.
  • Lucky Seven: The last third of the text uses seven as a motif, in that for their particular "magic" to work, the Losers Club has to have all seven members present, or their bond isn't as strong. In the film version, they refer to themselves as "Lucky Seven."
  • Magical Clown: Pennywise the Clown is an Eldritch Abomination who shape-shifts to feed on people's fear.
  • Mama Bear: Mrs. Kaspbrak, described in almost these exact words, when Eddie is in the hospital after Henry breaks his arm. At least, that's how she sees herself; in reality, it's more of her My Beloved Smother attitudes shining through.
  • Manchild: Adrian Mellon is described as "rather childlike." Henry never really progressed past the twelve-year-old bully. And IT describes Ben, Bill and Richie as "boy-men" during their final confrontation. It's heavily implied by the narrative that the adult Losers need to regress to their childhood selves to some degree in order to be able to face It again; hence Bill's stutter returning, Richie being unable to keep his Motor Mouth in check, etc.
  • Mature Work, Child Protagonists: The first half follows the main characters at the age of twelve when they first battle the titular monster. The second half has them as adults returning to their hometown to do it all over again.
  • Mind Rape: Pennywise is very fond of messing with the Losers Club's heads.
  • Misblamed: An in-universe example; Henry is accused of committing all the murders in the Summer of 1958, when in reality, the only person he actually kills is his own father, but his sanity is so far gone by that point that he doesn't fight the charges. Henry also blames himself for the death of two friends who followed him in pursuit of the Losers, only to meet It.
  • Misfortune Cookie: After the Losers have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, they get freaked out when the fortune cookies crack open to reveal all sorts of horrible things inside.
  • Miss Conception: The 11-year-old Losers and their classmates have some outlandish and usually unpleasant ideas about sex. The girls in particular think it's a gross and painful thing that they will never do. Only Beverly, who occasionally overhears her parents having sex, and her mother sounding like she rather enjoys it, has a clearer picture.
  • Monster Clown: Pennywise, a literal monster in the form of a clown.
  • Morphic Resonance: Several of Its forms have orange pom-poms.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Bill Denbrough grows up to be a horror writer. Bev's friend Kay McCall is an author of feminist non-fiction.
  • Mugging the Monster: Henry and his pals ambush Ben, but it results in a vicious fight in which Henry takes almost as much punishment as Ben.
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • Eddie's mother is a quintessential example, to the point where she's convinced her non-asthmatic son has asthma, leading to the pharmacist giving him a placebo-filled inhaler and outright telling him she doesn't want him to have friends aside from her.
    • Ben's mother is a less dramatic example, but she feeds his obesity by making him huge meals and gets offended when Ben tries to cut back on the food. He eventually realizes that giving him all the food he could eat was his mother's way of proving to herself that she could provide for her son. He loses weight by asking her to make a bunch of salads, then praising them to the sky- he eats healthier, she gets the self-esteem boost.
  • Mythology Gag: When Richard Macklin is convicted for the murder of his stepson Dorsey, he is sent to Shawshank State Prison.
    • During the reunion lunch, Mike contrasts Derry's violent proclivities by mentioning "[A] medium-sized city in Texas where the violent-crime rate is far below what you’d expect for a city of its size and mixed racial make-up." It's a reference to La Plata, the town at the epicenter of the "calmquake" in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes story "The End of the Whole Mess."
    • Ben's list of movie vampires that Pennywise's Dracula looks nothing like includes Reggie Nalder. His vampire role was in 'Salem's Lot.

  • N-Word Privileges:
    • A variant on this in that the Loser's Club all have "N-word privileges" with respect to each other. Thus, it's okay for a member of the club to make fun of Stan for being Jewish or Ben for being fat or Bill for his stutter, but God help any outsider who does the same thing.
    • Averted in the literal sense; while Richie does add a rather inappropriate (by today's standard, if not that of 1958) southern black caricature voice to his repertoire after Mike's arrival, he does it good-naturedly, not out of maliciousness, and none of the Losers ever use the actual N-Word in Mike's presence. Mike's father uses the word a few times however, and so does Mike as an adult.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Several of the 1985 murders have some connection to the Losers Club, and in one instance, It leaves a taunting message visible to be photographed, all so that they'll return to Derry and give It another chance to kill them. That this means they'll also have a chance to kill It seemingly doesn't cross Its mind, since it thinks they're too mature to tap into the same power they had as children. And guess what happens: a being millions of years old, who's killed and eaten who knows how many people, ends up Hoist By Its Own Petard because it couldn't resist being a Troll.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: A city in Maine - with the same name as one in Northern Ireland.
  • Non-Indicative Title: An odd example. "It" is actually female (and pregnant).
  • Officer O'Hara: Mr. Nell, who provides the basis for Richie's "Irish Cop" Voice.
  • Offing the Mouth: Richie Tozier is a largely involuntary Deadpan Snarker who must mock others whenever he notices something he can mock people for, and this is the reason Henry Bowers is out to get him, and along with the others of the Losers, out to kill him.
  • Old Shame: Stan's wife Patty has never completely gotten over the humiliation of growing up being subject to anti-Semitism, in particular not being admitted to the afterparty at her high school prom, due to it being held at a country club that didn't allow Jewish people.
  • One-Paragraph Chapter: Section 12 of "The Bullseye":
    Nothing much happened for the next two weeks.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with Eddie Corcoran and Eddie Kaspbrak. Bill also (presumably) shares the name "William" with Michael Hanlon's father, though he goes by "Will."
  • Parental Incest: Implied that this is what Beverly's father wanted to do to her (especially during the scene in which Mrs. Kersh turns into a witch and then into her father (provided that IT was not just messing with her and was channeling the truth). Earlier on, Beverly's mother asks her if her father ever touched her (which Beverly doesn't understand), and Beverly, as she hits puberty and starts developing curves, notices that her father's attitude towards her is changing in some undefinable and very uncomfortable way.
  • Parental Obliviousness: None of the children's parents are aware of what's happening in Derry. Thanks to It, they literally can't notice.
  • Phrase Catcher: Beep beep, Richie.
  • Placebo Effect: Eddie's asthma is revealed to be psychosomatic, and his medication is a placebo.
  • Police Are Useless: The Losers don't even bother to go to the cops because they are smart enough to know they won't be any help. Also invoked by Mike's father after Henry attacks him and drenches him head to toe in mud; Mike's mother demands he call the cops, but dear ol' Dad doesn't do so because he doesn't care for the police chief Borton and views him as a spineless jellyfish who won't side with him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Pennywise himself, along with Henry and Butch Bowers. Ditto for Adrian Mellon's murderers.
  • The Power of Friendship: One of the major themes in the book is of childhood friends who have long since gone their separate ways but must now come together to defeat the Big Bad. In a twist, it's strongly implied that using their friendship this way also uses it up, as both times the Losers beat IT back, they end up scattering and forgetting each other.
  • Present Tense Narrative: Chapters set in 1985 start out this way, switching to past tense in flashbacks to 1958. Once the adult Losers reunite in Derry, it briefly adopts past tense before switching again to present.
  • Pride: Pennywise's biggest weakness overall. After centuries It never bothered to learn its own limitations or vulnerabilities or to take its own victims seriously. Even after establishing firmly that, possibly for the first time ever, the "food" has decided to fight back, a fairly obvious possibility when hunting sentient prey, It does absolutely nothing about the problem. It just lets them walk right up to its home, safe in the belief It can take them all with no trouble, and gets promptly curb stomped into another thirty years of hibernation.
  • Production Foreshadowing: In the story "Gray Matter" from his book Night Shift, King tells us about a sewer worker who went down into a pipe one day and allegedly saw "a spider as big as a good-sized dog settin' in a web full of kitties and such all wrapped up in silk thread."
  • Psychosexual Horror: Beverly Marsh's childhood trauma is the fear of puberty and her own growing sexuality. As she realizes that her own father is sexually attracted to her. After defeating IT in 1957-1958, the Losers Club was so traumatised by the experience that it gets them lost in the sewers. In order to rebuild their bond, Beverly decides to have sex with each member of the Losers Club so the spiritual connection will be rebuilt through a sexual one. This was supposed to represent how the Losers Club had grown up too fast and lost their innocence by fighting IT but the scene is understandably written out of any adaptation of the book.
  • Rat King:
    "A litter. Biggest litter I ever saw...anyone ever saw, probably...Their tails...they were all tangled up, Bill. Knotted together. Like snakes."
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Henry Bowers wears a pink motorcycle jacket in the book. A fourth grader who is foolish enough to laugh at it loses three of his front teeth.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In Derry, of all places! The cop who comes down to the Barrens to figure out what's going on with the water supply is amused and faintly impressed by Ben's dam. He makes the Losers tear it down, but he's pretty cool about it. He's even OK with Richie's (apparently awful) Irish cop voice.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Spider and the Turtle. One actively hunts down and eats human children while the other just sits on the edge of forever, seeing it all happen and "helping" the Losers during their first confrontation with It. The Spider berates it for just sitting there, offering seemingly useless advice. That the Spider's eyes are described as ruby-red while the Turtle's shell is some blueish-greenish color also reinforces the trope. Arguably, the brash and heroic Bill, Beverly, and Richie, against the more reserved Mike, Eddie, and Stan. Ben fits somewhere in the middle.
  • The Reveal: The revelation, in the book's later chapters, that IT is actually female. Not only that, but she just so happens to have laid a shitload of eggs...
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Adrian Mellon's murder was modelled after the murder of Charlie Howard, another Camp Gay man who was thrown off a bridge in Maine; they even landed in the same river. Howard simply drowned, though; there was no demonic clown involved. Probably. Also The Brady Gang (changed to Bradley in the text), gunned down by FBI agents in Bangor in 1937.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: Bill takes his wife Audra - who is catatonic from the horrific events - for a ride on his old bicycle, riding fast and recklessly like he did in his childhood. It snaps Audra out of her catatonia and they kiss, finally able to get on with their lives.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: George Denbrough and Adrian Mellon.
  • Say My Name: "BEEEEEEEEEEV!"
  • Scare 'Em Straight: In 1957, Ben borrows a trashy book called Roadblock. The librarian mentions that, thanks to its use of a melodramatic Surprise Car Crash, she normally gives it to teenagers who've just obtained their driver's licenses to scare them into obeying the speed limit. According to her, it seems to work.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Mike mentions that there are a lot of families who move out of town when the cycle starts and they realize just how bad the evil in town can get.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: In the present, Bill and Beverly try to hop in the sack together when staying at the Derry Inn. Both of them are severely traumatized by the memory of the above scene; Bill goes back to his wife Audra and Bev is implied to get together with Ben. Bill and Bev's encounter is never mentioned after that.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Once Pennywise assumes the shape of its victim's greatest fear, It has to follow all the "rules" of that shape, whether it wants to or not. And It cannot change form to something else once everyone who sees it has "agreed" on what it is. For example, when Pennywise confronts the kids in the house on Neibolt Street, Richie Tozier screams out that it's "THE TEENAGE WEREWOLF!", a movie-monster that he is terrified of. The other kids, who had been seeing Pennywise as various other monsters, immediately saw it as a werewolf as well. And once it was a werewolf, it became vulnerable to the silver slugs Bev was shooting with the slingshot. When she connects, It feels something It has never felt before... pain.
    • Notably averted with Patrick Hotstetter. When IT appears, because the character has been described as a sociopath bordering on true psychopathy, his emotional responses are muddy at best. Because there's nothing that really scares this character, IT appears with a face like running wax and a rotting, burbly voice. This is somehow scarier.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickbed Slaying: Averted when Mike fights off Mark Lamonica.
  • Silver Bullet: At one point the Losers use belief to make their weapons into silver bullets to hurt IT when it tries to attack them in the form of a werewolf.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Beverly is the only girl in the Losers Club.
  • Sneaky Spider: Imagery of spiders's webs is used to symbolise the town of Derry, It's hunting grounds, as well as the town's underground sewer network, where It resides and uses as It's main method of transportation. Fittingly enough, It's real form, or at least the closest thing humans can perceive, resembles a giant, black spider. The "deceit" part of this trope is fulfilled by the fact that, though It's modus operandi shapeshifts into children's worst fears, It's Pennywise the Dancing Clown form serves to attract them.
  • Spanner in the Works: Pennywise's own impatience and arrogance serves as this for him. In addition, he further hampers himself by breaking down and terrifying his prey, ensuring they won't go anywhere near the sewers. For example, he almost gets Ben into the sewer treatment plant by impersonating his father, but when Ben hesitates, he turns into a rotting corpse and grimly remarks on how they're all floating down here; Ben promptly freaks out and runs away. This is because meat flavoured with fear tastes better.
  • Speed Sex: Beverly's friend, Kay McCall (a feminist writer) says this about her ex-husband: "Two pumps a tickle and a squirt, that was ole Sammy's motto. The only time he could keep it up for longer than seventy seconds was when he was pulling off in the tub."
  • Spooky Photographs: That start moving and threatening you. And they bleed.
  • Spooky Silent Library: At least when Mike's working there after hours.
  • Stealth Pun: For those familiar with 50s horror movies: It, the Terror from Beyond Space is basically a stealth pun for the entire work. The titular villain is referred to as "It" and It is indeed a terror from beyond space.
  • Stephen King Drinking Game: Probably the highest scoring of any of King's work.
  • Suburban Gothic: Begins with a boy being murdered by a clown living in the sewers under his suburban Maine town and continues with his brother and a group of friends investigating the mystery behind his death.
  • Survival Mantra: "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts," Bill's anti-stuttering and anti-It phrase.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: One of the reasons why Mike can't quite bring himself to kill Henry Bowers in self-defense. Mike pities him for having grown up under someone like Butch Bowers, who naturally heavily influenced Henry's way of thinking and was partially responsible for his son's racism and jerkassery. And that Mike would be doing Its work.

  • Take That!:
    • In the book, the adult Richie's reason for agreeing to fight IT? "It can't be any worse than interviewing Ozzy Osborne."
    • In the novel, when Bill (who, as an adult becomes a very successful horror writer) recalls his college years, and how he crashed heads with his writing teacher, who believed that a good work of fiction also had to make a political statement, and Bill's statement that one should write good stories that entertain, since "politics change over time but stories remain."
  • Their First Time: When the power the Losers use to injure IT begins to wane in 1958, Beverly has the idea of having sex with all the boys to "recharge" themselves. She loses her virginity to Eddie, followed by Mike, Richie, Stan, Ben, and Bill.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The execution of the Bradley gang.
  • Toilet Horror:
    • When Beverly Marsh is in the bathroom, the titular monster speaks to her through the sink drain, mimicking the voices of her dead classmates and telling her that she'll be joining them soon.
    • When the gang visits the house on Neibolt Street, they end up in the washroom, where the toilet was shattered after IT came up from the sewer. Mixed with a bit of Toilet Humour when Richie remarks that someone must have let the mother of all farts.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: More like a dark secret shaped like a town. Derry is an example of a town that thrives because of its dark secret - Derry is a successful, prosperous community, a result of It's supernatural influence and desire to keep its prey fat and happy. It's implied that many of its residents have some level of understanding of this secret, and just pretend not to notice.
  • Transforming Conforming: The eponymous monster takes on the form of whatever a child is most afraid of. This usually grants It things like claws and fangs. But It also learns that if the children associate a weakness with that form, It also picks those up as well, such as silver hurting It if It should decide to be a werewolf, or Eddie's belief that his inhaler contains battery acid blinding It when It becomes The Crawling Eye.note 
  • A Truce While We Gawk: During the rock fight. All of the kids (Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and Jerk Jocks alike) stop fighting and turn to watch Victor Criss and Bill Denbrough start a rock-throwing duel, complete with an Unflinching Walk towards each other. Even Henry pauses to watch.
  • True Companions: The Loser's Club.
  • Tuneless Song of Madness: During Henry Bowers' stay at Juniper Hill, he notes that the pyromaniac Benny Beaulieu has gotten into the habit of half-screaming half-singing "try to set the night on fire", all while masturbating until he bleeds.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Various sub-chapters (especially in part 5) segue mid-sentence into the next, even though they are in different eras.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: IT usually takes the form of Pennywise the Clown, but often assumes the shape of whatever the victim is most afraid of. Pennywise is something of a neutral form for either dealing with multiple victims or the same victim twice, or just getting around.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: It, an Eldritch Abomination in the extreme, can be staved off by...a child believing that water in his inhaler is battery acid, or, in one case, Beverly mentioning grackles, a particular kind of bird. It's justified in that It deliberately uses what children fear most to scare them, which has been an effective tactic for centuries. The Losers' Club were the first children to actually fight back, so it's naturally completely unused to the idea of defending Itself. Additionally, the price of It taking on a physical shape is to be fully bound by the rules of that shape, including the possibility of true injury.
  • Weight Loss Salad: Ben Hanscomb, as an adult, relates a story to his friends about how he lost so much weight. Having been bullied by the students at his high school, and the coach, he decides he's going to lose weight. He learns that you can eat as many raw vegetables as you want and not gain weight, and so he eats copious amounts of raw salads and practices running, until he has dropped several sizes and goes on to defeat the coach's best at a track meet.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the book, Eddie Kaspbrak was married to a woman named Myra. She is never told what happened in Derry; not even the death of her husband is revealed.
    • Eddie borrows a limo from one of his friends in Boston and drives to Derry. What happened to that car?
    • Tom Rogan's death is treated with almost casual brevity when he takes one look at IT's true form and drops dead of fright, so much so that some readers (especially those suffering from mild Ending Fatigue) may be left wondering what happened to him.
  • Wham Line: "IT was not male. IT was female. And IT was pregnant."
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Parodied - it takes the guy running The Falcon years to realize that his place has become the town's gay bar, but everyone else is convinced there must be orgies going on nightly.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: There are plenty of times in the story where It has one of the Losers cornered or alone but doesn't kill them. For that matter, it would be child's play for It to enter the kids' houses through the sewer system and kill them in their sleep. The story implies that It doesn't do this for two reasons: 1) It feeds on their fear, and 2) It has fun coming up with different guises and ways to psychologically torment them. A third reason is implied throughout the text, that they have some sort of divine protection over them.
  • Wise Old Turtle: Hinted at throughout the book. A cosmic force, opposed to It in at least some way, is called the Turtle. It subtly guides the protagonists and, according to It, created the universe when it got sick and threw up.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Mike discovers that despite the children's killings and incidents in which many people die, this is rarely spoken of outside the town of Derry; it's like something doesn't want them to be known outside.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It won't just hurt kids, but psychologically torment and eat them too. In fact, Its introduction scene, where It lures little George Denbrough to a sewer grate and rips the poor kid's arm off at the shoulder says everything we need to know about just what kind of a monster It truly is.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Mike interviews an old man named Egbert Thoroughgood about a massacre that happened in 1905. In a journal entry dated April 1985, he states that Thoroughgood is now 93, and was 18 at the time of the massacre. If he was 18 in 1905, he would be 98 in 1985 not 93.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: In addition to It assuming various guises to make children afraid and thus taste better, this is also implied; seeing Its true form can completely destroy someone's sanity. When the Losers' Club battles IT, the "true form" they see—a Giant Spider—is said to be their minds desperately trying to make sense of the horrible being, and a massive arachnid is as close as they can get.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: It's heavily implied that everything that happens during the Losers' battles with It, or at least a significant portion of events, are predestined.
  • Your Mom: Bradley Donovan insults Beverly by calling her mother a whore.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Which It learns can be a two-edged sword: "BATTERY ACID, FUCKNUTS!" Eddie recaptures some of that magic in 1985 in spraying the aspirator right down Its throat - but that doesn't stop the Spider from subsequently biting his arm off and killing him.

"You don’t have to look back to see those children; part of your mind will see them forever, live with them forever, love with them forever. They are not necessarily the best part of you, but they were once the repository of all you could become."


Video Example(s):


Stranger Danger

In a parody of the drain scene of Stephen King's "It". Creepy Clown Mischief gives the boy his boat back and recommend getting a tetanus shot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / CreepyGood

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