Over the last several months I have been watching a Turkish TV series. Yes, I am actually watching a daily show in a completely foreign language. Why? Because love is a universal language and a good love story, in any language or culture, is relatable and enjoyable to watch. You know how I know this? Because it turns out that I am not the only one who has been watching this series despite the language and culture barrier. Soon after I began watching the series I realized that the show has viewers and fans from all over the world, speaking many different languages. The series is called Emanet which means Legacy. It is a mix of romance, drama and mystery and tells the story of two people who fight over the guardianship of their nephew who has lost both his parents. The male protagonist is a rich, powerful man with a serious case of mistrust of women, who wants to keep his nephew (his late brother’s son) under his own guardianship. However, his nephew also has an aunt, a young woman with no money or connections, who is willing to do whatever necessary to take care of her late sister’s son. As you can imagine, their story begins with lots of conflict and animosity between the two characters as they fight for their nephew (their legacy). The rich, powerful man does everything in his power to get rid of the young woman. However, the woman is more stubborn than he ever imagined, and over time, and through many obstacles, he sees her true character and falls deeply in love with her. For her, it is a much slower and gradual change of sentiments. After all, this is the man she hated and feared for many months. But eventually, she sees the man behind the severe and angry mask and falls in love with him.
You’re probably wondering why I am telling you all this? The reason is that after 170 episodes in the series, the male protagonist writes a beautiful hand-written love letter to the heroine. He decides to write her a letter because he finds it very hard to express himself verbally. The letter is simply beautiful and every sentence touches the reader/viewer so deeply. It was so refreshing and touching to me to see this man write a love letter to express his love in a story that is set in the age of emails, text messages and emojis. And it seems that I was not the only one who was touched by this. On the day the episode with the letter aired on TV, fans from around the world responded to the letter by re-writing the love letter in their own languages and posting these letters on an instagram fan group. Within hours, there were hundreds of hand-written versions of the love letter in different languages from around the world.
So why is this such a big deal? Because it speaks to how deeply the sentiments of the letter and the very act of letter writing touched people from different countries, cultures and languages. This really made me think about the significance of writing a letter. And of course, it reminded me of the letters Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth wrote to their perspective ladies.
What is so special about a letter? A love letter? A well-written love letter?
I think part of the charm of a letter is that unlike spoken words during a conversation, a letter can be kept forever. And this makes the message within the letter a lot more powerful. I mean, years can pass and when we go back and re-read a beautiful letter written to us, we get to experience the same feelings we got when we first read the letter. A letter is also significant because it is an extension of the person who wrote it. It is as if we can always have a part of that person between the words and lines and the pages.
Mr. Darcy’s letter to Lizzy, although not particularly a love a letter, is a letter of great emotions. More importantly, it is such a true and genuine representation of Mr. Darcy himself. Even if no one told us, we would know immediately that this letter is written by none other than Mr.Darcy. The letter is Darcy through and through. It is painfully honest, direct and strong. We recognize his tone, his choice of words and his address all over the letter. The letter gave Darcy the chance to say what he wanted and needed to say and could not when he was in Lizzy’s company because of the anger and the embarrassment and all the emotions he was feeling. The letter also gave Lizzy a chance to read and re-read his words and finally understand and appreciate the man.
Captain Wentworth’s letter is another story altogether. It is everything a love letter ought to be. What a letter to write under such circumstances! It is a short letter and it shows that he has little time to write. And yet, he manages to say all there is to say and more. He is in company when he is writing those lines to Anne, and yet, it feels like he has had days and months to choose every word, to express every sentiment. I can never get enough of his words.
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan.”
I think Captain Wentworth’s letter remains one of my most favourite expressions of love ever written. How grateful we all are to Jane Austen for her genius way with words?
Do you still write letters? Hand-written letters? Do you still re-visit and re-read old letters from the time before emails and internet? Do you have any favourite love letters from different books,movies, etc?