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Harry Beltik Details You Missed In The Queen's Gambit On Netflix

Contains spoilers for The Queen's Gambit

You don't have to know how to play chess to appreciate the wizardry afoot in The Queen's Gambit. Netflix's limited series took the streaming scene by storm when it premiered in October, with audiences savoring every second of Anya Taylor-Joy's performance as the fashion-savvy chess champion Beth Harmon.

Beth's many trials are all intense and certainly not limited to the 64 squares on the game board. Professionally and personally, Beth experiences bouts of both loss and triumph. Since she's an orphan, the relationships she makes along the way in her journey to the top become the most important to her, and her friendships with fellow chess prodigies in particular prove to be of utmost importance to her and her career.

One of her most valuable connections is with Harry Melling's Harry Beltik, who holds the title of state champion of Kentucky before Beth takes that title from him in a gripping showdown. Her relationship with Harry evolves over the course of the series, especially when he returns to keep her company in the wake of her adoptive mother's death. Included in Harry's comeback are a few details fans might not have picked up on in The Queen's Gambit the first time around, so let's take a look at the nuances you might not have noticed.

Harry comes back on a mission

Following the death of her mother and the continued abandonment of her father, Beth returns to an empty home in Lexington. However, she doesn't have to sulk in the silence for long. She soon gets a call from Harry, who offers to help train her for her next match against the Russian chess master Borgov (Marcin Dorociński). She invites him over right away, and he pulls up to her home in a sporty new car that has a few bold flame embellishments.

Melling, who plays the character, thinks Harry's new wheels in the scene explain a lot about what he's been up to since the state championship — and why he might be ready to reconnect with Beth at this time. The actor told Vulture, "The car that he rides in on, the audience would never have guessed that's Harry Beltik's car. There's a real effort there that I found endearing about him. He's really tried to change himself in order to make himself feel more attractive and in order to see Beth." 

Of course, Beth has also changed quite a bit since Harry last saw her. Upon arrival to her house, he remarks that she no longer resembles "that gawky kid" who took his title from him five years before the encounter because, "apparently, she grew up." It's not just Harry's new car that signifies a major image overhaul on his part, though.

Harry's physical change is a bit less obvious

Another difference between the Harry of old and the one who becomes a love interest for Beth — albeit, a temporary one — is that his smile is a lot less crooked when he returns to her life. In his interview with Vulture, Melling responded to a question about whether he had changed his teeth before the big return and confirmed that he was indeed wearing fake teeth over his own chompers for the later scenes of the show. 

He also told the outlet that this small change made a major impact on how he portrayed the character from that point on, saying, "That was a fantastic way of subtly changing ... me, basically. It literally changes the way you speak and where your face falls. I'm always fascinated by those little adjustments you can do that aren't gonna be that obvious, but as an actor, helps you shift into a different gear."

Unfortunately for Harry, in the end, he discovers that there's an even bigger change to be found between his old self and the new one — and this time, it isn't a voluntary switch. As an adult, Harry no longer loves chess, and that's clearly a prerequisite of spending time with Beth, who is almost single-mindedly consumed by the game. "Not only does she make him question his game of chess, but also question his life and what's important," Melling told Vulture of Harry's journey in the miniseries.