Actor Max Grodenchik delves into the character of Rom and explains what makes the Ferengi tick.
Initially the character of Rom was meant to be a Ferengi misfit, one who couldn’t fit into the profit-loving Ferengi society.
Initially Rom was that misfit, said Grodenchik, “who would “never be his brother, though he desperately wants to be like him, to fit in, to be able to deal in business as his brother and other Ferengi do, but he lacks the unscrupulous nature necessary for such wheeling/dealing. And of course he knows how out of place he is in that business culture and is frustrated by his repeated attempts to try to be someone he is, at heart, not.”
Living on Deep Space Nine changed the misfit though, allowing him to forge his own identity. “What happens in the course of the series is that Rom begins to come into contact with many different aliens, especially humans – especially Starfleet humans, and now there are these tremendous other influences on him, not just his brother’s influence,” said Grodenchik. “And this is how he develops, this is how he learns that there’s another way to be, in fact, not just one way to be, but that people have choices, make choices, about what they want their lives to be. By the end of the series, not having to be under his brother’s thumb, I think he’d had the opportunity to explore who he really was, and the possibilities of who he could become.
“…in the beginning he built his life around something he deep-down really was not. Over the course of the series he was able to construct a life based on a more realistic sense of himself, who he really was. The contact with the aliens on – or traveling through – the space station made him question his false sense of self. The influence of seeing others living lives built on a more realistic sense of self helped Rom move in that direction, gave him the strength to try to live differently, to stand up to Quark, for example. The positive outcome of the new actions he took gave him self-esteem. That’s what it is. What he has at the end of the series that he doesn’t have at the beginning is a way more developed sense of self-esteem, maybe self-worth. That’s my amateur-psychologist take on it. I’m actually a little jealous of Rom’s sense of self-worth.”