IT: 10 Things That Make No Sense About Pennywise | ScreenRant
Last Updated: December 29, 2019
As far as iconic fictional monsters go, there are very few in the world that are scarier, more reviled, and more revered than Pennywise the dancing clown. Also known as the titular IT in Stephen King’s smash hit novel IT, Pennywise is a creature that capitalizes on fear to hunt his victims, and the fact that he can transform into anything scary that the human mind is capable of imagining makes him the kind of villain that literally everyone will be afraid of.
Pennywise is one of Stephen King’s most inspired and unique characters, and it’s hard to deny that IT isn’t the horror master’s magnum opus of villains. However, there are elements of Pennywise’s story and characterization that just don’t seem to make any sense. Some of them are mysteries about IT that are left unexplained, some of them are characteristics that contradict each other, and some of them are just plain logic fails, but here are ten things that don’t make any sense about Pennywise.
10 His Survival On Earth
So something that really sticks out about Pennywise as a character is that he has been on earth for millions, if not billions, of years, but he’s a character who feeds entirely on humans and their sense of fear. However, if he’s been on earth for even half as long as it seems like he has, how has he survived for this long? I mean, his existence on earth seems like it might predate the existence of humankind altogether, so if his main food source is people then what was he doing to keep himself alive for all of that time before? It’s possible he found a way to feed off other lifeforms that predated mankind, although it certainly couldn’t have been in the same complex, emotionally-based way as humans were targeted. That said, a creature of such immense power can’t be underestimated.
9 The Scope Of His Mind Control
One of the more curious aspects of Pennywise as a character is his mind control. It’s clear that his powers of mind control are pretty powerful within Derry, but the fact that the Losers Club completely forgets his existence once they leave the town seems like a pretty powerful form of mind control that exists outside of Derry too. But that begs the question, if Pennywise is powerful enough to control people’s minds no matter how far they are from him or how long they’ve been away, then why isn’t he controlling the minds of literally anyone on earth that he wants to? Perhaps Pennywise can’t influence the minds of those he hasn’t encountered directly, thus limiting his control to those who’ve lived in or spent considerable time in Derry over the years. It’s also possible controlling minds saps Pennywise’s strength, and he can only influence a certain number of people at a given time.
8 Its Changing Limitations
Something that’s very hard to discern about Pennywise in IT is what his limitations are and how they seem to constantly change. It’s actually pretty safe to assume that that’s an intentionally confusing aspect of his character, because the fact that he can create illusions that are indistinguishable from reality obviously means that he can make his targets believe he is or isn’t capable of whatever he wants.
But the fact that he can take an iron spike through the head without dying in human form but is also nearly choked to death by Eddie in another human form seems very inconsistent. Considering how complex and unknown IT’s biology is, perhaps the monster’s vulnerability is also directly affected by the resistance displayed by a given target.
7 His Changing Weaknesses
One of Pennywise’s main weaknesses as a character is that although his true form is something nearer to god than to human, when he transforms into a specific appearance then he takes on the weaknesses of the form that he is appearing as. Obviously he doesn’t take on those weaknesses entirely, but it’s enough that it has a significant effect on him. But taking that into consideration, why is it that when Pennywise finds himself in any kind of legitimate danger he doesn’t just transform into something else that doesn’t have the weaknesses that are currently being exploited and used against him? It’s possible Pennywise becomes subject to a kind of shape-shifter “mode lock,” in which once an encounter has been initiated with prey in one form, Pennywise is bound by those limitations until there’s been a break in the confrontation.
6 The Forms That He Takes On
And in that same vein, if Pennywise needs to obey the laws of whatever form he’s inhabiting at the time, why doesn’t he just take on the forms of something that is super strong or nearly impossible to kill?
He’s a genius at exploiting other people’s fears, so he undoubtedly can figure out forms to take on that aren’t nearly as weak as something like a clown or Beverly Marsh’s father. Pennywise definitely seems more durable than the average person even when he’s in human form, but if his safety or life is at stake why not transform into Godzilla or something? Perhaps IT ends up weighing the pros and cons of each particular transformation, respective to the fears level it would cause in prey. For personal reasons, Beverly is likely to hold a much deeper fear toward her father than a giant monster, and it’s fear that sweetens the meat, so to speak.
5 Pennywise’s Existence In This Universe
So Pennywise was originally in the macroverse, which is essentially a giant universe that contains all of the other universes in the multiverse (our universe is just one of the many in this multiverse). But something that is never explained about his character is how he got from the macroverse to here. Why did he end up in this specific universe? Why did he end up on this particular planet? And why does it appear that he hasn’t left this exact place ever since he landed here eons ago? It’s a seemingly random place, but if he wants to be there then why, and if he can’t leave, then why? IT’s nemesis in the book is Maturin, a cosmic turtle, so perhaps it’s Maturin that prevents Pennywise from leaving the universe he currently inhabits. After all, if IT could jump universe’s at will, it would present a clear and present danger to the entire multiverse.
4 He Never Leaves Derry
Something that seems pretty evident in the novel, miniseries, and film is that Pennywise never leaves Derry. There is just never any real explanation as to why. He is supposed to be this all powerful kind of evil, and it seems like his power isn’t limited to Derry itself, however it seems fair to assume that he either has a very significant reason to stay or he literally cannot leave.
How or why he ended up in that particular town on this particular planet in this particular universe is already a big enough question, but it’s even stranger that he is seemingly trapped there but it’s never actually addressed within the narrative. It’s possible that something special exists within Derry’s foundations that make the place appealing, or perhaps IT has just somehow grown comfortable with these particular feeding grounds. After all, if he’s got a good arrangement going, what’s the motivation to leave?
3 Why Does He Hibernate?
Another obvious question about Pennywise that doesn’t have any obvious answers is why exactly his life cycle is the way it is. The Losers Club has surmised that Pennywise lies dormant for 27 years at a time before waking up and feeding for about a year, but there is zero explanation as to exactly why he operates on that cycle. Is there some sort of benefit for him staying in hibernation for the majority of his life? Is it a necessity for him to sort of recharge after each binge of human flesh? Or does he go to sleep for so long just to pass the time? One wonders if the Losers’ Club is the first group of humans to ever present such a challenge to ITs dominance over Derry, and if another partial defeat ever occurred before that would make hibernating a further necessity.
2 The Ritual Of Chüd
Before the Losers Club seemingly defeats IT once and for all they participate in something called the Ritual of Chüd, a ritual that is supposedly designed to capture Pennywise in his true form and trap him in a mystical vessel, hopefully permanently. Except, it doesn’t work. And the very fact that Pennywise is still out in the world despite the fact that the Ritual of Chüd exists would indicate that the ritual hasn’t ever worked, at least not in the way it’s intended. So what effect does the ritual actually have on Pennywise, and how did the ritual even come to exist in the first place? Was the ritual a red herring planted by IT the whole time to give his prey false hope as they grew more and more terrified? Or did the first performing of the ritual almost kill IT, but not quite, and then Pennywise developed a defense against its effects?
1 Clap Your Hands If You Believe
IT is one of Stephen King’s greatest stories, and Pennywise is undoubtedly one of his scariest villains. But the way that he is defeated doesn’t make any sense. Essentially what seems to kill him for good in the end is simply the fact that the Losers Club believes that what they’re doing will kill him. But didn’t they believe that what they were doing would kill him before? And how in the world has Pennywise existed in Derry for as long as humans have existed there without ever coming up against another person or group of people who sincerely believed that they were killing him? It’s a valid question, and one with no clear cut answer. It could be surmised that IT has encountered resistance before, and each subsequent fight has worn the creature down over the centuries. It’s also possible that Maturin the cosmic turtle’s influence proved the difference necessary to finally bring Pennywise down to size, as this good IT counterpart plays a large role in the book.