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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.


229 award nominations, 84 wins, 4 seasons, and 1 dysfunctional family. Succession was more than just a show on rich businessmen trying to get richer and who would take over the title of CEO of Waystar Royco. It was a show that wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself, explored generational trauma and gender roles in business, and made connections to great works of literature. Now that the winner has been crowned King and the Roy family solidified themselves as a Tragedy unlike any other in modern media, the deeper meanings that have been shown throughout the show really come together full circle.

The ending of Succession caused some debate. Was it the right ending? None of the Roy children got the title, and Tom Wambsgans is by no means the man Logan Roy was, but wasn’t that the point? Without the heavy shadow of their father shielding them from the harsh light of the real world, the Roy children falter. Throughout the series, Kendall Roy made many attempts to dethrone his father, each ending in horrible failure and further submitting his character as one of the most tragic ever written. 

The Season 1 Finale, with Kendall getting in a car crash with a waiter at his sister’s wedding in the search for more drugs to feed his substance abuse, resulting in the death of the young waiter, haunting and ruining his chances of gaining the CEO position. When Shiv betrays Kendal in the vote to make Kendall CEO, one of her reasons for not wanting him as CEO is that he killed a kid. The difference between Kendall at the beginning of the series and the end is clear when he completely denies getting in the car crash with the waiter, saying it never happened. This shows that the poison did, in fact, drip through, and though Kendall really did try to be better than his father, it further showed the impact of generational trauma in the Roy family.

Generational Trauma

The point of Succession is not to prove to the audience that the ultra-rich are horrible people. That much is shown in the first few episodes. You shouldn’t like these characters. Kendall accidentally drove a car into a pond, resulting in the death of a waiter, and after this manslaughter, he let his father clean it up for him. Roman is an openly racist, sexist person who supported a fascist running for president. Shiv cheats on her husband and asks for an open marriage on their wedding night. So why do we watch? A show with no likable characters doesn’t make for a fun viewing. That’s where the beauty of the writing comes in. These characters are more than just their stereotypical rich-person types. They are all complex with their own motivations and faults. One thing that keeps these characters sympathetic is the constant reminder that Logan, their father, is abusive both emotionally and physically towards Roman and the generational trauma in the Roy family. In the end, though, the children’s failure came of their own accord. Logan may have given them a push towards the self-destruct button, but they each pushed their own. 

Gender Roles 

Shiv Roy is a complex character whose biggest fear is being betrayed. A woman who sought nothing more than to prove she could be a part of the boys’ club and that her femininity doesn’t stop her from being powerful. As the only girl in a family of boys and an overall male-dominated workspace, Shiv’s ending is one that hurts the most personally. From playing so hard, being so manipulative, to being reduced to the wife of the CEO and future mother of his child seems like the most twisted fate for her. As Marcia, Logan’s 2nd wife, said best, “He made you a playground and you think it is the world.” Shiv’s world revolves around her father’s approval, and when he passes away, we see her go back to her deceiving ways to remain a player.

LIT connections

One of the funniest things about Succession is the high level of vocabulary used by these characters, the thing I find most unrealistic about the show. For example, Tom gives his wife Shiv a scorpion as a gift when they are just starting to mind their relationship in the fourth season. It connects to the story of a scorpion and a frog, where they agree the scorpion will not sting the frog and kill them both if they cross the pond. However, as they are crossing, the scorpion stings the frog, and when the frog asks why, the scorpion says they don’t know why; it’s just in their nature. This represents Tom and Shiv’s relationship; as Tom says, they love each other, but they both kill each other. They’ve each betrayed each other, and in a way, it’s hard to determine who’s the scorpion and who’s the frog. Tom also tells Greg, his personal assistant, the story of Sporus and Nero. Nero killed his wife and had Sporus castrated, and he married him instead. Tom compares his and Greg’s relationship to that of Sporus and Nero, further showing his betrayal of Shiv and loyalty to Greg. 

Overall, Succession brought a higher level of thinking to television while still keeping the audience entertained.

My name is Amanda and I am currently a Freshman at the University of Tampa and a new member at Her Campus. I’m from Orlando, Florida and played volleyball for 8 years and have traveled a lot so, most of my articles will focus on that interest. I study journalism at the University of Tampa and look forward to writing on topics that interest me. I do not have much experience so this will be a great learning opportunity. A fun fact about me is that I’m a twin, and I have four pets back at home. I have a lot of experience fostering kittens and with volunteer work. I also love to cook and bake. I can’t wait to meet new people and share my articles with everyone!