IT: How The Losers Defeat Pennywise In The Book & The Movie
IT Chapter Two saw the Losers finally defeat IT after a long battle, but how different was it from the novel and the TV miniseries? Stephen King’s IT was published in 1986, and even though it was initially met with mixed reactions, it is now considered one of his greatest works, with Pennywise becoming one of the scariest clowns in pop culture. The novel has been adapted to other media twice: first as a TV miniseries, and most recently as a two-part feature film.
The miniseries aired on ABC over two nights in 1990, and like any other book adaptation, it changed a couple of details, most notably the setting – the first part is set in the 1960s and the second one in the 1980s. The IT miniseries is mostly remembered for Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise, which has been the source of many nightmares. The latest adaptation of the novel is that by Andrés Muschietti with IT and IT Chapter Two, which also changed the setting to better fit the modern world – the young Losers encountered IT in 1989 and their adult versions in 2016.
Both adaptations kept a lot of details from the book and changed others to better fit their needs, but the key moments of the story were included in each version. The Losers’ final battle against IT went through some changes as well, but it was essentially the same in all three. Here’s how they defeated Pennywise/IT in the book, the miniseries, and the films.
With Mike at the hospital after being attacked by Henry Bowers, the rest of the Losers go to IT’s lair in the sewers to kill it once and for all. Once there, they find that IT has taken the shape of a giant spider - the closest to its true form that the human mind can comprehend. Bill enters IT’s mind through the Ritual of Chüd, but after some trouble with it, Richie jumps in and enters IT’s mind too, getting lost in it with Bill. To help them come back, Eddie uses his aspirator to spray medicine in IT’s eye and throat, but although he does manage to hurt it and set Bill and Richie free, IT bites his arm off and he bleeds to death.
Weakened, IT runs away to tend its wounds and is chased by Bill, Richie, and Ben, who stays behind to destroy the eggs laid by IT. Bill then fights his way inside IT’s body to get to its heart, crushing it and finally killing the creature. The group reunites and heads out of the sewers with the catatonic body of Bill’s wife, Audra, and are forced to leave Eddie’s body behind. The worst storm in Maine's history makes the downtown area collapse, symbolizing IT's defeat and Derry's history of evil and crime is "washed away", with the Losers' memories of the town gradually fading.
Mike is also attacked by Henry and taken to the hospital, so the remaining Losers are the ones in charge of going after IT. When they get to the sewers, they find IT as the giant spider (which has been the target of many jokes and one of the most criticized details of this version, as it doesn't look menacing at all), but Bill, Ben, and Richie are entranced by the Deadlights, coming from the spider’s belly. In order to free them, Eddie uses his aspirator just like in the book, but he’s mortally wounded by the spider. Meanwhile, Beverly retrieves the silver earrings (as the Losers had been using IT’s ability to access their imaginations to their advantage, picturing that the silver earrings can kill the creature) and shoots them at IT, freeing the rest.
Bev, Bill, Ben, and Richie then chase the injured spider, punch it repeatedly and eventually reach its heart, ripping it out and killing IT – though they are not shown to destroy the heart. The Losers meet up to leave the sewers and take Audra’s body as well as Eddie’s with them. The group goes their separate ways, and Bill frees Audra from her catatonia by driving down the street on his bike, Silver. Just like in the book, their memories of IT and their childhoods fade away with time.
In IT Chapter Two, Henry Bowers attacks Eddie but he survives, and later goes after Mike, but is killed by Richie before he can hurt his friend. Bill, overcome with guilt over the deaths of Georgie and Dean, goes to Neibolt House to kill Pennywise, but the others follow him – and so the whole group descends into the sewers. After attempting to break the group by telling them how the Natives who attempted the Ritual perished in the process, Pennywise takes the shape of a giant spider but with the clown’s head, and gives each Loser their own nightmarish scenario.
When they all break free from IT’s illusions, Richie, while trying to save Mike, is caught in the Deadlights, with Eddie attempting to save him by throwing a spear to Pennywise/spider, but he’s impaled by the creature. The rest of the group realizes they can defeat it by shrinking it and therefore weakening it, which they achieve by standing up to it. They take out IT’s heart and proceed to crush it, finally killing it. Eddie dies and his body is left behind. The Losers eventually part ways, but their memories of IT and Derry remain, and they all receive posthumous letters from Stan explaining why he killed himself.
The IT miniseries and the film stayed true to the novel’s ending, with the Losers ripping out IT’s heart and in the case of the film, crushing it to ensure that the creature finally dies. The circumstances around each one as well as the consequences of IT's death were different, but ultimately the Losers managed to break themselves and Derry free from IT and its evil influence for good.