DS9: Political Writings III: Worf
So, by the time Worf shows up in DS9 he is:
- The lone known survivor of the Khitomer massacre, a colony which was the site of the first major peace-treaties between the Fed and Klingons.
- The only known survivor of the mainline of the House of Mogh(one of the 24 Great Houses and an Ancient one, meaning it likely had a vast network of feudatories among the lesser Houses and feudal/lineal ties to the other Great Houses) for most of his life and then, after their exoneration and Kurn revealing his true identity, its Head as the eldest son.
- The First Klingon to join Starfleet, and one of its most accomplished officers(Even to serve on the Enterprise he would have had to be highly regarded, and his time there was hardly uneventful).
- Mate to K’Ehleyr. Given the Klingon obsession with the personal and heroic, there’s basically no way this wasn’t a big deal. Klingon-Human hybrids are rare, her father likely would have had to be in a high diplomatic position even to meet her mother, she flamboyantly rejected Klingon ways, she was a Federation ambassador to the Empire, her life was Metal as Hell which Klingons could not fail to appreciate, and Klingon’s make no gender distinctions when it comes to Heroism, judging only by deeds and Moxy.
- Accepted Discommendation to protect The Empire from Civil War.
- Killed Duras, possibly the most influential noble in the Empire, and head of one of its strongest Great Houses. And for a reason as Operatic and Epic as revenge for Duras’s killing of K’Ehleyr, his Mate, no less. Which: Metal as Hell.
- Personally responsible for the election of Gowron as Chancellor.
- Returns to defend the Empire when Civil War breaks out anyway, despite his Discommendation. Is basically Gowron’s only major, and certainly most effective, ally, frequently preventing Kurn and his followers from abandoning the Chancellor.
- Brings down the House of Duras by revealing their collaboration with the Romulans, ends the Civil War, saves Gowron’s Chancellorship, reduces Lursa and B’Etor to intergalactic fugitives and, eventually, major crime-figures, THEN Refuses his Right of Vengeance to kill Toral on the basis that it would be dishonorable to kill a defenseless child for being a pawn in the plans of his caretakers, which is completely contrary, even offensive, to conventional Klingon morality.
- Is Recommendated and Restores the House of Mogh(and its many feudatories, by necessity) to prominence by his deeds in the War, then reveals the truth of Khitomer, restoring its Honor and furthering the shame of those allied to the House of Duras.
- Declaring that abandoning his vow to the Federation would damage his Honor, he chooses, even though he is now the head of one of the 24 Great Houses, to return to the Federation and allow his younger brother, who isn’t the rightful heir, to run the House of Mogh; again rejecting traditional ideas of Klingon behavior and Honor in favor of his own concept of these ideas, which is Metal as Hell and thus Super Klingon.
- Ensures that the House of Mogh remains Gowron’s major ally and power-base on the High Council.
- Brought Khaless back from the Dead.
- Went on to slay many monstrous enemies in many epic battles, woo a beautiful Beta-Zed Princess, slap time and the multiverse back into shape a few times, spit in death’s face repeatedly, and struggle through single-parenthood more or less successfully. All of which is also Metal as Hell.
My point is this: there is basically No Way that Worf, by the time he shows up in DS9, isn’t a major cultural figure among Klingons. Hell, Klingon philosophy is about aphorisms(one-liners) and Deeds, and Worf is not only all about stoic one-liners, but he lives, completely, his concept of Honor and Duty, and is connected with the Klingon philosophical/spiritual community, and is a multiple-time Galactic Bat’leth Grand Master; so there’s good reason to think, given his very new, different, and Federation-influenced view of Honor and the success it has given him, that he’d be a major philosophical figure.
Having said all that, There is NO WAY AT ALL that his Discommendation, that of his brother Kurn, and the dissolution of the House of Mogh would not lead to monumental political and social dislocations in the Empire. I’m not even sure if Gowron, given the important of the House of Mogh in his rise and reign, COULD safely discommendate Worf and the House of Mogh for Worf’s refusal to betray the Federation to support the Klingon Invasion of Cardassia(such feudal conflicts would be common-place and understood in a feudal society, and so Gowron’s action would seem unreasonably harsh. Also a significant number of his ships would have been attached to Gowron only through their feudal ties to The House of Mogh and Kurn; by dissolving the House, he’d have made all those ships and crews his personal enemies); to many, it would look as a betrayal on his part of his oldest and most important allies, gravely weakening his power-base. Obvsl the writers can take it whichever way they want to, but treating it like a decision which would have no down-side to Gowron is infuriatingly simplistic and unserious.
Which, I guess, pretty much describes my problem with 90s Trek’s approach to politics in general.