The widespread criticism of the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has, perhaps inevitably, entered the realm of the uncanny/post-factual. A video titled “Breaking: Jon Snow finally apologized for Season 8” (above), posted Thursday by the Eating Things With Famous People channel on YouTube, has started to go viral, racking up nearly a quarter million views by Friday afternoon. In it, “GoT” footage is manipulated using so-called deepfake technology to make it appear that Snow (Kit Harrington) has decided to express grave regrets about the way the wildly popular HBO drama closed out.
The channel describes itself as “3 guys fooling around with deepfake, vfx, and things we find on [the] internet.” Here’s the dialogue the team put into Snow’s mouth:
It’s time for some apologies. I’m sorry we wasted your time. I have more lines in this video than I had in the last season. I’m sorry for that. And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I’m sorry we wrote this in like six days or something. Now… let us burn the script of Season 8. And just forget it forever! Fuck Season 8!
The video seems likely to quickly smash past the million-view mark given that it had landed on the front page of Reddit by mid-afternoon Friday. As of this writing, the most upvoted comment on the post reads,
I fear deepfakes will completely fuck our sense of reality and truth in the near future, so let’s all have a laugh while we can.
Some background: I previously wrote about convincingly faked videos in May 2018, before the term “deepfake” had gained wide currency. The context then was about how political campaigns will face a world of hurt as faked videos of candidates saying and doing terrible things start to become commonplace as access to and interest in off-the-shelf deepfake software spreads. See “From Russia with fear: New tech is going to make fake news look quaint.”