Harry Potter chapter written by bots is magically terrible

Quit eating Hermione's family, Ron, and what's with the Hufflepuff House pig?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Is there a spell that can write more Harry Potter books that aren't robotic-sounding?

Warner Bros

J.K. Rowling, you're in no danger of being replaced any time soon.

The bright Muggles at Botnik Studios trained predictive keyboards (one for narration, one for dialogue) on all seven Harry Potter books and produced a brand-new chapter about the young wizard. And great sizzling dragon bogies, is it awful.

"Our web keyboard app analyzes text files and offers the most common word sequences as suggestions to the human user, to help them write in the style of the source material," Botnik CEO and co-founder Jamie Brew told CNET. (There's a David Bowie-lyric version too.) "Then a bunch of writers in the Botnik community got together in an online chat room and pitched lines they wrote using the keyboard. Our editorial team cobbled these fragments together into the full chapter we posted today."

Even the book title the bot constructed is hilariously horrible: Would you line up at a Barnes & Noble at midnight to buy a copy of "Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash"?

There are plot twists Rowling never imagined. Ron Weasley "immediately began to eat Hermione's family," while wearing something called a "Ron shirt." Hufflepuff House has a pig that pulses like a large bullfrog. Ron "was going to be spiders. He just was." One of Hogwarts' passwords is "BEEF WOMEN." And not to spoil the ending, but Harry falls down a staircase "for the rest of the summer" before issuing an overconfident warning.

"The reaction has been great," Brew told CNET. "I think my favorite response so far is this amazing art by character designer Elsa Chang."

There's also a Botnik-ed version of an "X-Files" episode, if you want to believe -- in howlingly bad computer writing.