Since the book's publication King's story has been adapted several times for TV and film. In 1990, Tommy Lee Wallace produced a two-part miniseries starring Tim Curry. In 2017, Andy Muschietti directed the 2017 film adaptation, and it's sequel, Chapter Two, in 2019.
IT follows the story of seven preteen children from the fictional town of Derry, Maine who are stalked and terrorized by an evil eldritch entity they only know as "IT." The mysterious creature has the ability to easily shapeshift and disguise itself to its prey, and uses their greatest and deepest psychological fears against them. One of ITs favorite disguises is the appearance of a circus clown called Pennywise.
The novel consistently alternates between two time periods, (1958 to 1985) interweaving the story of the children and the adults that they will eventually grow into. Common King themes are woven throughout the novel, including the notion of the power of memory, traumas experienced in childhood and their effect in later life, a small town with dark secrets, and triumphing over evil through trust, love, bravery, and sacrifice.
King began writing the novel in 1981, having first conceived of the tale in 1978. Originally, King envisioned the IT character as a troll living in the sewer system, drawing on the idea of the troll under the bridge from the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" children's story.
IT won the British Fantasy Award in 1987 and earned nominations for both the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award.
1957 - 1958
"Welcome to Derry, Maine ...it’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven unhappy Pre-teens when they first stumbled upon the nearly unspeakable horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and find happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has called each of them back to Derry nearly three decades later, to face the nightmare without a true face and the evil without a true name."
In October of 57, during a heavy rainstorm in Derry, Maine, a 6-year-old boy Georgie Denbrough is happily chasing a paper boat down a gutter. The boat is washed down a storm drain to the dismay of Georgie, who had received the boat as a gift from his older brother, Bill. Peering into the drain, Georgie sees a pair of glowing yellow eyes. Startled, Georgie is suddenly confronted by a man dressed in a silver clown suit who introduces himself as "Mr. Bob Gray" a.k.a. "Pennywise The Dancing Clown". Pennywise offers Georgie a balloon which he cautiously refuses, however, the clown cleverly entices Georgie to reach into the drain to retrieve his boat and then viciously tears off his arm, leaving the poor boy to bleed to death in the gutter.
The following June, on the last day of school, Ben Hanscom, an overweight 11-year-old boy, is harassed by a gang of bullies led by Henry Bowers, who attempts to carve his name into Ben's stomach with a switchblade knife. Ben escapes and hides from his tormentors down in the Barrens, a large woodland area. There he befriends Eddie Kaspbrak, a hypochondriac boy who believes he has asthma and Bill Denbrough, Georgie’s elder brother who suffers from a terrible stutter and rides on a rusty bike named Silver. Ben shows them how to build a dam along the creek bed, a project they're later admonished for by a friendly local policeman named Officer Nell, who also tells them never to wander the streets of Derry or come to the Barrens alone. Children have been disappearing and Officer Nell tells them they should be safer together.
The 3 boys later befriend fellow misfits Richie Tozier a jokester, Stan Uris a Jewish boy, and Beverly Marsh a lower-middle-class girl. They all eventually refer to themselves as "The Losers Club". As the summer draws on, The Losers Club realizes that they have each had an encounter with a seemingly omniscient, shape-shifting demonic entity that takes the form of whatever they fear the most. Ben as a mummy holding balloons, Eddie as a leper offering him a blowjob, Bill as Georgie's ghost, Richie as a werewolf, Stan as two drowned boys in the local standpipe and Beverly as a fountain of blood spurting from her bathroom sink. Due to the unknown origin of the monster, The Losers Club refer to the creature as "IT" and link IT with a series of recent child murders, including that of Eddie Corcoran who is killed by the monster in the form of the creature from the Black Lagoon.
Meanwhile, an increasingly unhinged and sadistic Henry Bowers begins focusing his attention on his African-American neighbor, Mike Hanlon and his father, William. Egged on by years of his racist, alcoholic father’s hatred for The Senior Hanlon's success as a local farmer, Henry admits to poisoning Mike's dog and chases the terrified boy into the Barrens. Mike tells The Losers Club that he was attacked by IT in the form of a flesh-eating bird and they realize through Mike's picture book that IT has been around for centuries. The Losers Club begin to suspect that IT has control over Derry due to the number of unsolved disappearances and violent tragedies that go unnoticed or seem forgotten by the adults in the town.
During the incident where Henry and his gang chase the terrified Mike into the Barrens, a rock fight is initiated with The Losers Club. The bullies are left defeated and embarrassed and an injured Henry swears revenge on The Losers Club before departing. After further encounters with IT in the form of Pennywise and various other manifestations, The Losers Club construct a makeshift American-Indian smokehole which Richie and Mike use to hallucinate IT’s origins. In doing so they discover that IT came to Derry millions of years before in an asteroid-like impact and that around every 27 years IT awakens from a hibernative state underneath the town usually after some kind of terrible event or tragedy, to feed on and devour children for a period of 12 to 16 months.
In late July, Eddie is hospitalized after an attack by Henry Bowers and several of his friends. Spying on them, Beverly witnesses one of the bullies, Patrick Hockstetter, trying to empty a refrigerator which he had been using to trap and kill small animals, only to be killed by IT in the form of flying bloodsucking leeches. Later, The Losers Club discover a message from IT written in Patrick's blood warning them that IT will kill them if they continue trying to fight IT. After Eddie is released from the hospital with a broken arm, Ben makes 2 silver slugs out of a silver dollar, believing that silver will harm the monster.
The narrative now briefly changes to the point of view of the monster and IT informs the reader that IT existed originally in a void between our universe and others, in a dimension known as The Macroverse. IT boasts to the reader that IT is superior to anything on earth and confirms that IT chooses to prey on children because they are easier to fool and frighten. IT believes their fears are easier to interpret in a physical form, which IT claims is akin to "salting the meat", as frightened flesh taste better.
The kids return to the house on Neibolt Street where Eddie, Bill and Richie had previously encountered IT and IT attacks them in the form of a werewolf. Beverly shoots a slug from Bill's slingshot at the werewolf, injuring IT and causing IT to flee back to the sewers.
IT, now seeing The Losers Club as a serious threat, manipulates the mind of Henry Bowers and turns him into a minion. Appearing to him as the moon, IT provides him with a new switchblade knife, which Henry (now completely insane) uses to then murder his father.
Soon after, Henry and his 2 closest friends, Victor "Vic" Criss and Reginald "Belch" Huggins, follow The Losers Club into the sewers with the intention of killing them. IT attacks the 3 bullies in the form of Frankenstein's monster, ripping Vic's head off and mutilating Belch's face. Henry, after witnessing the brutal slayings of his friends, chases The Losers Club and gets lost for hours in the darkness. He eventually washes out of the sewers into a nearby river, is caught by the police and blamed for all of the child murders (essentially being framed by IT). Meanwhile, Bill discovers The Ritual Of Chüd, an ancient ritual that allows him to enter The Macroverse to confront IT. During the ritual Bill encounters Maturin, an ancient turtle and the creator of our universe, which it vomited up following a stomach-ache, who explains that IT can only be defeated during a battle of wills.
Bill enters the monster's mind through The Ritual Of Chüd and discovers that IT’s true form is a mass of destructive orange beams which IT refers to as "Deadlights". With the help of Maturin, Bill is able to defeat IT and send it back into slumber. After the battle, The Losers Club get lost in the sewers until Beverly has sex with all the boys to bring unity back to the group. This also is used as a metaphor to represent the Losers leaving behind childhood and entering adulthood. The Losers Club then swear a blood oath to return to Derry should IT ever return in the future.
The Losers eventually all drift apart and go their separate ways in life. Their memories of IT, each other and the most significant and traumatic events of the summer in 58 slowly fade away.
In July 1984 at the annual Derry carnival, three youths brutally attack a young gay man named Adrian Mellon and throw him off a bridge. They are arrested and charged with murder when the victim's mutilated corpse is found. One of the murderers claims that he saw a clown dressed in a silver suit kill Mellon underneath the bridge. Adrian's partner, the other victim in the attack, had also noticed the clown, seeing it viciously bite Mellon under an arm, but the prosecutors convince him not to mention it during the trial.
When a string of mysterious child murders occurs in Derry once again, an adult Mike Hanlon, now the town's librarian and the only one of the Losers to still remain in Derry, calls up the six former members of the Losers Club and reminds them of their childhood promise to return should the killings ever start again.
Bill Denbrough is now a successful horror writer living in England with his actress wife, Audra. Beverly Marsh is a fashion designer in Chicago and is married to an abusive man named Tom Rogan. Eddie Kaspbrak has moved to New York City, where he runs a limousine rental company and has married a hysterical, codependent woman similar to his hypochondriac mother. Richie Tozier lives in Los Angeles and works as a disc jockey. Ben Hanscom is now thin and a successful architect, living in Nebraska. Stan Uris is a wealthy accountant residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Prior to Mike's phone calls, the Losers had almost completely buried all the horror of their encounters with IT. However, all but Stan reluctantly agree to return to Derry. After Mike's phone call, Stan is so terrified of facing IT again that he slits his wrists in the bathtub, writing "IT" on the wall in his own blood. Tom refuses to let Beverly go and tries to beat her, but she lashes out at him before fleeing, causing him serious injury. The five return to Derry with only the dimmest awareness of why they are doing so, only remembering something terrible and their promise to return no matter what.
The Losers meet for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, where Mike reminds them that IT awakens once roughly every 25-27 years for 12–16 months at a time, feeding on children before going back into deep slumber again. While they share stories about their interim lives since they left Derry, the group returns to the strong bond that defined their previous friendship and love for each other. When they open their fortune cookies at the end of dinner, IT strikes, causing horrible hallucinations to plague them. The group decides to kill IT once and for all. At Mike's suggestion, each person explores different parts of Derry to help restore their memories. While exploring, Eddie, Richie, Beverly, and Ben are faced with manifestations of IT (Eddie as Belch Huggins in leper form, Richie as a Paul Bunyan statue, Beverly as the witch from Hansel & Gretel and Ben as Dracula). Bill finds his childhood Schwinn, "Silver", and brings it to Mike's home.
Three other people are also converging on the town: Audra, who is worried about Bill, Tom Rogan, who plans to punish Beverly, and a vengeful Henry Bowers, who has escaped from Juniper Hill Mental Asylum with help from IT. Mike and Henry have a violent confrontation at the library. Mike is nearly killed but Henry escapes, severely injured. Henry is driven to the hotel where the Losers are staying by IT disguised as the rotting corpse of Belch Huggins. IT instructs him to kill the rest of the five Losers. Henry attacks Eddie, breaking his arm once again, but in the fight, Henry is killed.
IT then appears to Tom Rogan and orders him to capture Audra. Tom brings Audra to ITs lair. Upon seeing IT's true form, Audra becomes catatonic and Tom drops dead from shock. Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, and Eddie learn that Mike is near death and realize they are being forced into another confrontation with IT. They descend into the sewers and use their strength as a group to "send energy" to a hospitalized Mike, who fights off a nurse possessed by IT. They finally reach ITs lair and find IT has taken the form of a giant spider. Bill and Richie enter ITs mind through the Ritual of Chüd, but they get lost in it. To distract IT and bring Bill and Richie back, Eddie runs towards IT and uses his aspirator to spray medicine in ITs eye and down ITs throat. Although he is successful, IT bites off Eddie's arm, and Eddie bleeds to death almost instantly.
IT runs away to tend to its injuries, but Bill, Richie, and Ben chase after IT and find that IT has laid eggs. Ben stays behind to destroy the eggs, while Bill and Richie head toward their final confrontation with IT. Bill fights his way inside ITs body, locates IT's heart and crushes it between his hands, killing IT once and for all. The group meets up to head out of ITs lair, and although they try to bring Audra and Eddie's bodies with them, they are forced to leave Eddie behind. They make it to the surface and realize that the scars on their hands from when they were children have disappeared, indicating that their ordeal is finally over forever.
At the same time, the worst storm in Maine's history sweeps through Derry, and the downtown area collapses. Mike concludes that Derry is finally dying. The Losers plan to return home and gradually begin to forget about IT, Derry and each other. Mike's memories also begin to fade, as well as many of the records he had written down previously, much to his relief, and he considers starting a new life elsewhere. Ben and Beverly realize their love for one another and become a couple, leaving Derry together. Richie returns to California. Bill is the last to leave Derry. Before he goes, he takes Audra, still catatonic, for a ride on Silver, which magically awakens her from her catatonia from the power of belief.
In the final paragraphs, the line begins to blur between the story we have been told, the story Bill is dreaming, and the story Bill tells us he will write. King ends his mammoth novel with one final thought: that the act of Remembering as a Dreamer and the act of Creating as a Storyteller are the same, because although Bill may never fully remember the story behind his dreams, he will write the truth in his fiction.
"Or so Bill Denbrough sometimes thinks on those early mornings after dreaming, when he almost remembers his childhood, and the friends with whom he shared it."
The seven Losers are the children united by their unhappy lives in Derry Maine during the summer of 1958. Their misery at being the victims of bullying by Henry Bowers, being rejected by most of their peers, and their eventual struggle to overcome the eponymous "IT" is what ultimately brings them together. They are clearly characters in the King tradition of sympathetic, plausible heroes who find themselves caught up in an evil they cannot quite comprehend but against which they must do battle.
William 'Stuttering Bill' Denbrough: Also known as "Big Bill." His brother George was murdered by It in 1957. Bill feels somewhat guilty about the murder because he'd been the one who sent George outside to play where he was killed. Ever since George died, Bill has been partially ignored by his parents. Beverly Marsh develops an intense crush on him during their time in the Losers Club and when the group returns to Derry in 1985 they sleep together but do not carry their relationship any further. He is the most determined and resourceful of the Losers and is the one who, both in 1958 and 1985, confronts It in the Ritual of Chüd and eventually destroys It. As an adult, he marries Audra Phillips, a successful actress bearing a strong resemblance to Bev. As with other King characters Jack Torrance, Paul Sheldon, Ben Mears, Bobbi Anderson, Thaddeus Beaumont, Mike Noonan, Louis Creed and numerous others, in 1985 Bill is a writer.
Benjamin 'Ben' Hanscom: He was dubbed "Haystack" by Richie, after the professional wrestler Haystack Calhoun. Because of his weight, he has become a frequent victim of Henry Bowers who once used a buck knife to try to carve his name into Ben's stomach (he managed an unfinished 'H' before Ben escaped). Ben develops an intense crush on Beverly Marsh and the two get together after the 1985 defeat of It. In adult life, he becomes a successful architect, having shed his excess weight as a teenager when his gym teacher taunted him after a bullying session by a group of cruel boys. His building skills become useful to the Losers: from making two silver slugs to an underground clubhouse where Mike and Richie have a vision of Its cosmic crash into the site which would later become Derry, Maine.
Beverly 'Bev' Marsh: The only female member in the group, Beverly is a very pretty red-headed girl from the poorest part of Derry whose abusive father beats her regularly (it is also hinted he sexually abuses her). She develops a crush on Bill Denbrough and her skill with a slingshot is a key factor in battling It. The boys are described as being very fond of Beverly; all of them at some point have romantic or sexual feelings for her on some level. As an adult she becomes a successful fashion designer, but secretly endures several abusive relationships, culminating in her marriage to Tom Rogan who sees her more as a sexual object and disapproves of her chain-smoking, using it (and a myriad of other slights) as an excuse to beat and punish her. After her husband is killed by It, and after a brief reunion with Bill, Bev subsequently departs Derry with Ben, realizing it was Ben whom she subconsciously loved all along.
Richard 'Trashmouth' Tozier: Known as the "Trashmouth," Richie is the Losers most lighthearted member. Richie is always cracking jokes and doing impersonations which later prove very powerful weapons against It. He is "too intelligent for his own good," and channels his boredom in hyper-active wisecracking, to the point of being self-destructive (his flippant remarks to Henry Bowers leads to his near beating by Henry and his friends). His childhood trauma stemmed from his rapid-fire insults being compulsive and almost subconsciously triggered. He is the most devoted to keeping the group together and he sees 7 as a magical number (besides 3). He believes the group should have no more, no less than seven members. As an adult, he is a successful disc jockey. Like Ben, he has a crush on Beverly, though it isn't crucial to the plot. He has very bad eyesight and wears thick glasses as a child, returning to Derry without his eyewear, having switched to contacts. However, the contacts begin burning his eyes upon his return to Derry, and he is forced to wear glasses again.
Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak: Eddie is a frail-seeming boy suffering from psychosomatic asthma. He has a worrying, domineering mother who, ever since his father died, has used Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy to bully Eddie into caring for her. Eddie is easily the most physically fragile member of the group. Richie calls him "Eds," which he hates (as is demonstrated when It bites off Eddie's arm and his dying words are to Richie, who calls him "Eds:" "Richie, don't call me Eds. You know I...I... [without finishing his sentence, "I hate it when you call me that"]"). He is a Methodist. When Henry and his friends break his arm and his mother tries to prevent the Losers from visiting Eddie in the hospital, he finally stands up to his mother and tells her that he is no longer the helpless kid she believes in. As an adult, he owns a successful limousine business, but is married to a woman very similar to his mother and has become a hypochondriac. After Pennywise orchestrates the escape of Henry Bowers, Eddie is attacked by a weakened Henry in his hotel room and accidentally impales him with a broken Perrier bottle, killing Henry fully. Eddie is eventually slain by It in the final struggle after using his inhaler to wound It, making him the only direct adult victim of It (all others were killed indirectly). He bleeds to death in the sewers after his arm is bitten off, ultimately dying in the gang's bloody arms.
Michael 'Mike' Hanlon: Mike is the last to join the Losers when he is chased into the rock quarry by Henry Bowers, whose racist father has indoctrinated him with hatred towards Mike and his African-American family. The Losers fight back against Bowers and his friends in the apocalyptic rock fight. Mike is the only one of the Losers to stay behind in Derry and he is the town librarian who calls the others back when the killings begin again in 1985. His father kept an album filled with old photos which were important to Derry's history, including several of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Through the knowledge, he acquires of Derry and It he becomes an amateur historian of the town. He is seriously wounded by Henry Bowers and nearly dies as a result of Henry piercing an artery in his leg. He manages to seriously wound Henry, driving him off (Henry's wounds allow Eddie to finish him off later) and calls the hospital managing to get help regardless of Pennywise's attempts to block him. In the hospital, a nurse controlled by It tries to kill him but the other Losers (in the sewers) share their energy with him and he manages to repel the nurse. Mike later recovers from his wounds but like the others starts to lose his memory of the experience.
Stanley 'Stan' Uris: Also known as "Stan the Man." Stan is the skeptical, bookish Jewish member of the group (Uris does, however, admit that his family takes a relaxed approach to their faith, rather than practicing it devoutly). Logic, order, and cleanliness are deeply ingrained in his psyche. He is the least willing to accept that It actually exists and relies on logic more than anything else. Stan, much like Mike, is racially persecuted by Henry. As a kid, his main hobby was birdwatching. He later becomes a partner in a large Atlanta-based accounting firm, and it is hinted that he is the only member of the Losers (aside from Mike) to possess any memory of what happened in 1958. However, in keeping with being the character least able to accept the supernatural and the non-rational, he commits suicide by slitting his wrists and writing "IT" with his own blood while taking a bath upon receiving Mike's phone call. Rather than return to Derry to face the ancient terror, despite being the one to slice the Losers' palms in a blood oath, his character is simply unable to endure the horror as an adult.
Pennywise The Dancing Clown (IT): The eponymous villain of King's epic novel is described by Bill Denbrough as a glamour, or a shapeshifting monster who appears to its victims as whatever they fear most, though It often uses the shape of a clown as bait when stalking younger children. It calls itself the "Eater of Worlds", and manifests itself on Earth as the evil life-force of the entire town of Derry, forming a part of the physical geography and infrastructure of the town as well as the minds and actions of the people in it. It sustains itself by sleeping and waking in a cycle of approximately 27 years, during the 18-36 month peaks of which it stalks the town and murders people, mostly children. Some of its victims have been found partially eaten, but It probably does not consume their meat for energy as humans do. It is thought to draw power from causing extreme fear in the victim's moment of death, and as many people fear being eaten more deeply than simply being killed, It's intimate tie to fear is probably what causes It to eat some of its victims' bodies. Its victims are mostly children, owing to the powerful, elemental nature of the fears of children. It fell to earth from outside the universe (yet still within the greater expanse of the macroverse) in prehistoric times, as witnessed by Mike Hanlon and Richie Tozier in a smoke-induced vision in 1958. The nature and exact time of Its arrival are unknown, but it can be assumed to have been at least several million years ago, owing to the difference in climate and biota observed by Mike and Richie during their vision. It claims to be eternal, but eventually, Bill Denbrough is able to literally crush Its heart in his bare hands. All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit, and the monster is destroyed.
Georgie Denbrough: The first character introduced in the book, George is Bill's younger brother. He is a stereotypical child, innocent and curious. He is killed when It, appearing as Pennywise, rips off his arm. George's death is the first in the fall of 1957 and it is what drives Bill to defeat It. In 1958 It threatens to appear to Bill as George. However, It never does so until 1985 (excluding Its appearance to Richie and Bill in Georgie's room; when it springs from the Canal in a photo wearing Georgie's face) in the sewers. When Bill sees It as George, he works through his grief and overcomes Its ruse.
Henry Bowers: The sadistic, psychopathic neighborhood bully who torments the Losers and other kids ceaselessly before and throughout the summer of 1958. The novel portrays him as a hateful and violent twelve-year-old boy filled with mischief and malice. Henry's sanity slowly deteriorates throughout the summer due to the influence of It and abuse from his equally crazy and abusive father, Butch Bowers, who has taught Henry to be a racist. Henry shares his father's intense hatred for the Hanlon family, the only black family in Derry, in addition to being a sexist, homophobic, and anti-semite. He inflicts many acts of cruelty and humiliation upon the Losers during and before the summer of '58, such as attempting to carve his name onto Ben Hanscom's stomach (though he only gets as far as the first letter), ceaselessly mocking Bill Denbrough's pronounced stutter, harassing Beverly and threatening her with sexual violence, killing Mike Hanlon's dog and bathing Mike in mud to make him a "tar baby", breaking Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, pursuing Richie Tozier through town, and white-washing Stan Uris' face in snow until it bleeds. His deteriorating sanity becomes apparent during his attacks on Eddie and Beverly: with the former, he pushed Mr. Gedreau to the ground and threatened him into going back inside the Tracker Bros. Store when the man tried to stand up for Eddie after Henry starts attacking Eddie with gravel; he kicked out an old lady's taillight when she tried to stand up for Beverly. After a violent rock fight in early July, Henry becomes increasingly sadistic until he eventually murders his father in mid-August with a switchblade provided by It, and also tries to kill the Losers. He chases them into the town sewers with his friends Vic Criss and Belch Huggins, only to encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster, who decapitates Vic and mutilates Belch's face. Henry fails to kill any of the Losers and manages to escape from It. When he eventually finds his way out of the sewers, the shock of witnessing his friends being slaughtered has driven him completely insane. He is convicted of the murder of his father and is framed for most of It's murders throughout the summer. He is placed in an insane asylum and remains there until May 29, 1985, when he escapes with It's assistance, and heads back to Derry to attempt to murder the Losers once more. After critically wounding Mike in the town library and being injured himself in the process, Henry then goes to the hotel where most of the Losers are staying, and finds Eddie's room first, only to be killed in the confrontation with Eddie.
Audra Phillips: Bill Denbrough's wife in 1985. Audra is a famous actress. She and Bill have an occasional working relationship: she is set to star in an adaptation of a novel he wrote. When Bill leaves for Derry, he strongly urges Audra to remain in England and although she agrees, she leaves the next day to follow him. When she makes it to Derry, It uses Tom Rogan to capture her and uses her as bait to lure Bill Denbrough. When the Losers defeat It once and for all they rescue Audra but she is catatonic. The book ends with Bill using the last of his childhood's magic to bring her out of the catatonia. Audra has a strong physical resemblance to the adult Beverly Rogan.
Tom Rogan: The abusive husband of Beverly Marsh. Tom has a very predatory view of women and he thrives on the control he has over his vulnerable wife. When Beverly tries to leave for Derry, he refuses to let her and whips her with a belt (a practice so common he keeps it hanging in the closet). Tom is shocked when the normally docile Beverly fights back and almost kills him before leaving for Derry. Tom, desperate to find his wife, beats one of her friends, Kay Adams until he finds out that Beverly is in Derry. Tom goes to Derry intending to kill Beverly and possibly her "writer friend" Bill Denbrough, whom Tom (correctly) assumes she is sleeping with. When he gets there, It uses Tom to kidnap Audra Phillips and bring her to Its lair under the city. Upon seeing It in Its true form, Tom drops dead from shock.
Victor "Vic" Criss: A bully and one of Henry's sidekicks. Among Henry's gang, Vic is most likely the smartest and most intelligent member and is the only one who truly realizes Henry's insanity, and becomes increasingly reluctant to follow him. The novel describes Vic as having good morals despite helping Henry torment the Losers, often wanting to scare or intimidate the Losers rather than actually cause physical harm. When he makes comments and jokes, he often uses heavy profanity as well as implied or explicit violence. It is also noted that he is a more than fair pitcher during the rock fight, where he causes the most damage (partly and somewhat paradoxically because he did not want to be there). In early August, while in the Tracker Brothers store, Vic warns the Losers of Henry's deteriorating sanity. He also almost approaches the Losers to join them but decides against it. By doing this, he seals his fate and joins Henry and Belch in following the Losers into the sewers, where the three encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster, who kills Vic by decapitating him. Later, It appears before Henry taking the form of Vic and Henry continually remembers Vic's decapitation. His corpse, along with Belch's, is later discovered by the adult Losers when they go to face It for the final time.
Reginald "Belch" Huggins: Another sidekick of Henry's who earned his nickname due to his ability to belch on command. He is very big for his age, being six feet tall at twelve years old. Belch is considered stupid by most people, which he makes up for in physical strength and his fierce loyalty to his friends, especially Henry. He's believed to be a professional grade baseball batter. Belch follows Henry and Vic into the sewers to murder the Losers, only to encounter It in the form of Frankenstein's monster. After It kills Vic and goes after Henry, Belch defends him and attacks It. Henry leaves Belch behind and It overpowers him and kills him by mutilating his face. It appears as a mutilated Belch to drive Henry to the hotel where the Losers are staying. During this encounter, Belch shows a great deal of resentment towards Henry, which uneases him. His corpse along with Vic's is later discovered by the adult Losers when they go to face It for the final time.
Patrick Hockstetter: A psychopathic and solipsistic bully who is part of Henry's gang (despite his generally low reputation, even as a bully). Patrick keeps a pencil box full of dead flies, which he kills with his ruler, and shows it to other students. He also takes small, usually injured animals and locks them in a broken refrigerator in a junkyard, and leaves them there to die. Along with killing animals, Patrick has also murdered his infant brother, Avery, by suffocation when he was five years old. When alone with Henry after lighting farts with him and his gang one July afternoon in 1958, Patrick gives Henry a handjob and offers to give him oral sex, which snaps Henry out of his daze and prompts him to punch Patrick in the mouth. Henry then reveals that he knows about Patrick's refrigerator, and threatens to tell everyone about it if Patrick tells about the handjob. Once Henry has left, Patrick opens the refrigerator to dispose of the animal corpses but is attacked by a swarm of flying leeches, his only fear. The swarm sucks Patrick's blood leaving large holes all over his body, which causes him to slowly lose consciousness as he is dragged away by It. When he awakens, It begins to feed on him. His death is witnessed by Beverly, and his corpse is discovered by the Losers when they go into the sewers to face It for the first time.
Eddie Corcoran: A boy who lives in Derry. His younger brother Dorsey is killed by their abusive stepfather, Richard P. Macklin, with a Scotti recoilless hammer. Although he did not know his stepfather killed Dorsey, Eddie suspects him. Because of Macklin's increasing abuse, Eddie spends many nights away from home, and it is on one of these that he is killed by It (first taking the form of Dorsey, then the Creature from the Black Lagoon) by decapitation. His disappearance galvanizes the Derry police department into investigating Dorsey's death, and his stepfather is eventually charged and convicted of murder. Macklin kills himself many years later after seeing Eddie dead. Eddie is the only child who is actually shown getting killed by It other than George Denbrough and Patrick Hockstetter.
Peter Gordon: A well-off friend of Henry's that lives on West Broadway, who thinks chasing Mike Hanlon is a game, though Henry's crazed and increasingly violent behavior (such as attempting to outright kill Mike with cherry bombs and M-80s) begins to alienate him. He's also the boyfriend of Marcia Fadden, an unattractive girl with heavy acne. When school goes out for the summer, Peter (menacingly) invites Ben Hanscom to play baseball with him and while on a date with Marcia, he insults the Losers at the movies. Like Vic Criss, he also realizes Henry's eroding sanity, albeit only after the rock fight. He is never seen again after the rock fight. It is implied that It kills him later that summer as the Losers recall that all of Henry's friends were killed by It.
Steve "Moose" Sadler: A very slow, semi-retarded friend of Henry's, whose father works on the Hanlon family farm. He joins Henry in tormenting Mike Hanlon and also helps him break Eddie's arm in the park. However, Moose is shown to be more of a minion or a follower to Henry rather than a friend and is more of a friend to Vic and Belch. It is somewhat implied that he dies in the summer of 1958 as the Losers later reminisce that all of Henry's friends are ultimately killed by It.
Gard Jagermeyer: A very slow and dumb friend of Henry's. He once pushed Richie Tozier to the ground, breaking his glasses. Aside from this instance, Gard is mentioned a few times throughout the novel, arguably making him the most minor of Henry's gang. It is possible that he was killed by It as was mentioned by Eddie Kaspbrak that all of Henry's friends were attacked by It.
Richard "Dick" Hallorann: A chef in Derry Army E Company. Although Dick Holloran plays a minor role in this novel by saving Mike Hanlon's father from the fire at the Black Spot, he later plays a more significant role in the novel The Shining.
William Hanlon: Mike Hanlon's father. At a very young age, William joins the Derry regiment of the National Army. He soon comes to realize that there is a deep racial divide within the army and within Derry (although he does admit that there are a large number of good citizens in Derry as well as bad, and it might actually be the place itself that causes such divides between its people). This led to the fire at the Black Spot, a renowned bar made by the outcast African American soldiers. As the bar becomes more popular, the governing bodies of Derry become jealous of the bar's success. This leads to the fire at the Black Spot started by the Legion of Decency (the equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan), although William believes the fire to be a prank that got out of control. After escaping the inferno, William witnesses It seizing a member of the Legion of Decency. William stole one of his Army sirs and stole their vehicle and drove away with his friend. But It was in the form a giant bird that was "hovering" over the crowd by using balloons attached to each wing. He died of cancer in 1962, four years after The Losers defeated It for the first time.
Alvin Marsh: Father to Beverly Marsh. He physically abuses Bev; it is implied that he does this because of his incestuous feelings toward her (IT states this to her outright when she returns to Derry as an adult). However, there are times when Al is shown to be a loving and caring father to Bev. He died of unknown causes in 1980 (possibly killed by It or a Heart Attack).
Publishers Weekly listed It as the best-selling book in America in 1986.
The story was adapted into a film in 1990. It is a four-hour long miniseries that was praised for Part 1, and the acting of the young Losers and Tim Curry as Pennywise but was criticized for Part 2's melodrama and poor special effects at the finale.
There is two audiobook versions of IT. One is read by Chuck Benson and another version is read by Steven Weber. Weber also played the part of Jack Torrance in the TV miniseries version of The Shining.
- It is very similar to the Netflix series Stranger Things. It is confirmed in the book Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down that The Duffer Brothers took inspiration from It, along with the books Firestarter, The Dead Zone, Carrie, The Shining and The Body.