DS9 "Sons of Mogh":

KURN: I have never understood you, Worf. But I do know this. In your own way you are an honourable man. (Kurn passes out.)

WORF: And you will be an honourable man again, but not as my brother.

Then right after:

WORF: What will he remember?

BASHIR: He'll know he's a Klingon, and how to speak the language, and virtually everything he needs to know in order to survive, except who he is. And that's the first question he'll ask. Who am I? Do you have an answer?

WORF: There is a man named Noggra, a friend of our father's. He will be arriving in a few hours. He has agreed to provide Kurn with a new identity and a new family. He will supply Kurn with all the answers he needs.

BASHIR: Are you absolutely certain about this, Worf? Once I've erase his memory engrams it'll be almost impossible to restore them. He won't remember you or anything about his real life.

WORF: It is the only way. You may begin.

Kurn's lineage is still the house of Mogh, a dishonored house. Kurn's "soul" is still the same. He wanted Worf to kill him to regain his honor so his soul would go to Stovokor (Klingon Heaven).

Erasing Kurn's memory, changing some DNA, doing plastic surgery, and changing where he lives hardly seems to change the main issues that caused his dishonor. His lineage is still the same. If simply adoption into a new house was a legal way to regain honor, they could have done this with Kurn's consent.

How does this restore Kurn's honor?

  • 2
    Presumably, Kurn's new persona is considered a new person, a blank slate. Merely making this transition doesn't restore his honor, but gives him a platform from which to establish it anew.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:14
  • 2
    Perhaps honor can't be restored by being adopted into a new house, but if everyone thinks he is part of the bloodline of the new house, he will have his honor back--and as an honorable Klingon he wouldn't be willing to consciously lie about his bloodline, making the memory change necessary?
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:14
  • I think asking about Kurn's soul in your series of questions about this topic is confusing the issue. We have no idea how souls work or if they even exist (in real life or in Star Trek).
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:38
  • 1
    @ellesedil between tng, ds9 and voyager, er have enough info to say Klingons have a solid understanding on how their souls work or how they expect/believe it to work. Heck, remember spock put his soul in Bones?
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 18:58
  • @Politank-Z so his lineage, Klingon law, etc. don't matter? Isn't that all that really matters to Klingons(except maybe Worf)?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


Who said this was legal in the society? He will have a new untarnished identity and no one but a few people will know the truth. Everyone else will think he's a random Klingon from a standard honorable house. Not counting actual Klingon afterlife, this will be the same as being honorable. And since Klingons can go from being dishonorable to honorable through their actions, even actual Klingon afterlife can consider him honorable in the future.

Honor in Klingon is as subjective as any status in real life. You are only as rich/well-mannered/famous/good/important as others think you are. If no one thinks you are an honorable Klingon, even if you really are, you are not honorable. How mortal Klingon society is involved, honor is subject to group consensus. We see plenty of Klingons on screen who are not honorable, but in universe they are still considered honorable until proven otherwise.

  • Kurn's main reason for coming to Worf was to regain his honor and go to Stovokor. His and Klingon's belief is that you have to have honor to go to Stovokor. Worf killing Kurn would be an honorable death and therefore Kurn would end up in Stovokor. The legalities of Klingon society govern what is honorable. What you're suggesting is that this is more convenient for everyone involved, but that doesn't change his status or the status of his soul, right?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:06
  • If man made laws affect the soul, no. But if we consider honor to be as meaningless and subjective as "criminal" or "knighthood" or "freedom fighter/terrorist" or "good king/tyrant".
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:10
  • If you commit a crime, and you don't know you did, and Noone else knows you did, are you a criminal?
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:11
  • 1
    We are speaking only of Klingon customs right now. Even Worf believes in them enough to try and kill Kurn. It only matters if under Klingon law his honor is restored. I'm not sure this does it. Maybe it does, but I'm confused about the mechanism.
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:16
  • Ha Ha, we are all criminals then. We all break the law. Ever drive over the speed limit? LOL. In any event we can debate these sort of philosophical ism's all day. Can god make a rock that god can't lift?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:18

This is a question that was not answered in the show because it wasn't the point of that episode. The point was that Kurn, who had helped bring Gowron to power, was sick of being dishonored because of his brother's acceptance of discommendation in TNG "Sins of the Father". In that episode, it is revealed upon examining data having come from a Romulan vessel, that Mogh did not send out the coded message. It was, in fact, Ja'rod, father of Duras. Mogh was used as a scapegoat, as Duras' family was too powerful and it would cause a civil war within the Empire. The thought behind Kurn having his mind erased and given a new family was that he could reclaim his honor in another way, and to show that sometimes there is no "good" or "easy" way to go about things, and that those actions also have consequences, but, the reason as to how and why this can be done is a matter of a lot of debate, I would Imagine.

There is not a lot on exactly HOW the honor system works, other than what we've seen in the shows so far, but we can come up with a few conclusions based on what we do know. In the DS9 episode "Homefront" we are given some info concerning Klingon Gods.

"Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennia ago. They were... more trouble than they were worth."

In most religions, one's soul (although their own) typically belongs to that of whoever/whatever is believed to be the God/Gods of the religion. Since the Klingons killed their gods, it can be concluded that Stovokor and Gre'thor are places like Heaven and Hell, places which cannot be proven by hard evidence as to exist or not. Since the gods are dead, these places may still be part of the Klingon psyche and used to further iterate the importance of honor. It was insinuated in the VOY episode "Barge of the Dead" that B'Elanna did go to Gre'thor, but even then, her mother was saved not by using rituals, but by B'Elanna being true to herself and living a good life, which would further denote that the honor system is subjective and based more on personal and societal norms for their culture, which may also mean that by Kurn being "made" into this different person, that he no longer carries the burden of dishonor that Worf has to, as he no longer has the knowledge of who Worf or Mogh are and, from his perspective, is not part of their family. Not having to carry the burden any longer means that Kurn would not consider himself dishonored, and since the term is subjective, he would have no reason to suspect that he would end up in Gre'thor, and therefore would not go there upon his death.

In closing, it's been established that there are no Klingon gods anymore, and as such, conceivable that whatever power the gods had over their souls now belongs to them. The honor system and the way in which they treat honor also does reveal that depending on the circumstances, it is a subjective and fluidic concept, and more dependent on the person and society than anything else. Kurn's soul therefore would be intact because he has no knowledge and does not carry the burden he once did. He had been given a new name and a new family, one who's reputation was not tarnished, so per the lore established, it can be concluded that his soul would be clean. In TNG "Sins of the Father", it is established that the dishonor would carry down 7 generations, but this would most likely be more due to the fact that the family would be made to remember, as it would be noted by the High Counsel and the burden on the Family's souls would be made to be carried by the family members.

Side note: Although in terms of lore, this answer works, it's also probably just due to the writing staff thinking more along the lines of "well if they do this, Kurn won't have to live with the dishonor" and had not even thought of how it would play into going to Stovokor or Gre'thor.

  • The first paragraph premise is incorrect. Kurn's dishonor in DS9 was due to Gowron lashing out at Worf's house for refusing to participate in the invasion of Cardassia. Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 0:28

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