We had AI write the first five chapters The Winds of Winter

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /
1 of 5

We’ve all heard an awful lot about generative AI over the past several months. ChatGPT can write walls of comprehensive text with a simple prompt. MidJourney can create photorealistic images just going off a few words. Surely this will change the nature of creativity! Artists and writers, head for the hills!

And AI probably does have some interesting applications, but can it, for example, truly write an entire novel? Or at least, a novel worth reading? Say there’s a book that readers have long been awaiting but which has been beset by delays for over a decade now. Could ChatGPT help complete it?

I wanted to probe those questions, so I asked ChatGPT to write a few chapters from George R.R. Martin’s as-yet-unreleased book The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel in his Song of Ice and Fire saga. We’ve been waiting to read it for ages. But with the help of robots, maybe the waiting is over?

I asked it to write the first chapter from The Winds of Winter and then to write four more, each one picking up where the first one left off. How did it do? Take a look:

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Chapter 1: The Frozen Winds

The howling winds pierced through the desolate landscape, carrying whispers of a winter long awaited. In the heart of Winterfell, its halls echoing with faded glory, Jon Snow stood at the battlements, his eyes fixed upon the vast expanse of snow-covered fields beyond. The weight of his decisions bore heavily upon him, as did the heavy cloak of leadership that he had reluctantly donned.

A darkness loomed, not just in the realm of men, but within his own soul. The scars of battles fought and lives lost etched upon his face, a constant reminder of the sacrifices made for the greater good. The Night’s Watch, once a beacon of hope, had been fractured, its unity shattered like the icy lands beyond the Wall.

But amidst the chaos and uncertainty, a glimmer of hope remained. The flames of R’hllor flickered in the heart of Melisandre, the red priestess who had traveled far to offer her guidance. Jon was torn between the Old Gods and the Lord of Light, his loyalties tested as he sought a way to bring peace to a realm teetering on the edge of annihilation.

Inside the Great Hall, the remnants of the Northern houses gathered, their banners tattered but their spirits unyielding. Jon, clad in black armor adorned with the direwolf sigil, stepped forward, his voice steady yet burdened with the weight of responsibility.

“Brothers and sisters of the North,” he began, his words echoing across the hall. “We face an enemy unlike any we have known before. The Night King and his army of the dead march upon us, seeking to extinguish all light and life. But we will not yield. We will not falter.”

As he spoke, the faces of those gathered showed a mixture of fear, determination, and hope. They had come to Winterfell seeking refuge, seeking a leader who could rally them against the encroaching darkness. And Jon, despite his own doubts and inner conflicts, had become that leader.

Outside the castle walls, the sound of distant howls cut through the frigid air. Jon’s eyes narrowed, his gaze fixed on the distant figure of a lone rider emerging from the snowy wilderness. Ser Davos Seaworth, his trusted advisor, approached with urgency etched upon his weathered face.

“Jon, there is news,” Davos said, his voice filled with a mix of urgency and trepidation. “A raven has arrived from the Citadel. It speaks of ancient prophecies, of forgotten magic awakening. The world as we know it is on the precipice of a cataclysmic event.”

Jon’s heart quickened, for he had long known that the battle against the Night King was but one piece of a larger puzzle. The fate of the Seven Kingdoms hung in the balance, and he was at the center of it all. The game of thrones was far from over, and the winds of winter would bring with them a storm that would reshape the realm forever.

As Jon prepared to face the challenges ahead, he couldn’t help but wonder if he was truly ready for the trials that awaited him. The weight of the crown upon his brow seemed heavier than ever, but with every step he took, he vowed to stay true to his purpose, to protect the living, and to forge a future where light could prevail over darkness.

The Winterfell winds whispered their secrets, carrying the echoes of battles yet to be fought. And as Jon Snow stood resolute, the fate of Westeros hung in the balance, waiting to be revealed in the chilling embrace of the Winds of Winter.

Okay, first things first: why did ChatGPT give the chapter a title? All of the chapters in the Song of Ice and Fire books are just the name of whatever viewpoint character we’re spending time with for that span, but now we’re getting a title like “The Frozen Winds.” I thought that was odd, and it kept doing that for every chapter.

But maybe I’m expecting too much of the program, because obviously it didn’t really pay much attention to what happened at the end of the fifth book in Martin’s series, A Dance With Dragons. That book ended with the Night’s Watch killing Jon Snow, and yet here he is in Winterfell rallying people to fight against the Night King and thrilling at the mention of “ancient prophecies” and
“forgotten magic awakening.”

The chapter kind of seems like a retelling of a scene from the season 6 finale of Game of Thrones, which is also titled “The Winds of Winter.” I thought maybe the robot was getting confused, so I went back and asked ChatGPT to write a different sample chapter, this time specifying that it pick up where Martin left off in A Dance With Dragons. And again, the sample chapter began with Jon Snow alive and well, so it didn’t make much difference.

And of course, the chapter is much more vague and general than what Martin usually writes. In a standard chapter of A Song of Ice and Fire, we’ll usually follow one character as they have conversations, make plans, fight battles, and so on. But this is a very birds-eye-view kind of thing.

So a weird start! Let’s see what the robot has in store for us next: