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Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
#451 Copy

Sirce Luckwielder (paraphrased)

In the flashback [of Words of Radiance] with Shallan meeting Hoid, Hoid pours something from a pouch into his cup and drinks it. Are these Allomantic metal shavings?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

His answer was that there was something indeed significant about what Hoid placed in the cup, but that it was not necessarily Allomantic shavings. He wouldn't tell me what it specifically was and gave me a R.A.F.O. card.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#452 Copy

Questioner

So, Hoid was there during the Shattering of Adonalsium. Odium is going around, like, destroying other Shards. We know that Hoid is collecting and has pieces of some of the other Shards.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Since Hoid was there at the original Shattering of Adonalsium. Is there an echo image of the original Adonalsium in Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, that's a RAFO. Here's your card. But it is a valid theory.

Questioner

I have a two-parter on that.

Brandon Sanderson

You can ask me the next part, but it is a RAFO.

Questioner

Is his end goal trying to join as many pieces of Adonalsium together to *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Um, that, I will give a "that's a very good guess." And that is what the books seem to indicate is happening.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#455 Copy

Questioner

Will Hoid be appearing as a major character in other books besides Stormlight and Dragonsteel?

Brandon Sanderson

Will Hoid be appearing as a major character in books other than Stormlight or Dragonsteel. Yes, he will have a major role to play in the end sequence of the Cosmere, where he will be a major viewpoint character.

Firefight release party ()
#457 Copy

Herowannabe's wife

In this one [Sixth of the Dusk] is the guy he [Dusk] finds dead, is that Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

They guy he finds dead is not Hoid. Good question.

Herowannabe's wife

Is it anyone we already know?

Herowannabe

Does Hoid make an appearance in that one?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid does not make an appearance in that one.

Herowannabe

What about Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson

In Shadows for Silence he does not make an appearance. I established with those two, my goal was, he-- I found that if I just shoehorned him in it didn't actually fit the narrative. Like I want this to not just be a cameo, he's actively doing things. Does that make sense? He's not just there for cameos... he's actively up to something.

Now he has been to Threnody. Threnody is very interesting to him for certain reasons. He hasn't been to First of the Sun, he's never visited Sixth of the Dusk's planet, yet.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#459 Copy

Questioner

Do we ever get to see a good banter between Wit and Shallan?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, you uh... She is not quite ready yet, to be on his level. And if you watch the series, her use of humor will mature. Um, in fact you should be able to notice a difference between these two even. By later books she will be able to stand a little bit better. Right now he would rip her to shreds.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#460 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about the epilogue in The Way of Kings. You have Wit give this interesting, kind of philosophical-- sermon-thing on novelty. I wonder, what do you think about what he's saying, do you--

Brandon Sanderson

Usually those little things that Wit will do, he does one at the end of each book, are things I've thought about. I don't always one hundred percent agree with Wit. He tends to hyperbolize in order to make a point, but I do think it's really interesting that novelty is so important to us. Even if you did something independently, but come up with it after someone else, then it's not considered as great an art, right? Which is really, really, really interesting if you think about it. And I love that idea, and I like talking about that sort of thing, so these-- All of Wit's little monologues--there's one, like I've said, at the end of each book--is something I think about, but he goes off in his own direction sometimes.

Questioner

I've used that little monologue in some philosophy class that I've in, such as philosophy of art.  

Brandon Sanderson

I did take a-- I took a lot of philosophy classes, if you can't tell, during my undergraduate years. I was quite fond of philosophy. Though the philosophers were all really needed to learn how to write. Man, those guys just, I mean, paragraphs like this that don't really even say anything. I love the ideas, but man, they could use editors. But, yeah, I enjoyed my philosophy classes, and I really liked philosophy of art in particular, it's very interesting to me. The whole Oscar Wilde's intro to Dorian Gray is my favorite speech on art, that all art is, by necessity, useless. Stuff like that really, really gets me going.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#461 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.

EuroCon 2016 ()
#462 Copy

Questioner

You sort of have to be productive to write the Cosmere, because it's really complex. Did you have it planned in advance when you first started, did you really have a very, very clear idea of what you wanted, or was it just the structure?

Brandon Sanderson

So, for those who don't know, it has been referenced, my epic fantasies are connected behind the scenes with a lot of secret characters who are moving between the different stories. If you haven't read my books, don't get intimidated by that. It is mostly to be found if you dig for it, but not intended to be distracting from the main story of each book.

And it did start from the beginning, at least from the beginning of Elantris, which was actually the sixth book that I wrote. It wasn't there in the first few books, but by the time I wrote Elantris it was there. I can trace the idea to a couple of places. From a very young age, when I would read books, I can remember doing this for Anne McCaffrey, it was always very fun to me to imagine a character that was hiding behind the scenes in the story that she wrote that I had inserted, that the other characters didn't know this character's secret motive, and they would appear in the various books that I read. I would say, "Oh, that's him. Ooh, that's him in this other book," written by different authors. That is the origin of the character Hoid, most likely.

I can also point toward Isaac Asimov as an inspiration. In the late 80's, early 90's, when I was first becoming a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, I read Foundation, and then read the robot books, and then read his connecting the two of them together, which was one of those moments that broke my brain, and as I've read other people's works, I've found other authors who did similar things. Michael Moorcock is one, even the Marvel and DC comics did a lot of this. Famously, Stephen King did it with the Dark Tower books.

One theme I've noticed is that many of them feel like they decided to add this as a feature after having finished several books, and thought, "What a cool idea, I will connect them," and having seen them do this, and like it, I ask the question, "What if someone started from the get-go, from the first book, setting up a hidden epic behind the scenes?" Like most writers, I owe a great deal to those who came before and provided inspiration for the things that I do.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#463 Copy

Snote85

I feel (strongly) that Hoid might be a conjured being. As he states he started life as words on a page. Either he knows that he's a character in a book or someone wrote a spell and poofed him into existence. (or you have another origin for him that I'm not considering) I just figured I'd ask and see what you thought.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (You expected something else?)

:)

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#465 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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#467 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid aware that he's fictional?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

So he's not like *unintelligible*

Brandon Sanderson

He's not. And any quotes along those lines are-- that you might think he is saying for that reason are actually in-world-- for in-world reasons you don't understand yet.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#468 Copy

coltonx9

How many kings have had a Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

It is common for a king to have a Wit.

coltonx9

Has Hoid been more than just Elhokar and Jasnah's Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

He has been. Most Wits, historically, were a little more fool-like, more court-jestery. Wit does not think highly of that. But there have been others in the past that were more like what he would think what a Wit should be.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#469 Copy

Questioner

Who is Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

He is a character who has been in all of the books so far and is somehow getting between all of the different planets these are taking place on and is somehow surviving the fact that these books are hundreds of years apart.

Questioner

I have a good idea that he's a Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Well he did steal a bead of lerasium.

Questioner

And he has extra Breath because he said it was easier with perfect pitch.

Brandon Sanderson

He did indeed say that didn't he... I will eventually write a book series that is about him, but it is a ways off.

Oathbringer release party ()
#470 Copy

Joyblu

So, I just had a question about the name Hoid. I've gone through all these [Aons], with the "OID," I know he really cares about how it's spelled. Is there anything you can give me the "O" and the "I" and the "D"? The only ones that have the "O" and the "I" are these two right here. Am I onto anything here, or is that just a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

No, those are just a coincidence.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#472 Copy

Questioner

So I've been told there is one character who is in each of the series.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes there is.

Questioner

Is that Wit by chance?

Brandon Sanderson

It is.

Questioner

Does he show up in some of the others?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in this [The Final Empire] he shows up briefly, Kelsier meets with a blind beggar at one point who is introduced by the name Hoid and that is the name Wit uses through most of the books. If you read Warbreaker he's in that one, there is a storyteller who uses dust and sand. He's in most of them Way of Kings is where you see him the most he's not in the other ones nearly as much but he's mentioned by name in most of them.

Oathbringer release party ()
#474 Copy

Questioner

I'm wondering how worldhoppers are able to understand languages on different worlds.

Brandon Sanderson

So, because I knew I was doing this whole thing, I made it fairly easy to use Connection to start speaking other languages, like you see in the Mistborn books happening. That's a pretty common thing with the various magic systems, one of the easiest things to get going. Some just learn the language. It does happen. But, for instance, Hoid isn't learning the language, which is why you see him making goofs, like when he says "coin" instead of "sphere." Because, like, that doesn't happen really, if you learn the other language. There's not really the word for coin. But the magic is trying to interpret the thing that he says, and it just comes out as a word that's not in their language, really. And you'll see worldhoppers making that mistake. You'll see them using words like "dirt" and stuff like that, and that's just a clue they're using magical means.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#475 Copy

dougpgc

Is there Shard based magic that's used for translation? Hoid is very smart, but it seems like it would be a pain to learn all these other world's languages -- and he's very eloquent in all of them. Will you tell us any details you can about this? pretty please : )

Brandon Sanderson

There are several ways to do this. Hoid is not learning all of the languages without aid. No details, I'm afraid. Except that if you watch, you will see him slip and use words that have no meaning (or the wrong meaning) in some of the languages he's speaking. Those translate oddly, or don't translate at all.