We have entered the winter of Game Of Thrones, with well over a year until its final season premieres and still no sight of George R. R. Martin publishing the long-awaited sixth written entry in the series. The TV show long ago moved past the plotline described in the books, but they’ve also diverged wildly from them, meaning that Martin’s descriptions will likely reformulate the narratives rather dramatically, assuming they ever come out. The last installment, A Dance With Dragons, came out in 2011, and since then Martin has only trickled out a few pages here and there, prompting feverish speculation every time he farts on a blog that maybe, just maybe, he’s ready to publish the damn thing.
Perhaps in an attempt to spur Martin on, programmer Zack Thoutt created a neural network to generate five new chapters from the novel. It takes the diction, words, sentence structure, and a loose assemblage of plot points from the 5,376 preexisting pages and makes its best guess as to what might come next. And it actually does a pretty good job! It emulates the finger-licking richness of Martin’s prose, particularly in the later novels, and isn’t far off from replicating the sea-sick feeling of being 700 pages deep in a 1,000-page book and not knowing who exactly is talking or what the fuck they’re talking about. Check out these lines from chapter three, which follows Varys:
Clegane’s mouth twitched; his face was ringing in the wound, thick as an old line. “Bran, that’s true.”
And strong, it was all they found by Jon, wandering through doors in silence in Illyrio’s lean-tos, and marching at the sun every morning, and fingers breathing like a sun in light.
Jon’s chapter captures the indulgent dialogue of fantasy lore:
Jon rode the dragons in a steep circle, buried fingers in the sand and there a burnt slope. “With a man should leave us clean, wench,” he said. “Stop him. Is that much? Until you’re at Winterfell simply get inside ’em o’ wildlings, or on the sound of a bastard dies.”
You can imagine someone with a vaguely “European” accent shouting that while wearing a fur coat, can’t you?
As Thoutt told Motherboard, a proper data set would actually be about 100 times this size, with a children’s book vocabulary level. But in the long winter to come, famished and in search of a man with a compound word like Greenbeard for a name shouting something about death and honor, we could do much worse than these.
You can read all of Thoutt’s Winds Of Winter chapters here.