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Old December 27 2011, 05:45 PM   #1
Maltz
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Gorkon in the novels

My impression of Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was always that he was a decent, noble person who honestly did want peace between his people and the Federation. But I've heard that in some of the novels, particularly the Vanguard series, he's portrayed as a more sinister character. Is this true?
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Old December 27 2011, 05:52 PM   #2
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

^I wouldn't say he's sinister in Vanguard. He is a Klingon, and couldn't have risen to high office in the Klingon government if he didn't embrace their warrior values and agree with their foreign policy toward the Federation. But he was wise enough to recognize that, once the survival of the Empire was endangered by the Praxis explosion, they had to put survival first and accept the Federation's help.

Gorkon appears in Vanguard: Declassified, specifically in the flashbacks in "The Ruins of Noble Men," as a starship captain who often clashed with Diego Reyes during his captaincy; but in that story, he was shown to be more than just a stereotypical belligerent Klingon and to have a more sympathetic side -- though still within the bounds of the Klingons' distinct culture and morality. Not sinister, just alien in his values.
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Old December 27 2011, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

Interesting. I once wrote a fan fic where Gorkon's mother crashes on a hostile planet when she's pregnant with him, and is rescued by Starfleet personnel who traced her distress signal. Realising that both she and her unborn son owe their lives to the Federation, her honor compels her to thank them. As her son grows up, she instills in him the notion that uniting with the Federation may be more beneficial than constantly warring with them.
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Old December 27 2011, 06:21 PM   #4
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

The Errand of Vengeance books feature a Klingon character who ends up sympathetic to the Federation, and swears at the end that his house will work towards peace-- when it is revealed that he belongs to the House of Gorkon.
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Old December 27 2011, 07:32 PM   #5
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

FYI, Gorkon is shown to be making his first attempts to steer the Empire toward peace (or at least détènte) with the Federation in the Vanguard novel Precipice. He uses some ruthless tactics to pursue that goal, but that's to be expected: he is still a Klingon, after all. But "sinister"? No, not in the Vanguard novels.
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Old December 27 2011, 07:50 PM   #6
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

I think it's important to avoid falling into the ethnocentric trap of assuming that a "good guy" within an alien civilization is someone whose values are exactly like ours/the Federation's. Gorkon didn't make peace with the UFP because he loved peace for its own sake, but because he was smart enough to recognize that alliance was the best strategy for his nation's survival and prosperity at that particular point. Basically he was living up to the proverb "Only a fool fights in a burning house" -- with Praxis destroyed and Qo'noS's ecosystem in danger of total collapse, the Empire's survival was at stake (since the collapse of the center of power typically results in the dissolution of an empire), and so they had to focus on survival rather than continue with business as usual, and if the Federation was willing to help them survive, it was just good sense to accept their help. But in different circumstances, if he felt the Klingon Empire's political and economic prosperity were best served by going to war with the Federation, Gorkon would probably have gone to war. Because by the standards of his culture, war is not intrinsically a bad thing, at least so long as there's something useful to be gained from it.

Heck, by Klingon standards, someone who loves peace for its own sake even when it's against the Empire's political or economic interests would probably be considered "sinister."
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Old December 27 2011, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

^ All essentially correct. In the Vanguard novels, we've depicted Gorkon as seeing the prospect of war vs. the Federation to be a self-destructive outcome for both nations, one that will profit neither side but will enrich their enemies, such as the Romulans and the Tholians. Gorkon's no peacenik, but he's no fool, either. Where most of his countrymen would gladly incite a war with the Federation, Gorkon is the lone voice trying to steer his people away from pointless brinksmanship. But he needs to do so cautiously, lest he be branded an appeaser or a coward. This is all many decades before the Praxis incident, a disaster that creates a scenario dire enough that he can use it for political cover as he follows through on his long-time-in-the-making plan for peace.
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Old December 27 2011, 09:00 PM   #8
Maltz
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

Do you think the scenario in my fan fic could be reconciled with what we know of Gorkon in Vanguard? Gorkon only appears as an infant in my story, but my idea was that his mother taught him to respect the Federation and that it might be in the Klingons' best interests if they were allies.
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Old December 27 2011, 09:17 PM   #9
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

^ That's not really my place to say. I don't think it directly contradicts anything in any of the published novels.
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Old December 28 2011, 02:07 PM   #10
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

Thanks, David.
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Old December 30 2011, 12:41 AM   #11
Jedi_Master
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Re: Gorkon in the novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think it's important to avoid falling into the ethnocentric trap of assuming that a "good guy" within an alien civilization is someone whose values are exactly like ours/the Federation's. Gorkon didn't make peace with the UFP because he loved peace for its own sake, but because he was smart enough to recognize that alliance was the best strategy for his nation's survival and prosperity at that particular point. Basically he was living up to the proverb "Only a fool fights in a burning house" -- with Praxis destroyed and Qo'noS's ecosystem in danger of total collapse, the Empire's survival was at stake (since the collapse of the center of power typically results in the dissolution of an empire), and so they had to focus on survival rather than continue with business as usual, and if the Federation was willing to help them survive, it was just good sense to accept their help. But in different circumstances, if he felt the Klingon Empire's political and economic prosperity were best served by going to war with the Federation, Gorkon would probably have gone to war. Because by the standards of his culture, war is not intrinsically a bad thing, at least so long as there's something useful to be gained from it.

Heck, by Klingon standards, someone who loves peace for its own sake even when it's against the Empire's political or economic interests would probably be considered "sinister."

I agree. Even the most 'peaceful' Klingons are pragmatic, violent warriors by human standards. The most "honorable" Klingons will still use war and violence to defend and support the ideals and wellbeing of the entire Klingon species.

I am glad that the Gorkon character was fleshed out in the novels.
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