Stephen King's It: How Old Is Pennywise? | Screen Rant

Stephen King introduced readers to Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the novel IT, but how old is this one-of-a-kind villain? Stephen King has earned a place in the horror genre as one of the best storytellers who always comes up with terrifying monsters and villains that become part of pop culture. Among his most popular and beloved works is the 1986 novel IT, which even though was received with mixed reactions upon its publishing and even drew some controversy due to some of its themes, it has now become a favorite among horror fans, and its prime monster is one of his most terrifying creations.

Through narratives alternating between 1957 and 1985, IT tells the story of a group of kids self-named “The Losers Club” living in Derry, Maine, who come across an evil, shape-shifting entity living in the sewers and which wakes up every 27 years to feed off the fears of Derry’s residents. The Losers refer to this creature as “IT”, and it has the ability to take on the shape of the fears of its victims in order to hunt them, with its preferred shape being that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The novel, and to some extent the movies as well, explored the origin of IT, but a big question remains: how old is Pennywise?

Related: IT True Story: Real-Life Crimes That Inspired Pennywise

Throughout the novel, the 1990 miniseries (where Tim Curry famously played Pennywise), and Andy Muschietti’s IT duology (now with Bill Skarsgård as the famous clown), IT took many shapes to terrorize its victims, mostly the Losers Club, but Pennywise has become the image associated with the story. The question of how old Pennywise is, then, is a bit tricky, as it can refer to either the origin of the creature itself, which goes a long, long way back, or to the origin of his image of a scary clown, which is a different story. First off, IT is an ancient, cosmic, evil entity that originated in the Macroverse, which is a void containing and surrounding the universe and a recurrent concept in King’s mythology. IT’s home dimension is a realm called the Deadlights, which prevents anyone from seeing IT’s true form, and the closest to its real shape that the human mind can comprehend is a giant spider.

With that in mind, IT is billions if not infinite years of age, as it existed before the universe itself and thus, as pointed out by fans, essentially has no beginning. Now, when it comes to how old Pennywise is, not IT, it can be less complicated to give an approximation. The novel explains that IT landed on Earth during an asteroid impact and established itself under the land Derry would be later built on, and initially preyed on indigenous tribes. From that point of view, IT/Pennywise would be billions of years old, but his clown shape wouldn’t be that old. The concept of clowns has been traced back to the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, but the modern circus clown developed in the 19th century, so by the time King’s novel is set (the first part of it), Pennywise was around 200 years old.

IT is one of the most interesting characters from Stephen King’s universe but also one of the most intriguing due to its origins and backstory, which has changed in every adaptation so far. Pennywise’s age, then, can be calculated in different ways depending on the details that are taken into account, but an exact number hasn’t been revealed yet and probably never will in order to keep the mysticism around the character.

Next: IT: How The Losers Defeat Pennywise In The Book & The Movie


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