Persian Myth,  Turkey

Ingrates and Bathtubs

The White Rose of Turkey

The Turkish mystery series on Netflix, Shahmaran (2023), is based partly on the Persian myth of the same name. [1] “Shah” is a title used for Persian kings, and “mar” or “maran” means “snake(s).” The Netflix series title refers to the ancient Iranian/Kurdish myth of the Shahmaran, a half-snake, half-woman creature who may have resided in ancient Iran and/or Turkey. The story of the Shahmaran is also found in a J.C. Mardrus translation of 1,001 Arabian Nights, as “Jemlia – the Sultan of Underground” and The Ring of Shah Maran, A Story from the Mountains of Turkey. [1]

In the Netflix series, the main female character, beautiful Şahsu, goes to Adana as a visiting university professor, and seizes on the chance to confront her estranged grandfather. Şahsu has brought white rose seeds with her from her mother’s house and she gives them to her grandfather who plants one seed in their front yard. The seed blossoms quickly, and rapidly grows into a beautiful white rose bush, drawing the admiration of the neighbor who is astonished at the rose bush’s rapid growth. The neighbor buries a small charm in the dirt next to the rose bush, and hopes for a new baby with his wife.

White Drift Roses

In the town of Adana, Turkey, Şahsu, arrives at an old hotel whose rooms have no bathtubs or showers and is forced to swim in a nearby lake instead. Yet, here in the good ‘ole U. S. of A., we still seem to live comfortably with our reliable electricity, hot water and indoor plumbing. No one is ever forced to go look for a lake because their hotel room doesn’t have a shower. 

Perhaps there is a hidden lesson somewhere in this Netflix series, that the producers hadn’t intended. We live in our “modern age,” except it seems to depend on where we’re from and what country we live in more than anything else.


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