In my book series (more on that here), I am planning on including a bunch of Easter eggs and subtle references to things as an added treat for the reader. However, I just came up with one that I think might be a little bit too obvious: naming the 3 pet direwolves of one of the main characters Kurt, Krist, and Dave.

Is this reference too obvious for all you music fans out there or should I keep it?

  • 1
    If you make a link to your website, make it so that we can read the actual content and not be blinded by colors brighter then the sun. On Topic though, there are many reasons you might scare of a reader just because of breaking immersion. Out of universe references are one of them. Sep 28, 2018 at 7:25

3 Answers 3


I think this depends on the time period of your story; if somebody recognizes those names as Nirvana but your story is set in medieval times or a fantasy world, this could jerk them out of any immersion they are in, reminding them that the narrator isn't from that time and world, reminding them they are reading fiction and the characters aren't real.

That is not automatically entertaining for your readers. Once they are reading, they want to be immersed in the world and don't want any anachronisms or real-world references to interrupt that immersion. I will say the same about any other Easter Eggs you include. It depends on the world you have built.

If, indeed, your world setting includes the band Nirvana, great. If it doesn't, IMO you are making a mistake: This isn't "fun", it is an interruption.

  • 3
    It doesn't even matter whether or not they catch the reference. A medieval direwolf named "Dave" is going to be an anachronism no matter how familiar they are with Nirvana. Sep 28, 2018 at 3:53
  • 2
    @ArcanistLupus I'll second that. But Nirvana dissolved in 1994, so if your character is a teen circa 1992 to even 2002, that got involved in magic (or time traveled) and somehow she acquired direwolf pups, the anachronism disappears. If the character time-traveled or found a magical "doorway" to an alternate universe or planet or something, then it might even be a private joke of hers, SHE knows what the names mean, and nobody else does.
    – Amadeus
    Sep 28, 2018 at 13:30
  • @Arcanus Lupus what, you've never read "A direwolf called Dave" ?
    – user17926
    Sep 28, 2018 at 16:36
  • @ArcanistLupus - well, yes. Dave is clearly a demon, not a direwolf.
    – Jules
    Sep 28, 2018 at 18:17

"Obvious" is subjective. A couple of weeks ago at work, one of my coworkers wrote part of the chorus to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on one of our whiteboards. Another of my coworkers - who's about my age and quite likes his music - had no idea what the song was. The rest of us got it instantly.

Having said that, I don't think there's anything wrong with including a reference that you expect everyone to get. In this instance, as well as a nice little shout-out that most people will recognise, it would work quite well as a subtle indicator of the character's personality (i.e. his music tastes).


I am not going to answer the question that you asked. "Too obvious" is off topic. Instead I am going to answer hopefully the real question, "should I do it?"

I think your readers will fall into 1 of 3 categories.

It totally goes over their heads. To these people, it does not matter if you do it or don't.

They find out about it from a 3rd party. They are going to go, "OK, i guess I heard of Nirvana" They may be annoyed, they may move on, they may imagine the author as some 90s kid. Not much benefit.

They like Nirvana well enough to get your reference. Great, they got it, maybe they like you as an author more for it, now what? If they are there for one scene then it does not matter, everyone has fun and we move on. If they are there for the whole book then we have problems. These wolves are forever tainted by being these people. Readers will pretty much imagine their faces over the wolf snouts. If your work is meant to be funny, great. If it's not you have now sapped much seriousness out of it. Worse this will now affect you. You are now connecting these wolves to people, and it may affect your writing.

My main opinion is that this is not an Easter egg. Most likely this will one way or another become a running joke for as long as the wolves are in scenes. If you want a running joke, go for it. If you don't then be more subtle.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.