In Q Who?, Q is introduced to Guinan in the Enterprise-D's Ten-Forward lounge.
He then says: "'Guinan' – is that your name now?" He claims that Guinan, "is not what she appears to be." As well, when Q reaches out his hand towards Guinan and offers to Picard her extradition from the Enterprise, Guinan holds her two hands up at Q in a threatening manner.

So they have obviously some prior history, and Guinan was going by some other name. Does anyone know the backstory? Or what prior history exists between them?

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    There seems to be no canon (or non-canon) info - Nothing on Memory Alpha or Beta beyond the info from Q Who. Mar 21, 2012 at 9:52
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    @DVK I usually like your answers and comments, but not that one ;)
    – AidanO
    Mar 21, 2012 at 9:58
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    It's never clarified what that relationship is. It's probably one of the plot points where they think something might make a good plot for another episode down the road and later decide it's not worth pursueing.
    – BBlake
    Mar 21, 2012 at 11:34
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    There's not a lot of difference between this question and this one, or at least nothing to add that's not in the answers there.
    – Plutor
    Mar 21, 2012 at 11:51
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    @Plutor, I read that question, I'm not interested in her powers, it's the backstory I'm interested in.
    – AidanO
    Mar 21, 2012 at 12:58

3 Answers 3


It is not certain if Guinan and Q waged a war together, all we know is that they knew each other from before.

Star Trek memory alpha wiki:

Guinan had "some dealings" with Q sometime during the 22nd century and indeed other members of the Q Continuum, some of whom she said "were almost respectable". Her exact relationship with Q remains unclear, though it was evidently hostile. Q described Guinan as an "imp" and stated: "where she goes, trouble always follows".

It's also important to add the following.

Star Trek memory alpha wiki:

She was an El-Aurian, a race of "listeners" who were scattered by the Borg. Q, however, once suggested that there is far more to her than could be imagined.

One more explanation could be that the remaining survivors of the Borg encounter are roaming around the galaxy on some mission, that would explain her appearance on Earth all those year ago.

Memory beta Wiki:

Her species is long-lived, and she is somewhere between 500 and 700 years old when she joins the Enterprise-D. "Time's Arrow, Part I" reveals that she visited Earth in 1891, and "Rascals" establishes that her father was 700 years old during that episode.

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    From "Yesterday's Enterprise", she appears to have a sense of time quite different from that of humans. She advised Picard that the timeline they were in was not meant to exist and knew that Tasha Yar had died a meaningless death in the original timeline.
    – Stan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 22:31
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    She also survived the Nexus, which might be relevant.
    – user1197
    Jul 4, 2017 at 15:50
  • @user1197 Not only survived the Nexus, but was traumatised on being pulled out of it, and left behind an echo of herself in it. — However, that happened a century after meeting Q, so doesn't seem to be relevant to this.
    – gidds
    Sep 23, 2023 at 16:16

I thought it was rather telling that 'Q' said she was NOT what she appeared to be, and he called her an "Imp".

I think this makes for an AWESOME back story. Originating from Germanic folklore, the imp was a lesser demon. It should also be noted that demons in Germanic legends were NOT necessarily evil. Imps were often mischievous rather than evil or harmful, and in some regions, they were portrayed as attendants of the gods.

Imps are often portrayed much the same as fairies, and in some cultures, they were considered the same beings, both sharing the same sense of free spirit and enjoyment of all things fun. Note that fairies and imps are said to be possessed of all manner of supernatural powers.

It was much later in history that people began to associate fairies with being good and imps with being malicious and evil. Though imps are often thought of as being immortal, many cultures believed that they could be damaged or harmed by certain weapons and enchantments.

ALL of this could have led to some eventual revelation that beings like 'imps', and 'faeries' are NOT just ancient earth lore, but stories passed down about alien beings that visited earth from time to time.

PS - It would have been AWESOME to see some kind of showdown between 'Q' and Guinan.

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    Interesting info on 'imps' but you've provided nothing from actual material on what Guinan's abilities might be.
    – Stan
    Aug 2, 2013 at 22:29
  • we know she can sense the natural state of the universe. it's possible her power may be limited to perception only, but we never see otherwise Mar 28, 2019 at 19:47

From what I recall, Guinan has been around for a really long time, in a later episode she shows up in San Francisco during the time of Mark Twain, she encounters Data. This is the two part episode where Data is left in the past to be recovered in the future. Anyway it's around this time in the series the viewer learns that Guinan once had power similar to Q or was a Q and no longer is. She was either exiled from the Q continuum or her race was wiped out by the Q continuum I can't recall off the top of my head. I hope this helps you track down the complete history.

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    I'm almost certain none of this is actually in that episode. I think the only things you learn in Time's Arrow is that she's very old and that she lived on Earth for some period in the 19th century.
    – Plutor
    Mar 21, 2012 at 13:04
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    Well we know she isn't Q. - "She was an El-Aurian, a race of "listeners" who were scattered by the Borg."
    – Secko
    Mar 21, 2012 at 13:05
  • Yes just saw that thanks for the clarification :)
    – tronmcp
    Mar 21, 2012 at 13:15
  • @Plutor, I recall that it was around that time in the series where she talks to Picard about her history without much detail. I was not sure about which episode exactly but this triggered the questions in Picard's mind, if not for the first time, atleast it brought them up again.
    – tronmcp
    Mar 21, 2012 at 13:20
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    @ThePopMachine, there is also no evidence that she was ever a Q.
    – Dima
    Mar 21, 2012 at 17:38

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