Of Magic, Winter Landscapes and Russian Revolution
Who is sick of the news? Who is weary from rapid-fire action and violent conflict that permeates our entertainment these days? Gather around my tired and weary friends for I have a new obsession to share that will take you far, far away from the angry, shoot ‘em up movies and TV shows that fill our screens. Welcome to Turkish Romance.
A year ago, a friend of mine gushed about a show called Kurt Seyit ve Şura. Well, mostly about the lead actor — Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ. Can you blame her?
My friend warned me about its soap-opera qualities, the sweeping, over-the-top music, the almost-too-gorgeous people (Oh, Seyit!). Now, having seen half of the first season, I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this show.
Ten minutes into the first episode the hero’s strength and nobility were declared, the heroine’s vulnerability established, the nemesis identified, the war showcased, and the beauty of early 20th Century Russia showcased. Ten minutes, my friends! That’s stellar crafting, and that brilliance was all it took for me to be all in.
Kurt Seyit ve Şura is based on the true, love story of Seyit Eminof, a 1st Lieutenant of the elite Imperial Guard and Şura Verjenskaya a Russian noblewoman. Seyit and Şura meet in WWI Russia just as the Bolshevik revolution was taking hold. They fall in love and are forced to break from their “magnificent lives” (the official publicity statement) to flee to Istanbul. And, bonus! Their romance is based on a true story, which only made me swoon more while watching it. The granddaughter of the real Seyit wrote the book on which the series is based.
Along the lines of the Age of Innocence and Downton Abbey, Kurt Seyit ve Şura is a story of people experiencing their perfect, beautiful life crumble as society demands change, and set in a time when class divides were so severe revolution was inevitable. Much of the show shows off the excessive luxury the Russian noble class indulged in – the gorgeous palaces and architecture, the jeweled gowns sweeping across ballroom floors, love notes written on crisp, thick, monogrammed paper. It’s hard to feel sorry for their ultimate downfall, but oh, peeking into their lives is such a wonderful, guilty pleasure.
Even with the show’s brilliant opening, the pace is slow and honestly welcomed. Expect love-filled lingering looks between characters, kisses that last minutes, music that swells in the background. Sigh. In fact, the music is often so cheesy, my husband has literally left the room. As for me? I love it Even with its soap-opera drama moments (if they would only talk to one another, clear up that miscommunication all would be well!), the show sucked me in faster than a black hole.
Case in point? I hate winter, but somehow this show made me fall in love with that frigid season from its scenery alone. The gorgeous, wintery Russian and Turkey landscape is a character of its own, and one that is used well to depict their lives. Picture snowflakes and ice chips crusted into beards as the gorgeous Seyit and his men stomp through snowy forests and trails on horseback. Imagine men and women in their fur-lined coats being jostled in open-topped carriages through icy streets. Be warmed by the outdoor, iron-scroll gaslights throwing light over iced steps.
The war is ever present in this series, but from afar like gunfire in the distance. So far, no real battle scenes have marred the beauty of the scenery. I expect the screen will eventually fill with a bloody battle scene. I mean, we’re talking the Bolshevik revolution that ended the Russian noble class for good. For now, I’m happy for war to be a bit player.
Back to Seyit, the hero. He is to die for. Noble, desperately trying to do the right thing, loyal, close to his family, and soon even closer to Şura, our heroine, he is everything one would want in a romance. He is beguiled by Şura’s innocence and purity, which I imagine is not unlike the life that they both lived, despite Seyit’s war-time occupation. I suppose you could liken Şura to Marie Antoinette, but without the cruelty and haughtiness. Şura certainly is as ignorant of the “real world.” You can’t help but love her, however, as she stares starry-eyed at Seyit. Who doesn’t want an all-encompassing, I-can’t-stop-staring at you love?
One could argue that these two are delusional and simply in lust with one another, but that would spoil the magic. And, right now, I believe we all could use some magic. I’m not done with the series yet, but I’ll return to let you know how it all ends up. It’s romance so I’m expecting an HEA, but the producers cleverly only say Seyit’s granddaughter wrote the story, not Seyit and Şura’s granddaughter. Do they end up together? Does the war eventually tear them apart? (We all know how the revolution ends.) Do their long, lingering looks grow old? Do they grow old? Does someone throw themselves on a train track? I can only tell you this: I’m going to find out, despite the fact hubby can’t be in the room during the orchestral swells.
Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary romance that dares to “go there.” Expect alpha males (and females), seductive encounters, and love. Learn more about her steamy and sexy stories by following her on Amazon and Bookbub.