Written by a predictive text tool, the “newest” chapter in the Harry Potter franchise features a few very hungry characters and an odd bit about hot sauce.
The internet and Harry Potter fans are abuzz about the latest addition to the Wizarding World, despite it not actually being written by the best-selling British author J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash, a story featuring a lot of hungry wizards, was created using a predictive text keyboard made by an augmented content creation company.
The chapter begins with Harry, Ron, and Hermione listening in on a secret meeting between Voldemort and a group of Death Eaters at Hogwarts, but quickly sees the characters face-to-face with “He Who Must Not Be Named.” Part sensical, part entirely bonkers, it was cooked up by a predictive text reader and is essentially just a string of words deemed likely to follow each other after the tool was fed all seven Harry Potter novels.
Full of recognizable and signature aspects of the Potter universe, Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash features our well-known heroes and villains, wands, “the castle grounds,” weird magical passwords and harrowing confrontations. There’s even a Great Hall feast because what would any Harry Potter story be without a magical food moment? The Wizarding World’s cuisine is well known for its tasty treats like chocolate frogs and Butterbeer, as well as its more elaborate and fabulous fetes like the Christmas dinner.
Unfortunately, every mention of food in this wild adventure is more absurd than anything else. Several characters “dip” other characters into things like hot sauce and mud, while Harry is “hungrier than he’s ever been” and apparently so is Ron who, after seeing Harry, “immediately began to eat Hermione’s family.” Unlike other aspects of the story, the short’s food moments are darkly hilarious and feel more like a parody than a tribute.
Botnik, the company behind the story, describes itself as “a human-machine entertainment studio and writing community.” Beyond Harry Potter, its predictive text keyboard—the company’s first writing tool—has also created TV scripts for Scrubs and Seinfeld, the latter of which features Jerry claiming that “Dating is the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of everything else.” If you want to read the entirety of Botnik’s go at Rowling’s wizard's adventures, it’s currently online.