Sultan Ahmed khan succeeds to the throne after the sudden and unexpected death of his father in 1603. His prince hood has been full of tragedies. His beloved older brother Prince Mahmud was killed right in front of his eyes by their own father. The young and inexperienced sultan dreams of becoming a great emperor; but the reality is different than his dreams. The Jelali uprisings in the Est. and the never-ending war with the Austrian Empire in the West have been carrying the empire to a stalemate. Ahmed realizes soon enough the heaviness of the burden
he needs to carry.
The hardest of the tasks ahead of him is worse than death itself: according to the rules of the state, he has to order the killing of his seven-year-old brother his heart and the rules; either he will live with a guilty conscience all his life or he will accept his rivals’ undermining of his power. The enemies of the state who desire to take advantage of the inexperience of the young sultan take immediate action to seize the throne, starting with Shahin Giray, the Crimean ruler who has promised to avenge his country’s century-long suppression.
Ahmed’s grandmother, The Grand Queen Mother Sultana Safiye, has been the most influential and powerful woman in the palace during the reigns of the two previous sultans. The ambitious impressive and extremely powerful Safiye of Venetian origin wouldn’t hesitate to oppose Ahmed in order not to lose her power and authority.
In the meantime, Ahmed’s young and good-hearted mother Handan has now ascended to be the Queen Mother .it is in the fact harder to continue this position than to attain it. She faces a constant threat from the mother of Ahmed’s Half-brother Prices Mustafa, Halime, Who is a sharp-minded, darkly ambitious woman looking for ways to enthrone her own son.
There is only one person who eases Ahmed´s troubles; Anastasia, whom he fell in love with after seeing her portrait. Unfortunately, she is just a girl in a painting; nothing but an impossible dream. And then one day, the dream turns into reality.
The Grand Queen Mother Sultana Safiye Who wishes to continue her rule brings Anastasia to the palace in order to win Ahmed´s love and trust; but the free-spirited Anastasia is like no other girl in the harem. Ahmed has to spend much gains wide admiration and sympathy in the palace. She not only changes Ahmed’s destiny, but that of the entire empire as well. She does not accept the names given to her as Hatice and Mahpeyker and at the end, she chooses her own name that carries the meanings of leader and guide; a name has rightfully earned; Kosem.
Kosem is a milestone in another man´s life as well: Iskender´s. Born as Alex in a small town on the Austrian border, he leaves his home to resolve a mystery from his past. He quickly gets himself into trouble and has to join the entry-leve janissary corps to save his life: a long and tough journey awaits him. Iskender and Anastasia meet by twist of the faith and their ways separate shortly after, but Iskender remains passionately in love with her until the end of his days.
Kosem’s rise to power disturbs those who hope to be part of the powerful ruling Elite. She will make many enemies. She will have to fight hard in order to protect Ahmed, her children and herself from the dangerous games being played around them. She will successfully rule the Ottoman Empire for forty years with her ambition, become the sole protector of the dynasty with her loyalty and gain the love and sympathy of the public with her heart of gold. Her name will be considered the symbol of power and magnificence. She will decide who the next sultan would be, and she will even fight with her own sons for the sake of the empire.
This dazzling power will come with a cost, taking away everything from her. She will sacrifice the mane she loves, her family, friends and her sons, but first and foremost, she will sacrifice her innocence.
The lively, bold and free-spirited daughter of a tradesman father from the island of Cephalonia. While living this happy and peaceful life with her family, she is kidnapped and brought to Istanbul. Furious to be forcibly brought to the Harem, it takes some time for her to get used to the palace and to accept Ahmed, the Sultan, but as she comes to terms with everything, she bonds deeply to him and to the supreme state. Taking on the name “Kösem,” which means leader and pioneer, she will become one of the most powerful women the Ottoman Empire has ever seen.
He is the Ottoman Sultan who had to assume the throne at a young age. Rather naive and inexperienced, he feels crushed under the weight of the throne in the early days of his reign. Inquisitive in nature, he believes in mystical signs and trusts his intuition. At times, he is compassionate and at other times, he is not afraid to show his wrath especially to those who undermine him. He falls passionately in love with the girl in a painting, pillaged by Ottoman pirates during a raid: Kösem. The seeds of a great love are sown the moment Ahmed seeds that painting.
The son of an Austrian blacksmith, his life turns upside down when he ﬁnds out that he is in fact adopted. He ﬂees his home and family in order to ﬁnd out who he really is. Thinking he might be the bastard of a Turkish overlord, he decides to head to Istanbul. On the way to Istanbul, he meets Anastasia (Kösem) by coincidence and falls in love with her. In time they lose touch with each other but he never forgets her. He joins the janissary cadet school in Istanbul and takes on the name Iskender. Aslıhan Gürbüz The journey to ﬁnd his true identity will take Iskender to places he would never have imagined.
She is Sultan Ahmed´s grandmother. Of Venetian origin, she comes from a wealthy family. She is very clever and far- sighted. In absolute control of all intrigues in the Harem and the state, she personally designs and implements some of the most dangerous of these machinations. She worked hard to become Sultana Saﬁye and attain her unique position. Able to inﬂuence anyone she wants to impress, she places a great deal of importance on loyalty. Personally friends with Queen Elizabeth of England, Saﬁye is a real queen in every sense of the word.
She is Ahmed’s mother. Of Bosnian descent, she has a simple and elegant beauty. She becomes the Queen Mother with her son succeeding to the throne. Time to time she tries to follow in Saﬁye’s footsteps, and tries to imitate her but she is neither as skillful and strong nor as intelligent as Saﬁye. Overtly emotional and sensitive, her emotions often overrule her mind. Her faith in God is strong; she isreligious. She dotes on Ahmed. She still sees him as a little boy, and is often worried about his health. Thus, at times she can be overprotective.
Of Circassian descent, she is Prince Mustafa’s mother and one of the favorites of the late Sultan Mehmed. Her child loss in the past; her eldest son Prince Mahmud was killed by the order of Sultan Mehmed. She is ambitious, passionate, cunning and mysterious. She is interested in magic, fortune telling and the dark arts. They call her the sorceress in the Harem, and most people are afraid of her. The one thing she wants the most in this world is seeing her son Mustafa assume the throne. She is ready to do anything for it.