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Why Everyone’s Talking about ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

Netflix’s new miniseries The Queen’s Gambit is stirring conversations not only about Anya Taylor-Joy’s stunning performance but also the beautiful story told about the fictional main character. Here’s what everyone’s talking about.

The Great

The highlight of the entire miniseries is the way main character Beth Harmon maintains a high regard of herself and capabilities from her childhood to her chess playing career. Being the only woman in a crowd full of nose-uppy men, throwing glares and confused glances never deterred her from believing she could beat anyone at chess. Her determination was to win and seeing her defeat every man who doubted her because of her gender was unbelievably satisfying.

Harmon, poised and cynical, she walked into every room looking straight ahead and eyeing the room while the men eyed her like she was in the wrong place. The audience, however, eyed her outfit. The costume crew did not have to bless us with the long overcoats, plaid jumpers, color blocked suits and Hollywood ginger curls. Harmon’s style was sophisticated at first, very reserved and quiet. Until her journey progresses and her shell cracks open exposing a new sense of 50s inspired feminine chic along with a vocabulary to cut and a dash of humor.

The Good

The show would not have been complete without the additional characters to push along Harmon to her stardom. Jolene, Jolene, a superfly queen. She held Beth down from day one at the orphanage. Jolene was fearless, funny, petty but loyal and kind-hearted. She returns later in the miniseries to give Beth a saving she didn’t know she needed. Their reunion was exciting to everyone who binged the series and gave hope that Harmon would get her head back in the game. Of chess, that is.

Alma Wheatley, her adopted mother, always wanted a daughter but somehow lost her desire to be a mother. She mainly sent Beth out on runs to the store to get medication and cigarettes, eventually leading to the exploration Beth needed to find herself to a chess competition. Though Alma was a traditional Hollywood housewife, neglected by her husband and unhappy with her life, her void was filled when she dedicated herself to be a supporter of Beth’s dream. She was her ride-or-die the entire tour up until her fateful death. Beth didn’t convey too many emotions but her mother meant a lot to her journey.

Finally, every Maze Runner fan’s favorite, Benny Watts. The “unbeatable” chess player from the Midwest, skinny and short with a huge aura of intimidation. He was frustratingly good at the game and irritated everyone with his skill and sarcasm. However, he became a vital tool to Beth’s training for the final boss; Borgov, Russian world champion. The audience smelled the chemistry when the two locked eyes. Though their romantic trip was short-lived, he gathered a crew of her old chess-mates and helped her study the best strategies to become the next world champion.

The Ugly

Though Beth was written to be an inspiring kickass chess player, she struggled with her own demons that tried to consume her. She had a drug addiction to a hallucinogen that ultimately enhanced her chess playing abilities but also injuring her mental health. She was introduced to alcohol four years early and drank as a pastime. Alone in the house with thoughts of her mother and anxiety about winning the world championship, she succumbed to a bender that left her unconscious with smudged eyeliner and vomit in one of her trophies. However, her redemption to sobriety cleared her mind and body to gracefully take the win in the end.

Featured Image by Netflix on YouTube

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