The House of Duras was one of the Great Houses in the Klingon Empire which by 2366 had become highly influential in Klingon politics, so much so that its leader Duras (son of Ja'rod) was considered in 2367 for the position of Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. Outside of the view of the majority of the Klingon population, they often have a reputation for deceit and dishonorable practices. The home of the House was located in the First City, adjacent to the Great Hall.
In 2346, Ja'rod had betrayed his people to the Romulans, providing them with the codes to lower the defenses protecting the Klingon colony on Khitomer. When evidence of this surfaced in 2366, then-Chancellor K'mpec sought to protect the Empire against a possible civil war by blaming Mogh, the father of Worf. Worf challenged this, but when he learned the truth he agreed to accept discommendation, for the good of the Empire. (TNG: "Sins of the Father")
With the death of K'mpec in 2367, Ja'rod's son, Duras, sought the leadership of the council, standing against Gowron. When Worf discovered that his mate K'Ehleyr had been murdered by Duras, he immediately transported to Duras' ship and challenged him. Duras proved to be no match for Worf, and was killed, leaving House of Duras without a leader as Duras had no legitimate heir, and Gowron free to take his place as Chancellor. (TNG: "Reunion")
Several months later, Duras' sisters Lursa and B'Etor discovered that Duras had an illegitimate son, Toral. Though only a boy, Toral was made head of House Duras and inherited his father's claim to leadership of the council. The Arbiter of Succession Jean-Luc Picard chose to reject Toral's claim, causing those council members loyal to the House of Duras to withdraw from the council, plunging the Empire into civil war. With this, Chancellor Gowron restored Worf's good name and his family honor. He gave Toral's life to Worf, but Worf chose to spare the boy, who had merely been used as his aunts' pawn. (TNG: "Redemption")
Although Toral was technically its leader, effectively the House was being controlled by Lursa and B'Etor, who were in turn working in collusion with the Romulans. Picard was able to prove this and block the Romulan supply convoys aiding the Duras' forces. Support immediately fell away and Gowron's forces stood victorious. The Duras sisters continued to fight a private war against the Empire. (TNG: "Redemption II")
Lursa and B'Etor surfaced once again on Deep Space 9 in 2369, selling bilitrium to Bajoran Kohn-Ma terrorist Tahna Los in order to fund their continuing efforts to gain control of the Empire. As they had committed no crime against the Bajorans they were allowed to go about their business and were not apprehended. (DS9: "Past Prologue")
An attempt on Worf's life in 2370 was suspected to have been the work of the Duras sisters, but this proved not to be the case. At this point Lursa revealed that she was pregnant with another heir to the house Duras. (TNG: "Firstborn")
In 2371, Lursa and B'Etor began working with El-Aurian scientist Dr. Tolian Soran, stealing trilithium from the Romulans in order to assist him in the development of a trilithium-based weapon. They captured Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge and used his VISOR to discover the modulation of the USS Enterprise-D's shields. The Enterprise was critically damaged as the Duras' weapons fire passed through its shields, unhindered. Lieutenant Commander Data was able to force the activation of the Bird-of-Prey's cloaking device. With their shields down, a single photon torpedo was enough to destroy the Duras' ship, killing them in the process. However, the Duras sisters may have gotten the last laugh as the damage they had inflicted to the Enterprise was enough to rupture the magnetic interlocks to the warp core, leading to a warp core breach which completely destroyed the stardrive section of the vessel and crippled the saucer module. (Star Trek Generations)
Toral attempted to take over the Klingon Empire again in 2372, this time on his own. He met the Dahar Master Kor on Torna IV, where Kor drunkenly told him he had discovered the Shroud of the Sword and that it would lead him to the Sword of Kahless. Toral sent Soto, a Lethean, to probe Kor's mind on Deep Space 9. Using the information Soto retrieved, and believing that if Toral could wield the sword he could take over the Empire, Toral traveled to the Gamma Quadrant. However, Kor, Worf and Jadzia Dax had already discovered and retrieved the sword and managed to escape Toral and his henchmen. The sword was later jettisoned into space, thwarting another attempt of the House of Duras to conquer the Empire. (DS9: "The Sword of Kahless")
|Klingon Great Houses|
|Antaak • D'Ghor • Duras • Grilka • Konjah • Kor • Korath • K'toh-maag • Martok • Mo'Kai • Mogh • Noggra • T'Kuvma|
Mirror universe: Duras
Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore made attempts at making Lursa and B'Etor's cranial ridges similar, indicating they were from the same house. "Especially in later episodes of The Next Generation, when Worf's brother Kurn and their rival Duras were stirring up the Empire and Gowron took the throne, I was able to work out family facial styles," Westmore recalled. "The Duras family and the terrible sisters Lursa and B'Etor had the same general features as Duras. What worked for Duras worked for Toral, Duras's son." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, pp. 66-67)
Costume designer Robert Blackman was responsible for designing Lursa's and B'Etor's Klingon uniforms. He often incorporated, in each of those costumes, a revealing bustline that was quickly referred to by fans as "Klingon kleavage". Neither Barbara March nor Gwynyth Walsh used chest padding. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (1st ed., p. 169))
Lursa and B'Etor's appearance in DS9: "Past Prologue" was included on the suggestion of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine producer Michael Piller, as a way to tie the series into established continuity. "The creative synergy allows you incredible opportunities," Piller commented. "It's interesting how we used them. Essentially, we had a story and, in the case of Lursa and B'Etor we said, 'Hey, we've got a real kind of Casablanca spy story and we need someone [to] really be doing double dealings and bringing money and doing gun exchanges; why don't we use the Klingons – and use those characters that we love so much?' It works out just fine to use those guys because then there's a connection and an identification. There's a backstory, there's a history, and all of these things make for a much richer series." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 22); Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 42)
Of the Duras sisters' DS9 appearance, Gwynyth Walsh recalled, "I think they brought us back because it was time. It was fine [...] but we mostly worked just by ourselves in that one." ("Double Trouble", Star Trek Monthly issue 36)
In the computer game Star Trek: Armada, Toral returns again to take over the Empire. In the game, he mentions that Worf "lacked the courage" to kill him twice before, referring to both TNG: "Redemption" and DS9: "The Sword of Kahless". In the Klingon campaign later in the game, it is discovered that the Romulans are behind the attempt for the House of Duras to take over the Empire. After they fail, the House retreats to Romulan space, causing Chancellor Martok to declare war on the Romulans. The game's Romulan campaign ends with Admiral Sela using the Borg to destroy the remnants of the House of Duras.
In Star Trek Online the House of Duras is led by Lursa's child, named Ja'rod after his grandfather. He commands the IKS Kang.