By Nur Fatihah Irdina
Recently, I came across a fictional character that inspires me. She is Beth Harmon from “The Queen’s Gambit”.
For those who haven’t jumped on the Netflix bandwagon, the show tells about a budding chess prodigy who embarked the life of a professional chess player at a young age.
Beth Harmon is depicted as someone with immense passion and attentiveness which fuels her chess proficiency.
She is a role model to many girls including me because despite the mini-series taking place in the 1960s, the time where chess is considered a man’s only game, she breaks gender norms all so wilfully.
Moving on, anyone can be a World Chess Championship winner with talent, so what exactly makes Beth Harmon stands out from the other chess players? The answer is her character.
As the show progresses, I watched her journey blossoms as the new kid on the block who seeks refuge from other girls by playing chess with Mr. Shaibel, a maintenance worker, whom she discovered chess from down the basement to getting bullied by the popular kids at school, to winning numerous chess tournaments.
She went through a maelstrom of hardship and life going up and down in trying to earn the World Chess Championship title, but at the end she was successfully crowned ‘Queen’ (metaphorically speaking). Not to forget the lengths she would go to master the game. For instance, I see her steal a Chess life magazine from the convenience store, reading piles of chess handbooks at wee hours.
I have to admit at first it seemed nonsensical for Beth Harmon to take part in chess competitions that require you to undergo several stages before enrolling in, but being the mighty fearless woman she is, she took part anyway because she truly believed in herself to the extent where she thinks she could beat other experienced players.
Hold on, did that just seem impossible? Well, not to Beth Harmon because she managed to beat the so-called professional players in a blink of an eye. Yes, she was that talented.
Watching her put utmost effort in every game she plays, I can’t help but wonder how one can have that much motivation in life to chase such ambition but then it strikes me that Beth Harmon is fictional.
Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be an excuse for me to completely dismiss her character because in the midst of a stressful week, jam-packed with assignments and tests I was inspired by Beth Harmon to complete and no longer put my college assignments on a pedestal.
This might seem ridiculous to say but if it takes a fictional character to fuel the motivation in me to face online learning a tad bit better, so be it. Now, I finally understand why my friends are totally hyped up about their favourite celebrities that they look up to.
Some might say that this movie is a ‘breath of fresh air’ to end an eventful year, even sparking some interest in fans of this movie across the world to head out to the nearest toy store or even in the middle of buying groceries to pick-up a nifty chess set along the way hoping to adopt chess brilliancy skills overnight.
I tagged along the trend of playing chess after watching this show in one-sitting last weekend simply to achieve a sense of liberty after getting my eyes glued to the computer screen all day long.
Adding to that, Beth Harmon also made me realised that it’s completely normal for teenagers to have someone to look up to even if it’s fictional such as Harry Potter, Anime or a member from a famous boyband because at the end of the day, he or she inspires you to do better which is what matters after all.
So, are fictional characters a blessing or a hindrance? To me, fictional characters can totally be a catalyst to hone positive traits within a person if we only emulate the good side of them.***
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