It’s been twenty years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, and we still can’t get enough of the wizarding world.
Software from Botnik Studios has taken it upon itself to produce the latest sequel to the Potter universe with hilarious results.
Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash is a fan fiction of sorts written by a computer algorithm. Staff at Botnik injected the seven existing Potter novels into their predictive text keyboard, which generated the sequel by analysing the probability of certain words following others. The software is open source and available for anyone to use.
The novels contain a total of 1,084,170 words – plenty of content for the software to get a feel for Rowling’s world. Indeed, the characters and language are very much authentic. However the algorithm has not yet mastered plausible plot development.
“The castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind. The sky outside was a great black ceiling, which was full of blood. The only sounds drifting from Hagrid’s hut were the disdainful shrieks of his own furniture. Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good.”
Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash incorporates some spicy teen angst between the trio:
‘”Ron’s the handsome one”, muttered Harry. . .
“Not so handsome now”, thought Harry as he dipped Hermione in hot sauce. The Death Eaters were dead now, and Harry was hungrier than he had ever been.’
Humble Harry also receives quite the ego boost:
‘”I’m Harry Potter,” Harry began yelling. “The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!”‘
He’s orphaned as a baby, suffers an abusive childhood, then loses a plethora of father figures within the space of a few years. Will this story give Harry a break? It doesn’t look promising:
“Harry looked around and then fell down the spiral staircase for the rest of the summer.”
But if there’s one thing this story hits on the head, it’s telling the Dark Lord what we really think of him. The algorithm has unpacked all of Harry’s hidden stresses and traumas in this verbal explosion towards Voldemort:
“Voldemort, you’re a very bad and mean wizard”, Harry said savagely. Hermione nodded encouragingly.