Khan on Klingons

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by TheGoodNews, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. TheGoodNews

    TheGoodNews Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In ST II Khan (Ricardo Montalban) makes a quote attributed to Klingons, even though he'd only been revived in the 23rd century for about 15 years and spent most of that time marooned on Ceti Alpha V. In a trek novel covering those years of isolation, it's revealed that McGivers informed him on the subject of the indigenous inhabitants of Kronos.

    I think it would've been more interesting if Khan actually met some Klingons. Maybe if a small scout ship with only three crewmembers crash landed on Ceti Alpha V. Two would die in the crash and Khan and company would rescue the badly injured third one. As he was recuperating Khan would talk to him and eventually befriend him and learn much about Klingon culture. Probably a ceti eel would get to him, though. Which would explain his absence in ST II.

    I was kind of surprised that there wasn't any encounter like that in the novel, though. I thought it would've made things more interesting than Khan hearing about Klingons second-hand from McGivers, as brilliant a historian as she was.
     
  2. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

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    From "Space Seed," we know that Khan perused a number of works while in Sickbay aboard the Enterprise, including various technical manuals -- it wouldn't be a leap to assume that the Klingons crossed over into some of that reading, considering their status as the preeminent boogeymen of that era.

    Kirk probably also provided the marooned Botany Bay crew materials from the starship's archives as reading material, bringing them up-to-date with their new century...would've been a very boring exile otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  3. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And of course "Revenge is a dish best served cold" is absolutely not a "Klingon proverb." It's a real saying that's been around for centuries in multiple cultures, notably popularized in the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Nicholas Meyer seemed to make a running gag of having characters attribute old Earth sayings or writings to alien cultures, like Spock claiming "Only Nixon could go to China" (a political aphorism coined in 1971) as a Vulcan proverb, and the bit about "Shakespeare in the original Klingon." Maybe sort of a variation on Chekov's "Russia invented everything" gimmick.

    So yeah, Khan would've needed to learn about Klingons from the reading materials Kirk provided, but attributing that Earth proverb to the Klingons may have been a joke on Khan's part or maybe the result of his failing memory or derangement.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Plus, as noted, he was stranded on the planet with a Starfleet historian. :)
     
  6. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    In the Myriad Universes novella Seeds of Dissent, the Klingon Empire is reduced to the Klingon Protectorate of the Khanate of Earth. They seem to be the only semi-sovereign conquest of the Khanate though, and as Khan Noonien Singh lived to the late 22nd century of this reality, he presumably had some influence on that decision.
     
  7. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    By that logic "It is a good day to die" is absolutely not a Klingon proverb either, since Crazy Horse said it way before Worf did in "Sins of the Father." And yet.....
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although Crazy Horse probably never actually said it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_good_day_to_die
    Anyway, I figure some human translator chose to use that familiar phrase as the equivalent for the similar concept expressed by Kahless. It seems to me the most literal reading of Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam is "This day is good for someone to die."

    In the case of Khan's "Klingon proverb," I won't believe it's actually a Klingon proverb unless I hear it from a Klingon source. A madman's ravings are hardly a reliable reference.

    Then, of course, there are Ferengi sayings and Rules of Acquisition, many of which are appropriated human aphorisms, like "Keep your ears open," "A deal is a deal," and "No good deed ever goes unpunished." But in the Ferengi's case, a little appropriation is only to be expected...
     
  9. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    I suppose the opening title card of 'Kill Bill' can't be counted as canon, since it may just have been quoting Khan.

    I seem to recall Meyer saying that it was inserted into the original 'dinner table' conversation with the Klingons because the conversation already had parallels with Nazi Germany ("We need breathing room." etc) and apparently, during the war, Germany did genuinely try to appropriate Shakespeare (and other generally beloved pop culture artifacts) by pointing at his German roots and saying that he 'belonged' to Germany (the way Aussies try and appropriate Crowded House from the kiwis) which Meyer found interesting so he inserted a line that imagined Klingons trying to do the same.

    From a sci-fi point of view, if anyone remembers the movie 'Enemy Mine', they both realize their 'holy books' are basically the same document, since we all love peace and such. So it's reasonable that Klingons might have had a famous playwright who wrote about death and kings and love and war; and, on reading Shakespeare might have said: "Hey! This is just like Ch'Tang (or whoever)" and so they might say he was 'the original Shakespeare' to humans (the alternative being that they were SO IMPRESSED with Shakes that they just tried to steal him, which seems unlikely).
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  10. TheGoodNews

    TheGoodNews Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I always thought that Chang was trying to one up Kirk and humanity within the context of making a joke. Like acknowledging that our Shakespeare is good, but that Klingons could've done him so much better.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^That was Destructor's comment, not mine.
     
  12. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    Well I'm very flattered to have my comments attributed to you, Christopher.
     
  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    That's "inwented."