The main characters in this novel are entirely women. A few secondary characters are men, but most of them are villains. The women who gain power throughout the book serve as reminders that power corrupts anyone who has it, no matter the gender.
Alderman asks readers to imagine the world in a new way and, by showing men as the abused and sexualized figures in society, exposes how accustomed readers are to the real world in which women fill that role.
Allie is only 16 years old when the novel begins. She’s abused by her foster father, Mr. Montgomery-Taylor, repeatedly throughout her youth and before she gains her Power. She runs away to a convent and renames herself, Eve. She hears a voice in her head throughout the novel inspiring her to certain actions, such as starting a religion with a woman as the central God-figure. She rewrites scripture and changes it to suit the new female-centric narrative.
Eve became famous worldwide and expressed her support for the female country of Bessapara. She eventually decides that the only way to move forward and ensure the safety of all women is to start a global war and take the world back to the Stone Age.
The daughter of a British crime boss, Bernie Monke. She’s 14 when the novel begins, and she discovers her Power after a traumatic event in which her mother is murdered. She proves throughout the novel that she has greater than average power. Roxy avenges her mother’s murder and helps to manufacture Glitter, which enhances women’s power around the world.
She later learns that her father ordered her mother’s murder and that he is unwilling to give up any of his power to his daughter. She nearly dies after her skein is forcibly removed.
Margot Cleary is the mayor of a city in New England who beats the governor after accidentally shocking him in a debate. Her strength puts her ahead of him in the race for governor. She eventually becomes a US senator and inspires the President to stand alongside Bessapara, hoping to make money off of NorthStar.
Tunde Edo is a young journalist from Nigeria and the only major male character in the novel. He is one of the first to report on the positives the Power has brought to women worldwide, especially in countries like India and Saudi Arabia. He realizes over time that the women in power are growing just as corrupt as the male leaders used to be, especially Tatiana Moskalev in Bessapara.
The wife of the President of Moldova. The novel suggests that she kills her husband and is appointed President of the country. She flees to the south after a military coup and establishes Bessapara. As the novel progresses, she begins to show dictatorial tendencies.
She demonstrates her cruelty several times and proves to readers that absolute power corrupts absolutely. She takes away men’s freedoms, like the ability to drive and travel. The citizens of Bessapara, inspired by their leader’s willingness to oppress men, begin to electrocute and murder men at will.
Margot’s daughter is sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of power she has. She meets a boy who has a skein, Ryan, and she attends a training camp to learn to control her power better. She tries to avoid looking weak but accidentally kills a man. She struggles until she meets Eve, who helps get her power under control.
A voice in Allie/Eve’s head guides her through life. It tells her to kill Mr. Montgomery-Taylor and to start a religion. She doesn’t know what or who the voice is. It turns out that the voice is only a means of convincing herself that what she wants is the right thing to do.
Roxy’s half-brother. He’s jealous of his sister’s power and tries, for a time, to help her in taking over their father’s business. He eventually turns against her and works with his father to remove her skein and give it to Darrell. He runs the Glitter factory but, having discovered what happened to Roxy, the women working at the factory violently kill him in revenge.
Neil Adam Armon
The attributed author of the novel, whose name is a rearrangement of the true author’s name—Naomi Alderman. He worries about his narrative being judged solely on the fact that he’s a man, as many women have felt throughout history as authors.
The governor of an unnamed state in New England who Margot shocks in a debate and wins over his title. He’s used as a symbol for the reversal of power in gender roles in society. No longer are men seen as inherently powerful.
One of the only men with a skein due to a chromosomal abnormality. He meets Jocelyn online, and the two date.
The leader of a British crime ring and the father of Roxy and Darrell. He turns on his daughter after she gains power and works to remove her skein from her body and have it implanted into his son.
The former President of Moldova and husband to Tatiana Moskalev. He’s killed by his wife (although the death is attributed to a heart attack).
A female journalist who Tunde briefly dates. He is uncomfortable with her using her power in bed.
Allie’s foster father. The former abuses her throughout her youth. She eventually kills him because the voice in her head told her to.
Who is the protagonist in The Power?
There is no true protagonist in The Power. But, of the many difficult, multifaceted characters, Allie comes closest to being a protagonist. She means well, as do many of the women as they first attain their new abilities, but she has radical ideas about how to solve the world’s issues.
What happens to Allie in The Power?
Allie’s war, the Cataclysm, comes to fruition at the novel’s end. Allie is ready for war at the end of the narrative, along with Margot and the other extremists. It’s unclear what happens next to the main characters, but the women win the war, and history records the new power dynamic.
What happens to Roxy in The Power?
Roxy goes home to an underground bunker along with Tunde. What happens next is unclear, but she tries to avoid the central conflict. Like most characters in the novel, their final fates remain unknown.
What is the Cataclysm in The Power?
The Cataclysm is a sought-after war in which the newly empowered women will be able to remake the world in a way that suits them. The novel suggests that the war does happen and that history records a power dynamic in which men are abused, sexualized, and seen as the gentler sex, and women are the ones in power.