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YouTube Livestream 1 ()
#251 Copy

Stevie B Art

We're studying King Lear in English, and I noticed that the character of The Fool is very much like Wit. I was wondering if you've ever read King Lear, and did you write Wit to be like him?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Wit comes from The Fool from King Lear, and Twelfth Knight also has one. The jester character in Shakespeare is a direct inspiration for Wit. I love them. Particulary, the fool in Lear. Lear is one of my favorite stories, and even to this day, maybe The Fool... it might be Kent who says it, says "See better, Lear." That line is one of those succinct, beautiful, powerful lines that's burned into the back of my brain that I read way back when I was in high school, and I have since experienced King Lear. Usually, I like to go to Shakespeare, rather than read Shakespeare, for obvious reasons.

I would say, though, I was already writing Wit at the time, the fact that Robin Hobb did such a fantastic fool character in The Assassins books, that fool definitely had an influence on my as well. One of the things I always wanted to do with Wit was to make sure that he felt different from just another court jester, because I'm assuming I'm not the only one inspired by Shakespeare to create a character similar. And I spent a lot of time early in my career, in the unpublished days, saying "What's gonna make Wit, what's gonna make Hoid different from just another jester?" And I spent a lot of time on that. And when I publish, eventually, I'll let you guys read Dragonsteel. He reads way more like a Shakespearean fool in Dragonsteel than he eventually became in the later Cosmere books, once I was getting published.

Sasquan 2015 ()
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Questioner

Which of the roles Hoid has played is your favorite? And will we be seeing him in Dalinar's flashbacks?

Brandon Sanderson

So which of the roles played by Hoid is my favorite. I would probably say Dust from Warbreaker. I just like-- That's the most true storyteller he's been, kind of based on oral storytelling tradition and things like that.

I can't tell you.  You'll have to read and find out whether you'll find him in Dalinar's flashbacks or not.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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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.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You mentioned in the forum QA that Liar of Partinel was scrapped - does this mean that Hoid's backstory will no longer be told?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There are still plans to do Hoid's backstory, all that the comment about the book being scrapped meant is that when it comes time to write it, the current draft will be tossed away and it will be written fresh - similar to how Way of Kings was done.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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shim12

Can you explain why he also calls himself Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted something that felt unique, but also would be simple. I wanted him to be able to use the name in multiple different books, and have it fit the linquistics. Usually, simple names are best for this. (Kim, for example, is a name you find in a variety of different countries with very different linguistics.)

So it was both distinctive enough to stand out on the page, and not be boring like Jon or the like, but also wasn't long or too odd to fit in on different fantasy worlds.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Questioner #1 (in Mistborn cosplay)

I was wondering if we were ever going to see dragons in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Dragonsteel, which is one of the first books that I wrote in the Cosmere has dragons. It's also just one of the weaker books, so I can't publish it as is, but yea. Being a big fan of dragons, I did write them into the Cosmere. They are the one kind of generic- kind of the standard fantasy race in there.

Questioner #2

Are they ever going to infiltrate the other worlds kind of?

Brandon Sanderson

Well Hoid writes a letter to one, he calls him you old reptile. And that's in Words of Radiance. So that's a letter to one of the dragons. So they are referenced.

Questioner #3

I thought that was a general insult.

Brandon Sanderson

Nope, he's actually writing to Frost, an old reptile.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

What would happen if Hoid held Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, Hoid would not do that. Hoid would stay very far away.

Stormlightning

Not even hold it??

Brandon Sanderson

He would stay really far away. There are very few things in the Cosmere that Hoid is afraid of, and Nightblood is one of them.

Stormlightning

I thought he'd be afraid of the blade end.

Brandon Sanderson

So let's just say if very, very, very few things in the Cosmere had a chance of destroying you, you wouldn't even pick one up. You'd try to be in a different room entirely.

R'Shara and Sunbird and JoyBlu

*Whispering about Nightblood being able to destroy Hoid*

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say, I said theoretically. I said "had a chance of", I did not confirm. Hoid doesn't know. But there's a chance, and so he is not going to risk that.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner

Does Wit have another name apart from Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

Wit has many other names. Cephandrius is him.

Questioner

What's his real name?

Brandon Sanderson

He does... have a real name, but he would argue that they're all real names.

Overlord Jebus

What's one that isn't Cephandrius or Midius?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid. *laughter* Topaz.

Aurimus

When he says he's named after a rock that's a reference to Topaz?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes that's referencing the topaz. And the other thing that he references with... When he says he's named after words on a page that is not breaking the fourth wall... It's not even winking at it. Nope... It's quite literal. Yes, that is quite literal.

Celcius232 ()
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Javi (paraphrased)

I'm really curious about Aimia and I hope to see more about in the fourth book. Have the Heralds or Hoid been there and will they reveal some stuff about it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, the Heralds have been there and yes, Hoid has been there. However, I don't think there will be info about Aimia in book four, but in a novella I'm planning to write, like Edgedancer. The story will be about some characters travelling to Aimia.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

(...) like Hoid saying he got his life as words on a page.

Brandon Sanderson

It can be taken both ways, but it is actually literal. I'm not sure how much I can say about this, but... Let's say that it's referencing where he got his nickname/pseudonym.

Questioner

I thought he maybe stole a character from a book and (hid himself? indistinctive...)

Brandon Sanderson

It is something like that. People think it's like a big wink breaking the 4th wall, but at the time I was just looking back at his past and wanted something I could say that is esoteric and referenced his past.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

I gotta ask, are you going to give us any sort of backstory prior to Dragonsteel coming out? Of Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

You will get little snippets here and there but really it's when you get his story that you are going to get the fully story of Adonalsium shattering. I have to leave it at snippets until then, because anything I give you is as a snippet now is canonizing something that I'm going to write later on. So I have to leave it at the stuff I know is going to be in there. 

Isaac Stewart r/Stormlight_Archive AMA ()
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Argent

Nazh is, presumably, well aware of Hoid. Have they met, and how does Nazh feel about him?

Isaac Stewart

Nazh and Hoid have met. I suspect that Nazh is just fine with Hoid, though he wishes he would say things in a more direct way. Nazh doesn't care much for riddles or flowery language and wishes people would just get to the point.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Weltall (paraphrased)

I asked what Hoid's favorite flavor of instant noodles is.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

At first I think he misheard me asking what his own favorite is ('spicy Korean ramen' apparently, though I don't remember the exact specifics) so I clarified. He said that Hoid is looking forward to instant noodles but they aren't Yolish and he knows about them via the same method that he knows where he needs to be in the cosmere. 

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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yurisses

You suggested Secret History gave the definitive explanation why Vin didn't meet Hoid but many years ago you hinted at something different (that something he does spooked her and she is too observant for her own good). Can you reveal what the original reason you had intended was? (My favorite theories were eerily skillful humming and her picking up very faint pulses from his Investiture usage.)

Brandon Sanderson

I went back and forth on this one, honestly. I knew Kelsier would be involved, but one thing I was really worried about with Secret History was undermining Vin's story or her agency. While I liked Ender's Shadow, the closest parallel I knew of to a story like this, I didn't like how it weakened a lot of what Ender accomplished and gave it to Bean instead. (I think I've mentioned this in conjunction with Secret History before.)

So I wanted something to have stopped Vin, regardless of whether or not I ever wrote Kelsier's behind-the-scenes story or not. The official answer in my head is not that it was anything specific, but that the whole package that Hoid was presenting was WRONG to her. Her instincts picked up a dozen subtle cues that he was more dangerous than he seemed, and that made her freeze and assess. And that gave Kelsier the chance to nudge her away.

I wasn't trying to lead people to figure out a specific answer, with those comments. I was trying to hint that something was wrong, and Vin didn't quite know what set her off--because it wasn't one thing, but many. So I don't have a smoking gun, so to speak, of things Hoid was doing to drive her off.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Yourigath

We have seen some Hoid-related groups on the diferent worlds of the Cosmere...

Worldbringers on Scadrial, Worldsingers on Roshar, Enefel on Sel (this one is a wild guess)

Is there a Hoid-related group on Nalthis? Maybe the Five Scholars are part of it? (That would explain the Shardblade/Nightblood thing you've been talking lately)

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid did not found the Five Scholars.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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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.

Rithmatist Provo signing ()
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little wilson (paraphrased)

Brandon confirmed that "the element" is the bead of lerasium. Which confirms both this theory, and the theory that Hoid wrote the letter.

When I asked the question, I also thought the element and the lerasium were different. I asked it as a "Hoid clearly has a habit for taking important items. He has the bead of lerasium and the element. What other items does he have that we should know about?"

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon's response was that the bead and the element are the same. And that he has many items he should not have.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Is Hoid aware that he's fictional?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

So he's not like *unintelligible*

Brandon Sanderson

He's not. And any quotes along those lines are-- that you might think he is saying for that reason are actually in-world-- for in-world reasons you don't understand yet.

Calamity Austin signing ()
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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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

Do we ever get to see a good banter between Wit and Shallan?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, you uh... She is not quite ready yet, to be on his level. And if you watch the series, her use of humor will mature. Um, in fact you should be able to notice a difference between these two even. By later books she will be able to stand a little bit better. Right now he would rip her to shreds.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Dragon13

When Hoid met Kaladin, he said he came chasing an old acquaintance, ended up spending most of his time hiding from him instead. Is he referring to Rayse or Odium? Or someone else.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Not the someone else. He was referring to Odium.

Kraków signing ()
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Questioner

Did Hoid use the bead of lerasium to rewrite his spiritual DNA or Web in a way other than just giving himself Allomantic powers?

Brandon Sanderson

His goal was to become an Allomancer.

Questioner

And did he use it to create other powers than Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

It could not give powers other than Allomancy.

Questioner

Because it’s lerasium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Oversleep

So he did burn it and become a Mistborn, right?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen him use Allomancy…

Oversleep

Yes, because it’s creating a lot of <misunderstandings>.

Brandon Sanderson

You have actually seen him use Allomancy.