We’ve all been guilty of finding information by doing a quick Google search and taking the first thing that we find as the gospel truth. It happens. Sometimes though, this quick and easy method of research can blow up in our faces. This is exactly what happened to author John Boyne with his new book.
Boyne- an Irish novelist and author of the world-renowned book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas– latest novel includes an unexpected and unintentional reference to the Nintendo Switch game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So his book- A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom– must be a fantasy story right? Nope. Whilst the story is fictional, Boyne’s book is a historical drama set in reality. Unfortunately, it would seem that a Google search is the catalyst for this rather hilarious error. Boyne was looking into how to dye a dress red and if you go to Google and type in “ingredients red dye clothes”, the first result to pop up will be a list of ingredients that are needed to dye clothes and armour in Breath of the Wild. Boyne must have happened upon this list and utilized it in his novel, thus creating what could be the funniest mistake I’ve heard of in a book. The fact that this managed to get passed by publishers and editors is hilarious.
The mistake was picked up on by a Reddit user with the name u/NoNoNo_OhOhOh. It has already started going viral thanks to Twitter user Dana Schwartz, who posted the Redditors epic find and highlighted the “red lizalfos” and “four Hylian shrooms” that Boyne noted in his story. Thankfully, Boyne himself seems to have a good sense of humour about the whole situation. His post below seems pretty light-hearted and he has promised that he won’t be editing the homage to the classic Nintendo series out of his book.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe go a little further in your Google searches rather than pick the first thing to pop up. Or don’t. I’m all for these kinds of brilliant mistakes. May there be many unintentional video game references in serious novels in the future.