As not every author is a master of every little reference in their books, mistakes happen. And, let’s be honest, some are just lazy or poor editing. But this one? This one is hilarious.
John Boyne is a bestselling author who’s written eleven novels for adults, a collection of short stories, and six novels for younger readers. His most famous work is undoubtedly The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, a haunting and heartwrenching story of two children in 1940s Nazi-occupied Poland.
Boyne is absolutely an experienced writer, but apparently even he can trip into Internet pitfalls. In a post on Reddit, user u/NoNoNo_OhHoHo wrote about his latest novel A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom, “This novel I’m reading straight up lifted Breath of the Wild ingredients for a chapter about dressmaking lol” followed by this image:
Hylian shrooms? As in, shrooms from the Kingdom of Hyrule? As in, the setting of the famous Legend of Zelda video games? Yes, actually. Furthermore, red lizalfos tails, keese wings, the leaves of the silent princess plant, octorok eyeballs, swift violets, and hightail lizards are, in fact, also from the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, a game published by Nintendo in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles. And they’re definitely not from real life.
Reddit user u/mintmouse posted a comment on the original post:
“It makes sense to me like this: the author doesn’t know about dyeing. So the author googled how to dye and found a [Breath of the Wild] tutorial article and having no experience with Zelda, copied the ingredients believing it’s dye ingredient jargon.”
While experiments testing this did not come up with any Breath of the Wild results, searching “how to make dye” did produce Minecraft results, so there’s that.
Well, here’s the question many Reddit (and later Twitter) users were asking—was this on purpose? Was it a little Easter egg for Legend of Zelda fans or a research blunder? This question reached the author on Twitter from user Dana Schwartz. His response? “LOL that is actually kind of hilarious. I’m totally willing to own it. Something tells me I’ll be telling this anecdote on stage for many years to come…” And several laughing crying emojis.
He then tweeted, “Someone remind me to add Zelda to the acknowledgments page when the paperback of [A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom] is published… oh lord…” Along with more emojis.
So, the dye mix-up was definitely an accident, but it’s also absolutely hilarious. And Boyne’s go-with-the-flow attitude about the mistake makes it more so. It’s also reassuring that even big name famous authors can make mistakes or harmless research errors and still laugh it off and own up to it.
This sort of thing also makes you wonder—what other references or Easter eggs could have been mistakes/happy accidents? what other funny mistakes are out there in published books? Who knows?!