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White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#501 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 ()
#505 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.

Skyward release party ()
#509 Copy

Stormlightning

Where you *inaudible* Hoid as a Lightweaver in Era 2?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid was a Lightweaver in Dragonsteel.

Stormlightning

I mean a spren Lightweaver. Unless the timeline's still, really--

Brandon Sanderson

Meaning was I planning for him to become a Lightweaver?

Stormlightning

Before Era 2 since we thought Era 2 was going to be Era 3.

Brandon Sanderson

 Hoid has never quite stopped being a Lightweaver. He is very happy to be fully empowered with things.

Stormlightning

Does that mean he was not fully a Lightweaver?

Brandon Sanderson

You will find out someday. His magic was not fully functional, but he was Lightweaving in Way of Kings

Tor Instagram Livestream ()
#510 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid your cameo character in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. No, he is not. I'm actually not very much like Hoid. The thing I share with him is a love of stories. So the closest he will be to me is when he's talking about storytelling; that's the part of me that is in him. But personality-wise, we are very different. He is a main character in the cosmere; I don't consider him... he's done cameos in other books, but I don't consider him to be an author insert character.

The closest I've come to an author insert is probably when I put my sword into the Wheel of Time, the one that was given to me by Wilson, Robert Jordan's very, very close cousin of his who was taking care of the armory that Robert Jordan had. I wrote my sword into it, like Robert Jordan wrote himself in as a ter'angreal in one of the books. And I could see myself doing a cameo for myself in that sort of manner. I probably wouldn't do a human cameo. Though I do that for a lot of my friends, is I write them into the books as cameos. So who knows.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#513 Copy

Lance Alvein

To get us started, Brandon, do you want to give everyone a quick idea of what the cosmere is?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Okay. So, here's what's going on: When I first was trying to break in—this was over ten years ago now, like fifteen—someone told me that your first five books were generally unpublishable. That was fairly good advice; I found that for most people it's really just your first novel; your second novel tends to get really good. For me, I did end up writing five experimental books that I never published; Elantris was my sixth book. Another piece of advice I got while I was working on it, however, was: you don't want to start with a big epic, the reason for that being is that you want to give a chance for readers to read something, you know, a single volume, or maybe one or two books before—so they can see, so they can trust you to finish a story before you jump into a big epic. It actually seemed like pretty good advice to me; it also works very well with publishing because approaching editors and things like that, you want to be able to send them a book, and if they reject it, but say, "Hey, I'd like to see something else by you; this wasn't the right project for me, but I like your writing." You can't really send them book two of that series, right? Because, you know, they want to see something new, and so I sat down to write a sequence of three or four standalone epic fantasy novels that potentially could have sequels maybe, but the idea was to make them standalone. But, kind of in my heart, I've always loved the big epic. You don't grow up reading Robert Jordan and Tad Williams and Melanie Rawn and people like this, without saying, "I want to do that." And so, what I started doing was actually building a hidden epic behind the scenes with all of these books, the idea being that there were characters who were crossing between the worlds that would have a story that someday I would tell that wouldn't be directly important to the book itself, but would lay the groundwork and give foreshadowing to something very large coming.

And so I designed this thing—you know, I'm a worldbuilder—I designed this thing with a sequence of planets and a story behind the story, and people crossing between them. And so, when I wrote Elantris, I embedded all of this in there, and then my next books were in that sequence jumping around—some were before, some were after—and things like this, so there are these continuing characters. Well, years and years later, I decided I would finally start writing something big and epic; I was tired of not getting published; I was tired of all the advice people were giving me; I had written a couple of books that were not very good based on the advice that people had given me. I said, "I just want to write my big epic," and that's when I started Way of Kings, and wrote that. And I'm like "I'll the launch into the big epic, some of these things are going to be more important to the series" It was kind of me honestly giving figuratively the bird to all of publishing, saying, you know, "You've told me that my books are too long, that two hundred thousand words is too long; I'm gonna write one that's four hundred thousand," so, you know: "I don't care; it's gonna be big and awesome and it's the book for me." I spent eighteen months working on this book, and right after I finished it, I sold Elantris. It sat on an editor's desk for a year and a half. He finally picked it up and read it, and tried to get a hold of me the next day wanting to buy it.

And so, suddenly I sell Elantris which I had written like five years before, which had all these things embedded in it, and I sent that editor The Way of Kings, because you know he wanted to buy two books from me. He's like, "Alright, the standalone is great; what else do you have?" so I sent him Way of Kings, and he panicked. *laughter* He was like, "Ahhhhh, this is huge, and what are all these illustrations that you're talking about, and I don't know if we can-- can we break this into like four books?" And I'm like, "No no, it's gotta be one book." And he's like, "Ahhh...." But fortunately for him, I didn't feel the book was ready at that point, otherwise I might have forced him to publish it. I felt my skill wasn't up to the task of doing that since I'd practiced only doing standalones up to that point, and so I said, "I want to do a trilogy so I can practice the series format; I've got a pitch on this book called Mistborn that I want to write for you." And Mistborn was the first book that I ever wrote knowing it would get published. So when I sat down to write Mistborn, I had already sold Elantris, and Elantris was coming out, and it all of this stuff embedded in it, and I'm like, "Do I keep going with that or not? Do I just go all in?" And so I decided to go ahead and do it, and so Mistborn has all of this behind-the-scenes sort of story things built into it, and there's a character from Elantris—it's the beggar that Sarene meets near the end—who is also in Mistborn, who is the beggar that Kelsier talks to, that they wanted-- pretending to be blind, that he gets information from, and then this character keeps appearing in all of the books as kind of a little Easter egg that was not so Easter-eggery because the fans found it right away. *laughter*

And so the cosmere is my name for this big universe, which is actually, you know, just a play on "cosmos"—it's not the most original word—but it's something I had actually come up with when I was a teenager, so, it's one of those relics that's in there that if I were to do it now, I might name it something a little less obvious. I don't know; it does work, and it is a fun name, so that's there. The character's name is Hoid, and there are other characters moving between the planets, and so there is a buried, deeper story to all of my big fantasies. The thing that I want to tell people, though, is that you don't need to read them in order because these are just Easter eggs; there's not a story there that you can really piece together yet. I don't want people to feel they have to read Elantris before Mistborn, or they can't, you know-- If you read them all, at some point you will have some little extra tidbits of information, but there's not something there that's going on that's chronological that you need to know about right now, but that's in a nutshell what's going on there; there is an underlying theory of magic for all of the epic fantasies that they all follow. I love the concept in science of the unifying law, right? If you guys have studied physics, there's this belief that somewhere out there there's a unifying theory that will unite all of physics, and because right now, you know, the things that happen on the macro scale don't really match what happen on the quantum scale, and you kind of have to have two sets of equations, and people believe that someday we'll find that link that'll put them all together, and that's fascinating to me, science is, and so I have a unifying theory of magic for all of my worlds that people in-world on various planets are figuring out with regards to theirs, but if they had all of the pieces they could kind of put it all together.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#514 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Will Hoid's character arc, as well as the whole Adonalsium arc, get a satisfactory conclusion eventually?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It depends on what Brandon decides to do. We also might or might not get the rest of the story (pre-story). From a market standpoint it's not wise, simply because if the books require you to have read 32 other books before you read them it doesn't make sense to work on them. However, if the demand is high enough he MIGHT do them after all of the rest of the cosmere books.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#515 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid an avatar from Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Good question. He is independent.

Questioner

He's human, but he's more than human? He's changed from all the places he's been?

Brandon Sanderson

Even before that he's not exactly one hundred percent human anymore. But he's his own agent. He's not an avatar of somebody.

Dark Talent release party ()
#520 Copy

Windrunner Savant (paraphrased)

I asked for a random fact about Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He was hesitant at first, and after a bit, and me begging for even something inconsequential, he responded: "In the next book people will think he is helping them, but he is really helping himself."

Windrunner Savant (paraphrased)

I pushed by what he meant by "next book".

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He refused to answer.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#523 Copy

Questioner

In, I believe it was, Well of Ascension, when Hoid-- Vin was going to talk to Hoid and get information but she sensed something.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she did.

Questioner

Can you reveal anything about that.

Brandon Sanderson

Nope!

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

But you can have a RAFO card... Do you have a theory?

Questioner

No, I don't.

Kurkistan

Spidey-sense.

Brandon Sanderson

The clues are all there. They're very obscure.

Argent/Kurkistan

*theorize*

Brandon Sanderson

*mock-annoyed* Stop theorizing! I shouldn't have said anything.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#524 Copy

mraize7

Can [Kelsier] and [Hoid] be friends or companions or allies?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, anything CAN happen--but for now, I'll let their interaction on screen speak for itself.

But feel free to imagine anything you would like, for yourself. It will be a while before I can get back to this particular interaction.

Skyward release party ()
#527 Copy

Questioner

After Stormlight, Wit was far and away my favorite characters. One of my friends came to me and heard I really liked Wit, and he's like, "Oh yeah. His name is Hoid, he's a worldhopper, he's in a ton of cosmere books. So I went and read a bunch of the other cosmere related books. Why's he so different? Like, in Mistborn, he shows up as a beggar/informant for half a page?

Brandon Sanderson

So there's a couple reasons for this. One is, there are certain books where he is a character and other books where I'm just writing him as a cameo. Most of the books I'm just doing a cameo for him. Stormlight's where you see the most of him until he gets his own book.

The other reason was, at the beginning, I wasn't sure how much people would be interested in behind-the-scenes stuff, and so I was very sparing with it in the early books. You won't see a lot of him until Warbreaker, and even then he's only in a chapter. Even in Wax and Wayne books, you only see glimpses of him. There will be other books he'll be a bigger part in, but if you like Wit, Stormlight's your jam.

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

Questioner

Has Hoid ever submitted a painting to the Court of Gods?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has... potentially submitted a painting. *group laughs* That's something he would do. But I have to say that as, "Brandon says that's something he would do. And 'sure.'" But that's not out of the notes or anything.