IT reference in Gray Matter?

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Jan 7, 2010
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Garden City, NY
Anybody else catch the IT reference in Gray Matter? The narrator said he knew of a guy that used to work in the sewers in Bangor. He went down there one day and came up with white hair looking like he'd seen a ghost, the same thing that happened to Henry Bowers in IT. Apparently his friend said he saw a spider the size of a large dog with "a web full of kitties." Sounds alot Pennywise in his spider form from IT doesn't it?
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
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Cambridge, Ohio
So... how can there be an "It reference" in Gray Matter when Gray Matter was first published in 1973 and It in 1986? Was SK foreshadowing this knowing he would publish It later on in his career? Or am I missing something?
...I'd say he simply referenced the earlier "throwaway image" and went from there....
 

Rrty

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
1,394
4,588
First, let me say that the spider story in "Gray Matter" is one of King's best stories ever. It is its own story, a piece of micro-fiction before the term was ever invented (then again, maybe I have that wrong, and that term has been around; maybe I should say flash fiction?). I've often thought it should be adapted as a dollar baby (in fact, as I write this, I maybe have an idea of a way of writing the short script, but perhaps I'll pitch that later). It literally is one of the best paragraphs King has ever written, and I wish he would try posting some paragraphs like that to his website on occasion.

Second, this intrigues me, I myself never made the connection. Can you give me the chapter where specifically the connection occurs, because I presume you mean there is a description of a web and kittens in "It." I just don't recall that, but it has been a while since I have read the book.
 

krwhiting

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2015
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Anybody else catch the IT reference in Gray Matter? The narrator said he knew of a guy that used to work in the sewers in Bangor. He went down there one day and came up with white hair looking like he'd seen a ghost, the same thing that happened to Henry Bowers in IT. Apparently his friend said he saw a spider the size of a large dog with "a web full of kitties." Sounds alot Pennywise in his spider form from IT doesn't it?
I just checked this when I read it. I'd seen the thread title without reading the thread until after I'd read the story, so I was looking for a reference to It. I don't think it was. I wouldn't be hard-headed about it, but the spider mentioned is "dog-sized." I think it was just a story of a terrifying thing seen in a sewer. But, I could be wrong.

Kelly
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,755
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Atlanta GA
I just checked this when I read it. I'd seen the thread title without reading the thread until after I'd read the story, so I was looking for a reference to It. I don't think it was. I wouldn't be hard-headed about it, but the spider mentioned is "dog-sized." I think it was just a story of a terrifying thing seen in a sewer. But, I could be wrong.

Kelly
I would assume that sK had the image of a huge spider in the sewers of Bangor which persisted after he finished Gray Matter.
 

SvenA

New Member
Feb 17, 2015
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If I am not mistaken, the scene with Henry's hair turning white in 1958 from seeing the deadlights is TV miniseries only; in the novel he was white- or grayhaired, but from premature aging. As IT was begun in September 1981, it is, as Kelly writes above, not that improbable that the idea of the spider in the sewer had lingered in King's mind from the early 1970s until then.
 

Riot87

Jamaica's Finest
Mar 7, 2014
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IMO i don't think it was the same spider because i got the impression that the IT spider was much bigger than a large dog.
 

preciousroy

Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2018
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661
Did anybody catch the names of the characters? There was a Henry, Bill, Eddie, Richie and a George and if I remember correctly George was the man who went into the sewer.
 
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KittensScareMe

Obsessed with all things IT.
Oct 31, 2017
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IMO i don't think it was the same spider because i got the impression that the IT spider was much bigger than a large dog.
It could have changed its size, or ecen been different sizes depending on who saw it? Seems like a waste of its energy doing that though.
 
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preciousroy

Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2018
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It could have changed its size, or ecen been different sizes depending on who saw it? Seems like a waste of its energy doing that though.
I imagined it as an alternate reality with an entirely different history where the monster hadn't yet become as powerful as we all knew IT to be. One where maybe even Henry was friends with the Losers instead of mortal enemy. But that's a stretch...

However, we do know that IT had laid eggs that were still unhatched despite IT having arrived on the planet thousands of years earlier. If we assume natural growth than the hatched IT-lets would grow in size linearly. This suggests to me that the spider in Gray Matter could have eventually become large and powerful enough to move past cats to humans.
 
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