Character ProfileAlong with Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris, Bill was a member of the Loser’s Club one of the main protagonists of IT . Often nicknamed “Stuttering Bill” (due to his constant tendency to stutter) by his associates, he stood out among the seven adherents as being the most optimistic and valiant member. As a result, Bill is generally viewed as the undisputed leader of the club. Bill has the foremost desire which his dear friends follow in defeating the ancient, demonic entity, IT
(Also Known as Pennywise or other victims fears (his brother’s death only further drives his motivation)).
At the age of eleven Bill is described as tall, handsome, and thin. Bill also had a crop of fine red hair which was the exact same shade of red as Beverly Marsh.
Twenty seven years later in 1982, Bill has slightly gone to seed. Bill has shaved off his hair, which Richie remarks as him going for the "Chrome Dome look". Bill also wears spectacles and has gained some weight, critically regarding himself as "inclining a bit toward fat", though he is described as being "tall and skinny" later in the book.
Bill's appearance is inconsistent in the two live action adaptations of the novel. In the 1987 miniseries, instead of red hair Bill has light blonde/brown hair as a kid. As an adult, Bill still has his hair and even has a long pony tail. In the 2017 adaptation, Bill has auburn hair.
"'He thrusts his fist against the post but still insists he sees the ghost" -Bill's mantra
Bill has been steadfast for most of his life, his bravery and power to unite his friends in turmoil which signifies his qualities as a leader. Bill is talented writer, even from a young age he would write stories in his room with the typewriter his parents gave him. Though he is genius with words, Bill's verbal speech is nowhere near as fine tuned since Bill has had a speech impediment (aka "stutter") for the entirety of his childhood.
Bill cured his stutter during his teenage years thanks to his speech therapist, however his stutter returned unexpectedly when Mike Hanlon called him back to Derry, Bill's stutter also noticeably gets worse when he is upset, angry or afraid. Bill's stutter will sometimes not be apparent such as he when he is reading a different language, doing a impression (e.g Henry Bowers) or when he is making a speech. It's because of his stutter that caused Henry Bowers and the rest of the bullies to bully Bill viciously, though Bill doesn't mind his friends making gentle fun of his stutter. It was shocking for Richie's mother Maggie Tozier to see her son make fun of Bill's stutter and then see the two boys laugh about it, to extent that it frightened her.Bill's greatest attribute is undying love for his younger brother Georgie, which only strengthened when Georgie was killed by IT and Bill uses the memory of Georgie as a guiding light in the quest to destroy the creature. While his love for Georgie is endearing, it's also a great source of guilt, as he feels Georgie died as a direct result of helping Georgie make the paper boat that ultimately lead to his death. Though he is told by Richie that it isn't his fault, the guilt follows him thoughout his childhood and adulthood and enables IT to torment him by making illusions of Georgie. After Georgie's death, Bill's parents grow distant and begin to neglect him, to the point that he wonders if they ever loved him at all. His relationship with his parents never recovers. Decades later, Bill is still convinced that he is to blame for Georgie's death and doesn't recognise that what his parents did to him was wrong and abusive. This doesn't change until IT forces him to confront his greatest fear by turning into Georgie and accusing him of being the reason Georgie died.
- ""He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts!" Bill thundered. He advanced on the George-thing. "You're no ghost! George knows I didn't mean for him to die! My folks were wrong! They took it out on me and that was wrong! Do you hear me?""
- ―Bill Denbrough to IT
In the books Bill is shown to be a chain smoker, even at the age of eleven he smoked the Cubans that Richie brought along to the Barrens, though he as kid he didn't smoke as heavily as Beverly. The habit followed him into adulthood and smokes along with his wife.
Bill cares deeply for his friends to point of caring for them more than even his parents. Bill is especially close to Eddie, Richie and Beverly. Eddie worships Bill and before the Losers were formed, Eddie was Bill's closet friend. When Henry Bowers broke Eddie's nose and it triggered an asthma attack, Bill rushed off to find medicine for his friend without hesitation.
Though the other Losers tried their best, Richie was the only one able to console Bill following his brothers death, giving him some relief from the belief that he had caused Georgie death. The two become very close over the course of the book and even go to Neibolt house together, where their encounter with the Teenage Werewolf (IT) ended with them embracing and crying on the street.
Bill has explicit feelings for Beverly which was expanded upon in the 2017 movie, but his quest to avenge Georgie was more important than pursuing a relationship with her.
As an adult, despite being the central figure of the Loser's Club, Bill had forgotten completely about Derry in years since the event and suffered major PTSD upon remembering. When Audra probes him about Derry, Bill breaks out in heavy stuttering, scaring Audra who had never heard him stutter before. Bill mused Audra had married man she really knew nothing about.
Upon returning to Derry Bill doesn't reinsert himself as leader until Mike informs them of everything that happen in Derry since Bill and other's departure. It's only when IT terrifies the Losers though Chinese Crackers that Bill takes command and keeps the group calm. Bill's love for Beverly returns and he realises the reason why he married Audra was because her physical similarity to Beverly; Bill even has inter-marital affair by sleeping with Beverly. However he becomes guilt ridden and panicked when he learns Audra has followed him to Derry and was taken by IT.
In the aftermath Bill is faithful to his wife and doesn't feel jealous over Beverly getting together with Ben as he is committed to his comatose wife Audra, who he stays with while she shows little recovery. Bill believes that Silver will cure his wife and is delighted to see that it works when they ride down hill.
The 2017 version further expands on Bill's very character flaws, as he shown to be more delusional in thinking that Georgie must have survived and takes the majority of the movie to come to terms with his brother's death. And while he is undoubtedly a good leader and friend, Bill has issues concerning people telling him of Georgie's fate, as he pleaded with his father that it was possible Georgie could be still alive, even showing his father a diagram model of the Derry sewer system to no avail. Bill even punched Richie down when the latter stated Georgie was dead, though he apologized to Richie later when Beverly was captured by IT. Despite his earlier headstrong and reckless behavior, Bill is completely willing to allow Pennywise to feed on him while the others escape, saying it was his fault they were in danger in the first place. Of course, Richie and rest of the Losers refuse to let him sacrifice himself.
Abilities and powers
As stated by Eddie, Bill is the "strongest" of the boys meaning he may be the most physically capable of the boys in the Loser's Club. Bill is strong enough to hang onto a window frame as IT in it's werewolf form pulls him from behind, Bill is also a fast runner. Bill's strength better seen in the 2017 version, where when angered Bill could floor Richie with one punch and had to be restrained by Ben. Later when fighting Pennywise, Bill along the with others could physically brutalises IT with rusty gate spikes and junk in it's lair, damaging it greatly. However, he is significantly less physically adept as an adult.
- Paper-craft. As seen in the beginning, Bill is talented at paper crafting and made a paper boat out of newspaper for his younger brother Georgie and used Turtle Wax to make sure the boat didn't sink.
- Cycling. Bill is very adept bike rider and is goes extremely fast on his bike Silver which incidentally is bigger than Bill himself. When going though traffic, Bill reportedly nearly kills himself but is successful in travelling through the dangers. Bill can also peddle Silver just as fast while riding with someone else on the bike as well.
- Writing. Bill was a very talented writer from early age and as adult has written five Horror Novels. Bill has even won a awards because of his skills, though some people (Bill's high school teacher, college professor, and Patty Uris) have dislike his writing. Regardless of the criticisms, Bill is an excellent wordsmith, and the Losers's Club are always impressed to hear Bill's speeches.
- Psychic Ability. Along with the rest of the Losers, Bill has latent psychic power and as the leader accordingly Bill has the strongest psychic capacity. Bill is the one the engage in a psychic battle with IT, aided by the Turtle. The turtle instructs Bill to partake in the Ritual of Chüd. In the second battle as adults Bill once again has a battle of wills with IT, this time aided by Richie. The pair successfully kill IT by ripping it's heart out.
- Telepathy. Bill has also has the power to mentally communicate using thoughts alone and used the power to taunt and threaten IT while in it's spider form. Bill can also communicate with the other Loser's though telepathy such as hearing Mike's cry for help and talking to Richie while they fought IT.
- Extrasensory Perception. Bill has pronounced sixth sense which especially strong when regarding the Losers and IT. When travelling though the house on Neibolt street, Bill is able to recognize IT illusions and separate them from reality. As adult Bill's sixth sense is even more adept and immediately knows that something is wrong with the Chinese Crackers and wisely does not bite into his. In the final confrontation, Bill is able to sense when Mike is in danger in the hospital.
- Mental Projection. Bill, similar to IT, has some level of metal projection and influence. When travelling though the sewers as adult, Bill senses that Mike is in danger in Derry hospital and is able to "send his power" to him. Bill along with Ben, Beverly, Eddie and Richie are able to give Mike the strength to call for help. Bill's mental projection is also shown subtlety in the 2017 version, when using Mike's empty bolt pistol to seemly finish off IT. Mike yells that gun was out of bolts but Bill had already pulled the trigger and the non existent bolt punctured Pennywise's forehead anyway, likely because Bill "believed" the imaginary bolt would hurt the creature.
- Leadership. Bill's greatest ability is his uncanny power to unite and lead the Loser Club though horrific hardships and lift up their spirits from despair. Bill authority and guidance is something the others rely on, as when Bill falls into despair when Audra is captured, the others demand that he bring himself together as "they need him".
In late fall of 1957, Bill had developed a severe cold, inhibiting him from attending school. While home, he constructed a paper boat for his younger brother Georgie to play with outside. Bill warns him to remain cautious of the unstable weather, and tells his brother to be careful after Georgie kisses his older brother on the cheek. This would be the last time the two would ever see each other again. Not long after, George was killed by IT (while in the form of Pennywise the clown).
Creating the Dam
In the afternoon in last day of school for summer Bill and Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak decide to bulid a dam in the Barrens but are confronted by the school bully Henry Bowers and two of his friends, Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who are in pursuit of Ben Hanscom. Bill and Eddie tell them they haven't seen him, and, believing they're lying, Henry pushes Eddie to the ground, breaking his nose while Henry breaks down their dam (In the miniseries, Henry does shove Eddie to the ground, but it triggers an asthma attack rather than resulting in a broken nose). Bill tells them to back off and Henry, Belch and Vic leave, losing interest in finding Ben. After his inhaler goes out Eddie goes into shock, Ben shows up and Bill trusts him to look after Eddie while Bill rides to Mr. Keene's pharmacy store to get medicine for Eddie (nearly getting killed by a truck on the way). When Bill returns, Eddie introduces him to Ben who tells them how to build a proper dam, Bill and Eddie are impressed by Ben's architectural knowledge. On the first night of his summer vacation, Bill decides to go into Georgie's room and is unnerved by how cold it is, but only becomes really horrified when he opens Georgie's photo Album and when he sees IT in form of Georgie wink and talk to him he throws the album across the room. The Album opens by itself and starts to bleed causing Bill to flee the room.
During the second day of building the Dam, Richie Tozier makes his appearance along Stan Uris . Richie brings out some Cuban cigars which Bill smokes happily while Eddie refuses because of his asthma. Bill with some trepidation tells the rest of the boys about his experience with the photo album. Expecting them to laugh at him, Bill is surprised to hear that Eddie, Ben have also had strange encounters with IT. Their discussion is cut short when a police officer known as Mr. Nell, comes along is shocked to see that they've blocked up the Dam. When Ben tearfully owns up to it, Bill vouches for Ben along the rest of the boys and they destroy the Dam. Despite his anger Mr Nell praises Ben for his talent and warns the rest of the boys not go into the Barrens alone, telling them to go as a group.
The Photo Album
Bill is amazed about hearing Ben and Eddie's stories and discusses it with Richie, where Bill expresses his deep seeded guilt over his role in Georgie's death, Richie consoles Bill, pointing out it he can hardly be blamed for trying to make his brother happy while he had the flu. This causes Bill to cry in relief and thanks Richie but warns him not to tell anyone he cried. Curious about the strange encounters, Richie ask Bill to show him Georgie's Photo Album, so the two boys go inside Bill's deceased younger brother unnaturally cold room. Richie picks up the album and sees the dried blood. When Bill looks at again they see one of the pictures moving, showing the old days of Derry. Bill and Richie see IT as Pennywise in the album and are terrified to see that Pennywise has Georgie's face. Bill, stricken, reaches out the photo and Richie has pull his hand back as Bill slices three of his fingers as they go though the photo.
The Werewolf On Neibolt Street
Feeling more resolved, Bill, armed with his father's Walther PPK .380, travels down to one of the distant houses on Neibolt Street (where Eddie had encountered It in the form of the homeless leper under the house's porch) in pursuit of his brother's killer, whom he believed still lives there. Richie accompanies him to the house, though reluctantly and armed with sneezing powder. While searching around the deserted house, the two are ambushed and attacked by It, with Bill perceiving it as Pennywise the clown, and Richie as the werewolf from "I Was a Teenage Werewolf".
The creature isn't affected by Bill's gun and grabs the boy as he's to escape though the window. Richie also grabs his friend and struggles with the monster. When Richie does a impression of Mr. Nell, IT is affected by the humor and releases Bill. Richie then throws the sneezing powder at the monster and successfully damages IT. The two manage to barely escape with Bill's trustworthy bike, Silver. When they are many blocks away, Richie, who had been scratched, collapses and so does Bill, and both burst into tears and hug each other.
The Rock Fight
Weeks after the near the near death experience on Neibolt Street, the Loser's club gets bigger by welcoming Beverly Marsh into the fold. Beverly forms some feelings for Bill, during one calm afternoon down at the Barrens. Mike Hanlon meets the Losers while fleeing from Henry Bowers and his gang, Bill orders the group to pick up stones and the Losers drive the bullies away, Bill threatens Bowers telling him to stay away from the Losers and that the Barrens is theirs. Beverly welcomes Mike and Bill realizes "the circle is complete", Mike then takes out his dad's album of Old Derry to show and then the Losers (especially Stan) are terrified to witness IT threatening to "kill them all" though the Mike's Album. Stan is hysteric and Bill calms down, Bill tells the group that IT is scared now that they are all together and that can destroy the demon when they are united.
The Smoke Hole Ceremony
Once again down at the Barrens, Ben has using his architectural prowess builds a large wooden box in the ground which the Losers hide with a trapdoor. Inspired by Native Americans the Losers decide to make a campfire inside the hole. All seven sit inside and let the breathe in the smoke from the fire; Ben, along with Eddie, Beverly and Stan, leave the hole, but Mike and Richie stay. The two boys witness IT coming to Earth on meteorite that falls in Derry during prehistoric times and resting there. Before they suffocate, Bill and others pull Richie and Mike from the hole and they recount what they saw.
The Losers plan to kill IT and decided to melt down sliver into slugs using Bill's dad smelter and Ben's sliver coins. The Losers discuss who will use the Slingshot against IT and Beverly out performs everyone using the weapon. Then the group travel to Neibolt Street and go to the house where Eddie, Bill and Richie were attacked. Now united as a group, they travel the the house and experience the bizarre illusions that IT sends their way, as the house bends are distorts trying to separate them. Bill states to the group that "it's not real" and they're strong united. Once they get to the bathroom, IT appears to them in it's Werewolf form. The beast tries to kill Beverly and then Bill but Ben protects them but gets slashed in the chest as a result. Beverly wounds IT with the slingshot and it escapes though the drain. Bill lends Beverly his shirt when her's get ripped and Bill starts forming some feeling feelings for her which Ben recognizes and feels passive jealously.
The Ritual of Chud
By the end of the summer of 1958, Bill had led the Loser’s into the Derry sewers, where they intended to confront and ultimately eradicate the terrorizing creature that had murdered his younger brother the year before. Deep under the city, they eventually come across the hellish beast’s fortress. In the decisive attempt to destroy IT, Bill engaged in the “Ritual of Chud” (a tribal based semantic that is supposedly used to repel “impure” spirits) with the demonic entity. With the help of the “Turtle” (a guardian-like supernatural being that had originated from the same universe IT came from), he ultimately succeeded, defeating the paranormal demon (although it proved to be only a brief conquest as the ancient terror would resurface twenty-seven years later). Following IT’s alleged demise, the Loser’s began to lose their sense of connectivity with one another. To ensure that their bond would remain intact, Beverly engages in preadolescence sexual intercourse with Bill and the rest of the male Loser’s. Upon leaving the sewers, Bill formed a divine blood oath with the others, where they would promise to unite again if IT was ever to return.
Returning to Derry
On May 29, 1985, Bill receives a phone call from his old friend, Mike Hanlon (who was the only loser to stay behind in Derry), telling him that the child killings are happening again. Mike asks him to return to Derry, as he fears that It may still well be alive. Upon learning of It's return, Bill becomes so frightened and worried that he begins to stutter uncontrollably, his childhood reaction to stress and trauma. After a brief dispute with his wife, Audra, Bill eventually departs to Derry to face It once more, as he had twenty-seven years ago.
Bill takes a taxi to a Chinese restaurant where Mike has gathered them together, Bill is initially nervous to see his companions and hallucinates that they've "pulled a Peter Pan" and not aged at all, but it was merely a trick of the light. Upon seeing the aged Bill, Richie quickly points out Bill's bald spot causing Bill to unconsciously bite back calling Richie "trash mouth" causing everyone to erupt in laughter. Bill notes the changes in his friends especially how stunningly attractive Beverly and Ben (now that he's lost weight) are, even calling Ben a "magazine model" and asking how he did it. The rest of the Losers congratulate Bill on his success as a writer and Beverly asks to sign a few books she picked up at the airport, Mike informs on Stan's death and Bill laments it, greatly wishing Stan was still with them. Mike also tells them about them about all the recent child killings that have happened and he shows them a picture of Georgie that was left in one of the crime scenes, which terrifies Richie who remembers the photo album, but Bill has a more passive shocked reaction to seeing his little brother again. Mike stops taking command and gives the role of leadership back to Bill who urges the others that they must end IT once and for all even if they do die, and the rest of the remaining Losers comply, despite some reluctance from Eddie and Richie.
When dessert comes along with some Chinese Crackers, Bill "senses" danger and doesn't open his Cracker, and witnesses blood pour out of Beverly's, an eye appear in Richie's, a cricket a crawl out of Eddie's and teeth to form in Ben's. Beverly almost screams but Bill taking command for first time claps a hand over a mouth and tells the rest of the Losers to "Dummy up" as the waitress appears confused at all the commotion, making up an excuse, the waitress is fooled. While talking, a big, repulsive fly crawls out of Bill's cracker. After the terrifying experience the Losers promptly leave the restaurant and briefly go their separate ways in Derry.
Bill Denbrough sees a ghost
While four of the Losers (Ben, Beverly, Eddie and Richie) have a horrific run-in with Pennywise who claims they are "too old" to defeat him and warns them to flee Derry, Bill on the other hand doesn't meet Pennywise but finds Sliver in a store. Bill is struck dumb at the sight of his old bike and decides to buy it, Bill tests the the bike out to find it's in need of repairs. Bill then returns to Losers who have another meeting and fill in nearly all the blanks leading up to their first battle with IT.
Afterwards Bill is left alone with Beverly, and she kisses him, though he showed some reluctance, he kisses her back, and the pair decide (despite respective marriages) to make love at the hotel. Bill and Beverly quickly find a room and partake in sexual intercourse and halfway through, Beverly remembers what she did for the male Losers in the sewer and questions Bill about it, before sleeping naked together. They are woken up by call from Eddie, who just accidentally killed Henry Bowers in self defense, Bill and Beverly go over to help Eddie and are soon joined by Ben and Richie. The five remaining Losers decide to go down into the sewers to try and kill IT.
The Devil Diminishes (Audra)
Unknown to Bill, the concerned Audra decides to head over to Derry in an attempt to uncover his long-term promise he had supposedly kept with his childhood friends. While residing at one the town's local motels, IT uses Tom Rogan (the then husband of Beverly Marsh) to capture her and use her as bait to lure Bill and the rest of his comrades into its lair. Upon viewing IT's true form (the "deadlights"), Tom instantly dies in shock while Audra succumbs into a catatonic state. Using the Ritual of Chud again (along with Richie this time), Bill finally defeats IT and rescues Audra. She survives (being the only person to survive the death defying limbo), but remains in her catatonic state. Bill helps Audra to come out of her catatonia by taking her on a bicycle ride on his childhood bike, Silver. He is impersonating the Lone Ranger, which is something he had done years earlier to help revive a young Richie who was frozen with fear after meeting IT. Slowly she comes out of her catatonia and holds Bill, finally overcoming her fear. They kiss in the middle of a traffic stop in relief of her coming back to reality.