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JordanCon 2016 ()
#101 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*reading a personalization request* In the concept of an unreliable narrator, there is a...scope of unreliability. One can be limited by perspective, another can be unreliable with intent. Could you...examine the second type in the Cosmere? Who would be a good example?

Hoid can be very intentionally misleading. The thing is, there aren't many first person viewpoints in the Cosmere stories so if its ever from someone's actual viewpoint-- Like Kelsier is a little unreliable in his viewpoint in that he doesn't go into his plan, which is technically unreliable narrator and it technically is by intent, but it's more like, he's like "I can't think about this" and stuff, but is also him lying to the reader a little bit. Does that make sense? Kelsier is probably the best example of unreliable narrator.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#102 Copy

Judean_peoplesfront

I'm currently on a reread of WoK and in chapter 57 Hoid says to Kaladin: "I've many [names]. I began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page. That was another thing I stole. Myself."

Do we know if this is Hoid breaking the fourth wall or is it just some kind kind of metaphorical reference to his presence at the birth of the Shards?

Peter Ahlstrom

The simple answer is that this does not break the fourth wall, but we won't find out why until years from now. So it's understandable that you would interpret it this way.

firstRainbowRose

Can we have a hint as to which book will explain it?

Peter Ahlstrom

Probably Hoid's origin story, which Brandon is writing after he finishes Stormlight 10.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#103 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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#106 Copy

Questioner

I was actually going to ask where you came up with the idea of Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is inspired by my desire to tell a story that spans other stories. I would say the origins of that are probably Asimov, when he made the Robots books and the Foundation books tie together. Something like that. Maybe Michael Moorcock, he had a similar sort of cross-world thing. I was reading both of them a lot right when I started coming up with that. So I would say, that's the origin of it. Stephen King has done it, but I didn't know he'd done it. I hadn't been reading him as much.

Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
#110 Copy

Jean_Santos45

Are Legion and Emperor's Soul contained in their own worlds or are they part of the universe of The Stormlight Archive, etc (anywhere with Hoid in it. lol)

Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's Soul is set on Sel, the world of Elantris. It's far off, though, so you have to have your eyes open to catch the clues. Hoid shows up in a deleted scene, and is referenced in the story.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#113 Copy

Questioner

I don't know what you can or cannot tell me but I read a comment that Hoid is your favorite character, I don't know what you can say about that.

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is definitely a favorite of mine. Picking a favorite character is like trying to pick a favorite child, It's just not productive. Robert Jordan always answered this question by saying "My favorite is the one that I am writing right now" and so-- But yes, Hoid is the character-- one of the very first characters I came up with, and he travels through almost all of my books. So you can watch for him.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#115 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Hoid was once offered a Shard, but he refused it, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Was it right after the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. It was during the events. I wouldn't necessarily say "right after", it was during this process. I would say this is a RAFO before I finish writing at that time. (Not sure if I understood the last sentence right, but I think that's what he said)

Questioner (paraphrased)

And who took this Shard instead?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO.

Orem Signing ()
#118 Copy

Questioner

When in the books do you think is Hoid's most genuine moment?

Brandon Sanderson

When Shallan hugs him... maybe. You get him out of sorts there. He doesn't quite know what to do. I don't know if that counts as genuine. He often would consider himself as being very genuine. But you rarely catch him with his guard down.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#119 Copy

heroofpages

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.

Orem Signing ()
#120 Copy

Questioner

Is [Hoid] ever actually what he's actually like in any of the books? I thought Way of Kings would be it, but I'm not sure.

Brandon Sanderson

Wit is very similar to the real Hoid. He's worked a long time to build a place for himself where he can kinda be himself. I mean, when you see his book from his viewpoint, he'll feel very like Wit from Stormlight.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#122 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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#123 Copy

Questioner

...At some point in the novel, there is a character who gets a certain, shall we say, powerup that falls in-line with many things that he, or she, already has. Is there, from an Investiture standpoint, is there a Compounding effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there will be. *laughter* If we're talking about the same individual.

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

Questioner

Matrim Cauthon, Kelsier, and Vasher all decide they need to get together and run a heist on Hoid. How do they do it? Why? And what are they looking for? Assuming they know where his "hideout" is...

Brandon Sanderson

Mat has to be persuaded. He doesn't think this is worth it. Once he knows about Fortune, he'd be interested.

Kelsier wants to beat him to a pulp.

Vasher is very utilitarian about it, and agrees that having access to him would be smart, but dangerous.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#126 Copy

Questioner

Exactly how turbulent is the Cognitive Realm around Sel? Khriss seems to think it's rather difficult [to travel] but how difficult would it be for Hoid to get through?

Brandon Sanderson

How difficult would it be to get through to Sel, how difficult would it be for Hoid. I would say straining his resources and capacity. It is difficult for him. So take that as you will. But it is worth his effort and he has done it numerous times.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#127 Copy

Questioner

[In Secret History] there was a key scene with a character named Drifter. And, uh, that was the first time that I felt like there was a sense of malevolence with this character. And I was curious if that's something that I should state with that punch? Or was this just a particular thing? 

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes. Drifter is an ancient entity who has very, very many sides and that is accurately one of them. That said, in that particular scene, there are certain personalities that play off of each other poorly, in real life and in books, and you happened to catch one that-- Drifter and this character do not-- Let's just say they rub each other the wrong way. But I would definitely say that is an aspect of his personality. 

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#128 Copy

i_am_a_watermelon1

I've heard somewhere that you already have a backstory for Hoid written, but you're waiting to release it as it would reveal too much about the Cosmere universe... is this true?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is true.

i_am_a_watermelon1

Do you ever plan on bringing different realms together?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I do.

Calamity release party ()
#129 Copy

Questioner

Hoid has said that what he does, when he heals or comes back to life or whatever, heals the soul

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But Hemalurgy is like ripping off a piece of the soul. Could he heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible. Well, his particular brand of healing is very Spiritual Realm based. And so, it would-- he could. Not all brands of healing are capable. It depends on what's happening, and things like that. But yes, he would. Most Shardbearers [Surgebinders?] when they're in the throes of their powers would heal spiritually. *brief pause* Not all of them. Not all healing will do that, though.

Questioner

Yeah. Because I was thinking that maybe you could spike him multiple times and compound his power.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Spiking him could do some weird things though. But spiking can do weird things to anyone.

WorldCon 76 ()
#130 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.

Orem Signing ()
#132 Copy

Wyndlerunner

Hoid, he already has his Cryptic by Era 2, if I'm correct on the timeline. So have we seen him using his new fancy Lightweaving in action? Has he spoken his fifth Truth?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that for now. I'll RAFO both of those. Those are two separate things, but I will RAFO them. You have seen Hoid Lightweaving, but whether you have seen him use his fancy new Lightweaving... we'll leave that off for now. Let's just say that he knows that certain uses of Investiture are easier to detect than others, and if you don't want to be seen, there are certain things you don't do.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#133 Copy

Questioner

Will we have to wait until the end of Stormlight Archive to learn about Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh yeeees.

Questioner

So like a dozen years.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You'll get little bits and pieces, but you won't get the whole thing until I do his trilogy, which is the next thing after Stormlight.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#137 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.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#139 Copy

Questioner

When will we see a Hoid book?

Brandon Sanderson

You will see a Hoid book-- You will not see a Hoid book until I finish the first five books of Stormlight and the next Mistborn trilogy at the earliest. More likely it's after Stormlight is done.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#141 Copy

Questioner

Are we going to see any chapters that are expressly Hoid now that he is becoming more and more important?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen two. Are you going to see more? Yes. I would say that if you look at the structure of the first two Stormlight books, you will find several themes and those themes are likely to be repeated in future books. And Hoid does like having the last word. *laughter*

JordanCon 2014 ()
#144 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid waxes poetic on the idea that the more people expect, the more difficult it becomes for the artist. This is more the critic in me having noticed that my own expectations for a piece play dramatically into how much I enjoy it. Some of my best experiences at the cinema have been films where I had no idea what to expect. The Sixth Sense was like this for me. I had never heard of the film, my friends dragged me to it, they said it's a horror and I said "I'm not sure if I want to watch a slasher pic, but I think it's going to be terrible but whatever." And I watched it and it was a great movie and I came out of it saying, "Wow, I did not expect that." And yet something like The Dark Knight Returns, which is a fantastic film, well done. Yet the second film was so good that I went into the third film and it wasn't quite as good as the second film and I came out and said, "Eh." Where it is a great film and yet my expectations-- It's unfair to the artist but it is the way I think a lot of us work. That our expectations do play a lot into how our experience is for the story. A lot of things when I go into things like that, I'm not trying to let the author speak so much as I'm trying to say what would someone who analyzes art like a critic in my analyzes art what would be an observation they would make. Hoid is not me and he does not voice necessarily my personal opinions, but he is an artist and a critic and so he notices some of the things I notice.