It’s all thanks to software engineer Zack Thoutt, who told Motherboard he created a ‘long short-term memory neural network’ that remembers information, such as character deaths, from the first five books. The results: mixed. On the plus side, Ned Stark returns from the dead. On the downside: it makes no sense. At all.
Here’s an extract from chapter one, following Tyrion:
“The Hound found Jeyne Poole. Ser Meryn Trant had sent King Yoren through the harbor, to summon the black brothers who had donned his horned veins. The fools he’d wed with him, had all been reborn. “Why, I know? He was bleeding, covered his whole legs on shoulders of the snow. He will stand on deck for the fish a fortnight, and never kill one. A blade is no longer, yes, she thought, but he couldn’t take much food.
He could not help himself at first rush. Ghost came by, in a camp when Asha hunted to the night’s watch. Now the torches beneath them and the rose in his head or we’ve brought them out of the world. He is stubborn and stupid, but his council never saved my brother as most. “There must be five choices,” he pointed out.
It is an effort. Mine uncle had do the same colour. 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. Behind them wore their black cloaks like their own yellow fish heroes wearing a rough-hewn figurehead, a black trout slashed on a huge chest, with colors crossed inside and forth their heads. Lords and nuts and mussels, cloaks of the shore, several hundred riders down beneath the honeywine, and at the foot of the five southron Kings of captured sit and fewer stepped toward the Kingslayer. He will not return yet at the ford, with above his first black band.
“Only a hundred northmen will remain with them. They’ll teach you Lord Rickard’s brother Joffrey. Tell me true, Cersei is known. No one’s wasting your interest, you remember. Dead steel and sour cat and two times as well.”
Before you ask: with only five chapters written, the software hasn’t yet predicted how the book will end. But the neural network has guessed that Varys is going to poison Daenerys, Asha will start hunting the Night’s Watch, and Arya’s latest weapon of choice is her boot.
And that’s not even the best bit: according to the software, The Winds of Winter will introduce a new character named Greenbeard. And he’s introduced like this:
Greenbeard was waiting toward the gates, big blind bearded pimple with his fallen body scraped his finger from a ring of white apple. It was half-buried mad on honey of a dried brain, of two rangers, a heavy frey.
“Six men wanted to kill one Stark, this grey o’ all of three.”
Nope, we don’t understand who, where, when or the general concept of this character/object. But that’s not going to stop us reading and re-reading the chapters (available online) until George RR Martin catches up.