Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, April 18

Marvel surprises with casting news for Thor: Ragnarok. The new dark fantasy game Dark Souls III is reviewed. And a writer describes how he created a Pagan kingdom in the game Crusader Kings II. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment about magic and religion in pop culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

As the most prominent example of real-world mythology in film, we imagine many Pagans are following Marvel's Thor closely. Recently, the studio announced they will be casting Tessa Thompson in an as yet unidentified role for the third Thor film, Ragnarok. But Natalie Portman, who'd previously played Thor's love interest Jane Foster, will not be returning.

Although himself an avowed racist, H.P. Lovecraft's work has drawn interest from not just white fans of horror but non-white aficionados as well. Today, weird fiction is more diverse and representative than it's ever been. At, Ryan Britt speaks with African-American actor and playwright Kevin R. Free and his own work in the genre.

If you're a fan of roleplaying games you may have heard of the Souls series at some point. Known for the unrelenting brutality of its combat and its dark themes, the series has gained popularity on the back of games like Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne. Now a new game, Dark Souls III, has been released. But does it live up to its predecessors?

DreamWorks recently released some of the first photos from its upcoming and highly anticipated adaptation of the Japanese comic book Ghost in the Shell, about a team of cyborg operatives specializing in taking down cyberterrorists in the near future. But DreamWorks' adaptation has received a mixed response, in large part due to the fact that the studio has forgone casting Asian actors in the role for white ones instead.

For many fans of historical strategy games, few titles are as familiar as Civilization or Age of Empires. But recently Paradox Entertainment, a studio based in Sweden, has gained attention for their own take on the genre. At The Wild Hunt writer Eric O. Scott describes how he played through one of their most recent titles, Crusader Kings II, and reshaped history through the creation of an independent Pagan kingdom in Scandinavia.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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