Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, June 27

J.K. Rowling reacts to fans' reactions about the casting of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Jason Mankey makes some interesting suggestions for "witchy" shows on TV. And one writer takes a look at how The Witcher series' approach to magic and monsters is different from that of other fantasy settings. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Headlines were made when the official cast was announced for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, an authorized continuation of the Potter franchise that looks at the characters decades after the original books/movies. One selection that gained a lot of attention was the casting of Noma Dumezweni as fan favorite Hermione Granger, largely due to Dumezweni being Black British while the previous actress to play Hermione, Emma Watson, was English and white.

It may seem odd to consider, but we may be in a bit of a magical renaissance on TV. With the success of shows like Penny Dreadful, Salem, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and more it's clear audiences are hungry for stories with a paranormal bent. Considering how real-life Paganism and witchcraft might inform such entertainment, Jason Mankey pitches a number of shows at Patheos.

Last week, Britain held a referendum on the country's membership in the European Union, which passed in favor of leaving. Already, the pound's value has dropped sharply and the country's credit rating has dropped, suggesting some hard economic times ahead. And the economic fallout might affect the world's favorite fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones.

Summer movie season is here and as usual it's filled with big-budget blockbusters like Independence Day: Resurgence, Star Trek Beyond, and Warcraft. But occasionally something... weirder slips through. At Leah Schnelbach reviews Swiss Army Man, the thoroughly odd film where Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse.

Last year saw the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the latest entry in the long-running Polish fantasy franchise known as The Witcher. The title was both a commercial and critical success, drawing accolades for its story and gameplay alike. Over at Rock Paper Shotgun, Adam Smith discusses what makes The Witcher stand out among so many other fantasy franchises, including its unique take on the trappings of a fantasy setting.

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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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