Redditor spots ‘Legend of Zelda’ ingredients in historical novel, author owns it

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Needs the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms, eh?
Needs the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms, eh?

Image: nintendo

By Shannon Connellan

We’ve all done a quick Google search to check basic facts, but many of us forget to actually check what we’ve found.

When you’re a novelist, this speedy searching can be the difference between reality and fiction — and that’s exactly what happened to Irish novelist John Boyne, who accidentally included details for a dye recipe from an unlikely source: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Reddit user u/NoNoNo_OhHoHo posted an image showing a page from Boyne’s latest book, A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom, and underlined one particular section featuring a dye recipe. In the book, a character’s dressmaking process is described, which includes some ingredients you might only find in one place, which is not accessible in the real world, where the novel is set.

The dyes that I used in my dressmaking were composed from various ingredients, depending on the colour required, but almost all required nightshade, sapphire, keese wing, the leaves of the silent princess plant, Octorok eyeball, swift violet, thistle and hightail lizard. In addition, for the red I has used for Abrila’s dress, I employed spicy pepper, the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms.

Four Hylian shrooms, eh? An Octorok eyeball? So, where are all these ingredients supposedly for dye from? Yep, they’re all found in the kingdom of Hyrule, and appear in Breath of the Wild, all fictional creature parts and plants that Link throws in cooking pots scattered throughout the game to dye clothes and armor among other things — it’s truly a soothing moment in the game every time.

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On a hunch, writer Dana Schwartz, who’d posted the Reddit find to Twitter, decided to Google the words “ingredients red dye clothes” and sure enough, a 2017 article by Polygon about how to dye your clothes and armor in Breath of the Wild appeared at the top of her results in the featured snippet. We tried the same Google search, and saw a similar result from U.S. Gamer. It’s not clear whether or not Boyne looked at the same preview, but it definitely explains the inclusion of all those swift violets, red lizalfos tails, and Hylian shrooms in a dye recipe supposedly from the real world.

Is it an homage? An Easter egg? Hmm. The book is *not* a fantasy. It’s a historical drama set in the real world. I had a hunch, and tried a google search.

— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) August 3, 2020

SEE ALSO: Playing ‘Breath of the Wild’ wrong was the best decision I made during social distancing

This is what Google gave me.

This is what Google gave me.

Image: mashable screenshot

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.

— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) August 3, 2020

Hours later, the novelist himself, Boyne, responded to Schwartz and was actually a really good sport about it. “I actually think it’s quite funny and you’re totally right. I don’t remember but I must have just googled it,” he wrote, before adding, “Someone remind me to add Zelda to the acknowledgments page when the paperback of TRAVELLER is published… oh lord…”

LOL that is actually kinda hilarious. I’m totally willing to own it. 😂🤣Something tells me I’ll be telling this anecdote on stage for many years to come… 😂

— John Boyne 📚 (@john_boyne) August 3, 2020

Yeah, 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. Hey, sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up and say “yup! My bad!” 😂

— John Boyne 📚 (@john_boyne) August 3, 2020

So folks, check your facts, lest you unknowingly add Hylian shrooms and Octorok eyeballs to your next novel.

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