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Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#451 Copy

Questioner

Is there going to be a Hoid book? Just Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

There will be several Hoid books eventually. [...] It will be about his backstory, the main one, and then we'll have some in the present as well.

Questioner

Will it show up in scenes where he interacts with these characters?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not planning those right now. I know they would be interesting, but I'm not sure if they'd make good enough books.

Footnote: The last question likely refers to whether we'll see Hoid's viewpoint in scenes we have already seen him in.
Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#454 Copy

Rachykaych

I've just read Warbreaker twice now and really enjoyed it both times.

I read that although you've planned another book in the Warbreaker world you're not certain of when you can begin writing it. As it is the only book of yours that I've read to date, I've had to skip some of your answers to other questions that contain spoilers for your other book One thing I noticed in my skimming was that the character Hoid has turned up in other books of yours.

He's very intriguing and at one point I thought he might be Vasher in disguise. Is he a Returned or is he not constrained by the magical construct?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, he's certainly not Vasher in disguise. Keep an eye out for him in other books of mine you read. He's constrained by magic like everyone else, but he has some extra experience, so to speak.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
#456 Copy

Kalinque

Wait, Hoid can't eat meat, despite the fact that he loves bacon? That poor, poor man.

Makes me wonder if this extends to Soulcast meat, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's usually part of the joke when I mention his love for it.

There's a cognitive aspect to it, though--but whenever he's around food, you'll often note him acting a little oddly.

kaggzz

So does that mean he was extra mean to the Alethi because he had to show up to all their feasts as Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

No, taking on the Wit persona was his choice.

neonmarkov

Is that inability to eat meat and harm people related to the Intent of the Dawnshard he took up? Is he like a Sliver in a way?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid. But these are the right questions to be asking.

TWG Posts ()
#458 Copy

Miyabi (paraphrased)

While talking with EUOL today I had asked about Hoid being Midius from Partinel. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said he had many names, but avoided a yes or no answer.

Miyabi (paraphrased)

I then asked if Hoid was a shard.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said no and then said something about how no one has read the end of Partinel due to its not being written well and the plethora of spoilers it contains. . . .

He then told me that Hoid was there when Adonalsium was shattered.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#459 Copy

Questioner

The Epilogue of Words of Radiance.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Hoid makes particular note of a cremling.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Dysian?

Brandon Sanderson

Hehehehe. You're starting to learn! You're starting to learn.

Questioner

That epilogue just got so much--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he was speaking to one of the Sleepless there. He has spotted them and they--

Argent

So, he knows.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, he knows!

Questioner

Because he makes a comment about having “no intelligent audience.”

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, yes. *laughter* Of course he doesn’t have an intelligent audience!

WorldCon 76 ()
#460 Copy

Questioner

What was the metal that Hoid gave Vivenna and her crew to use the fabrial?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking, what metal it was that let them use the fabrial without the screamers detecting them? So, should be aluminum. I don't think there's anything sneaky about that. The only thing that I've had to change is, I wanted the sheathes that they use with Shardblades to be aluminum, and Peter tells me I just can't do that. It's not in continuity. So we have to have some sort of aluminum... alloy, or something like that. I'm not sure exactly what I wrote that broke the continuity on that, but he is certain that those can't be aluminum. So, those aren't aluminum, but it was aluminum around that. And Hoid's bag has an aluminum lining, too.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#462 Copy

Questioner

Whats up with Hoid? He's not a Shard. Is he good? Evil? Indifferent? I'm starting to question whats going on with him.

Brandon Sanderson

He has his own unique motivations. There are definitely people who would call him good and definitely people who would call him evil. He was around at the Shattering of Adonalsium but is not a Shardholder or a Vessel for a Shard of Adonalsium. 

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#463 Copy

Questioner

From the very beginning did you already know-- like cosmere? Like was that your goal setting out?

Brandon Sanderson

It was my goal very early on. In fact, before I wrote any books I wrote a short story about Hoid. So he goes back to before the very first book that I wrote. So yeah it goes back pretty far. I can trace inspirations back to Asimov tying Foundation and Robots together and feeling like that was really cool and wanting to do something like that, if it makes sense. And so I would say that’s probably like the first seed was when I read the later Foundation books and they tied them together.

Prague Signing ()
#464 Copy

Paleo

All right, regarding the 'Wisdom Shard' again. We have one quote where Hoid... I'll just cite it: "Some men, as they age, grow wiser. I am not one of those, for wisdom and I have always been at cross-purposes." Is he referring to that Shard there... or the Vessel?

Brandon Sanderson

*thumbs up, grins* ... Yes.

Oathbringer release party ()
#465 Copy

Questioner

In the chapter about the Wandersail, when Hoid is telling the story, is he using Lightweaving?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not completely natural what you are seeing.

Questioner

Is the smoke in any way related to Rosharan magic systems?

Brandon Sanderson

In any way related, yes? I'm good at wiggling out of these. It's a part RAFO, it's not completely natural. I'll leave it at that. I can't say too much, otherwise I'll give away all my secrets.

Kraków signing ()
#466 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid a Sliver?

Brandon Sanderson

A Sliver, no he’s not, good question.

Questioner

Well, I get the RAFO card.

Brandon Sanderson

He... see, the problem is, “Sliver” is really difficult to define, because it has variety of meanings, but I would not call him one. So that’s… it’s arguable, but I would say no.

Questioner

He's not Sliver.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#468 Copy

A_Shadow

Was Hoid a Feruchemist before he ever got to Scadrial?

I remember reading this somewhere but I can't find it. Not sure if it is a theory or a WoB.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I ever said anything like that.

Footnote: Brandon has said that Hoid uses Feruchemy to know where he needs to go in the cosmere. He has also said that it may not necessarily be Feruchemy, but something similiar based on the same underlying mechanics.
Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#470 Copy

Questioner

I want to know how Hoid travels between worlds. Or, if you're not going to tell me right now, will we ever find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has travelled between the worlds by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. *pause* Okay? So that is one method he has used to travel between the worlds. The worlds are connected through Shadesmar. Um, things that people don't think about as much reflect very minorly in Shadesmar, so when you-- all the-- most of the space between planets is cut out, and there's some weird, twisted geography going on there. So that's basically how he does it, Cognitive Realm.

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
#471 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

As I was developing the Cosmere, I knew I wanted a few threads to span the entire mega-sequence, which was going to cover thousands of years. For this reason, I built into the outline a couple of "core" series.

One of these is the Stormlight Archive, where we have the Heralds who span ages, and which I eventually decided to break into two distinct arcs. Other series touch on the idea of long-standing characters. Dragonsteel, for example, will be kind of a bookend series. We'll get novels on Hoid's origins, then jump all the way to the end and get novels from his viewpoint late in the entire Cosmere sequence.

With Mistborn, I wanted to do something different. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted a fantasy world that changed, that grew updated and modernized. One of my personal mandates as a lover of the epic fantasy genre is to try to take what has been done before and push the stories in directions I think the genre hasn't looked at often enough.

I pitched Mistorn as a series of trilogies, which many of you probably already know. Each series was to cover a different era in the world (Scadrial), and each was to be about different characters—starting with an epic fantasy trilogy, expanding eventually into a space opera science fiction series. The magic would be the common thread here, rather than specific characters.

There was a greater purpose to this, more than just wanting a fantasy world that modernized. The point was to actually show the passage of time in the universe, and to make you, the reader, feel the weight of that passage.

Some of the Cosmere characters, like Hoid, are functionally immortal—in that, at least, they don't age and are rather difficult to kill. I felt that when readers approached a grand epic where none of the characters changed, the experience would be lacking something. I could tell you things were changing, but if there were always the same characters, it wouldn't feel like the universe was aging.

I think you get this problem already in some big epic series. (More on that below.) Here, I wanted the Cosmere to evoke a sense of moving through eras. There will be some continuing threads. (A few characters from Mistborn will be weaved through the entire thing.) However, to make this all work, I decided I needed to do something daring—I needed to reboot the Mistborn world periodically with new characters and new settings.

So how does Shadows of Self fit into this entire framework? Well, The Alloy of Law was (kind of) an accident. It wasn't planned to be part of the original sequence of Mistborn sub-series, but it's also an excellent example of why you shouldn't feel too married to an outline.

As I was working on Stormlight, I realized that it was going to be a long time (perhaps ten years) between The Hero of Ages and my ability to get back to the Mistborn world to do the first of the "second" series. I sat down to write a short story as a means of offering a stop-gap, but was disappointed with it.

That's when I took a step back and asked myself how I really wanted to approach all of this. What I decided upon was that I wanted a new Mistborn series that acted as a counterpoint to Stormlight. Something for Mistborn fans that pulled out some of the core concepts of the series (Allomantic action, heist stories) and mashed them with another genre—as opposed to epic fantasy—to produce something that would be faster-paced than Stormlight, and also tighter in focus.

That way, I could alternate big epics and tight, action character stories. I could keep Mistborn alive in people's minds while I labored on Stormlight.

The Alloy of Law was the result, an experiment in a second-era Mistborn series between the first two planned trilogies. The first book wasn't truly accidental, then, nor did it come from a short story. (I've seen both reported, and have tacitly perpetuated the idea, as it's easier than explaining the entire process.) I chose early 20th century because it's a time period I find fascinating, and was intrigued by the idea of the little-city lawman pulled into big-city politics.

Alloy wasn't an accident, but it was an experiment. I wasn't certain how readers would respond to not only a soft reboot like this, but also one that changed tone (from epic to focused). Was it too much?

The results have been fantastic, I'm happy to report. The Alloy of Law is consistently the bestselling book in my backlists, barring the original trilogy or Stormlight books. Fan reaction in person was enthusiastic.

So I sat down and plotted a proper trilogy with Wax and Wayne. That trilogy starts with Shadows of Self. It connects to The Alloy of Law directly, but is more intentional in where it is taking the characters, pointed toward a three-book arc.

You can see why this is sometimes hard to explain. What is Shadows of Self? It's the start of a trilogy within a series that comes after a one-off with the same characters that was in turn a sequel to an original trilogy with different characters.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#474 Copy

Questioner

At the end, Wit, with the little girl and the doll and bring the doll to life, it reminded me of Warbreaker.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he was using Breath for that. He was using Breath he had gotten from somewhere, I'll say, but it was actually the other world's magic system. Vivenna was using them, too, in Oathbringer. When you see her fighting with her cloak. That's an actual fighting style people would do; her cloak's doing some extra stuff.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#475 Copy

Questioner

So, Sigzil is Hoid's apprentice.

Brandon Sanderson

Sigzil claims that Hoid is his master.

Questioner

Cool, very cool.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, you didn't ask me any questions.  You just made a statement.

Questioner

Is there anything you can tell us about that?

Questioner 2

Is Sigzil a worldhopper?

Brandon Sanderson

Sigzil is not a worldhopper. Sigzil spent some time with Hoid during one of Hoid's visits.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#476 Copy

Matrim

Hoid gets his tooth knocked out while in Kholinar. He prompts somebody else to help him with that. Is that because he has issues hurting not only other people but himself?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Matrim

And then he considers healing that at a later point in time. Which magic system does he consider using to heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

A magic system that predates-- predates any of the others.

Orem Signing ()
#480 Copy

JoyBlu

At the end of Oathbringer, Hoid is there, and he uses the Breath to talk to the doll, and he gives the doll to K-whoever - he gives it to someone named Cob and Kheni. So, is Kheni a Parshman?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#481 Copy

Pagerunner

Wit says an expression, "Speak your fears at a mirror when you get home tonight." I've never heard that. Is that a real-world thing? Or is that, like, a Yolish thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's not a real-world thing.

Pagerunner

Any clues to what's going on with that?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I won't give any clues. I'll RAFO that.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#484 Copy

Questioner

Can Hoid eat?

Brandon Sanderson

He can, yes.

Questioner

And is there anything that he can't eat?

Brandon Sanderson

There are things he does not like. He would be-- Eating something that's still alive would be very difficult for Hoid. But he-- There aren't foods that would be forbidden to him by his particular ailment.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#486 Copy

Questioner

I want to know if Kelsier and Hoid will ever get along?

Brandon Sanderson

They, uh-- that's a RAFO, but I wouldn't hold my breath. There are mashing of egos that just don't mesh well going on there.

Questioner

How long will Kelsier's story go?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's story has some more stages to it. I'm gonna RAFO that... But the stuff that's happening right now is set up for a later story with him.

Manchester signing ()
#487 Copy

ChocolateRob

There’s a character again that you've talked about in other signings-- That character has more information than Hoid about the cosmere. How does she have more information than Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, she is a very detail oriented person and takes the time to research very deeply into things. Where Hoid will often research enough as he needs to know to sound really smart and get what he wants. It is a matter of depth, if that makes sense.

ChocolateRob

Have we seen her?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, I don't know if you've seen her or not. I'm sure I slipped her in somewhere but I'm not sure... I think I may have, but I can't guarantee it.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#490 Copy

Questioner

Are we ever going to see the Moon Scepter on screen and what it does?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you should see the Moon Scepter on screen. What it does is it works as a kind of Rosetta Stone for interpreting some of the magics.

Questioner

So that's why Hoid wanted it?

Brandon Sanderson

That's why Hoid wanted it, yes. He's  trying to figure out how to give himself-- To be able to use the magics on Sel, and that's a key that he wanted.

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#491 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

There is a scene in Rhythm of War between Wit and Jasnah. This scene has Wit doing a weird linguistic trick with his sentences that I'm not sure if people have figured out, but it is not just alliteration, it is deeper than that. And it is not something that you're supposed to pick up on. You're just supposed to be able to feel like, "Oh yeah, Wit is doing somethin' weird. He does weird stuff." But if you follow it, it follows a very interesting... it's like he's made his own poetic form and is trying to follow it. And the fun of this scene for me, part of the fun of writing it is, Jasnah picking up on that, Jasnah doing it as well, him trying to constrain the conversation so they can make these little quips, her saying "please don't do this anymore, we gotta really be serious," and him saying "okay" but then doing it anyway more carefully and subtly with the last sentence that he gives. Which, I don't think this is something that people are going to get. I didn't expect you. But it says something to me about Wit. He gave his word and he immediately broke it, because it was too fun for him to not break it. He just had to see if he could break it in a way that Jasnah couldn't see. And Wit is bored by normal human interactions, to the point that he must put constraints upon himself to keep himself engaged in normal conversations, even ones that are full of import and emotion where he maybe shouldn't be acting like this. And that is one of his failings. And these sorts of things are basically, like that one there is mostly there for me. I don't think anyone will pick up on it other than "something weird is happening."

Maybe I'm wrong, and the cosmerenauts out there are like "oh, we got this exactly, Brandon." I won't say what it is, in case people want to actually figure out what the literary form he has created for himself to follow, what it is. But that sort of thing, I do not cut, as long as it's not too distracting. Once in a while, it is too distracting, and so I do cut it. I made up a word in Wax and Wayne that I really liked; not a fantasy word, just a derivation of another word. And the whole writing group hated it. And when I got back to it in revision, I'm like, "All right, I'll just cut this. The whole writing group hated it." Sometimes I will, if it's just too distracting. Sometimes I will leave it in and be like, "I'm creating a word here. You guys just deal with it."

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#492 Copy

Questioner

Broadsheets of Bands of Mourning. The story that Allomancer Jak's sidekick... in it, there's this <part>, "After disembarking the the lift, I walked to the location where my foe would have hit the ground. I found no trace of him, and though no one witnessed his fall, a young white-haired man was there and offered to tell me a story. I declined." Is that Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there's a reference to a young white-haired man offering to tell a story. Whenever those words combine together, chances are very, very good that Hoid is involved. Yes, that is Hoid, but one thing I have to tell you is, not everything in that story... you are getting a story which was written by somebody, and then turned into a thing for a broadsheet. So, there have been some inaccuracies perpetuated in the broadsheets. So, yes, that's where that came from.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#495 Copy

Questioner

I was just wondering--I'm a big Hoid fan--and I was just wondering if he's in this [White Sand Volume 1] and if I will recognize him as Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

He is, yes. So...

Questioner

And is that how he actually looks, or is that just like...

Brandon Sanderson

Nah, that-- it-- he disguises himself a little bit, but in this book he doesn't have to go to magical extremes. So if you is wearing a wig or something it's still kind of how he looks. I don't think we even disguised him at all. We did change it from how he was originally, because he had such a small part. I'm like, people like him more. So we beefed up his part.

Footnote: Brandon is likely referring to Hoid's role in the full series of the graphic novel rather than Volume 1 in particular.
Orem signing ()
#499 Copy

Questioner

So Hoid, was he considered a Lightweaver pre-Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that would be an appropriate term. There are lots of different terms that would also be appropriate.

Questioner

But was it basically the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, no Stormlight. No spren. So, not a Knight Radiant. But, similar magic. But you've also seen Elantris magic do this. So there are-- there are certain things that-- I'll just stop there.