Dirilis Ertugrul is a Turkish television series consisting of five seasons with 450 episodes to date on Netflix. It has been dubbed in over 60 languages, including Urdu, and exported to 60 countries thus far. Based on the 13th-century history of the Oghuz Turks, it tells the tale of Ertugrul, the father of Osman I who founded the Ottoman Empire. Ertugrul was the leader of the nomadic Kayi tribe and he first arrived in Anatolia with 400 horseback riders to assist the Seljuks of Rum against the Byzantines. This kickstarted a chain of events that would ultimately result in the establishment of the Ottoman Empire.
Metro commended Dirilis Ertugrul for its storyline and characters, suggesting that Game of Thrones (GoT) fans would like watching the show. Reports referred to Engin Altan Duzyatan, the actor who played the lead role of Ertugrul, as the new ‘Jon Snow’. Fans often consider Dilirius Ertrugrul as the Turkish Game of Thrones, an equally well-known HBO fantasy drama TV series that tells the tale of a medieval country’s civil war. GoT features eight seasons, and the runtime for each is 50-80 minutes. These are not the only differences. Ertrgrul is based on the real history of a man who laid the foundation of the Ottoman dynasty. It has many references to actual historical events that educate viewers. On the other hand, Game of Thrones is a fictional show based on American writer George R.R. Martin’s best-selling novel.
The storylines of both Dirilis Ertugrul and Game of Thrones cannot be any more different. In Dirilis Ertugrul, the Kayi tribe, under the leadership of Ertugrul Ghazi, migrates from place to place in search of a permanent settlement. Ghazi refers to a person who struggles in the name of religion, and Ertugrul does this perfectly. GoT has more political elements and it focuses on a dynastic conflict among seven noble families in the fictional islands of Westeros and Essos. Characters from numerous Houses compete to claim the Iron Throne which represents the seat of the Seven Kingdoms’ kings.
Both shows come with quality production values, epic storytelling, breathtaking sceneries, special effects, and unforgettable musical scores the likes of which have never been seen before. Those who have watched Dirilis Ertugrul and Game of Thrones know that both contain exaggerated elements targeted at boosting the shows’ ratings. Things take a different turn when we compare realism and fantasy. Dirilis Ertugrul’s portrayal of a real warrior whose tomb is a significant tourist attraction in Sogut, present-day Turkey, is not the only aspect that sets the show apart. Equally important is that it features supporting characters based on iconic Turkish figures and the rich insight it offers into Muslim culture. Glorifying Muslim values with its nuanced representation of the Islamic world, the Turkish saga has all the hallmarks of an international blockbuster. Its positive portrayal of Islamic scripting often includes words of wisdom from the great Andalusian poet and philosopher Ibn Arabi. This has greatly helped the show carve a unique niche in the entertainment world. The strongest sentiment that fans express is their ability to see themselves in the lead characters’ roles. Moreover, while big productions such as Dirilis Ertugrul have a strong narrative, their characters do not fit into a typical mold, making it difficult for audiences to relate. Interestingly, we can also say that Dirilis Ertugrul is the Black Panther of the Muslim world. This is because the series serves as a voice of Muslims who hold their culture dear to their hearts and are presented far more capable than what most people give them credit for.
A highly entertaining show, the makers of GoT have put a lot of effort and resources into creating a masterpiece. Even then, the storyline is a work of fiction, and the characters never existed in reality. There are mythical creatures and fanciful buildings, and the main theme in the drama is the struggle for power as well as status. Unlike Dirilis Ertugrul that centers on religion and encourages viewers to rethink and revisit Islam, GoT only entertains audiences.
Furthermore, Dirilis Ertugrul is more accessible to younger viewers, although there is excessive graphic violence in certain episodes. However, unlike GoT that is suitable for mature audiences because of its explicit content, families can watch Diliris Ertugrul together. Another major aspect in Diliris Ertugrul is its portrayal of female characters challenging the stereotype surrounding Muslim women. Examples are Hayme Hatun who gives valuable advice to her husband at sons in challenging situations, and Selcan Hatun, a resilient character driven by an insatiable desire for revenge. The women are treated as equals not only in privileges and duties but also in punishments. They are leaders, healers, and warriors in their respective roles, unlike GoT that tends to objectify women.
Users often question the amount of truth in Dirilis Ertugrul because of its dramatized elements. Even then, it explores Muslims’ past at an important time when people, particularly the young generation, wish to overcome the shackles of despair, anxiety, and hopelessness. In this way, Dirilis Ertugrul is a ‘must-watch’ for people seeking inspiration from religion, whereas GoT can be optional.
What we can say for sure is that both dramas are masterpieces in their respective genres. In terms of popularity, GoT has amassed a large fan base because it is not limited to any specific religion or culture. Dirilis Ertugrul is more appealing to Muslim-majority countries and has seen success in Asia as well as Latin America. It is full of instances where audiences learn about chivalry, family values, ethics, honor, and bravery. The adversaries are more in touch with reality and include the Knights Templar, Mongols, and Crusaders.
These are the different ways in which we can give credit to Diliris Ertugrul and Game of Thrones. We cannot compare them in the literal sense, because each has its own merits and makes up for what the other lacks. Overall, as top-rated television series, they are worth watching.