Resurrection: Ertugrul, the Turkish ‘Game of Thrones’ on Netflix has redefined epic!

Remember it was a couple of years ago when the Pakistani audiences for the first time tasted the flavor of Turkish TV series and were easily hooked over.

Turkish soaps like Ishq-e-Mamnoon and Magnificent Century, better known as Mera Sultan dubbed in Urdu were a massive hit in Pakistan.

But this time another Turkish drama series has caught the attention and it’s a huge hit, not only in Pakistan but around the world as well. This play originally aired on TRT TV and is in its fourth season currently. Netflix has the first two seasons of this Turkish historical epic which was the first broadcast in 2014 and 2015, Diriliş Ertuğrul translated as Resurrection: Ertugrul, in the Turkish language with English subtitles.

The series is based on the life of 13th century Oghuz warrior Ertugrul, pronounced as “air-TU-rule”. He is said to be the father of Osman Ghazi 1, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The play is set in the 13th century focusing on the life of Ertugrul, which tells the story of how the Ottoman Empire came to being. It’s being termed as the Turkish version of Game of thrones. A halal version without any sexually explicit scenes but there is an intense story plot with a lot of violence and hard-core bloodshed.

There are 179 episodes of Ertugrul available on Netflix, and that’s just the first two seasons. For Netflix, episode duration is chopped down to 42 minutes but actual TV series have a two-hour-long episode runtime.

At the moment Netflix does not have seasons 3 and 4 of this series but to one’s astonishment, a petition is afloat on social media to get signatures for other reasons to be uploaded on the online streaming giant. And that, I have also signed, just like the rest of the world that is hooked by the series. I personally have watched back-to-back 22 episodes over the weekend.

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Many, including me find it genuinely entertaining. Ertuğrul is an ambitious man’s character looking to bring peace to a country trapped in the grip of war. Crusaders surround his homeland on one side along with the Byzantines on the other. Byzantine is modern day Istanbul formerly known as capital of Roman Empire capital. And there is the very strong Mongol Empire, led by the Khans, encroaching on the borders.

He is the son of a Keyi tribal leader who is in search place for a piece of land to migrate for winter. So the story develops when he provides shelter to three people helping them escape Templar men.   There is the conflict between Ertugrul’s love life and his military ambitions; a multi-stranded plot that certainly rivals the ups, downs, twists making it exciting to watch.

Muslims are the heroes of this show, also providing a glimpse at Sufism of which the entire world is talking about. Pined in the history of the Ottoman Empire and therefore modern Turkey as a nation, Ertugrul carved out a principality in Anatolia with the frankly mental odds displayed against him at the time. The characters essentially time travel from the steppes to Aleppo to the Templar hidden Crusader castle.

There are clear gender roles for men and women. The traitors in the Kayi tribe and in the Aleppo palace, collaborate with the Crusaders for the downfall of Jerusalem in exchange for gold and limited political power are in contrast with Suleyman Shah father of Ertugrul, who reminds Ertugrul that though he’s the leader of the clan, he owns nothing in this earthly life. The historical figures of Ibn al Arabi and Ertugrul likely never met in person are depicted remarkably in this series.

There is a lot more to be written about this mega series but that would become spoilers alert, there are 179 episodes of Ertugrul available on Netflix and that’s just the first two seasons. Youtube also contains episodes of this series with subtitles. It’s one of Turkey’s biggest ever shows, generating massive ratings in its native country.


Saman Siddiqui

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