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Thread: It - Let's Discuss! *SPOILERS*

  1. #476
    Along the Path of the Beam Roden will become famous soon enough

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather19 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Roden View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    great first post, welcome, Roden!

    I have just read Phantoms and, although I rather liked it, I am afraid I wasn't really impressed by the "horror part"; it might depend on what ones reads first, of course, but I know that the horrors described by King in It will stay with me forever. Especially the Standpipe - something I don't want to think of when home alone at night. And of course you're right about both It being so much more than a horror novel and the importance of the last chapters. Of everything King has written, this is the novel I take most personally, and the one that impressed me most. For me it's first and foremost a story of vincibility (am not sure if it is a word, but can't think of a better at the moment) of evil, however unthinkable; ultimately, a tale of hope.
    Thanks! Yes, I see what you mean. I actually wasn't 100% sure which was scarier, though reading both at night can give one dreams... I liked Phantoms as it inspired a lot of the game "Silent Hill" so can relate quite a bit to it, it also seemed way ahead of its time (can't believe it was written in 1981/2).

    It seems unlikely I'll read two better novels from Stephen King than It and the Dark Tower series however, which is sad.. can you recommend the next best one, in your opinion? I was thinking of either the Stand or Pet Semetary.. Not too interested in The Shining.. Perhaps save it for a winter vacation?
    Welcome Roden

    I agree with both of you. I loved It, and it is definitely a lot more than just a scary story. I'd also recommend you put The Long Walk on your list. It is my all-time favorite story, but that one closely follows right behind. Also I think I might have to check out Phantoms.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't read any of his Bachman stuff yet. Will put it on the list after Pet Semetary!

    Phantoms is good, though try and stay away from the Ben Affleck movie for obvious reasons..

  2. #477
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    I saw the movie ages ago, and wasn't impressed, hence why the book never came up on my radar to read
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    Just skip The Stand Movie; or do not judge the book by the movie.
    We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~François VI de la Rochefoucault

  4. #479
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Just skip The Stand Movie; or do not judge the book by the movie.
    Aww, the movie may not be quite as good as the book, but it was still a great film.


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  5. #480
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Just skip The Stand Movie; or do not judge the book by the movie.
    I think that might have been my problem when I started to read The Stand. All I could picture in my mind were some of those annoying actors
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  6. #481
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    a shame

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (pablo)

    I still had some honor. I still have some now.

    To all bearfriends: please read this and/or watch this

  7. #482
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    I know, I really need to give it another go.
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  8. #483
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Do. It's an extraordinary book. It is, if I am permitted to say so, less than the combination of its parts, but each part is worth some other book's whole.

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (pablo)

    I still had some honor. I still have some now.

    To all bearfriends: please read this and/or watch this

  9. #484
    Along the Path of the Beam Roden will become famous soon enough

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    The problem with movie adaptations (good or bad), is that I always imagine the actors when thinking of the book. It happened when I read The Road and saw the movie straight after.. now I can't tell which is which when I think of it..

  10. #485
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    It seems they blew their entire budget paying Ms. Ringwald.
    We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~François VI de la Rochefoucault

  11. #486
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    i love the film the stand. and i picture the actors as well. but than i think that it was well cast, off the top of my head i can't think of anyone who was miscast. but than i don't have the cast list in front of me. to be fair, anyways, i started reading IT again. i picked it last year and read a little over 700 pages. now i'm 803 pages into it. it's been years since i last read it.

  12. #487
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    I finished 'It' the other night, and these are some thoughts I posted elsewhere: (Part of a discussion, so last two lines were in response to questions)

    Finished 'It', and yes - masterpiece.
    It's funny how things go - I've only read it once before, when I was a couple of years older than 'the kids', and now my second reading when I'm a couple of years older than 'the grown ups'.
    Much more emotional this time, I think. It really is a love-letter to the genre, as well as to being a kid, growing up, forgetting what it's like being a kid. Also how if you leave your home town, like I did, the pull to go back is always there.
    Knowing what becomes of Stan, in the first few pages, was quite bold, I thought. It really worked for me, and my heart broke, piece by piece, for him, as we spend more time with him as the 1958 story unfolds.
    Great stuff.

    Oh no, I thought the ending was great. The two timelines running parallel, with the destruction of Derry cut in between, was fantastic. The hallucinogenic 'battle of wills' was also great. The aftermath was amazing - the way they move away and start forgetting about what happened, and each other.

    It was made very clear that it's not a giant spider, that's just how their minds saw it. It's just the closest thing in human experience to its actual form. One of them saw it that way, so they all saw it that way - like the eyeball, leper, mummy etc.

    Lincoln.

  13. #488
    Citizen of Gilead St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy is a name known to all St. Troy's Avatar

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    Stupid question time!

    Is the proper title of this book all capitals (IT) or not (It)? In the book, the titles have all caps, but I've been assuming (since reading it when it came out) that this was just an aesthetic typeface choice, not that the word was being "shouted" if you will (for example, the author's name is Stephen King, not STEPHEN KING, despite the fact that it appears as STEPHEN KING on covers etc.).

    I've seen it referred to as both, and SK's website lists it as all caps, and while SK is the final authority, that is only a website, and websites have mistakes etc.

    Does anyone know if there is a definitive answer?

  14. #489
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    I always thought it was It. (Of course )

    wiki thinks the same: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_(novel)

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (pablo)

    I still had some honor. I still have some now.

    To all bearfriends: please read this and/or watch this

  15. #490
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    It's It not IT (which stands for information technologies).

  16. #491
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    https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/...h-anniversary/
    Where “It” Was: Rereading Stephen King’s “It” on Its 30th Anniversary



    I REMEMBER Stephen King’s It vividly from my childhood, not as a novel but as an object. I was too young to read It when it was a phenomenon in the mid-1980s. It was for older boys, potent symbol indeed for their very being older. It belonged to a category of books, along with Shogun and certain novels by Ken Follett, that I never saw anyone actually read: all I saw was evidence of them having been read, but that evidence was everywhere. Badly used copies could be found in friends’ rumpus rooms or squeezed in among their older brothers’ Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets; others materialized in rental cottages at the beach, their covers mutilated by house pets, their spines furrowed like old skin.

    Perhaps the novel also gained a certain clarity in translation, for I first encountered It, as a child growing up in Germany, as Es. While the Freudian resonances were lost on seven-year-old me — Es was Freud’s plain German name for what English translators have far more pretentiously termed “the id” — some of the word’s primal grandeur was not: an “it,” after all, can be any critter or animal, while an es seems to reach deeper into our collective mental topography. “Wo es war, soll ich werden”: “where it was, I shall be,” Freud declared. For the longest time, wherever I was, It was not.

    I realize now that I can’t even remember when I finally picked up one of these errant copies of It and started reading. But perhaps that’s a strangely appropriate mode of reception for a horror novel that reserves its greatest terror for the vagaries of memory. It features relatively little of the kind of horror that has protagonists shining their flashlights into dark corners to face unseen abominations. Instead, it dwells on the horror of having lived with something terrifying all along, of having become blind and numb to it. It strikes me only now, rereading the book decades later in English, that there’s something distinctively American about the pervasive, dreamlike fog of amnesia that envelops the town of Derry, Maine, in King’s novel. Not for nothing does It make its home in the town’s sewers; as one character puts it: “Nobody knows where all the damned sewers and drains go, or why. When they work, nobody cares.”

    Most people, when asked the identity of the big bad in King’s book, will answer “Pennywise the Clown” or, if they’re a bit more initiated, they’ll say “the eldritch horror that takes many forms but is most easily designated It.” I would have answered the same. But rereading It, one realizes that the primary enemy in this story of seven middle-school outcasts confronting a malevolent, shape-shifting, child-murdering entity that haunts their town every 27 years is the American power of sublimation. In the first part of the novel, set in 1957, the kids who call themselves the “Losers Club” defeat It, but by the mid-1980s they have lost all memory of those events, and indeed of their entire childhoods. They reluctantly return to Derry to face It one last time. Anamnesis — remembering — is the central structuring device of It’s parallel plots: characters have to find out what they once did, and confront what on some level they already know.

    Even when we flash back to 1957, the moment the Losers first meet Pennywise the Clown and It’s other avatars, we realize that they have encountered them all before. All discovery in this book is rediscovery, not of deep, dark secrets, but of things barely buried by lazy habit or the buzzing noise of childhood. True, It’s various guises recall H. P. Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep, who torments the world through various “masks,” but where Lovecraft’s protagonists burrow into their past and are shocked — shocked! — by what they find, King’s characters only confirm what they all along knew was there.

    ¤

    Returning to this massive, creased, and chewed-up tome after decades, the first thing that struck me was its narrative bagginess. I had come to expect the fleet, glib economy of contemporary mass-market paperbacks, and I found it a little mindboggling to realize that this circuitous, repetitious book, which runs to over 1,000 pages, had kept all my friends’ older brothers, who after all had cassette players and early video game consoles to offer readier distraction, in its thrall. It has the breathless screenplay-for-your-mind quality of novels by John Grisham, Michael Crichton, and Tom Clancy, but it has none of their concision. It takes its time.

    Perhaps all the kids who devoured It in the ’80s sensed that King had made their pre-adolescent mode of experiencing the world — that unique combination of vivid clarity and forgetfulness — its formal principle. All the friends, events, images, and feelings that we ever-so-gently cover in sand as we stumble into adulthood can startle us when we come face to face with them again, and these are the true source of It’s terror. What else have we hidden back there, we wonder uneasily? I remember a conversation a few years ago with some friends from school in which, amid the usual pleasant onrush of “hey, do you remember” and “whatever happened to,” conversation turned to a certain outcast girl in our class, and it dawned on us as we recounted her hilarious eccentricities that we were describing classic symptoms of sexual abuse. Pragmatism, quietism, and callousness are never far apart when we forget the true horrors of our childhoods.

    Perhaps mindful of this dynamic, King’s novel diligently refuses to distinguish between the monster’s machinations and the kinds of very quotidian evils — bullying, child abuse, racism — that also plague the town of Derry. Are they simply emanations of a shape-shifting monster’s malice? It doesn’t seem to think so. Nor is the novel about repression and denial: the citizens of Derry seem to sense that something is very wrong, but are powerless before that intuition. It’s easy to read It, like much of Stephen King’s oeuvre (and, indeed, most American horror fiction), as a queasy meditation on the crimes and cruelties that gave birth to this nation. But It isn’t Derry’s unconscious, It isn’t the wages of its crimes, It isn’t even its original sin.

    Maybe the monster is the quilting point, the place where it becomes clear that the entire world is structured by fear. “Wasn’t it true that power, like It, was a shape changer?” Bill muses at one point. The only source of power in Derry, it appears, is the ability to inspire fear in others. A cosmic panic binds together the novels’ heroes and bullies and even its great antagonist. When an adult Beverly, the lone girl among the Losers, finally stands up to her abusive husband, his entire world is undermined by his inability to terrorize her as he’s used to: “It was almost as if she didn’t see the belt, didn’t see him, and Tom felt a trickle of unease. Was he here?” And as the adult Losers enter It’s lair, the monster registers their progress with the faint alarm escalating into panic of Kafka’s unidentified animal in “The Burrow”: where Kafka’s creature slowly becomes convinced that the noises encroaching upon it are signs of “another,” a “whistler,” turning his fortress into a trap, so It’s fear “danced mockingly out of reach, and It could only kill the fear by killing them.”

    ¤

    But King is too fond of his creations, too invested in their happiness, too convinced that they deserve it, to allow us to condense a thousand sprawling pages into something as trite as the idea that human cruelty is universal. Pennywise is neither identical to all that ails Derry, nor is he entirely external to it. What, then, is It, really? What is it that Derry’s denizens are always half-aware of, and are always on the precipice of discovering? Is King’s novel a social allegory for something? Bigotry? Sex? AIDS? Homophobia? Puritanism? Race? America?

    The novel warns us away from this kind of decoding fairly explicitly. Stuttering Bill Denbrough, who grows up to become a novelist (and, thus, one of those classic crooked King-self-portraits), attends a creative writing program, where he wants to write about space invasions. His peers only seem to like his stories when they can understand them as thinly disguised allegories for social issues in the real world. Bill balks: “Why does a story have to be socio-anything?” he objects. “Politics … culture … history … aren’t those natural ingredients in any story, if it’s told well?”

    It, despite its incredible length, is a story told well, and it doesn’t have to be an allegory for “socio-anything,” because the politics and society of the Reagan-era and Eisenhower-era United States furnish the “natural ingredients” of the tale. They bubble up in the novel the way they might in a court transcript, in psychoanalysis, or in the newspaper clippings the novel turns to again and again. AIDS, for example, and homosexuality, which haunt the imaginations of the denizens of this dying New England mill town more persistently than any monster. The novel’s second chapter is set in 1984, opening with a scene in which a gay man is beaten by three teenagers, who leave him for dead under a bridge; It emerges, in the form of Pennywise the Clown, to finish him off. Throughout the sequence, and the novel that follows, narrator and protagonists persistently feel the need to wish away the specter of homosexuality: not just the murderous bullies, but the cops who investigate them and wish AIDS and anal rape on them; not just the 1950s schoolchildren, but the parents eying their incipient adolescence. And what does it mean for a novel that focuses so much on blood — bathtubs full of it, bleeding photographs, blood gushing from severed limbs and running through the sewer pipes — to start out with an uncontainable torrent of AIDS-talk?

    Then there’s the question of child abuse, and child sexuality. The novel’s most startling scene occurs toward the end of the 1950s narrative, when Beverly decides to bring the traumatized group together by having sex with all of them in turn. The scene has, to put it mildly, not aged well (although I don’t imagine it worked very well in 1986 either). It is a moment so discordant that, in its own weird way, it makes sense: the children are reenacting a ritual — the ritual of sex — that they don’t yet understand. Where Netflix’s Stranger Things earlier this year used the mystery girl Eleven to disrupt a homosocial nerd-clique and guide the boys (more chastely) into adolescence, It knows that this is far too orderly and gentle a transition. This doesn’t make the episode any easier to stomach, but at least it gives one a reason for stomaching it.

    Gender in the novel is a problem, clearly. In interviews, King has expressed some regret over the way It demonizes women, and specifically mothers. There is Eddie’s mother, whose Munchausen by proxy keeps her son sick, afraid, and tied to her; there are absent mothers and uncaring mothers the different Losers try to emancipate themselves from; and there is, of course, the cruelest mother of them all: It herself. “OH DEAR JESUS IT IS FEMALE,” one character exclaims upon seeing It’s eggs. The novel treats this fact about It as a big reveal (fair enough, I suppose, given the ambiguous grammar of its title), and the characters seem to go insane at the very idea of It’s femaleness, the terrifying claim on the future the creature seems to stake through its motherhood.

    There is something extremely powerful in these moments when the book is, for lack of a better word, icky, and when that ickiness is no longer in the service to some economy of thrills. Why is gay blood icky? Why did a sex scene among 11-year-olds seem like a good idea? Why is It being a mother terrifying? The book seems to offer up these repellent motifs knowing full well that they won’t fall on sympathetic ears, that we may well find them even more startling and bizarre when we return to them 30 years later.

    Racism is another of the everyday evils that pervades the world of It, and yet it clearly functions differently than the others. In King’s novel, the n-word is dispensed freely, and it’s often an indicator that the monster is speaking through whoever utters it. In one scene, Mike Hanlon, the Losers Club’s only African American member, calls the hospital, only to have Pennywise answer the call and unleash an endless compendium of racist abuse on him, down to bits from Amos ’n’ Andy. Mike simply talks over it: “If you’re there, I can’t hear you. I’m not being allowed to hear you. If you’re there, please hurry.” Racism is white noise in Derry: you speak through it and hope you can still be heard.

    King’s damning treatment of the theme of racism represents a significant deviation from, and indictment of, H. P. Lovecraft. Obviously It owes a lot to Lovecraft: Derry, the mill town by the roaring river, is a clear throwback to Lovecraft’s haunted New England, and It’s various avatars are clear nods to the cosmic horrors, the colors out of space and the Elder Gods, that threaten Innsmouth and Dunwich. But these borrowings only serve to distinguish King’s brand of horror, and its politics, more starkly from Lovecraft’s. Fans and scholars have long debated whether a certain racism animates the standard motifs of Lovecraftian horror. It is an absurd debate: racism is the beating heart of Lovecraft’s world; every single one of his obsessions stems from his fear of other races, his panic over immigration, his fear of degeneration. King, who in his 2000 book On Writing calls Lovecraft a “galloping racist,” and whose distaste for racism is all over It, seems to have understood that only too well. His strategy for assimilating Lovecraft is to refuse to sublimate his phobias, either by formal processes or through some kind of “mythos.” Where Lovecraft’s social obsessions creep in on the margins, King vomits his out onto the page. The child sex scenes, the preoccupations with homosexuality, with bad mothers, with dismemberment, with racism: these are things designed first to shock us and then to produce a kind of queasy self-recognition. It doesn’t always work, it doesn’t work for everyone — how could it? — but each phobia, each obsession is a tentative gesture of reaching out: You too?

    Which is to say that King is a communal writer, in a way that Lovecraft never was. It is a novel about the power of collective fantasy: when the Losers enter the sewers beneath Derry, they encounter together nightmares they’ve previously only encountered themselves. They’re Losers, but not Loners, and the difference makes a difference. “Loners such as Lovecraft often write […] badly,” King writes, in On Writing. King does not write badly because he does not write, or dream, alone. His obsessions are ours, and he is willing to expose himself in presenting them back to us, hoping for that nod of recognition: Yes, of course, we hadn’t known it like that, but we’d known it. Where It was, we shall be.

  17. #492
    Traveler kpaul will become famous soon enough kpaul's Avatar

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    Default My second post is my new theory on Pennywise!

    Spoiler:
    Spoiler for IT - DT - Salem's Lot - Revival


    Now that I have just finished listening to IT again, I have a new theory I'd like to share with you, and would love to hear your feedback and thoughts about it.

    This is a long so bear with me!

    This entire rabbit hole originated during the scene near the end of the book. In the final battle with Pennywise, she was fearing her death and pleading with them. She made offers of great wealth, fame, etc., and then said "I can’t give you eternal life but I can touch you and you will live long long lives—two hundred years, three hundred, perhaps five hundred—I can make you gods of the Earth—if you let me go if you let me go if you let me".

    Something clicked and I immediately thought Vampires! She is saying that she could make them vampires, and then that led to me thinking about Barlow from Salem's Lot! In Jerusalem's Lot, there is mention of an ancient God that created the vampires. So of course I now wonder if PW is the god that created the vamps.

    But it gets deeper from here.

    So we know that her true appearance cannot be intrepreted by the human mind, and the closest approximation is the spider. Near the end of "Revival", there is a cameo appearance by what I believe to be the same spider in "IT", and they called her "Mother". So what do we know about "Mother"?

    She is the eldest of all the Great Ones. She glamoured Arthur Eld, and appeared to him as a beautiful woman, then seduced him. She got pregnant and the baby was born. We know that baby as the Crimson King.

    Mother has been described as a god-like entity that rules over the damned souls in an alternate dimension called the Null. It is my belief that the Null and the Macroverse are one in the same.
    I believe that the "Null" is the alternate dimension Pennywise is trying to pull Bill into before Eddie comes to his rescue. They were in Todash space when Bill encountered Maturin and were being pulled towards Null aka Deadlights. This is a short passage that eludes to my conclusion.
    "Suddenly he thought he understood: It meant to thrust him through some wall at the end of the universe and into some other place 'what that old Turtle called the macroverse' where It really lived; where It existed as a titanic, glowing core which might be no more than the smallest mote in that Other’s mind; he would see It naked, a thing of unshaped destroying light, and there he would either be mercifully annihilated or live forever, insane and yet conscious inside Its homicidal endless formless hungry being."

    Could Pennywise be the mother of the Crimson King and the creator of the Vampires?

    So what do you think? I'm not saying this is valid, but just some ideas that came together after hearing that section of "IT" again. It kind of put a whole new light on Pennywise for me. Much like "Gwendy's Button Box" did for Farris/Flagg.

  18. #493
    Traveler kpaul will become famous soon enough kpaul's Avatar

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    Any takers to palaver the previous post? Would love some good discussion with fellow fans!

  19. #494
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    Honestly at the end of the day I think IT is just that -- IT. I think its existence was confined to Derry and really had little to do with anything else beyond that. It fed on kids and went to sleep for extended periods of times and didn't have loftier ambitions than that. I don't think IT is the same creature from Revival, that was a whole other ball game and I'm not even sure if that takes place in the same universe as King's other works given how the afterlife and lack of God was depicted.


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    I do think the creature from IT may have been one of those todash monsters or demons from the prim*. I think this largely due to the sequence at the end with the visions of the Turtle, etc. The Dark Tower spoilers:
    Spoiler:
    And of course there is a similar creature who turns up in Dark Tower 7.


    I think that is it's only link however. It isn't a particularly complex villain, despite it's great power. I agree it's main motivation in life is just to sleep in Derry and come up for a feed every few decades or so... and
    Spoiler:
    eventually propagate itself. (Wasn't there eggs or something at the end of the novel, or am I misremembering? My memory is hazy, as it's been a while since I've read the novel.)


    *Are they different? I'm not sure.

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    Wasn't it (no inference) IT = Dandelo? Or the like?


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    I think maybe they're related in that they're both psychic vampires of a sort but Dandelo came off as a much smaller creature in scale and abilities than It.


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    So I just finished re-reading It and I have a question about the end. So Eddie kills Henry in his hotel room. A lot of Derry gets destroyed after the destruction of It, however the hotel they were staying at does not. Some of them even go back there afterwards. I've been wondering what happened when they discovered Henry's body. We're they on the hunt for Eddie, and is Eddie being talked about as a killer? I would hate for his name to be tarnished after his death. Was this an oversight by King to not destroy the Derry townhouse along with all those other buildings? Curious what were others takes on this? It didnt seem to bother me on my first read but this time I keep dwelling on it.
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    Well as far as the public is concerned Henry was a serial killer who had already escaped from the asylum and had killed at least one other guy and had seriously wounded another so I guess if it came to it the Losers could say it was self-defense.


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    Hmmm, makes sense. The bookclub I belong too all came to the conclusion that it's Derry, and Derry turns a blind eye. And especially since he was a killer that they wouldn't even really care nor investigate it. I don't know why it's bothering me though. I'm just worried that Eddie's name will get tainted and he'll be thought of a bad guy. Maybe I'm putting too much thought into it I guess I just wish it was demolished along with the other buildings at the end so that there were no loose ties.
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