Heirs to the Land, or Los Herederos de la Tierra, is a Spanish historical drama set in Barcelona at the end of the 14th century. In an era full of inquisitions and warring kings, Heirs to the Land tells the story of Hugo Llor and his rise as a winemaker. Full of plot twists, murders, character development and romance, the series can be regarded as a realistic historical account of one man’s journey through poverty, pain, power and politics.
The first season of Heirs to the Land consists of eight episodes of 35-50 minutes each and is a sequel to Cathedral of the Sea also available on Netflix. Both of the historical dramas are based on novels of the same name by Ildefonso Falcones, and are very popular.
– Heirs to the Land review does not contain spoilers –
Heirs to the Land: Plot
Heirs to the Land begins with a poor Hugo Llor losing his father to the sea and his mother and sister to dire circumstances following his father’s death. He then starts to work at a shipbuilding factory as a favour from a nobleman, Sir Arnau Estanyol, whose son has just set on a journey from Barcelona to Constantinople. In an unprecedented turn of events, the current king dies and a rebellion breaks out between the queen and their son, Prince John, who will now be the king.
On the sidelines are the Puiges, who were driven out of Barcelona years ago by Sir Arnau. Now they have won favour with the new king and in a public execution kill Sir Arnau. This starts the series of events that drive Hugo, who couldn’t stand the injustice done to Sir Arnau and his family vows to take revenge on the Puiges. In this quest, he joins hands with Bernat, the son of Sir Arnau, who has come back after learning about his father’s execution.
Heirs to the Land has tried to cram a lot of information in its eight episodes, making it a bit tiring to watch. Especially if you have not watched the earlier Cathedral of the Sea, it becomes difficult at times to keep your interest and follow the plot. It does have all the elements of a Spanish melodrama, or a Spanish tragedy even, also called the revenge tragedy. From elements of revenge, political conspiracy, women in cunning roles and lots of bloodshed, Heirs to the Land tries to do it all in one season.
One of the important things about Heirs to the Land is that it has kept fantasy to the minimum, we see characters we often encounter in our own lives. From Sir Arnau, to Hugo, to Regina or even the Puiges, everyone can be found in people around us, making this period piece quite modern.
Also, the will to do better and get what one wants is a huge driving force in the characters of Heirs of the Land. Be it Hugo, who works hard to go from rags to riches, Regina who tries her best to keep Hugo at her side, the Puiges who do not forget the wrong done to them and take revenge. The plot of Heirs of the Land is driven by its characters.
Another high point of Heirs of the Land is its costumes and set design, which are so realistic you would feel transferred to a 14th century Barcelona yourself. The credit, in part, goes to the writer, Ildefonso Falcones, who said in an interview, to have researched a lot to give life to his characters. The other half of the credit goes to the director Jordi Frades, who had also directed the prequel to Heirs of the Land.
Additionally, Falcones was also involved in the writing process, ensuring his vision was rightfully transferred on screen. The actors are flawless, Aitor Luna as Sir Arnau is good even though short-lived. Hugo played by David Solans (young) and Yon Gonzalez (adult) are impeccable. Other actors have also given one of their best performances and their hard work shows.
Although Heirs to the Land is an interesting drama, it sometimes loses its grip due to so many plot points being crammed into small episodes. Especially, after the first few episodes, there is a lot of information being given and so many explanations are left out. For someone who has already watched the prequel, it’s easy to catch up. But for new viewers, it does not give a lot to hold on to.
For a drama that relies on its realist plot, there is a certain shallowness in the way its characters interact, the interpersonal relationships are not well established. For example, the relationship between Sir Arnau and Hugo is not well established for Hugo to go revenging on his name. Hugo’s indebtedness to Sir Arnau could have been explored more. There are many such instances throughout Heirs to the Land. It seems like the writer spent most of his time on the setting and forgot to deal with the character arcs.
Overall, Heirs to the Land is quite captivating and will definitely entertain you. Especially if you like period dramas, it is a recommended watch. Spanish dramas have a tendency to grow on you once you get over the initial establishment of the setting. The storyline is very interesting and mostly will not let your mind wander.
Heirs to the Land is available to watch on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.