Everything To Know About The Power Book & Ending
The author was mentored by Margaret Atwood.
Content warning: This post contains discussion of sexual assault that some may find triggering.
What if girls suddenly had all the power, and women no longer had to fear men? How would that change the gender dynamics — and how would the men respond? Those are the questions at the center of The Power, a Prime TV show set in a world where all teen girls wake up one day with the power to electrocute people at will. The power then begins to appear in grown women. Realizing what’s happening, the women begin to fight their oppressors, either on a personal level or through organized government protests.
The story is an adaptation of a 2016 sci-fi novel by the same name by the British writer Naomi Alderman. Notably, Alderman was mentored by Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale. Similar to Atwood’s writing, The Power is about women’s oppression but also about the corrupting nature of being in power. Some of the women begin killing and raping men, while others take over the government and begin to oppress and mistreat the men in the same ways that the men had done to the women.
“I hoped at least at the outset it would be good for women to feel or imagine what it would be like to be in a position of control,” Alderman explained to The New York Times. “But finally, you have to ask, are women better than men? They’re not. People are people. You don’t have to think that all men are horrible to know there are some men who abuse their strength. Why wouldn’t the same hold true for women?”
Alderman acknowledged that this has led many people dubbing The Power a dystopian novel, but she said that’s exactly the point. “It's only a dystopia for the men. In my world, nothing happens to a man that is not happening to a woman in the world we live in today,” she told NPR. “So if we find my world to be a dystopia, then we are already living in a dystopia."
The book certainly goes to some dark places, so if you want to gauge whether you’d tune into the show, here’s The Power book ending. Spoilers ahead for The Power book.
The book mainly follows four protagonists. There’s Margot (played by Toni Collette in the show), a New England mayor whose daughter Jocelyn (Auli’i Cravalho) gets in trouble for zapping a boy; this then awakens Margot’s own power. Roxy (Ria Zmitrowicz) is the daughter of a London crime lord who witnesses her mother’s murder and vows revenge alongside her father and brothers. Allie (Halle Bush) is a South Carolina girl who runs away to a convent after she kills her abusive foster father. Then there’s Tunde (Toheeb Jimoh), a Nigerian man who begins to document the power and the girls’ uprisings.
The prologue explains that the book is a historical account of events, written by an author named Neil Adam Armon. The story is told through diary entries, newspapers, and interviews that explain how society shifted from a patriarchal to a matriarchal one after women discovered they can electrocute men.
Allie learns how to manipulate her powers and begins convincing people she hears a divine voice. The girls who join the convent — many of them displaced because of their powers — begin to call her “Mother Eve.” Seeing Allie’s viral videos online, Roxy soon joins her. They end up backing Tatiana, who runs the Moldovan country Bessapara with an iron fist after killing her husband, the president.
Allie and Roxy grow their organization, but Roxy goes back to London when she learns that her half-brother, Ricky, was raped by some women. She kills the women and later finds out it was her own dad who ordered the hit on her mom. She’s then trapped by her dad and her other half-brother, Darrell, and they remove the source of her powers — an organ called a “skein” — and give it to Darrell instead. Darrell attempts to use the powers but is soon torn apart by a group of women when they realize he stole it.
Meanwhile, Margot successfully lobbies for training camps for the girls, and Jocelyn enters into one of them. Margot also rises to the position of senator and ends up working with Tatiana behind the scenes to further destabilize the current world order.
Tunde continues to travel around documenting everything, but he’s shaken after he’s nearly raped by a woman. He also covers the situation in Bessapara, which worsens as the novel goes on. Tatiana soon announces strict restrictions for the men: they can only go out with a guardian, and they can’t drive or own businesses. Both Tatiana and Allie begin pushing for an event called the Cataclysm, which would be a global war that would ensure women are always in power.
Meanwhile, Roxy meets Tunde in Bessapara in a refugee camp. They try to reason with Allie about de-escalating the war, but she refuses, believing the world would be better if only women ran it. Still, Roxy encourages Allie to talk to her foster mom, hoping that will let her see reason. She does, and that’s when Allie realizes that her foster mom was in on her foster dad abusing her the whole time. So Allie decides everyone is evil and doubles down on the war.
The historical records in the book end with Allie, Margot, and the female extremists going up against the “mens rights activists” and the remaining male political forces. Roxy and Tunde, meanwhile, escape to a bunker.
The book itself ends with a series of letters written thousands of years later that is a conversation between the author and a reader cheekily named Naomi Alderman. The letters confirm the Cataclysm did remake the world into one ruled by women. Now men are seen as the “nurturing” and “gentle” sex who are discriminated against, sexually harrassed, and oppressed. Naomi complains that the world depicted before the power arrived sounds way too unbelievable to her and suggests that a society run by men would have been much kinder.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org.