What if Audrey Hepburn played chess?

Monday, September 27th, 2021

I haven’t watched Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit, but I’ve heard good things. It never occurred to me that it was based on a 40-year-old book — which does not describe its protagonist as looking like the show’s star, Anya Taylor-Joy:

Beth learned of her mother’s death from a woman with a clipboard. The next day her picture appeared in the Herald-Leader. The photograph, taken on the porch of the gray house on Maplewood Drive, showed Beth in a simple cotton frock. Even then, she was clearly plain. A legend under the picture read: “Orphaned by yesterday’s pile-up on New Circle Road, Elizabeth Harmon surveys a troubled future. Elizabeth, eight, was left without family by the crash, which killed two and injured others. At home alone at the time, Elizabeth learned of the accident shortly before the photo was taken. She will be well looked after, authorities say.”

In the Methuen Home in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, Beth was given a tranquilizer twice a day. So were all the other children, to “even their dispositions.” Beth’s disposition was all right, as far as anyone could see, but she was glad to get the little pill. It loosened something deep in her stomach and helped her doze away the tense hours in the orphanage.

Mr. Fergussen gave them the pills in a little paper cup. Along with the green one that evened the disposition, there were orange and brown ones for building a strong body. The children had to line up to get them.


  1. Albion says:

    Queen’s Gambit was superior television indeed. My wife (who had read the book) told me that the mini-series diverted in places from the original but here at last was an entertaining, well-structured tale without magic, explosions or people able to leap of very high buildings and land without damaging their knees.

    If TV could make more like this there might be a good reason to watch more of it.

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