Appearance-wise, the Sword of Kahless, as seen in the eponymous Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, looks nothing like the One Ring:

enter image description here

enter image description here

But in terms of their effect on the holder, they are quite similar. In "The Sword of Kahless", Worf, Dax, and the Dahar Master Kor go on a quest to find the ancient bat'leth. When they do, it poisons the minds of Worf and Kor. Merely holding the sword fills each of them with paranoia and hatred. They begin to plot the other's death, as they dream of using the sword to wield control over the Klingon Empire.

Various sites have noted the analogy with the Ring:

  • DauntlessMedia.net — "In that sense, the Sword takes on qualities of the Ring of Power..."
  • Siskoid's Blog of Geekery — "If anything, The Sword of Kahless reminded me of Lord of the Rings, with its artifact whispering sweet nothings into the heroes' ears..."
  • Jammer's Reviews — "...leaving us to assume that the Sword has some kind of ill effect on its possessor (similar to the One Ring in LOTR)."

Have the writers specifically stated that the Sword of Kahless was inspired by / was an homage to the One Ring?


There are certainly similarities, but the One Ring is by no means the only Artifact of Attraction1 in the history of fiction.

Although I haven't found an instance of them explicitly refuting it, some statements they made about the nature of the Sword certainly seem to; in Deep Space Nine Companion, teleplay writer Hans Beimler says that the Sword doesn't have any inherent power:

"The idea is that the sword itself doesn't have any magic," he says. "It's the concept of the sword that has the power. [...] The minute anyone starts talking about the sword is starts infecting them, so Worf gets caught up from the very beginning, back at the bar."

Deep Space Nine Companion

Memory Alpha reports on a Cinefantastique interview with producer René Echevarria, where he talks a little more about the nature of the Sword's corruptive influence:

If their religion in the largest sense is one of battle, victory, personal glory and power and you've got this in your hands, then it starts to eat away at you and you start to talk about your destiny.

So it seems as though the corruption of the Sword is how it's mythology interplays with the Klingon cultural mindset, and ultimately makes them do silly things in the name of "glorious destiny."

Compare this to the One Ring, where the corrupting influence is the Ring'sown malicious will, actively using you to further its own ends.

Thematically the Sword actually has much more in common with the Holy Grail, which was actually acknowledged as one of its influences in an AOL chat with Ronald D. Moore:

Q: This is probably been answered before but...Was the legend of Kahless influenced by the Legend of King Arthur? i.e. The Sword of Kahless = Excalibur?

A: It was certainly one of the influences, but I believe the Holy Grail and other legends had an impact on the thinking of Rene and Hans when they wrote that show.

1 TVTropes link; all hope abandon etc.

  • Does this mean Kahless would have been more passive if he didn't possess this bat'leth, or did this supernatural property emerge after his death? – n00dles Nov 16 '15 at 13:30
  • 1
    @n00dles I would imagine it arose after his death. The "supernatural property" isn't really a property, is my point, it's a reaction of the Klingon mind to an artifact of great historical and spiritual significance. – Jason Baker Nov 16 '15 at 14:13
  • AAhh, I get you. Its the historical(/mythological) significance which causes the fire in the Klingon blood. So it wouldn't have this effect on say, an accompanying Trill, even if this Trill had some Klingon spirit inherited from a previous host. Maybe it would have affected Curzon. – n00dles Nov 16 '15 at 14:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.