Study Guide

It Chapter 19: In The Watches of the Night

By Stephen King

Chapter 19: In The Watches of the Night

1.

  • Here we are in Part 5, folks.
  • This part is called "The Ritual of Chüd."
  • The Losers are still at the public library, and they kind of want to keep on talking.
  • But it's a little after one am, and time to say nighty-night.
  • They'll remember things as they surface.
  • Tomorrow, it's time to go back to the Barrens.
  • They talk about whether or not it's possible to kill It, but Bill says there seems to be another force that wants It to die; a benevolent counter-force to It's dark magic. Or at least there was back in 1958.
  • Everyone prepares to leave, but then Beverly realizes the scar on her hand is bleeding.
  • In fact, everyone's hands are bleeding.
  • They stand in a circle and grasp each others' hands…just like the blood oath they took so many years before.
  • Some weird force takes over the library, throwing books around and slamming doors. It's like a hurricane.
  • It ends, and Bill puts his arms around Beverly. 
  • Everyone except Mike leaves the library, and Bill and Beverly start walking away from Eddie, Richie, and Ben.
  • Suddenly, Beverly starts talking about how crazy her dad went when she returned from the Barrens one day…

2.

  • It's 11:30 am when Beverly gets back to her parents' house.
  • The Losers club had been playing an innocent game in the Barrens—tag or something. Beverly just needed a shower and some lunch.
  • But when she walks in, her dad chucks her across the room.
  • He's insane; he's talking about how much he worries about her. Weird detail: his feet are filthy and wet, and he's tracking mud all over the carpet.
  • The mud looks like it's from the Barrens.
  • Beverly's dad keeps hitting her, telling her that someone saw her smoking and connecting smoking to having sex with boys.
  • He says he's going to examine her and that she needs to take her pants off.
  • Beverly realizes with sudden horror that her father is It.
  • Or, at least, that It has planted a lot of thoughts in her dad's mind.
  • Although, quite honestly, It didn't need to do a lot of prodding to turn Al into a psycho.
  • Nothing that Beverly says quiets her father, and he keeps being violent and threatening and saying that he wants to examine her hymen.
  • Beverly, fully freaked out, tries to figure out if her dad has been talking to Pennywise. She asks him if he got all this info from a clown.
  • This time, her dad swings a closed fist at her, but Beverly is able to duck.
  • Her dad's fist hits the wall and he screams.
  • She tells her dad that she refuses to be hurt by him and takes off running at breakneck speed.
  • Her sprint out the door is kind of like the sprint she makes when she runs from Mrs. Kersch and Pennywise twenty-seven years later.
  • She falls on the concrete and looks back, seeing It in her dad's eyes.
  • He pursues her across the canal and then down narrow alleys, finally ending with her hiding behind a hedge.
  • She stays there, terrified and ashamed, full of guilt of having defied her dad but also fear of the horrific combination of human and non-human evil within him.
  • Finally, her dad is gone.
  • She decides to go to the Barrens and hang out in the clubhouse. She also wants to warn the other Losers that It is on the loose and rampaging.
  • But the danger isn't over.
  • Behind her, Victor Criss, Belch Huggins, and Henry Bowers are following her.
  • And Henry has a switchblade.
  • Fun new development: Henry is totally insane now. Voices from the moon are talking to him, telling him to meet with Victor and Belch. And then another voice, this time from the sewer, tells him to kill Beverly.
  • Beverly feels the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and she looks back.

3.

  • We're now back in 1985. It's almost two am.
  • Mike is alone at the library…but he doesn't feel alone. (Uh-oh.)
  • He's cleaning up because it's a soothing habit, and he's thinking about what else the Losers have to remember.
  • Then there are a cryptic couple of sentences.
  • "Maybe I should have told them," thinks Mike.
  • But then something speaks against that idea—something Mike calls the voice of the capital-T Turtle.
  • He thinks that there's an element of circularity to this whole process, and that a certain last act would repeat itself.
  • Hmm.
  • On that note, he decides to update his notebook.
  • He writes for a while, but keeps looking around. He feels like he's not alone.
  • And, as it turns out, he's not. He sees a tall figure with tattered clothes and glittering eyes.
  • He grabs the sharp letter opener in one hand, and realizes who's in front of him.
  • It's a haggard, aged Henry Bowers, and he greets Mike by calling him the n-word.
  • Henry starts monologue-ing a bit, supervillain style. He says he hears voices from the moon. One voice in particular: It's voice.
  • He says that It, masquerading as Frankenstein, tore off Victor Criss' head. Then it went after Belch, but Belch fought it.
  • Henry says It is going to kill all the Losers, unless Henry kills all of them first.
  • Then Henry brings out a switchblade—the same switchblade that he has when he's tailing Beverly.
  • Henry tells Mike what happened: he hitchhiked from the mental institution, killed the guy who gave him a ride, ditched the car, and found some clothes and his old switch-blade in the drain. All because the voice in the moon told him where to look.
  • Mike tells Henry that It is going to get him too; It doesn't play favorites. Maybe, says Mike, you'll get to see It's true form, like the Losers did.
  • This is too much for Henry. He lunges at Mike with the knife.
  • Mike trips Henry, and realizes he can finish him with the letter-opener.
  • But maybe that's exactly what It wants.
  • He can still remember that Henry is so crazy because he had a terrible, abusive father.
  • Mike goes to grab Henry's knife, but Henry grabs it first. Mike tries to reason with Henry…but they end up struggling. Mike gouges Henry's arm with the letter-opener, but Mike sinks the knife into Mike's thigh.
  • Mike is pretty sure that Henry has hit the femoral artery. Blood is pouring everywhere.
  • Henry advances again, and Stan Uris' head makes another appearance. It screams at Henry to kill Mike.
  • Henry rushes, brandishing the knife, but Mike stabs Henry in the belly. Henry, bleeding and nonplussed, runs out of the library.
  • Mike realizes that he's bleeding out and needs a tourniquet. He uses his belt, and crawls towards the desk to call for help.
  • But when he calls the hospital, he gets the voice of Pennywise, screaming racial epithets.
  • Mike is fading. The clock appears to have the face of his father when his father battled cancer.
  • Mike slumps to the side. He tells anyone that might hear him on the other end of the phone that he's bleeding to death at the library.

4.

  • Okay, we're back in 1958.
  • Henry has Beverly in his sights and calls her names.
  • She starts to run, but he grabs her hair and pulls her back.
  • A car comes by with a woman driving and the woman yells at Henry to stop. But Henry charges the car, dragging Beverly by her hair, and the woman drives away scared.
  • When Henry turns back, Beverly kicks him in the crotch. He falls down and Beverly, furious, spits on him and then runs away.
  • She's sprinted way ahead of him, but Henry knows where she's going: the Barrens. He'll find her.

5.

  • Okay, we're back in 1985 again.
  • Beverly and Bill are returning to their hotel and now it's time for a little romantic interlude.
  • Cue the Barry White.
  • Beverly says she never really had good friends after the Losers, and she also says that she needs Bill to kiss her.
  • He complies.
  • He realizes, though, how much his wife looks like Beverly…but that doesn't stop him from taking Beverly to his room.
  • They have sex and both orgasm in super-powerful ways.
  • Beverly's orgasm, in particular, reminds her that she had sex with all of the Losers.
  • Bill remembers it too, saying that it was Beverly's "way to get us out."
  • But they put that bombshell aside for the time being, snuggle up together, and go to sleep.

6.

  • We're back in 1958, and Beverly is running from the bully boys.
  • She runs over to the clubhouse, where Ben is kicking it.
  • She tells him to let her in, and also to close up the top so no one can find them.
  • They sit in the darkness, terrified and hugging.
  • The bullies get to the clearing and start walking around, obviously missing the clubhouse. Then they walk over to the river.
  • Beverly asks Ben about the postcard with the haiku: he admits that he sent it.
  • He also comes clean about loving her, but says he doesn't want to ruin their friendship. Aww.
  • They talk about Henry, and how he seems to have gone from garden-variety bully to true monster.
  • Ben realizes that It is using Henry.
  • They decide to leave the clubhouse, and climb out into the daylight.

7.

  • We're back in 1985, twenty minutes after Henry Bowers appears in the library.
  • Henry's walking down the street, happy.
  • He may be bleeding, but he killed Mike.
  • A balloon bobs from a sewer grate.
  • But then a police car with blaring siren drives by and Henry wonders if Mike might still be alive.
  • The thought infuriates him, and he remembers the day that Beverly kicked him in the balls and he went to try and find the Loser clubhouse. When he can't he's filled with unbelievable frustration and anger.

8.

  • But then, back in 1958, Henry sees Beverly and Ben climbing out of a hole in the ground.
  • Before this happens, he finds a pipe sticking out of the river and puts his ear to it. He's listening for a voice, and he's smiling.
  • Henry remembers how he found his switchblade that morning.
  • His family's mail-box was covered in balloons, some of them painted with the faces of the Losers. Then the balloons had popped, which made him feel powerful and strong.
  • The mailbox opens of its own accord, and there's the switchblade wrapped in a package.
  • A voice keeps talking to Henry, and Henry likes what it's saying.
  • Guided by the voice, he takes the knife inside. He places it at his dad's neck and presses the release: the knife plunges into he father's neck, killing him.
  • But the voice says his work isn't done: it's time to call Victor and Belch.
  • The voice has more instructions: it's time to kill every member of the Losers Club.
  • Henry thinks about how he's going to celebrate his killing spree: with a beer on the front porch, just like his dad used to do.
  • When he sees Ben and Beverly exiting the clubhouse, he grabs for his switchblade.

9.

  • Back in 1985, Henry is full-on hallucinating.
  • He gets a ride in a 1958 Plymouth Fury. The driver is none other than the ghost of Belch Huggins, missing an eye.
  • Belch smells pretty ripe, and Henry apologizes for leaving him behind and inadvertently leading to his death.
  • He remembers the events that spelled the end for Belch: they had followed Ben and Beverly up to Kansas Street, and were waiting. Suddenly, a bony hand grabbed Henry. It was…Frankenstein.
  • (Yes, really.)
  • Victor screams, Henry pees his pants, and the monster charges Belch.
  • But it wasn't that easy for Henry either—he got lost somewhere in the darkness under the canal.
  • Meanwhile, the Plymouth has pulled up at the hotel where all of the Losers are staying.
  • Belch opens his mouth to speak, but it's the voice of Pennywise that comes out. He says, "Just shut up and get them."
  • Henry opens a scrap of paper left in the glove compartment, which has the room numbers of all of the Losers.
  • He decides to start at the top of the hotel—with Eddie in Room 609—and go from there. 
  • The gash in his stomach is aching and bleeding profusely.
  • He goes to Eddie's room, and knocks. When Eddie's muffled, sleepy voice answers, he says that he has a message from Eddie's wife.
  • As the door slowly opens, Henry clicks the switchblade open.

10.

  • 1958 again. In the center of town, Eddie and Stan and Richie are coming out of the market.
  • Bill rolls up on Silver.
  • They all talk about how weird it is—the town is super-dead. No one is out.
  • Then they see Beverly and Ben sprinting towards them.
  • They tell everyone that they can't go back into the Barrens: Henry has really seriously lost it and has a big, sharp knife.
  • Bill isn't having it, he says. The Barrens are Losers Club turf, and they're going to reclaim it.
  • Bill asks if Stan has his bird book. He does.
  • They solemnly march down to the bridge, where Bill stows Silver.
  • Eddie notices that the weather has changed; a thunderstorm is brewing.

11.

  • Back in 1985, Eddie opens the door to Henry Bowers, who basically looks like a zombie.
  • He tries to close the door but Henry pushes it open, slashing with his knife.
  • But Eddie breaks off the neck of a Perrier bottle and drags it across Henry's face. One of Henry's eyes pops out and his cheek is gone.
  • Henry pushes Eddie, trying to break his arm again and Eddie slashes, finally cutting into Henry's sternum.
  • Henry's last word? "Gug."
  • Eddie, truly freaking out, calls Bill Denbrough's room and says that he has killed Henry Bowers. To make matters weirder, Henry was waving around his old switch-blade…

12.

  • Another flashback to 1958.
  • The Losers are all in the Barrens, and Bill is explaining his theory: Derry is It. It is Derry. They are one and the same. And that means that no place is safe.
  • Also, something weird happened that day. All of the kids seemed to become ghosts: their parents just…stopped noticing them. (Or, in the case of Beverly, her dad became It and tried to attack her. Six of one...)
  • Maybe they should leave town? No, something terrible would happen to them. There really is no escape. Only confrontation.
  • They hear Henry's voice, and then the rocks start flying.
  • The kids decide to go to the pumping station—both as a way to avoid Henry and as a way to get to It.
  • They run madly. The sky explodes in thunder and lightning.
  • They open up the hatch to the pump, and take the ladder down into the bowels of the sewer.
  • Henry starts to go down after them, but freezes up. He ends up going back to the surface and throwing rocks down.
  • They start planning: it's time for the Ritual of Chüd.
  • The first step is to find It…and the only way to do that is to wander blindly through the dark, dank tunnels.

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