The Queen's Gambit: Theme of Adoption
Anyone watch the limited series The Queen's Gambit? Just WOW! I am taken aback by this beautiful piece of media and can only but applaud the writer, Walter Tevis, and the producers who brought his novel to life. From the many themes to the interesting characters and the politics of the times - I was completely drawn in!
*If you haven't watched the series yet, then note that the rest of my post does feature spoilers.
One of the themes that definitely spoke to me was the one of adoption.
In the series, Beth Harmon finds herself orphaned at the age of 8. Later in the series, she discovers that she is not technically an orphan, although emotionally this is how she continues to feel. Beth finds herself in an orphanage and remains there until she is 13-years-old. At this point, she's adopted by a middle class couple. It's this part of the intricate story that highlights how complex life can be for an adoptee.
Beth’s character continues to embody uncertain identities as she grapples with who she is in a world where she never feels like she fully belongs. Life with her biological mother was unsettled, she never felt completely comfortable with her adoptive mother, and even her time at the orphanage left her in a medicated state where she couldn't make sense of reality.
The film crew did an outstanding job of portraying the strange relationship she had with her adoptive mother (in my opinion). It was uncomfortable, like it would be in "real life". It was also made clear that, on one hand, Harmon loves her adoptive mother, but on the other, she does not connect with her at all.
There are moments of authentic love displayed , but many scenes also hint at narcissism and exploitation of Beth’s talent for chess. Her adoptive mom capitalizes on her gift and is all to eager to uses her winnings and ambition to jet set around the world, sipping on Gibson cocktails.
Despite all of this, when her adoptive mother passes, Beth's trauma is rebirthed and she misses her adoptive mom sincerely. She holds onto the adoptive mother's robe, and falls into it in moments when she is desperate for comfort. Beth even wears this robe on many occasions - perhaps to invoke her adoptive mom's personality?
So many adoptees mask themselves in superficial identities because they are too scared (or don't have the support) to dig inside and discover their own voices and speak their truths.
With this in mind - I would like to highlight that November is, indeed, national adoption awareness month. Whether you are an adoptee, an adoptive parent, a social worker, a relative or a friend of someone who was adopted, you can use Beth Harmon's narrative to draw excellent insight into this fragile part of the world.
And on that note - where there any themes in the series that you could relate to?
Much love - @sweetpea