It was a dream?  What?  We have the first kiss and it’s a dream!  Uffff!  Well, at least it’s confirmed…ANNA….IS…IN….LOVE!! (not that we didn’t already know this).  I mean, who wouldn’t be in love with the Sultan, but we could tell she was from a mile away. Anyway, Ayperi pulls Anna out of her lovely dream and of course Anna is in a panic over the fact that she has dared to have this dream.  She not only has no idea how the Sultan feels about her (she has to be blind not to see it) but she doesn’t want to be seen as just another one of his women in the harem and she also has this secret mission she is on that she knows once he finds out, he will be furious. Furious that she came to the palace under false pretenses. Furious that she didn’t tell him what her uncle was forcing her to do.  Furious that she lied to him in general.  So now she doesn’t know how to feel, or what to do. She doesn’t want to face these feelings.  So what does she tell Ayperi she’s going to do…..avoid, avoid, avoid.

Aksak Arif (the wounded Janissary) isn’t getting any better, so the Sultan commands the chief doctor to work with Anna to heal him.  Amber Aga is sent to get Anna and she tells him she cannot go to the  Sultan.  He, of course, is exasperated and after a little back and forth she finally agrees. His response “why can’t I meet someone normal.”  I love Amber Aga,

Anna goes to the Sultan, to discuss her healing cream, but Anna just wants to avoid him.  She goes in and she refuses to look at him and no matter where he stands in the chamber, she avoids looking at him as if he’s Medusa and she will turn to stone.  He asks her what her issue is and she explains that the sun is too bright.  She’s so engrossed in avoiding him that she backs up into Zahir upon her exit.  The Sultan asks Zahir, “was the sun shining on my face?”  He says,  “Hunkarim, no it’s not sunny at all today.”  Oops.

Saliha is in the garden room (that the Sultan has ordered her in as punishment for lying) and eating the food that was smuggled to her, when Cevri Kalfa comes to bring her bread and water (which is also ordered as punishment).  She hides the contraband food and tells Kalfa that she will not eat the bread and water the Sultan sends and that he doesn’t care about her.  Kalfa tells her she will be ill.  Saliha refuses and tells her that if she deserves this then she won’t eat and she will starve.  Kalfa tells her there’s nothing she can say then. Saliha will not learn her lesson.

Namik and Musa go into the village to discuss the fate of Aksak Arif, pretending he is well, so that Fettah will be trapped by the Janissaries. The trap is set when Habib, one of the Janissary soldiers, overhears. Habib tracks down Fetthah and lets him know that Aksak will be singing like a bird soon to the Sultan. Fettah goes into hiding.

Anna takes a little stroll, on the palace grounds, and stumbles upon the Sultan as he’s in the middle of archery practice. Anna can’t be seen watching him, of course, so she hides behind the trees and shrubbery…but a a lot of good it does her when she ends up sneezing (much to his delight).  The Sultan finishes his shot and calls her out from hiding and she’s exasperated that he’s seen her. Why couldn’t he just let her go on her merry way, not she has to make up a lie about why she’s there, which amuses him even more than her being there in the first place.  So he taunts her, to get her to stay and shoot the bow, and she takes the bait.  He shows her how to use the bow (properly) and she’s so clumsy that he has to help her.  This means that he has to get in close, really close.  Then she gets flustered and runs away like she’s training for the sprint in the Olympics. The Sultan tells Zahir he’s pretty sure she’s going to run away now and forever. This was one of my favorite scenes. I wonder why?

Halit goes to report to Esma that Aksak Arif is well guarded, but not doing well, and also tells her that Fettah wants gold to disappear. Esma tells him she wants Fettah dead if he shows up for gold, and to do it the next day. I’m not sure if Halit is surprised by this, or excited by this.  While they are talking Namik shows up. Halit isn’t too happy with this arrival. Esma goes to the door and asks Namik what he’s doing there, as she pushes him outside to walk in the garden so Halit can escape without being noticed. Namik tells her that he knows she still loves him and that he’s made mistakes in the past but he’s ready to make up for those and be the man he wasn’t when he let her down all those years ago. He wants to know why she’s so arrogant, and fighting it, when he wants to just be happy with her.  She says that it’s too late for those words, she doesn’t want him anymore and Namik doesn’t believe her, then he kisses her.  She pushes him away and tells him that she’s Sultan Esma and he’s just an ordinary Pasha. He tells her she will be very sorry for those words and leaves.

Once again the Sultan summons Anna but she refuses. Amber Aga is distraught and says, “Just for once woman, come immediately, you are killing me.”  She says, “I can’t come, I’m ill.”  He says, “You look healthy to me.”  So she refuses and he has to go tell the Sultan. So he goes and tells Zahir that he’s dead because the teacher won’t come and he asks Zahir to tell him.  Zahir tells him he’s not a fool and he’s not doing it.  So Amber tells him he will give him gold and Turkish delight if he does it.  It’s so funny because she is not afraid to stand up to him, and avoid him, but she puts poor Amber Aga and Zahir in the tough spot of telling Mahmud no.  Well the Sultan is not used to being told “no” and that puts the fear of Allah into them having to tell him she’s not coming.  That’s such a fun sight to see.  Well, the Sultan doesn’t take to kindly to being told “no” so he decides to go to Anna and that’s even MORE FUN to see!!  Woohooo.  To see him marching from his chambers, through the Harem (being announced loud and clear, no less) and then straight up to Anna’s room, it’s so fantastic, and of course a huge surprise to Anna.  I’m sure that the harem was a little in shock as well.  So Mahmud gets in the room, and demands to know why Anna is running away from him, and Anna can’t speak (and I can’t think.  Then he walks closer and closer until he has Anna backed up against that wall (okay, my heart is palpitating now) and I’m waiting for a kiss, a real kiss, and he’s looking at her in that way that makes your knees go to butter and BAM….Amber Aga enters the room and announces that the BRAT SULTANA Saliha has fainted.  So he interrupts the magical spell and what’s worse…..the faint is a ploy!  If someone doesn’t choke Saliha, I might. I REALLY LIKE THIS

The Sultan runs out of the room, being the caring and concerned father that he is, and goes to be by Saliha’s side.  Everyone in the palace seems to be in her garden holding room.  Hosyar, right away, spins this tale of woe that Saliha isn’t eating or drinking (even though Hosyar is the one bringing her a feast to eat and drink every day).  As the Sultan is talking to her, to find out if she is ok, Cevri Kalfa sees some evidence that she hasn’t been existing on bread and water as she was dictated to do.  Cevri Kalfa goes  to the wardrobe closet and sees that she has multiple plates of delectable food that someone has smuggled in to Saliha.  Cevri Kalfa brings it to the Sultan’s attention and he is not pleased that he was disobeyed and that Saliha won’t tell him who has done this.  Saliha gets told that she will be sent away and the Sultan tells her he has nothing more to say to her.  Anna begs him to rethink this and he tells her he doesn’t want to hear it.

Anna’s treatment of Aksak Arif works and she goes into town with Cevri Kalfa and Amber Aga to buy more herbs to heal him with. While there, Anna runs into her uncle and he gives her poison to kill the wounded Janissary and tells her that he will be saving her fathers life by taking another mans life.  Anna is so upset by this but doesn’t know what to do, so she goes back and makes up the cream and is about to give the poison, when she decides against it……and just in enough time….because the Sultan walks in.

Ashuban (Saliha’s mother) tries to talk the Sultan out of sending Saliha away but he is not swayed by this.  Cevri Kalfa confronts Hosyar, regarding the smuggling of the food to Saliha, and tells her that she should be confessing to the Sultan regarding this.  Hosyar basically threatens her and tells her that if she keeps her secret, she will keep Kalfa’s secret regarding where she goes every Wednesday morning.  Hmmmmm, where does Cevri Kalfa go that Hosyar can hang this over her head?

Anna can no longer handle the burden of these secrets and lies and decides to write a letter to her father and confess everything. She’s also decided that she will tell the Sultan.

Fettah took the bait that Esma laid out for him and shows up for the gold.  Halit has no choice but to shoot him.  Aksak Arif gives up Fettah’s name as Anna waits to confess everything to the Sultan.  The Sultan comes back to the chambers and as Anna is ready to confess, they get word that Aksak Arif has passed away and Anna faints. In the meantime, Saliha is being taken by carriage to her new home and it’s attacked by bandits. Luckily she is saved by Civan Mert, the young and good-looking, local boy who just so happens to have great survival fighting skills.  But wouldn’t you know it, crazy Saliha runs away and falls and hits her head, and is knocked unconscious.

At the palace, Anna wakes up and the Sultan wants to know what it was that she had to say and tells her to quit stalling.  He then says he knows it’s about why she’s avoiding him.  She tells him that it’s because Hosyar is jealous of her and told her to stay away.  The Sultan can’t believe it.  She tells him that she thinks jealousy is a useless feeling.  He asks her if she’s ever been jealous in her life and she says, “no because a person thinking with their mind doesn’t get jealous because they trust.”  The Sultan tells her (in that whispery voice of his) “Anna, love is not about the mind, it’s about the heart.”  He tells her she may have to swallow her words later.  She doesn’t believe and he says, “we will see.” The Sultan informs Anna that a Russian engineer and his sister will be arriving as his guests, and he wants her to translate and go to Esma’s as well. Anna tells him that she doesn’t have a proper dress and much to her delight, he tells her they will get her one.

Saliha wakes up and lets just say that she’s not too impressed with her surroundings or her host.  She pulls a knife on him and then finds out he doesn’t have any idea who she is, so she decides to pretend to lose her memory.  Even this situation doesn’t change her conniving ways. Or her selfish, spoiled, bratty ways.  Mert is ready to throttle her and it hasn’t even been a full day.

Tatiana and her brother show up at the palace and Anna isn’t pleased with this newcomer who seems to be a little overly interested in the Sultan.  Mahmud sees Anna’s jealousy and is totally enjoying it, especially after her big speech about how jealousy is a useless feeling.  Tatiana raves about how handsome, and charismatic, the Sultan is and Anna tries to steer her away.  Amber Aga brings Anna her dress from the Sultan and Hosyar is furious over this, she’s also furious that the Sultan has invite Anna to the dinner and not her.

After preparing for dinner, Anna comes down from the palace steps in her new dress and Mahmud cannot take is eyes off of her, he’s mesmerized, but so is everyone else…..except Hosyar. She’s watching from above and the green-eyed snake emerges.  Anna is happy with the Sultan’s reaction to her but that is short-lived when Tatiana flirts a little more and finds a way to ride in the carriage with them to Esma’s.  This won’t be a fun ride for Anna and during the ride, this blonde devil (as Anna sees her) is using her feminine wiles to pull the Sultan in and Anna isn’t having it. The Sultan, however, enjoys every moment of torturing Anna with this little game.  Back at the palace, Hosyar is in a rage….and tears up Anna’s room, finding her letter to her father.

Mert takes Saliha to the village fair and Saliha is like a kid in a candy shop, literally. She is amazed that people are outside at night and she can’t believe the candy they offer at the candy stand.  But she almost blows her cover when she mentions how Amber Aga would love the candy there.  She’s almost sweet and innocent….almost likeable for the first time.  Let’s see if this new attitude lasts.

As the dinner party winds down, Hoysar is back at the palace opening up the letter she stole from Anna’s room.  She’s ecstatic that she finally has something on Anna, or at least thinks she does.  When she opens it, she realizes it’s in Russian and will have to have it translated, but this could finally be her ticket to getting rid of her competition.

Will Hoysar finally get rid of Anna?  Will Anna have to confess everything to the Sultan before Hoysar lets the cat out of the bag?  I guess we will find out…..next time.

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Written By – Dawn Meyer


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