Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, September 5

What made Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away so special? A popular indie fantasy game inspired by an even more popular title gets a new sequel. And a look at the problems of sexual harassment within fan circles and how to establish a safe space. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment about magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Studio Ghibli has produced many, many films over its history but certainly one of the popular remains Spirited Away, the story of a young girl who is accidentally swept up into a spirit world parallel to her own. What makes the film stand out to so many? At Vice, Hannah Ewens discusses how Spirited Away blends together wonder, moral ambiguity, and delicately placed quietness to make an unforgettable experience.

Prolific author Stephen King has been adapted several times in the past but until recently, attempts to adapt the writer's self-proclaimed magnum opus, The Dark Tower series, have met with failure. But now production is moving forward on an adaptation by Nikolaj Arcel and Columbia Pictures, starring Idris Elba. The Mary Sue takes a look at how production on the film progresses and when the film fits in the series' sprawling continuity.

Among video game franchises, few are as iconic as The Legend of Zelda series created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo. It should come as little surprise then that some games have taken direct inspiration from the series, including the independently developed Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas. Now, scarcely after its debut, Oceanhorn is getting a sequel which, in addition to Zelda, takes inspiration from games such as Final Fantasy XV.

When it comes to animation, most of the business these days seems to be in computer-generated 3D animation like that exhibited by Pixar or Dreamworks Animation. But not everyone is aboard the 3D bandwagon. Based out of Portland, Laika prefers to work with stop motion in the same style as The Nightmare Before Christmas or James and the Giant Peach. Now their newest film, Kubo and the Two Strings, has been released and has a review for those curious to peruse.

Science fiction and fantasy can be a wonderful way to entertain yourself while simultaneously expanding your horizons. Sadly, a small but vocal minority in the sci-fi and fantasy fandom is remarkably closed-minded and as a result sexual harassment has been a pernicious problem for many decades. Now, however, the community is working to make things better.

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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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