In Star Trek: The Original Series, “Journey to Babel,” the audience was introduced to Spock’s parents for the first time–Sarek, a Vulcan, and Amanda, a human. In an age where inter-racial marriages were looked down upon, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry created an interspecies marriage, and it was normal. Vulcans didn’t marry humans, but why did Spock’s father marry one?
Sarek married Amanda Grayson because it was the “logical thing to do” to learn more about humans. Since Sarek was an ambassador to Earth, he thought to understand the habits and relationships of humans by marrying one. Sarek was married to a Vulcan princess before marrying Amanda.
If you want more details about Sarek’s marriage to a human female, keep reading!
Sarek Was Married Before to a Vulcan Princess
In the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, it was revealed that Spock had a half-brother, Sybok. Spock stated that his father was married to a Vulcan princess before he married Amanda. But the movie did not specify what happened to Sybok’s mother, though fans speculate that she may have died in childbirth. Other sources say that Sybok’s mother had their marriage annulled.
Sarek must have been a young man when Sybok was born, and due to the Pon Farr that happens to Vulcan males every seven years, Sarek would need to mate with a female at some point in the future. His first wife’s loss left him without a mate, and he would have needed to find a mate or die.
Sarek Did the “Logical” Thing
In the episode “Journey to Babel,” when Spock asked Sarek why he married Amanda, Sarek answered, “At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do.” They both look at each other again with the love and devotion that couples have for each other. Since that episode aired in 1967, speculation about why it was logical includes the idea that since Sarek was an Ambassador to Earth, it was logical that he marries an Earth woman.
It also could have been logical because Amanda was a translator and teacher for the Federation. Sarek may have seen that they could accomplish much more together than they could apart, and the only logical thing to do was marry Amanda.
Yet Sarek Was Illogical Due to Love
Sarek is the pinnacle of Logic, as he looks down on any displays of emotion. Yet when Amanda tells him that she loves him, he almost smiles while looking at her with a loving gaze. Comments found on fan sites suggest that Vulcans are incapable of love, yet other comments stated that Vulcans are capable of love and control their emotions more evenly than humans.
Sarek loved Amanda with as much expression as a Vulcan could manage, but he was illogical to other Vulcans. An example of how illogical he can be, in the third movie “The Search for Spock,” Sarek was not logical when asked if he wanted Spock’s “Katra” replaced. He said, “Forgive me. I am not logical when it concerns my son.” Love made Sarek illogical.
Another instance where Sarek was illogical because of love is when he took in young Micheal Burnham after her parents were killed by Klingons. He claimed it was due to Logic, but he had a soft spot for her situation.
Amanda Grayson Was a Colleague of Sarek’s On Vulcan
According to some accounts, Amanda Grayson was a colleague of Sarek while working for the Federation. She was a teacher and a translator for the Federation when she met Sarek, an ambassador to Earth.
Fans often wonder why, when Vulcan women were portrayed as strong and independent, Amanda and later, Perrin, were portrayed as subservient to Sarek. Some speculation is that Sarek thought that human women would be weak and emotional, which would make them subservient.
However, the answer to this can be found in “Journey to Babel.” Captain Kirk asked Amanda how she could deal with the Logic and the commands. Amanda said, “It’s the Vulcan way. In many ways, it’s better, Captain.”
But when alone, Amanda would gently tease Sarek for his strict Logic. Later, in Discovery, Amanda was a strong woman who did things her way while still honoring her husband.
Sarek Was an Ambassador to Earth
As an ambassador to Earth, Sarek spent a lot of time on Earth, working with the Federation council. During one of his missions to Earth, he met Amanda Grayson. They hit it off and later married. She went with Sarek to Vulcan to live with him in the Vulcan way.
Sarek could have married Amanda to learn more about how human relationships worked and the habits humans have. Logic dictated that marrying a human female would help him gain a deeper understanding of humans and allow him to be more effective in his work.
While this may have been a “logical” marriage, Sarek eventually admitted to Spock that he loved Amanda and always will.
Amanda Withheld Human Emotion While Raising Spock
Since Sarek and Amanda lived on Vulcan, they both chose to raise Spock in the Vulcan way, including the withholding of emotion. (This decision may have been Sarek’s more than Amanda’s.)
Logic was the preferred way of handling life, so Amanda held back her emotions to raise Spock. But she often had a difficult time restraining her emotions and ended up showing most of them to their foster child, Micheal Burnham, which caused a rift in their household many times.
For example, at the end of the episode, “Journey to Babel,” after Sarek recovered from his operation, she tried to foster gratitude between Spock and Sarek. But neither one acknowledged the other and declared that it was illogical to express gratitude for Logic.
At hearing this, Amanda exclaimed in frustration, “Logic! I am sick to death of Logic!” That frustration was also evident when she told Spock how she cried whenever he would come home from school after the other boys tormented him. She could not show emotions around Spock or Sarek, yet she told Captain Kirk that the Vulcan way was better.
Sarek Was Faithful to Amanda to the Very End
Vulcans have very long lives compared to humans, so his marriage to Amanda ended with her death. But Sarek was by her side until the very end of her life and was as faithful to her as she was to him. Eventually, Sarek married once again, also to a human female named Perrin. Even though it was the “logical thing to do,” Sarek was a devoted husband and a loving father, though he did not show this to his wife and children.
However, Vulcan logic often stopped Sarek from expressing how he felt towards his wife, sons, and foster daughter. Several fans take this to mean that he was a terrible father and husband, but he did what he knew without upsetting the Vulcan elders too much in the Vulcan way.
Sarek was a strict Vulcan in his home and as an Ambassador. But he was somewhat of an outcast among his peers because he married a human female and had a half-Vulcan son. He also took in a human child and raised her as his own. Many Vulcan children teased Spock for being half-human and the son of a “human whore.”
The head elders of the Vulcan Science Academy did not want to let Sarek have two non-Vulcan children in the academy because it wouldn’t look proper. Sarek always tried getting acceptance for his family, but they were never quite inside the fold.