Warning: this article does have spoilers for the show, The Queen’s Gambit. Please proceed with caution, and I hope you enjoy it!
Last October, Netflix released one of its newest historical dramas, The Queen’s Gambit, which became one of the most popular shows of 2020. The show follows Elizabeth “Beth” Harmon, an orphan who quickly rises to fame for becoming a chess prodigy. Now if you’re like me, who doesn’t know a thing about chess, you may be wondering, “Why would I watch a show about chess if I don’t play it?”, and today, I’m going to give you a few reasons why you should pick up the remote and watch The Queen’s Gambit which follows Beth Harmon’s rise to fame.
1. Beth Harmon’s outfits are everything
Though Beth’s main focus is chess, her fashion in the show had me thinking to myself, “I would definitely wear that!”. Of course, Harmon’s obsession with chess goes beyond the board; checkered patterns are also incorporated into many of Beth’s looks, and in the last episode, Beth’s white coat and beret are a nod to the White Queen piece. Harmon’s outfits are also inspired by certain fashion icons from the 1950s, such as Audrey Hepburn and Jean Seberg, according to costume designer Gabriele Binder. The fashion of the show really sells the time period, and I was head over heels for every look.
2. The character development is on point
The show kicks off with Beth going to Metheun Home, a Christian girls’ orphanage after her mother died in a car crash, and while she’s there, we see her as a smart but shy girl. Once she enters the world of chess competitions, we see Beth’s confidence climb as she takes over the Kentucky title and moves into the international scene. The fashion in the show also reflects the character development, as Beth’s fashion reflects her personality and how she views herself against others.
One pivotal moment when we see Beth’s strong character is when she meets with her adopted father after finding out that he wants the family house after his wife passed away. Again, Beth decides to wear one of her mother’s coats, as a symbol of her fighting to keep the house. After going back and forth with her father, she finally calls him “pathetic” after he insults her mother, and the final nail in the coffin is when she settles on buying the house from him. Here, Beth establishes that she isn’t a scared little orphan anymore, and that she will stick up for herself and what she wants, which also translates into her chess moves in the final episode.
3. The chess matches are interesting
Now, before I watched this show, I knew nothing about chess and like many others, I was a bit nervous watching a show about a game I knew nothing about. Though I didn’t learn anything about how to actually play it, the cinematography for each chess match had me on the edge of my seat, and after binging the show, I did pick up a chessboard and learn how to play. Through each of the games, you can really tell how tense and serious each win is, and I really enjoyed the ending, where all of her previous opponents helped her win the World Chess Champion against the Russian Grandmaster. The show’s title also refers to a popular chess opening with the same name. Even so, the show doesn’t stress the details of chess knowledge, rather it focuses on the relationship between the characters, as well as their connections to the game.
Whether you’re inspired by these reasons or just out of pure curiosity, you should definitely check out The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and who knows; you may just feel inspired to pick up your own set of black and white pieces to play along.