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Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#3 Copy

Question (paraphrased)

A bonus piece of information - my poor friend that I dragged along with me (who had only read Warbreaker) asked about the specific naming of Bio-Chromatic Breath.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Sanderson confirmed as part of his response that at least some the Five Scholars had visited worlds who had gone through the Industrial Revolution (and therefore would have more of a sense of scientific theory, that the Scholars would have picked up on).

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#4 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.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

The worldjumpers in [Secret History] are they ones that have shown up in other books? And we just don’t know their names?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they’re only tangential in the other books.  I think one of them has only shown up on screen once.  The other one’s shown up a couple of times but mostly in certain annotations and things like that.  In the books, like on the maps.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#9 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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#13 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 realise 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.

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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#16 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 ()
#18 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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#19 Copy

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. :)

Firefight release party ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

I've been trying to brainstorm what Stormlight characters would have jumped into the other books so far. You told me they had at one point.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they have but you've got to remember that The Stormlight Archive you are seeing right now, what's happening in it is like late cosmere era, does that make sense? So there are lots of people from the world that have been to other worlds but the people you know--this is happening just before Alloy of Law era-- So does that make sense? That's the first time you'd be able to see anyone here and by that era the bleed over is a lot less because we have the whole Odium trapped and things like that. There's a lot less-- There are a lot fewer people traveling in and out of Roshar than there once were.

General Twitter 2011 ()
#26 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.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, in fact there are characters in the way of kings...(essentially mentions the known Ishikk interlude worldhoppers). 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'.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#29 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.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

There's, like, three left!

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

DragonCon 2016 ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

So with your Cosmere books. I started reading with Mistborn, and I got through the trilogy, all three books-- I read really fast, so I was done with all three of them in under a week. And so I went looking for some of your other books, and I think I came on The Way of Kings and I started noticing there were little bits of connections because it's not really apparent--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--that they're connected until you start looking into it. And of course then I go online and figure out there's this whole wikipedia--

Brandon Sanderson

Then you went down the rabbit hole. *laughter*

Questioner

Then I went down the rabbit hole and then I go "Oh look, all of these worlds are interconnected. And there are these characters who are supposed to be Worldhoppers or something." I could not figure out where the origin of where you learn these people are actually from the other series.

Brandon Sanderson

So where did people learn this. So first I'm going to give the caveat, if this daunts you, don't worry it's all cameos right now. You don't have to read the books in a certain order-- Well you should read the series in order, but you don't have to read the series in a certain order. You're not missing out on something, you can read the books and if you don't see it, it's okay. It's meant to be cameos... It's supposed to be very subtle.

However, where they're getting it is Hoid is almost always mentioned by name. That was the first clue to people. Once in a while he doesn't use his name, in each series at least he's mentioned his name. And people started connecting that name. And I will usually give little tells where they Galladon in The Way of Kings because he spoke in Dula, and so they caught the same words that he used, even though he spoke another language. Some of the words were words he used in Elantris. They were like "Oh." So there's always going to be some connection there.

Watch for people who use the wrong words. For instance if someone says in The Stormlight Archive, if someone uses the word "coin", they're probably using magical means to translate and they're thinking "coin" when they mean "money" or "sphere" and they don't use coins on Roshar. And so you'll have people make mistakes like that in-world, and they'll talk about things the wrong way. And that'll be part of the way you can connect who doesn't belong there. I intend it to be very subtle however. I think in The Way of Kings Hoid is the only one who uses "coin" and things like that. If you watch out for stuff like that--

But here's the thing about it, at the same time I learned from Robert Jordan fandom that fans will theorize about everything. *laughter* And I realized-- I had to make a decision pretty early on. And this decision-- Some authors do it one way, others do it another, I decided I had to be okay if the fans guessed what I was doing. Because if I put the foreshadowing in then it's going to be a mark of respect if people figure it out. And so if you're one of these people who dig in deeply, you will figure out some of things that are going on and they won't be surprises when the book comes along. And I think that's okay for the fans that are doing that. I will warn you, I'm not going to change what's happening, just 'cause you figure it out. So if you don't want massive spoilers you shouldn't necessarily hang out to much, because they are going to get it right. I will put in the foreshadowing so that it is possible to guess what's going to be happening and things like that. Because if I don't it won't feel like the book is fulfilling, if that makes any sense.

That's just a little warning to you guys. But so far there are some things they haven't figured out yet that I think they're going to soon, but they haven't quite yet.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#33 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.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#35 Copy

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

The lighthouse guy was Ire? In Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, he is the same person.

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

And was he Ire before...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He was not before then.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#37 Copy

kalamitous_emoashions [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

But it's there?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#39 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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#40 Copy

zuriel45

Will there ever be a story or book about a character as they move (fully) into a worldhopper. I'm thinking a story like how Khriss went from a protagainst in White Sand to a well known world hopper/scholar of the cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you'll see this eventually.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#42 Copy

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

Was Felt cosmere-aware during Era 1?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

Was he directly involved in the interplanetary trade through the Pits?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He was involved. Whether directly is the right term or not I will not say.

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

And is he part of the Seventeenth Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He has been a member of various different groups and had various different motivations over the years. I would not put him, right now, as a member of the Seventeenth Shard.

Khyrindor [PENDING REVIEW]

As in, like, Stormlight Archive...?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

As of Stormlight Archive Era: Not a member of the Seventeenth Shard. Obviously--well, I won't go any further on that.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#44 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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#47 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Nalthians seem to do a really good job of passing as Rosharan. Are they just better as disguising themselves, or do they naturally look like residents of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...Nalthians have some innate abilities that allow that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The hair, of course.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not just the hair.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#49 Copy

ethnicallyambiguous

You've said that while many of your books are interconnected "behind the scenes", you didn't want to put too much in the books themselves so readers didn't feel like they're missing information (HIGHLY paraphrased). Have your opinions changed on that given the size of your fanbase? When do you expect to have more crossover between worlds (as in major characters or plot points as opposed to cameos and subtle allusions)?

Brandon Sanderson

I still think that keeping this to less is going to be better. However, it's going to be tougher and tougher to keep them separate, logically. As the worlds advance and more and more people begin dabbling in crossing planets, the signs will compound. I still intend to keep it from the forefront. There will be an increasing amount of this, however.