The true beauty of The Queen’s Gambit

Arushi Mithal, Feature Editor

Compelling acting, an addictive/emotional plotline, indulgent character development, and a powerful message to tie it all up: this is what a good television series needs in order to attract viewers and satisfy the tastes of an audience hungry for drama. The Queen’s Gambit makes commendable use of all of these things along with possessing a little unique flavor of its own. 

The seven episode Netflix mini-series stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon amidst late 1960´s USA. Born in 1948, Beth is an eccentric, clever child of little words who unconventionally picks up chess while living in an orphanage. As Beth grows up in Ohio, she faces both the ups and downs of becoming a star chess prodigy and begins to grapple with various addictions. The show illustrates how Beth strives to become the best chess player in the world while battling obstacles such as gender discrimination and personal life struggles. 

The miniseries was created and written by Scott Frank and Allan Scott. Scott Frank is known for creating ingenious and diverse story lines while Allan Scott personally grew up around the same time many of the characters did themselves, contributing to the great historical accuracy of the drama. Many think that the series was a guaranteed success even before it started airing due to the well known production team. The Queen’s Gambit also manages to provide a brief insight towards societal problems such as systemic racism and the adoption system. It sheds necessary light on the beauty of chess, bringing the game to life rather than treating it as simply a tedious activity. 

Not just Beth Harmon, but several other lead characters in the story demonstrate significant character development and growth as the story progresses, enhancing the storyline and making specific events more interesting to watch. With witty dialogue and action,  Beth´s love interests and companions show the reality of the time and setting of The Queen’s Gambit. Much of the cast is not as well known, but is still able to correctly portray the mood and theme correctly. 

Overall, The Queen’s Gambit is worth a watch from everyone mature enough to handle brief sexual and profane content. I would give it five out of five stars. It is able to tell a typical obstacle filled success story of a genius woman struggling in a male dominated society while peaking our interests and leaving viewers hopeful and inspired for the future, and it’s a nice coming of age story, too.