Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The connections between It and The Shining could tell us what even Pennywise fears

With the release of It and The Dark Tower (and, hell, even Gerald’s Game), more and more casual Stephen King fans are hearing tell of the “dark universe” that connects so many of his books. Pennywise and the Losers’ Club, for example, not only appear in It, but are also either referenced or seen in King books like The Tommyknockers, Insomnia, 11/22/63, Dreamcatcher, and more. A new video essay, however, shows how a reference in It to yet another King book could provide some insight into what makes the children at the heart of the story so special.


In It, a side story details The Black Spot, a club that burned down in It’s hometown of Derry, Maine, years before the events of the book. One of the tragedy’s few survivors is a character we’ve seen in a previous King novel: The Shining’s Dick Hallorann, the character who essentially introduces the concept of having “the shine” (some level of psychic ability) into the King universe. As the above essay points out, Hallorann’s mention in It is subtle, yet telling, as it not only shows that one’s ability to shine exists within the world of It, but also points to the possibility that what binds the Losers’ Club together is their communal ability to shine like both Hallorann and young Danny Torrance in The Shining.

The essay provides numerous examples—many plucked from the book’s second half, so, you know, spoiler alert—as it posits that it’s the shine that won’t allow Pennywise to knock off our protagonists in the same way he does other kids in the story. The question lingers, then: Is the shine the one thing that terrifies this demonic clown? It’s fascinating stuff for King fans, and a fine primer for just how intensely deep the myriad connections between King’s books go.

It doesn’t quite explain how this happened:

But maybe King can explain that crossover in whatever’s he working on next.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.