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A Love Letter to Siobhan “Shiv” Roy on HBO’s Succession

Shiv Roy in Succession

** Spoilers for the HBO show Succession. You’ve been warned. **

If you’re not watching Succession on HBO, I can tell you that you’re wrong, but also I was in the same boat until this last weekend. A show focused on the people we love to hate most in this world, there is something about the characters of Succession that still keep you engaged and caring about their, frankly, rich people problems.

Wealthy businessman Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is an evil man who would rather screw over his children than come off as “weak,” and he does so repeatedly throughout the first season of the show. But out of Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Sioban (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sioban’s nickname), the only daughter, is the one who stands against her father the most, and in a good way. (Kendall makes an attempt but dear lord does it backfire.)

Working with a liberal politician that Logan Roy has deemed his enemy, Shiv doesn’t seem to want her job just to get back at her father. Instead, she’s there because of the politician’s policies, which she believes in, and Nate (her ex-boyfriend)’s connection to him. Still, in a show filled with terrible people, Shiv is one of the few who has her morals at least somewhat intact (even if she’s sleeping with her ex while her fiancé doesn’t understand their somewhat open relationship).

On last night’s season 2 premiere, there was a gift given to Shiv that may or may not be a positive thing going forward (we’re guessing it sets her up for a world of trouble). Logan Roy is trying to make a big decision about his company: who should be in charge (hence the show’s title!). After Roy covers up Kendall’s drug-fueled accident that results in the death of someone at Shiv’s wedding, he knows that Kendall cannot run the company and neither can either of his other sons.

So finally, after never letting Shiv work for him in regards to the board of their entire empire, Logan decides that Shiv is the one who will be his new CEO. Granted, we can’t really trust Logan Roy. Never has he done something without an ulterior motive. Still, the idea that he’s giving Shiv her chance is wonderful, not because of nepotism but because out of all the Roy children, she’s the one who has proven her intelligence and prowess outside of her father. It’s good to see a principled, powerful female character in charge on a show like Succession.

Maybe I love Shiv Roy because she seems to be one of the more grounded of the Roy family. She loves her father, despite knowing what a monster he is, but she always stands up for herself and her beliefs. That being said, she isn’t necessarily my favorite character overall—maybe because I don’t feel like I have to worry about what she’s going to do next, as I do with literally everyone else on this show. (I stand behind my Kendall Roy love and you can’t take that from me.)

In a fictional universe filled with characters who we’d tear apart on Twitter if they truly existed, Succession shows us exactly how these elite families come to exploit and corrupt America. They don’t care about what happens to the rest of the country in their own greed, which is one of the primary stories of our time. Subsequently, Succession is one of the best shows on television, and I apologize to my friend who told me to watch it for months on end and I refused to. You were right, all praise to Succession.

(image: HBO)

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