Buckle up, fuckleheads! Marina Esmeraldo has turned your favourite Succession characters into a Tarot deck
Depicting the flawed, complex characters of the hit show, the Barcelona-based illustrator’s inspired project is quite brilliant. WARNING: Series four spoilers below!
- Olivia Hingley
- 1 June 2023
After four seasons and a lot of drama, HBO’s Succession has finally come to a close, leaving fans of the satirical, high-tension family series bereft. But luckily, to fill the Succession-sized hole in your life, Brazilian illustrator Marina Esmeraldo (a fellow die-hard fan) has turned her obsession into something brilliant – an animated Tarot deck featuring the TV show’s most complicated characters.
This isn’t the first time we’ve come across a TV-inspired Tarot deck, after Juanjo Cristiani’s exceptional Ru Paul-themed deck hit our screens in 2021. Like Juanjo, Marina’s creative reproduction of a deck follows her own personal use and fascination with the Tarot medium. Marina sees Tarot as being particularly suited to the “extremely nuanced layers to the characters and all the unspoken, dysfunctional family dynamics” of Succession. She continues: “The children of Logan Roy are always acting from a place of their wounded inner children (which lives in the subconscious), and the Tarot is a wonderful way of examining these dynamics.” After first completing the Kendall Roy card during a daily drawing challenge, she knew it needed to become a whole series, and soon found herself scouring the internet for psychological analysis of the Roy kids.
In terms of visuals, each card involved a lot of “exploration”, working out a fine balance of shapes and references that would fit inside the slender frames. Marina also looked to traditional decks – like the Tarot de Marseille and Rider-Waite decks – while “sprinkling” in her own style when it felt right. When it came to pairing each character with their card, Marina says it was an “intuitive” process. “I’m so happy with the end product because they truly reflect not only each character’s psychology, but also what went down in the stunning final series of the show,” she says. Read on to find out Marina’s thinking behind each card.
Kendal Roy & The Tower
“For Kendall’s portrait, I chose to use symbolism from ‘The Tower’, a Major Arcana card that evokes sudden change, upheaval, chaos, revelation and awakening, connected to everything that he has tried to do within his father’s company and all that has happened to him in the show,” says Marina.
Siobhan Roy & Death
“For Shiv, I drew her with symbolism from ‘Death’, a Major Arcana card that represents endings, change (and resistance to it), transformation and transition. Shiv has undergone some of the biggest transformations in the show, being corrupted by power and her desire for validation from her father.”
Roman Roy & The Devil
“For Roman’s portrait, I drew symbolism from ‘The Devil’, a Major Arcana card that represents the shadow self, attachment, addiction, restriction and sexuality. Of all the Roy children, Roman is arguably the most attached to Logan and is constantly twitching about in the depths of his shame.”
Greg Hirsch & The Wheel of Fortune
“For Greg’s portrait, I used symbolism from the card ‘Wheel of Fortune’, a Major Arcana card that represents good luck, karma, life cycles, destiny and a turning point. Cousin Greg is one of the show’s most delightful characters, who has risen through the Roy family business’ ranks by sheer, clumsy determination (and an ill-advised association with OTP Tom).”
Tom Wambsgans & The Magician
“For Tom’s portrait, I used symbolism from ‘The Magician’, a Major Arcana card that, both upright and reversed, can represent manipulation, manifestation, resourcefulness and power. Tom, our favourite corn-fed basic from Hockeytown and consummate punching-down bully, has been manipulating his way up the chain forever.”
Logan Roy & The Emperor
“The man, the myth, the monster: Logan Roy. I took symbolism from ‘The Emperor’, a Major Arcana card that, both upright and reversed, can represent authority, power, domination and excessive control. Logan was the sun everyone orbited around. His departure left a vacuum of grief, chaos and destruction, especially for the Roy children, who have to deal with his monstrous legacy of violent competition for his approval, even after his death. This show has made history and shall be missed!”
Marina Esmeraldo: Succession Tarot Deck – Tom (Copyright © Marina Esmeraldo, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.