The magic of HBO’s Succession isn’t just in how miserable it makes it look to be obscenely rich, but in the ways in which the series keeps you deeply invested in its characters. Considering the show centers on a bunch of depraved sociopaths—and also Cousin Greg—that’s impressive in and of itself. But Succession contains multitudes: Each of the show’s core characters is terrible in a unique way, and is capable of making you laugh, cry, and cringe in equal measure. You wouldn’t condone their behavior, but, let’s face it, you can’t look away, either.
Ever wonder where you’d fit into the Succession world? Whether you’d be someone capable of taking over a multibillion-dollar corporate empire, or better off collecting seed money for a Napoleonic podcast in the deserts of New Mexico? To help you figure out how you’d fit into the Roy clan—if you aren’t completely insulted by the idea of comparing yourself to these people—I’ve provided a breakdown for the key characters of Succession, their personality traits, and a series of rhetorical questions that will help you better understand just how decayed your soul may be. The rest is up to you: Be honest with yourself and whom you identify with; only then is it possible to determine whether you’re more of a Kendall or a Shiv. And if none of the answers from this exercise satisfies you, best fuck off because you’re a healthy, normal, well-adjusted human being.
Personality traits: cutthroat; fearsome; tragically envious of the tremendous wealth passed down to his children because he had to work for everything; willing to tell all of his own children they’re disappointments; favorite sport is probably baseball and he probably gets really pissed when players express a modicum of emotion on the field because that’s “not how the game is supposed to be played.”
Overview: Even when he’s reeling from a brain hemorrhage, Logan is an intimidating figure. While it’s clear that he has an antiquated view of the media and entertainment spaces and, if given the opportunity, would run Waystar Royco into the ground, everyone’s too scared to tell him otherwise. (And if you do try to usurp him before he’s good and ready to retire, well, you’ll become a slobbering mess like poor Kendall.) Logan is basically the Tywin Lannister of this show, and until someone figuratively—or literally, if things get weird!—kills him while he’s on the (golden) privy, he’ll remain the top dog.
Are you Logan Roy?
- Do you believe local news is a profitable industry in 2019?
- Are you unaware that you’re reenacting the plot of King Lear with F-bombs?
- Do you occasionally get confused and pee in your penthouse closet?
- Do you tell each of your children to “fuck off” at least once a day?
- Do people despise you so much they’re willing to throw a bunch of pee at you outside your corporate building?
- Have you used family bonding time as a publicity stunt to ensure shareholders believe everything is fine at your company?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Logan Roy—and you should really stop investing in dying industries. And maybe hug your children.
Personality traits: addictive tendencies; an overwhelming desire to earn his father’s approval; the perfectly awful manifestation of a Business Bro who’ll open an important meeting with “Uh … yo”; constantly underestimating how badly family and business partners will fuck him over; unwilling to accept that he’ll never win over his ex-wife; always owned.
Overview: The first time we see Kendall in the series, he’s rapping over some Beastie Boys in the back of his car while wearing noise-cancelling headphones—much to the dismay of his personal driver—which represents all that sucks and is strangely endearing about him. He’s an absolute tool, but he’s also the Roy most qualified to take over the company and has a plan to invest in digital media. (Which, hey, is better than local news!) Unfortunately, every time Kendall tries to wrestle Waystar away from his father, he’s thwarted in dramatic fashion and falls back into using hard drugs. If Succession’s second season is anything like the first, Kendall will be caught in a Sisyphean loop of trying to step out of his father’s shadow, only to be squashed like the failson he’s seemingly destined to be.
Are you Kendall Roy?
- Is Hypebeast.com one of your most frequented websites?
- Is business your fucking?
- Have you awkwardly forced a news anchor to agree to be your date to a charity event, completely oblivious to the fact that she doesn’t want to be there?
- Do you want more than anything to be daddy’s no. 1 boy?
- Have you ever successfully plotted the takeover of your father’s company only to commit involuntary manslaughter in the English countryside, and when you try to forget it ever happened you discover that your father’s men have recovered your hotel keycard—and that he’s leveraging the situation to keep the company in his hands, rendering you a complete psychological wreck as you’re beholden to your father’s whims in perpetuity because he totally wouldn’t hesitate to get you thrown into prison?
- Did you basically become the Reek of your family?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Kendall Roy—and you could really use a hug and probably should use a lot less cocaine.
Siobhan “Shiv” Roy
Personality traits: calculated; savvy; would rather run the campaign for a Democratic socialist who hates her father than actually work at Waystar; by far the most functional Roy child; exceedingly horny for dirtbags.
Overview: If Logan wanted to pass on the company to one of his children—note: It would probably take Logan straight-up dying at this point for him to ever give up control—Shiv would be the most logical choice. She doesn’t have an addiction problem like Kendall, and what she lacks in corporate managerial experience she makes up for with an impressive political career that could send Fictional Bernie Sanders right to the Oval Office. Of course, Shiv’s competence in the workplace doesn’t make up for constantly cheating on Tom, and, like the rest of her family, appearing to totally lack empathy. The fact that she doesn’t have the obvious weaknesses of the other Roys only makes her more frightening; a true heir apparent to her father. Also: Her fucking nickname is Shiv.
Are you Siobhan Roy?
- Are you incapable of having a monogamous marriage?
- Do you have an insatiable urge to hook up with your sleazy ex?
- Are you so good at spinning media narratives that you can prevent a leaked photo of a political candidate’s anus from derailing their career?
- Would you willingly conduct political backchanneling on your wedding day?
- Is your impulse to work with a liberal-leaning candidate less about your political beliefs than it is about sticking it to your asshole father?
- Do you look great in every conceivable outfit?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Shiv Roy—and I hope you’re being honest with your significant other.
Personality traits: highly sociable; has (undiagnosed?) attention-deficit disorder; exhibits a primal fear of Papa Roy; weirdly self-aware that he’s part of a horrible family while doing nothing to curtail his awful habits.
Overview: Like Kendall, Roman’s first moment in the premiere is a glorious summation of his personality: shouting “Hey, hey, motherfuckers!” as he barges into his brother’s office. Roman wants to succeed his father and take over Waystar as much as anyone, but he’s uniquely unqualified to do so. Any time he’s given any responsibility, he abuses his power—like when he accelerates a rocket launch to coincide with Shiv’s wedding, and the thing blows up. (Naturally, he celebrates the fact that only a couple of workers lost thumbs, and possibly an arm.) As much as Roman wants to be a power player like Kendall and Shiv, he also wants to do none of the work that it would entail.
Are you Roman Roy?
- Do you prefer to take your shirt off while brainstorming?
- Have you masturbated at the window of your shiny new corner office?
- Do you have, um, performance problems with your significant other?
- Have you gleefully ripped up a check for a million bucks in front of a young child from a lower middle class family?
- As a child, did you ask your older brother to lock you in a dog cage—and secretly find it sexually gratifying?
- Are you basically Gob Bluth from Arrested Development without an obsession with magi—sorry, illusions?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Roman Roy—and you should never be in charge of anything that puts people’s lives at risk.
Personality traits: so profoundly lonely he hires an escort to be his girlfriend and pretend to love him; is an actual man-child; believes water is the next resource humanity will fight over (clearly he’s watched Mad Max: Fury Road?); probably gets his news from Reddit conspiracy threads.
Overview: The ultimate Large Adult Son, Connor is so aimless he decides out of the blue at the end of Season 1 that he wants to become president of the United States—and earnestly believes he has a shot of getting the gig. While Connor has zero interest in taking over Waystar after Logan, if he actually cared about succeeding him then he’d be even less qualified than Roman. (And that’s saying something!)
Are you Connor Roy?
- Are you on the verge of setting up your podcast on Napoleonic history?
- Have you paid locals to shoot your dying dog because you didn’t have the stomach to do so yourself?
- Do you live in a luxurious dystopian ranch in middle-of-nowhere New Mexico?
- Is Kyrie Irving your favorite basketball player because he has “interesting ideas”?
- Do you lose your mind when cold butter is served at a charity gala?
- Are you against paying taxes?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Connor Roy—and the best thing I can say about you is that you appear to have a nice sweater collection.
Personality traits: self-loathing about his perceived social status; transparently obsequious to the Roy family; almost as obsessed with advancing his career as he is getting the family’s stamp of approval; appears genuinely smitten with Shiv before and after she confesses to infidelity; totally unprofessional and insulting toward his subordinates at Waystar (but especially poor Greg).
Overview: One of the most entertaining and truly deluded characters on TV, Tom clearly had to fight his way to the top of the Waystar corporate ladder before he and Shiv became an item. However, the fact that he wasn’t handed a silver spoon is perhaps the only redeeming thing about his character. He feels so insecure about his standing among the Roys that he uses the comparatively clueless Cousin Greg as his punching bag—something that will apparently extend to the second season in a literal fashion, as evinced by him chucking water bottles in the poor fella’s direction in the official trailer. The more Tom boasts about how awesome it is to be rich, the more you question whether he really believes that, or whether he’s gone too far and is trying to talk himself into it. Power corrupts all—even this Ken Doll–looking-ass dude from the Midwest.
Are you Tom Wambsgans?
- Do you and your best buds refer to yourselves as the “Fly Guys”?
- Are you proud that your parents made a contribution to the wine that was served at your lavish wedding?
- Do you love ortolan and eat it in the traditional French way?
- Have you ever been forced to cover up a litany of sexual misconduct allegations against employees of your company’s cruise lines?
- Have you threatened to hire men to break your wife’s ex-boyfriend’s legs if he makes any more sexual advances on her?
- Have you swallowed your own load?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Tom Wambsgans—and you’re a firm believer in the closed-loop-system theory of adultery.
Personality traits: naive; fidgety; incompetent; tries to steal as much free food from the office as possible in doggie bags; doesn’t want corporate power as much he simply wants a job that will get him out of living in a youth hostel; believes knocking over bells in luxurious apartments will accidentally summon maids.
Overview: Greg the Egg is the closest thing Succession has to an audience surrogate. He may be related to the Roys, but when he enters the picture he’s just as puzzled by their abhorrent behavior as we are. Of course, the Roys’ perpetual scheming/back-stabbing eventually rubs off on him. Greg might appear to be—and often is—a doofus, but he’s smart enough to leverage the situations he’s thrust into. Cousin Greg’s still got a lot to learn compared to the rest of his family, but the gangly fella is learning.
Are you Cousin Greg?
- Has an extended family member referred to you as a “little Machiavellian fuck” in an endearing manner?
- Do you love the cajun chicken linguini at California Pizza Kitchen?
- Do you not like it in the Death Pit?
- Have you puked through the eye sockets of a theme park mascot costume in front of terrified children?
- Are you over 6 feet tall?
- Are you over six-and-a-half feet tall?
- Have you snorted cocaine because your drug-addict relative forced your hand and said he would snort all the powder until his heart exploded if you didn’t partake?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you are Cousin Greg—and witnessing every absurd thing you do is giving me serious second-hand embarrassment.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.