John Boyne accidentally includes Zelda video game monsters in novel | Books

John Boyne, the award-winning author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, has acknowledged that a cursory Google led to him accidentally including monsters from the popular video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in his new novel.

Boyne’s A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom opens in AD1 and ends 2,000 years later, following a narrator and his family. In one section, the narrator sets out to poison Attila the Hun, using ingredients including an “Octorok eyeball” and “the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms”.

As the writer Dana Schwartz pointed out on Twitter, “if those ingredients look weird to you, it is because they are straight of out of the Zelda game Breath of the Wild”.

“Is it an homage? An Easter egg? Hmm. The book is *not* a fantasy. It’s a historical drama set in the real world,” wrote Schwartz, who said she was alerted to the anomaly by a Reddit user.

A Google search on the part of Schwartz suggested that Boyne must have perfunctorily searched for “how to dye clothes red” to come up with the passage, landing on a site listing the recipe for red dye in the game, which was released in 2017.

“He found a site listing monster parts and accidentally put them in his Very Serious book. I am very embarrassed for him and this is my nightmare but it’s also very funny,” said Schwartz. “Anyway. Let this be a lesson to all novelists to read the full context of the things you’re looking up for your books but if you do make mistakes, at least let them be hilarious.”

Boyne took the revelation in good spirits, and said he wouldn’t be changing the section – but would add Zelda to the acknowledgments page of the novel’s paperback, despite never having played a computer game in his life.

“I’ll leave it as it is. I actually think it’s quite funny and you’re totally right. I don’t remember but I must have just Googled it,” he told Schwartz on Twitter. “Hey, sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up and say ‘yup! My bad!’”

He added: “Note to self: never talk about poisons in a novel again.”


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