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Two of the most powerful forces in the galaxy are about to collide.

Q-in-Law is a Pocket TNG novel – #18 in the numbered series – written by Peter David. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in September 1991.


From the book jacket
When two powerful rival families of the spacefaring merchant race called the Tizarin are to be joined through marriage, the USS Enterprise-D is chosen as the site for the wedding. Though Captain Picard is pleased by the happy duty, his pleasure is cut short by the arrival of the Federation delegate from Betazed: Lwaxana Troi – the mother of ship's counselor, Deanna Troi.
Despite Lwaxana Troi's romantic overtures toward the captain, the celebration seems to go smoothly until the situation is further complicated by the arrival of the notorious and all powerful being called Q – who has come to examine and challenge the Human concept of love. Suddenly, the festivities are in turmoil, the powerful Tizarin families are on the verge of war, and Lwaxana Troi is determined to teach Q a lesson in love that he will never forget.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Memorable quotes[]

"You have to promise not to laugh."

- Deanna Troi, to Riker and Picard

"Why are you saddling yourself with this artificial bereavement? It's a pointless tradition."
"My dear, anyone can uphold traditions that have meaning. Upholding the pointless traditions – that, Deanna, takes style."

- Deanna Troi and Lwaxana Troi

"Oh, don't call me "ma'am." "Ma'am" makes me feel old. Do you think I'm old?"
"Yes. In comparison with the average Betazoid lifespan, you are-"

- Lwaxana Troi, Data, and Picard (cutting in)

"This is a Tizarin? Of the House of Shinbum?"
"I am Data. Of the Enterprise."

- Data, mistaken for a Tizarin

"Permission to bounce uninvited guest, captain."
"You'll have to forgive Worf. He's just discovered opposable thumbs and he's feeling overconfident."

- Worf and Q

"Excuse me, Wesley-"
"No, counselor! Counselor, wait! I need you."
"Some people might misinterpret that, Wesley."

- Deanna Troi and Wesley Crusher

"You have to promise not to laugh."
"I'm a trained counselor, Wesley. Of course I won't laugh."

- Wesley Crusher and Deanna Troi

"Into the jaws of death rode the three hundred."

- Picard, before entering Lwaxana's guest quarters for a formal dinner

Note that he is quoting incorrectly from "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It should be "six hundred". The line was later quoted correctly in DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels".

"You promise you won't laugh?"
"Wesley! I am a doctor, trying to ascertain the cause of a serious injury to my patient! It is no laughing matter."

- Wesley Crusher and Beverly Crusher

"You don't understand-"
"Wrong, Graziunas. I do understand. I just do not care. Not about your rivalries. Not about your blood feuds. Not about your houses. A plague on both your houses! All I care about is that we started out with a young couple who wanted to celebrate a joyous union. And instead what we have is anger, jealousy, vituperation, accusations, hatred, and poor spirits. Now, what do you call that sorry state of affairs, eh?"
"Why, Jean-Luc! It's what you Humans call "love."

- Graziunas, Picard, and Q

"Your mind was never superior to mine! No Human mind could be superior to mine!"
"This is no mere Human mind! This is the mind of a Daughter of the Fifth House!"
(She smashes him into the warp nacelle)
"Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx!"
(She decks him with a right cross)
"And Keeper-" (kick) "-of the Holy-" (kick) "Rings of Betazed!" (one last kick)

- Q and Lwaxana

"She's really beating the stuffing out of him. What do you think we should do?"
"Sell tickets."

- Riker and Worf

"Picard, get some hair. Your brain has caught cold."

- Q

"She was magnificent, wasn't she?"

- Q and Q2, on Lwaxana

"Life is a banquet! And most poor bastards are starving to death!

- Lwaxana to Deanna.

Deanna indicates that she has repeatedly heard Lwaxana utter this same line. It paraphrases the motto of Auntie Mame, the literary character on which Gene Roddenberry based Lwaxana.

Background information[]

  • Author Peter David's pitch for this novel was originally turned down by Pocket Books. When Pocket asked him to write Vendetta, David would only agree if this novel was also produced. After the finished manuscript was delivered in late 1990, it went to Paramount for approval and editorial notes, but by February 1991, nothing had been received. With progress stalled, David decided to approach Majel Barrett Roddenberry at the I-Con convention in Long Island with the manuscript and seek her input into Lwaxana's character in the novel as a way of resolving the impasse. According to David, upon her return to the West Coast (having read the manuscript on the trip back), "she bustles into the Paramount office and proceeds to tell anyone who will listen about the book. Within two to three days after this happened, Pocket received four pages of comments." (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 172-173)
  • Q and Lwaxana Troi appear in the same story.
  • The audio adaptation sees John de Lancie and Majel Barrett Roddenberry take turns as narrator, voicing his or her own character, and dividing the remaining characters up by gender.
  • In another example of Shakespeare and Star Trek, two feuding houses are joined when offspring from each family fall in love. Romeo and Juliet is brought up for comparison, with Picard discussing the differences between the two stories.

Cover gallery[]


Q, 2364


Lwaxana Troi, 2371

Lwaxana Troi

Jean-Luc Picard
Lwaxana Troi
Wesley Crusher
Deanna Troi
Miles O'Brien
Beverly Crusher


Ambassador shuttle
Long-range passenger spacecraft of Lwaxana Troi, which ferried her from Betazed.
Wesley very nearly consummates ownership of a blue-skinned alien girl given to him as a gift. He asks for Troi's advice.
Humanoid space-based species. Their society is divided into Houses, distinguished by the skin and hair colors unique to each family line.

External links[]

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