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Salt Lake City signing ()
#352 Copy

Questioner

Does Vasher want Nightblood back?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher feels responsible for Nightblood

Questioner

is there any reason why he didn't go by Vasher, as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Because in the original draft he was, and I'm like, "That's just too easy." Plus he's kinda trying to hide, so he's not as foolhardy as a certain other character who goes willy-nilly by the same aliases over and over again and doesn't care. Picking an alias, if you know people would potentially would be hunting for you, having them not be able to ask for you by name is useful.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#353 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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#355 Copy

AptoCanavalian

Dear Brandon, If you could have a dinner party with six of the characters that you have written about, which six would you choose and why? Would your answer change if the party was in someone else's house?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it would be tough--I'd have to decide if I wanted the party to be crazy, interesting, or low risk.

For example, inviting Hoid and Kelsier to the same party could result in murdering. Having Sazed around with someone like Jasnah would lead to some great discussions of philosophy.

unknown

Wait--are you implying Hoid and Kelsier would want to murder each other, or that they would team up to murder other people?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid and Kelsier do not get along. At all.

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

Questioner

Can you tell me how many souls Hoid has?

Brandon Sanderson

How many Breaths? No, but I can tell you you could look up the minimum he has based on the heightenings and things that he says.

Questioner

Right, and all that i know is that he has perfect pitch.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. There is room to rise from that, so I'm not going to confirm anything else, just keep an eye on him.

JordanCon 2021 ()
#357 Copy

Questioner

Can Hoid eat Soulcast bacon? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He could probably eat lab-grown meat if he knew it was (or magic-grown meat). He probably could. His psychology will be influencing this, right? Which is why I say "probably." But the magic would allow it. 

Billy todd

If somebody lied to him about the nature of the meat, could he eat that? 

Brandon Sanderson

No. Well, okay, if they lied and said it was Soulcast, yes, then he probably could.

Questioner 2

It's based on his perception. 

Brandon Sanderson

It's based on his perception, yeah.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#360 Copy

Paladin Brewer

Previously you were asked if Hoid could have been using the lerasium to alloy with other metals to change his spiritweb, and you answered it was technically possible. Does that mean you’re finally admitting that Hoid did not digest the bead?

Brandon Sanderson

I am not admitting that. It was possible for him to do that, but he did not.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
#366 Copy

tututitlookslikerain

and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people

This point still confuses me. He quite handily puts Kelsier on his rear in The Well.

So he can harm someone if he's provoked? Or is it because he knows that regardless of what he does to Kelsier it won't actually harm him?

And a lot of "harm" is in the mind. Even without a corporeal body, it would still register as pain, thus harm?

And wouldn't it still be considered physical harm, if Hoid was there physically? Applying physical harm?

Brandon Sanderson

If you re-read that scene, Hoid himself is shocked he's able to do what he does there. Let's just say he himself doesn't quite understand the issue as much as he once assumed.

ice_royale

Can we assume he cannot harm a LIVING being, but Kelsier is at that point not a living being?

Brandon Sanderson

This is the conclusion Hoid came to, so it's a pretty solid assumption.

General Reddit 2020 ()
#371 Copy

Simon

1) Is Hoid still holding his Dawnshard?

2) If not, is the Dawnshard currently hold by Rysn the same as Hoid's or a different?

3) Nikli mentions 4 Dawnshards. Are there more than that?

4) Are all the Dawnshards currently (as of SA 4) on Roshar? Or in the Rosharan System?

5) Are there some of them on worlds we have already seen (Scadrial, Sel, Threnody, etc...)?

Brandon Sanderson

  1. Hoid Dawnshard is a RAFO.

  2. Same.

  3. There are only four Dawnshards.

  4. RAFO on whether they're on this planet or not.

These are great questions, but Dawnshard info is mostly for the future cosmere books--and so I consider most of it very RAFOy.

Brandon Sanderson

Same here meant RAFO. I answer these quickly, I'm afraid, particularly when they come in a list like that.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#375 Copy

Questioner

When you do get around to giving us Hoid's story is it going to be like Ender's Shadow type of thing where you're filling in the gaps?

Brandon Sanderson

You know I know that stuff, but I don't plan to do it that way. I plan to do his backstory more as his own story because while I really like Ender's Shadow, most of the things like that I haven't enjoyed as much. Plus, it would take me books and books and books to do it. We'll see. I haven't closed the door on that idea, but I'm not planning on it right now. There are parallel things like that I am planning to write, but it's not Hoid.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#377 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.
FanX Spring 2019 ()
#379 Copy

Stormlightning

Are Hoid and the Set aware of each other?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but I wouldn't say the Set as a general rule, but members of the Set.

Stormlightning

How do they feel about each other?

Brandon Sanderson

Some various shades of loathing.

Stormlightning

On both sides?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#380 Copy

Tellingdwar

How did Hoid get to Scadrial? He didn't seem to know the location of Preservation's Shardpool until book 2, and I feel like him crawling out of the Pits of Hathsin would have created a bit of a stir... Unless he slipped out during the confusion caused by Kelsier...

Brandon Sanderson

In answer to your question, that IS a RAFO, but it's one I am planning to answer before too long.

Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
#386 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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#387 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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#389 Copy

Questioner

Hoid references a place [in The Traveler] where, there's a presumption in the question, presumably he thinks he might be able to restore something he's lost. As of Oathbringer has he visited that place?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Visited the place?

Questioner

Visited the pace he thought he could restore?

Brandon Sanderson

I won't say a hundred percent if it's a place.

Questioner

Where did he hear about it from?

Brandon Sanderson

Hear about what? Give me the exact line, if you would.

Questioner

Yeah, I can look it up for you. "Besides, I've heard of a place... it doesn't matter, I don't care."

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so he has visited that place he is referencing, but the place is not what he wants to restore.

Questioner

Thanks for the clarification. Who did he hear about it from?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that.

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#390 Copy

Questioner

I've got a question about Hoid. Now that he is a [worldhopper], he's been in quite a few books, do you have any plans or is it possible that he may windup jumping realities into a universe that, as you write more books that are outside the cosmere, or do you just kind of plan of having him--

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. So the question is am I going to have Hoid, who has appeared in many of my books, jump between universes as I write more outside the cosmere. The answer is actually no. I have a distinct story that I'm telling in the cosmere and it's less about the fun of connecting all my works, which is fun, but it's less about that and more about the actual story. Part of the reason I'm actually doing this thing with Hoid is I like the idea-- playing with the idea, of what is an epic. An epic that spans many many years is really cool to me, so I have hidden that amongst my books, and it'll eventually come out in a much more direct way. I actually had to make this choice pretty early in my career, when I was writing The Rithmatist was the first one. You know, the Alcatraz books are just goofy and zany, so I didn't have to think about it as much with those, but with The Rithmatist I was like "what am I going to do with this?". Because it had originally been planned as a cosmere book, and then I decided I wanted to set it on Earth and I didn't want to do a lot of these sort of political things on Earth in the cosmere, I wanted it to be a far-off and distant place. And that's when I made the break, I said "no I'm not going to put him in this". And that made it easy when people were like "hey, you going to sneak him into The Wheel of Time?". Nah nah let's move along there. A lot of people were expecting me to sneak him in.

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

little_wilson

So, Brandon. Hoid. I remember you saying at the Idaho Falls signing last year that he was in Well of Ascension. We, your dedicated fans who like scouring books searching for obscure characters who have any possibility of being the mysterious Hoid, have yet to find him. Peter sent us on a hunt for him (Hoid, not Peter...) in the deleted scenes, and we found his boot-print.

Now, I think he broke the pottery there too—the one holding the lerasium—and since there's broken pottery in the actual version, I think he may have snuck into the cavern and broken it as well. If so, is this Hoid's part in Well of Ascension? This trace of him? I commend you if it is. It is clever, making us think it was a person, when in fact it's just something he did.

Brandon Sanderson

You are on the right track, but wrong on one point. Hoid does appear in the book.

I had originally toyed with making his touch on the novel more obscure, but decided that I wanted to be consistent with the other novels by actually having him appear. Once I realized I'd probably cut the scene with the footprint, I decided I needed this actual appearance even more badly.

Fortunately, I knew what Hoid had been up to all this time, and had placed him in a position where several characters could run into him. In Well of Ascension, Hoid believed (as Vin did) that the Well was in the North, even though it was not. He spent much of the book pursuing this idea.

Through events, however, he discovered he was wrong. He made the realization after Vin did, but only because of a chance meeting. (This is recorded in the books. Let's just say he was listening in when someone implied that the Well was in Luthadel.)

He hurried to Luthadel, and was in the town, skulking about in the last parts of the novel. He isn't seen here, though he does still infiltrate the Well. (Hoid is quite proficient at manipulating Shadesmar for his own ends.)

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#392 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid a dragon?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh I will give you a RAFO card. You're very good, Have you read Dragonsteel?

Questioner

I have not but--

Brandon Sanderson

Don't read it, it's bad.

Questioner

Okay then. I am just-- What? Okay then. That's awesome. We have some ideas but-- Hoid is amazing. I figured he was really old but it's cool knowing for sure that he's exceptionally old.

Brandon Sanderson

He is one of the oldest people in the cosmere, but he is not the oldest.

Questioner

Ahhh...

Brandon Sanderson

The person he is writing a letter to is indeed older than he is.

Brandon's Blog 2013 ()
#393 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The origin of The Rithmatist

Six years ago, I was writing a book that I hated.

Now, that's both rare and common for me at the same time. I tire of pretty much every book I work on at some point, usually during the revision process. I push through and get over it. That's what you do as a writer. By the time I'm done with the process, I'm tired of the book—but it's the good kind of tired. The "I worked hard, and now have something awesome to show for it" tired.

Unfortunately, that wasn't happening for this book. Called The Liar of Partinel, every chapter was a chore to write. Though it had started very well, it continued to spiral farther and farther down the drain. I was familiar enough with my own writing by this point to realize the problems with Liar wouldn't work themselves out. The characters were boring, the plot forced. The worldbuilding elements never quite clicked together.

It had been years since I'd had such a bad feeling about a novel. (The last time, in fact, was Mythwalker—my sixth unpublished book—which I abandoned halfway through.) Part of the problem, I suspect, had to do with my expectations. Liar, set in the same world as Dragonsteel, was to be the origin story of Hoid, the character who has appeared in all of my Cosmere novels. (Information here—warning, big spoilers.)

I needed Hoid's story to be epic and awesome. It just wasn't. And so, I ended up "hiding" from that novel and working on something else instead.

The Rithmatist. It started with some drawings and a purely creative week sketching out a world, characters, and magic. That week is the exact sort that turned me into a writer in the first place, and was a distinct contrast to the grind that had been Liar. I abandoned the book and dove into The Rithmatist (then called Scribbler), and wrote a book where everything just came together. It happens sometimes. It just works, and I can't always explain—even to myself—why.

I finished the first draft of the book in the summer of 2007. In the fall, I got the call regarding the Wheel of Time, and my world transformed forever. The Rithmatist, though an awesome book, languished for years because I didn't have the time to devote to it. Doing a tour or contract for another teen book was impossible at that time, and beyond that I couldn't commit to writing any sequels or even doing any revision for the novel.

I did tell Tor about it, though, and they started to get excited. The publisher tried at several times to get me to release it, but I didn't feel the time was right. I couldn't let my attention be divided that far. I was already stretched too thin, and I wanted my attention (and that of my readers) to be on the Wheel of Time.

The month A Memory of Light was done and turned in, however, I called Tor and told them it was time to move forward. I'm pleased to be releasing the book now, when I can give it the attention it deserves.

And hopefully someday I'll be able to fix The Liar of Partinel. (At this point, I'm feeling I need to rewrite it as a first-person narrative, though making that switch is going to cause an entire host of problems.)

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#395 Copy

Questioner

Can worldhoppers travel forwards and backwards in time or are they stuck going forward?

Brandon Sanderson

They are stuck going forward. Good question.

Questioner

So Hoid has to move in a straight line?

Brandon Sanderson

He has to move in a straight line. It can squish-- stretch or squish that line but he can't go back along the line.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#397 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. 

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#399 Copy

The Young Pyromancer

Is Hoid's inability to hurt others due to an enhanced version of the effect that makes Szeth and Wayne hear voices?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

The Young Pyromancer

Is that likely or unlikely?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm just going to RAFO that entirely because it plays into things from Dragonsteel.