We in the west know her as Roxelana. Remember my post a while back about her? She's the Sultan's wife with an amazing story - a real life Scheherezade.
Kidnapped by the Tatars and sold into the Ottoman harem, Aleksandra Lisowska fell in love with the Sultan, changed her religion, and changed her name to Hürrem. (Roxelana means 'the Ruthenian/Russian'.) Suleiman the Magnificent legally married her, deposing his first son in favor of Hürrem's child. The scenario caused quite a stir.
With the rise of Otto-mania and the TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century), Hürrem has found a new following. The storyline about the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent is the equivalent of the The Tudors for Turkey.
Even if some think portraying Ottoman court rivalry is unbecoming, there's great stuff coming out of this show, especially the jewelry. Example: Hürrem's ring. Lots and lots of girls are wishing for that one. (I'm one of them.) Don't like green? They have a purple one too. You can probably find one in every color, if you try hard. Wow rings are in this year. ;)
The series story behind the ring is interesting, even if I'm not sure how much of it is historically accurate. Hürrem's ring is symbolic of her status.
Suleiman was in the process of making the ring himself before he was decreed as the Sultan. His first Haseki Sultan ('commonlaw wife') assumed he was making it for her. Then Suleiman is called to Topkapi Palace to fulfill his birthright. Aleksandra is brought to the harem, and she hatches a plan to become the favorite. (Not hard, since she was beautiful and smart.) The first wife, Mahidevran, arrives with the Sultan's first born son. She thinks she's the favorite, but it's already clear Aleksandra is taking the lead. Guess who gets the ring.
Mahidevran is furious and manipulates some girls into stealing the ring from Aleksandra - now officially named "Hürrem" (my joy) by the Sultan. In the power struggle, Hürrem gets tossed in a dungeon and beaten to a pulp, but Mahidevran is banished in the end.
Meryem Uzerli plays Hürrem. Uzerli is half Turkish, half German. Her hair is not naturally red, but it looks good on her, don't you think?
She co-stars with Halit Ergenç, a popular star from the other TV series Binbir Gece. I should write something about him one of these days. He really deserves his own post.
Here's a trailer clip for you.: