Writer is here.
What's next for the Dragon and the Wolf? [Photo by Helen Sloan/Game of Thrones/HBO]
The off-season of Game of Thrones has always been somewhat of a weird time. Fans are yearning for new episodes, and the story has stalled while the next Game of Thrones book, titled The Winds of Winter, is still in progress. As a result, fans of the both the book and show come up with outlandish theories on what happens next. Now that the show has outpaced the five existing published books, both show-watchers and book-readers have only the vaguest ideas about where the story will go from here.
One man, however, seems to have taken matters into his own hands. Software engineer and Game of Thrones fan Zack Thoutt has created a recurrent neural network, a type of artificial intelligence, that has taken it upon itself to write the series's sixth book.
Yes, an AI program has usurped authorship of the next Game of Thrones book from George RR Martin.
Will Daenerys indeed be assassinated? [Photo by Helen Sloan/Game of Thrones/HBO]
The network didn't begin writing the sixth book from scratch, of course. Thoutt fed all 5,376 pages of the first five books into the program, allowing the machine to make predictions about what will happen next.
Of course, the most pressing question is this: is it any good?
“It’s obviously not perfect,” says Thoutt. One thing that's not perfect about the new “book” is grammar. It had passages like “I miss for it. Why did you proper?”, and “Jaime yelped, in the dirt, and came to climb off beside his bedchamber, and we could almost find the tunnel at once, but we'd shut it without battle if she sings, then, and you may storm woods for fire to the west, where we feed the others. The rats come home to their lives!”
Generally, however, the passages are said to be readable. The network was able to learn the basics of English as well as George RR Martin's writing style and storytelling structure. It was also able to make predictions based on the previous books—predictions that fans have also made. According to the network's book, Jaime Lannister will kill his sister/lover Cersei, Daenerys Targaryen will be poisoned by an adviser, and Jon Snow will ride a dragon—events that fans have also predicted will happen.
What would Sam say about this "new book"? [Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO]
However, the network still included some characters that have already died in the previous books, like Eddard Stark. Thus, these characters still had continuing story lines in this “new book”. There were also unexpected, borderline ridiculous plot twists, like Sansa Stark actually being a Baratheon.
The first five chapters of the network's book is available here.
Thus, the network's output is indeed not perfect. Thoutt says that Martin's vocabulary in the books is too complicated for the network to handle. “[T]he technology to train a perfect text generator that can remember complex plots over millions of words doesn't exist yet,” explains Thoutt. Also, the books don't have enough data for the network to build an algorithm.
In any case, we're just going to have to wait until 2019 for the eighth season of Game of Thrones. There's no word yet on when the next Game of Thrones book will come out, but the one the network wrote seems to be an inadequate substitute.
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