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Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#151 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!

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#153 Copy

Chaos

Can Hoid jump through time? If so, can Shards jump through time?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid, so far, has only moved forward in time. He has not 'lived' all of those years, but has used some time dilation techniques. That said, he is far older (both in relative and real time) than a normal person can live.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#155 Copy

mooglefrooglian

Why is Hoid’s color aura from his Breaths not noticed by anyone on Roshar? Are the characters just not used to noticing that sort of thing, or does he not have one?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a mixture of reasons. Not the least is Hoid's control over investiture.

uchoo786

Would someone with breath be able to notice his aura on Roshar? E.g. Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson

Various methods of detecting investiture would still work, depending on how good a job Hoid is doing of suppressing his.

General Reddit 2020 ()
#156 Copy

ImKrypton

If there was Any shard to be offered to Hoid, it would have been this one [Whimsy].

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is far too calculating and deliberate for Whimsy. It might seem his style on the surface, but a deep dive into who he is would show that it's very much not who he is.

DeJeR

Will we ever see the world or magic system for Whimsy?

Brandon Sanderson

Some day, hopefully.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
#157 Copy

Hoidonalsium

Was Hoid's Cryptic the same one that was meant for Elhokar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Hoidonalsium

Is there anything more to the Cryptic than Pattern? Like Shallan's Pattern?

Brandon Sanderson

There's more to every individual! But it is not a more powerful Cryptic or anything like that.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#159 Copy

Questioner

So Hoid it seems, you've indicated, he has actually used the bead of lerasium he got.

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, there are guesses along those lines. And those guesses would be supported by evidence from the books.

Questioner

That he drank something that gave him an advantage, things like that. But anyway does he also have Feruchemical abilities, and if so how would he have gotten them? Aside from Hemalurgy.

Brandon Sanderson

You really think I'm going to answer that one? *laughter* Big old RAFO.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#160 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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#161 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.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#163 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.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#164 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about the cosmere, and Hoid specifically. The way that he is worldhopping, is he using Cognitive and *inaudible* Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

The times you have seen him worldhop, it has involved shardpools, or perpendicularities, as we call them. He is using primarily the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner

Because, from what I understood from Secret History, that he's going through the shardpool, from the Cognitive to the normal Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's traveling through the Cognitive Realm, and then jumping back to the Physical one, once he's where he wants to go.

Questioner

So, I'm guessing what's going on, though, is that he's travelling between planets using the Cognitive and coming out from the shardpool to the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is exactly right.

Salt Lake City signing 2012 ()
#165 Copy

Questioner

Okay Hoid, you mentioned he's in all your books, is he in also in all your shorter stories?

Brandon Sanderson

He is not in all of my shorter stories. In fact, he is not in any book that references Earth. So if there's a reference to Earth- most of my science fiction has referential stuff to Earth, Alcatraz is like this. He's not in anything like that. He's not in the Wheel of Time. It would not have been appropriate for me to seed something like that into a Wheel of Time book. So he's not in Steelheart or the other children works that I've done. But he is in all my epic fantasies.

Questioner

Now my main question actually, which magic systems, if any, does he have access to?

Brandon Sanderson

That's an excellent question. He is familiar with very many of them, and lots that you haven't seen yet.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#166 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid like-- Would you say he's generally well known in Silverlight? Most people know who he is?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Yes, I would say he is fairly well known in Silverlight. If you went to your average person in Silverlight and said, "Do you know this guy?" odds are they would know. There are some people who wouldn't, but odds are they would.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#167 Copy

Amber Burningham

Would someone with a strong moral compass such as Kaladin and Dalinar consider Wit's alignment moral?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar is more likely to understand than Kaladin, because Dalinar's been in positions. Kaladin is less likely to, but it depends on what aspects of what Hoid's doing you're taking about.

Minicon 2015 ()
#168 Copy

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

Does Hoid have a Hemalurgically charged Nicrosil spike?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's... unlikely. Hoid would not want to open himself to the influence of Shards so using Hemalurgy on himself is unlikely. Although Hemalurgy is the easiest way to get other powers, he'd more likely do things the hard way.

Starsight Release Party ()
#172 Copy

Questioner

In Part 2 of Oathbringer, the chapter headings are to Hoid, right, from other [Vessels] I'm assuming. One of them talks about Hoid. They reference to him as holder of the one gem [bearer of the First Gem]. Is that the gem that is then split into Shards perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Mhm. RAFO.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#173 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.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#174 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.  

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#176 Copy

Questioner

Is it possible to Compound your Spiritual Connection to a location on a planet while storing your Spiritual Connection to all other locations on the planet to kind of pull yourself through the Spiritual Realm to that location?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not how that would work. Parts of what you say are possible, but the teleportation aspect wouldn't actually do anything.

Questioner

Was Hoid trying to Compound his Spiritual location in the scene you added in the 10th Anniversary [Elantris]? Was he trying to Compound Connection to that location to try to become Elantrian?  

Brandon Sanderson

...So at that point chronologically he was not an Allomancer.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#177 Copy

Questioner

When Hoid is talking to Dalinar he seems to expect that Dalinar may have heard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium.  Yes.

Questioner

Why is that?  Why would he think that Dalinar would have knowledge about that?

Brandon Sanderson

He thought that Dalinar was part of some of the secret societies on Roshar, and he had thought his way into thinking Dalinar was part of them and that was how Dalinar was knowing certain things he was knowing.  Which he really wasn't, he was getting from the storms and things like this, but he thought that Gavilar had confided things in Dalinar and that Dalinar would know more about this.  And so he was kind of testing to see, and he was wrong.  

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
#180 Copy

Nightfire107

Does the sand storytelling Hoid uses in Warbreaker have anything to do with your future possible trilogy "White Sand" written about in a recent blog?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it does not. This is a storytelling method that Hoid developed on his own. It does have a relationship to The Liar of Partinel.

Oathbringer release party ()
#182 Copy

Questioner

What's the deal with Hoid and instant noodles?

Brandon Sanderson

...He likes his ramen, right? Like any sane person, he likes his instant noodles. Nothing more than that.

Questioner

...Has he ever had instant noodles?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's had instant noodles before. They have them on Taldain, yeah.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#183 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.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#187 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?)

:)

Oathbringer release party ()
#190 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.

Orem signing ()
#191 Copy

Questioner

Cephandrius is kinda like a bard. And Tanavast is almost a Paladin. And Ati we're thinking like a priest or cleric?

Brandon Sanderson

You're starting to stretch. You can definitely put Hoid into a bard category.

Questioner

And then our final one was Preservation. Is he almost like a rogue or thief type person? Because he gives off that kind of vibe.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO it. You're going to have to wait on those until I write them out.

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

Dreamer129

I'm feeling a little bewildered; I keep seeing references to "Hoid" throughout these boards and the twitter page, and I'm assuming this is a character who makes a short appearance in each book. If so, is there an actual story going on with him, or was he just someone put in as a sort of "Easter egg"?

Brandon Sanderson

I think I've covered this in responses I gave before getting to your question. My forums have a lot more information. (And a lot of guesses.)

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#194 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.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#195 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.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#197 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.

FanX 2018 ()
#199 Copy

Questioner

So, in Oathbringer, you said that Hoid still has a god worshipping him. Can you give some back story to that?

Brandon Sanderson

I cannot, I mean I can, but I'm not going to.

Questioner

It will be revealed later?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe. I plan to get all of this stuff eventually into his memoir when he writes it. Or when I write his memoir for him.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#200 Copy

Questioner #1

Which world does Hoid enjoy visiting the most?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial almost has instant noodles. So he's very interested in Scadrial.

Questioner #2

Is he doing anything to push that along?

Brandon Sanderson

He is not as involved in that as certain other forces are.

Questioner #2

There are forces involved in the developing instant noodles?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, oh yes.