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How Closely Does Amazon's The Power Follow The Original Book?

In the face of works such as "The Witcher" not sticking to the books, some may ask what is the point of adapting beloved source material if you aren't going to honor it? Perhaps changes were made with the best intentions, but there is the nagging feeling that something is missing that made the books so powerful. Amazon's "The Power" not only dares to stay true to the heart of its story, but meets the challenge of sticking as close to the source material as possible. 

Published in 2016, Naomi Alderman's book about teenage girls shooting electricity from their hands paints a picture of what female empowerment can look like — for better and for worse. This nuanced depiction of the experience is engineered by a mainly female creative team. Showrunner Raelle Tucker had complete faith in the book, and took on the task of creating a faithful companion.

"I believe if something's not broken, then you don't need to fix it," Tucker told NationalWorld. "I think fans of the book will probably attest to the fact that the show very much follows the themes and arcs of the novel fairly closely." Even more importantly, Tucker wanted Alderman, who remained close to the project, to be happy.

"Fans of the book will probably attest to the fact that the show very much follows the themes and arcs of the novel fairly closely," she explained. "I held hands with Naomi Alderman, the author, through this experience – we got in a room every single week and talked through every single decision that I was making."

"It was really important to me to make something [Alderman] didn't hate," Tucker said. "And that she felt represented her book and her life's work well."

Changes only enhanced the source material

As with any screen adaptation, change is inevitable. This is the virtue of translating the internal prose of books to a strictly visual medium. Even the closest translations from book to film have had to make some adjustments to make a compelling series. In the case of "The Power," however, it weaponizes changes to fix problems from the book. Naomi Alderman has acknowledged these changes and professed her appreciation for them. Particularly in the case of an additional character, Sister Maria. Played by acclaimed trans actress Daniela Vega, the original character adds a perspective missing from the book.

"I think certainly conversations with fans have really pushed forward my thinking, particularly fans would come to me and say, 'but what would happen to trans women in this world?', and I was like, I hadn't thought about it in 2011," Alderman admitted to NationalWorld. 

The series was a chance to widen the scope and be even more inclusive than the book. Vega plays a trans character who is just as affected by the new world order as everyone else. Sister Maria has had to struggle to be true to herself and also develops the skein that gives women their electric powers. In many ways, "The Power" is aspirational as well as speculative. Many people fantasize about not living in fear and reclaiming some societal power that the patriarchy has taken from them. The addition of Sister Maria is yet another flavor that enhances the book.