One of Beth Harmon’s most notable relationships was with Harry Beltik (Harry Melling), a former chess rival turned teacher in Queen’s Gambit, although adventure does not last long, they advance as friends.
Harry even calls her along with Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) for advice on her match against Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorociński). However, their relationship is toxic and damaging to both of them in Lady’s Gambit.
Although the relationship is brief, it is clearly toxic for a number of reasons. Not only is he very one-sided, with Harry pining for Beth, but he’s also at one of the lowest points of Beth’s life in Lady’s Gambit.
Harry’s parting message to Beth also brings home his own fears about obsession and insanity, a fear that comes true in the next episode after his defeat to Borgov in Paris in Lady’s Gambit.
Harry leaves Beth after realizing that she has taught him everything she knows. He tells her that she has learned that she doesn’t love chess that much anymore. Since Beth and chess are almost synonymous to him, this also implies his feelings for Beth in Queen’s Gambit.
Harry from Lady’s Gambit says that he believes that Beth is on the same path as Paul Morphy, a chess champion who became paranoid, citing his bottle of tranquilizer pills as evidence.
Even though he now cares and pities Beth instead of idealizing her, Harry doesn’t help Beth anymore in Lady’s Gambit. Comparing him to Morphy doesn’t help either; in fact, he does more harm than good.
He reinforces her fears in her last moments together with hers, and these fears, in turn, become a self-fulfilling prophecy when Beth spiraled in the next episode of Lady’s Gambit, “Closure.”