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Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#2 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Hoid seems to know things that are not explained. He'll show up places, when the Herald showed up, or when Jasnah comes back. Is that something that's just not been explained yet? Or is that something that's a part of some magic system that we've heard about? Or is that something different?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, so, he has access to things that other people do not. It is explainable, but it has not been explained yet. He can be places he needs to be, but if you watch, he doesn't always know why he needs to be there. He's really good at covering that part up. But he does-- he knows he needs to be somewhere, and so he gets there.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#5 Share

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.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#8 Share

Questioner

What was your inspiration for Wit, or who?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. You know, the closest thing I've been able to say is the court jester from King Lear, he's one of my favorite literary characters. But I'm not sure if I can, you know, if I can point to anyone specific other than that.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#10 Share

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.)

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#13 Share

Questioner

In the second Stormlight Archive book... Wit... the Shattered Plains party, where he's introducing all the guests, and just the sheer list of insults. Was that an easy thing to do, and you've got books and books of--

Brandon Sanderson

Man it is so hard to come up with good insults because it's so hard to use one that Winston Churchill hasn't used already. *laughter* But I try to channel the best insult comics and people like that. Being witty in writing is actually the hardest part, but the fortunate thing is that I can take two hours to come up with a line that he's supposed to snap off in a few minutes or a few seconds, and that's how we can imitate being smarter than we are. I totally have to do that in my books.

It's interesting, I got an insight into really smart people. I was roommates with a person who won a ton of money on Jeopardy. Ken Jennings for any of you guys that watch Jeopardy. He won like 80 times in a row, right? I'm serious. He won 80 times in a row, or something like 78-- and before he did that, he was my roommate, and I knew him, and he-- the big difference between him and other people is that speed, that speed of making the connection and snapping it off. You say something and he comes with a comeback, just like that, and then you think  about it and you're like "oh, that was really clever". That's what a lot of these people are, it's not the only type of intelligence by far, but it's one of the ones that this sort of discussion with Wit-- it's what we look for. So it's kind of a marker for somebody that's a little bit too smart for their own good.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#14 Share

Questioner

I don't think Marsh would get along too well with Hoid, but are they ever going to hang out?

Brandon Sanderson

*pause* Are they ever going to hang out?

Questioner

Are they ever going to meet?

Brandon Sanderson

Are they ever going to meet. It is likely that if they both survive for many more books that they would, but I can't promise it.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#15 Share

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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#16 Share

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.

Questioner

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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#18 Share

Questioner

When Hoid *inaudible* Shallan in...

Brandon Sanderson

In Jah Keved, when she's back in the flashback?

Questioner

In the flashback.

Brandon Sanderson

In the flashback, yep.

Questioner

In--yes--during that experience...

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

And at the end of the book, Dalinar has that vision that didn't come from the Stormfather. I was wondering if those are related?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are not related. Good question.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#22 Share

Lurcher

Another what if. What if Kelsier hadn't scared Vin away when Hoid was-- What information would he have told Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

So, he would not have revealed terribly much of use to her. He was there trying to find out things for him.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
#23 Share

Brandon Sanderson

I started writing my first novel when I was fifteen years old. I didn’t have a computer; I had an old, electric typewriter. It would remember your file on a disc, but it was really just a printer with an attached bare-bones word processor. (It had a tiny LCD screen at the top that could display three lines at a time. You could scroll through and edit bit by bit, then you hit print and it would type out the document.)

The book was terrible. It was essentially a hybrid of Tad Williams and Dragonlance, though at the time I felt it was totally new and original. It did have a wizard who threw fireballs with smiley faces on the front, though, so that’s kind of cool. At its core were two stories. One vital one was the tale of a wise king who was murdered by assassins, forcing his younger brother to take up the mantle and lead the kingdom while trying to find/protect the king’s son and rightful heir. The other was about a young man named Rick, originally blamed for the murder.

I still have some of these pages. (Not the entire book, unfortunately.) I used to hide them behind a picture on the wall of my room so that nobody would find them. I was so anxious about letting people read my writing, and was—for some reason—paranoid my family would find the pages and read them, then make fun of them.

Over the years, many ideas proliferated and matured in my mind. I began writing books in earnest (I never finished that one I started as a teenager.) I grew as a writer, and discovered how to make my works less derivative. Most of my ideas from my teenage self died out, and rightly so. Others evolved. My maturing sensibilities as both a reader and a writer changed how I saw the world, and some stories stood the test of both time and internal criticism, becoming stronger for the conflict.

Rick became Jerick, hero of the book now known as Dragonsteel. (It was my honor’s thesis in college, and will someday be rewritten and published. For now, the only copy available is through interlibrary loan, though it appears to have vanished.) Jared, the man who lost his brother and had to lead in his stead, protecting his nephew, slowly evolved into a man named Dalinar, one of the primary protagonists of The Way of Kings. Some of you may be curious to know that the character many now call Hoid also appeared in that ancient book of mine.

These two epics—Dragonsteel and The Way of Kings—have shaped a lot of my passions and writing goals over the last two decades. For example, in my last year of college I took an introductory illustration class to try my hand at drawing. My final project was a portfolio piece of sketches of plants and animals from Roshar, as even then I was hoping to someday be able to publish The Way of Kings with copious in-world illustrations of Roshar and its life. (At that time, I was planning to have an illustrated appendix, though I eventually decided to spread the pages through the book.) Fortunately, I was able to hire artists to do the work in this book instead of forcing you to look at what I came up with . . .

Well, finally—after two decades of writing—Tor has given me the chance to share The Way of Kings with you. They’ve taken a risk on this book. At every juncture, they agreed to do as I asked, often choosing the more expensive option as it was a better artistic decision. Michael Whelan on the cover. 400K words in length. Almost thirty full page interior illustrations. High-end printing processes in order to make the interior art look crisp and beautiful. A piece of in-world writing on the back cover, rather than a long list of marketing blurbs. Interludes inside the book that added to the length, and printing costs, but which fleshed out the world and the story in ways I’d always dreamed of doing.

This is a massive book. That seems fitting, as it has been two decades in the making for me. Writing this essay, I find myself feeling oddly relieved. Yes, part of me is nervous—more nervous for this book than I have been for any book save The Gathering Storm. But a greater part of me is satisfied.

I finally got it published. Whatever else happens, whatever else comes, I managed to tell this story. The Way of Kings isn’t hidden behind the painting in my room any longer.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#24 Share

Questioner

Who's your favorite character to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Usually the characters I look more-- forward to the most are the ones that are goofy.

Questioner

Wayne?

Brandon Sanderson

So like Wayne and Lift. Like, but not up to like-- Wit I-- is hard to write, right? It's the kind of wacky but don't have to be too clever characters that are most fun to write.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#25 Share

Questioner

I like how you made it so [Hoid] doesn't know everything. Before Words of Radiance, his mind, he wasn't familiar with this world. Like, other people who live in that world, they were familiar with the animals. I like how you did that.

Brandon Sanderson

Thank you. I'm glad you noticed that. Did you notice, in the first book, he's the only person in the book who uses the word "coin"? Everyone else is used to spheres, he's used to coins. So, a little teaser about Hoid. He'll slip up in his terminology.

Sofia signing ()
#26 Share

Questioner

My question is about Yolen. If, or when, you chose to write Hoid's origin story, do you plan to keep the same plots in Yolen? Where the moss is taking over the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

So I need to give you some back history to this one... My epic fantasy books, this is all of them but not Steelheart and not The Rithmatist, so the epic fantasy, are all connected, if you weren't aware. They all have little ties between characters, and there's a character named Hoid who's shown up in all of the books basically; he's the same person. When I was earlier in my career, before I published, I tried writing his origin story and I failed. The book wasn't very good, and I tried it again later, after I was published, and I failed again. It still wasn't very good. And this still happens to me. Sometimes I try things out and they just don't work. So the question am I going to try it; when I go back to it will it be the same story? The core part of it will be the same. There are certain events that Hoid has talked about in the books that are published that I will make sure are still relevant, but the story continues to evolve in my head. So I will have to decide eventually what things I want to do and what I don't. I think it will change from what I originally planned, but the soul should be the same. The core should still be the same. It will be very different from Dragonsteel, though, which was the one I wrote in 1998, because that had Bridge Four in it, and I moved them to The Stormlight Archive. So most of that book is gone, and it ended up in The Stormlight Archive, so who knows what will go-- It'll be very different from that.

Oathbringer release party ()
#27 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is Hoid somebody I should be rooting for?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Depends on-- Depends... There's a big, uh, "depends" attached to that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is that something we're gonna see in Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You will see some of it in Stormlight. It's not the main place you're gonna see it.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#30 Share

Farnsworth

Why was Hoid drinking perfume when he met Wax [in The Bands of Mourning]? And where did he get it?

Brandon Sanderson

Why was Hoid drinking perfume when he met Wax and where did he get it. This is an answer-- You are getting RAFO'd-- But this is one I do intend to talk about eventually. There are lots of seeds of things in the Mistborn series that I can't promise I'm going to be able to get to, that I hope I'll be able to get to. Secret History, which is in the Arcanum Unbounded that hopefully many of you have. If you haven't read through to the end of the released Mistborn books, don't look at that story, because it's a behind-the-scenes story of things that are happening, that I put seeds in the original trilogy for. That's another seed, and it might be one I can take up. I might just have to explain it someday.

EuroCon 2016 ()
#32 Share

Questioner

You sort of have to be productive to write the Cosmere, because it's really complex. Did you have it planned in advance when you first started, did you really have a very, very clear idea of what you wanted, or was it just the structure?

Brandon Sanderson

So, for those who don't know, it has been referenced, my epic fantasies are connected behind the scenes with a lot of secret characters who are moving between the different stories. If you haven't read my books, don't get intimidated by that. It is mostly to be found if you dig for it, but not intended to be distracting from the main story of each book.

And it did start from the beginning, at least from the beginning of Elantris, which was actually the sixth book that I wrote. It wasn't there in the first few books, but by the time I wrote Elantris it was there. I can trace the idea to a couple of places. From a very young age, when I would read books, I can remember doing this for Anne McCaffrey, it was always very fun to me to imagine a character that was hiding behind the scenes in the story that she wrote that I had inserted, that the other characters didn't know this character's secret motive, and they would appear in the various books that I read. I would say, "Oh, that's him. Ooh, that's him in this other book," written by different authors. That is the origin of the character Hoid, most likely.

I can also point toward Isaac Asimov as an inspiration. In the late 80's, early 90's, when I was first becoming a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, I read Foundation, and then read the robot books, and then read his connecting the two of them together, which was one of those moments that broke my brain, and as I've read other people's works, I've found other authors who did similar things. Michael Moorcock is one, even the Marvel and DC comics did a lot of this. Famously, Stephen King did it with the Dark Tower books.

One theme I've noticed is that many of them feel like they decided to add this as a feature after having finished several books, and thought, "What a cool idea, I will connect them," and having seen them do this, and like it, I ask the question, "What if someone started from the get-go, from the first book, setting up a hidden epic behind the scenes?" Like most writers, I owe a great deal to those who came before and provided inspiration for the things that I do.

DragonCon 2016 ()
#33 Share

Questioner

So, when you were starting to write your books, did you have the idea for-- Like [???] magics tied together or did you have that from the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, excellent question. So, he's asking about the Cosmere, where all my epic fantasies are tied together. Where did that come from. I can trace a few paths back in my brain where that came from. What I can say is that it was built in from the beginning of the books you have been reading. But you remember, those weren't my first written books. I wrote thirteen novels before I sold one. Elantris was number six. Way of Kings was number thirteen. And so-- I love this idea of a big, connected universe. The first person I can remember doing it, that blew my mind, was when Asimov connected the Robots and the Foundation books, which I thought was so cool when I was a teenager.

Another path that I trace this [concept?] also, though-- I don't know how many of you guys did this, but when I'd read a book--I still do this, actually--I would insert behind the scenes a kind of character that was my own, who was doing stuff behind the scenes. Like I would insert my own story into the story, just kind of take ownership of it in a strange sort of way. I remember doing this with the Pern books. I'm like "Oh, no, they think that person is who they think they are, but nooo! This is this other person!" And so I had this kind of proto-Hoid in my head jumping between other people's books.

So when I sat down to write Elantris, I said "Well, I want to do something like this". All the people I've seen doing this before-- and they've done it very well. Michael Moorcock did it, and Stephen King did it, and things like this, I'm not the first one to connect their books together, not by a long shot. I felt like a lot of them, they kinda fell into it, and as a writer, having seen what they did, I could then do it intentionally, if that makes sense. And so I started out with this idea that I was just gonna have this character in-between who is furthering his own goals, and built out a story for him, and then I went-- After I did Elantris, I wrote a book called Dragonsteel, which isn't published, and it was his origin story, for this character. And then I wrote some more books, and so, of course-- and things like this. Eventually Elantris got published and the other ones didn't, and they weren't as good as Elantris was. And so I took them all as kind of "backstory canon", and moved forward as if they had all-- they were all there and they had happened, but nobody else knew but me. Which allowed this cool foundation for you like "wow, that stuff has happened", because I had books and books of material that I could treat as canon in this way, to let me know where thing were going. So it wasn't planned-- It was planned from the beginning, but not the beginning of my writing care. From about book six was where it started.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#34 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I was wondering, how many pieces of different Shards does Hoid have to collect before he is considered Ascended?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You know that's even a little bit false, uh-- not begging the question. Whichever logic fallacy is assuming that he could. Or, you are assuming that he could. Who knows if it's even possible, or anything like that.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#36 Share

Blightsong

Was Hoid trying to become an Elantrian kind of in a way how Kelsier was able to connect to Preservation to take up the Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the thing about it is you're getting Hoid before he knew as much as he did in Scadrial era, so what he was trying to do was completely ineffective and it couldn't have worked.

Questioner #1

Doesn't it get weaker the farther away you are, so it wouldn't help at all.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner #2

Well we have an example of an Elantrian on Roshar, so.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes we have an Elantrian on Roshar, but we don't see him use any powers, and his skin is dark on Roshar rather than glowing, granted that could be a disguise. That is something to be aware of.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#38 Share

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.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#39 Share

Alteroden

Can Hoid safely have an MRI?

Brandon Sanderson

Why do you ask that?

Alteroden

Because if you have metal inside your body, and you have an MRI, which is magnetic, it's very bad for you.

Brandon Sanderson

You're just assuming that... That's a very clever way to try to get around a question that I have not answered and intentionally said I am not going to answer, so...

Alteroden

Also, tattoos. You can't have a tattoo with an MRI. The ink has little bits of metal in it.

Brandon Sanderson

You can't? Well, I assume there are tattoo inks that are not little bits of metal.

Alteroden

That's true.

Figment chat ()
#41 Share

Questioner

What’s the most dangerous non-Shard thing in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood’s up there, Hoid is up there, but not deadly dangerous, a different type of dangerous, yeah no, what we know of, right now, those, those are in the running. Chasmfiends, chasmfiends are pretty nasty. Whitespines are a little more nasty probably. The… the Unmade are pretty nasty. Yeah. There’s a couple of mercenary troops that you haven’t met yet that are really quite, quite dangerous, I would list them as well.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#42 Share

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.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#43 Share

kalamitous_emoashions [PENDING REVIEW]

With Hoid, we know that he's got some sort of Lightweaving, Yolen magic. If we're gonna hypothetically say that he bonds with the Cryptic, at the end of Oathbringer. Talking about resonance between magic systems, what are we going to see if he tried the two together? Would they be separate? Or would they form some sort of resonance magic system?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I'm gonna go ahead and RAFO that.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#45 Share

DefiantBurrito (paraphrased)

Can you tell me what Wit put in his drink in Shallan's flashback scene?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It was something that you or I would probably not want to eat in our world, but that Wit got some benefit from eating...

DefiantBurrito (paraphrased)

Something we've seen in the Mistborn books, perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

[sounding pleased] Yes, perhaps like something you've seen in Mistborn.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#46 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

...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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#47 Share

Argent

I've been listening to the Graphic Audio The Hero of Ages and just got to the point where Vin meets with Slowswift. While the meeting itself revealed nothing knew, the events after it made me wonder about something. When Vin leaves Slowswift, she burns her bronze to check whether the informant is an Allomancer, and then heads off to meet with Hoid - where, of course, something makes her turn away. Was she still burning bronze at that time? Was Hoid maybe manipulating Investiture in a way unfamiliar to Vin, so her bronze alerted her of something, but because it was such a foreign experience to her, she didn't recognize it for what it was?

Brandon Sanderson

I have to RAFO this one. It's been hard not to spill the beans here, as it's such a small thing, but it has important ramifications. You will have an answer eventually, I promise.

A Memory of Light San Diego Signing ()
#48 Share

Freelancer (paraphrased)

In the opening of The Emperor's Soul, I see a scene familiar to Warbreaker; the first character we meet is in jail. Was this "connection" intentional?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes and no. Originally there was a prologue which featured Hoid speaking with the main character and setting some of the plot in motion, but it was cut before final revision. Also, it's convenient to begin with a character who is already in trouble.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#49 Share

Questioner

Will Hoid be appearing as a major character in other books besides Stormlight and Dragonsteel?

Brandon Sanderson

Will Hoid be appearing as a major character in books other than Stormlight or Dragonsteel. Yes, he will have a major role to play in the end sequence of the Cosmere, where he will be a major viewpoint character.