While Worf's rank in the Federation was not considered low, it is definitely low compared to becoming a key political leader in the Klingon empire. Yet, he passed up opportunities to be "CEO" in the Klingon empire in exchange for being a "manager" in the Federation. Where is the honour in doing that? Furthermore, isn't there more honour in serving your own people in a top position than foreigners in a far lower position? In fact, one may even argue he brought "dishonour" to his family for not rising up to the occasion. This is illogical in the context of the Klingon culture. Why did Worf make this "dishonourable" decision?

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    @user486818 -- you seem to be assuming that "honorable," for a Klingon (or at least for Worf, who grew up among humans) must mean: "Grab all the political power you can get, as fast as possible! Any other course of action is dishonorable!" That's one heck of a sweeping assumption. If you can quote canonical dialogue which had Worf (or other Klingons) saying exactly that about their cultural definition of "honor," it would strengthen your case. But as it now stands, I think it just comes down to different people (and cultures), having very different definitions of "honorable."
    – Lorendiac
    Mar 18, 2017 at 1:55
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    In my opinion, your conflation between honor, prestige, and face, is nonsensical. Mar 18, 2017 at 2:22
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    @user486818: “ I am using what I understand of humans today in the modern world context. If a person can get promoted to become a CEO rather than remain as a manager, wouldn't that be more honourable?” Not without further context. Perhaps as a manager, they can make life better for the people they manage; whilst as CEO, they’d be bound to make their shareholders richer at the expense of everyone else. Mar 18, 2017 at 12:16
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    @user486818 -- "most humans" would say "higher salary equals more honor"? Where do you get that? I've heard lots of my fellow humans voice dark suspicions about the ethics ("honor" by another name) of billionaire tycoons, high-paid lawyers, Wall Street traders, and the sort of politicians who get elected President of the United States (and I don't just mean from one particular party). There seem to be many people who feel that "if a man has huge success in worldly terms, it's probably a sign that he never lets a 'moral code' interfere with his desire to grab as much money & power as possible!"
    – Lorendiac
    Mar 18, 2017 at 12:36
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    @user486818: again, we’re just arguing about the definition of “honour”. According to Dictionary.com, there’s more than one. Mar 18, 2017 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


For a start, Worf is not a 'typical' Klingon warrior. He doesn't have a need for great power, as other Klingon warriors seem to. His honour is more pure than other Klingon warriors too. Maybe growing up in a human colony affected him, maybe not. Not all Klingons are power-hungry warriors, as stated by Hoshi Sato in ST:E, the Klingon cultures are as varied as earth's.

Personally, I think it's because Worf sees the Klingon high council as largely dishonourable from his endeavors. He also had a lot of problems with the Empire, so I think he wouldn't feel at home there.

However, later on, he does become a high-ranking member of the Empire, I don't remember the rank but it's in TNG finale(future scene).

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    Seeing how Klingon politics work I feel reminded of the Sword of Damocles... I think for a Klingon like Worf this might very well be also an argument against getting too involved into politics there. Mar 18, 2017 at 18:02
  • "However, later on, he does become a high-ranking member of the Empire, I don't remember the rank but it's in TNG finale(future scene)." This isn't necessarily true. That was an alternate future timeline created partially with Q's assistance. There is no guarantee that anything in that timeline ever actually comes to pass. So while it's possible Worf becomes a governor in the Klingon Empire, it's also very likely something completely different occurs.
    – Ellesedil
    May 4, 2017 at 16:49
  • @Ellesedil Yeah, you're right, It's open to debate and interpretation. Like; Worf is exactly the same person, the only difference is the appearance of the anomaly, which Q helped resolve by joining the timelines through Picard's consciousness. Warf would still have the same instincts and desires, that wouldn't change. Actually, I don't think they knew about the anomaly (looking back from the future), so wouldn't that make the future an unchanged timeline?!? Anyhoo, I don't think it makes a difference to the OP's question really.
    – n00dles
    May 4, 2017 at 19:41
  • Picard informed all of his senior staff about what happened in his experiences. That alone nearly ensures that the "future" will be different. Plus, you'd need to place your faith in the fact that this test Q put together for Picard was an actual future timeline that could have potentially existed. That's not guaranteed either because of Q's very nature and his involvement in this mess.
    – Ellesedil
    May 4, 2017 at 21:19
  • I don't think it was a test, I think Q was just helping humanity to see a problem that would otherwise have destroyed them, and possibly the rest of the... well, universe eventually. I do get what your saying about future events though, but I think the intention or potential would still be there for Worf to want to join the Empire eventually. And I think the writers put it in the episode as a bit of a finalization and fulfillment of Worf's life. I want to watch TNG again now! that would make it 5 times.
    – n00dles
    May 4, 2017 at 21:42

Worf refused the highest position in the empire for the same reason that he accepted discommodation for his father's alleged crime. He honestly believed that it was in the best interest of the empire. General Martok had far more experience in a high leadership role and Worf knew from personal experience that Martok's honesty, courage, honor and ability were of the highest caliber. Worf had modeled himself on the Klingon version of Sir Galahad, an idealized perfect warrior. Such a man will always make the unselfish choice.

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