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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The infamous prepubescent sex orgy in the sewer, which is only in the original novel. It largely comes out of nowhere, has minimal impact on the plot, and really only serves the purpose of being gross overall. Unsurprisingly, the scene is Adapted Out from pretty much every IT adaptation that exists, and many people tend to get pretty up-in-arms about its existence since, by its nature of it being a BLAM, people are only really able to assume the worst as to why it was even included (see Don't Shoot the Message below).
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  • Complete Monster: IT, a.k.a. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is a primordial being as old as time. IT awakens from its hibernation every three decades and proceeds to murder and devour the children of the town of Derry, Maine, often using the avatar of a jovial clown named Pennywise to lure children into its clutches. IT prides itself on using its shapeshifting and hallucinogenic powers to torment its victims, preying on their phobias and acquired fears and likening the cultivation of their terror to "salting the meat". From 1740 to 1743, IT was responsible for the disappearance of three hundred Derry Township settlers. In 1957, IT killed Bill Denbrough's six-year-old brother, George, and devoured Patrick Hockstetter alive while in the form of his greatest fear, leeches. IT also drove Henry Bowers to madness, then killed Bowers's friends after they succeeded in luring the Losers' Club into the sewers. After waking up in 1984, IT kills a man named Adrian Mellon before resuming its violent killing spree of children. IT proceeds to manipulate Henry Bowers into trying to kill the Losers, drive Bill's wife, Audra, catatonic by exposing her to its deadlights, and even manages to kill Eddie before its final defeat.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In the book, 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.
    • A scene in 1958 briefly references the landmark medical drama Ben Casey, which started airing in 1961.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Stephen King has defended the scene of the prepubescent sex train in a sewer by questioning critics why they were fine with the gruesome and brutal child murders but children having consensual sex (in technical, not legal terms) is not okay. While there are those who would advocate the censorship and social attitudes of extreme violence versus basic human sexuality are grossly uneven, you'd have some trouble trying to defend your view with a prepubescent sex train in a sewer.
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  • Fanon: The Losers' contact with the Turtle is because at least some of them have the Shining. Especially since a teenage Dick Halloran makes a cameo.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • When the Losers go into the house on Neibolt Street to have their first confrontation with It as a group, Richie finds a bunch of rats with their tails tangled up together. This what is referred to as a rat king, and it is considered a very bad omen.
    • Its true form, or at least the part of it human can perceive, is a giant spider-like creature. This fits quite well with It being an impossibly old Abstract Apotheosis of the concept of predation, as the top predators of humanity and other land-based vertebrates' lungfish ancestors were prehistoric arachnids.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Take it from me Spaghetti Man (Eddie), better dead than wed!"
    • Pennywise himself becomes this or Hilarious in Hindsight depending on how you look at it: In 2016, a bunch of "Creepy Clowns" started showing up scare-pranking innocent pedestrians.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay:
    • In the book, Richie is the last person Eddie talks to, and Richie kisses him goodbye after he dies. There's also several passages where Eddie's hero-worship of Bill is described as love, and on a couple of occasions Eddie muses that his younger self would have died for Big Bill.
    • Mike and Richie are holding hands in the smoke-hole:
    Richie held his hand out, and although Mike was on the far side of this enormous room he felt those strong brown fingers close over his wrist. Oh and that was good, that was a good touch - good to find desire in comfort, to find comfort in desire, to find substance in smoke and smoke in substance -
    • In the fourth Interlude, Mike chronicles that Claude Heroux loved Davey Hartwell and followed him into unionizing because he would have followed him anywhere.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Victor Criss was far from a nice kid, but he had far more sense than Henry, and over the course of the book starts realizing how far gone his friend really is. There's even a hint that at one point he tried to talk to the Losers about leaving Henry's gang and joining them (though we don't actually see it depicted). But at the climax of the 1950s story, he and Belch follow Henry down into the sewers only to get killed by It, and it's implied that It is temporarily brainwashing them to get them to go along with Henry.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • IT crosses the line before the book even begins. Not only does IT feast on countless children over the years, but IT deliberately traumatizes them before delivering horrific executions.
    • Henry crosses this when he begins to carve his name into Ben's stomach with a switchblade.
    • Patrick crosses it (at 5 years old, no less) when he smothers his baby brother.
    • Tom crosses it in the book when he beats Beverly's friend Kay nearly to death until she reveals where Beverly went.
    • Eddie Corcoran's stepfather crosses it when he murders Eddie's brother, Dorsey.
  • Never Live It Down: Beverly has sex with the rest of the Losers Club after defeating It. Whether it was evidence of Bev's abuse manifesting itself in questionable sexual development, a scene about the fears and uncertainties of adulthood, or Stephen King just being on drugs, it is an incredibly awkward scene and both adaptations cut it. The scene is quite infamous when discussing Bev and the story in general, and when the 2017 film came out, a number of King's more malicious critics tried to use it as evidence that he is or was enabling child predators.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • Throughout the book, It transforms into various licensed movie monsters. We see It become the Gillman, Frankenstein's monster, Bruce, The Mummy, and even the Teenage Werewolf. Then Mike is frightened by Rodan, causing Pennywise to take the form of... a lawyer-friendly, generic giant bird. Given Toho's draconian copyright policies, it's impossible not to get the impression that even It is scared of being sued.
      • This is justified. Mike fears Rodan because he was attacked as an infant by a bird while in his crib. Pennywise bypassed Rodan and went straight to the original fear, hence the attack by a giant bird.
    • French readers who are also fans of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe may initially find hard to take It seriously, as "Pennywise" is translated as "Grippe-Sou" (literally, "penny pincher"), which is phonetically identical to the French translation of Flintheart Glomgold's name ("Archibald Gripsou"). While both are villains, the latter is much sillier and much less dangerous than the former.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Patrick Hockstetter only gets one fairly brief chapter from his POV, but by God, is it memorable.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The novel and its adaptations show that It, as long as it felt like it, is capable of appearing in many places close to home such as in your classroom, under your bed or jumping out of your toilet, meaning that Pennywise could strike anywhere at any time (in Derry, at least).
  • Squick: In the novel, the gang, drained of energy after their first encounter with It in Its lair in the sewers, re-power themselves by losing their virginity with Bev. Is it emotionally significant to the story? Yes, but it's still a bunch of underage children having sex one after the other in a sewer.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: One of the highest-profile books from near the end of King's "addiction period," It has a lot of the hallmarks of a "cocaine idea": it's an extremely scattershot book full of digressions, irrelevant asides, dozens of side characters, truly bizarre sexual politics, and a high page count.


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