Directed by Jordi Frades, ‘Heirs to the Land’ or ‘Los herederos de la tierra’ is a historical drama series on Netflix. The show revolves around Hugo Llor, a lonely young man who dreams of becoming a shipbuilder. Although life has not been very kind to him, a respected man named Arnau Estanyol takes him under his wing. Now, Hugo must keep his word to the Estanyol family.
Set in 14th century Barcelona, the series depicts events that are seemingly true to life. Many a story of great individuals follows the same trajectory – a person rises from nothing and nowhere to become someone that people will remember for ages. So, is it possible that Hugo’s story is inspired by one such person? Let’s find out!
Is Heirs to the Land a True Story?
No, ‘Heirs to the Land’ is not based on a true story. The show’s narrative is loosely derived from Ildefonso Falcones’ book of the same name. Moreover, it is the sequel to the Netflix show ‘Cathedral of the Sea,’ which too is adapted for the screen from the eponymous novel by the same author. Nevertheless, the historical element adds a touch of reality, which isn’t surprising given the immense effort Falcones put in to provide an authentic-feeling context. Sources revealed that he referred to 150-200 books about medieval times so as to do justice to the narrative.
In an October 2016 interview with EFE, Falcones explained, “I have to study a lot to provide readers with the customs of the times, to show them what life was like in the epoch, details that put them right in the midst of the story.” In another conversation, also in October 2016, the author emphasized why Hugo is such a relatable character. Despite losing everything at a very tender age, Hugo does not give up his will to survive and even thrive.
Falcones likened Hugo to any person who is determined to get ahead in life. Moreover, the son of a deceased sailor is not afraid to fight for the ones he loves, as is proven by the fact that he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his word to the Estanyol family. The series based on the 2016 book highlights the ebbs and flows in Hugo’s life, which includes adversities, passionate love affairs, and exciting adventures.
Hugo’s experiences are not very different from what people face today, but the author felt that the extremes of his situations would be expressed more effectively if the storyline was set in the medieval era. Nevertheless, the pain and sense of injustice hurt as much today as they did centuries ago. That means that the show taps into the universal human experience, which remains relevant even today.
‘Heirs to the Land’ follows its central character Hugo, much like any adventure saga in literature or cinema, be it Jon Snow in ‘Game of Thrones,’ Ragnar Lothbrok in ‘Vikings,’ or Uhtred in ‘The Last Kingdom.’ In contrast, there is Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump in the eponymous film. Despite being set in relatively modern times, the titular character’s life is an adventure like no other. All these characters have seen the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows, quite like Hugo Llor in the Spanish-language drama.
Despite being a work of fiction, the reason why one might wonder whether ‘Heirs to the Land’ is a true story is because of how familiar we are with the life experiences of people like Hugo. Adding to that is the fact that Falcones took great care to translate the life and times of 14th century Barcelona onto the pages of his book. This is possibly why the Netflix series has been able to recreate the rich world of Hugo Llor effectively, albeit fictional.
Read More: Where is Heirs to the Land Filmed?