Pennywise The Dancing Clown or also known as Mr. Bob Grey… What is he? Where did he come from? What is the purpose of his slumber and eating of children’s meat saturated with fear? These are questions and debates that have filled message rooms at the far edges of the internet and are ever increasing as we get closer and closer to the reimagining of King’s masterpiece.
I am proposing a darker origin to IT and in no way saying this is exactly canon and more a fun theory to create an assumption and tease the inspirational source for Stephen King that Pennywise has ancestral origins in Middle-earth.
For one let us begin with the ancient one Ungoliant, the word means “Dark Spider” and is a primordial being that chose to take the shape of a giant spider.
In “The Silmarillion” Tolkien explains that she is a primeval old one of the night with an uncontrolled hunger, she collaborated with Melkor (later known as Morgoth) who convinced Ungoliant to attack the Trees of Valinor draining them of their sap. In Tolkien’s novel Valinor was the place where angelic beings derived and had two trees; one of silver, one of gold, and the dew was made of a liquid form of magical light that was destroyed by Ungoliant when she sucked all the source from the trees thus killing them.
After she attacked Varda drinking the reserves of light from their wells, the Valar attacked her forcing her to flee to a land called Nan Dungortheb (No Land) and created a home made of dark light webs called Unlight. There Ungoliant mated with the Giant Spiders of the area creating a horde of evil spawn, one well known who took residents in the mountains of Mordor known as Shelob.
Ungoliant was presumed to have perished by her own hunger, with an infinite emptiness ever growing it was rumored that she ultimately ate herself leaving her undetermined amount of children to ravage the land and spread out across the world.
Now am I saying that Pennywise is Ungoliant? No, but I am saying there are marvelous similarities between this ancient being and the thing from the Macroverse and the idea could be flirted with that possibly not only was Pennywise a product of Ungoliant but maybe another character from King’s Dark Tower Series as well.
Let us start with the origin of It, the Macroverse is described as a void surrounding our present universe, it is later described in the Dark Tower series as the Todash Universe or a purgatory existing in between the infinite of alternate universes.
This puts It and brethren in the same realm as The Turtle or Maturin, Maturin is the eternal enemy of It representing creation as opposed to It’s consumption. Maturin is also one of the 12 Guardians of the Beams that like a spiral on a wheel is the power that holds up the Dark Tower. These Beams are forces that have no age and derive from the beginning of the Universe, each Beam has a Guardian in figurative form of an animal.
This is very similar to the enemy of Ungoliant the Valar, who attacked her after she drained the light from the wells of Varda. The Valar are type of ‘gods’ or angelic beings”, they have no physical form but often took the shape of Men, Elves or others creatures from nature with 14 in all 7 Lords and 7 Queens.
Next let us investigate the “Dead-Lights”, in IT’s final form it showed what the children referred to as the “Dead-Lights” a living darkness that possibly had an orange tint to it with the ability to cause great suffering and death with soul destroying powers.
Pennywise was said to be made of this darkness and the Crimson King from the Dark Tower Series and Insomnia holds this “magical ability” as well as the capability of shape shifting into whatever his victim fears.
It could be speculated as conjecture that the Crimson King and IT are two of the 6 greater demon elementals (as was described in Song of Susannah) from the Prim; or also known as The Void.
These are characteristics shared with Ungoliant, who produced the Unlight. The Unlight was an inexplicable and ever encompassing nothingness of horror and dread, taking in all light that crossed its path. It was described as similar to silk but indestructible and thick and polluted the area with a terrible darkness with the ability to disorient and distract.
At this point I am sure I have infuriated King fans and positive that Tolkien fans have stopped reading a long time ago. For those that have stuck with me on my thesis you are probably at the point asking where I am going with this?
I am simply entertaining the concept that this ancient evil from before chose the physical form of a spider and had an uncontrollable hunger with a passion to destroy light, eat worlds and procreate hordes of evil.
Out of the unknown amount of Ungoliant’s children, some inherited an ability to change form. One or more of her lineage broke out of Tolkien’s Verse with one landing specifically in prehistoric Derry. Since her ancestral line has knowledge of man and other beings IT was aware of their eventual evolution, biding IT’s time to feast on the fear from the light of children.
Ungoliant had an unsatisfied hunger, IT knew this and saw as a potential weakness with fatal consequences choosing to create a home territory where it would hibernate every 30 years allowing food source to flourish then rise and feast completely undisturbed for hundreds of years.
Since there is balance in the cosmos IT was confronted with the force of the Beams in this case The Turtle who IT eventually was able to kill. IT’s ultimate fatal ignorance was the lack of understanding of the the light of children, and the power to combine into a force capable of destroying darkness (Creation of The Turtle). The strength of friendship over came IT as the strength of Sam to defend Frodo after he was poisoned by Shelob one of Ungoliant’s known children helped save the hobbits.
There is no secret that King was greatly inspired and drew his imagination from reading Tolkien and though I am drawing thin conclusions based on two separate stories from two different writers, as a fan I am interested and find it intriguing to imagine that there are some connections.
So when I reread IT again (because I always do) I like to pretend when the part comes where Richie and Mike see the great orange flash breaking into our Universe that there is a slight possibility that where IT came from was primordial Middle-earth. If this is blasphemy so be it, but it is intriguing to consider that worlds do collide.