Female orphan with superpowers stories

It’s been a heavy week. Here’s something for the weekend to take your mind off of Covid deaths and democracy in peril.

Disney made almost $1.5 billion from the theatrical release of Frozen II in 2019. Netflix reported The Queen’s Gambit (TQG) was one of its most popular shows of 2020. TQG attracted tens of millions of viewers around the world. These two stories are strikingly similar to each other.

Beth in TQG is comparable to Elsa and Anna, the sisters and dual female protagonists of the Frozen saga. I’ll go over several similar points.

Parents die or disappear: Like Harry Potter in his broom closet, Beth begins life in an ugly orphanage. A major advantage to Frozen over The Lion King, is that the scene when the parents die is not disturbing. You can’t just turn on Lion King for a 5-year-old and walk away. Frozen is the savior of lockdown parents in 2020 because you can just walk away and check your email.

Girls discover boys: In the case of Frozen, think of sisters Anna and Elsa as one phenomenon. Anna discovers the boys while Elsa deals with the superpowers, over two movies. Beth does both over 7 episodes.

Shuts oneself away in remote castle of ice: Literally, for Elsa. Beth shuts herself into a mansion in Kentucky. No one is allowed in… until a sister shows up to save the day.

Truly loved by a sister: Biological sister in Frozen. Fellow orphan for Beth. We all believe and adore the sister love that propels the main character on in the last critical moment.

Unparalleled powers: Is Beth’s level of talent realistic? TQG feels realistic and has been praised by experts for its faithfulness to the chess world.  Elsa can shoot ice out of her hands. Beth could, in theory, exist in the natural world. However, it’s central to the plot that both characters have powers that are unrivaled by any other mortal. According to chess champion and expert Tyler Cowen, it is not realistic for Beth to become so good at chess so quickly. Let’s just call it another superhero flick. Superhero stories sell, and it seems like there is a shift toward blockbuster superheroes being female (see, Wonder Woman). Will people even talk about the Bechdel test in the 2020’s?

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