In Stephen King's IT, we are introduced to some particularly evil characters such as Beverley's husband Tom Rogan, Henry Bowers, and most notably Patrick Hockstetter. King delves into this maniacal, heartless, and excessively cruel character toward the end of the book. Despite torturing animals, molesting people, and otherwise horrifying everyone he is around, Hockstetter is captured and murdered by Pennywise the clown. Being that Patrick is a character who is generally unimpressed with terror, I am curious why Pennywise decides to kill him.

We know Pennywise will "use" people to further his agenda, for example, he recruits Henry Bowers to help kill the Losers. Why not use Hockstetter? Hockstetter has killed before, his little brother who he smothered, why not use this individual who clearly enjoys violence and isn't driven by rage like Bowers? There could be a long discussion about the differences between Bowers and Hockstetter, but I believe that can be determined by examining their goals. Bowers hates the Losers, Hockstetter is indifferent to them. I'm curious as to what other people think about these two individuals and why Pennywise might select Bowers over Hockstetter.

2 Answers 2


While Patrick is not motivated by the desire to cause fear in others, it's not really true to say he's "unimpressed with terror". In the novel, when Pennywise comes for Patrick he assumes the form of a swarm of leeches, one of the few things that Patrick seems to be scared of.

Although Patrick was afraid of almost nothing in the commonly understood sense of the word (it's hard to be afraid of things that aren't 'real'), there was at least one thing that filled him with wretched loathing. He had come out of Brewster Lake one warm August day when he was seven to discover four or five leeches clinging to his stomach and legs. He had screamed himself hoarse until his father had pulled them off.

And this certainly seems to have the desired effect. Patrick is most certainly afraid as he dies and Pennywise, who gains sustenance from fear, feeds on his death:

Screaming, whirling, beating at his head and neck with his leech-encrusted hands, Patrick Hockstetter's mind yammered ... his own terror seemed real enough ... He fell down in the gravelly dirt and began to roll over and over, still screaming ... Patrick tried to scream again. He didn't want to die

It began to feed

So the question of why Pennywise kills Patrick may be very simple: Pennywise is hungry, and Patrick, out near the sewers, is merely a convenient victim.

As to why Pennywise chooses to leverage Henry Bowers to torment the Losers rather than Patrick, various ideas suggest themselves. Patrick is a peculiar kind of sociopath who doesn't believe anyone other than himself is "real" and so sees no moral dilemma in tormenting them. This is a much harder motivation to manipulate than Bowers' naked loathing of the Losers. How do you influence someone who probably doesn't even believe that the influencer is real, and who has no goals other than furthering their own detached selfishness?

There's also the fact that Pennywise seems to take pleasure or derive something from highly charged, primitive emotions. This is why he chooses to terrorise and feed on children over adults. Patrick is an emotional void who does evil things mostly to satisfy his morbid curiosity. Bowers, meanwhile, is angry at the world and enjoys his sadism, a much more satisfying cocktail of emotions for Pennywise.


Hocksetter would likely see Pennywise as something that isn't real and after time Hocksetter would likely be able to kill Pennywise since 1. He doesn't fear the clown and 2. He would definitely be stronger at that point he has nothing to lose and that makes him even more dangerous

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