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Old October 25 2013, 03:47 PM   #1
grendelsbayne
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Klingon High Council

Rewatching 'Way of the Warrior' put a question in my head about the Klingon High Council, and some vague memory in the back of my head insists it must have been answered somewhere in TNG, but for some reason Memory Alpha's info on the subject seems almost limited to things stated in DS9, so I thought I'd ask it here.

As I understand it, the Council is a very small, elite body of representatives from the Klingon Noble Houses, who have (I guess by strength) the right to collectively rule the Empire. Now, we've seen a lot of different noble houses, I believe, and the idea that High Council positions are often the result of ridiculous political intrigue would seem to confirm that there are only so many spots available on the council and each House has to fight to maintain its influence.

So my question is, considering how ridiculously small the House of Mogh is (is there anyone at all in the House of Mogh other than Worf and Kurn?), how could they possibly be able to achieve and maintain such a high position? Especially with Worf permanently out of the Empire... I know Gowron helped them get there, but there has to have been some kind of limit to how much political capital he could afford to spend keeping such a marginal House in power.
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Old October 25 2013, 04:27 PM   #2
Nerys Myk
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Re: Klingon High Council

How do we know that the House of Mogh is "ridiculously small"? We know that Kurn and Worf were it's leaders but have no idea how many members it might have in the form of lesser houses, vassals or subjects. The House might control land on several planets throughout the Empire.
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Old October 25 2013, 05:07 PM   #3
grendelsbayne
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Re: Klingon High Council

But the House of Mogh was completely taboo ever since Worf's father was blamed for - whatever it was he supposedly did. Or am I remembering that incorrectly?

The impression I always got was that a Klingon house consists of: a) immediate/extended family and b) loyal retainers. As far as I remember, Kurn is supposed to be the only family Worf has left in the Empire.

And if the House officially didn't exist all that time, wouldn't the loyal retainers have gone off to join some other House whose honour was actually intact?

I suppose I don't quite understand how the Klingon House system is supposed to work. Another confusing case is the House of Martok: Worf describes it as having a highly honorable reputation, Martok's wife is even supposedly descended from an ancient Klingon princess, yet Martok himself is supposed to be a 'common soldier from the Ketha lowlands' with no noble blood. (I think that was the phrasing used)
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Old October 25 2013, 06:38 PM   #4
R. Star
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Re: Klingon High Council

I could see Gowron giving the House of Mogh all the Duras holdings after the civil war just as an fu to them. It's never specifically said, but it definintely is implied they owe their power to Gowron's nepotism in some form.

It's also possible Kurn accumulated some land and holdings while he was in the House of Lorgh. Kurn did have a wife and several daughters it was mentioned. With all the "old friends" Mogh seemed to have, it's not impossible they'd all flock to the House's banner either.
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Old October 25 2013, 06:44 PM   #5
Hando
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Re: Klingon High Council

grendelsbayne wrote: View Post
But the House of Mogh was completely taboo ever since Worf's father was blamed for - whatever it was he supposedly did. Or am I remembering that incorrectly?

The impression I always got was that a Klingon house consists of: a) immediate/extended family and b) loyal retainers. As far as I remember, Kurn is supposed to be the only family Worf has left in the Empire.

And if the House officially didn't exist all that time, wouldn't the loyal retainers have gone off to join some other House whose honour was actually intact?

I suppose I don't quite understand how the Klingon House system is supposed to work. Another confusing case is the House of Martok: Worf describes it as having a highly honorable reputation, Martok's wife is even supposedly descended from an ancient Klingon princess, yet Martok himself is supposed to be a 'common soldier from the Ketha lowlands' with no noble blood. (I think that was the phrasing used)
Alright, first to House of Martok. It is the House of Martok, but only now. It could have accumulated its honorable reputation long before it become the House of Martok. My take is that he married into the House.

Next to the Klingon political system. We know that it is a feudal one. So what you would consider a House are only the core part, the actual "aristocrats". Everybody else is probably bound to the land/place/stature in life.
At the time when nobody was in charge/Worf was excommunicated: the vassal Houses grew at the cost of the House of Mogh. But I would say that the average Klingon is not interested as to who is currently in power.

I will try to find the best, most similar example from our history. But in the meantime, maybe, you could find the best analogue in the video game Crusader Kings 1 and/or 2, I think.
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Old October 25 2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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Re: Klingon High Council

Or it could be a hereditary right to rule. Or a mix of hereditary huses and some that fight to gain a position. Remember the House of Mogh was awarded a position following the Klingon Civil War. So it seems Houses can come in and out of favour depending on who the Chancellor is. For all we know The House of Mogh was restored by Martok.
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Old October 25 2013, 09:42 PM   #7
Nerys Myk
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Re: Klingon High Council

grendelsbayne wrote: View Post
But the House of Mogh was completely taboo ever since Worf's father was blamed for - whatever it was he supposedly did. Or am I remembering that incorrectly?

The impression I always got was that a Klingon house consists of: a) immediate/extended family and b) loyal retainers. As far as I remember, Kurn is supposed to be the only family Worf has left in the Empire.

And if the House officially didn't exist all that time, wouldn't the loyal retainers have gone off to join some other House whose honour was actually intact?

I suppose I don't quite understand how the Klingon House system is supposed to work. Another confusing case is the House of Martok: Worf describes it as having a highly honorable reputation, Martok's wife is even supposedly descended from an ancient Klingon princess, yet Martok himself is supposed to be a 'common soldier from the Ketha lowlands' with no noble blood. (I think that was the phrasing used)
The House of Mogh became taboo in 2366 and remained so until 2367. It became taboo again in 2372. Kurn was memory wiped and join Noggra's Worf later joined the House of Martok. So at that point the House of Mogh ceased to exist.

Memory Alpha wrote:
The Great House also included various properties and holdings, and commanded military forces. The rulers of the twenty-four most powerful Great Houses formed the Klingon High Council.
From that, I would say that the folks living on the land and serving in their forces are members of the House, though not blood relatives of the House's leader.

Great Houses which were gravely dishonored by the actions of their rulers could be disbanded, and their holdings claimed by other Houses.
And from this I would say the other houses claimed the former holdings of House Mogh.

Martok is a special case. He was elevated to royalty based on his military skills and victory. It's happened on Earth too.
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Old October 25 2013, 11:19 PM   #8
David.Blue
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Re: Klingon High Council

My own impression is that the status of a House depends on a lot. Party of this is raw prestige. Mogh was evidently a famous man in his own right, while his father was a very prominent person as well. In theory, all kinds of debts of honor might be owed to the children of Mogh, as well as who-knows-how-much property. Worf simply had no particular reason to call upon those.

But internal evidence suggests Kurn had achieved some real status of his own, while his parentage remained unknown. Once it was revealed Kurn--a man Gowron knew and realized as someone important in his own right--was in fact the long lost second son of the great and revered Mogh, then Kurn's status soared to new heights. Nor did it hurt that when civil war broke out, Kurn supported the winning side.

We also don't know that much about Mogh's wife, who might have had considerable status of her own. Look at how Martok's wife helped him, because (in theory) she was the descendant of an Emperor.

Keep in mind, the House of Mogh didn't last that long as a Great House. By the end of DS9 Worf had been adopted into the House of Martok.
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Old October 26 2013, 02:40 AM   #9
Merlanthe
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Re: Klingon High Council

grendelsbayne wrote: View Post
Another confusing case is the House of Martok: Worf describes it as having a highly honorable reputation, Martok's wife is even supposedly descended from an ancient Klingon princess, yet Martok himself is supposed to be a 'common soldier from the Ketha lowlands' with no noble blood. (I think that was the phrasing used)
I think that the house of Martok is a new one that begins with Martok. He was able through his own hard work to become a high ranking and well respected general which was enough to allow him to start his own noble house and pursue a noblewoman as his wife. Given how proud Sirella is she probably didnt even give him the time of day until after he had attained sufficient rank to be an acceptable suitor :P

Some Klingon great houses retain the name of the founder like the house of Duras (The Duras from TNG was the head of house of Duras but not the founder. He was named after the ancestor that founded the house i think) and the house of Mogh stays the same long after Mogh is dead and his sons with very different names are all that remain whilst some Klingon houses seem to change name every time the head of house was replaced the prime example being the house of D'Ghor/Quark/Grilka.

The series wasnt very consistent when it came to this. My own theory is that whoever starts the house gets to name it and as long as one of their descendants is in charge the house name remains the same. However if a head of house dies without an heir the house name changes to that of the new head of house. Martok started the house so the house is called Martok and since Martok himself is a highly honorable man his house has that reputation also.

Btw there is a memory alpha page on the Klingon great houses that lets you know how many houses are allowed on the council and stuff

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Great_House

I imagine with Klingon politics how they are that houses are constantly shifting round in terms of power and influence. There are probably plenty of fledgling houses that rise up due to, for example, a warrior distinguishing themselves and attaining high rank but then only last a couple generations before falling again whilst the older houses that have been playing politics longer tend to retain their power and influence unless something really bad happens to dishonor them all.
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Old October 26 2013, 04:04 AM   #10
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Re: Klingon High Council

I definitely think the house of Mogh was more than just Worf and Kurn. At the very least, wouldn't Alexander have been in that?
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Old October 26 2013, 04:38 AM   #11
Nerys Myk
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Re: Klingon High Council

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
I definitely think the house of Mogh was more than just Worf and Kurn. At the very least, wouldn't Alexander have been in that?
And Jeremy Aster.
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Old October 27 2013, 09:34 PM   #12
grendelsbayne
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Re: Klingon High Council

Merlanthe wrote: View Post
Btw there is a memory alpha page on the Klingon great houses that lets you know how many houses are allowed on the council and stuff

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Great_House
Thanks for the link. This is a large part of what I was looking for.

I imagine with Klingon politics how they are that houses are constantly shifting round in terms of power and influence. There are probably plenty of fledgling houses that rise up due to, for example, a warrior distinguishing themselves and attaining high rank but then only last a couple generations before falling again whilst the older houses that have been playing politics longer tend to retain their power and influence unless something really bad happens to dishonor them all.
That's my impression as well, which is why I found it curious that the house of Mogh could compete so long at such a high level, despite it basically being built up out of nothing (since all their old holdings must have already been forfeited in the past - unless they were kept by the Chancellor rather than absorbed into other houses, so that Gowron would be able to return them?), and with Worf not even active in Klingon politics.

LobsterAfternoon wrote: View Post
I definitely think the house of Mogh was more than just Worf and Kurn. At the very least, wouldn't Alexander have been in that?
Officially maybe, but then again, maybe not. He lived on Earth with his human grandparents, very actively not being Klingon. By the time he had any interaction with Klingons again, the House of Mogh had been disbanded again and he made a specific point of saying he had no house, and of avoiding even calling himself 'son of Worf'.
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