Waiting for George R. R. Martin to tell us when The Winds of Winter is coming out can be maddening. We’ve been waiting for over seven years, and all he can say is that the book is underway. But thanks to the wonder of neural networks, our wait may finally be at an end.
According to Motherboard, programmer Zack Thoutt created a neural network to write sample chapters from The Winds of Winter, under the joke pen name “George AI Martin.” The network compiles existing text from previous books in the Song of Ice and Fire series and reveals some of Martin’s authorial quirks in the process. As chapter one shows, dude loves his old-timey phrasing like “donned,” “rough-hewn,” and “the [X] of [X]”(e.g. “the second son of Ser Whoever” rather than “Ser Whoever’s second son”). Motherboard only has the first chapter, but you can read further chapters here.
The syntax isn’t great—neural networks aren’t as hot on complex sentence structure as they are on, say, band names—but once you get into the writing, it almost feels like prose poetry or narration from The Sound and the Fury… if Faulker wrote about swords and direwolves instead of the collapsing Southern gentry:
“It is an effort. Mine uncle had do the same color. She could hardly count by death.
It made Ned better stop until the fire was falling, standing beneath the arch of a shattered still distant field where the shadow tower paid the camp behind. The elder brother had known no sun and chunks of broken buildings and ash wailing towns; four hundred thousand ravens, his own torsos.”
Isn’t that gorgeous? My favorite bit is “ash wailing towns.” Just…chills.
Granted, the neural network doesn’t always deliver. Other parts are less poetic and more WTF:
“She Baratheon is one of the crossing. The second sons of your onion concubine.”
Is an onion concubine the sexy version of an Onion Knight? Also, there’s that “the [X] of [X]” business. Just say “your onion concubine’s second sons.”
“What do you want without shelter?” asked Jared.
If you read this and said, “He went to Jared!” to yourself, you’re not alone. Encountering a guy named Jared, even in an A Song of Ice and Fire parody, is disconcerting. It’s like meeting a knight named Ser Brayden, or an archer named Mike. If he must be there, his name should at least be spelled funny. “Jeryd,” maybe.
“Catelyn wondered if he knew she was fool.”
All I can think is: BUT WHO WAS PHONE?!
“Petyr Baelish jerked his head off, threw himself over the shaft, and pushed it off his shoulder.”
So that’s why we never saw what his hands were doing under his cloak on Game of Thrones.
Wait, what if this is actually how he dies in the books? I wouldn’t put it past the non-AI George R. R. Martin to kill him in the most upsetting fashion imaginable.
I’ll leave you with the top contender for Moments I Wish We’d Seen In The Show:
“Meera kicked the turtle warily at Tyrion’s face”.
Which is your favorite line from the neural network version of The Winds of Winter? Tell us below!
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