What If Books Used “Easter Eggs?”


What if books had hidden “Easter eggs” like in the movies?

Sometimes in movies the viewer will find hidden or bonus information that only someone who has seen all of the other related movies would understand. For example, in Disney’s Aladdin, when Jasmine’s father is building his porcelain animal tower he uses a stacking piece that looks just like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. In Frozen, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider can actually be seen with the other guests while Anna sings “For the First Time in Forever” right before Elsa’s coronation.

So what if there were little hidden tidbits in an author’s book that hinted at things in another unrelated book by the same author, much like the way in which Aladdin references Beauty and the Beast?

Sometimes a sequel will have little inside jokes, too, like the moment from Princess Diaries 2 when that woman says “I hope they have string cheese!” While this sounds totally random to people who haven’t seen the first movie, for those in the know it’s a clever and humorous treat. It’s like the directors are rewarding the audience for having invested their time and *cough cough* money in the entirety of the franchise — a reward for being a “loyal customer.”

From my memory books don’t really seem to do this. The author assumes (and the continuous nature of the story often requires) that you’ve read the other books in the series. Otherwise you’ll probably be pretty lost… Are movie series written in a way that makes them more viable as stand-alone products, then? If anything I would have thought it would be the opposite, where books would be more stand-alone given the much larger amount of time the “audience” must take to read them. (But maybe book readers are more loyal to a series than movie-goers are to movie series??) The closest bookish example I can think of is when J.K. Rowling has Slughorn accidentally call Ron “Rupert” (as in Rupert Grint, the actor who played Ron in the movies).* This is actually an easter egg that goes between books and movies! I still don’t know that I’ve ever come across an easter egg within books alone, though.

So have you ever read a book or book series that alludes to another book? And if any authors are out there reading this, would you ever consider dropping these sorts of “Easter eggs” in your novels?


*I definitely didn’t notice this by myself. Thank you internet:

You might also like: If Sherlock Lived In Cinderella’s World (And Other Book Swaps)

30 thoughts on “What If Books Used “Easter Eggs?””

  1. Nice post! πŸ˜€ This is an interesting topic and really made me think if I’d seen this sort of things in books before. I’ve heard Stephen King does this sort of thing but I’ve only ever read one of his books so far (seen a few of the movies though). Here’s an article from buzzfeed with some more info on it if you’re interested:
    Otherwise than that, I know of one that had an Easter egg that made me smile, but it was from a graphic novel instead of a regular written novel. In Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics he has a moment where Scott finds out eating a lot of bread can lead to weight gain and he panics and says “Bread makes you fat?!”, and in another unrelated graphic novel he did called ‘Seconds’ a girl has the same exact reaction. πŸ˜›
    I’d love to see Easter eggs pop up more in books though. They’re fun, so it’d be neat to see. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Will do! The author is someone I haven’t read in years, but he had multiple series that referenced objects from each other even though they didn’t necessarily occur in the same universe. (I’m just trying to remember if it was a clear distinction between universes, or if it was a branching-off thing; because then that might not technically be an easter egg anymore. It was still cool when I was reading them, though. πŸ˜‰ )

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  2. It has to be done well because otherwise it can seem like the author is lazy and keeps harping on the same things. So I’ve read multiple books by the same author which mention the same specific fairytale or something, but to me it seems lazy. Like the author keeps falling back on the same tropes. But maybe it is and I’ve never noticed an intentional easter egg before. I’d do it because I think it’s hilarious. I’d just make sure to do it stealthily and well.

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  3. Nice entry, and defenetevely, there is something that needs to be done more in books.

    However, i have to add that there are books that do this already. One could point that “Tales of Dunk and Egg ” does this with “A Song of Ice and Fire”, In example: the four finalist of the joust in The Hedge Knight match the four suitors that Sansa had trought the history. I could also point towards Joe Ambercombie, wich has a good stream of separate books and novel after his first trilogy (The First Law) That references, and makes offhand comments about past events, in other books, without having them central to the plot (An offhand comment of Sinapi and the Butcher of Caprile, something about the Union, talks about a rebelion in Starkland, secondary characters that spring to life, et-cetera)

    But if i have to point a King in easter eggs in book: its Brandon sanderson.

    Brandon sanderson created a sort of secondary story trought his different series, that its explored in the easter eggs. Heck, one of the fan favorites characters, Hoid, only exists as easter eggs in most of the books, he was only given a secondary goal in the recent Stormlight Archive series, but has been for longer than that. The “Arcanum” appendix, that explains the rules of magic, is actually written by a character, that sometimes appears in some sagas.

    Going Outside Fantasy, we have Asimov, and many winks and nods trought his whole Trantor Cycle to the Robot’s Saga. Independant, different books, that have a common node. In general, to have “Easter Eggs”, one must look in proliffic authors, that have wrotten dozens of books. Its kinda hard to add a easter egg reference if there is nothing to reference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool! I figured some authors had to be doing this so it’s great to hear about them! It does seem that Easter eggs happen more within a single world or series, unlike perhaps the Disney example where Agrabah is presumably not in the same world/time period as the world of Beauty and the Beast. But Easter eggs in any form are pretty cool. πŸ™‚

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  4. I would like to say that there are books that do this. Several, maybe, not the mayority, but several books uses easter eggs in their writting, a small nod to the aouthor, a bit of “here, if you know something about the world, here is a cool detail.” Small things that often need a reread to figure them out, a bit of “fridge logic”.

    On the top of my head, i can mention 3 or 4 authors that do this, mostly in Fantasy, wich is the genre i read the most.
    First: Requeriments for a book to have a easter egg: It needs something to referenciate. As simple as that,


  5. Have you heard about Fangirl and Carry On (both by Rainbow Rowell)?

    Fangirl is a YA book about Cath, a girl who is obsessed with a fictional character, Simon Snow. She writes Simon Snow fanfiction, goes to Simon Snow cosplay events, the whole nine yards. The story follows her struggle to outgrow the obsession and develop a “real” life.

    After Rainbow Rowell published Fangirl, she continued thinking about Simon Snow (the fictional fictional character). So she wrote “Carry On,” which tells the Simon Snow story. It exists in a whole separate universe from “Fangirl” and doesn’t even acknowledge Cath’s existence. It’s a standalone product!

    I’m not sure if this connection counts as an Easter egg. I guess it’s more of a spin-off, but I thought you might still like the idea! = )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t really read books but I watch movies and I watched Misery directed by Rob Reiner in 1990 based on the Stephen King novel and then a few days later I watched When Harry Met Sally also directed by Rob Reiner in 1989 and there’s a scene where Harry is reading a book. Of course Rob knew he was probably already working on Misery at the time. Both great films.

    Liked by 1 person

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