In TNG Ep. 1x20: Heart of Glory, Worf participates in a Klingon death ritual primarily involving a lot of screaming. They're announcing the arrival of a warrior in Sto'vo'kor. The body is then declared meaningless, an "empty husk".

In DS9 Ep. 5x2: The Ship, Worf joins O'Brien in a human equivalent of what he calls ak'voh, an entirely different death ritual. They're "guarding" the body until the spirit arrives in Sto'vo'kor. It's a much quieter affair.

In the first case, the body is very recently dead. In the second, it has been dead quite a while. If "announcement" takes place at the time of death, and then the body is immediately meaningless, there should be no need for a "guard".

Memory Alpha make a few suppositions about the disparity, and I have a few ideas of my own.

Has there ever been an official word addressing the disparity?

  • 2
    The Klingon death ritual was a Klingon rite performed during, or directly following, the death of a warrior. Ak'voh was an ancient Klingon tradition wherein, after a warrior had died in battle difference is "died in battle", it reminds me of Spartan custom of giving headstones only to warriors died in battle an woman died in childbirth. Apr 28 '17 at 13:05
  • @VanjaVasiljevic Sounds like an answer, not a comment... if you've got references to support it.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 28 '17 at 13:17
  • Too lazy to go and search for references. I can only say that that was what wiki you posted said. Also if you go to page on Klingon death ritual and scroll down to "Other Klingon rituals concerning death" you will find short paragraph describing Ak'voh and why it might be used in Enrique Muniz instance. Apr 28 '17 at 13:22
  • @VanjaVasiljevic Yes... That was the Memory Alpha supposition I mentioned. Quoting my own references back at me is kind of pointless. I'm looking for something more, hence use of the word "official" in the bolded bit of the question.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 28 '17 at 13:30
  • Human culture is filled with lots of very different death rituals. Why must Klingons be so culturally homogeneous?
    – J Doe
    Apr 28 '17 at 21:35

The two don't seem to be mutually exclusive.

In Heart of Glory, Kunivas was a Klingon Warrior who died in (rather as a result of) battle. The howl was to warn the afterlife that his spirit was on its way (not there yet).

In The Ship, Muniz was a human engineer who died after being shot by a Dominion weapon and bleeding to death (slowly). He lost feeling in his legs and became delusional before his death (hardly the way a warrior would want to go).

Further, in Barge of the Dead, we see that there is a journey from life to Gre'thor as opposed to simply being there when one stops breathing.

Finally, in Shadows and Symbols, Worf dedicates a mission to Jadzia's memory to get her in to Sto-Vo-Kor

What do we know?

  1. The scream warns the dead of the IMPENDING arrival of a warrior
  2. Sometimes, there is a delay between death and arrival in the appropriate afterlife
  3. Certain actions can be taken by the living to steer the dead to the correct afterlife


  1. Klingon Warriors who died in battle got a pass and were immediately ushered into Sto-Vo-Kor and anyone else had to undergo a waiting period/Journey of some sort.
  2. Muniz did not die honorably OR dishonorably enough for Klingon purposes and required a waiting period before he could enter the halls of the honored dead.
  3. Worf and O'Brien were at odds throughout their experience in The Ship and Worf was citing an ancient and disused ritual to make amends with his friend.

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