‘Power Book II’ Easter Egg: Tariq’s Book List Is Season 1 Story Arc, Per Creator Courtney Kemp

Tariq St. Patrick is officially a college student who finessed his way into the program of his choice. The title for the first episode of Power Book II: Ghost is “The Stranger,” a nod to the book and the episode’s theme.

According to Power creator Courtney Kemp, this is all by design, and as the series moves through its 10-part season, the storylines will be rooted in Tariq’s book-laden syllabus.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Power Book II: Ghost Episode 1: “The Stranger”]

Michael Rainey Jr. as Tariq in 'Power Book II: Ghost'
Michael Rainey Jr. as Tariq in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ | Starz

How Courtney Kemp tied the books into ‘Power Book 2’

Kemp talked to Deadline about the new spinoff and explained the idea of using Tariq’s education as a metaphor for his drug-dealing life. In The Stranger, Tariq broke down his summation of the Albert Camus book about a man named Meursault.

The main character killed his acquaintance’s enemy and felt indifferent about the act and the world in general. By the end of the story, he accepted his fate and his sentence to death. To Tariq, a killer knows why he kills.

Kemp told Deadline that all 10 episodes will incorporate pieces of literature for several reasons.

“By sowing in his syllabus and using great books to be the seeds and the anchors of these episodes in the first 10 episodes, we’re using the format of the great books to give him an education, and to ask for him, what do those great books say about the drug dealing world?” Kemp said.

“What do they say about the life? What lessons can he learn from great literature?”

She also encourages fans to read along if they want to so they can understand Tariq’s journey.

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Which books are on Tariq’s reading list in ‘Power Book 2’

Were you able to catch a glimpse at Tariq’s email from Milgram? Titles were arranged from 1 to 10 and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is next.

Originally written in 1861, the story follows an orphan who works alongside a wealthy family in the hopes of becoming a “gentleman.” It’s a complicated tale about money, crime, deception, and growing up. Not coincidentally, episode two in the series is called “Exceeding Expectations.”

Plato’s Apology remains a university staple and centers on Socrates, the famous philosopher’s teacher. The Apology is a take on Socrates’ speech when he was on trial for a number of blasphemy-related crimes.

He defended himself by basically claiming all the charges were ludicrous. Episode 3 of Power Book II is titled “Play the Game” but it’s too early to tell which character will be justifying their deeds.

Next up is The Prince by Machiavelli, which is often referenced in pop culture for its advice on how to achieve power and human nature. It should be obvious how it fits in with the show.

Following that classic tome are The Works of O. Henry, which can be related to any of the author’s short stories including The Gift of the Magi or The Caballero’s Way. The latter birthed the famous character called The Cisco Kid, an outlaw who thwarted those plotting against him.

Other works Tariq has to study include Leviathan vs. Second Treatise of Government (both about power/rulership), The 48 Laws of Power, Invisible Man (a complex tale about a Black man, identity, and community), Frankenstein (the story of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created), and Heart of Darkness.

Keep up with the latest episodes of Power Book II on Starz each Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.