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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#102 Copy


I remember reading a WoB about which of your characters you'd invite to dinner (of which Hoid and Kelsier were two) and you said the both of them have a bit of a problem with each other. Is it anything major and when did this problem happen? (Have they also seen each other again now Kelsier's a cognitive shadow?)

Brandon Sanderson


Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#105 Copy


I have some more in-depth questions that might be RAFO'd. For fans who want to know what I'm talking about, go here. Here they are:

Who is Hoid in Well of Ascension? We (TWG) have found some candidates:

Wolfhound merchantTerris person that Elend meets after Vin went back to LuthadelTeur or old Jed (the two Skaa in the first Sazed chapter)Crazy cannibal Skaa (I doubt it though)

We already know it isn't the man who discovered duralumin, or the Skaa leader outside the dress shop, or the old Skaa who waits with the Holy First Witness when the Koloss attack.

I think those were all of the characters that we found as candidates.

Brandon Sanderson

People are really close to this one, and I noticed that later in this thread, you or someone else mentioned the footprints in the deleted scene.

Hoid's appearance in Mistborn: Well of Ascension is a little unlike the others. When the scene at the Well was moved in revision, one of Hoid's major influences on the book had to go (for various reasons). Left in the book is only one little hint, really. A character notices something odd about someone, but doesn't dwell on it. You can probably find the line if you look very closely.

Let me say this. Hoid got wrapped up in things he didn't expect to be involved in, and they dominated much of his time during the events of Mistborn: Well of Ascension. He spent most of the book in a different place from most of the viewpoint characters. He's only near them for a very short time, and he's deeply in disguise. I couldn't include his name, as he'd never have used the name "Hoid" for himself there, because it wouldn't have been right for the disguise. He'd have used another pseudonym. (He didn't, by the way, mention one.)

I've probably said too much already. Now, perhaps what people should asking me is this: "What has Hoid been up to in all of these books?" Or, maybe they shouldn't ask me, as I wouldn't be likely to answer. (There are clues in the novels, however.) No, he's not just hanging out. Yes, I know what he's been doing. Will I write his scenes some day? Maybe. We'll see. There may be short stories posted on my website.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#107 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Long, long ago when Hero of Ages came out you listed four Shards other than Ruin and Preservation. You said we interacted with two directly. One is a tough call, we've never met the Shard itself but have seen its power. The other one we've not met directly but have seen its influence. My questions:

-Is the Dor the "tough call" one?

-Do you count Hoid in this list of four shards? It makes a difference for the theories, Brandon! You don't even need to say if he is bound to a shard, rather just if you consider him in this list.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO, and no, Hoid is not included in the list.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#109 Copy


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

Brandon Sanderson

Um… yes, that has happened.


Was it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, Hoid considers everything meaningful.


Of course he does. Would Sazed consider it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, Sazed considers every individual important.

Oathbringer release party ()
#112 Copy


I know Dragonsteel is going to have, like, [Hoid] as a main character in the series, or at least a more prominent character. Is there any other book series that are planned that are gonna have him as a more prominent figure?

Brandon Sanderson



And are those gonna come before or after?

Brandon Sanderson


When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#114 Copy

Jeremy (paraphrased)

Does Wit specifically treat people differently when he knows they're going to have a spren bond? (E.g. Renarin, Dalinar)

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, Wit treats people differently, but it is not because of present or nascent spren bonds. He has an opinion of what each person needs to hear. He isn't always correct in this opinion, but he tries to give people what he thinks they need. In Dalinar's case, he simply has too much respect for the man to be glib. In Renarin's case, he believes that the boy has had more than enough breaking down, and is much more in need of building up.

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


Can you tell me something about Hoid that nobody really knows?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I get asked this enough that I've run out of the easy facts. So usually, I have to RAFO that, just because rattling them off is really hard to do, the random facts ones. I used to be able to 'em, like early, I'm like, "This, that." But now, what do I say that won't be a spoiler? That's not known by anybody?


Let me ask you this. Is Hoid basically collecting these different Investitures from all the different planets?

Brandon Sanderson

You have definitely seen him trying to do this on multiple worlds. You have seen evidence of him using Breaths and Allomancy, and you have seen him... do something like Lightweaving that he calls Lightweaving, and you have also seen him try to get AonDor and fail. That's in the extra bonus scene in Elantris.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#116 Copy


The Seventeenth Shard—is their purpose limited solely to tracking down Hoid? Or all Worldhoppers or is it something grander than that?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they have other stuff. It is grander than that.


He's just one of many priorities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. They are very worried about what he's going to be doing.


But there's others they're worried about as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... They have a task, they have goals, and they are worried that he is going to be [at] cross purposes to them, so is trying to hunt him down.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
#120 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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#123 Copy


Has Vasher met Hoid, and are they BFFs?

Brandon Sanderson

Not BFFs by a long shot.


Has Hoid seriously offended someone on EVERY planet he's been to? Kelsier, Shai, the Alethi nobility, who knows how many shards from Yolen, AND Vasher are all out for his blood..? :o

Brandon Sanderson

That's only a small fraction of the total list.

Prague Signing ()
#125 Copy


At the end of Words of Radiance, when Hoid met Jasnah, he said he wasn't scared of the Shardblade at all. Is that just because he has enough Investiture to heal himself or is there something else going on?

Brandon Sanderson

There's multiple reasons but you're theorizing along the right terms.

Barcelona Virtual Signing ()
#127 Copy


I have a question about the man at the end of Rhythm of War that Kaladin finds, that used to recollect lost objects from the Shattered Plains, such as Rock's razor or even Tien's horse. Will we get to know more about him, or is it just a random man?

Brandon Sanderson

So, what is happening there is all RAFO material. I'm not gonna answer any specifics about Tien's horse or even about Tien. There are lots of ways you can theorize that this happened, and I'm not gonna canonize which of them it is. One of those includes Hoid and his shenanigans, that's a possibility. One of which is kind of some Fortune being <around> what's going on. Other possibilities are that there's a divine manifestation. I'm not gonna say which of those it is, but there are lots of plausible answers there.

Manchester signing ()
#128 Copy


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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#130 Copy


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.

JordanCon 2021 ()
#131 Copy


The Seventeenth Shard was looking for a certain individual on Roshar. Have they found him yet? Or, what are they doing?

Brandon Sanderson

They never managed to find him. He is tricksy, as you might imagine, he is a tricksy hobbit. And so they have never managed to find him. They think they got close a couple times, but they actually didn't. And by the point of Rhythm of War, they have given up and left planet, because he kind of went behind their backs and was talking to people and things like that.

We will catch up to those three at some point, I hope, and find out what they've been up to. They kept looking in the wrong countries.

Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
#132 Copy


The question I have for you is will we ever get to know what Hoid's purpose is? He shows up in each of the books, presumably looking for something or on some kind of mission. (Lerasium bead?)

Will Hoid have a short story, novel or will we have to try and piece it together?

Brandon Sanderson

There will someday be Hoid short stories. I've actually written half of one and then haven't been able to have time to finish it. He will also have short viewpoints throughout the Stormlight Archive series, assuming he survives.

Mostly this is for you to piece together. As I said before, this is a story I'm telling, and if I have to explain the story outside the story, then in some ways I've done something wrong. So let the story speak for itself, and you will see. I guess that's a RAFO.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#134 Copy


So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.


Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.


Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.


As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#137 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

...the Diem had been investigating, does that make sense? One of his former faces. So you're not supposed to be able to spot him. Like early on I was really planning Hoid to be-- When I write the parallel novel you'll be able to see "Oh" these things that he had his fingers on. But that's why in Elantris he's barely even in the book. Same thing with Mistborn. But then people really liked it and I was having a lot of fun with it and so in Warbreaker I expanded his part. And I'd always planned for him to be a big part of Way of Kings when that came along. *audio obscured* But in the graphic novel I think we're going to give him an expanded role, just because people are expecting it so much.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#140 Copy


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.


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.

RoW Release Party ()
#142 Copy


We have seen Wit tell stories that others told incomplete versions of earlier in the book. Is this an in-world coincidence? Or is he aware of those stories being told?

Brandon Sanderson

It is a little of both. Nothing mystical in here; he doesn't automatically know if a story is being told. But he keeps an eye on things, shall we say, and finds out things that he shouldn't know.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#143 Copy


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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#147 Copy


I was going through the compiled WoB and came across two interesting pieces of information. So I guess a lead in question, you said that Hoid isn't quite human, so I was wondering if he wasn't quite human in the same way that inquisitors aren't quite human (i.e. alterations to spiritual DNA etc.)? And if so does he get his many investiture based powers in a similar way?

Brandon Sanderson

You are asking the right questions, and are thinking along correct lines.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#150 Copy

Questioner 1

Can people not from Roshar bond with spren and get the Shardplate and whatnot?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Well, okay. You don't need me to RAFO on that. You have seen someone not from Roshar bond a spren. You have seen that much happen.

Questioner 2

We know for sure that Hoid is a Lightweaver.

Questioner 1

Do we know that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has bonded a spren.