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Orem Signing ()
#351 Copy

Snipexe

Does Hoid's Lightweaving produce light?

Brandon Sanderson

*After a very long pause* He has used different types of Lightweaving, or he has access to different types of Lightweaving.

Snipexe

Does the Yolish Lightweaving produce light?

Brandon Sanderson

Yolish Lightweaving could produce light.

Isaac Stewart r/Stormlight_Archive AMA ()
#353 Copy

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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#355 Copy

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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#356 Copy

Aurimus

Are you saying that Elantris has other worldhoppers in? I just finished the prose version of White Sand as well (i've never been a fan of graphic novels but didnt want to miss anything from the Cosmere) and didnt even notice Hoid in it, let alone other worldhoppers there.

So you created Vasher and then made them a worldhopper, and the magic system and Nalthis stemmed from there? I actually have another question related to that. Have you ever thought about something you wanted to add to the Cosmere - say, an idea or an ability or something - and then built from there, or do you always write a cool story because its a cool story and the Cosmere stuff comes after?

For example, did you write Mistborn E1 to introduce the idea of Shards or did you write the plot and then realize you can wiggle the shards in there?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid's part in White Sand was very minimal. I believe he's only referenced, and doesn't even appear on screen. Though Elantris has the famous mural depicting worldhopping.

You have it right. I was designing Vasher, decided he was a worldhopper, and then filed away "I'll tell his backstory some day" in the back of my brain. The magic for Nalthis grew more out of the idea for a sympathetic magic than it did for him, but the book was always intended to be his backstory world, so knowledge that Shardblades (or a version of them) being involved was part of my core creation of that setting.

Every story happens differently. Shadows for Silence happened from a writing prompt, for example. But at the same time, I'd been imagining for years a world to delve more into Cognitive Shadows. These things just kind of fit together as you work on them in your brain. But I've started with story first, and I've started with world first. Mostly, though, it's a mixture of both.

By Era One of Mistborn I was already very certain what I was doing with Shards, and so they were there from the get go. I'd say in the cosmere canon right now, White Sand is the most oddball, since it was the only world I designed and wrote a book in (the 1997 version, which is different from the 2000 version) before I had settled on the mechanics of the cosmere. I then placed it in the cosmere when writing the new version.

All of the published novels were written with the cosmere mechanics fully locked in, however, and the interactions of the Shards set forth.

Aurimus

Where is that [Hoid's part in White Sand]? I totally missed it? Is it possible to read the 97 version too, and LORD MASTRELL as well?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't send out the 97 version. It's just too bad. (Sorry.) Maybe some day, but not right now. It's the first book I ever wrote.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#357 Copy

Questioner 1

Does Wit go to-- uh... what's that one place in The Way of Kings... The one place they go to, aft... The end of the book. Uh, I can't remember it now. *someone suggests something* The city they go to at the very end.

Brandon Sanderson

Of Way of Kings?

Questioner 1

Not Way of Kings, uh...

Questioner 2

Words of Radiance.

Questioner 1

Words of Radiance, yes. Does Wit go there?

Brandon Sanderson

Radiance. Urithiru?

Questioner 1

Urithiru! Does Wit go to Urithiru?

Brandon Sanderson

By the time that a certain somebody at the end shows up there. Wit is no longer with her, and nobody knows where he went.

Questioner 3

Oh, he disappeared again! *others comment*

Brandon Sanderson

He tends to do that. What's that? So Wit has been lost. He will show up at some point in the book... But yes, he will at least have the Epilogue.

Footnote: The book Brandon is referring to at the end is Oathbringer.
Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#359 Copy

Questioner

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.

Questioner

He's just one of many priorities?

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

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.

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

Questioner

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?

Questioner

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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#368 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

And we changed Hoid's appearance, in the White Sand.

Questioner

I couldn't even find him.

Brandon Sanderson

He's just, as I remember it--it's been a long time--I think he's just one of the cases Ais mentions talking about.

Questioner

Oh yeah, he's in the letter, no that’s someone else.

Brandon Sanderson

No he's just one of the people Ais' been chasing. There's just this one case that is mysterious to him. Like remember a lot of the early Hoid things were really obscure mentions.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#369 Copy

Questioner

So that scene in Warbreaker when Hoid is doing the storytelling with sand, was he doing--

Brandon Sanderson

There is indeed some sand in there.

Jasonioan

Is it sand mastery though?

Brandon Sanderson

There may indeed be, not everything he's doing is sand mastery, but there may indeed be some things involved in that.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
#370 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The beginnings of the Cosmere I can trace back to being a teenager and I would read Anne McCaffrey books and I would always imagine a character that was my own that I had secretly inserted into her books and this character - I would insert into everyone else's books when I read them too. This was the start of Hoid, was this character who was appearing in everyone else's novels and I knew his secret agenda. It was very fun for me to imagine as a youth.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#371 Copy

Questioner 1

In The Way of Kings, when Hoid is talking to Kaladin and he says his name is Hoid, he said that he took the name from someone else.

Brandon Sanderson

He did.

Questioner 1

So why is he Hoid in everything else?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is not his original name.

Questioner 1

So...

Questioner 2

Does he still go by his original name ever?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if you've ever seen his original name.

Questioner 2

I've read your Master's thesis [Dragonsteel Prime].

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, he doesn't go by the name that is in there very often but there are people who know him by that name.

Questioner 1

What is his original name?

Brandon Sanderson

Well he's assuming that the name he is using in there is actually his original name. He's using the name Cephandrius. Which you're assuming is his original.

Questioner 2

Closer to the truth than Hoid is.

Brandon Sanderson

It is closer to the truth...

Questioner 2

Cephandrius is closer to his original name than Hoid, it's an earlier alias.

Brandon Sanderson

Well Hoid was one of his very first aliases.

Questioner 2

So I stand corrected.

Brandon Sanderson

But, Cephandrius is more him.

Questioner 2

Does he still go by his nickname he got.

Brandon Sanderson

To some people, Topaz.

Peter Ahlstrom

Cephandrius Maxtori.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#375 Copy

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.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#376 Copy

Lance Alvein

To get us started, Brandon, do you want to give everyone a quick idea of what the cosmere is?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Okay. So, here's what's going on: When I first was trying to break in—this was over ten years ago now, like fifteen—someone told me that your first five books were generally unpublishable. That was fairly good advice; I found that for most people it's really just your first novel; your second novel tends to get really good. For me, I did end up writing five experimental books that I never published; Elantris was my sixth book. Another piece of advice I got while I was working on it, however, was: you don't want to start with a big epic, the reason for that being is that you want to give a chance for readers to read something, you know, a single volume, or maybe one or two books before—so they can see, so they can trust you to finish a story before you jump into a big epic. It actually seemed like pretty good advice to me; it also works very well with publishing because approaching editors and things like that, you want to be able to send them a book, and if they reject it, but say, "Hey, I'd like to see something else by you; this wasn't the right project for me, but I like your writing." You can't really send them book two of that series, right? Because, you know, they want to see something new, and so I sat down to write a sequence of three or four standalone epic fantasy novels that potentially could have sequels maybe, but the idea was to make them standalone. But, kind of in my heart, I've always loved the big epic. You don't grow up reading Robert Jordan and Tad Williams and Melanie Rawn and people like this, without saying, "I want to do that." And so, what I started doing was actually building a hidden epic behind the scenes with all of these books, the idea being that there were characters who were crossing between the worlds that would have a story that someday I would tell that wouldn't be directly important to the book itself, but would lay the groundwork and give foreshadowing to something very large coming.

And so I designed this thing—you know, I'm a worldbuilder—I designed this thing with a sequence of planets and a story behind the story, and people crossing between them. And so, when I wrote Elantris, I embedded all of this in there, and then my next books were in that sequence jumping around—some were before, some were after—and things like this, so there are these continuing characters. Well, years and years later, I decided I would finally start writing something big and epic; I was tired of not getting published; I was tired of all the advice people were giving me; I had written a couple of books that were not very good based on the advice that people had given me. I said, "I just want to write my big epic," and that's when I started Way of Kings, and wrote that. And I'm like "I'll the launch into the big epic, some of these things are going to be more important to the series" It was kind of me honestly giving figuratively the bird to all of publishing, saying, you know, "You've told me that my books are too long, that two hundred thousand words is too long; I'm gonna write one that's four hundred thousand," so, you know: "I don't care; it's gonna be big and awesome and it's the book for me." I spent eighteen months working on this book, and right after I finished it, I sold Elantris. It sat on an editor's desk for a year and a half. He finally picked it up and read it, and tried to get a hold of me the next day wanting to buy it.

And so, suddenly I sell Elantris which I had written like five years before, which had all these things embedded in it, and I sent that editor The Way of Kings, because you know he wanted to buy two books from me. He's like, "Alright, the standalone is great; what else do you have?" so I sent him Way of Kings, and he panicked. *laughter* He was like, "Ahhhhh, this is huge, and what are all these illustrations that you're talking about, and I don't know if we can-- can we break this into like four books?" And I'm like, "No no, it's gotta be one book." And he's like, "Ahhh...." But fortunately for him, I didn't feel the book was ready at that point, otherwise I might have forced him to publish it. I felt my skill wasn't up to the task of doing that since I'd practiced only doing standalones up to that point, and so I said, "I want to do a trilogy so I can practice the series format; I've got a pitch on this book called Mistborn that I want to write for you." And Mistborn was the first book that I ever wrote knowing it would get published. So when I sat down to write Mistborn, I had already sold Elantris, and Elantris was coming out, and it all of this stuff embedded in it, and I'm like, "Do I keep going with that or not? Do I just go all in?" And so I decided to go ahead and do it, and so Mistborn has all of this behind-the-scenes sort of story things built into it, and there's a character from Elantris—it's the beggar that Sarene meets near the end—who is also in Mistborn, who is the beggar that Kelsier talks to, that they wanted-- pretending to be blind, that he gets information from, and then this character keeps appearing in all of the books as kind of a little Easter egg that was not so Easter-eggery because the fans found it right away. *laughter*

And so the cosmere is my name for this big universe, which is actually, you know, just a play on "cosmos"—it's not the most original word—but it's something I had actually come up with when I was a teenager, so, it's one of those relics that's in there that if I were to do it now, I might name it something a little less obvious. I don't know; it does work, and it is a fun name, so that's there. The character's name is Hoid, and there are other characters moving between the planets, and so there is a buried, deeper story to all of my big fantasies. The thing that I want to tell people, though, is that you don't need to read them in order because these are just Easter eggs; there's not a story there that you can really piece together yet. I don't want people to feel they have to read Elantris before Mistborn, or they can't, you know-- If you read them all, at some point you will have some little extra tidbits of information, but there's not something there that's going on that's chronological that you need to know about right now, but that's in a nutshell what's going on there; there is an underlying theory of magic for all of the epic fantasies that they all follow. I love the concept in science of the unifying law, right? If you guys have studied physics, there's this belief that somewhere out there there's a unifying theory that will unite all of physics, and because right now, you know, the things that happen on the macro scale don't really match what happen on the quantum scale, and you kind of have to have two sets of equations, and people believe that someday we'll find that link that'll put them all together, and that's fascinating to me, science is, and so I have a unifying theory of magic for all of my worlds that people in-world on various planets are figuring out with regards to theirs, but if they had all of the pieces they could kind of put it all together.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#378 Copy

Questioner

Can you share any abilities that Hoid has accrued so far in the books, does he-- with him taking the bead, I can't even pronounce the L-word...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, lerasium, he is indeed an Allomancer. So. That has happened. I haven't confirmed much else, but he does have that.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#379 Copy

Questioner

In the last part of the book [Words of Radiance], Wit is talking to <the songling>, and says "If you think hard, this sentence is really clever." Are there any implications beyond this, or was that him just talking?

Brandon Sanderson

Go compare to another sentence he used earlier in the book. He is making a pun off of the sentence he used before. [...] It's not as clever as he thinks he is, I'll just warn you that.

Footnote: The original line was, "Two blind men waited at the end of an era, contemplating beauty."
Shadows of Self release party ()
#383 Copy

Questioner

Are you not really willing to comment much on Hoid, should I leave that alone?

Brandon Sanderson

You can ask, but you're generally not going to get much on Hoid.

Questioner

Is his longevity tied to any particular Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid's?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say no.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#384 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 release party ()
#387 Copy

Questioner

Can I get the Hoid sense of humor question real quick?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, where'd he get his sense of humor?

Questioner

Yeah, because he doesn't really have one in like Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

You will find that eventually. It depends on the character he's playing. He had it in Mistborn, he just was not playing a character that was conducive to that.

Questioner

Fair enough, 'cause he's very different in--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. In Elantris too.

Orem signing ()
#389 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.

Skyward release party ()
#390 Copy

Questioner

I'm curious, you mentioned at the Legion release that the Fused were after the spren that Hoid bonded. Was there a specific reason why they wanted that spren? Or was it just because the *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

I will say they would have done that for another spren in that situation.

Questioner

Any other spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Not any other spren; but there wasn't something uniquely identifying about that spren that they were hunting.

Questioner

They wouldn't have done it for any spren, but there were other spren they had done it for?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

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

Nightfire

Now my interest is perked. Which character is in both Mistborn and Elantris? I must know!! Of course, if it is a secret for another book don't tell me.

Brandon Sanderson

I suggest looking through my forums and talking to the people there. Also, some questions on this forum talk about the issue. I don't like to spell things out, and so I stay away from giving too much. Look around; it's not to difficult to find, now that people have begun to catch on.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#394 Copy

Iceblade44

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.

Faera

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.

Shagomir

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.

Shagomir

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.

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

Zas678

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.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#399 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Fun fact: Hoid, the character who has shown up in each of my cosmere books, had a brief stint as one of my high school D&D characters. He didn't start life there, but I did try to build a character for him. So I've done the same thing. (Koloss made their first appearance in a game I ran, though they were far more demonic in nature.)

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#400 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.)