John Boyne Inadvertently Included Legend of Zelda Fictional Items into His Book

John Boyne inadvertently included fictional items from the Legend of Zelda video game
Photo : Barry O'Donovan / CC BY-SA (

Award-winning novelist John Boyne, inadvertently incorporated items from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild into his book, but he said he'll leave it as it is.

Writer Dana Schwartz took notice of Reddit's thread talking about John Boyne's novel A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom. The thread shows a photo of one of Boyne's chapters, where the author was talking about dying materials used in dressmaking. That passage included items such as "Hylian shrooms" and "Oktorok eyeball."

In her twitter post, Schwartz noted that if the ingredients mentioned in the book look weird, that's because they were from the said video game. She asked if it was some sort of homage. The book is not a fantasy, she added, but rather a historical drama set in the real world.

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Schwartz's theory was that when Boyne googled "how to dye clothes," he found the site with a listing of monster parts. That led Boyne to put the items in his "very serious" book accidentally. The site was Polygon, and it turned out that Google's algorithm incorporated one of this site's guides in the top search results. 

That's an excellent job for Polygon's SEO but an embarrassing mistake for Boyne. She said she was embarrassed for Boyne and that this is her nightmare. However, she did find it also very funny.

The author of the award-winning book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, replied to Schwartz's Twitter post and said that he indeed find it kind of hilarious and would leave the text as it is. He admitted that while he does not remember, he thinks he must have googled it. "Hey, sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up and say, "yup! My bad!"

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Schwartz's advice to novelists is to read the full context of the things they're looking up for their books, and if they make mistakes, at least "let them be hilarious." 

About John Boyne

Born in 1971, John Boyne is an Irish author who has written eleven adult novels and six novels for children. His most notable work is The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, New York Times No.1 Bestseller, selling 10 million copies worldwide. The novel was also adapted for a feature film, a ballet, an opera, and a play.

Other popular novels by Boyne include A Ladder to the Sky and The Heart's Invisible Furies.  Boyne is a Hennessy Literary 'Hall of Fame' Award recipient. In 2015, he was awarded by the University of East Anglia with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

John Boyne's latest novel is A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom. An epic story that began in Palestine in AD1 that continued to the present day and beyond to the year 2080. Reviews Revues described the novel as 52 mini novels in one.

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