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Salt Lake City signing ()
#51 Copy

Questioner

Does Vasher want Nightblood back?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher feels responsible for Noghtblood

Questioner

is there any reason why he didn't go by Vasher, as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Because in the original draft he was, and I im like 'that's juts too easy'. Plus he's kinda trying to hide, so he's not as foolhardy as a certain other character who goes willy-nilly by the same aliases over and over again and doesn't care. Picking an alias, if you know people would potentially would be hunting for you, having them not be able to ask for you by name is useful.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#53 Copy

Questioner

Steelheart and The Rithmatist, are they a part of the Cosmere as well?

Brandon Sanderson

They are not, yup.

Questioner

Just someone in line said that Steelheart was Hoid's planet, but I thought that they were not part of it.

Brandon Sanderson

They are not part of it. Anything that mentions Earth is something that I didn't want to be in the Cosmere.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#54 Copy

Questioner

In the second Stormlight Archive book... Wit... the Shattered Plains party, where he's introducing all the guests, and just the sheer list of insults. Was that an easy thing to do, and you've got books and books of--

Brandon Sanderson

Man it is so hard to come up with good insults because it's so hard to use one that Winston Churchill hasn't used already. *laughter* But I try to channel the best insult comics and people like that. Being witty in writing is actually the hardest part, but the fortunate thing is that I can take two hours to come up with a line that he's supposed to snap off in a few minutes or a few seconds, and that's how we can imitate being smarter than we are. I totally have to do that in my books.

It's interesting, I got an insight into really smart people. I was roommates with a person who won a ton of money on Jeopardy. Ken Jennings for any of you guys that watch Jeopardy. He won like 80 times in a row, right? I'm serious. He won 80 times in a row, or something like 78-- and before he did that, he was my roommate, and I knew him, and he-- the big difference between him and other people is that speed, that speed of making the connection and snapping it off. You say something and he comes with a comeback, just like that, and then you think  about it and you're like "oh, that was really clever". That's what a lot of these people are, it's not the only type of intelligence by far, but it's one of the ones that this sort of discussion with Wit-- it's what we look for. So it's kind of a marker for somebody that's a little bit too smart for their own good.

Oathbringer release party ()
#56 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid somebody I should be rooting for?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on-- Depends... There's a big, uh, "depends" attached to that.

Questioner

Is that something we're gonna see in Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

You will see some of it in Stormlight. It's not the main place you're gonna see it.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#60 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a favorite character that you've created or one that you've tended to favor over another?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have a favorite character? No, that's again, you know, the thing. I will say Dalinar is my oldest character, followed by Hoid. Those two have been around since I was 15 and so, there is some favoritism for them, perhaps, just in longevity sense.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#61 Copy

Questioner

I know Hoid jumps around and meets various people that are very influential in the various books. I'm curious as to how he knows who he needs to meet, how's he lead to them.

Brandon Sanderson

This is a RAFO, but it is a question you're supposed to be asking-- You know what a RAFO is?

Questioner

No.

Brandon Sanderson

It means Read and Find Out. If you watch at the end of this book he's not always certain why he needs to be where he needs to be. So there is some measure-- something is going on here but it is not made clear yet and I don't want to clear it up with you quite yet.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#63 Copy

Questioner

And is Hoid now, like he can already basically Lightweave...

Brandon Sanderson

He can already-- I will have to delve into that during Hoid timed, but he was limited, and he's still limited. But there's stuff that he's been trying to do for a while that he can't quite get working.

Questioner

'Cause it seemed like when he and Shallan were creating that story together of the wall--

Brandon Sanderson

Right, he was using her power, right? And guiding it, he wasn't doing it himself.

Questioner

Is that something he can do in general, just help people with their powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. That was pretty special circumstances.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#65 Copy

Questioner

I know that Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, Elantris are set in the same universe, and they've all kind of got certain Shards and I was reading that, like, you might do a book about that? 

Brandon Sanderson

I will eventually, there's no 'might' about it, but I always try to talk somewhat timidly about it because I don't want the focus to be on that, I want the focus to be on each story that's happening. For instance, The Stormlight Archive will only be about The Stormlight Archive. I will be upfront when I do a crossover, but it is many years in the future. For now, I like it being a behind the scenes thing for fans who really want to get into it. I don't want to scare a reader who'll be like "I can't read Mistborn because I haven't finished all of these other books". You can read Mistborn on its own, and there will be cameos that you will notice as you do more, and the more I write, the more to the forefront some of these things will come, but I will lead you gently into it. But yeah, I will be doing crossovers eventually.

Questioner

And when did you kind of-- was that something you wanted to do from the very beginning, or were you halfway through--

Brandon Sanderson

No, that was something I wanted to do from the beginning. I was inspired by Isaac Asimov combining his Robots books and his Foundation books, and he did it late in his career. It kind of felt a bit hacked together a bit, but it blew my mind when he did it and, as a writer, I always thought, what if somebody did this from the get-go.

The actual origins of the kind of worldhoppers for me was reading books as a teenager and inserting Hoid into them. I really did this.... Do you read books and you like change what is happening in the book, or maybe it's just a me thing? I would have my character interacting with the characters in the books, in my head, as I played the movie of that book in my head, while I was reading it, and there was this character hopping between worlds, with this knowing smirk on his face.

And so, when I was working on Elantris I said, "OK", I knew I had something in that book that was good, that was important, that was relevant, I was very confident in that book. It was my sixth novel, by the way, so I kind of had a handle on these things, and so that's when I decided I'm going to start doing some of this, I'm going to insert Hoid into this and I'm going to start planning this larger epic. It was particularly important to me because I knew I was not going to write a sequel to Elantris immediately, but I wanted to be writing epic stories, and the reason I didn't want to write a sequel to Elantris is because, if an editor rejected Elantris I wanted to be able to send them another book, because when you're getting close to publishing you'll start getting rejections that are like "This is actually a really good book, it doesn't fit our line, you just wrote a great mystical llama book but we just bought one of those, do you have anything else?". I wanted to be able to send them "here's my next thing" rather than "oh, I've got a sequel to the one you just rejected". And so I sat down and wrote the sequel, which was not a sequel, it was called Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. And then I jumped forward and I wrote White Sand which is another book connected to all these things and it went on, you know, it went crazy from there. And then when I actually sold Elantris it was already going and already in there, and I was able to sit down and write Mistborn, well in hand, knowing what was going to happen. That's why you find Hoid in Elantris and Mistborn and the sneaky, the scary-- well, it's not sneaky and it's not scary-- the moment in the third book when Vin gets creeped out by Hoid is a very important moment, Cosmerologically, but I'm not going to tell you why!

Oathbringer release party ()
#66 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.

Holiday signing ()
#67 Copy

Questioner

The nature of humans on different worlds, like people from Warbreaker have a Breath, people from Scadrial, do they have a Breath as well?

Brandon Sanderson

They do not.

Questioner

That's specific to the Endowment Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup.

Questioner

I've read that Hoid does have a Breath. Was he born with a Breath or--

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid was not born on Taldain-- err Nalthis, on Nalthis. So no, he did not start with one. But the magic was much different when he started. He was before the Shattering of Adonalsium so things are weird regarding him.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#68 Copy

Questioner

Question about Hoid--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay. RAFO. *laughter* No, no, go ahead…

Questioner

When Hoid said that Ivory wasn't capable of harming him, is that related to his stated difficulty in harming others?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#69 Copy

Questioner

So, when you were starting to write your books, did you have the idea for-- Like [???] magics tied together or did you have that from the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, excellent question. So, he's asking about the Cosmere, where all my epic fantasies are tied together. Where did that come from. I can trace a few paths back in my brain where that came from. What I can say is that it was built in from the beginning of the books you have been reading. But you remember, those weren't my first written books. I wrote thirteen novels before I sold one. Elantris was number six. Way of Kings was number thirteen. And so-- I love this idea of a big, connected universe. The first person I can remember doing it, that blew my mind, was when Asimov connected the Robots and the Foundation books, which I thought was so cool when I was a teenager.

Another path that I trace this [concept?] also, though-- I don't know how many of you guys did this, but when I'd read a book--I still do this, actually--I would insert behind the scenes a kind of character that was my own, who was doing stuff behind the scenes. Like I would insert my own story into the story, just kind of take ownership of it in a strange sort of way. I remember doing this with the Pern books. I'm like "Oh, no, they think that person is who they think they are, but nooo! This is this other person!" And so I had this kind of proto-Hoid in my head jumping between other people's books.

So when I sat down to write Elantris, I said "Well, I want to do something like this". All the people I've seen doing this before-- and they've done it very well. Michael Moorcock did it, and Stephen King did it, and things like this, I'm not the first one to connect their books together, not by a long shot. I felt like a lot of them, they kinda fell into it, and as a writer, having seen what they did, I could then do it intentionally, if that makes sense. And so I started out with this idea that I was just gonna have this character in-between who is furthering his own goals, and built out a story for him, and then I went-- After I did Elantris, I wrote a book called Dragonsteel, which isn't published, and it was his origin story, for this character. And then I wrote some more books, and so, of course-- and things like this. Eventually Elantris got published and the other ones didn't, and they weren't as good as Elantris was. And so I took them all as kind of "backstory canon", and moved forward as if they had all-- they were all there and they had happened, but nobody else knew but me. Which allowed this cool foundation for you like "wow, that stuff has happened", because I had books and books of material that I could treat as canon in this way, to let me know where thing were going. So it wasn't planned-- It was planned from the beginning, but not the beginning of my writing care. From about book six was where it started.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#70 Copy

Questioner

How did Hoid get the name Cephandrius?

Brandon Sanderson

Cephandrius? Cephandrius is one of his very earliest aliases. Not his real name, but very soon after he stopped using his real name.

Questioner

Okay. Is there any relation to his real name? With that?

Brandon Sanderson

I will give you a RAFO card.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#71 Copy

Questioner

So in Words of Radiance, when Hoid has-- switches places with the carriage driver, who was mentioned as having a hat and a strange accent - is that carriage driver important?

Brandon Sanderson

Hehehehe… That's a-- I'll leave this one to you. It's a RAFO, but it's not a big RAFO.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#72 Copy

Questioner

Hoid, Yolen, are you working on Dragonsteel?

Brandon Sanderson

Working on, is kind of vague term for me knowing I'm going to write it someday, but it comes after The Stormlight Archive.

Questioner

I have so many questions about Hoid, I'm always googling it, I know people are asking you, but--

Brandon Sanderson

I came up with a really great idea, finally. For years-- so the first story I-- okay not the very first story, because the very first story I wrote is Dragonsteel right? So, the first Hoid story I ever wrote, I was seventeen and I wrote a story about Hoid on a planet, trying to figure out how the magic works, to investigate it, to see he wanted to bring it back and use it in his larger plot. 

There, seventeen years old, the cosmere didn't really exist then. But the idea of a guy who went to different planets and investigated their magic and tried to figure out how it works, was. I wrote a whole chapter of him trying to work out how this magic worked on this planet. I had it in the back of my head and I actually just came up with an idea of how to use that.

Manchester signing ()
#73 Copy

Questioner

So in Words of Radiance you've got a character called Wit, who has a conversation with Kaladin in which he uses the phrase "bunny rabbit" which obviously doesn't exist in the language that Kaladin speaks. So my question is where and when did the language that he used come from?

Brandon Sanderson

So Hoid, or Wit, is actually try-- using magical means to communicate and so when he says a word it just transliterates it or just doesn't translate it into anything in that language. So you'll notice him slipping up on a number of occasions-- he is the only one who uses certain words in the course of-- That's not the only one in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, because he's just speaking normally and allowing his other means to translate for him. And that's a sign, a symbol, of that happening.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#77 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.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#78 Copy

Yamato

Where did you get the idea for your Adonalsium mythos? Did it develop in your head for a while, or did you have a sudden flash of inspiration.

Brandon Sanderson

Over time, particularly when building Dragonsteel as a novel. I was planning it as I wrote Elantris. Hoid has been around forever, long before Adonalsium became the central plot of his story. I have an old short story from the early, early, early days where he's on a planet trying to figure out how the local magic system works.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#81 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering, how many pieces of different Shards does Hoid have to collect before he is considered Ascended?

Brandon Sanderson

You know that's even a little bit false, uh-- not begging the question. Whichever logic fallacy is assuming that he could. Or, you are assuming that he could. Who knows if it's even possible, or anything like that.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#82 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.
Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#86 Copy

Questioner

About the end of Elantris. When Hoid is speaking with the dark seon? I was wondering, like, what is that relationship there? Is he, like, working with them, or for them?

Brandon Sanderson

More alongside each other.

Questioner

Is that something we're gonna see more of in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#87 Copy

Questioner

If Hoid was on Scadrial during the original Mistborn trilogy, and had a bead of lerasium, and took it and gained Allomantic powers, could he then go to Roshar during Stormlight and still have those Allomantic powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes… Most of the magics are not re-- area centric, though a few of them are.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#88 Copy

Alteroden

Can Hoid safely have an MRI?

Brandon Sanderson

Why do you ask that?

Alteroden

Because if you have metal inside your body, and you have an MRI, which is magnetic, it's very bad for you.

Brandon Sanderson

You're just assuming that... That's a very clever way to try to get around a question that I have not answered and intentionally said I am not going to answer, so...

Alteroden

Also, tattoos. You can't have a tattoo with an MRI. The ink has little bits of metal in it.

Brandon Sanderson

You can't? Well, I assume there are tattoo inks that are not little bits of metal.

Alteroden

That's true.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#89 Copy

ChimeraRuin

In [The Hero of Ages], what spooked Vin off from meeting Hoid? (My theory is Ruin's infulence, because he didn't want Hoid interfering(sub question that just occured to me. Was Ruin aware of Hoid on Scadrial?)

And

What would Hoid have told her if they had talked?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Well, by this point Hoid had been to the Well--getting there just before Vin--and had retrieved something from it. That should have been enough to get him to leave the planet entirely, but he got involved in events. (He tends to do that.) It's pie in the sky, but I would someday like to do parallel novel to the Mistborn series with Hoid in the background like they did in the second(?) back to the future move. I don't know that I'll ever be able to do it, but we shall see. I would answer this question there.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#90 Copy

Questioner

What's the most cosmere-icly-significant in Shadows of Self?  

Brandon Sanderson

In the latest book Shadows of Self? Shadows of Self is not terribly cosmere-significant, the next book has a lot more.  

Questioner

So the middle series?  

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, no, The Bands of Mourning, the actual next one has some relevant stuff. Oh, what's the most relevant in this? The fact that Hoid is eavesdropping--

Questioner

On the carriage?

Brandon Sanderson

In the carriage. That's pretty cosmere relevant, but there's not a ton in this one. I wanted this one to stay really focused on Wax. You'll see some more worldhoppers in the next one and stuff, so keep your eyes open. They're hard to miss, honestly, in the next one.

Manchester signing ()
#91 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.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#94 Copy

Questioner

So Wit, is he in any other books besides The Way of Kings?  

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.  He has a nice big feature in Warbreaker.  He appears in all the others just in little pieces here and there.  In Warbreaker there is a storyteller that she meets with the dust and things like that and his name his Hoid.  

Questioner

What was the other one you said?

Brandon Sanderson

He's in all of them, but in Elantris he's a guy with a hidden face that Sarene hires to carry supplies into Elantris.  In Mistborn he's a guy that Kelsier meets with that pretends to be blind, but then Kelsier notices he is not really blind.  He's an informant that Kelsier gets information from.  

JordanCon 2016 ()
#96 Copy

Questioner

Does Hoid learn languages magically or is he just a gifted linguist?

Brandon Sanderson

He is learning them magically. He does-- He's decent with languages but he needs to be able speak as if he were a local in order to pass the way he does. And no matter how gifted you are, doing that, particularly for multiple tongues, is-- Yeah.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#98 Copy

Questioner

Have Hoid and Sazed, since he became Harmony, had a conversation?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… yes, that has happened.

Questioner

Was it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, Hoid considers everything meaningful.

Questioner

Of course he does. Would Sazed consider it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, Sazed considers every individual important.

Figment chat ()
#99 Copy

Questioner

What’s the most dangerous non-Shard thing in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood’s up there, Hoid is up there, but not deadly dangerous, a different type of dangerous, yeah no, what we know of, right now, those, those are in the running. Chasmfiends, chasmfiends are pretty nasty. Whitespines are a little more nasty probably. The… the Unmade are pretty nasty. Yeah. There’s a couple of mercenary troops that you haven’t met yet that are really quite, quite dangerous, I would list them as well.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#100 Copy

Questioner

How would - just really generally - the Ghostbloods react if they found or met Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

(laughs) They... Some people among them know of him.

Questioner

So they know he's around.

Brandon Sanderson

Some of them do, not everybody. But they are aware of his existence. At least in lore, they don't always... Not all of them have connected the King's Wit to this person's lore, does that make sense? So what would they know? They'd probably want to get him and interrogate him. They would want to know what he knows, but he is really slippery and it's hard to get out of him what he knows.