“I think you are incapable of love, and I think you are maybe not a good person to have children”

Tom Wambsgans to Shiv Roy

Warning: ‘Succession’ Spoilers Ahead


‘Succession’ is a powerhouse in our modern society with its ability to appeal to both young and old generations. By displaying business-related relationships in a somewhat understandable manner, while also focusing on the interpersonal relationships among its characters, ‘Succession’ speaks to the human condition and simultaneously creates characters with “unfathomable”  morals. The relationships highlighted in ‘Succession’ is that of the Roy children and their father. The show depicts how, despite their best efforts, their relationships often affect their management of the company. A character whose wit and “monstrosity” is often simultaneously acknowledged and disregarded is Siobhan Roy. “Shiv” or, “Pinky” as she is often affectionately referred to by her father, is a force to be reckoned with. She consistently manipulates those around her, especially her husband, and constantly weaponizes and twists her “liberalism” whenever it benefits her to do so. Even her nickname, “Shiv” is a weapon meant to stab others and summarizes her relationship with others and her siblings rather well. Despite this, Shiv is constantly pushed aside and disregarded, out of the company and eventually, out of the public eye because, despite her ruthlessness and tact, at the end of the day, she is a woman.

Shiv Defeated

Shiv, initially, was an outsider to the family business, Waystar Royco. Instead, she chose to pave her own path as a counsellor for liberal politicians. Already, this separates Shiv from the rest of her conservative family, a separation easily remedied when her father, offers her a position as CEO and states that she will begin onboarding as she is an outsider to the company. However, Logan promised this in secrecy, and the “onboarding” process Shiv underwent was extremely lackluster and involved her sitting in the background and not being notified of current affairs in the company. When she then publicly announces that her father had promised her the role of CEO at dinner, it is immediately ripped away from her. This was the first instance of the undermining of Siobhan Roy and influences her entire experience at Waystar Royco. 

Shiv is “neglected,” not only in her professional life but in her personal life as well. It is the Roy family’s very inability to separate their business from their familial lives that leads to Shiv experiencing similar treatment regardless of the situation. Aside from her father/boss, Shiv is continuously diminished by both her brothers and her husband. Shiv, despite her enormous amounts of wealth and her connection to the literal CEO of Waystar Royco, faces the inevitable fate that many women in a male-dominated industry face, the devaluing of their opinion and power. Although she possesses numerous connections inside and outside the company, a sharp tongue and quick problem-solving skills, Siobhan is pushed off to the side, only called for when they’re facing issues that require a female figurehead. When these issues do not arise, Siobhan is consistently and aggressively pushed out of family proceedings, most notably by her father, Logan, and her sibling, Roman.

New Additions

A new addition to Shiv’s life, and to the Roy family itself, introduces a new problem. Siobhan’s pregnancy is capable of either leading her to further ostracization, or further solidifying her place at Waystar Royco because of the protectiveness a baby may elicit from her brothers. However, in both situations, it is undeniable that Siobhan’s fate rests in the hands of the men around her, and in both situations, she is only capable of maintaining the role of a “mother” and not an actual, functioning board member. While there is certainly no shame in choosing to leave behind the workplace in order to pursue a family life, the keyword in this idea is “choice.” Rather, Siobhan’s proximity to power does not provide her with the freedom many would expect. Instead, she experiences, first-hand, the trials and tribulations that regular women in the workplace encounter every day. She is constantly being forced to prove herself and if she has even one slip up, if she shows a little bit too much emotion, she is “unhinged”, a “bad mother” and deserves to be kicked out of the company. 

The Story of Siobhan Roy, while it is a tale as old as time, elicits a deeper depression. As humans, it is natural for us to assume that the higher we rise up in the ranks of society, the better the treatment we’ll get. This is the mindset that motivates many minority groups: POC, people of low economic standing, and women. However, Siobhan shows us that it truly does not matter how far we rise in the system, at the end of the day, we exist in a system meant to diminish us and keep us down. The system will continue to do so regardless of how much power we have because, at the end of the day, the ones who truly own the power are the ones who created the system. It is then in this way that Siobhan acts as a cautionary tale, she chooses to act within the system, to conform in her effort to obtain power. Rather, it is necessary to fight, to not go gently into the night. 

About the Author

Hi! I'm a blog writer for WEW at the uofa! I'm in my first year majoring in biology and love consuming any forms of media I can: music, reading and movies, I love them all! I hope you enjoy my blogs and come back to WEW to read more!