Beth Harmon and Harry Beltik’s temporary relationship in The Queen’s Gambit was removed from good, particularly resulting from Harry’s idealization of Beth.
Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Pleasure), the grasp chess participant on the heart of The Queen’s Gambit, develops several sturdy relationships over the course of the Show, each pleasant or romantic. One key relationship is her temporary romance with Harry Beltik (Harry Melling), a former chess rival turned instructor. The fling would not be final lengthy; they usually do stay in contact – Harry calls her alongside Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) to offer her recommendation in her match in opposition to Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorociński). Nevertheless, their relationship is poisonous and detrimental to them, although neither character means to do the opposite hurt.
Harry and Beth met at a Kentucky chess match, years earlier than they started their romantic relationship when he was the state champion, and he or she was a newcomer to the scene. Beth beat Harry, and the victory launched her profession. Harry reconnects with Beth in episode 5, “Fork,” after she returned from a match in Mexico Metropolis, the place she has misplaced her mom, Alma (Marielle Heller), and her first match in opposition to Borgov. Harry provides to show her extra about chess, and Beth in flip provides to let him transfer in together with her.
The next relationship is temporary. However, it’s clearly poisonous for a variety of causes. Not solely is it extremely one-sided, with Harry pining after Beth, it additionally comes at one of many lowest factors in Beth’s life. Harry’s parting message to Beth additionally drives residence her personal fears about obsession and insanity, a concern that turns into realized within the following episode after her loss to Borgov in Paris.
Harry Loves The Concept Of Beth
Though The Queen’s Gambit subverts the Manic Pixie Dream Lady’s trope with its sturdy characterization and refusal to decrease both Beth’s accomplishments or her flaws, Harry nonetheless falls suffer to romanticizing a fantasy he has constructed around Beth as an alternative of seeing Beth for herself. He is idealized her as a genius for years, by his personal admission. He tells her how he has adopted her profession and cites her cowl photograph in Chess Evaluation and her images within the Lexington newspaper.
The issue with following Beth on this method is that he solely sees her profession and genius and conflates that to who she is in her entirety. Items in magazines do not seize her whole persona or her complexities. For instance, in episode 3, “Doubled Pawns,” Beth complains that a story about her is usually involved with her being a woman. These are the sorts of tales that Harry has been studying within the years between their encounters; they usually have narrowed his view of Beth to chess grasp solely, nothing else.
On prime of this, Harry tries to make use of his fantasy of Beth to repair himself. He admits that Beth is the rationale he obtained his enamel fastened, displaying that he has been pondering romantically of her for fairly a while. He additionally provides up his companies as a chess mentor. It is a good gesture on the floor degree, and a few of his classes show to be useful. Nevertheless, in educating Beth, Harry is inadvertently attempting to satisfy his personal fading dream of being an important chess participant. The truth is that Beth is way forward of him, and he or she is a lot greater than the chess genius fantasy he has constructed over time.
Beth is in no place to be in a romantic or sexual relationship when Harry arrives. Not solely did she endure a defeat by the hands of Borgov in Mexico, her mom died as nicely. Alma was essentially the most supportive determine in Beth’s post-orphanage life. Though she was battling her personal substance abuse issues, she supported Beth’s chess profession and selections. She was the individual Beth closest to, so her loss is staggering.
At this second, Beth is extremely weak and desires help. Harry’s chess mentorship does give her some consolation and respite from residing alone. However, his actions come from a spot of obsession. Beth so awe-inspires harry that he fails to see that she is present process a really actual private wrestle.
These circumstances, together with Alma’s current dying, are what make their sexual relationship so uncomfortable. When Harry kisses Beth, she is shocked, and as an alternative to expressing her need for him, she merely sits there and tells Harry she can proceed. However, the intercourse is consensual; Beth doesn’t seem to have loved it, and Harry is not sure of the place this leaves them. It is clear Beth just isn’t considering Harry the identical method he’s considering her. Neither of them is happy with this relationship, and this lack of satisfaction would stay ought to the connection have continued.
The “Mad Genius” Concern
Harry leaves Beth after he realizes that he is taught her the whole lot he is aware of and that she is not the best he thought her to be. He tells her that he is discovered that he would not love chess as much as he did anymore. Since Beth and chess are almost synonymous with him, this assertion implies that his emotions for Beth – his fantasy of genius – have lessened.
Earlier than he leaves, Harry provides Beth a book about chess champion Paul Morphy, saying they have a lot more widespread. Whereas Morphy was sensible, he turned overwhelmingly paranoid and died. He additionally retired at 22. Harry says he thinks Beth is on that very same observe, citing her jar of tranquilizer drugs as proof. Though he now worries about and pities Beth versus idealizing her, Harry would not assist Beth any additional. His comparability to Morphy would not assist both; in reality, it does extra hurt than good.
Throughout the Show, Beth struggles with the road between her love of chess and her obsession with genius versus insanity. Whereas she by no means states it outright, she is continually pondering her organic mom, as evidenced by the flashbacks at the start of several episodes. In these flashbacks, Beth remembers her mom Alice Harmon (Chloe Pirrie), sensible but unstable. There is a fear that Beth, too, is doomed to insanity, and Harry’s comparability of her to Morphy doesn’t assist issues. He reinforces her fears in his previous few moments together with her, and these fears, in flip turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy as Beth spirals within the subsequent episode, “Adjournment.”
Neither Beth nor Harry implies one another hurt of their temporary relationship, and it is clear they each take care of each other. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless poisonous – Harry was so caught up in his fantasy of Beth that he didn’t see that she was in a weak place after her mom’s death. Their mutual respect for one another and delight in chess nonetheless function as a bond between them. However, they’re much higher off as buddies.