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Succession - What does “cat food Ozymandias” mean?

Those devilish Succession screenwriters love to throw in classical references, and the latest episode of one of the best TV series out there gave us a good one.

Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy in Succession season 4

What does “cat food Ozymandias” mean in Succession? We’re going to miss Succession, and we’re certainly going to miss the show’s writers. They have an eye for an outrageous punchline and a clever witticism, giving these actors terrific material to work with.

The Succession writers had another red letter day this week, gifting the best Succession characters with plenty of bon mots as they marked Logan Roy’s funeral. After all, the best TV series on screens today deserves a script befitting its reputation for verbal dexterity. And, with several years of this under their belts, the Succession cast knows exactly how to deliver this material.

We’ve got more from this week’s Waystar reckoning in our Succession season 4 episode 9 recap, but for now, let’s turn our focus to one brilliant line and explain: what does “cat food Ozymandias” mean?

What does cat food Ozymandias mean in Succession?

Shiv Roy refers to Logan as a “cat food Ozymandias”, in reference to the classic poem, because he bought his gaudy mausoleum from a pet supply businessman.

It’s fair to say Logan’s mausoleum is not a subtle affair, which led to Shiv comparing her father to the figure at the heart of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 19th century sonnet: Ozymandias.

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The poem focuses on the hubris of supposedly “great” leaders by describing a partially buried and destroyed statue of the titular ruler, bearing the inscription: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Shelley’s meaning dwells on the idea that even the most powerful people will eventually die and see their achievements fade from memory. Add that to the fact Logan got his laughably overblown mausoleum from a “petfood.com guy” and, there we have it, he’s a “cat food Ozymandias”. Succession writers, take a bow. You’ve earned it.

For more from Waystar and the Roys, find out why one Succession character based their season 4 wardrobe on Elon Musk and why the Succession pilot is a perfect episode of television.

We’ve also got our picks for the best drama series, best anime series, and best comedy series of all time. There’s always something to watch.