‘Rise Of Empires: Ottoman’ Season 2: Explained: Does Vlad Dracula Die?

Previously on “Rise of Empires: Ottoman,” Mehmed II won the battle for the conquest of the great city of Constantinople. It is said that after the victory of Mehmed II, the body of Constantine XI was never found. However, the Eastern Roman king died with his people. In the second season, Constantinople became Istanbul, and the year is 1461. During this time, Mehmed II had not only become the most powerful ruler in the East, but also the most feared ruler in the West. He was all set to capture Europe and had been planning for his next campaigns against the West. But he met with an enemy who claimed to be more powerful than him. Vlad Dracula promised their neighbors, the Hungarians, that he would kill Mehmed II and take down his empire and even had their support. The rumors of his claims spread like wildfire in Mehmed II’s kingdom. Who was Vlad Dracula, and did he succeed in defeating the great general Mehmed II?

Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In Season 2 Of ‘Rise Of Empires: Ottoman’?

Mehmed II was enjoying his reign in Constantinople and had won numerous battles. He was all set to rule the world and become the most powerful warrior in the world. But as he grew his army, he also grew his enemies. One particular enemy was after his life and claimed to know the way to kill Mehmed II. It was Vlad Dracula. “Rise of Empires: Ottoman” Season 2 revolves around their famous battle. The point worth noting is the fact that Vlad Dracula grew up in the Ottoman Empire himself. When he was young, his father ruled Wallachia, which was a vassal state. The state owed its loyalty to the Sultan; however, Mehmed II’s father questioned the loyalty of Vlad Dracula’s father. To prove his loyalty to Sultan Murad II, Vlad Dracula and his brother Radu were left as hostages (A practice that has been in use since ancient times, even Alexander the Great’s father Philip had been a hostage in Thebes) in the Ottoman Empire. The series depicts Vlad and Radu’s childhood in such a way that one would feel bad for them. Vlad constantly reminded himself that he was a prisoner in the Ottoman Empire. He grew up hating the Ottoman Empire because, according to him, his entire family was ripped apart by Sultan Murad II.

However, his brother Radu had different views regarding the Turks. He considered them family because their father soon abandoned them in the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Murad II also showed mercy to them when Vlad’s father betrayed the Ottomans. He did not behead Vlad and Radu. Instead, he kept them in his court to use them. Both Vlad and Radu were taught how to fight, and we see reenacted scenes where Sultan Mehmed II and Vlad were calling each other “brothers.” When Vlad and Radu were offered freedom, Vlad wanted to return to his country, Wallachia, and take the throne, but Radu decided to stay back with the Turks. This decision of Radu affected Vlad further and his hatred for the Turks grew even more bitter. In 1456, Vlad Dracula took the throne in Wallachia. According to the deal, Vlad Dracula had to pay tax to Sultan Mehmed in exchange for protection and the aid of the Sultan’s army. His country was also supposed to show loyalty to the Turks because they were a vassal state of the Ottomans. For years, the Turks helped Wallachia, but Vlad stopped paying his dues.

What Happened After Vlad Dracula Stopped Paying His Dues?

The Sultan had sent his messengers with gifts to Wallachia. These messengers were supposed to come back with the dues that Vlad Dracula owed the Turks. Instead of listening to the messengers and paying his dues, Vlad Dracula imprisoned the messengers. One of the messengers was Mehmed II’s father-in-law, Hamza Bay. Vlad Dracula kills one of the other messengers, and upon learning of this, Sultan Mehmed II gets enraged. Sultan Mehmed II decides to go to the capital city of Wallachia, Târgoviște. It was clear that Vlad Dracula wanted a war against Mehmed II. When he killed one of Mehmed’s messengers, it was a message from Vlad Dracula that he would not pay his yearly dues anymore.

Vlad Dracula had a dark personality. He was known as Vlad the Impaler. This reputation was due to his merciless killings. Vlad the Impaler impaled the people who betrayed him in a very horrific way. The documentary series does a decent job at depicting Vlad Dracula’s dark side. Vlad Dracula’s army was less than 30,000 men, but he invaded Bulgaria and started killing Mehmed’s men in 1462. He stole the Ottomans’ uniforms for his further attacks on the empire. Vlad Dracula also destroyed many ports that were under Sultan Mehmed II on the Danube. Sultan Mehmed II had to cross the Danube in order to reach the capital city of Târgoviște. Mehmed faced the challenge of transporting 100,000 men across the river. Along with men, he had to transport cannons and horses too. The first unit to cross the river Danube included Mahmud Pasha, who was the most trusted man of Mehmed II. Mehmed II found a man who knew the Danube well.

When Mahmud Pasha and his men were crossing the river at night, Vlad Dracula started his first attack on the Ottomans. However, Mehmed II was smart enough to know that Vlad would be waiting for them. Mehmed II counterattacks Vlad’s army, and we see the first battle of season two here. The second season of “Rise of Empires: Ottoman” has a series of skirmishes shown between the two armies before one final battle. But there was one tactic used by Vlad Dracula that is worth pointing out. At one point, Vlad Dracula released some criminals with tuberculosis and bubonic plague in order to infect the Ottomans. He sent these infected criminals to the Ottoman camp at night, and it is considered a great tactic by the experts because we see Vlad Dracula practicing biological warfare.

Who Wins The Battle?

Vlad Dracula planned to kill Mehmed II in his tent in a very famous historical event called the “Night Attack.” Vlad ambushed the Ottoman camp with his army in a surprise night attack. His plan was to confuse the Ottoman army by using their uniform so that they could not distinguish between the Turks and the people of Wallachia. He was somewhat successful in having the upper hand at first during the five-hour fight; however, Mehmed’s army won the battle because of their strength and numbers.

Vlad Dracula could not kill Mehmed II and fled the scene. After the night attack, Mehmed and his army enter Târgoviște which was abandoned by Vlad Dracula. But when he entered the city, Mehmed II saw a horrific scene. Muslims were impaled by Vlad Dracula in Târgoviște, and there was a “forest of corpses.” In history, this is considered a sad event for the Turks. The experts said that when Mehmed saw these impaled bodies, he immediately started praying. One of the dead bodies was of Hamza Bay. The scene is very hard to watch, so there is a big trigger warning for people who are sensitive toward blood and gore. We see a lot of them in this scene!

Radu takes the throne in Wallachia on Sultan Mehmed II’s orders. He promises his loyalty to Mehmed II, and Mehmed II gives 2000 men to Radu. In the end, we see a restless king Mehmed II because he was not successful in killing Vlad Dracula. However, after 15 years, we see Vlad Dracula’s head brought to Istanbul by one of Mehmed’s soldiers. The second season ends there, and Mehmed continues to enjoy his power in the East years after his battle with Vlad Dracula. 

Final Thoughts

The second season of “Rise of Empires: Ottoman” was rather slow if we compare it with season one, and the story seemed stretched. Also, season one had more depth in the stories and was more compelling than season two. While season one focused on Mehmed’s childhood and upbringing, season two mostly centers around the battles between Sultan Mehmed II and Vlad Dracula. Season two feels less informative and more like a fictional version of real history. We don’t get to witness Vlad’s childhood in depth. Netflix calls it a docuseries, but the second season hardly feels like a documentary. The last three episodes were purely fictional and showed what might have happened through reenactments. The second installment of the series literally failed to keep us glued to the screen as season one did.

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Tarushi Patali
Tarushi Patali
Tarushi is an English Literature graduate, who is currently doing master's in mass communication from Mumbai. She loves making lists and is an avid reader. Also, she likes judging people by their movie taste. In her leisure time you would find her digging random conspiracy pages on Reddit!

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