Can IT Die? A Deep Dive Into Pennywise’s Powers — & Weaknesses

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures.
Let’s establish one thing: The scariest power of IT is its ability to ruin the English language. Once you start associating the article “it” with the predatory clown from Stephen King’s novel, there’s no escaping IT. Just write the word “it” and Bill Skarsgard’s maniacal grin pops up, hands gripping the sentence. I’m visualising IT now! And now! IT’s all over.  
Of course, IT also has more tangible powers than an insidious association with the word “it.” He flaunts them all in the upcoming movie IT Chapter Two, out 6th September, and King’s 1,138-page novel. IT Chapter Two is like a one-man talent show, with an interdimensional being performing trick after trick. 
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That’s the thing about IT: It’s a performer. IT thrives off audience reaction. The more fearful you are, the more satisfied IT is when it consumes you. 
So what happens when someone refuses to be scared by IT? Well, that’s easier? said than done, considering everything IT can do. Here’s a run-down.

What are IT’s deadlights?

Millennia ago, IT crash-landed in North America in a cataclysmic space event. IT is comprised entirely of “deadlights,” pure evil energy. The deadlights originate from Todash Space, the monster-filled void that exists between words in King’s universe. Just go with it. 
The deadlights have a hypnotizing effect on humans. If a human stares too long at the deadlights, he or she will go insane or die — Bev (Sophia Lillis) comes close in IT (2017). 

IT’s main power is shape-shifting. 

Unfortunately, our puny human brains will never comprehend IT’s true form. Apparently, though, the truest representation of IT’s on the human plane is — get this — a pregnant female spider. Naturally, this revelation causes a fuss in King’s novel, prompting Audra Denbrough, Bill’s wife, to say, "Oh, dear Jesus, IT is female." 
While on Earth, IT assumes forms that humans can see — the better to scare you with, dearie. In the days before Derry, while first interacting with the local Native American tribe, IT appeared as a ferocious eagle. Apparently, IT believes a small town in 20th-century America will be more scared of a clown than an eagle. So now, IT’s go-to form is Pennywise the Dancing Clown
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Remember, though, IT can be anything the occasion requires. Often, IT will embody an individual’s deepest and most specific fear. IT can be an old woman, like Mrs. Kersh. IT can be a librarian. IT can be an apparition of a dead child, like Georgie. That’s what makes IT so scary: IT is everywhere. 
Keep in mind that IT adopts the vulnerabilities of its form. When IT is a werewolf in the novel, IT is vulnerable to silver.

How do IT’s red balloons work?

When it comes to efficient and reliable package delivery, USPS has nothing on IT, who can send a balloon, containing anything IT desires, over to any location, just like that. After all, what kind of clown would Pennywise be without clown props
In the 1990 IT mini-series, IT’s balloons are multi-coloured. Bill Skarsgard’s clown only carries red balloons. Sometimes they contain blood, sometimes they carry switchblades.
As the saying goes, life is like a balloon from Pennywise, you never know what you’re going to get.

IT is the master of illusions.

IT likes to play with its food. So, to make sure humans (aka its food) are as terrified as possible, IT creates terrifying illusions, perfectly tailored for the person. The illusions seem absolutely real and further disorient victims. Those ravenous insects and monsters are like an appetiser to the main course: IT itself. 

Can IT die? 

Stake through the heart won’t do it. Silver bullets won’t do it. The only known way to kill IT is through an ancient Ritual of Chuud*, a psychic battle of the wits, and they certainly don’t teach that in Derry Middle School.  
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*In the book, the Ritual of Chuud is extremely weird and specific. IT and an opposing hero bite down each other’s overlapped tongues while exchanging increasingly witty jokes. If only the movie were a word-for-word adaptation.

IT can read minds.

The one quality that binds together all of ITs psychologically manipulative powers, and makes IT possible? IT knows everything about its victims. IT knows exactly how to scare them. IT is telepathic. 

IT has the power of mind control, too. 

Why is it that the Losers’ Club forget all about Derry when they leave? Why is it that people don’t flee from Derry en masse after surviving IT's latest rampage? 
IT can cause amnesia and avert citizens’ attention away from the carnage around them. They are prevented from putting together the dots. This is its most subtle power — but what has allowed IT to prey on Derry for centuries.

IT can teleport instantly.

Poof! IT appears. Another poof! IT is gone. IT doesn't need floo powder to get around magically. However, IT is completely limited to Derry’s town limits. Derry seems to be an extension of IT. 

IT can move objects. 

Don’t bother trying the door behind you. IT has already locked it. IT can manipulate physical environments just as easily as it can manipulate psyches. When Bev (Jessica Chastain) goes to visit her childhood home, IT makes the decor even creepier. 

IT is superhuman, obviously. 

No human can match IT for speed and strength. Simply put, if IT were oriented toward the good, IT could be an Avenger. 
For all its incredible might, though, IT has weaknesses. IT hates humans so much that IT underestimates their intelligence. Most of all, IT gains power from its victims’ perception. If someone doesn’t think IT is scary, is it?

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