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"And for what did this happen? 'For the Sultanate'. What is this you call the Sultanate? Wealth and property, land and territory? To have power over the destinies of others? Was it worth it, Süleyman?"
Mahidevran Sultan, 4.29
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Magnificent Century (Turkish: Muhteşem Yüzyıl) is a Turkish Soap Opera based on the life of Süleyman the Magnificent, the longest reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

After the death of his father, Sultan Süleyman is called to reign over the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire at 26 years of age. He resolves to uphold the justice of the law and make the Ottoman Empire greater than it has ever been.

Thus begins his romance with Hürrem, a Crimean concubine in his harem. Originally named Aleksandra Lisovska she was transported to his palace in Istanbul along with other slaves for his harem. The bold woman detests the people who captured and sold her, resisting her captors and wishing to follow her deceased family in death, until she falls in love with the Sultan.

However, this earns her the ire of Mahidevran Sultan, mother of Süleyman's firstborn son, and Pargalı İbrahim Paşa, the Sultan's closest advisor and right hand man.

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The show begins with Süleyman's ascension to authority, but the focus of the series are the workings and intrigue of the Sultan's inner circle and the rivalries between members of the household. The budding romance between İbrahim and Hatice, Süleyman's sister, the rivalry between concubines and heirs and the manipulations taking place behind the scenes.


This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: In the first season, Hürrem claims to be pregnant to avoid being sent away from the harem. She's lying, and everyone else is pretty sure of it too, so a doctor inspects her to find out. Turns out she actually was in the early stages of pregnancy and just didn't know yet.
  • Adapted Out: Sehzade Abdullah, one of Suleyman's sons in real life, was omitted from the series presumably to keep the focus on the conflict Hürrem is in.
  • Adult Fear:
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    • Hürrem has to live with the fact that her children are in serious danger just for the fact of being Sehzade. To make things worse, most of the royal palace are her enemies.
    • To punish Hürrem for hiding Esmanur from him for a time, he tricks her into believing he killed Mehmet.
    • When Suleyman goes to a war and Hürrem is left with Cihangir and Bayezid, Hürrem is told about a kidnapping of Suleyman and plans of Sehzade Mustafa to take the throne. Hürrem goes over-protective of her sons. When she sends them to a secret place, the carriage to send them is ambushed. When Hürrem went there, it is revealed that it was a lie made up by Sah Sultan and that she actually intended to trick her into putting one of her sons illegally as the Sultan and being seen as a traitor, a bullet Hürrem dodged because of her love to Suleyman.
    • Shortly after Mustafa's death, Mahidevran and Mihrunisa are ordered to leave Bursa with Prince Mehmet (Suleyman's grandson. See One Steve Limit). Suddenly, the carriage with Mahidevran and Mihrunisa stops due to a broken wheel and they can only stare helplessly as Mehmed is kidnapped in the other carriage, never to see his mother again.
  • Aerith and Bob: Hardly noticeable for Western audiences. The characters born in the Ottoman Empire have normal, Turkish names. However, slaves who converted to Islam usually have more poetic names, given to them by whoever converted them, like Mahidevran ("one whose beauty never fades") or Hürrem, "the cheerful one". And then there are eunuchs, traditionally named after flowers—for example, "Sümbül" means "hyacinth", while "Gül" means rose.
  • The Alcoholic: Matrakçı Nasuh Efendi (though he gets better) and, in later seasons, Selim.
  • Alien Lunch: A variant on this in episode 17, when İbrahim invites everyone to dinner at his palace and they eat food at… a table with chairs! The norm of dinner style at the time is gathered around low tables on cushions. His mother-in-law finds it rather scandalous.
  • Alpha Bitch: Mahidevran at the beginning of the series. Later on, Hürrem gradually transforms into one. The real one, though, is the Valide Sultan.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Hürrem wants to rule the world, but is a slave. Süleyman grants her freedom. Freedom means she can no longer sleep with him, as a concubine would. He must now marry her to continue his relationship. And so he does.
  • Animal Motifs: The Sultan and his heirs are often called lions, especially by the Valide Sultan, Süleyman's mother.
  • Annoying Arrows: Downplayed with Ibrahim Pasha. An arrow in the back doesn't kill him and he shrugs it off at first, but falls seriously ill as a result of the wound.
    • Played straight with Atmaca.
    • Completely averted with Yavuz and one of Mustafa's consorts.
  • Arranged Marriage: Fate of most Ottoman princesses, namely Mihrimah, Şah, and Fatma. Beyhan and her husband are example of Perfectly Arranged Marriage, Hatice is a rare exception as she was allowed to marry for love in her second marriage.
  • An Axe to Grind: Atmaca's weapon of choice.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The Season 2 finale shows Hürrem being ascended to the new ruler of the Harem.
  • Bald of Awesome: Atmaca and Barbaros (though in case of the latter this is rarely seen due to his turban). Suleiman also gets bald with age, though it's more of a subversion: he's considerably weaker by this point.
  • Been There, Shaped History: After retiring, Sümbül Aga creates Istambul's first coffeehouse.
  • Big Brother Worship: Cihangir and Bayezid for Mustafa much to their mother's displeasure.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Season 3 has a bittersweet tone, as while Suleyman was successful, Sah was banished, and Hürrem is rescued, but Sehzade Mehmet was still murdered despite being a good prince ad a good person.
  • Black Magic: Hatice decides to hire a witch to curse Hürrem. While Mahidevran hates Hürrem, she is not happy with this plan.
  • Bloodless Carnage: A peculiar case. When Mihrunissa kills herself by slashing her throat, there's no blood whatsoever. Shortly after that, when Atmaca slashes Sinan's throat with an axe, blood is everywhere.
    • Several fights in the earlier seasons go that way. Those which don't use CGI blood which doesn't look quite convincing.
  • Cement Shoes: To kill Sadika, Nasuh makes her wear a bag before sending her to the sea.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Early in the series, Suleyman jokingly asks the guards to capture Mustafa while playing with him. When Suleyman and Mustafa become estranged, Suleyman remembers that scene in a moment of grief.
    • Hürrem's staged fainting in the first episode becomes more serious when she faints in the same place due to her fatal condition.
  • Character Outlives Actor: After the death of Tuncel Kurtiz, the actor portraying Ebussuud Efendi, Suleiman and the old judge conveniently switch to only exchange information by letters delivered by servants, rather than in-person meetings.
  • Chastity Couple: In Season 4, Hürrem and Suleyman stop having sex due to the former's menopause. Fatma Sultan thinks this will damage their relationship, but it does not.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Gabriella gifts Mahidevran a Mirror of Sin, an amulet that protects its holder from sinning and its breakage indicates a grave sin. The Mirror breaks when she has Sehzade Mehmet killed.
    • Literally. Rustem is given a musket by Donna Gracia. Some time later, he uses it to shoot Atmaca. Though Atmaca still manages to strangle him.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Almost all political figures are corrupt, treacherous or immoral in some way, but that not impedes them from showing their Muslim beliefs. They even say that God willing, their schemes will be successful.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Mustafa's death. He easily beats the crap out of six Faceless Goons (who even look a bit like ninjas) sent to kill him, only to be strangled by Zal Mahmut a few seconds later.
  • Costume Porn: Since the cast is composed of royals and their inner circle, expect to see a lot of elegant dresses and ornaments, albeit not without Hollywood Costuming.
  • Confessional: Muslim example. After asking Ebussuud Efendi to surrender Ibrahim's belongings to her and call off the auction, she also asks him to absolve her from using Black Magic.
  • Coitus Ensues: Why were Hatice and İbrahim going at it in the baths? To de-stress after an awful day? Who knows. But in a normally pretty modest show, it certainly seems bizarre.
  • Crapsack World: Almost all the political figures are treacherous and corrupt, and even the exceptions aren't very saintly themselves. The empire kidnaps women from all the world to secure a descendant for the throne, but makes the women rely on immoral actions to secure that power, not to mention that the descendants other than the heir will be executed.
  • Daddy's Girl: Mihrimah who can almost always get the Sultan do what she wants. Süleyman himself confesses there are only two persons he can't refuse: her and her mother.
  • Death of a Child:
    • Hürrem's younger sister died during the Tatar raid. The fact that she sees her as spirit when seeing her parents confirms it.
    • Mustafa's first son dies of smallpox.
    • Mustafa's son with Mihrunissa is sent to be executed as per the fratricide law.
  • Decadent Court: Downplayed enough to present the glory of the Ottoman golden age and values of Islam. That being said, various characters from Sultan Süleyman's court indulge in endless intrigues and backstabbing. Almost all the Sultanas enter in a fair share of illegal and immoral actions to push their own agendas, including the murder or incrimination of innocent maids. Most of the Pashas are corrupt, treacherous or otherwise ill-suited, with various instances of abuse of power, treason, killing to get Klingon Promotion, or being political pawns for Sultanas or Sehzades. The system itself has a morally and legally problematic rule that the heir that inherits the throne is required, not just allowed, to execute the male brothers, which converts the Royal Harem in a serious competition where concubines kill each other to achieve political power and to ensure that one of their children arrives to the throne.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Lufti Pasha captures a prostitute after his hard stance on sex work, he has her vagina burnt down. Since this punishment is not recognized by any Islamic rule and he was caught beating Sah Sultan, he was demoted and exiled. The only reason he avoided being executed is because his daughter Esmehan Sultan had Sah beg for his life.
  • Domestic Abuse: In a King Incognito travel to visit a distant relative, Suleyman learns about a woman who has been mistreated and eventually banished by her husband. After finding that husband, Suleyman has him arrested and tells the woman to sustain herself and her children.
  • Downer Ending: Because of Hürrem and Mahidevran's intrigues, Süleyman's best and rightful heir Mustafa is executed for a coup that never existed, the Janissaries rebelled against the crown for the injustice, Mustafa's wife commits suicide in front of everyone calling out Hürrem for her sins, the royal family breaks and the now heir Selim has his siblings calling him out as a kinslayer. The series ends with Süleyman dying out of grief and Selim becomes the sultan with the shadow of Ottoman Empire's decline towering over him.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Played very straight in 2x30, when Isabella decides enough is enough and she's finally ready to seduce her way out. Followed in rapid succession by Scenery Censor, and Toplessness from the Back—and Ignore The Fanservice.
  • Driven to Suicide: Suicide is a recurring instance in this series. Some have been successful, others not.
    • Following the death of Hafsa Sultan, Daye relinquishes all the jewels from her and lives as a poor maid. Since she kept Nigar's secret as Ibrahim's lover and Hafsa learning that caused her death, Daye hangs herself.
    • After Mustafa's first successfully born child dies of smallpox and another concubine of Mustafa is pregnant, Fatima Hatun could not tolerate losing her child nor being displaced, so she hangs herself
    • After Hatice orchestrated Hürrem's kidnapping, she drank a poison before accusing Suleyman of becoming like their father Selim due to Hürrem.
    • Mihrunissa appears to attempt to assassinate Hürrem, but instead cuts her throat, due to Mustafa's death.
  • Dual Wielding: Atmaca is often seen wielding two axes. He wields an axe and a dagger when he kills Rüstem Pasha's Mooks.
  • Dub Name Change: There are some in the Latin American Spanish dub.
    • Nigar is renamed Firial.
    • Gülnihal is renamed Nurham, although her birth name Maria remains the same.
    • Mihrimah is called Maryam. The new name's rationale given by Valide Sultan was that she wanted to name her after the Virgin Mary.
  • Enemy Mine: When Selim gets trapped in the barracks in the verge of being killed by Ferhat Aga, Hürrem asks Mustafa to rescue him. The fact that he did it despite her enmity with him improves her opinion on him, but she states that even if they wanted it they could never join forces.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Several younger characters have those once they start to play a more important role in the series:
    • For Mihrimah, Hürrem's daughter is when she damages Hürrem's crown and blames a servant for that. Then, when said servant is fired, she decides to fix that… by blaming her brother, Mehmet.
    • Selim and Bayezid have one in series 3: in an argument, it turns out that younger Bayezid can easily hand his brother's ass to him.
      • Selim has another one soon after, when he vomits during an execution of an Italian prisoner and then yells at the janissary who laughed at him. This establishes how weak he is.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Valide Sultan, which in Turkish means "Queen Mother"
  • Exact Words: Osman blood can't be spilled. Thus, Sultan gets rid of his son Mustafa by having him strangled.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Hürrem, very early on, to prevent herself from getting sent away from the palace. She actually was pregnant, through she herself didn't know. Mehmet is the result.
  • Fanservice: Some scenes in the baths, although the girls are wrapped in towels. Some dance scenes. Occasional post-sex scenes.
  • Fainting: Used in a wide range of forums. The women are very prone to it. Hatice is paticular.
    • In the first episode, Hürrem pulls a Fake Faint—getting Süleyman to hold her.
    • Hatice has an Emotional Faint when she finds out she'll be able to marry İbrahim.
    • Later Hatice has a Pregnancy Faint, although it initially looks more like an Emotional Faint and the doctor has to figure it out when the she's called in.
    • Hürrem is alerted to her fourth pregnancy by another Pregnancy Faint.
    • Hatice than has another Pregnancy Faint on a later occasion, for a different pregnancy.
    • Suleyman has fainted in many occasions due to the difficult conditions in his government.
  • Forced Miscarriage: To subtly punish Mahidevran for stealing Hürrem's jewels, she makes her drink an abortive juice. She never states the truth and it leads Mahidevran to be fiercer against Hürrem.
  • Foreshadowing: There are many references to Ibrahim's upcoming death.
    • Following Leo's death, Hürrem warns Ibrahim that he will sink in the blood of all the people he killed.
    • After Ferhat Pasha is executed, Beyhan warns Hatice that she will have to bear the same suffering.
    • In a nightmare in which Ibrahim warns him of Süleyman's agony, Mustafa sees that his shadow is headless.
  • Forgiveness: Before dying, Hürrem visits Mahidevran to ask her forgiveness and to forgive her. Mahidevran agreeds to forgive her, if only because forgiving her would be the worst revenge.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Ayşe Hatun (Suleyman's concubine) gets forgotten once Hürrem is proven innocent.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Ibrahim and later Hafsa plan to use Leo's diary to falsely accuse Hürrem of cheating on Suleyman, but she finally manages to destroy it.
    • To get rid of Mahidevran, Hürrem incriminates her on two occasions. While Ibrahim exposes the truth in the first time, the second time Mahidevran loses all traces of Suleyman's favor and gets fired from her role as Harem director.
    • In the campaign against the Persians, Ibrahim steals the budget of the war and pins the blame on Iskender Celebi to finally get rid of the latter.
    • In the situation on the mutiny and Ramadan Piri Pasha, Iskender Pasha framed Ramadan.
    • Hürrem, Mihrimah and Rüstem conspire to forge a letter where Mustafa claims interest on joining with Tahmasp against Suleyman. After Mustafa is wrongfully executed, Suleyman suspects he is innocent, but can do nothing now.
  • Framing the Guilty Party:
    • Hürrem has a maid forge a love letter where Sah Sultan spoke about her love for Ibrahim Pasha. The letter was a distraction tool to make her and Hatice fight, but Sah did truly love Ibrahim and distanced from her sister due to her getting married to him.
    • Mihrimah tampers with the testimony of the spying nurse to make it look like she confessed that Sah was involved in Hürrem's kidnapping. Sah cannot prove she did not participate on that, so she agrees to go as if she left in her own terms to avoid leaving in bad terms.
  • Friendship Moment:
    • When Hürrem is falsely accused of murdering Ayse Hatun and exiled to Edirne, Gülnihal decides to accompany her. Hürrem calls her a better woman than her and applauds that she remained loyal to her despite Hürrem having attempted to ruin her face.
    • While Hürrem is initially understandably angry with Sümbül for speaking about Hürrem's secret chamber to eavesdrop on the council, she shows that she cares for him later. While visiting him in his bedroom, she shows concern for his status, apologizes for neglecting him, listens about his suffering for his eunuchism and for losing his first and last lover, and announces him about his liberty to heal his wound and to prize his years of service. Before he leaves the palace, she compliments his pure heart.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The series make the point that one's efforts to protect someone may actually bring them harm, which was clearly shown with Mustafa's supporters unwittingly worsening Suleyman's trust on him.
  • Historical Domain Character: Sultan Süleyman, his family, Hürrem and many people from the ruling class of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Sultan Süleyman and İbrahim Pasha, who later gets promoted to the Grand Vizier. Naturally, having such a great influence on the monarch earns him Hürrem's enmity.
  • Hollywood Costuming: The series seems to thrive on this trope. Instead of the multi-piece, multi layered clothing made from soft, flowing material that actual Ottoman women of the classical era wore, most women (especially the main characters) on the show wear low neck, one piece dresses with stiff bodices reminiscent of the style used in The Tudors with some clearly modern touches. Some of the most egregious examples of this trope are the presence of tiaras, the near universal absence of the şalvar (traditional baggy trousers worn by both women and men), and sleeveless or off-shouldered styles.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: Mihrimah finally finds peace when her husband Rüstem is killed by Atmaca. She had to bear him for years for the sake of her brothers and could not experiment true love because of that, and now she no longer has that tie.
  • In Vino Veritas: Sümbül is made drunk by his lover, and he reveals her that Hürrem has a secret chamber to eavesdrop on the council.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: In the end the next Sultan is Selim, the one of the brothers who was possibly the least suited for it. Or arguably the only one who was not suited at all. Today, while his father is considered one of the greatest sultans of Ottoman Empire, Selim is considered one of the worse.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • Following Süleyman's collapse, Hürrem almost throws herself off the palace, but Hafsa grabs her on time and asks to rest so she can care for her sons.
    • After being told that her bastard daughter was stillborn, Nigar attempts to hang herself but is saved by one of Hatice's servants.
    • When Hürrem enters on despair after thinking Süleyman is having sex with Firuze and intends to comply with her Suicide Pact, Afife talks her out of drinking the poison and tells her that Süleyman did not receive Firuze.
  • Ironic Echo: When appointed as a Grand Vizier, Kara Ahmed Pasha asks Sultan for a promise that Sultan will never kill him—just like Ibrahim Pasha. Sounds right at first, given that his predecessor almost ended up on a receiving end of You Have Failed Me a few minutes earlier… However, Kara Ahmed probably forgot Ibrahim's fate…
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: When Ibrahim was buried and Nasuh was praying for him, a somewhat heavy rain appears.
  • Killing in Self-Defense: Shortly after Hürrem's death, Nurbanu Sultan is attacked by an angry Fahriye Kalfa, but Nurbanu manages to stab her enough times to save herself from her and make her die.
  • Kissing Cousins: Bayezid dates Huricihan despite being Hatice's daughter. Hürrem and especially Süleyman do not take this well.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the campaign in Corfu, Suleyman decides to retire, since the soldiers would die in the weather and attacking the Venetian rebels would not be enough to secure a victory.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Hürrem and Mihrimah, Lampshaded by Sah Sultan in season 3 final.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are many characters. The palace alone is full of servants and concubines, while there are also citizens, military and statemen.
  • Loophole Abuse: When Suleyman has enough of glossing over Ibrahim Pasha's faults, he consults Ebusuud Efendi how to execute a man he promised to protect. After Ebusuud's research, the conclusion is that the person to be executed has to be killed when Suleyman is asleep, since sleeping would be equal to being dead for a while.
  • Made a Slave: Hürrem originally lived in Ruthenia with her parents, sister and fiance until they were attacked by Crimean Tatar raiders. While the rest of her family was killed, she was kidnapped and brought as a gift to the new Sultan's palace.
  • Mother Makes You King: While the sultanate is patriarchal and Lineage Comes from the Father, you'll never become sultan unless your mother is fighting for you.
  • Mutual Kill: Rustem Pasha and Atmaca
  • My Secret Pregnancy:
    • Sehzade Mustafa impregnates his first love, Efsun, and tries to hide it with her since Ottoman rules mandate that Sehzades not tasked with any province may not bear children and children born before that are aborted. Efsun is killed, though.
    • After being impregnated by Ibrahim, Nigar Kalfa hides her pregnancy as much as she can. In the most advanced parts of her pregnancy she claims to be overeating to explain her big belly.
    • Sehzade Mehmed impregnates his concubine and tries to hide that. Mihrimah eventually makes the concubine abort. When Hürrem discovers the truth, she banishes that concubine and scolds Mehmed and Mihrimah from trying to hid that pregnancy.
    • When Mustafa and Mihrunissa have a child, they and Mahidevran attempt to pass the son as being born from one concubine. Fails after Huricihan leaks Mustafa's marriage to Mihrunissa.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals!: Hürrem and Mahidevran doomed the Ottoman empire with their rivalry and repeated attempts to defeat each other.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: the various attempts to destroy Hürrem:
    • Mahidevran beats Hürrem, Sultan cares for her and becomes more in love than ever.
    • Valide attempts to have her murdered after she had been banished from the palace by Süleyman. Süleyman's reaction is to break centuries of tradition and marry his slave.
    • Mahidevran and Hatice conspire to send Diana to assassinate Hürrem. Since Sümbul almost catches Diana attempting to murder her, Diana pretends to be the heroine and is forced to now become her maid for real. Ultimately, both gave Hürrem a new sidekick.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Nasuh saved a young woman that claimed to he homeless and poor by sending her to the Harem so she can have a livelihood. That young woman is a spy that intends to kill Süleyman.
    • Hürrem saving Firuze and other slaves from a slaveholder brings the result that now Hürrem has to deal with a rival of Süleyman's love. Worse, "Firuze" was actually sent to poison the Sultan.
    • Sehzade Mustafa's decision of not executing Ramadan Piri Pasha instead of Iskender Pasha was well-founded, but it weakened his relationship with Suleyman.
  • Nothing Personal: When Mustafa does save Selim from the Janissaries, Hürrem finally concedes that he is a good man. She says that destiny was to blame for their enmity, but reaffirms that they cannot be friends even if they wanted to.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Rustem Pasha's predecessor as the Grand Vizier named Süleyman, as well as several minor characters.
    • Süleyman names his son Mehmet, and then a few years later, names his nephew Mehmet too. No one sees anything wrong with this.
    • Then there's Sinan the architect and Sinan – Rustem's brother who becomes the admiral of Ottoman fleet.
    • Then there's yet another Mehmet – Bayezid's youngest son who meets a fate similar to Mustafa's son Mehmet. Lampshaded by Nurbanu who says that this name brings bad memories after one of her grandkids is named... yeah, you guessed right.
  • Parental Favoritism: Aside from Mihrimah being clearly the apple of Sultan's eye as his only daughter, Mehmed is the favorite of his sons. Later, Süleyman seems to favour Selim in his constant argument with Bayezid—while Hürrem and Mihrimah support Bayezid. Bayezid and later on Mustafa split the role of The Unfavorite. Cihangir is an interesting example since both his parents care for him deeply but because of his condition neither of them (nor anyone else for that matter) seems to seriously see him as a potential heir to the Ottoman throne, an equal to his brothers.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: After Ibrahim and some soldiers fight revolting people protecting the hospice, one holds Hatice at knife-point. That one asks Ibrahim and the soldiers to leave the swords on the floor and refrain to follow him.
  • Quit Your Whining:
    • After Nasuh was greatly affected by Sadika's situation, during a war Ibrahim dismisses his grief and threatens to send him back to Turkey to face public shame if he does not do his job properly.
    • Despite being patient with Taslicali, Mahidevran tells him to stop grieving for breaking up with Mihrimah.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: When Suleyman learns about a secret society that seeks to push Mustafa to the throne and that it is led by Piri Reis, he thinks of executing its members, but Sokollu persuades him to reassign them to different places to disband the group subtly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Nigar Kalfa gives one to Hürrem in 1x08. It's kind of glorious.
    • Iskender Çelebi says offensive things to Ibrahim before the latter fires him.
    • Mustafa delivers an epic one in the letter to Sultan, highlighting that he broke his promise of never executing him while he never betrayed him.
    • Mihrunissa to Hurrem before slashing her own throat.
    • Before banishing her, Suleyman tells his sister Fatma that while Hürrem may not be an angel, she is still unfailingly loyal to him.
  • Right in Front of Me: Played for Laughs. Sirin Hatun, a fabrics seller, asks to meet Hürrem. When Esma sends her with Hürrem, she asks Hürrem to call Hürrem, only to be told that she is speaking to Hürrem. Sirin acts awkwardly and is surprised of finding a beautiful woman instead of the creepy witch she was expecting.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Mustafa's death, Atmaca goes this way, killing Rustem Pasha's brother.
  • Royal Harem: The series is based on the life of Süleyman the Magnificent and as it's pretty much a soap opera, it has a particular focus on Süleyman's personal life, much of which revolves around his harem, the people in charge of it, and his two wives Alexandra/Roxelana/Hurrem Sultan and Mahidevran Sultan. (The show has actually been retitled "The Sultan's Harem" in certain other countries). There's plenty of competition to be the sultan's favourite, with murder not out of the question.
  • Secret Relationship:
    • Ibrahim and Hatice keep their relationship secret. When Ibrahim confesses that he loves Hatice with a letter, he is supportive of that relationship, breaking her engagement to Mehmet Celebi.
    • Mustafa and Mihrunissa agree to keep their relationship secret, marrying unbeknownst to Suleyman. Mahidevran tries to dissuade Mustafa, but she gives up and becomes supportive of her new daughter in law.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • Sehzade Mustafa is in danger of being assassinated by Hürrem, so his aunts attempt in various occasions to weaken Hürrem only to make Suleyman gradually more distrustful of Mustafa. Later, a secret society attempts to ensure that Mustafa acceeds to the throne due to being a Muslim born of Muslims, but this group makes Suleyman all the most distrustful of Mustafa for hiding knowledge about this society. All this culinates in Mustafa being executed.
    • Hürrem, Mihrimah and Rustem conspirate to frame Mustafa of treason to avoid his supporters from killing Bayezid. However, Bayezid still dies after he creates a mutiny against Selim.
  • Sequel: Magnificent Century: Kösem, which focuses on Kösem Sultan, the wife of Suleiman's great-great-grandson Ahmed I. Unfortunately, it only lasted two seasons due to lower ratings.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In one of the "behind the scenes" episodes, Okan Yalabik, Burak Ozcivit, and Halit Ergenc (actors playing Ibrahim Pasha, Bali Bey, and Suleiman, respectively) tell the story of how Yalabik fell off a horse while on a trip during filming the battle of Mohacs. Cue this gem:
    Okan Yalabik: When I fell of a horse, I felt like... like I fell off a horse.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Selim and Bayezid—it starts when they are kids, gets more heated when Selim is chosen to be the ruler of Manisa and explodes when they're the only two heirs left ending in Cain and Abel scenario.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Gül Aga and Sümbul Aga were quarreling constantly and their fights were source of comedy. Sümbul started out doing cruel pranks to Gül and sabotaging his work to get him fired.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: When Hürrem and Sumbul go to Ibrahim Pahsa's tomb, he says that he deserves his death for making suffer Hürrem a lot.
  • Spiteful Spit: After Gulsah mocks a disgraced Daye, the latter spits on the former.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • Despite some obvious differences between the two shows (historical instead of fantasy, fewer nudity, not so much violence), some people call this series "the Turkish Game of Thrones".
    • This show owes a lot to shows like The Tudors and The Borgias, particularly given the periods practically overlap.
  • Streisand Effect:invoked Ibrahim Pasha attempts to have Gülsah killed to hide his adultery, but since she is healed from the stabbing and her wounds remained apparent, Hürrem can prove that Ibrahim cheated on his wife.
  • Suicidal Sadistic Choice: When Ibrahim learns that Leo was Hürrem's former lover, he reunites both and tells them that he could accuse Hürrem of adultery and make her and her sons executed. His intent is that Leo drinks the poison to make her suffer, since Hürrem, as a mother, would not let any harm to his children.
  • Suicide Pact: Hürrem has Firuze agree to a suicide pact over their relationship with Süleyman. If Firuze wins, Hürrem has to drink a poison. If Hürrem is still Süleyman's love, Firuze has to drink the poison instead. It goes nowhere in both sides; due to Firuze's banishment Hürrem does not drink the poison, while Firuze, or Hümeyra as she is actually called, is safely carried to her hometown by Persians that "captured" her.
  • Symbolically Broken Object: Mahidevran ordering Sehzade Mehmet's assassination and succeeding on it makes the Mirror of Sin that Gabriella gifted her before break. Its breakage indicated that a curse would come after them... and it does.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • Mahidevran poisons a pregnant Hürrem with the food. However, she survives and Suleyman becomes more protective of her. Whenever she is invited to eat, she has a maid taste the food since.
    • Ibrahim pours a lethal poison over a plate of food while describing its damage if drunk. He does it to force either Hürrem or Leo to eat the poison.
    • Ibrahim Pasha persuades Nigar Kalfa to poison Isabella Fortuna's soup instead of poisoning her by putting bloody pieces of an infected person on her wounds in order to make Hürrem appear guilty.
    • Hürrem forces Sümbül to poison his lover Cevher Hatun, since she was a spy and she made him drunk to make him disclose Hürrem's eavesdropping of the council meetings.
  • Talking to the Dead: When Hürrem and Sümbül go to Ibrahim Pasha's tomb, Hürrem thanks him for sending her to live with his greatest love Sultan Suleyman.
  • That Didn't Happen: When Ibrahim has sex with Nigar for the first time, he tells her that that did not happen. Nigar goes in tears.
  • They Died Because of You:
    • After Nazli confessed to have forged the false love letter to Ibrahim to divide Hatice and Sah, Nazli is found dead, presumably after commiting suicide for betraying Hürrem. Hatice guilt-trips Hürrem for this.
    • Having enough of the conflict, Gülfem tells Suleyman that he caused the deaths of Cihangir and Bayezid.
  • Those Two Guys: Atmaca (Hawk) and Yavuz, two warriors protecting Mustafa. That is, until Yavuz gets a bad case of a bridge to the face, courtesy of Rüstem Pasha's henchmen trying to kill Mustafa.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: By the end of the show, it's practically Sultan's default expression.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Cihangir, the kindest and possibly wisest of the brothers.
  • Wartime Wedding: When Süleyman invades Hungary.
  • Was It All a Lie?: After Sadika breaks her facade and Nasuh was forced to get rid of her, Nasuh asks her if her love for him was real.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: On a final meeting between Süleyman and Mahidevran, the latter criticizes Süleyman for murdering Mustafa and asks Süleyman if protecting the Sultanate was really worth it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Nigar rebukes Hürrem for pouring a corrosive substance in her friend Gulnihal's fur to ruin her face. In her dreams, Hurrem sees her mother saying that she was not the Alexandra she raised after what she did.
    • Hürrem is disgusted that Sümbül is supporting the other sultanas instead of her.
    • Hürrem confronts Afife for claiming to be fair yet failing to hear Hürrem's side. Hürrem tells her about all the attempts Hafsa, Ibrahim, Mahidevran and later Hatice did against her.
    • Hürrem scolds Mehmet and Mihrimah for concealing Mehmet's impregnation of his concubine from her.
    • Ibrahim Pasha calls out Ebussuud for being neglectful to his son.
    • After Diana fails to assassinate Hürrem, Sah Sultan calls out Gülfem for participating in that conspiracy, since at least Hatice culd be excused for being blinded by her grief.
    • Hürrem calls Malkocoglu out for covering up Hatice's embezzlement and for having clandestine meetings with Mihrimah. She pretends to be disgusted with him to keep up appearances, but rebukes Mihrimah for calling him in the first place.
    • Mihrimah rebukes Mustafa for doing little about the people calling him the next Sultan.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: At the beginning of the fourth season, we learn that Rustem Pasha became the new Grand Vizier. The fate of the previous one, Süleyman Pasha is never mentioned (historically, he died in 1547).
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Walking the Golden Way/Path/Road" means "having sex with the sultan". Although it seems odd at first, it makes sense: the Golden Way/Path/Road (translations vary) is the corridor between the harem and the sultan's rooms, and to have sex with him you must first get to his room.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Prince Selim after witnessing an Italian prisoner being beheaded. This doesn't help his reputation among the janissaries.
    • He does that again in much more dramatic circumstances after seeing Mustafa's body.
  • Yandere: Both Mahidevran and Hürrem, turning season 1 into a Psychotic Love Triangle. After her first pregnancy, Hürrem becomes very possessive of the Sultan, going so far as to beat her best friend into submission and send her poisoned fur to ruin her face. This is almost exactly the same what Mahidevran did to her at the beginning of the series.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: When Suleyman is planning to have Mustafa executed, he promises Cihangir that he would not harm his brother Mustafa, although Suleyman has Selim send him to hunt to keep him away. When Cihangir realizes about Suleyman's actual intentions, he is not happy.
  • You Monster!: After Ibrahim forces Hürrem to decide between killing herself or Leo and Leo decides to take the poison, Hürrem calls him a cruel man and a murderer.

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