I ran across this Turkish delight on a sleepy, winter evening last week on Netflix. I wasn't sure that I was ready to commit to sub-titles when I could barely keep my eyes open, but the snowflakes that swirled around the opening scenes made me feel nostalgic and cozy under my warm throw. And so like love, Seyit and Sura caught me by surprise. The series is based on true stories of a Turkish man from Crimea who fought for Czar Nicholas at the time of the Russian Revolution. He meets a beautiful Russian woman of noble birth, and the two fall in love at first sight. Always running from the forces that will change Russia forever and the families who don't approve of their match, theirs is a wistful tale of all-consuming love and the stubbornness that keeps it together, only to tear it apart. It is a soap opera to be sure. The villains are horrible, and I find myself yelling at Petro, in particular, who is a horrible man ... jealous of his childhood friend Seyit and in love with Sura. But their constant reconnection after harrowing escapes and escapades is sublime. It is a truly romantic story. Produced and filmed in Turkey, I am determining that it is filmed according to a more traditional code. Seyit is more likely to kiss Sura on her forehead than her lips. Somehow this makes it all of the more ethereal.
And Seyit ... what can I say about the man that I love. Wowsa. He had me at hello, good-bye, and see you later. The man is beautiful. And I have watched episode after episode to watch him explode across the screen. He has an intensity that is so attractive. With a gesture, I feel myself move closer to the screen to meet his command. I've Googled the actor, Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, and have read up on the story of the story. I was overjoyed when I discovered that Season One meant over 30 episodes. I would not have to wait for more when it kept coming at me. Sadly, I was beginning to see that Seyit and Sura might succumb to the pressures that surrounded them- Petro is working really hard to kill Seyit, send him back to Russia to face execution, and murdering someone to put the the blame on him. He is a dirty scoundrel, who is always trying to ingratiate himself into Sura's arms. And she nearly always falls for it as if he will be the savior of her lover.
And I did look ahead as it is reported online, and it made me sad. Yesterday, I saw an episode that showed a reconciliation between the lovers, and I am tempted to leave it at that ... stay away from the final episodes so that I don't watch it fall apart. Yesterday, when I was getting ready for work, I remembered that I had a ring from Turkey. I helped a friend organize the estate of one of his friends when he had died suddenly. When I was going through a drawer, I found the rings. I remember the owner telling me that when he traveled to teach in Turkey, he found the men to be very handsome. He was very happy being there and in their company. He suggested that I follow him and work there as well. I would have my choice of men. If they are anything like Kıvanç Tatlıtuğk, I think that I might have passed up a good thing. In the series, when Seyit finally asks Sura to marry, he gives her his man's ring. She wore it happily on her index finger. Yesterday, I wore my Turkish man's ring. I walked around in a swirl of imaginings of flight, struggle, and the romantic beauty of Istanbul.
What better way to occupy oneself in a fantasy of true love on short, dreary, wintry days.