16

As seen here:

Eisenberg was born with only one partially functioning kidney and received a kidney transplant at the age of 17. This stunted his growth at 5' (1.52 m)

And he was 24 at the time DS9 started, when Nog was 16 (born 2353).

Obviously, it's no coincidence that such a diminutive actor was cast to play a Ferengi teenager. Nog's height then goes on to seem especially small compared to other Ferengi adults as the series progresses. The contrast with Jake Sisko is stark who shot up like a beanstalk, as well as all the other Starfleet officers in general.

Now, we know Nog persisted like this far into the future. For example, we have Capt. Nog, around fifty years in the future in "The Visitor":

enter image description here

So, here's the question:

In-universe, did anyone ever explain or remark on Nog's unusually small height (after he was fully grown)?

  • Only commenting because it's a minor thing not really addressing the guts of your question, but I always liked this relevant scene where Martok references Nog being shorter: youtube.com/watch?v=1JqFG_7wRKM&t=85s – Mike Oct 26 '15 at 20:28
32

I found no mention of any comments about Nog's size in relation to other Ferengi. So I have no canon quote to explain his height.

For explanation as to why there is no mention of it, I looked into his height relative to other Ferengi. In absolute terms, 5' would make Nog the second-shortest known Ferengi, taller only than Kol. Ferengi average ~5' 4 1/4" with a standard deviation of 2.2716, so Nog's height puts him in the bottom 3% of known Ferengi --- very, very short, but not unreasonably so.

To reach these conclusions, I've gone through every Ferengi actor and checked their height, then done some basic analysis (double-counting actors who appear as multiple Ferengi, not counting Nog, and using inches as the unit of measurement).

If the height was unavailable from IMDB, then I omitted the actor/actress. I found actor/actress information from links on this list

  • Armin Shimerman - Quark - 5'6"
  • Lou Wagner - Daimon solok, Krax - 5'2"
  • Lee Arenberg - Gral, Prak, Bok - 5'4"
  • Tracy Walter - Kayron, Berik - 5'6"
  • Jeffrey Combs - Brunt, Krem - 5'7"
  • Ethan Phillips - Farek, Ulis - 5'6"
  • Josh Pais - Gaila - 5'7"
  • Jason Marsden - Grimp - 5'3"
  • Leslie Jordan - Kol - 4'11"
  • Hamilton Camp - Leck - 5'2"
  • Michael Snyder - Qol, Morta - 5'5"
  • Clint Howard - Muk - 5'7"
  • Henry Gibson - Nilva - 5'3"
  • Helene Udy - Pel (female) - 5'1"
  • (I do not count Jeri Ryan, since her body was not the Ferengi)
  • Wallace Shawn - Zek - 5'2"
  • Did you include Nog himself in your calculation of the mean and variance? If so, I count 1 who is 4'11'' = 4.91666..., 1 who is 5', 1 who is 5'1'' = 5.08333..., 4 who are 5'2'' = 5.1666..., 2 who are 5'3'' = 5.25, 3 who are 5'4'' = 5.333..., 2 who are 5'5'' = 5.41666..., 5 who are 5'6'' = 5.5, and 4 who are 5'7'' = 5.58333... So, the mean should be (4.91667 + 5 + 5.08333 + 4*5.16667 + 2*5.25 + 3*5.33333 + 2*5.41667 + 5*5.5 + 4*5.58333)/23 = 5.34058, shorter than the 5.36111 you got. And for the standard deviation I get 0.19929, so Nog is about 1.7 standard deviations from the mean. – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 5:25
  • ...and using the normal curve calculator here, it seems that for a normal curve with mean of 5.34058 and standard deviation of 0.19929, 4.37% would be expected to be at a height of 5.0 or lower. – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 5:31
  • Even if you didn't include Nog, I think there's a mistake in the number you give for the standard deviation...I plugged the sequence 4.91667,5.08333,5.16667,5.16667,5.16667,5.16667,5.25,5.25,5.33333,5.33333,5.33333,5.41667,5.41667,5.5,5.5,5.5,5.5,5.5,5.58333,5.58333,5.58333,5.58333 into the mean and standard deviation calculator here and got 5.356 for the mean (very close to your value of 5.361), but 0.1893 for the standard deviation (very different from the value you gave of 2.3094). – Hypnosifl Oct 27 '15 at 7:20
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    I calculated Standard deviation and other data using inches, not feet, and I did not include Nog in the calculations. I've edited to add those explanations. – Jeutnarg Oct 27 '15 at 17:30
  • I also double-checked my numbers - and updated them. If you still get a different answer, I'll triple-check. – Jeutnarg Oct 27 '15 at 18:03
24

No explanation is offered, but it doesn't seem to be that unusual for Ferengi.

There's no direct in-universe explanation of Nog's short stature, but short statures do not seem to be uncommon amongst fully-grown Ferengi.

For instance, Quark is 5'5" / 1.66 m (going by actor Armin Shimerman's height), making Quark shorter than most of DS9 's main characters. After Nog and Quark, Kira is the next shortest at 5'8" / 1.72 m (going by Nana Visitor's height). Most of DS9 's main characters are at or above 5'11" / 1.8 m tall.

enter image description here

It could be something that runs in Quark's family, but Ferengi do, on the whole, seem to be shorter than humans, Vulcans, and other frequently featured humanoids in Star Trek.

enter image description here

Granted the Ferengi in the above image are sitting down, but this guy on the left does seem quite small in stature. There is also a very large height differential here:

enter image description here

The five-inch difference between Quark and Nog could lie within the normal range of height variation for Ferengis, without necessitating a medical reason.

Finally, there is a brief indirect remark about Nog's height — by Nog himself, in relation to Jake. From "Shattered Mirror":

NOG: You and I friends? I don't think so.

JAKE: Why not?

NOG: You're too tall. I don't trust tall men. Tall women, that's a different story. Here. See for yourself.

The dialogue suggests that Nog finds his own height normal and Jake's abnormal.

  • 1
    I don't question that Ferengi are short, but this is really short. Corollary: do we know he was cast for the presumed height of a Ferengi teenager as I've assumed? – ThePopMachine Oct 26 '15 at 3:46
  • 2
    @ThePopMachine : Short for humans sure, but for Ferengi? My hypothesis is that even if he is on the short side for a Ferengi, he probably is not so short so as to suspect a medical condition (in-universe). – Praxis Oct 26 '15 at 3:54
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    @ThePopMachine : I've seen interviews with Eisenberg where he describes his height as a selling point for the role, so presumably it was part of what sealed the deal. The fact that his height wasn't a plot point shows that it was seen to be consistent with the normal range of Ferengi heights. – Praxis Oct 26 '15 at 3:56
  • Maybe he is but that seems like a post-justification. Even so, it doesn't mean no one would even remark on it. Did you intend to be addressing that with the "no"? – ThePopMachine Oct 26 '15 at 3:57
  • 4
    @ThePopMachine : But that's my point exactly. The fixation is on Jake's excess height rather than Nog's lack of height. We're making an assumption that Nog is short in-universe, but I don't think we can make that assumption; the fact that it is not remarked upon is consistent with his being in the normal range for Ferengi. – Praxis Oct 26 '15 at 4:27
8

There was a throwaway line in One Little Ship, in which three Defiant crewmembers are sent through a spatial anomaly that substantially (and temporarily) reduces their size.

Kira finds the mission hilarious, while Worf does not "see what is so funny about being small" … cut to Nog, who somewhat defeatedly agrees, "neither do I".

This appeared, at least to me, to be a humourous reference, lampshading Nog's height.

I'm not aware that it has been referenced, even in this indirect fashion, at any other time.

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