Spoilers Discovery and the Novelverse - TV show discussion thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by F. King Daniel, May 18, 2017.

  1. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I liked that explanation. It's still pretty sloppy of the episode writer, but you came in with a nice save. And yeah, I can see Khan's arrogance make him decide he's "above" such observances. In the book I believe he shaved and ditched the turban after the chemical accident in India.

    I don't recall Khan being a title myself. In the novel that was his name.
     
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  2. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Or for that matter, any cultures other than North American WASP.
     
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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just checked the book. It was a name he adopted, inspired by the title of leadership, but he used it as his name, not as an actual title.
     
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  4. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Giving USA All My Many Oil Moderator

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    Where did this idea that "Khan" was a title originate? In both "Space Seed" and Into Darkness, he explicitly stated it was his name. I guess you could claim he was being deceptive, but that doesn't seem to gain him much.
     
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  5. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I don't recall but after, if it was something he took as a name from that point on that would explain why he said it was his name. From his perspective it really was his name
     
  6. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    That's surprising to hear--my day job involves looking at personal information from a broad cross-section of the (Canadian) population, and everyone I've ever seen named "Adolf" was born before 1939.

    There is some weirdness around how he's referred to directly, especially since he's so cagey about revealing any name but "Khan" when first revived in "Space Seed," but characters who talk about him as an historical figure in "A Matter of Time" and "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" refer to him as Khan Singh.
     
  7. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commodore Commodore

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    I am from the Netherlands :)

    My father wasn't happy with It, but It was tradition to name your child after the father/grandfather. My grand parents where very stuborn and so my father was the third (and last) Adolf of the family.
     
  8. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    There was a case where a pair of Neo-Nazis got their kid taken away for naming their child Adolf Hitler.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It probably started with fan theories to try to justify why a Sikh had a name that wasn't very Sikh, and those fans probably took its historic origin too literally without realizing how much it's spread beyond that. I think it really gained traction after STID, when people were playing around with their pet theories to explain why Cumberbatch didn't resemble Montalban and suggested "Maybe 'Khan' is a title used by more than one person."



    Wikipedia lists Adolf Malan, a South African rugby player born in 1961, and Adolf van den Berg, a South African cricketer born in 1979. Also Adolf Hütter, an Austrian football coach born in 1970, but he goes by Adi Hütter for what I presume are obvious reasons. Also a number of Adolphs.


    Yeah, a vagary of TV writing. In "Space Seed," he seemed to be using "Khan" as a cover for his full name and identity, so you'd think that logically it wouldn't have been the name he was best known by or habitually went by, that people would've most likely referred to him as "Singh." But "Khan" was the name viewers associated with the character, so he kept using it regardless of in-universe logic. Kirk even called him "Mister Khan" at the end of "Seed." (Another nail in the coffin of the "title" myth.)
     
  10. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    As Kamala Khan uses, it's hardly a unknown name among real life and fictional people both.

    And Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan (or Ricardo obviously but more so for Into Darkness) not being of Pakistan/Indian regional ancestry always struck me as Star Trek making a mistake in casting in the modern area.

    But the thing is that Khan is meant to be from a genetically engineered group of children so there's plenty more to the story anyway.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think putting Montalban in brownface in "Space Seed" was a pretty big mistake, one that TWOK mercifully didn't follow. So two of the three screen depictions of Khan portray him with light skin. I think it might actually be preferable to conclude that Khan was a white man raised in Sikh culture than to look at a white man in brownface makeup and say "Yes, I accept the conceit that this is an Indian." It feels like endorsing the practice.

    Which is not to say that I wouldn't have preferred seeing an actor of color in the role in STID. Naveen Andrews would've been my first choice. But we got Cumberbatch instead, so that's what we have to work with.
     
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  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    To clarify for posterity, if he was meant to be a man of Indian descent, he should have always been played by one but it was doubly egregious for it to happen in the 21st century.

    At least IMHO.
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, as I said, it would have been preferable if they'd cast an Indian actor. It was an unfortunate choice, but we're stuck with it. What should have happened is one thing; how we deal with what we got instead is another.
     
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  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Possibly faulty memory of a book I read nearly twenty years ago. I seem to recall in the Eugenics Wars novels, he went by Noonien in his younger days, which got abbreviated to Noon. He didn't become known as Khan until he was grown up.
     
  15. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    From my PoV, the question isn't so much whether it's his preferred name -- as you say, that's some canon for that -- it's that it's supposedly his forename. Historically Khan is either a title (most famously within Mongol culture), or a surname or family name (usually but not always in Muslim cultures), and in either case sat in the second or third position.
     
  16. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Mind you, the idea it's something shocking and weird to have as a first name is kind of pushing it. In RL, I know guys with the first name of Rex, Heinrich, and Leeroy that all mean King. Plus an actual guy named King.

    I suspect that Khan Singh is a weird but not implausible sounding name but that would be the point in the Eugenics Wars. You don't name a test tube baby made by your weird gene cult, "John Harrison."

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
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  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, historically, which means it doesn't have to stay that way. Don't mistake a name's beginning for a limitation on its usage.

    Like Charles said, lots of parents give their children royal titles as names. In addition to all the names meaning "King" he cited, there's Cesar Romero, from Caesar, the Roman imperial title that spawned the titles Kaiser and Czar. In my Tangent Knights audiobook trilogy, the second female lead is named Malika, which means Queen in Arabic. And so on.

    Heck, here's a whole list of first names meaning "king":

    https://www.behindthename.com/names/meaning/king

    Note that they include Khan as a first name in Urdu and Pashto, which means it's probably used that way in related languages too.
     
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  18. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Both of which are languages associated with majority Muslim populations (the related Hindi language is more commonly used amongst Sikhs), which still supports my position that it would be a odd choice for a parent to give a Sikh child, but could easily have taken in adulthood as a title or epephet (cf "Der Fuhrer") to evoke the original Khans.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    People can and do give their children "odd" names all the time. "Unusual" does not mean "impossible."

    Besides, as we've already discussed, Greg's Eugenics Wars novels establish that Khan did adopt the name in adolescence, and it was inspired by the historic title, but he adopted it and used it as a personal name, not as an epithet.

    And again, both timelines' Khans explicitly stated in dialogue that Khan was their name, and it was never used as anything but a name. Kirk even called him "Mister Khan" and he didn't object! Insisting it's a title is ignoring the canonical evidence.
     
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Also, it would be odd for a Sikh family to make a genetically engineered super being. Ditto a Muslim family.

    People aren't always 100% in line with their traditions.