The other night, the Cap’n and I watched the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode where Dax and Worf finally wed. There were plenty of ups and downs in the story with the wedding on and off every few minutes. Unwavering adherence to Klingon tradition, a difficult mother-in-law, and sudden time pressure to include Worf’s son at the wedding all seemed to create resentment and conflict between the bride and groom.
As we were watching it, I realized that while I felt sympathy for Dax wanting to throw Klingon tradition aside (and with it her requirement to pass muster with Sirella Martok), and instead get married in Captain Sisko’s office in a civil ceremony, I didn’t really want her to do that. Why? Because the Cap’n and I have seen so many movies where a religious/traditional person falls in love with an unaffiliated person and to make the match work gives up his or her beliefs and practices. (We really liked “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” because it didn’t involve the Greek falling off her derech; instead the white bread guy converts to Greek Orthodoxy.)
For Worf and Dax to be married in a parve ceremony felt wrong. Worf is thoroughly dedicated to Klingon tradition, and Dax herself (throughout at least two of her seven lifetimes as a Trill) has been fascinated by Klingon culture. As we watched the events unfold, it became increasingly clear to us that this situation is very much like any other intermarriage and as dedicated Jews, we were rooting for the unaffiliated partner to convert.
I spent a post some time ago comparing Klingons to Arabs. One commenter to that post claimed that Klingons are modeled on Vikings. Perhaps in some sense they are, but I suspect that Vikings did not share the Klingons’ reservations about intermarriage, since intermarriage is an effective means to conquer and fully assimilate another society. In this episode (“You Are Cordially Invited”) Klingons began to look to us like Jews too with their adherence to ancient tradition, their reservations about intermarriage, and their belief in a relationship as a joint spiritual journey where both partners must be in sync for it to be a successful marriage. When the episode ended on a happy note, we were satisfied that all had turned out to everyone’s satisfaction. Worf married in a Klingon ceremony, his son was present, the Martoks did their bit, Dax grew up a little, and I’m sure Quark made a tidy profit on blood wine at the reception.
Who could ask for anything more?