The Queen’s Gambit: 10 Times Beth Is The Heroine Fans Needed – Screen Rant

Chess Study

Beth Harmon might not be a typical heroine but The Queen's Gambit character has moments where she was exactly the hero viewers needed.

Netflix'sThe Queen's Gambitoffers a refreshing protagonist for the modern-day. Beth, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, may exist in a fictional world of the 1950s, but the way she lives her life is applicable to the concerns of today's viewers. Beth defies societal constraints in a way that makes it feels more possible to break down contemporary walls in people's day to day life.

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Beth is a trailblazer in a way that is both subtle and direct. She does not offer herself to the viewer as any kind of obvious visionary or passionate symbol of feminism, but it is in the sure, steadiness of her being that viewers will find the reality of her rebellion. In fact, the simple act of being herself, unruffled by the expectations of those around her, cultivates in a unique, comforting form of inspiring independence that extends itself to the viewer like an invitation.

Young Beth is eyeing Mr. Shaibel's chess set long before she finally gets a chance to sit down and have a try at the game herself. It's clear that she is drawn to it for some reason, perhaps that her active mind is not adequately challenged in the classrooms of the orphanage.

When Beth finally gains the courage to ask to join him at the game, Mr. Shaibel at first rejects her because she is a girl--showing the nerve it took her to ask in the first place, knowing it was likely she was stepping out of the designated female role.

Beth is visited by the head of the chess club at a local high school. It's surprising that, even after spending a day of watching Beth's intellectual sharpness and her keen interest in the game of chess, the man bids Beth goodbye with the gift of a baby doll toy--completely missing the mark for what kind of person she is and the interests she has.

Beth politely takes the doll, under the instruction of Mr. Shaibel, but satisfyingly chucks it in the trash after leaving the room--showing that she will not bend to fit anybody else's idea of who she should be.

Beth faces many blocks in the road that could stop her from doing what she wants. Mr. Shaibel tells her girls don't play chess, but she comes back anyway. She doesn't have a board to practice on, so she imagines one on the ceiling of her room.

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She doesn't have much support from Mrs. Wheatley at the start, so she seeks out a local chess competition to earn her own money. Beth is an inspiration for never letting something get in the way of what matters to a person, and certainly never waiting for someone else to figure things out for you.

When Beth shows up for her first chess tournament and the boys running the table try to put her in the beginners' level, she does not buckle under their pressure, nor is she intimidated by their assumptions.

It seems as though they are essentially laughing in her face when Beth asserts that she must be put into the higher-level competition, but this doesn't deter her from sticking to herself and demanding what she knows to be right for her.

Harry is a good friend to Beth, but this doesn't mean he always hits the nail on the head when it comes to ascertaining what's fitting for a situation, such as whenhe goes to suggest books for Beth to read and it turns out she has alreadyread almost all of them.

This scene displays the fact that Beth is not just talented, but she is alsokeen to studyand attentive to her craft, and won't pretend to be anything less than she is just to spare someone's feelings or pride.

The show does feature several romantic encounters for Beth, but these never dominate the narrative. This is refreshing, asa lot offemale-driven plot lines rely on a strong romantic element.

Beth's romances are additive to her life, but certainly not essential. Instead, the focus is primarily aimed at Beth's inner emotional and intellectual world, her friendships, and the seriousness of her passion for chess.

There comes a point in the show when Beth begins to be criticized for the way she dresses. Some suggest that her glamorous appearance does not befit the chess world, a space considered too serious and intellectual for fashion.

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None of this commentary phases Beth. The fact that it was unprecedented for a woman to get as far in chess as she does didn't phase her, so it's of little surprise that criticisms of her clothing choices would.

There are many instances in the show that would allow Beth to fail in life because of a lack of resources. One would hardly blame her, either, considering the difficult hand she is dealt.

However, rather than whimper in a corner when life doesn't offer what is needed, Beth simply asks. This seems obvious but is actually a brave, stand-out personality trait of hers.

Anyone who has a passion in life, or even something they are moderately curious about, can take heart and inspiration from how Beth treats her relationship to chess. Beth finds her passion at a young age, and ever since then, she takes it seriously.

Many people will act sheepish about something they like, worrying people will judge them for how good or bad they are, but Beth simply chugs along always trying to improve herself, focusing on what matters--that she loves chess.

Perhaps one of the best things about Beth is that she is flawed. Beth is not a perfect friend--she frequently lets her friends down, putting alcohol before her relationship with Benny, and failing to ever check in on Jolene. She can be a selfish character, and at times say cruel things.

These are the things that make her character feel real, however, and that ultimately makes her more powerful to watch. She does not fit any specific category of woman, as so many shows and films would have their characters do. She is very much her own person, magnificent and messy.

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Glenna is a Glasgow-based writer from New England. She studied English Literature and Music and loves babbling about pictures.

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The Queen's Gambit: 10 Times Beth Is The Heroine Fans Needed - Screen Rant

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