I did not finish watching all the DS9 episodes. In the DS9 episodes that I watched, Rom was portrayed as a loser. Not just in humans' eyes, but particularly in Ferengis' eyes. He was a poor businessman. He was a weak salary worker who was constantly bullied by his boss who was his own brother. I started to gain some respect for him in one of the episodes when he plucked up the courage to start a union. However, I was horrified to hear him quoting Karl Marx "Workers of the world. Unite!". Can you imagine the future leader of the ultimate capitalist species Ferengis quoting communist slogans? Later when Rom changed job, he had a low-sounding job title as some kind of maintenance engineer in the Federation. To make things worse, the Federation does not pay a salary as money does not exist in the Federation economy. Most unFerengi-like.

I am absolutely dumbfounded when my son told me Rom became Grand Nagus. It is really hard to imagine a junior worker with a lousy job title and a loser history rising up to become CEO of a big corporation. His story can be an inspiration to long-time losers. But how did he get there?

  • 3
    I'm gonna Godwin this one right now. Third Reich was led by a failed painter with uncharismatic looks, history of political failure, and one testicle (and presumably a host of other psychological issues if OSS psych profile is in any way accurate). Let's not even get started on some of the later Roman emperors. So, this isn't unprecedented in world history. Dec 26, 2016 at 4:18
  • Also, to take it to more American settings: Theodore Roosevelt was a largely pro-labour leader of Republican party in early 20th century who often slid close to socialism (to the point of splitting off to run as a Progressive candidate). And life-long Democrat Donald Trump (he only stopped being a registered Democrat in 2009) is President-Elect from nominally pro-capitalist Republican Party in early 21st century. Dec 26, 2016 at 4:25
  • So he could be a puppet controlled by Zek? So he could be a target in case Zek's policies failed?
    – RichS
    Jan 1, 2017 at 3:58
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    “In the DS9 episodes that I watched, Rom was portrayed as a loser.” He’s a competent engineer who supports his son in becoming the first Ferengi to join Starfleet, and he marries Leeta. This is not a loser. LEAVE ROM ALONE Mar 9, 2017 at 23:43
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    It is a bit ridiculous alright, but in fairness to Rom, he did well to rise out of loserdom throughout the series, but never anything to close to becoming Grand Nagus. The only (in-universe) explanation I can think of is that his mother was sleeping with the current Grand Nagus!
    – komodosp
    Mar 31, 2017 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


The Nagus appoints his successor.

ZEK: Shh. A new Ferenginar needs a new kind of Nagus. A kinder, gentler Nagus. And that's you, my boy. It's a great responsibility to stand at the bow of the Ferengi ship of state. A Nagus has to navigate the waters of the Great Material Continuum, avoid the shoals of bankruptcy and seek the strong winds of prosperity.

(Rom takes the staff from Zek.)

ROM: I'll do the best I can.

DS9: The Dogs of War

The writers chose to write in some additional lines to show that Ferengi society had changed sufficiently for someone like Rom (someone with socialist tendencies and a history of union rabble-rousing) to not be a completely ridiculous choice.

QUARK: Did you know this Congress of Economic Meddlers actually passed legislation making monopolies illegal? What's the point of being in business if you can't corner the market and gouge your customers?


QUARK: You can't even dump industrial waste anymore because it might harm the natural habitat. I'm supposed to start worrying about animals now? Look how they live, wallowing in dirt, sleeping in trees. That's not natural.


QUARK: I read a report that over forty percent of the population no longer believes that you have to buy your way into the Divine Treasury when you die.


QUARK: They don't teach children the Rules of Acquisition anymore.

DS9: The Dogs of War

Out of universe, exec producer Ira Behr and Actor/Director René Echevarria spoke to the changes that Ferengi society had to go through in order to make Rom's story arc a believable one.

We had to figure out what would happen to Ferengi society that would enable Rom to become the Nagus. We were in love with the idea, but Rom wasn't up to being the Nagus of the old Ferenginar. They'd eat him alive. But to oversee a new Ferenginar that had a heart and compassion and was trying to be more progressive, well Rom has those qualities."

As René Echevarria elaborates, "To some extent, we'd laid some pipe in that direction with Moogie's influence on the Nagus. The audience had accepted the leap Moogie had accomplished for females, so we figured they'd be able to make this leap too

Deep Space Nine Companion


Short answer: his mother somehow convinced the current Grand Nagus, who happened to be her lover, that Rom was the right person for the job once Zek retired. Zek then appointed him the new Grand Nagus - as far as we know, no vote or confirmation was necessary.

Zek also had a bad memory, and was seen numerous times forgetting many important things.

  • Wait, Ferengis had what seems to amount to hereditary rule? Dec 26, 2016 at 4:30
  • The current Grand Nagus can appoint his successor - doesn't necessarily have to be family. He appointed Quark when he was testing his own son's ability during the first appearance of the GN in DS9 (where he faked his own death etc).
    – Derek
    Dec 26, 2016 at 4:32
  • That seems... counter to the spirit of Rules of Acquisition. Dec 26, 2016 at 4:33
  • Blame the writers lol
    – Derek
    Dec 26, 2016 at 4:42
  • @DVK-in-Florida The Grand Nagus has extreme powers, verging on being an Emperor. Zek publishes a revised set of rules at one point, which seems to show that he can influence the very cultural fabric of the Ferengi. The GN also has the power to overrule the Commerce Authority, which Zek does on behalf of Quark at least once. Part or Rom's coming to power included a new legislative body that finally had some power over the Nagus, so Rom inherited a much less powerful position. It's possible the Commerce Authority has never had th epower/influence to affect the position of Nagus.
    – ench
    Dec 27, 2016 at 20:32

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