Star Trek TNG: 10 Questions About Deanna Troi, Answered
More than striking an impressionable silhouette in a spacesuit, Deanna Troi is the heart and conscience of the Enterprise-D. Introduced as ship's counselor in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a newly created position, she is responsible for the morale of every crewmember aboard. Creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to stress the importance of mental health and the sensitive interpersonal crises that Starfleet officers can go through during their missions.
Half-Betazoid and half-human, Counselor Troi chose to embrace the best traits of both species in her heritage. Combining Betazoid empathic powers with her training in human psychology, she became the most effective shoulder to cry on in Starfleet. Whether you watched TNG for her comforting presence, her shapely outfits, or just to see how her relationship with Commander Riker turned out, she was an integral part of the crew and the series' popularity. Below are 10 questions about Deanna Troi, answered.
10 WHAT WAS HER LIFE LIKE BEFORE STARFLEET?
Deanna Troi was born on Betazed, to Starfleet officer Ian Andrew Troi and Betazed Ambassador Lwaxana Troi. Her family lived near Lake El'nar, of which she has both happy and tragic memories. Kestra, her older sister, drowned in the lake when Deanna was just a baby. Her mother attempted to erase all memories of the incident, but they resurfaced later on during Troi's service aboard the Enterprise-D.
Despite his passing when she was only seven, Deanna was particularly close to her father, with whom she shared a love of stories of Earth's "Wild West." She chose to study psychology at the University of Betazed, intent on using her empathic powers to help individuals overcome complications involving mental health.
9 WHY DOES SHE DISLIKE HER MOTHER?
Lwaxana Troi, whose full title is "Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed" is a Betazed Ambassador and the mother of Deanna Troi. A full-blooded Betazoid, Lwaxana has full empathic and telepathic abilities. She loves nothing more than to swoop onto the Enterprise and embarrass her daughter, gossiping to her via their telepathic link to poke fun at Deanna's peers.
Since infancy, Deanna has complained of her mother's loud and flashy behavior, the lustful connotations of which have resulted in uncomfortable encounters between Deanna, Captain Picard, Commander Riker, and a slew of other men.
8 WHAT'S THE EXTENT OF HER EMPATHIC POWERS?
Because she isn't a full-blooded Betazoid, Deanna's powers aren't as fully developed as her mother Lwaxana's. She can only communicate telepathically with other Betazoids, but her extra-sensory empathy often allows her to determine if another race or species is telling the truth.
In this way, her ability to have a heightened awareness of the emotional state of another being proved invaluable when the Enterprise dealt with more hostile life forms. It also meant that she could better help her patients aboard the Enterprise with issues they wouldn't trust discussing with anyone else.
7 WHY DOESN'T SHE WEAR A STARFLEET UNIFORM?
Due to not being viewed as a line officer aboard the Enterprise (she possessed the rank of lieutenant commander but wasn't a part of the bridge shift), there was some freedom afforded to her when it came to professional attire. Because she wasn't required to wear a traditional Starfleet uniform, Deanna's look made her more approachable to patients.
Eventually, acting Captain Jericho of the Enterprise in Picard's absence made her wear a traditional Starfleet uniform, which she continued to do for the rest of the series. This made her seem more officious, which actress Marina Sirtis liked.
6 HAS SHE ALWAYS BEEN A SHIP'S COUNSELOR?
For the majority of Deanna's Starfleet career, she's been a ship's counselor, but her official rank when she accepted a post aboard the Enterprise was lieutenant commander. Though she enjoyed a position on the bridge, she would never be able to have a daily shift of bridge command until she achieved the rank of commander.
Under Riker's supervision, she attempted the Bridge Officer's Test, which she failed several times due to not being able to send a crew member to their death. Eventually she passed, and acquired the Starfleet status of a line officer, on top of being considered a staff officer and still ship's counselor.
5 WHO WAS HER MOST DIFFICULT PATIENT?
Though Deanna has had several patients that test the limits of her empathy, including Reginald Barclay and his holodeck addiction, it was Commander Worf who proved one of her greatest challenges. As a principle, Klingons are very reticent about revealing their feelings.
When Alexander came to live aboard the Enterprise after the death of his mother and Worf's mate, K'Ehleyr, Deanna worked with both father and son to journey through the grieving process together. Despite the depths of pain both experienced by doing so, they became closer.
4 HAS SHE EVER BEEN IN LOVE?
While Deanna was attending the University of Betazed to obtain her psychology degrees, she decided to pursue a career in Starfleet like her father, with an emphasis on mental health. She met a young lieutenant stationed on Betazed named William Riker, and the two began a passionate love affair.
Riker ultimately put his career ahead of their relationship, and when he was posted to the USS Potemkin they lost contact. They would reunite when she was posted to the USS Enterprise-D as a ship's counselor and he First Officer. Even despite an arranged marriage to Wyatt Miller (later called off), and a relationship with Worf, the pair struggled with their attraction to one another, which resulted in (finally) getting married in Star Trek: Nemesis.
3 WHY DID SHE HAVE A CHILD WITH WORF?
In the seventh season of The Next Generation, instead of have Deanna Troi finally get together with Commander Riker and resolve their on-again, off-again relationship, writers thought it would be more interesting (and unexpected) to have her pursue a relationship with Worf.
It began when Worf discovered several alternate realities where Troi was a possible life mate, which opened up the possibility of her being a romantic partner, something he hadn't considered until he witnessed their life together with children. In reality, she only ever became godmother to his son Alexander, and their romantic relationship was fraught with difficulties.
2 WHO IS SHE CLOSEST TO?
As ship's counselor, Deanna may seem as though she's close to a great number of the Enterprise crew. They come to her for emotional support and guidance in their interpersonal relationships, often projecting onto her the position of friend when she's simply being an effective professional.
In her daily life she's closest to Dr. Beverly Crusher, who understands the rigors of her position and the importance of mental health, Commander Riker, with whom she enjoys a close emotional and romantic connection, and Captain Picard, who has likened to her his "guide" and "conscience" during difficult personal trials.
1 WHAT ARE HER HOBBIES?
Like many of her peers aboard the Enterprise, Deanna took part in holodeck simulations, particularly those involving the "Wild West" of Earth that she and her late father loved so much. She loved swimming, but never thought the holodeck could replicate her time on Betazed, enjoying Lake El'nar.
She's fond of taking Worf's Mok'Bara classes, which provide a great deal of aerobic activity. Together with Beverly Crusher, she engages in fitness classes and games of parrises squares. Deanna's also been known to participate in the bridge crew's poker game, dabble in playing the piano, and indulge in her guilty pleasure, all things chocolate.