Did the Klingons show any honor at all in the first episodes of Star Trek: Discovery? In episodes 1 and 2 they spent a lot of time making a big deal about honor and all that, and then

rammed the ship while cloaked

From what I know as a long-time Trekkie they are not acting at all like Kahless the Unforgettable acted in regards to honor. Am I missing something about how Klingons view honor?

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    One might argue that even in previous series like TNG and DS9, the Klingons as a whole are not that honourable, despite being what they kept boasting; sometimes it appeared that the only "true Klingon" was the semi-outcast Worf.
    – Sekhemty
    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:26
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    Klingon honour, like the Prime Directive, is not actually described in detail anywhere. It’s like science in that way — it’s whatever we want it to be. Sep 25, 2017 at 11:53
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    Also: spoilers! Sep 25, 2017 at 11:53
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    There is nothing more honourable than victory.
    – IanF1
    Sep 25, 2017 at 19:49
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    I'm not a Trekkie (not seen much since the original series) so no idea whether this applies here, but in some (non-ST) stories it's not unheard of for a "warrior people" to only show "honour" to those they deem "worthy" of it... peoples/races that are insignificant, or do not exhibit sufficient "warrior-like" behaviour themselves have not earned the "right" to be treated honourably.
    – TripeHound
    Sep 26, 2017 at 11:16

5 Answers 5


Klingons generally do not see subterfuge and sneak attacks as "dishonorable." Some examples to the answer to the question Would Klingons (especially Worf) consider "deceiving" an enemy in battle to be dishonorable? :

TNG episode "Heart of Glory"

KLINGON1: Our only chance was to trick them [the attacking ship] into lowering their shields.

KLINGON2: We reduced power and lured them in.

KLINGON1: They suspected nothing.

KLINGON2: Then, when they lowered their shields to beam over a landing party, we opened fire.

DS9 episode "Blood Oath"

WORF : It is likely there are cloaked Klingon warships in the vicinity, lying in wait.

BASHIR : Doesn't sound very honorable to me.

WORF : In war, nothing is more honorable than victory.

Also keep in mind

  1. Just like with humans, the Klingon notion of "honor" is ill-defined, and can change to suit the needs of the individual (or the episode writer!)

  2. Worf is shown to be something of an outlier for actually believing and living the Klingon code of honor. Most other Klingons in the TNG era simply pay lip service to it.

  3. The Klingons' actions are well within character for the Klingons of the TOS era, who were characterized simply as a warlike race and often engaged in dishonorable tactics (see: "Trouble with Tribbles"). It's possible that any tension between the Klingons' talk of honor and their actual tactics is the writers' attempts to bridge the two series.

  4. The season isn't over! We may get to see some grumbling on the Klingon side over the move.

  5. If we were watching Star Trek: Klingons, we'd question why the first officer of a Federation ship attacked a commanding officer and ordered an attack. There are good, bad, and morally shaded apples in every race.

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    I LOVE your answer. still seems to go against what has been told of Kahless but it does indeed mostly answer the question as far as I think is possible at this time. thank you. Sep 25, 2017 at 12:46
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    Just scrolled down here to make sure Worf's quote about victory was referenced!
    – CGriffin
    Sep 25, 2017 at 15:52
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    Wolf does seem like what they Klingon society was supposed to be like had they truly fallowed a code of honor. and you see this starting to take hold in the empire by the end of DS9 as a large majority of the empire hold worf in high regard and many of the major leaders in the show seem to fallow his roll model ways of honor. this is why i see the empire in this show as not fallowing the ways of kahless. Sep 26, 2017 at 21:57

I recall words from a 1970s book about Star Trek that Klingons were "bad". The point was that whatever they thought of honor didn't match the Earther's perspective. Klingons fart in the airlock, and skip out on Dental appointments, that kind of thing.
From my watching of the shows I think the key element of honor is going to fight in the war is honorable, not going, or advising against going or the war in general is dishonorable. An honorable Klingon is not afraid to die as part of winning. Dying as part of losing is also good. Surviving and losing is bad. "Today is a good day to die" is something I remember hearing a couple of times in Next Gen. I don't remember hearing that in TOS.
I don't remember seeing anything Klingon-dishonorable on the part of the Klingons in the first two parts of Discovery. I didn't follow ALL of the verbiage or subtitles however.

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    Can you find the source of that book and provide some quotes? Can you confirm whether any of this is canon?
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 25, 2017 at 18:08
  • I'm pretty sure it was "The Making of Star Trek" but I don't have resources to find it at this time. Sep 25, 2017 at 18:09
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    regarding canon, the whole breadth and width of Star Trek fiction is so huge and screwed up that looking for absolute attendance to canon may be a little counter productive. I’m more interested in at least some interest on the part of the directors to not introduce new unreal physics, especially without explanation. How did Sarek know about the burst of light? Since when can Vulcan’s do telepathy at distance? At lightyear’s distance? Left part of his katra? Prisoner negotiating with the brig? All SUBSPACE channels? At once? Too much. Let it go. Just hope the next director doesn't suck. Sep 25, 2017 at 18:29
  • A lot of this answer is a tangent taht is barely related to the question. Your wifes and your problems to enjoy the show are irrelevant for the question of wether or not the Klingons acted honorably (in-universe). The SE network is an Q&A site, not a discussion forums, so the answer would greatly benefit from being trimmed down to focus on that. Furthermore, add refernces.
    – Polygnome
    Sep 26, 2017 at 10:10

Besides any other interpetation: What if that new Klingon leaderboss-guy (forgot his name) did not act according to the standards he proclaimed to stand for. He was on an election-campaign and then, as soon has he had the power he wanted, all of this big talk of honor and klingon heritage went out of the window.

We should not just jump to conclusions with one single action.

There was a component of that maneuver that was typically Klingon though. The ramming ship traded all of it's maneuverability for that one blow. From a strategic perspective that was so overly aggressive that it got stupid.

How Klingon is that?

  • This is some form of answer but not of the same quality as we usually expect take a look at How to Answer to get an idea of what we expect from our users :)
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 26, 2017 at 9:54

What you must remember in regards to Klingons is that the ones we're used to seeing are from a time further in the future, or even the past, and the ones dealt with in the past had very shaky practices. We are also sitting in a setting of the Star Trek universe where Klingons have attempted to go back to their old ways, and like with real world religions and historical icons, they may have misinterpreted it. You can't compare current timeline Discovery Klingons with the Klingons from the TNG/DS9/VOY universe ( though even the Voyager Klingons were different than the ones from TNG/DS9 due to having been in the Delta Quadrant as a generational ship for so long ) because it is a 200 year difference in their culture.

What we're likely going to see develop over the course of the first season is the backstory as to how they've gone back to such a highly aggressive state, something that looks like it's being pressured by a fanaatic with a lot of power, and the eventual turnaround to set Klingons on the path we know from the TNG timeline.

It may also explain the dramatic visual change as well - at some point during ENT with the Augment virus being used and altering the appearance of over 1 million Klingons and their descendents to follow, the Klingons unaffected may actually end up wiped out or equally dramatically altered during this. There's also the potential of them having altered their own appearance through cranial reconstruction and, as fanatics are wont to do, going too far.

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    ohh i hope they have the voyager Klingon ship show up in discovery! that would be so cool Sep 26, 2017 at 21:59

The question assumes that what you consider "honorable" is the same thing I consider "honorable", and that's clearly not the case for humans, let alone members of a different species.

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