In Gambit in The Queen, Beth doesn’t seem to treat her friends well, even though they all came together and helped her win her last game against Borgov.
In passing the course of The Queen’s GambitSeven seasons, Beth Harmon has made and lost many friends, but they all still come back to help her win her last game against Borgov in the end. In the arc of the show, Bet is quick to make friends with the chess world, but she is also rejected, hurt, and alienated from them. Beth meets Harry Beltik in episode 2, when he was defeated in the first professional tournament. She immediately admires him and when he gets older, in episode 5, he returns to his life with romantic intentions. Beltik lives in Beth’s house and she’s the chess coach, but they part ways when she learns that he’ll never love her as much as he loves chess.
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A similarly dynamic game with Benny Watts: they met in episode 3 when he lost her at the US Open. The two became friends and developed a romantic relationship where he lived and taught with her in New York City, but after a devastating loss in Paris, he abruptly left her and returned to Kentucky. Their later conversation was a phone fight. Even the arc of Beth’s friendship with her best friend, Jolene, is a similar journey of intimacy, distance, and reconnecting.
By all means, Beth was traveling to win against the world’s number one player, Borgov, and that was her main conflict on the outside, but there was also an important internal emotional journey. Beth has always been alone in the world – since the death of her parents she was left an orphan – and she struggles to let people in and make lasting emotional connections. Most evident in his harmful behavior, alcoholism and drug use, and in his rejection close relationship with Beltik and Benny. He always seemed to run away when things got hard to feel. For this reason, when Beth is already facing her most chess game, she knows that the most important thing in her life is not her unique talent, but the deep and collaborative supporting the friends he made.
For Benny and Beltik, along with his friends Matt and Mike, Wexler, Levertov, and Townes, helping Beth win was also a win for them, because that’s what love is all about in all its forms. Considering Benny and Beltik’s relationship with Beth both romantic and competitive and he left them on bad terms before going to Russia for his big game, much more strange and meaningful that they and others. still working together to help him win against Borgov. Clearly Beth’s friends knew her well enough to forgive her self -destructive spirals and to help her when she needed them most. Seeing his victory made them happy, even when they weren’t talking, because they wanted the best for him.
If not support of his friends, Beth Couldn’t have won against Borgov, even if at the last minute of the game if the pace was different than planned, he just had to rely on his own skill. This is the lesson he needs to learn: to balance independence and trust in the people he loves. The Queen’s Gambit finally about chess and about friendship and there is a strong message that mediates the typical American hero story. Instead of the triumph of individualism, it’s a story of how no one succeeds without a family – biological, discovered, created, even unintentionally – behind them.
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