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Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#1 Copy

Arbron

So how long has "Zahel the swordmaster" been slumming it on Roshar? I mean I don't know who that is obviously.

Brandon Sanderson

Zahel the swordmaster has been on Roshar for a long while at this point. There's something on Roshar that's very easy for him to get that's very hard in other places. And so, yeah.

Arbron

So he retains his previous abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

He was actually in the first draft in 2002. But yes there's something in Roshar that makes it better for him to be there.

Chris King interview ()
#2 Copy

Chris King

What are some characteristics of and how many other wordhoppers are there that we have seen excluding Hoid, Demoux, and Galladon.

Brandon Sanderson

You gave me really good wiggle room on that one. Obviously the other person with Galladon and Demoux.

Chris King

Right, the one from a future book.

Brandon Sanderson

His characteristics are-- What is he like? Some people have read his book so they know what he's like--

Chris King

Which book is he from?

Brandon Sanderson

He's from White Sand.

Chris King

Okay, that's one I have but have not gotten to.

Brandon Sanderson

It's only mediocre so don't worry about it. Let's see what other worldhoppers I want to give you clues about-- *long pause* There's a Terriswoman running around, if you keep your eyes open.

Chris King

I have to re-read it, everything.

Brandon Sanderson

Who else do I want to talk about-- Words of Radiance has a couple good ones, that will be pretty obvious.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

In Words of Radiance, can you give me a worldhopper that you haven't told us about?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid not. The problem, I just get asked that, like, twenty times per signing, and I wouldn't have anything left.... I'm sorry... The one I get asked a lot is, "Can you name a Shard you haven't named before?"

Questioner

There's, like, three left!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I mean... And people already pulled out from me all the worldhoppers that I am comfortable talking about.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#4 Copy

Oversleep

What is Scadrial's primary intergalactic export?

Ravi

Okay so, this is what I got from Brandon.

Prior to Kelsier exploding the Pits, Scadrial's canned goods were one of the main things exported to the intergalactic market from the planet.

NB: This is something that Brandon can change at any time if the story calls for it.

General Twitter 2011 ()
#6 Copy

RyanL1986

Do you have any plans to do cross over stories? I would love to see Stormlight v Mistborn fight

Brandon Sanderson

The Cosmere cycle is 32-36 books total. There might be something like that in there.

KevinPavon

Other than Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

It has been discovered that Way of Kings has several characters from other worlds in it. One has a Dula accent.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#9 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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#13 Copy

TheBlueShifting

I assume that the Worldhoppers (characters who travel from planet to planet between books) can and sometimes enter into romantic relationships. Have there ever been any children born on one world with powers from another? (For example: A misting being born and raised on Roshar)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this has happened.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#14 Copy

Rhandric

How many worldhoppers have we seen?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I haven't kept track, you've seen quite a few. There's one from Mistborn, did you catch him? I don't think people have really picked out the Terriswoman yet, who makes her way into them, but they're mostly not supposed to be noticeable yet, until you get to know them as characters and you look back and be like "oh that was that person."

Rhandric

Is it the Terriswoman I think it is?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know which Terriswoman you think it is.

Rhandric

Tindwyl?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Adarain

There seems to be a concentration of “aliens” in the west of Roshar, with both the Sleepless and the Iriali being non-Rosharan, possibly the Siah Aimians too (though I have my own headcanon about them); and of course the Ashynite humans arrived somewhere in the west too, probably in or near Shinovar. Is this a coincidence? It seems reasonable to me that in the past, Honor’s perpendicularity was somewhere in the region and at least some of these groups used it to arrive on Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Not a coincidence. Having multiple perpendicularities on the land, mixed with easy-to-access investiture, mixed with a vibrant shadesmar side with actual cultures and cities all make Roshar a tempting destination. The amount of investiture flying around (literally) also makes the place a little easier to find in Shadesmar than other destinations might be.

There's also the fact that it wasn't created post-shattering, like Scadrial was. There's just been more time to get to it.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#21 Copy

Matias_Leibo

Are the Coinshots that helped Steris with getting people out of the flood zone, and who seemed rather concerned with whether she was following the law, actually Skybreakers?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, hehehehehe. So, we'll just leave that one. So, how about this. At this point in continuity, a Skybreaker could not easily get off of Roshar. In fact, by this point in continuity, I believe (you can't hold me to this one too much) the only Radiant who's managed to get off of Roshar and maintain powers is Hoid. I believe that's the case. Hoid is weird. He also has lots of knowledge. He used a specific method to get... yeah, anyway.

Don't hold me to that, but I think by this point he is the first to get out of system. Off-world doesn't really count because you can go to Braize or Ashyn. 

Oathbringer release party ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

Does [the Ishikk interlude in Way of Kings] indicate that White Sand, Mistborn Era 1, and Elantris all take place in about the same period of time? Or are worldhoppers also timehoppers?

Brandon Sanderson

Some of them are also timehoppers. They're not as close as you would think.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Argent

In The Way of Kings, Chapter 54: Gibletish, Dalinar has a brief conversation with Brightlord Hatham, one of his ardents, and a few other people. During the conversation the ardent uses the word "soil" in a way most Rosharans wouldn’t. After the conversation he tells Dalinar of "our goodwill toward you" and that "we will speak with you again." The odd use of the word "soil" combined with what could be a vague reference to the ardent’s associated with a group other than the ardentia has led some of us to believe he might be a worldhopper. Plus, we know Nazh is around in the area, or will arrive soon. Is there truth to this idea, or are we overthinking this?

Brandon Sanderson

Alethi use the word "soil" on occasion in their language to mean "dirtied" or similar. It's a holdover from an earlier time. But they don't associate it with the ground, and if you see it used instead of stone like in this quote, it should indeed raise an eyebrow.

Argent

Sooo... I mean, my eyebrow was already raised. :D Let's not bait the RAFO too hard, and drop the worldhopper part - is there more to this particular ardent than meets the eye? :)

Wait, hold up. How can "soil" be a holdover from an earlier time if Roshar was always a rocky place? Or did you mean that it's one of those words that carried over from Yolish, or whatever other language people spoke before they migrated to Roshar (like "hound")?

Brandon Sanderson

It is similar to hound, which is one of the ones that Hoid pointed out as an oddity. But people did not migrate from Yolen to Roshar. Roshar was inhabited before the shattering of Adonalsium.

Argent

Hmm. I am rusty on my Roshar history, I'll have to review what we know the topic. I know Roshar existed before the Shattering, and it was presumably populated, but I didn't think there had been humans there. They don't feel native. I've been working under the assumption that the Parshendi were native (maybe), but the humans came from somewhere - the Tranquiline Halls myths also kind of support that.

Or have I missed something?

Brandon Sanderson

Technically, what I said doesn't actually contradict anything you just said. But just to be extra safe: RAFO. I have to keep a FEW secrets safe from you people to come out in the books. :)

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

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. 

Oathbringer London signing ()
#27 Copy

kalamitous_emoashions

Have we seen any evidence of Hemalurgy on Roshar? And, as sort of an addendum, given the end of Oathbringer, was what happened to Jezrien Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

There are certain cosmere philosophers that would count it. I would divide it as two separate things that are using similar fundamentals... I wouldn't call it myself, but there are people who would disagree with me in-world. Have we seen evidence? I would say no evidence that is easily-- easy to pick out.

kalamitous_emoashions

But it's there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there are people with Hemalurgy who have been to Roshar. I'm pretty sure they've been on-screen.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#28 Copy

Mason Wheeler

I always sort of got the impression that there were maybe... *waves hand* a dozen or so worldhoppers around *inaudible*. Now this [Arcanum Unbounded] completely blows that idea away.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Mason Wheeler

Approximately how many worldhoppers are there in the Silverlight community when Khriss is writing these essays?

Brandon Sanderson

The Silverlight community is a full-fledged city.

Mason Wheeler

Alright... Well, that could be anything.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it's not a village; it's a city. I'm gonna let you have a RAFO on the rest until I write the story set there. Let's say we're talking about much larger than people might have originally assumed. But not everyone in Silverlight is a worldhopper. You've got people who are-- that have been born there, and raised their whole lives there, and died there.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
#33 Copy

Avery Hinks

Is there a canonical reason why Vasher and Vivenna changed their names to Zahel and Azure on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it kind of comes into the fact that Vasher has gone through a bunch of name changes and there are a couple of answers to this. One is, in the Cosmere, like in a lot of like fantasy worlds, names and identity are just a pretty big deal, part of how the magic works is how you view yourself, and I like, in that instance, indicating that time has passed and the character has adopted a new name and things like this, it's just that's a thing.

You've also probably noticed that behind the scenes in the Cosmere there are lots of different groups vying for control and power and things like this, and so going under a pseudonym's actually a pretty good idea. I guess an alias, they're not writing books, it's not pseudonyms, you know what I mean, going under an alias's generally a pretty good idea for just if you don't want attention from the wrong people.

That said, I do have to balance this because, for instance, in Azure's case, you know, I picked something that Vivenna had, you know, blue had been associated with her in the previous book, so it's not a completely, that's partially for the reader's benefit, so it's easier for you to track who is who, just a little bit, and just a little bit easier to figure out who is who.

But if run into someone like Felt, right? Felt doesn't care. He's not hiding from anybody. Felt is, you know, he's more like "I moved from Nebraska to Texas," right? "And now I'm living in Texas." That's more how he views it a little bit. He's not a secret agent (ooh, big spoilers). Felt just, you know, he moved, so he goes by the same name. And that's, you'll see some of that as well. If someone's going by an alias, I'm doing it to indicate one of those two things, usually.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#34 Copy

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.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

I'm not very good understanding how the cosmere works. So, any tips on how to get to that? Like, get the little hints that are--

Brandon Sanderson

Just watch out for Hoid and watch out for people who use the wrong words. Like if they use the word "coin" or "dirt" or things like that just aren't on Roshar. That's a pretty big clue that they're not one hundred percent on the up and up.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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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.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

Are there going to be other characters other than Hoid that will be crossing over between books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in fact there are characters in the way of kings... I told people that there is a Terriswoman in Warbreaker somewhere, I believe that would be somewhat hard to spot. That one, I don't think you will be able to pick out until you see her later on and then go back and say 'wait a minute'.

Holiday signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

So are any characters, like Vasher, going to be in any of your other books?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Vasher is in Words of Radiance.

Questioner

Yeah, I knew he was in Words of Radiance. Is he going to show up more in that? Have more importance?

Brandon Sanderson

He is not going to have a huge role, he'll have a little one. Normally I try to confine people who are interfering in other series to their own series, if that makes sense?

General Twitter 2012 ()
#41 Copy

SwiftxJustice

Quick question to help me settle a debate. Could Allomancy affect a Shardplate/blade?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Investiture interferes with most magics.

eridius

Wait, are Mistborn and Stormlight Archive somehow connected?

Brandon Sanderson

Multiple people from Mistborn appeared in The Way of Kings.

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

Questioner

So, I heard you talk about cameos, are there any other cameos besides Hoid and Nightblood in the books?

Brandon Sanderson

So, Galladon from Elantris, Baon from White Sand, and Captain Demoux all show up in Way of Kings. They're the Purelake scene. Let's see... the character of Felt is a worldhopper, you see him in a couple of books. Watch out for him. Khriss is in a couple of the books, she's the one who writes the Ars Arcanums. Nazh is in a couple of the books, Khriss's assistant. Vasher is in the book. They're all over the place.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#44 Copy

Khyrindor

The lighthouse guy was Ire? In Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Khyrindor

And he was the same Elantrian that they put in the Shardpool at the end of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he is the same person.

Khyrindor

And was he Ire before--

Brandon Sanderson

He was not before then.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#45 Copy

Questioner 1

So you mentioned earlier that a lot of the characters that we see in multiple books are functionally immortal-- that interact between the different stories are functionally immortal. Can we-- But some of them when we saw them in actual just books, before we saw them jumping between worlds, were not functionally immortal at that time. Can we then take that to mean that they somehow became functionally immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

You can take that to become that. Now--

Moderator

Correctly. There's an implied correctly.

Brandon Sanderson

You can correctly. Now here's the distinction. Some of them are not. Some of them are using tricks of *searches for correct word* relativistic time travel to move forward in the future. Some of them are not aging and others are just aging really slowly. And those are three separate things among characters you have actually seen.

Questioner 2

And which are which? *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

...I will give you hints as you read the books.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

Vasher/Zahel is a Returned, which means he needs Breath to live.  But Breath doesn’t exist on Roshar.  Does he use St--

Brandon Sanderson

He uses Stormlight.  One of the reasons--  In fact one of the primary reasons he’s on Roshar is because Stormlight is so much easier to come by than Breath.  And in fact researching about things like this is one of the reasons he discovered Roshar in the first place.

Questioner

So it’s the same reason why Night-- the sword…

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood.

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The exact mechanics of how Nightblood ended up there will be explored in a future book.

Stuttgart signing ()
#47 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How do you choose worldhoppers to depict in your books?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There's couple of ways I choose worldhoppers. The background story plays a big part, but some worldhoppers just want to be immigrants. Some people you meet, you'll notice they're from a different planet but aren't involved in any schemes. They just wanted to get to another planet.

There's groups like the Ghostbloods, but there's also just trade between places like Roshar and Nalthis. I have to be careful to not make everyone an easter egg from other worlds. That would strain plausibility very easily.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#50 Copy

sandersonfan

Why are the people of Roshar so much more aware of the Cosmere? They seem to know more than any other world you've written to date.

Brandon Sanderson

I believe the people of whom you are speaking are mostly not native to Roshar. On another side, however, it is the first planet we've seen with three Shards, and it is the furthest along in the timeline. One final thing is that they had some very unique experiences early in the planet's history. It involves the Heralds, and various items I think would be spoilers right now.