Season 1 episode 1 plot:
Diriliş Ertugrul is a show about Ertuğrul (Central Character), the son of the chief of the Kayı, an Oghuz Turkic tribal group hailing from West Asia. At Ertugrul Season 1 Episode 1 in Urdu, he rescues Halime (Bilgiç) from being raped by Crusaders and triggers a sequence of events that will eventually cause the founding of the Ottoman Empire. I won’t pretend to understand anything about Turkish or Ottoman history and the way accurate it’s comparatively, but during this show, at least, our heroes need to affect Crusaders infecting their way into every possible nook and cranny, dissent within the tribe, brother trying to usurp brother, princes being kidnapped for political gain, and, apparently, the plague. Its Game of Thrones meets Vikings. In Turkish.
Ertuğrul is the perfect hero. He’s brave, loyal, obedient, a correct Muslim, utterly flawless. Halime is that the perfect heroine: brave, loyal, stubborn, graceful, loving. the simplest scenes within the show are between them as they talk around one another, both trying to precise their growing love for every other without ever saying it. Perhaps they’re too perfect, but I hardly think someone might be morally grey and follow the “right path” of Islam as Ertuğrul is doing. Is it a flaw for the show? For a viewer like me, maybe, but I’m not a primary demographic here, anyway. I don’t know any Turkish either, so I couldn’t tell you ways Turkish viewers feel.
In the end, what makes the show interesting, however, has less to try to to with perfect Ertuğrul or Halime, but the imperfect people around them, plotting and scheming. Within the Kayı, the ailing chief’s brother is trying to slowly usurp power and stop the tribe from migrating to a neighborhood near Aleppo. Ertuğrul’s older brother, jealous of Ertuğrul, is initially trapped in his schemes but breaks away once his father falls ill. His wife, Selcan (pictured far right), however, is doing her best so as to make sure that she, a.) makes her husband the chief of the tribe, b.) gets her sister to marry Ertuğrul, c.) features a grandson, d.) and kicks the “guests of the tribe,” Halime and her family, out permanently.
Outside of the tribe, various factions aligned with the Knights Templar, who want to start out a replacement crusade to Jerusalem, plot against the Kayı and Ertuğrul, either for vengeance, to stay them out of Aleppo, or to destroy them once and for all.
There’s also a mystical teacher (a fakir?), Ibn-i Arabi, who, through many mystic invocations of God, protects Ertuğrul and guides his path on the road of Islam. Also, he features a relic during a mysterious chest that the Templar desperately want their hands on.
I love the show. It’s engaging to observe, has amazing production values, and will easily compete with American big-budget television. It’s got some gore (hilariously fake) but not sex. There’s none of that parading of women’s naked bodies on the screen that’s such an indicator of HBO shows. (Of course, that’s probably to try to to with Turkish culture quite anything.)
On the opposite hand, while I wouldn’t hesitate to mention that the ladies within the show–Halime, the chief’s wife, Hayme, Selcan–are strong, they’re confined to their roles in their society. Selcan, arguably the foremost interesting (with reminder Cersei Lannister, or early Siggy on Vikings) may be a villain. She plots and schemes for power, and that’s a nasty thing. She’s the other to Halime, who is everything a lady should be in their society. Halime isn’t demure, by any chance, but she’s not trying to find power, necessarily, just to be ready to calm down in one place after running around for therefore long. I wouldn’t complain, but in six episodes–twelve hours of TV–she hasn’t done far more than look pretty, wax poetic, and take an arrow for Ertuğrul, though the potential is there for her to be quiet she is. I realize she’s confined to a historical (gender) role. But still.
But i need to say, those who scheme for power during this show, no matter affiliation, are the villains. Ertuğrul doesn’t want power either, just for his tribe to be ready to settle during a new, bountiful land. He fights because he has got to , not because he wants to. All the righteous ones during this show do.
I’m obviously watching from a Western, though not white, perspective. I started watching hoping that the show would focus more on Halime. I hope it’ll since I still have literally two whole days worth of show to travel . (And let me be frank, there’s no need for it to be two hours per episode. It’s an indulgent thing for this show to try to, especially since much of it might be easily cut or shaved down. I don’t need reminders of how terrible the Crusaders are, really. Or another fight scene where we all know Ertuğrul will win. Or that this person features a new scheme sure to fail because Ertuğrul is literally graced with God’s righteousness.)
But, as a contrast to American television, Diriliş is refreshing. Despite its length, much of it goes at an honest pace. The last episode I watched led to a loss for our heroes, with Halime being hit, key members of the group being captured, and therefore the offer to settle near Aleppo being redacted. I hope Halime does get to try to more, but either way, I’m here for the end of the day.