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I'll kill you all!
~ Henry Bowers

Henry Bowers is the local bully and secondary antagonist of the novel It, its miniseries, and its film adaptation. He is the Losers Club's arch-rival, the leader of the Bowers Gang, and also the puppet of the bloodthirsty transdimensional fiend, IT.

He is portrayed by Jarred Blancard as a kid and by Michael Cole as an adult in the 1990 miniseries, and by Nicholas Hamilton as a teenager in the 2017 film adaptation.

Biography

Beginnings

Henry had a hate-filled childhood. From the start, he was abused psychologically by his abusive Nazi father, Oscar "Butch" Bowers. Butch encouraged Henry to hate all foreigners as well as other American citizens of different color skin, and hate women, because in Butch's words women were "whores" and Henry grew up with a nihilistic, hatemongering attitude. Butch prompted Henry to be a bully. Butch once carved a swastika (in its Nazi German expression "hakenkreuz/bent cross") upon the Hanlon farm gate, having a strong hatred for the Hanlon family (just because they were black) and Butch was nearly imprisoned for this hate crime. However, he told Henry to hate Michael "Mike" Hanlon, and never mix with him.

It was around this time Henry became a sociopathic bully. He "befriended" Mike's dog, and called it the offensive name "ni**er dog". He then began to feed it poisoned meat, and eventually he overfed it so it choked and died. Henry took pride in doing this cruel act.

It (novel)

Henry Bowers first appears when Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom is doing an exam before Summer holidays. Henry is known to be a troublemaker, and although the teachers are fully aware of his cruel nature, they turn the other cheek — partly due to IT's influence over the town of Derry, and partly due to their law-abiding nature.

Henry asks Ben Hanscom if he can copy from his paper, and Ben stubbornly refuses. Henry then whispers that Ben is dead. On the way out of school, Ben is ambushed by Henry and his two best friends and fellow bullies, Vic Criss and Belch Huggins, who get him just when he comes out of the library and Henry taunts Ben about his weight, and then threatens to carve his name onto Ben’s stomach. Ben thinks it is a joke until Henry gets out his knife. Vic and Belch are horrified and tell Henry to stop, but Henry begins carving H onto Ben’s stomach. Ben then kicks Henry in the chest and throws himself down the hill into the Barrens. Henry comes looking for Ben in fury, but only finds William "Bill" Denbrough and Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak. Henry and his friends destroy the dam that Bill and Eddie were building, calling it a “baby dam”; Ben later befriends the two by telling them how to build a real dam.

Henry begins having a mental breakdown over the following weeks. He also has intense spite for Richard "Richie" Tozier, and chases the boy through the middle of town, also in broad daylight, and Henry storms through department stores with the intent of killing or maiming Richie. Henry gets himself and Richie banned from the store because of his aggressive chase. Thankfully, Richie loses Henry and is subsequently threatened by the giant statue of Paul Bunyan which is possessed by IT and nearly kills him.

Later, Henry begins to hear voices calling to him, which is IT. He is awoken in the middle of the night, and goes outside clad just in boxers, and hears the moon talking to him. IT is really speaking to him, but Bowers is no longer sane enough to tell truth from fiction. Henry obeys IT's commands to kill the Losers Club, and he begins hunting them down. Henry one day sees Mike on the street, and with his entire gang Vic, Belch, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler and Gard Jagermeyer, he gives chase to hunt Mike Hanlon.

They chase a terrified Mike to the rubbish dump in the Barrens, and on the way, Henry begins throwing fireworks in an attempt to kill Mike. He confesses that he murdered Mike's dog. Mike breaks down in tears upon hearing this. Mike then gets to the Losers (now correctly calling themselves "Lucky Seven"), and after a tense standoff, Henry begins the rock fight by fighting Bill and the others. Henry's gang retreats, one by one, when the rocks hit them, and Henry is sorely wounded by rocks and he is left to sulk before vowing to kill all the Lucky Seven before summer is over.

After the harsh rock fight, Henry begins to dissolve into complete madness and develops an even stronger hatred for the Losers Club. As "revenge" for the rock fight he ambushes Eddie Kaspbrak with some of his friends Vic, Moose, and Patrick and breaks his arm in broad daylight in the town center. When Beverly "Bevie" Marsh recounts witnessing Patrick Hockstetter's death, she explains that she witnessed the perverted Patrick giving Henry a handjob at the dump. When Patrick threatens to tell, Henry retaliates by threatening to tell everyone about Patrick's fridge that he uses to kill animals.

Henry Bowers is later sent a switchblade from IT, which he uses to murder his own father by stabbing him in the neck while he was sleeping. He then ambushes Beverly Marsh on the street, and begins abusing her, but she gives him a kick between his legs, damaging his testicles so badly that they bleed as a result. Henry, full of insane rage, begins chasing Beverly to the Barrens. Henry, Vic, and Belch eventually chase the Losers into the sewers when they have nowhere else to run. Henry is traumatized when Vic and Belch are killed by IT, but eventually escapes after a long and traumatic experience in the dark sewers. He makes it home, and is immediately arrested by police for his father's murder.

Henry Bowers is framed by IT as the person who has been killing many children in Derry all summer (including his own friends), and with his father's murder a clear case, police urge him to confess to the other murders saying that people want justice and may act violently if he does not confess himself. Henry is imprisoned at the Juniper Hill insane asylum. There, he is visited by IT some 30 years later. IT asks him to kill the Losers Club for good. He returns to Derry, posing as a concierge bringing Eddie Kaspbrak news of his wife, and in a brief fight, Henry dies later during an attempt to kill Eddie who stabs him to death in self-defense.

It (1990 film)

Young Henry Bowers

A young Henry Bowers as seen in 1990's Stephen King's IT.

His character is basically the same is in the novel. Here however, Henry is given a noticeably more greaser-type appearance with his leather jacket being colored brown rather than pink. After being humiliated by the seven main characters known as the "Losers Club" by him and his clique being defeated during the rock fight, Henry's sanity begins to finally deteriorate, with a final push from It. He and his two closest greaser friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, followed the Losers to the sewers to kill them as revenge. Vic splinters off per Henry's orders to set up an ambush by back going out through where they came in and surprising them to chase them back towards Henry and Belch. While doing so though, Vic is surprised and killed by IT in the form of "Deadlights". Elsewhere, Henry and Belch (who are apparently unaware of Vic's death at this point) grab Stan Uris and Henry prepares to kill him with his switchblade while menacingly telling Stan to "think about every rock he threw, and everything he said" before he does so. While holding Stan, Belch notices a strange light eminating from a nearby pipe, which he points out to his friend. The mysterious light (which turns out to be the "Deadlights") bursts through the pipe, knocking Henry and Stan to the ground and grabbing Belch. Both of them watch in horror as Belch's body is dragged through the pipe and eaten. A shocked Henry calls out his friend's name, only for the "Deadlights" to remerge and, though sparing his life, terrifies Henry to the point where his hair turns white. Although he is not seen for the remainder of this first part, it is confirmed that Henry escaped from the sewers alive, but was eventually arrested by the police, who assume that it was Henry who committed all the murders that year (perhaps under It's influence). And Henry is found guilty and immediately placed into Juniper Hill State Correctional Facility for the rest of his life.


Old Henry Bowers

An old Henry Bowers as seen in 1990's Stephen King's IT.

30 years later, Henry is a middle-aged man still locked up in the asylum. When Pennywise returns he manipulates Henry to kill the main characters and helps him escape the institute where he tries to kill a now adult Mike Hanlon, the only African-American member of the club. When other adults from the Losers tried to save Mike, Henry accidentally stabbed himself with his switchblade in the process, and died.

It (2017 Film)

Rather than being of the same age and class of the Losers' Club, Henry is portrayed as an older, high school-aged teenager. His physical character is designed in a more modern-day punkish type as he is shown completely without a leather jacket and his hair is a brown mullet rather than black and oiled. Also, Henry's behavior and actions become even more similar to the novel, such as when he attempts to bully new kid Ben Hanscom by carving his name into Ben's stomach with a switchblade as well as burn his hair with a makeshift blowtorch (courtesy of Patrick Hockstetter). Henry only makes it to the "H" before Ben kicks him in the stomach and falls backwards over the guard rails and flees into the Barrens, where he is saved by Richie Tozier, Stan Uris, Eddie Kaspbrak and Bill Denbrough. A member of Henry's gang, Patrick Hockstetter, is killed by It when running through the sewers thinking he heard Ben.
Henry Bowers(2017)

Henry Bowers in the 2017 film

Later, Henry appears at the quarry with his remaining gang members bullying Mike Hanlon and prepares to hit him in the head with a rock until the Losers Club (now with Beverly) appear and pelt the group with rocks to save Mike. This event humiliates Henry and sends him into insanity, which is shown when he forces Belch reluctantly use a cat for target practice until being stopped by his abusive father and police officer, Butch Bowers. Henry discovers a balloon and the switchblade he lost when he was chasing Ben. It compels Henry to murder Butch with the switchblade before goading him to kill the Losers Club, who are heading to the Neibolt House to rescue Beverly and kill It. As the group lowers into the well, Henry appears and attacks Mike from behind, prepared to kill him. Henry taunts Mike over the deaths of his parents and how he regrets not being able to do it himself. Mike pushes Henry down the well, to his presumed death. 

Personality

Henry is abused by his crazed, alcoholic, and psychopathic father, Butch Bowers, who taught Henry to be a racist. Due to his dysfunctional upbringing, Henry has developed an abusive attitude and hostility towards his enviornment, becoming a known bully across the town who targets defenseless perple and occasionally even animals. One of the things he fears and hates the most is his own father, and misplaced that anger gathering his gang and pay his frustration onto the Losers' Club, sometimes going as far as using weapons such as a knife to scar his preys, which frightened even some of his thugs. After his contact with Pennywise, Henry began to be even more psychotic and dangerous than before, displaying signs of schizophrenia (although justified since his hallucinations were provoked by Pennywise).

Appearance

As a kid, Henry adopted a Grease-esque physique, he wore a pink (brown in the TV mini-series) leather jacket and oiled his black hair. He was slim and athletic as a kid. But when he got older, he had white hair from his encounters with IT, and was very chubby, and insane. His sanity got worse because of the constant hate he was fed by his father Butch and also from IT. After death, his corpse had the unnerving habit of shifting its position slightly so it looked like he was going to revive as an undead being.

Quotes

IT (Novel)

Finish your treat, Niggerdog. How'd you like that, Niggerdog? Did you like your lunch, you shitty mutt?
~ Henry killing Mike's dog with tainted meat.
Hello, nigger. I'm gonna make me a tarbaby, you're not black enough, but I'll fix that. Niggerniggernigger! Now you're black! Now you're REEEEELY black! Now you're as black as midnight in a MINESHAFT! I killed your dog, black boy!
~ Henry after bathing Mike Henlon in mud.
I was the one who killed your dog, nigger.
~ Henry to Mike Henlon.
I know you, kid. I know you, too. Where’s your glasses, four-eyes? Well, son of a bitch! The Jew and the fatboy are here too! That your girlfriend, fatboy? I got bones to pick with a lot of you, but I can let that go for today. I want that nigger. So you little shits buzz off.
~ Henry confronting the Lucky Seven.
I'll kill you, you little fucking pansy.
~ Henry threatening Patrick Hockstetter

1990 TV Miniseries

Well, whaddaya know? It's the fat boy, the Jew, and the sissy. Four eyes and the patch girl, too. Nigger, you know how to pick them: the Loser's Club
~ Henry to Mike Hanlon and the rest of the Lucky Seven.

2017 film

I'll carve my whole name onto his cottage cheese!
~ Henry threatening to mutilate Ben
Get the fuck out of my town!
~ Henry to Mike
You say something, Billy?
~ Henry threatens Bill in a mocking, stuttering fashion
You two, get him!
~ Henry inadvertently causes Patrick's death by ordering him and Belch to hunt down Ben, wherein Patrick follows IT into the sewers
You didn't listen to what I told you, did you? You should have stayed out of Derry. Your parents didn't, and look what happened to them. I still get sad everytime I pass by that pile of ashes, sad that I couldn't have done it myself.
~ Henry before falling down the well.