Is the Secret to Succession in its Names?

Is the Secret to Succession in its Names?

The hit HBO series Succession airs its finale on Sunday, May 28th, and fans are theorizing who will take over Waystar RoyCo.

Our official Nameberry prediction — which has gone viral this weekend — is that the ending to Succession is written in its names.

The Succession characters have meaningful names. Siobhan's nickname, Shiv, is a term for a knife, and Roman's nickname, Romulus, references the Roman king who murdered his brother Remus.

Most surnames on TV are relatively common in the US, including Roy, which ranks at Number 640 among American last names. However, Roy is a perfect fit for the Scottish family who rules over American media, as Roy has Scottish origins and means "king" in Latin.

Rare surnames on TV are typically chosen with intention, and the most unique last name on Succession, Wambsgans, is particularly notable. It's the last name of Siobhan's Midwestern husband Tom, a man from Minnesota.

On the surface, Wambsgams is a self-explanatory choice — it's a goofy German surname for an outsider to the Roy empire. But the meaning goes even deeper.

The exact origins of Wambsgans are obscure. Gans is a German word that means "goose", while wambs appears to be related to the Gothic name Wamba, meaning "big paunch". Wamba also shares roots with the English word "womb", givng Wambsgans possible meanings of "pregnant goose" (perhaps a reference to Shiv's pregnancy), "fattened goose", or "goose-down coat".

Any of those proposed meanings could lead to possible finale theories, but the most compelling evidence is the person with whom Tom shares his surname.

Bill Wambsganss was a second baseman for the Cleveland Indians in the early 20th century. He would have been entirely lost to history were it not for one amazing feat — in the 1920, Wambsganss completed the only unassisted triple play in World Series history.

Wambsganss is the only notable person with his surname, so it is not a coincidence that he shares this unusual last name with Tom. Could this mean that Tom will make an unassisted triple play and take out Kendall, Shiv, and Roman to lead Waystar RoyCo?

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at Sophie lives in Chicago.