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YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
#1 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.

Orem Signing ()
#3 Copy

JoyBlu

At the end of Oathbringer, Hoid is there, and he uses the Breath to talk to the doll, and he gives the doll to K-whoever - he gives it to someone named Cob and Kheni. So, is Kheni a Parshman?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that.

Oathbringer release party ()
#5 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.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

So I've been told there is one character who is in each of the series.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes there is.

Questioner

Is that Wit by chance?

Brandon Sanderson

It is.

Questioner

Does he show up in some of the others?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in this [The Final Empire] he shows up briefly, Kelsier meets with a blind beggar at one point who is introduced by the name Hoid and that is the name Wit uses through most of the books. If you read Warbreaker he's in that one, there is a storyteller who uses dust and sand. He's in most of them Way of Kings is where you see him the most he's not in the other ones nearly as much but he's mentioned by name in most of them.

TWG Posts ()
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Miyabi (paraphrased)

While talking with EUOL today I had asked about Hoid being Midius from Partinel. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said he had many names, but avoided a yes or no answer.

Miyabi (paraphrased)

I then asked if Hoid was a shard.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said no and then said something about how no one has read the end of Partinel due to its not being written well and the plethora of spoilers it contains. . . .

He then told me that Hoid was there when Adonalsium was shattered.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#8 Copy

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.

Shardcast Interview ()
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Brandon Sanderson

In original Dragonsteel, there is the point where Hoid gets a hold of a Tamu Kek and calls Frost just to kind of prank him. Frost thinks it's an actual devotee praying to him and it turns out it's just Hoid, he's found one, and he's... yeah. That's from 2009 - no, 1999 Dragonsteel. When Dragonsteel Prime comes out you'll be able to read Hoid pranking Frost with a Tamu Kek.

Argent

As he would, because he's Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

As he would, yep. He was trying to prove that Frost was a Dragon and Frost was not letting on that he was, he was hanging out as an old dude and turns out Hoid got him.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner 1

Who or what is Hoid? Or Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

Wit? He is a person who has shown up in all the books. What else do you want to know?

Questioner 2

All of the books?

Brandon Sanderson

He has shown up in all of my epic fantasies, yes.

Questioner 1

Every single one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's been...

Questioner 2

Wit or Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid-- is the same, Wit.

Questioner 1

But how do you know it's him?

Brandon Sanderson

Because he says his name in all of them.

Questioner 1

As Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

As Hoid.

Questioner 1

Really?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Questioner 2

I-- now I need to be more careful.

Questioner 1

How does he know so much information about what's going on, and how is he always in the right place at the right time?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are two excellent questions.

Questioner 1

That you won't tell me.

Brandon Sanderson

That I won't tell you. You get a [RAFO] card. But he has a sp-- surprising ability to be in the right place at the right time very consistently in the cosmere. That's the name of the shared universe of all the books.

Questioner 1

I didn't realize it was a shared universe.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is. There are characters in Way of Kings from Elantris, and... yeah. But it's all Easter eggs. It doesn't-- it isn't something you have to. 

Questioner 2

So it's not, like, crossovers.

Brandon Sanderson

There are crossovers, but it's all Easter egg-ish right now. Some day there'll be one where I do full-blown crossover. For now the story is about this. And so the crossover is all just in the background.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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Sapphire_Bombay

When Hoid looks in a mirror, does he see what other people see when they look at him?

Brandon Sanderson

Generally, yes. Good question, you're trying to pin down what he's doing, but yes.

Sapphire_Bombay

Follow-up to that, could Hoid appear physically different to two different people at the same time, if he wanted to?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on what angles they're seeing him from. And which version of "looking different" he's using. Could he do what you're asking? Yes, he could. He doesn't normally do things that would do that.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#13 Copy

Sapphire_Bombay

I asked you about [Jasnah] being with Taln in [Way of Kings] Prime and Wit in the published version, and why she had to be with an immortal entity.

Brandon Sanderson

I believe my answer was something to the frame of: "it is hard to find people who would be on equal footing with Jasnah."

Sapphire_Bombay

Is it important that she is with someone? For someone who is so against the idea of marriage, and who is asexual to boot, it feels like there must be very good reason for not leaving her single.

Brandon Sanderson

It is more about the idea of conflict and exploration. Remember these are completely separate books, and there's kind of a reason why I didn't have a relationship for Jasnah in the first couple Stormlight books, because no, she doesn't need to be in a relationship. That's not a core need for her character or her personality. But, at the same time, I always try to let relationships arise very organically and naturally in my books, and I don't try to put too much of a thumb on the scale for those. And in this case, it just felt right. It was the right thing to explore for her character. It was the right way to reveal and talk about how she sees the world, and who she is, and when I first thought about it I thought, "Wow, that's a really great and a really terrible match all at the same time," and that's what I'm looking for, in a lot of ways.

Firefight release party ()
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Herowannabe's wife

In this one [Sixth of the Dusk] is the guy he [Dusk] finds dead, is that Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

They guy he finds dead is not Hoid. Good question.

Herowannabe's wife

Is it anyone we already know?

Herowannabe

Does Hoid make an appearance in that one?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid does not make an appearance in that one.

Herowannabe

What about Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson

In Shadows for Silence he does not make an appearance. I established with those two, my goal was, he-- I found that if I just shoehorned him in it didn't actually fit the narrative. Like I want this to not just be a cameo, he's actively doing things. Does that make sense? He's not just there for cameos... he's actively up to something.

Now he has been to Threnody. Threnody is very interesting to him for certain reasons. He hasn't been to First of the Sun, he's never visited Sixth of the Dusk's planet, yet.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#17 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.

Dragonsteel 2022 ()
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asmodeus

At the end of Stormlight 4, we see Dalinar create a vision where Kaladin is able to talk with a version of Tien. How interested would Hoid be to know about this?

Brandon Sanderson

This would be a 9/10 on the Hoid interest meter.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

What Heightening is Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know what you are talking about.  Heightening?  He's just the king's Wit.  

Questioner 2

With perfect pitch.

Brandon Sanderson

With perfect pitch.  Yeah he does have perfect pitch.  

Questioner 2

Now that he has it.  I noticed it now.  

Brandon Sanderson

You're just obviously misconstruing that.  

General Reddit 2016 ()
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har

Is Cephandrius the real name of the character who goes by different names on different planets?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but it's one of his earliest aliases.

faragorn

I'm positive this is RAFO bait but would one of Hoid's aliases possibly be Cephandrius?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is Cephandrius. It's less an alias and more a long term identity. If you read Dragonsteel, it is super obvious.

JordanCon 2014 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Hoid waxes poetic on the idea that the more people expect, the more difficult it becomes for the artist. This is more the critic in me having noticed that my own expectations for a piece play dramatically into how much I enjoy it. Some of my best experiences at the cinema have been films where I had no idea what to expect. The Sixth Sense was like this for me. I had never heard of the film, my friends dragged me to it, they said it's a horror and I said "I'm not sure if I want to watch a slasher pic, but I think it's going to be terrible but whatever." And I watched it and it was a great movie and I came out of it saying, "Wow, I did not expect that." And yet something like The Dark Knight Returns, which is a fantastic film, well done. Yet the second film was so good that I went into the third film and it wasn't quite as good as the second film and I came out and said, "Eh." Where it is a great film and yet my expectations-- It's unfair to the artist but it is the way I think a lot of us work. That our expectations do play a lot into how our experience is for the story. A lot of things when I go into things like that, I'm not trying to let the author speak so much as I'm trying to say what would someone who analyzes art like a critic in my analyzes art what would be an observation they would make. Hoid is not me and he does not voice necessarily my personal opinions, but he is an artist and a critic and so he notices some of the things I notice.  

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

From the very beginning did you already know-- like cosmere? Like was that your goal setting out?

Brandon Sanderson

It was my goal very early on. In fact, before I wrote any books I wrote a short story about Hoid. So he goes back to before the very first book that I wrote. So yeah it goes back pretty far. I can trace inspirations back to Asimov tying Foundation and Robots together and feeling like that was really cool and wanting to do something like that, if it makes sense. And so I would say that’s probably like the first seed was when I read the later Foundation books and they tied them together.

Orem Signing ()
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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.

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

In at least two of the books that I know of, a god is either dead or attacked in some form or fashion. Is there any reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, there is an ongoing theme there, and it's primarily because there is an overarching story behind the story. The books are all in the same universe. And there is a character that's the same in all of the books. In Way of Kings it's Wit. He's actually in all of them.

Shardcast Interview ()
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Chaos

Do you ever worry, like, when you actually need to write Hoid's backstory that it... That's a lot of pressure, in a way, Hoid's backstory..

Brandon Sanderson

It is a lot of pressure, yeah. I am not worried about the book being great, because the story that I have for it is a great story. What I am worried about is: what random things have I said in books that I didn't write down in the wiki that I need to make good on? That he's mentioned doing at some point. Those are the things I worry about. The actual story is really solid for Dragonsteel, the new one. And I think people will really like it. I think it does cool things. But we will see. We'll see if I can.

The longer it goes without me writing it, the more expectations there will be on it. And so I should be telling people, "Look, it is just a book like the other ones." It is hopefully a great book that you will really love, but it is just a book. Once I write it, it can no longer be all the things you're imagining it to be, and I apologize for that. I do want to do it, but it is just a book. It's going to read like a lot of my other books. It will be in first person, which is the only planned first-person cosmere series. That will set it off and be distinctive in ways I think will be cool.

Oathbringer release party ()
#41 Copy

TheFulgid

...I know that a lot of [Dragonsteel] is not canon anymore? How much of it, like, percentage-wise, I don't need specifics. 

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that all... I consider almost all the worldbuilding to be canon, but the characters to not be.

TheFulgid

So, anything about Topaz, does that not stand?

Brandon Sanderson

Doesn't really stand. The whole thing with the gods, and stuff like that, is really in flux.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#45 Copy

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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Nikleas

Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?

Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

Brandon Sanderson

VERY distant future is correct. I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes. There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.

Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them. Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them. So perhaps these will all just be on my website only. (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)

The subtle hints will continue until then. Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained. I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest. (Yes, there is more.) Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story. But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves. At least not yet.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#47 Copy

Steven Peterson

Is Hoid's restriction on not hurting someone living absolute? Could he cause pain for pleasure situations?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not absolute; you've seen at least one loophole. The thing about is, this is Dawnshard-derived, and weird things happen with the Dawnshards.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

Whats up with Hoid? He's not a Shard. Is he good? Evil? Indifferent? I'm starting to question whats going on with him.

Brandon Sanderson

He has his own unique motivations. There are definitely people who would call him good and definitely people who would call him evil. He was around at the Shattering of Adonalsium but is not a Shardholder or a Vessel for a Shard of Adonalsium. 

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.