Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, February 22

The occult-themed horror film The Witch makes its debut. Dungeons & Dragons gets a new comic. And a Native American / American Indian writer examines the contrast between indigenous peoples' portrayal in The Revenant and other popular films. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment about magic and religion in popular culture. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Many Pagans may have heard of the new horror film The Witch, which styles itself as a "New England Folktale" and makes use of continued popular fascination with the Salem witch trials. But how does the film hold up now that it's been released? Heather Green reviews the film for The Wild Hunt.

Dungeons & Dragons may still be the most popular tabletop roleplaying game on the market, but it hasn't always been appreciated as a narrative drama. Now, however Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are looking to leverage the game's popularity in comics, with the debut of IDW Comics' new Dungeons & Dragons #1, which adapts the popular character Minsc.

When Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens debuted last December it drew praise from critics and audiences for many things. Casting African-American, Hispanic, and female actors as its three new leads was one of those and a mark of progress in both Hollywood and the esteemed franchise. But progress doesn't mean there isn't more work to be done, as this article from Tor.com argues.

One of the leading candidates for the Oscars this year, a historical drama known as The Revenant directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is far from the first film to depict indigenous peoples sympathetically. But it may be one of the first to treat their struggle against colonialism with the unrelenting brutality and disturbing violence often marked by racism. Writing for Indian Country, Sasha Lapointe writes about what makes The Revenant different.

Are you a fan of science fiction? What about fantasy? Do you relish both magic and mad science? Then author and critic Charlie Jane Anders' new book All the Birds in the Sky may be just up your alley. Wired talks with the writer at their website and asks her about her vision for the future.

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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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