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If you know me at all, you are not at all surprised at the topic of my weekly post here at That’s Normal. Because I have not stopped talking and tweeting and snapchatting and texting about Turkish war drama, Kurt Seyit ve Sura, and I don’t even know how to pronounce it. What I do know is it took over my life this week, and it has been quite an education on what exactly makes for obsessive television.
Surprise surprise! Beautiful people sell television shows. But I don’t think I was quite aware of just how easily a very VERY beautiful man in a period drama could entice me to tune in. Couple him with a woman who’s equally gorgeous and wearing amazing historical clothing, and I will sit back and binge for days.
But really, Kivanc Tatlitug, who plays Seyit, is BEYOND HOT. His beard, and his scorching blue eyes and his swoopy hair have Edward Cullen in the lunchroom levels of swoon.
He’s infinitely watchable.
Farah Zeynep Abdullah, who plays Sura, is just as gorgeous and plays every scene with her huge doe eyes like their perpetual state is “misting”.
Naturally, like any good show, they aren’t the only hot people around. Seyit’s war buddies, Sura’s sisters and aunts, and even the villain … all a bunch of ridiculous hotties.
Villain Bae to replace all villain baes. source
One of the first things that drew me to the show were the images of the soldiers in Russian WWI digs. Not gonna lie, Seyit’s frozen beard and those epaulets were giving me MAJOR Bronze Horseman/Shura feels. Sometimes I just pretend that Seyit/Sura ARE Shura/Tatia. It’s easy to do because you can’t really understand what they are saying.
War dramas are easy to fall in love with: the inherent stakes, the life-changing consequences, the separations, the loss, the action, the pain. THE TRAIN GOODBYES!
This particular drama takes place in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and Crimea, a Turkish territory annexed by Russia prior to the war. Seyit is a Turkish officer in the Tsar’s army; his family home in Crimea is fighting the discontent of their Russian tenant farmers. Sura is a Russian aristocrat, and we all know their fate post-WWI. It’s all very fraught.
Speaking of fraught, this romance is one for the BOOKS on melodrama. Romance tropes abound – the first meeting at a ball where the hero has made a bet with his buddies about making a conquest. The insta-love. The older, worldly-wise rich woman with a history and a jealous streak. The rival who works to undermine their young love. The very strong emotive response to everything. BUT IT WORKS.
I was in NO WAY upset that this eye-acting took 15 years to complete and was scored with major swells of the main relationship’s theme song.
Just like I was also IN NO WAY upset that this first kiss took place during a ball, in a conservatory and took approximately half an episode to complete because Seyit kept whisper-yelling hero-tropes. I am Sura in the last gif. Unable to even. 100% here for more.
The show is a ROMANCE. It is 100% about Seyit and Sura falling in love, staying in love and trying to make their love work in a world that is changing and falling apart around them. I heard it was based on a true story, but I am not confirming that information because I don’t want spoilers.
But I can tell you that this is some historical romance novel in real life shit. And ladies, if you love forehead kisses, BE NOT DISMAYED. No one, not even Bella Swan, has received more forehead kisses than Sura via Seyit. He is in love with her hairline.
This show is NOT American. It’s obvious from the very first title sequence that you are watching something different than the period dramas we are accustomed to from the UK and the US. Being produced for and by another country takes some getting used to, and I don’t just mean the abundance of subtitles. It’s … different. And that’s NOT necessarily a bad thing. Obviously, I love it, but stuff is occasionally weird, and that makes it kind of embarrassing to watch.
Like, a lot of times there are light sources that could not exist in that time and place. Like bright LED spotlights right over someone’s head in their early 20th century Crimean bedroom. Sura often sleeps in a bedroom as a bright as the Presence of the Most High.
There are lengthy dream sequences that look straight out of Dr Quinn’s Christmas Special.
And it’s fairly prudish. There’s only the suggestion of intimacy. And I don’t know the rules in Turkey or wherever this aired about nudity, but if you are going to show Turkish baths, like WHY ARE THESE GUYS DRESSED?
Each episode ends on some weird screengrab of a character IN MEDIAS MOTUS, on the cusp of finishing up an emotional moment, like when someone takes a picture of you right before you are about to yell at your husband to quit doing wheelies on the riding lawnmower. It’s a very hilarious way to stop an episode of a show, but an INGENIOUS way to get me to keep watching! How is that scowl gonna resolve???? WHO KNOWS GOTTA WATCH TO SEE!
So … if you love period pieces, war dramas, ROMANCE NOVELS and obsessive storylines, fire up Netflix and figure out how to spell Kurt Seyit … because you don’t need the next 48 hours of your life, but you do need this show in it.
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