Guinan was a formidable yet sensitive woman who provided many benefits to the Enterprise-D crew and was Captain Picard’s most trusted advisor. Yet, when Q visited the crew and saw Guinan, he told Picard to “get rid of her–she’s an imp.” Why was Q, the most powerful being in the universe, afraid of Guinan?
Q and Guinan had “dealings” 200 years before serving on the Enterprise-D, although no one knows more about those dealings. Her race lives longer than most other races and is thought to be almost as powerful as the Q. Guinan is also not afraid of Q, which might make Q afraid of her.
Let’s look more in-depth as to why Q might have been afraid of Guinan.
Who Was Guinan?
Guinan was an El-Aurian, otherwise known as a race of listeners. El-Aurians live extremely long lives, even longer than Vulcans. Guinan was born in her homeworld sometime before the late 19th century to parents who were over 100 years old at her birth. Her parents were still alive in the 24th century.
During the late 19th century, Guinan was a young woman. She often rebelled against tradition and, at one point, traveled to San Francisco on Earth. But to disguise who she was, she set herself up as a wealthy socialite known as “Madam Guinan” and often gave parties for other socialites. She often hid from her father on Earth during this period.
One of the guests at her many parties was the famed author Samuel Clements, otherwise known as Mark Twain.
At this party, Data, who got sent back in time, sought her help to return to the 24th century. Captain Picard also went back in time and met Guinan at the future Guinan’s urging. She reasoned that “we will never meet if you don’t go.”
In the second season of The Next Generation, Guinan became a regular character as the resident bartender in Ten Forward. She became a trusted friend and advisor to many people through the position. The Enterprise-D did have a ship’s counselor, but sometimes, people needed someone to listen to them without a formal counseling session.
When Q visited with Picard in Ten Forward, he hissed when he saw Guinan and told Picard to get rid of her. Guinan, however, held both hands out in a claw-like position and stared at him. To this day, no one seems to know why she did that.
Who Was Q?
Q first appeared in the Star Trek universe on the pilot episode of The Next Generation, as they tried Picard and his crew for the crimes of humanity. They blamed humans for being a violent and savage race that has no business being in space. Picard and crew plead their case, stating that they had come a long way from their days of violence and savage behavior.
He also asked them to watch the human race and let them prove their innocence. The Q agreed and let them go.
But who is the Q? There is no known origin for this species and no date of birth for the one Q who saw it to torment the Enterprise-D crew throughout the series. No one knows how or where they came from, but they have the power to go anywhere or do anything that no other species have.
Most Q were content to stay within the Continuum and let the many species and races go about their business with no interference. However, the Q that antagonized the Enterprise-D was not content to stay within the Continuum but to oppress other races, which is why he got booted from the Q and made human for a while.
After his many visits with Picard, Q later softened in his approach and made his move at least two times with Captain Janeway of Voyager. He ended up having a son with another Q to bring peace to the troubled Continuum.
But he definitely did not like Guinan. Why?
Q and Guinan Had Dealings 200 Years Before the Enterprise
According to Guinan, she and Q “had dealings” 200 years before meeting on the Enterprise. She also had dealings with other members of the Q, and they were “almost respectable.” In the episode “Q Who,” Q sends the Enterprise-D into Borg space to show Picard that they are not ready for the future.
Before he did that, however, Guinan felt something familiar, as if she had experienced what was about to happen in the past. She had experienced the next event, as the Borg raided her homeworld and assimilated many of her race. The El-Aurians were spread across the galaxy after the Borg came.
Guinan alluded that Q might have done something to bring the Borg to her homeworld and advised the captain to turn back before encountering the Borg. Picard ignores the warning and explores that part of space.
Perhaps, in the altercation with the Borg, the El-Aurians dealt a crushing blow to the Q continuum. No one knows, but that is how it seems based on Guinan and Q’s pointed words in that particular episode.
Guinan’s Race Is Almost As Powerful as the Q
While the Q is the most powerful race in the galaxy, he is afraid of Guinan. Why? It seems that the El-Aurians are almost as powerful as the Q. He even goes as far as calling her an “imp” that invites trouble wherever she goes and tells Picard to get rid of her before she causes trouble on the Enterprise. Of course, Picard does not listen to him and tells Q that he talked about himself rather than Guinan.
Guinan held grudges against the Q and the Borg. While it is obvious why she would hate the Borg, it is not as obvious why she would hate Q. But she may have created a lot of trouble against him when he tried antagonizing other species. She also may have stopped the Q from going where he wanted or doing what he wanted. Therefore, she may have been almost as powerful as Q.
Guinan Is Not Afraid of Q, Which Upsets the Balance of Power
Usually, when species encountered the Q, they were afraid and did whatever the Q wanted them to do. Guinan is not afraid of Q and refuses to cower to him and his race, which throws the balance of power out the window. Q must not like this, which might explain why he hisses at her when he sees her in Ten Forward.
Since Guinan dealt with him in the past, she knew what he was capable of and how to fight him. The claw-like position of her hands might have been a way to fend him off. He kept his distance because of it, as he didn’t want to deal with her yet again. The “impishness” put him off to ever mess with her again.
The Q is not known as being afraid of anything or anyone except those within the Continuum. But Q is afraid of Guinan and has a genuine dislike for her due to how their “dealings” went previously.
Since Guinan was a trusted and respected member of the Enterprise-D crew, Picard knew that Q’s assessment of her was inaccurate and not trustworthy. He ignored Q’s warning because Q always seemed to have a trick up his sleeve.
Guinan had the best interest of the Enterprise-D at heart and always warned Picard about any dangers to the ship, including the Q.