I like chocolate eggs, but the Easter Eggs I love aren’t chocolate. They are the Easter Eggs that are found hiding within stories.
In books, Easter Eggs are hidden gems deliberately placed by the writer for the reader to find. I think they deserve to receive even more joy than the chocolate eggs hidden around the garden. They add complexity and fun to the reading or provide an in-joke to readers. The fact that they are known to the writer and only found by some readers creates a ‘secret pact’ between the writer and reader. Dedicated readers get an additional buzz when they discover an Easter egg. The reader and the writer have a secret to share with each Easter Egg found.
J.K. Rowling is one writer who loves to send her fans searching for Easter Eggs. The Harry Potter books are filled with secrets and additional layers of meaning. A writer as skilled as Rowling scatters Easter Eggs throughout her novels in a way that their occurrence doesn’t detract from the experience if they remain hidden, but enables, perhaps more mature or well-read fans, to find them. For example, did you know that the character Remus Lupin is an Easter Egg that refers to one of the legendary founders of ancient Rome? Legend has it that twins Romulus and Remus were raised by a wolf. Hence Remus’s surname is another Easter Egg as Lupin or Lupus is Latin for wolf. A clever Easter Egg within an Easter Egg.
Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code is another popular book with many Easter Eggs. In fact, the whole book is based on mysterious hidden codes that the protagonist (and the reader) has to uncover. The Fibonacci sequence (where each number is a sum of the former two integers; hence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11…) is a reference to the work of Leonardo DaVinci.
Easter Eggs aren’t just fun to find when reading a book. They are fun for the writer too. I’ve sprinkled Easter Eggs liberally in Darwin’s Wake for you to find. These are placed throughout my novel and at various depths and layers. Some are pretty obvious. For example, the name of Roland’s boat, Durendal, is an Easter Egg. Durendal was the name given to the sword of Roland, a famous knight who was a contemporary of Charlemagne. The added complexity is that Durendal’s French origin translates to ‘hard strike’. While the original term strike refers to a blow or a hit, the other meaning of strike, a withdrawal of labour, is also very relevant in Darwin’s Wake. There are lots of other Easter Eggs hidden throughout my novel. I’d love to know how many you find.
Free images by Pixaby.