"I'll kill you, you little fucking pansy."
—Henry threatening Patrick Hockstetter

Henry Bowers is the psychopathic school and neighborhood bully and the secondary antagonist of Stephen King's 1986 horror novel IT, the 1990 miniseries, the 2017 film adaptation and it's sequel. He is also the leader of The Bowers Gang, a gang of preteen bullies who bully and rival the Losers' Club.

Physical Appearance

A faithful illustration of Henry Bowers holding his switchblade knife and wearing his pink motorcycle jacket with the eagle on the back as described in the novel.

Henry is described in the novel as being very big and strong for a 12-year-old boy with his hair cut in a flattop spiked with a lot of Butch Wax that he keeps in his jeans. He always wears a pink motorcycle jacket with an eagle on the back and worn-out engineer boots. At only 12, his teeth are already rotting and it is very noticeable whenever he smiles. In the book he is also said to constantly smell like a mixture of sweat and juicy fruit chewing gum.

In the 1990 miniseries, he sports a greaser pompadour and wears a brown motorcycle jacket. In the film adaptation, Henry is a 16-year-old teenager with a brown mullet and wears sleeveless T-shirts and torn jeans.

Early Life

Raised on a poor farm by his crazy and abusive father Butch Bowers (an ex-marine who was never the same after returning from the war in the Pacific), Henry rapidly developed into a hateful, loathing individual who would often display immediate negative and stereotypical feelings towards those around him (particularly his classmates). In particular, Butch's hatred for Will Hanlon leads to Henry targeting Mike Hanlon as his favorite bullying victim.

Despite his hostile nature however, during his childhood (beginning in first grade of 1952) Henry would go on to make friends among other bullies of his age, with his closest being the more intelligent Victor "Vic" Criss and the unusually large and clumsy yet rather muscular Reginald "Belch" Huggins and the rest being the psychologically-disturbing Patrick Hockstetter, well-off Peter Gordon, the slightly retarded Steve "Moose" Sadler, and dim-witted Gard Jagermeyer.

While the same age as the kids of the Losers’ Club in the novel and miniseries, according to the book Henry and his friends are one grade older than them and that Henry was in the 5th grade with Ben, instead of being in 6th grade, as a repeat. "Henry was in Ben’s fifth grade class instead of in the sixth grade with his friends Belch Huggins and Victor Criss because he had been kept back the year before. Ben had an idea that Bowers was going to stay back again. His name had not been called when Mrs. Douglas handed out the rank-cards, and that meant trouble. Ben was uneasy about this, because if Henry did stay back again, Ben himself would be partly responsible[...]" "Henry was a big boy even for twelve."

After Henry's mother leaves the family from the constant physical abuse of Butch Bowers, Butch gains a girlfriend in Rena Davenport. Rena is "fair, fat, and forty" and makes baked beans for the family every single weekend.

Erosion to Insanity (1958)

During and prior to the summer of 1958, Bowers torments the Losers with several acts of violence, such as partially carving his name onto Ben Hanscom's belly, killing Mike Hanlon's dog with raw meat laced with insect poisoning, breaking Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, and white washing Stan Uris' face in the snow until it bleeds. Following the apocalyptic rock fight with the Losers in July, Henry becomes more and more sadistic and even goes as far as to swear revenge to the Losers after the fight. His deteriorating sanity becomes apparent during subsequent violent attacks on Eddie and Beverly.

In late August, It provides Henry with a switchblade which he uses to kill his father. Henry alongside his friends, Victor "Vic" Criss and Reginald "Belch" Huggins, chase the Losers down through the sewers. Under Derry, It then takes the form of Frankenstein's Monster, and kills Vic by decapitating him and kills Belch by mutilating one side of his face. After witnessing his friends' slayings, Henry manages to escape and runs away. Part of him feels forever guilty that he lived and they died and wonders sometimes if they blamed him (as they're dying and possibly in the afterlife).

Henry confessed to killing his father as well as to the other recent murders in Derry. Herwas y was committed to the Juniper Hill Asylum for life. He counts how many nightlights he burns out (four) and remains there until May 29, 1985 when he escapes.

Return and Death (1985)

In 1985, It is unable beat the Loser's Club alone - so It takes the form of one of Henry's deceased friends Vic, and makes him do It's dirty work (though in the first film adaptation, it is Belch who appears to Henry and persuades him to go after the grownup Losers). It also kills Koontz (one of the guards of the mental hospital) in the form of a tall doberman to stop him from preventing Henry's escape. Bowers encounters Mike at the Derry Public Library and engages in a violent brawl with him. Using his old switchblade provided by It, Henry stabs Mike's thigh, cutting his femoral artery (although Hanlon manages to wound him with a letter opener). With the guidance of It (this time in the form of Belch Huggin's reanimated corpse), the severely injured Bowers then moves on to the Derry Town House, where he plans to kill the remaining Losers, one by one. He begins by knocking on Eddie Kaspbrak's door and attacking him, breaking Eddie's arm in the same place he did in 1958, before Eddie is able to get the better of Henry and finish him with a broken water bottle.

It Chapter One & It Chapter Two

1989

In It: Chapter One, Henry appears as a violent and sadistic bully who terrorizes the Losers Club throughout 1989 with his gang. Henry has apparently given Bill Denborough a free ride since his brother's dissappearance, but continues his bullying when Bill insults him. At one point, Henry and his gang kidnap Ben Hanscom, and Henry attempts to carve his own name into Ben's stomach, before Ben breaks free and escapes. Henry later terrorizes Mike Hanlon in the Barrens, apparently attempting to murder Mike. However, Mike is rescued by the rest of the Losers Club who start a rock war with Henry and his gang, driving the bullies off and uniting the Losers. Tormented himself by It, Henry eventually goes insane and murders his abusive father. As the Losers enter the Neibolt House to confront It, Henry attacks them, attempting to kill the Losers. However, Mike manages to knock Henry down a well to his apparent death.

In a flashback in It: Chapter Two, Richie Tozier plays Street Fighter at the arcade with Connor Bowers during the time when the Losers are broken up. As Richie asks Connor to play again, having shared a moment with him, Henry enters with his gang and is revealed to be Connor's cousin. Seeing Henry, Connor claims Richie is acting weird and tells Henry that Henry never told him that Derry was "full of fucking fairies." Henry is shocked to recognize Richie and asks if Richie is "trying to bone my cousin." Henry angrily orders the humiliated Richie to leave which he does.

As seen at the beginning of It: Chapter Two, Henry survives the fall down the well and is ultimately washed out of the storm drains and into the Barrens by a flash flood with the bodies of It's victims. Returning home, Henry is arrested by the police for murdering his father muttering that he's not done yet and has to "kill them all." As he is taken into custody, Henry notices one of It's balloons floating by. Having completely lost his mind, Henry is locked in an insane asylum for the next 27 years.

2016

After It becomes active again in 2016, It floats one of It's balloons in front of the asylum where Henry is locked up, causing him to excitedly chase the balloon along the asylum's windows before he is locked up in his room. Disappointed that the balloon is gone, Henry is surprised to spot it under his bed where Henry yanks on the balloon until it pops. It, in the form of Patrick Hockstetter's corpse, emerges from underneath the bed and offers Henry his knife back. Gleeful, Henry brutally murders an asylum guard and escapes, fleeing in a vehicle driven by Patrick's corpse.

Returning to Derry, Henry stalks the Losers Club and ambushes Eddie Kaspbrak in the bathroom after Richie Tozier leaves. Henry stabs Eddie in the cheek, stating that It told him that it's Eddie's time and that its "time to float." Eddie hides behind the shower curtain and when Henry gets close, Eddie stabs him in the chest with his own knife. Telling Henry to cut his mullet, that it's been almost thirty years, Eddie flees downstairs. However, Henry, though badly wounded, escapes out the window to continue his rampage. Watching from the broken window, Ben Hanscom witnesses a laughing Henry remove the knife and take off, experiencing a flashback to Henry trying to carve his name into Ben's stomach.

That night, Henry sneaks into the library where he purposefully pushes the book containing the story on the deaths of Mike Hanlon's parents in a fire off the shelf behind Mike. As Mike is distracted by the book, Henry charges him and the two men fight through library, but Henry gets the upper hand and pins Mike to the floor. As Mike struggles to keep Henry from stabbing him, Henry gleefully taunts Mike that he should've died with his parents in the fire and sadistically enjoys describing how they burned to death. However, before Henry can succeed in stabbing Mike, Richie impales him in the back of the head with an axe that was in one of the library's display cases, killing Henry. Richie jokes that Henry's death was long overdue before throwing up from having actually killed someone.

Victims

IT (1986 Novel)

IT (2017 Film)

IT: Chapter Two (2019 Film)

  • Asylum guard: Throat Slit by Henry.

Quotes

Novel

"I know you, kid. I know you, too. Where’s your glasses, four-eyes? Well, son of a bitch! The Jew and the fatboy are here too! That your girlfriend, fatboy? I got bones to pick with a lot of you, but I can let that go for today. I want that n***er. So you little s***s buzz off."
―Henry confronting the Losers.

Miniseries

"Well, whaddaya know? The fat boy, the Jew, and the sissy. Four eyes and the patch girl, too. N***er, you know how to pick them: the Losers' Club."
―Henry to Mike Hanlon with the Losers
"And given me and my daddy grief for a long, long time! You like fireworks, boy, huh? What do you say to "Rocket in your pocket"?"
―Henry to Mike Hanlon
"Belch."
―Henry's last word thinking Belch is alive
"My father will tan my hide."
―Henry trying to dodge detention implying his father whipped him twice minimum for school punishments in the past

It 2017

"You s-s-say something, B-B-B-B-Billy? Dumb stuttering freak."
―Henry to Bill, mimicking his stutter
"Summer’s gonna be a hurt train. For you and your fucking faggot f-f-friends."
―Henry to Bill before he licks his hand and slaps Bill's face
"Where you off to, Tits?"
―Henry to Ben
"Shut up! I'm gonna carve my whole name out of this cottage cheese!"
―Henry to Belch before Ben escapes from him
"My knife! My old man will kill me!"
―Henry to his friends about Butch after losing his knife
"You didn't listen to what I told you, did you? You should have stayed out of Derry. Your parents didn't, and look what happened to them. I still get sad everytime I pass by that pile of ashes, sad that I couldn't have done it myself."
―Henry's last words to Mike before he fell into a well
"You got a free ride this year cuz of your little brother. Ride's over, Denbrough."
―Henry explaining to Bill why he didn’t bully him during the school year before he attempts to bully him
"Did I fucking stutter?"
―To Vic, telling him to move seats[src]
"Who cares?!"
―To Belch, about Patrick still being missing[src]
"Like lambs to a slaughter. Wouldn't you say fellas? Yeah, sure you would."
―Henry to a dead Belch Huggins and Victor Criss, watching the Losers enter Neibolt[src]

IT (2019)

"Hockstetter? My knife."
―Bowers sees zombified Patrick
"Hey, Hockstetter. Let's go!"
―Henry to Patrick after escaping from the asylum
"It's your time, Eddie."
―Henry to Eddie before stabbing his cheek
"You should've burned, Mike. Just like your druggie parents. Can you see them yet? Crisping? Like fried fucking chi—"
―Henry's last words as he tries to kill Mike

Trivia

  • Henry is mentioned in the novel 11/22/63 by Beverly and Richie while talking to Jake Epping about the whereabouts of the Dunning family.
  • Uses a nightlight of "Donald Duck doffing his little sailor hat" while staying at Juniper Hill to keep away nightmares and memories of IT.
  • The Haven (TV Series) Character Kirk Bowers is intended to be somehow related to him.
  • Despite being the secondary villain, Henry's role in part 2 of the film is only slight compared to the novel and miniseries.
  • Henry dies three different ways between the novel and movies.
  • Henry In the miniseries doesn't have any excuse to commit patricide, bullying and murder etc making this the most evil Henry version.
  • So far, Henry is the only one capable to keep Patrick Hockstetter in line as he is usually disgusted by his actions and once punched him and called him out for what he did with the broken fridge.
  • It is unknown what was the inspiration behind his name although it was most likely Henry Francis Bowers who was an American politician, or he could have been named after Henry Robertson Bowers who was the lieutenant of the ill fated Terra Nova Expedition.
  • Henry is possibly bisexual as he wanted to have sex with Beverly, and he seemed to like it when Patrick Hockstetter gave him a handjob (though he fiercely denied it) 
  • Had two pigs, named Bip and Bop [1]
  • He is somewhat less evil in the 2017 film. He never calls Mike Hanlon any racial slurs, does not bully Stan for being Jewish, doesn't try to physically or sexually assault Beverly, and doesn't bully Bill for eight months because of Georgie's death. He was also not going insane until It gave him his knife. 
  • It is possible that he is 5'7 in the 2017 movie.

References

  1. PG1867, Chapter 17, Section 3

Appearances

Gallery

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