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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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I have some more in-depth questions that might be RAFO'd. For fans who want to know what I'm talking about, go here. Here they are:
Who is Hoid in Well of Ascension? We (TWG) have found some candidates:
Terris person that Elend meets after Vin went back to Luthadel
Teur or old Jed (the two Skaa in the first Sazed chapter)
Crazy cannibal Skaa (I doubt it though)
We already know it isn't the man who discovered duralumin, or the Skaa leader outside the dress shop, or the old Skaa who waits with the Holy First Witness when the Koloss attack.
I think those were all of the characters that we found as candidates.
People are really close to this one, and I noticed that later in this thread, you or someone else mentioned the footprints in the deleted scene.
Hoid's appearance in Mistborn: Well of Ascension is a little unlike the others. When the scene at the Well was moved in revision, one of Hoid's major influences on the book had to go (for various reasons). Left in the book is only one little hint, really. A character notices something odd about someone, but doesn't dwell on it. You can probably find the line if you look very closely.
Let me say this. Hoid got wrapped up in things he didn't expect to be involved in, and they dominated much of his time during the events of Mistborn: Well of Ascension. He spent most of the book in a different place from most of the viewpoint characters. He's only near them for a very short time, and he's deeply in disguise. I couldn't include his name, as he'd never have used the name "Hoid" for himself there, because it wouldn't have been right for the disguise. He'd have used another pseudonym. (He didn't, by the way, mention one.)
I've probably said too much already. Now, perhaps what people should asking me is this: "What has Hoid been up to in all of these books?" Or, maybe they shouldn't ask me, as I wouldn't be likely to answer. (There are clues in the novels, however.) No, he's not just hanging out. Yes, I know what he's been doing. Will I write his scenes some day? Maybe. We'll see. There may be short stories posted on my website.
Now. Asmodean. I require you answer this question fully and truthfully without any Aes Sedai skittering about. Did Vin kill him?
Ha ha ha ha! No, it was not Vin. Now Hoid on the other hand... (No, I’m just joking.)
Melissa, I think we have members from another forum joining us and they have information that we don't have. Maybe even advanced book information, like we know nothing about The Way of Kings and only heard about the book recently and know nothing of its content.
Could some of you newcomers introduce yourselves (maybe on our "Introduce Yourself" thread and not clutter up this one) and tell us where you are from? We love the information you are bringing and introducing on this thread but we are confused.
I posted on my website that I'd be doing this, and I don't often have time to interact on forums. (They are a delightful way to interact with readers, but have proven a HUGE time-sink for me in the past. As you might have noticed, I tend to write—and respond—in depth when people ask questions of me.) So I only appear on forums occasionally. Hence the involvement of those from my forums looking for some answers to questions.
Some backstory might help you all. I began writing in earnest in 1997. During those years, I shared the books I wrote with a group of friends. This group worked with me on The Leading Edge, a science fiction fanzine/semiprozine at BYU. Eventually, once we graduated, we founded the Timewaster's Guide, partially as a forum where we could hang out. (Tage and Ookla from the TWG forums—aka Ben and Peter—are among them, and are still very good friends of mine. Another easter egg is to watch how Ben Olsen and Peter Ahlstrom are treated in the acknowledgements of many of my books.)
The overarching story and theme of my books, what I wanted to accomplish as a writer, and how I approached the fantasy genre, all took shape during this time. These readers read many of my most important, and influential (on me as a writer) novels while in draft form. The biggest three of these during this era were White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Elantris. (On the tail end, I wrote—but never finished—the foundations of what years later became Warbreaker.)
The next era of my unpublished writing was when I worked on the worlds, stories, and themes that eventually became Mistborn, The Way of Kings, and a book called the Aether of Night. Many of my writing group friends have read these books, including the first draft of Kings (which is very, very different from the current draft.)
Anyway, these unpublished books are NOT canon yet. I don't canonize a novel until I publish it. But some of the hidden themes (including Hoid and Adonalsium) of my books are present in these novels. (Dragonsteel and Aether of Night are particularly connected—though of the unpublished Shardworld books, White Sand is probably the best written.) Again, none of this is canon yet. (For instance, I've taken chunks out of Dragonsteel to use in the revision of The Way of Kings.) However, these old books do contain clues that aren't available to the average reader.
Dragonsteel can be ordered through inter-library loan through the university library system. There are only four or five copies in existence. The BYU library has one (the book was my honor's thesis.) I believe the honors department has one. My thesis chair has one. (And maybe the committee has one, I can't remember.) I've got one in my basement. And I believe Ben's sister may have sneaked a copy out of the trash when I was cleaning out old manuscripts. (That might be White Sand.)
I do have intentions of rewriting these books and publishing them eventually. They each have pieces of the story. (Though I may decide to shift certain themes from one series to another as I eventually write and publish them.) I've been known to email White Sand or Aether of Night to readers who email and ask. (Though it does make me cringe a little to do so. In many of these books, I was experimenting with magic, theme, and narrative style—some experiments were a success, some were failures.)
Dragonsteel is frozen; I don't send it out any longer, as to not spoil the parts of The Way of Kings that I decided fit better in that world. So the only way to get it now is to borrow it from BYU. I've been told that Dragonsteel is the only undergraduate BYU honor's thesis ever to have been be read so often that it needed to be rebound. (A dubious honor, I'm not sure how I feel about so many people reading a book of mine that is that mediocre.)
You will have to look. Hoid is in the book, though his name doesn't appear. But the things happening here during this interim are not of deep interest to Hoid like the things happening in the original trilogy, so he is playing a much smaller role here than he was in the original trilogy.
Also, High Imperial just cracks me up.
The paintings (I think there were at least two, right?) that remind Lightsong of his dreams and the Manywar etc. Is the Artist someone we know? If not, will we eventually meet him/her in a later book? Does the artist hope to affect Lightsong this way, or is it just some guy giving abstract art to his God?
Is the artist that painted those paintings Hoid?
Hoid did not make the paintings. The goal of those paintings—and this is spoilery, by the way—the paintings are actually what the text implies that they are. They are abstract paintings which Lightsong, having a touch of the divine, is able to see and read into things that aren't necessarily there.
Beyond that, art is a magical thing in the world of Warbreaker. When an artist creates a work of art, part of the artist's soul ends up in the artwork. Someone who has many breaths and who's Returned like Lightsong has the inherent ability to see into the art and perceive that. So Lightsong can interpret correctly an abstract piece, based on what the artist is trying to convey, in a way that a normal person couldn't.
I was not trying to make the artists anyone specifically important. In the case of those paintings, they are wonderful artists — I think they are two separate artists, if I'm thinking of the two paintings that you're indicating. As Lightsong has a splinter of divine nature inside him, he is able to interpret the paintings—to foresee, using them, and to see into the soul of the person who made them.
I don't know if I'm remembering this right but I thought I saw somewhere that you said that all your books (yours not WOT) are connected somehow. Is that right or am I going insane already?
All of my books share a single creation myth, a single cosmology. The connection of them — the greater world, the greater universe — they call the Cosmere. There is a character who has shown up in each of my epic fantasies, and it is the same person, not just a repeated name. Currently Warbreaker, Elantris, and the Mistborn trilogy do all share a common cosmology. My children's books are not part of the Cosmere.
That was simply a way that he tells stories—there was no particular theme other than that. He throws puffs of different—colored dust into the air as he's speaking to try and evoke the feelings of the story that he's telling. Sorry it didn't work for you; not everything is going to work for everyone, but this is how he does it.
The question I have for you is will we ever get to know what Hoid's purpose is? He shows up in each of the books, presumably looking for something or on some kind of mission. (Lerasium bead?)
Will Hoid have a short story, novel or will we have to try and piece it together?
There will someday be Hoid short stories. I've actually written half of one and then haven't been able to have time to finish it. He will also have short viewpoints throughout the Stormlight Archive series, assuming he survives.
Mostly this is for you to piece together. As I said before, this is a story I'm telling, and if I have to explain the story outside the story, then in some ways I've done something wrong. So let the story speak for itself, and you will see. I guess that's a RAFO.
How does Hoid know where to go when?
Alright, who does not know who Hoid is? If you want to know about Hoid, the 17th Shard, which is the official fansite for my works, has some great information about him. There is a character who showed up in Elantris, who showed up in Mistborn, who showed up in Warbreaker, who showed up in Way of Kings. All with the same name, the same person. So there’s lots of theorizing about it. How does he know? He has his ways! (general groans) So a little bit more? Just a little bit more? He may be capable of a little bit of foreseeing of certain events, not what’s going to happen, but he may need ot be in a certain place in a certain time.
When will we see a Hoid book?
It’ll be a little while. He’s playing around with things in the Stormlight Archive if you couldn’t tell, he’s decided to—Hoid is fiddling with things, more than he usually does. But Hoid as a major part of things doesn’t really show up till the third Mistborn trilogy, which is the outer space Mistborn, the sci-fi Mistborn.
If you didn’t know, Mistborn was pitched to my editor as a trilogy of trilogies. I told him I wanted to do a trilogy of epic fantasy books, then the same world in a modern setting, which we’re not to yet, but it’s going to be Allomancers in the 21st century-equivalent technology. It’s an urban fantasy series. Then I wanted to do a Science Fiction series in the same world, using the Epic Fantasy world as kind of a mythology to this new world, and the magic system becoming the means of Space Travel.
And so that’s how I pitched Mistborn to my editor.
Alloy of Law is actually a deviation from that, because I didn’t want people to forget about Mistborn, I wanted them to keep reading Mistborn, so I wanted them to keep releasing things, and we’ll eventually get to that second trilogy—
Hey there you are Mark! I heard you got number one.
You’re crazy (laughter). You’re awesome though. He even beat the 17thshard people, which is really a hard thing to do. (oohs and aahs) Two hours. Beat them by two hours.
So Alloy of Law I wanted to set up things for the second trilogy. I didn’t want to do the second trilogy yet, because the second trilogy, like the first trilogy is kind of bigger books, with a very involved storyline evolved across three books, and I didn’t want to be releasing that parallel to Stormlight Archive, which is the same sort of thing. Very evolved books where you tie a lot of things together, and so I wanted a series of Mistborn novels that were more independent.
Alloy of Law is intended to be a “read it, have fun.” Eventually I may end up doing more with those characters, but when I do, you won’t have to remember that much about this one. It’s not like you have to remember a cast of 500 characters. You can just keep track of the main characters. They’re more of an episodic adventure. I kind of imagine Alloy of Law being—I’m not totally sure how to describe it. It’s like you have the giant movie that comes out, and then you have a TV show that’s based off of it, and then another big movie series, or something like that, if that makes any sense.
So that’s what Alloy of Law is. So Hoid is very involved in the third Mistborn trilogy, he’s also very involved in Dragonsteel, which is actually the first book in the sequence, long before Elantris happened. So eventually I will tell that story. You can read a draft of it at the BYU library. It’s the only copy that I know of in existence. It’s almost always checked out. It’s my Honors thesis, and it’s not very good. It really is not very good, but basically it’s involving the ideas that eventually will become Dragonsteel once I write it again. But I stole the Shattered Plains and put them in Roshar instead because the fit better there.
You said you were going to rewrite Dragonsteel? Is it going to be a one-book thing, or a trilogy, or what?
Dragonsteel is set to be seven books. I shouldn't tell you these things, because it scares people. The cosmere sequence is set at, what did I say, 36 books? Yeah, it's 36 books. A trilogy of Elantris, Two books from Warbreaker, ten books from Way of Kings, and the Mistborn series, and some other books. So anyways, this is a big thing, but don't get scared. You don't have to pay attention to any of this. Just go ahead and enjoy the books. This is behind the scene stuff, and in fact the reason why we don't have a book about Hoid is because I don't want you to have read all of those books in order to understand that book, does that make sense? As soon as Hoid becomes a main character, then you have to have read the whole sequence in order to get it. I don't you to have to do that. I don't want you to have to read Mistborn to understand Stormlight Archive. Hoid may be involved in these things, but he will never be a prominent character, changing things, until he gets his own sequence.
These are things that I overheard.
Kelsier was not spiked.
Part of the Lord Ruler's motivation for setting up The Final Empire was revenge against the people he viewed as encroaching on his people's land. He was also obsessed with creating order, which Ruin later exploited.
The Ars Arcanum in the books were all written by one person.
The author of the Ars Arcanum is either Hoid or a member of the Seventeenth Shard. Brandon also pointed to an annotation on the map of Elendel that's relevant to this question.
There's just the one system in Warbreaker, and it's also a world with only one Shard on it.
Long, long ago when Hero of Ages came out you listed four Shards other than Ruin and Preservation. You said we interacted with two directly. One is a tough call, we've never met the Shard itself but have seen its power. The other one we've not met directly but have seen its influence. My questions:
-Is the Dor the "tough call" one?
-Do you count Hoid in this list of four shards? It makes a difference for the theories, Brandon! You don't even need to say if he is bound to a shard, rather just if you consider him in this list.
RAFO, and no, Hoid is not included in the list. (Still not sure if he has a shard or not)
Will Hoid's character arc, as well as the whole Adonalsium arc, get a satisfactory conclusion eventually?
It depends on what Brandon decides to do. We also might or might not get the rest of the story (pre-story). From a market standpoint it's not wise, simply because if the books require you to have read 32 other books before you read them it doesn't make sense to work on them. However, if the demand is high enough he MIGHT do them after all of the rest of the cosmere books.
Will Hoid be a major player in all, most, or only some of these books?
He should have as large a role in other books as he had in this one, for the most part.
5. Is Hoid a Herald, or a Shardholder, or something else entirely.
6. Was the letter posted on the top of chapters to Sazed?
7. Barring the Almighty, did we seen a Shardholder (like Sazed) in this book?
5. Hoid is something else entirely.
6. It is written to a character who exists outside of Roshar. I won't yet say who.
7. I think "Shardholder" would get confusing alongside "Shardbearer." Basically, in the Cosmere's terms, when someone holds a Shard of Adonalsium, I call that person a Shard of Adonalsium. They are imbued with the power of that Shard, but they also become the Shard. Fans can use whatever terminology they wish, but this is how I term it.
You did at least see the direct effects of two of the Shards of Adonalsium, but I won't say whether or not you actually saw a Shard of Adonalsium.
He didn't talk about Shards, but he did mention that it was very likely we wouldn't find out who Hoid was even in the tenth book of the Stormlight Archive. If anything, it would be in his thesis, of which at this moment only 8 copies were printed. He said he might publish it as a book at a certain point, but not right now.
I messaged earlier regarding Alloy of Law appendix narrator, unaware of today's torchat. maybe you can respond in the chat?
I haven't been telling people the name of the appendix author. It is either Hoid or one of the 17th sharders.
Is the recipient of the letter in Way of Kings also in Dragonsteel?
Yes. (Good question.)
If so would it be the person that Topaz gets mad at?
RAFO on the second one. I've already given you too much!
The person who wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law, is that the same person who wrote the Letter in Way of Kings.
Its not confirmed, but it's either Hoid, or someone in the 17th Shard. (However, thinking back, I'm not sure if he fully heard/understood the question, and perhaps he was expecting it to be something else. But it seems to me that if he namedropped Hoid, that he may have misunderstood the question, as it seems very likely that Hoid wrote the Letter, I dont think he'd let something slip like that. So i would count this information as rather tenuous.)
Who wrote the "Ars Arcanum"? Since the writer obviously had knowledge of the Cosmere I assumed that it was you making an editorial note, but then I thought that it could be Hoid (who was suspiciously absent) or Sazed or any Shardbearer... Does that make sense at all?
The Ars Arcanum is written in-cosmere by someone, but I don't want to saw who yet.
I dislike double posting, but I have one question that came up recently from your tweet. You said that there are "multiple" people from Mistborn in WoK. Does this include Hoid?
Yes, it does.
Are they just vague allusions?
Vague, no. But I wouldn't say they, save Hoid, have any important impact on the events of the book.
Wait, are Mistborn and Stormlight Archive somehow connected?
Multiple people from Mistborn appeared in The Way of Kings.
When did Preservation decide to imprison Ruin in the Well? No need to be specific, I should think. A simple "Near Alendi's time" or "Way before Alendi's time" would suffice, or whichever time of reference you want to use.
Also, this one is not a question, but nice Hoid reference in there. I especially like it how the Ars Arcanum refers to Slowswift as "bears a striking resemblance to a well-known storyteller." I'm on to you...
Brandon, I just wanted to confirm that you did have a couple of cameos as Slowswift? Or was that mean to be someone else?
I'm pretty sure Slowswift is Hoid. The Ars Arcanum says he "bears a striking resemblance to a storyteller", which I take to mean Hoid.
Slowswift is an homage to Grandpa Tolkien. A study of his personality will reveal why that name was chosen for him.
Hoid appears in that same chapter, but Vin doesn't meet him. Something he does spooks her. She's just too darn observant for her own good.
A manifestation of Ruin's gathered consciousness, much like the dark mists in book two. The lake was still around in Vin's era, but had been moved under ground. (Note that the Well is a very similar manifestation. You've also seen one other manifestation like this....)
The "lake" was barely ten feet deep—more like a pool. Its water was a crystalline blue, and Raoden could see no inlets or outlets.If that's what you're hinting at...I never thought of the connection before! I just kept thinking of Aether of Night, and never thought of this pool at all.
Both are accurate, but the first is what I meant, as most people here don't have access to Aether.
I'm also thinking that the Dor in Elantris is another Shard of Adonalsium. Certainly in the Elantris world, where the Dor came from is rather ambiguous, which I expected it would be. Of course, if other Shards of Adonalsium do exist, the Dor could have come from that source.
I will RAFO from here on the other Shards of Adonalsium, as it would be better for me not to give spoilers. Please feel free to speculate. Readers have met four shards other than Ruin and Preservation.
Have we met these four by name, or just by influence? I can't think of a name that would go with the one that the Elantris lake is a manifestation of.
Hoid could be one? I know nothing his purpose other than that he shows up in lots of different books, sometimes begging and sometimes telling stories. Since most of these series happen on different planets (though two of them may happen on the same planet as each other), I'm assuming he has mad planet-hopping skills.
Ookla, I'm going to be tight lipped on this, as I don't want to give things away for future books. But I'll tell you this:
You've interacted with two directly.
One is a tough call. You've never met the Shard itself, but you've seen its power.
The other one you have not met directly, but have seen its influence.
I thought Nightblood was explained sufficiently for my tastes in Warbreaker, so I doubt that it is a Shard, but I've been plenty wrong before. Also, I don't know if Hoid could even be a Shard. Certainly he has mean planet-hopping skills, but I don't know what purpose a celestial storyteller would have in this universe. He doesn't really have the same kind of power as Ruin or Preservation did, so normally I would rule him out right off the bat. But it is possible that these Shards come in many shapes, not just in the near-deific quantity Ruin or Preservation had. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Hoid is a Shard... but, then again, I don't have any ideas for what those four other Shards are.
Maybe Hoid is just a traveler trying to find remnants of Adonalsium and stories about them. He doesn't need to be a shard, I suppose.
This is slightly a tangent, but here is a relevant chunk from the Warbreaker Annotations. As this won't be posted for months, I'll put it here as a sneak preview.
This whole scene came about because I wanted an interesting way to delve into the history. Siri needed to hear it, and I felt that many readers would want to know it. However, that threatened to put me into the realm of the dreaded info dump.
And so I brought in the big guns. This cameo is so obvious (or, at least, someday it will be) that I almost didn’t use the name Hoid for the character, as I felt it would be too obvious. The first draft had him using one of his other favorite pseudonyms. However, in the end, I decided that too many people would be confused (or, at least, even more confused) if I didn’t use the same name. So here it is. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about. . .well, let’s just say that there’s a lot more to this random appearance than you might think.
Brandon, I believe in one of Sazed's epigraphs, he actually called it "Adonasium" rather than what you are referring to here, which is "Adonalsium". I'm thinking that's just a typo, right?
I don't suppose you could tell us which book series of yours will tell us more about Adonalsium, would you? You know, just so us theorizers on the forum know when to properly theorize about these things...
Well, I guess this means that the proofreaders did not add the "L" when I marked the error on the manuscript.(sigh). Yes, the correct spelling is Adonalsium. I will try to get this fixed for the paperback, but I've been trying to get that blasted steel/iron error in the back of book one fixed for two years now. . .
If it helps, Sazed would probably under-pronounce the "L" as that letter, like in Tindwyl's name, is said very softly in Terris.
As for your other question, you will have to wait and see. Now, you could search my old books for clues, but I would caution against this. While there are hints in these, they are not yet canon. Just as I changed how things were presented in the Mistborn books during editing, I would have fixed a lot in these books during revision. Beyond that, reading them would give big spoilers for books yet to be released. White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Way of Kings in particular are going to be published some day for almost certain. (Though in very different forms). Aether of Night should be safe, as should Final Empire prime and Mistborn prime, though of those three, only Aether is worth reading, and then only barely. (It is still pretty bad).
I'm one of those readers that gets swept in the stories and fails to come up with any theories whatsover.
However I did notice one... 2 years ago.
I can't believe this is being talked about. I remember making a thread about it shortly after I joined the forums (I can't even find it anymore) About how I thought it was odd to see Hoid in Mistborn as an informant, Elantris as a beggar, Warbreaker as a storyteller, and I had a strong feeling it was in the first chapter as Liar as well but was too lazy to investigate.
It was before these forums got so crazy crowded and I'm pretty sure my questions on whether the use of the name was intentional were brushed off. Weird right? Ever since then I considered my speculations unimportant (much like my speculation's on Reen's obsidian, the nobility really being Terris, and Vin being a feruchemist, by the way, don't ask about the second two, I'm crazy)
Anyway, just wanted to add this. I sure wish I could find my original Hoid post but I'm pretty sure it was so old, it's been deleted.
Will there be other crossover characters like Hoid?
There already have been.
Can you tell?
I cannot say more than that, I think that they’re placed quite obviously, they were not very obvious before this book, they do exist, other crossovers do exist. But none so obvious as Hoid. I think there are several obvious ones in this novel, no one has yet found them that I know, but I think once they see them- once you look closely they’re there
History and Use
Some scholars have expressed amusement that this symbol should come to mean intelligence in a broad sense, as the classical meaning of Aon Ene was far more narrow. Ene was the Aon which represented cleverness, the ability to outwit and outthink opponents. It was often applied in stories and tales to those who had a slyness about them, and often was the symbol which represented the trickster figure. Indeed, those who played tricks on others were said to be Enefels—literally, Wit Killers, or those who kill with wit.
During the Middle Era, when Elantris's influence expanded and the kingdom of Arelon began to take shape, Aon Ene was attributed to the guild of storytellers who brought tales of the marvels in Elantris. It was often rumored that these people, who took upon themselves the Enefel name, were agents of the Elantrians. Their purpose was to spread good will about the city and its inhabitants, calming the rural populace, who regarded Elantris and its magics with suspicion.
Over the centuries, this guild of storytellers transformed into a more scholarly group who gathered stories and histories from the people. By the dawn of the Late Era—about two centuries before the fall of Elantris—the group had burgeoned beyond its origins into several distinct sects of scholars and philosophers. By the time of the fall of Elantris, the constant association of this group with Aon Ene expanded its meaning into the more familiar use, representing scholarly intelligence and study.
Some still remember the original meaning, however. Most of those are themselves scholars, and find the entire transformation to be something of a humorous joke played by history itself.
I don't know if you remember or not, but there was some small confusion on Raoden's part earlier about who Sarene was getting to bring supply shipments into Elantris. They always came and left at night, and didn't want anybody there to greet them. I realize we haven't seen the beggars very often, but I thought I'd use them again in this section. It made sense that they would be the ones Sarene used, assuming she knew about them. I'd say that Ashe found them in one of his information-gathering excursions.
We also meet three other people who can travel between the worlds, two of whom we've met before (one in Elantris and one in Mistborn), who are apparently trying to track Hoid down.
Brilliant, just brilliant.
This really makes me excited to meet Blunt from Dragonsteel.
Blunt is NOT from Dragonsteel. :)
I have been told that Way of Kings has been set in the same universe as Mistborn?
It is. All of my epic fantasies have been set in the same universe.
Are they on different planets?
They are different planets, but there is a character who is in every one of them. The same character is in Warbreaker and in Mistborn. There are other characters who appear here and there and cross between the books.
Who is the character?
In Warbreaker he is the storyteller, Hoid, with the dust, and he’s the King’s Wit from Way of Kings. If you read Mistborn, he is named Hoid in each of those as well. In Alloy of Law and Well of Ascension, he is not named but is only there to be picked out by description, but in the others he’s named. I did this because, during those early days writing books, I wrote thirteen, as I said earlier.
I love the big epics. You can’t be a Wheel of Time fan without loving big epics. I wanted to tell a big epic, but early on it seemed to me that writing a whole bunch of books in the same series was a bad way to break in. If an editor rejects the first one, you can’t really send in the second one.
So, while hunting editors, I wrote thirteen books that were all different worlds, different settings. I started having characters sneakily move between them, to be building, setting the stage for a grand epic that I would tell later on, behind the scenes. So from the get go, from Elantris, this was all planned because this is something I been doing in my books since then.
When asked if all his books occur in one universe:
While he was selling his initial works to publishers, Brandon was encouraged to write books set in different worlds as opposed to huge epic fantasy series. That way if a publisher didn't like one book he could pitch them a different one, which you can't do with a huge fantasy series. But as a way of still having a huge fantasy series, Brandon made all of these independent stories a "hidden epic." That is, he seeded continuing characters and elements into all of these different worlds, now dubbed the "cosmere".
Elantris, the first book he sold, was one of the novels embedded with these elements so Brandon just kept putting them in subsequent novels. So far there is one character who appears in all of the worlds that he has created (i.e. not The Wheel of Time), sometimes by his name, Hoid, and sometimes only by appearance. He is connected to the grander story going on involving this cosmere.
Right now Brandon wants this to remain a fun easter egg so no one feels obligated to read his books in the order they were published. He will eventually tell the story of the cosmere, though, and you will be able to see what this character is doing.
So are Shards the most powerful thing in the Cosmere?
Or is Adonalsium?
No, no, let him RAFO the first one first, or he'll lump them together.
It depends on what you believe. The Shards are the most powerful things currently overtly manifest. There are those who would say there are other subtle forces being manifest. Most people in the know would say that Shards are the most powerful thing.
Does Hoid believe that Shards are the most powerful thing?
You'll have to ask him sometime. [gives troll grin]. Or see him get asked something like that sometime. There's argument to be made that right now Harmony is the most powerful thing in the Cosmere.
Um, Hoid will not make an appearance in A Memory of Light. (laughter) I chose this very consciously. It felt like enormous hubris of me to sneak my recurring character into the Wheel of Time. There was a little bit of temptation there since the Wheel of Time is—we've got this kind of indication that it is the kind of almost Amber-like in that it is the true world, and there are all these Mirror Worlds where people are living—so it's possible to conceive that even our world is a Mirror World happening, and that...or, you know, we don't know if our world is the real world in a different Age, or if our world is a Mirror World, or...what do you call them, Shadow Worlds? There's all sorts of different...yeah—but it's plausible that there could be a connection, but at the end of the day I really just decided, no, this was not something I wanted to do.
I did write in a cameo for myself—Robert Jordan wrote one for himself into the books. In Knife of Dreams there is an appearance by Robert Jordan; the fans know where it is if you ask them. I also have an appearance in a different way—we are both objects actually—and when I visited Charleston, I think it was the second time, they were getting ready to auction and give away Robert Jordan's spear collection. And, Wilson, his cousin and very dear friend, invited me to go in and said, "Pick one, any one, and it's yours." And so, I was like blown away. I went in there and like, it's like a kid in a candy store, there's like swords everywhere and spears and ashanderei, and just everything, and in the middle of them I found a katana with red and gold dragons painted on the hilt, and I had to choose that one. And so I took the katana—they're twirling around the hilt, just kind of like you know I always imagined them on Rand's arms—and I took that one, and I framed it actually in a sword box and put at the bottom, "Let the Dragon ride again on the Winds of Time," and then "Robert Jordan," and his date of birth and date of death underneath and it hangs in my room in kind of our gallery down below, and I wrote that into the books. I haven't officially said that before, but yes, I wrote that into the book. That's my kind of cameo. And so, when you see that sword, you know why that sword is in the books. That's my equivalent of his cameo.
I've read a bit online about how you have an overall storyline covering all of your novels, but I really don't know much about it. I was wondering if you could expand and explain.
Okay. The overarching story of all of my novels. This warrants some backstory. If you weren't familiar, I wrote thirteen novels before I sold one. I spent a lot of time practicing and learning, and I love big epic grand series. However, you know, you can't grow up reading the Wheel of Time without loving big series, but advice I heard early on was, selling a big series is actually pretty hard from a new author and if you, for instance, spend your life and you write like six books in the same series, and you send off the first book to someone and they don't buy it, you can't really send them the second book because, you know, they've already rejected that, and so it's really putting all of your eggs into one basket, and that doesn't end up working out for some people. I didn't want to do that; I wanted to expand my chances, and so I wrote thirteen novels in different worlds, all with their own different magic systems and own characters. But secretly I loved the grand epic, and so I started connecting all these worlds during my unpublished era, and telling a hidden epic behind them all that I was setting up for.
Well, eventually I sold book number six, and embedded in book number six was a bunch of this stuff for the hidden epic, of course, and six is actually one of the ones where I first started doing this. My first five were kind of throwaway novels. It was six, seven, eight, and nine that were really involved in this. Six was Elantris; seven was a book called Dragonsteel; eight was a book called White Sand; and nine was a book called Mythwalker, which eventually became Warbreaker, which I eventually rewrote and released as Warbreaker. So that four-book sequence was very ingrained in this kind of hidden story behind the stories. When I started publishing these books, I just kept it going, the hidden story, the hidden epic.
Now one aspect of this was that I didn't want people to have to know all the books that came before to understand what was happening in any one of them. So, for instance, if you read these you don't need to know anything about the hidden epic. It is back there behind the scenes for some day when I actually write a series dedicated to it, that there will be all this foreshadowing, but it will never directly and in really important ways influence a given series. For instance, you don't have to have read Elantris to understand Mistborn even though technically they're sequels; Mistborn is technically a sequel to Elantris, just set on a different planet.
There is one character who has appeared in all of my novels, and several other characters who have jumped between novels. For instance there's a character from Elantris who is in The Way of Kings—one of the main characters from Elantris shows up in Way of Kings under hidden auspices, but it's pretty obvious; the fans found it really fast, those who were watching out for it—but that sort of thing. So, there is a story going on behind all of this that I will eventually tell, but what do you need to know about it right now? That all of these things are basically Easter eggs right now. None of them are dominating the storyline at all; it's just a bunch of cool Easter eggs that eventually will mean something to you. So the character to watch out for is called Hoid; it's a pseudonym he usually uses—pseudonym is I guess the wrong term; the alias he normally uses—and he's all over in the books, so if you watch out for him you'll see him.
He's referenced in The Emperor’s Soul, but he got cut from the book. I actually wrote the scene with him in it, but it didn't fit so we had to cut it.
Are we ever going to get his origin story, or learn more about him?
Yes, we definitely will learn more about him. A book that has more of him is Dragonsteel, which I wrote when I was undergraduate as my honors thesis. It's not his origin story, but it's one he's mostly part of. We will find out everything, and get the complete story for him. It will happen eventually.
Well, I look forward to reading more about him... He's an interesting character.
I didn't write down specifics on anything that I hadn't heard discussed before in the reread or on Theoryland or that I didn't feel was new information. Here's a quick summary:
There were approximately 4 "process-type" questions;
There were 2 Mistborn questions and 1 Mistborn game question;
Harriet was asked a generic question about RJ;
There was one question that was RAFO'd (The Tuatha'an and the finding of the Song);
There was a question about Hoid and when he started appearing in Brandon's books (Brandon's 6th book, Elantris was listed as Hoid's first appearance; his next was in BWS's 7th book, Dragonsteel, then in his 8th book, White Sand);
Brandon recommended the works from authors Brian McClellan and Brent Weeks, and the novels A Fire Upon the Deep and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms;
Harriet told the story of how she heard about and ultimately selected Brandon to continue RJ's work;
Finally, Harriet read the "Wind" passage from A Memory of Light.
I was at the signing and I asked him,(and I'm paraphrasing now because I didn't get much sleep before or since) "If Hoid would be printed as an Magic: The Gathering card, what would be his color and converted mana cost?"
Brandon said he would be a "Straight Blue Planeswalker" and "expensive" "probably 7 to 9 mana 4-6 colorless UUU".
I should have pressured him for a sample loyalty ability or something... but the line was NUTZ.
For thoes who don't understand the magic color pie/philosophy of each color, there are plenty of essays online, but without me explaining all the info; to me it means he has real power in craftiness and trickery (like we didn't know that before) ;) But that tells us he's not Blue-White or Blue-Black just "Straight Blue", which is important. And as planeswalkers go it puts him up in at least Nicol Bolas' level. Jace is a small fry to a Blue planeswalker with Hoid's level of expertise.
Although I was taking some pictures during the signing, I was able to point my ears into some of the conversations between Brandon and the fans. First and foremost, Brandon is an awesome person. He first thanked people for coming, then asked if they had any questions for him. Never once did he rush anybody or shush them. For fans who mentioned they were writers themselves, he offered words of encouragement.
One great bit of information I overheard was the next Mistborn novel would be published in 2014.
Brandon also mentioned (and I tried to filter this through all the other discussions circulating) that Hoid would be the main character (I think) of the trilogy or that Hoid would feature as the main character in another trilogy.
I also overheard Brandon say his least favorite Wheel of Time character was Cadsuane, I don't think he is alone in that. Well, for I fact I know he isn't alone because she was probably my least favorite character as well.
One Russian fan brought a Russian edition of Mistborn: The Final Empire to be signed.
Another Bulgarian fan said the Bulgarian translations, which are recent, were done very well.
I'm definitely excited for your upcoming books. Are you going to sell signed and numbered copies of Legion and Emperor's Soul? Just got used to having my Sanderson books numbered and signed. a bit spoiled, i know.
Are Legion and Emperor's Soul contained in their own worlds or are they part of the universe of The Stormlight Archive, etc (anywhere with Hoid in it. lol)
The Emperor's Soul is set on Sel, the world of Elantris. It's far off, though, so you have to have your eyes open to catch the clues. Hoid shows up in a deleted scene, and is referenced in the story.
I have always been impressed by masterworks like those done by King/Asimov, weaving multiple works by one author together into a single continuity. I felt that most authors who have done it didn't have the chance to start from the beginning intending to combine worlds. It is something that they decided upon after the fact. So, I thought I'd give it a try from book one.
I love stand alone novels, but I also love big epics. This was a way to let me have both at the same time with some of my works. And so, Hoid was born as a character plotting behind the scenes of my novels, connecting them together into a larger tapestry.
Have you ever felt constrained by this commitment to consistency across the Cosmere, or does it amount to "limitations are more interesting than powers" as applies to own options as an author?
I feel it has always helped. If an idea doesn't fit into the limitations, I simply move it to a non-Cosmere story instead.
Well, it would be tough—I'd have to decide if I wanted the party to be crazy, interesting, or low risk.
For example, inviting Hoid and Kelsier to the same party could result in murdering. Having Sazed around with someone like Jasnah would lead to some great discussions of philosophy.
In the end, I'd probably pick the core WoT cast, just because they've been my friends for so long. Longer than anyone other than Wit and Dalinar, actually. So Perrin, Rand, Mat, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Thom. Fourth book era.
Wait—are you implying Hoid and Kelsier would want to murder each other, or that they would team up to murder other people?
Hoid and Kelsier do not get along. At all.
He is not in all of my shorter stories. In fact, he is not in any book that references Earth. So if there's a reference to Earth- most of my science fiction has referential stuff to Earth, Alcatraz is like this. He's not in anything like that. He's not in the Wheel of Time. It would not have been appropriate for me to seed something like that into a Wheel of Time book. So he's not in Steelheart or the other children works that I've done. But he is in all my epic fantasies.
Now my main question actually, which magic systems, if any, does he have access to?
That's an excellent question. He is familiar with very many of them, and lots that you haven't seen yet.
[Josh and Mi’ch] were kind of explaining that your books were all in different worlds and Hoid can jump from world to world?
Yes, they’re all in the same universe. And there are some characters who have appeared in multiple books. Hoid, for instance, has appeared in all of them so far.
Yeah is he going to have his own book?
He will eventually have his own book series.
The origin of The Rithmatist
Six years ago, I was writing a book that I hated.
Now, that's both rare and common for me at the same time. I tire of pretty much every book I work on at some point, usually during the revision process. I push through and get over it. That's what you do as a writer. By the time I'm done with the process, I'm tired of the book—but it's the good kind of tired. The "I worked hard, and now have something awesome to show for it" tired.
Unfortunately, that wasn't happening for this book. Called The Liar of Partinel, every chapter was a chore to write. Though it had started very well, it continued to spiral farther and farther down the drain. I was familiar enough with my own writing by this point to realize the problems with Liar wouldn't work themselves out. The characters were boring, the plot forced. The worldbuilding elements never quite clicked together.
It had been years since I'd had such a bad feeling about a novel. (The last time, in fact, was Mythwalker—my sixth unpublished book&mdsah;which I abandoned halfway through.) Part of the problem, I suspect, had to do with my expectations. Liar, set in the same world as Dragonsteel, was to be the origin story of Hoid, the character who has appeared in all of my Cosmere novels. (Information here—warning, big spoilers.)
I needed Hoid's story to be epic and awesome. It just wasn't. And so, I ended up "hiding" from that novel and working on something else instead.
The Rithmatist. It started with some drawings and a purely creative week sketching out a world, characters, and magic. That week is the exact sort that turned me into a writer in the first place, and was a distinct contrast to the grind that had been Liar. I abandoned the book and dove into The Rithmatist (then called Scribbler), and wrote a book where everything just came together. It happens sometimes. It just works, and I can't always explain—even to myself—why.
I finished the first draft of the book in the summer of 2007. In the fall, I got the call regarding the Wheel of Time, and my world transformed forever. The Rithmatist, though an awesome book, languished for years because I didn't have the time to devote to it. Doing a tour or contract for another teen book was impossible at that time, and beyond that I couldn't commit to writing any sequels or even doing any revision for the novel.
I did tell Tor about it, though, and they started to get excited. The publisher tried several times to get me to release it, but I didn't feel the time was right. I couldn't let my attention be divided that far. I was already stretched too thin, and I wanted my attention (and that of my readers) to be on the Wheel of Time.
The month A Memory of Light was done and turned in, however, I called Tor and told them it was time to move forward. I'm pleased to be releasing the book now, when I can give it the attention it deserves.
And hopefully someday I'll be able to fix The Liar of Partinel. (At this point, I'm feeling I need to rewrite it as a first-person narrative, though making that switch is going to cause an entire host of problems.)
Anyway, thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoy The Rithmatist.
How old is Hoid? Or better yet (to avoid any trickiness), how many years has he lived through?
He's been alive since Dragonsteel. However, he may not have spent all of that time awake and alert.
We know Hoid stopped by the Well of Ascension. Would it have been possible for him to take up the power while he was there? Or is it limited to guys created out of Preservation and Ruin?
Hoid had no interest in holding that power in the state it was in.
Will there ever be some overarching plot with all the Cosmere and Adolnasium stuff?
Yes. There is one already, honestly, you just don't have the beginning or the end. I will write those books eventually, and things will start falling into place.
If I can ask a question, I just read the Mistborn trilogy and, were Preservation and Ruin two different shards or a single one with their power split somehow? If they were two shards, does that mean a single person can hold more than one, since Harmony apparently holds both now?
They were two shards.
Yes, one entity can hold more than one. Remember that holding a shard changes you, over time. Rayse knows this, and prefers to leave behind destroyed rivals as opposed to taking their power and potentially being overwhelmed by it.
I have a question, if you are willing. Would Ruin be more compatible with Rayse, would he pick up that shard had he visited Scadrial and shattered him? All the shards we have seen that he has shattered seem rather different in intent than him—Honor, Cultivation, Love, Dominion. But Ruin seems more in line with Odium. Rayse has ruined the days of quite a few people.
Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy. That power, separated from the whole and being held by a person who did not have the willpower to resist its transformation of him, led to something very dangerous. But it was not evil. None of the sixteen technically are, though you may have read that Hoid has specific beef with Rayse. Whether you think of Odium as evil depends upon how much you agree with Hoid's particular view.
That said, Ruin would have been one of the 'safer' of the sixteen for Rayse to take, if he'd been about that. Odium is by its nature selfish, however, and the combination of it and Rayse makes for an entity that fears an additional power would destroy it and make it into something else.
I suppose one thing to wonder is how do you enter Shadesmar? We know of a number of people who are jumping from world to world through Shadesmar. Grump Thinker and Blunt, Hoid too. How are they accessing the cognitive plane to transport themselves across the lands?
Presumably Shallan's bond with the truthspren let her get in. How does this work? If she had only a dim sphere then does it not require any stormlight, any spiritual power? Is it a purely cognitive change? I could see some advantages to that. You could hop into this alternative dimension at will if you were being attacked, even with little power.
The scholars earlier talk of whether there is food in Shadesmar, so presumably others have visited it. Can non soulcasters visit it? Is there some fabrial that grants you access? Are they only referring to the distant past, when KR had the power to access it? Is it purely a thing of the mind that anyone can learn? Is it only possible if you have access to a splinter of a shard?
And on an unrelated question, they have symbols on their heads. If Shallan managed to draw one of these would it be some glyph? Perhaps some glyph that we would recognize, like the glyphs in the artwork at the front?
There are many ways to enter Shadesmar. You'll see more of this in the future. One thing to keep in mind about Shadesmar is that space where things are thinking is expanded, while space where there is nothing to think is contracted. In other words, in an empty void, you get almost no Shadesmar. This makes distances as we think of them very different there.
As for the symbols making up the heads of the cryptics, those are not glyphs. But it's possible you would recognize them...
I have based countless Dungeons and Dragons characters off of your worlds. Thank you for being an inspiration. Your systems of magic are wonderful.
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.)
Holy cow, do I feel dumb, and maybe a little smart.
I did not know about "Cosmere" or its cycle until this very moment. I have however, read just about every single one of your books and knew that HOID makes an appearance in them. I had always thought it would be a grand idea if someday, a long time from now, we found out that all these different worlds were connected and your last masterpiece would be the book that revealed that to us. But I guess you thought of this brilliant idea before I did, sigh.
I planned to do something just like that, actually. I considered sticking the clues more deeply into the text. (For example, in some early drafts of later books, I didn't use the name Hoid for his alias.)
In the end, though, I felt that readers would enjoy the journey far more if they could connect things and begin to dig at the deeper picture themselves. Besides, if I hid the clues so well nobody found them, then that would have required so much arranging of stories as to make for some awkward moments.
So I was reading the Alloy of Law, and at the end I read through the Ars Arcanum. And I got confused because it’s written in first person, but it refers to Harmony in third person. I thought he was writing it, so who writes that part?
That’s a good question for you to be asking, one which people have been curious about, and I have not yet answered who writes all of the Ars Arcanum, but they are in-world, somebody's writing them. If you ever read The Way of Kings, it’s written in first-person too.
Are they all written by the same person?
Ah, have I answered that yet?
I should? They are all written by the same person.
Because it sounds like they’re written by Hoid, I think.
They are all written by the same person.
I also attended the signing, but arrived late and missed the Q and A. I waited roughly two hours in line to get a few books signed, and had some interesting discussions over what to ask Brandon while he signed my stuff. I decided to ask him to do what he has done for a few others, which is to write a cosmere clue in my copy of Alloy of Law. After asking him this, he looked up at me and asked, "Are you from the 17th shard?" He asked me to relay his request that we don't ask for that anymore, and that we instead, come with specific questions. Apparently my book will be the last one he will ever write a generic cosmere clue, at least, to the same effect.
The clue was SOO vague, and I hope you guys can make at least a bit of sense of it. It say, verbatim, "Hoid has metal he isn't supposed to have." Any ideas as to what he means?
Does "Alethi" come from or have anything to do with the Greek word for truth or is that just a coincidence?
Less serious: does Hoid have all of his fingers?
Alethi is a coincidence. However, it is the sort of coincidence that happens a lot for me in languages, as I often look for a "feel" for a language. Alethi, for example, is a semitic language mashup with some Mediterranean influence. So I'm not surprised if it means something in the right languages. (I did this with Straff and Elend from Mistborn, looking for Germanic-sounding words and accidentally using two words from German.)
Hoid has had fingers chopped off on occasion. I doubt he's kept them around after the new ones grow in.
Some of them are immortal, but that would kind of be cheating. If you let people who are immortal participate, it's going to very much favor someone like Hoid, who is really, really, really hard to kill. Of course, he would not be very good at offing anyone either, because of certain things in his past. It would be really futile when it got down to the last two. But if we take that out.
You'd have to set ground rules. Do they get access to their magic? Where is it taking place? If we take away all magic and we just say people are beating up on each other, who's going to win? It's probably Kelsier because he'll fight dirty. Vasher fights really dirty, too. If Kelsier and Vasher gang up on the rest, and then it depends who's still not in pieces at the end. It'd be Kelsier or Vasher probably.
[impish grin] Ah ha ha ha. The Lord Ruler, heh heh heh, That is an excellent question.
Not going to answer?
Not going to answer that one.
Would you answer if Hoid used it for Feruchemy?
His bead? Hoid’s bead was—He originally got it because he wanted to be an Allomancer. [Note that he doesn’t actually answer the question.]
Yes. You eventually know his real name, but it depends on what you define as real.
So also, regarding the magic systems and stuff, I hear you have another book that's unpublished and that you can send it to people.
Yes, just drop an email, say that you want a copy of White Sand. It's okay. It's not great.
We're working on a graphic novel of it right now.
Who's gonna do the art?
We have four or five people who have sent us pitches, and we are looking through them to decide who we want to use.
Can you put me in one of your novels? I'm a three-fingered Irishman who speaks four languages.
Okay, write me an email that says "I'm a three-fingered Irishman who speaks four languages," we'll see what we can do. [...] Who did you think Hoid was, in White Sand?
Hoid is not a real person, he did not start life as [can't make out].
No, who did you think he was in White Sand?
I don't know yet, I'm not that far.
Sanderson's Three Laws of Magics:
1) An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
2) Limitations > Powers (i.e. "Superman is not his powers. Superman is his weaknesses.")
3) Expand what you already have before you add something new.
In the years leading up to and during his time concluding The Wheel of Time series, Sanderson developed three Laws of Magics for the fantasy genre. He's been quick to point out on his blog that the laws merely serve as "guidelines" for his own writing, but his insight is revolutionizing the traditional approach to fantasy writing.
Literature has a history of ignoring rules when it comes to magic—it is magic, after all. But the 21st century is cultivating a new breed of reader who doesn't take magic for granted. Sanderson's laws appeal to their desire to understand how Dorothy's ruby slippers transport her between worlds and why the Phial of Galadriel shines brighter when used by Sam vs. Frodo. From allomancy to surgebinding, the magic systems in Sanderson's novels are both incredibly original and comprehensively detailed.
Beyond his penchant for establishing unique systems of magic in multiple worlds, Sanderson has a tendency to dream astronomically.
"At some point," Sanderson says, "I was inspired by Michael Moorcock's Multiverse and the way Isaac Asimov eventually connected his Foundation novels and robot novels, to write a 'stealth' series into the background of my novels." Enter the Cosmere.
An entire universe distinct from our own, the Cosmere consists of 10 (and counting) planets with autonomous magic systems, geographic characteristics and storylines. All of Sanderson's novels (excluding his YA and The Wheel of Time titles) exist within the Cosmere, but each planet's book(s) can be read independently of the others. In simpler terms, Sanderson has subtly connected everything—so subtly, in fact, that only one character is granted the ability to travel between worlds.
Hoid, the world jumper and mysterious fan favorite, appears in every Cosmere-set novel. But don't plan on always recognizing him; the intelligent trickster favors disguises. And, to be honest, no one besides Sanderson understands Hoid's significance at this point.
"I have said before that choosing a favorite [character] is a tough question," Sanderson says. "Very tough. I'll have to say Hoid, but I can't say why without giving spoilers."
I also heard he was part of your unpublished Dragonsteel.
And is that a series you are going to be publishing?
I will eventually rewrite it, it is not up to my current standards. I consider the events that happen in it basically to be canon. With some exceptions, like for instance when I originally wrote Dragonsteel the Shattered Plains were there and Dalinar was there and I split off Way of Kings into its own book. I took half of what had been Dragonsteel and made it into the Stormlight Archive and I split half of it off onto a separate planet. If you were to read it, you can check it out from BYU, half of it will be a less well-written version of the Shattered Plains sequence of Way of Kings and the other half is Hoid's story. And Hoid's story stuff is still kind of canon but the rest...
Yes, well all of my books are connected. There is a character in Mistborn who is in Elantris, who is in Warbreaker, who is also in The Way of Kings. Easter egg things, if you read my middle grade series, the Alcatraz books, there are all kinds of silly things thrown in there just for fun. But there's a continuing character doing cameos in each of the books.
is it the same throughout the books?
What if Hoid got cut by a shardblade?
The Shardblade cuts the soul and what Hoid does heals the soul.
It was something that you or I would probably not want to eat in our world, but that Wit got some benefit from eating...
Something we've seen in the Mistborn books, perhaps?
(sounding pleased) Yes, perhaps like something you've seen in Mistborn.
If you watch in these books, he has used on screen so far three of the different magics?
Have we seen those three, do we know what those three are?
You know at least two of them. More obvious clues are in [Words of Radiance]. Watch where he and Kaladin have some interactions. Watch carefully, you will see something in what he mentions. You've seen him and Shallan, that scene in one of her flashbacks, in that scene he uses one if you watch.
No it should not have. It's a clue that something has happened. There are other clues that something is wrong with what the story you've been told is.
Because Option 2 is that it's unsafe to touch an honorblade, but there's no evidence of that.
There is no evidence of that. There's much stronger evidence that something else is going on.
Did Hoid switch out the blades?
Hoid did not switch out the blades, but good question.
No. I actually just published a short story with him in it.
(He also said that he came up with the idea for him in an RPG writing group, or something along those lines.)
You're making assumptions!
(I asked if it's possible that it was Honor's and he said it's possible.)
Who is the oldest character we know?
Can a person in Shardplate be Rioted or Soothed? What about Seeked?
Could a Coinshot, in a fight, damage Shardplate?
Frost is almost certainly the oldest by a small amount. After that, Hoid.
A while back someone asked if Hoid's sword is Nightblood, you said that was interesting. Is it similarly Invested?
I'm going to RAFO that. It is a very interesting question.
For the Dangerous Women story, are you going to write anything again in that world?
That world will show up again. Silence probably won't, but the world itself, yes. It's called Threnody, it is one of the Cosmere worlds. There's not a Shard there but there are interesting things happening. There's actually been a character in other books who's from Threnody. It will eventually be clear who that is, but they have shown up in many previous Sanderson novels.
Would that be Hoid?
Hoid is not from Threnody. Good question though. Hoid is from Yolen.
When are we first getting a look at the Cosmere coming together?
The third Mistborn trilogy is going to involve-it's the first one I planned to do a lot with. I doubt I will do much in the second Mistborn trilogy, more than I probably have done [so far]. It's fun for me, so I'll keep including things in. You'll notice that Hoid is a bigger part of the Stormlight than previous ones, but I still don't want it to come to the forefront quite yet.
Does Hoid ever show up somewhere, stand around for awhile, realize that there isn't a novel-worthy plot going on, and leave?
[Laughed] Yes, Hoid gets around a lot and that has happened a couple of times. He does not know everything.
Hoid has indeed gotten between worlds before through Shadesmar.
And would you be willing to give us a hint as to how he does that?
There are hints in the books. There is a hint in the very first cosmere book I released [Elantris]. Which I thought was a huge hint, but so far I haven't seen anyone talking about it.
Mmhmm. I thought that once people started figuring the cosmere, they would see the massive in-your-face hint I put in that book, but so far, as far as I know, no one has. [Some chat about Brandon's tendency to drop sneaky hints and how he likes doing that] Now, the one [hint] about the map, that one I don't think is obvious. I know people have been trying to figure it out. It's something fun once you figure it out, but it's not something huge and obvious. The Elantris once was, like, enormously "HIIINT!"
Hoid is not a Shard.Question
Or other Shards that are related to Hoid, since they are in the same time period. Would they also be Horneater gods?
I think that the Horneaters might interpret things very differently from their reality, as they are viewing things...
So would they originally be from Roshar, or would they have traveled from somewhere else?
That's a RAFO, it depends on the person. Hoid is not originally from Roshar.
No, he's not Awakened anything to help him play.
Did he use Allomancy?
He is a character who has been in all of the books so far and is somehow getting between all of the different planets these are taking place on and is somehow surviving the fact that these books are hundreds of years apart.
I have a good idea that he's a Mistborn.
Well he did steal a bead of lerasium.
And he has extra Breath because he said it was easier with perfect pitch.
He did indeed say that didn't he... I will eventually write a book series that is about him, but it is a ways off.
Yes there is.
Is that Wit by chance?
Does he show up in some of the others?
Yes, in this [Mistborn: 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. The 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.
No, they have other stuff. It is something grander than that.
He's just one of many priorities?
Yes. They are very worried about what he's going to be doing.
But there's others they're worried about as well?
Yes. [...] So they have a task, they have goals, and they are worried that he is going to be at cross purposes to them, so they are trying to hunt him down.
He is a person that has shown up in all of my epic fantasy books.
How does he have so much information about what's going on and how is he always in the right place at the right time?
Those are very excellent questions. RAFO, but he has a surprising ability to be in the right place at the right time in the Cosmere.
The Shardblade that Dalinar had at the end of Words of Radiance that he gave up?
Yeah, that he gave up.
It was not? So what happened to the Honorblade that the Herald had?
Nobody kno- Well, somebody knows, but it is not known to the main characters.
Can I ask if uh, Hoid-
If Hoid knows?
Hoid did not take it, but I’m not answering whether he knows.
The other has to do with the portals into the worlds themselves, because the birds in Sixth of Dusk-
Ok, he does not have Hemalurgy. He has powers that predate the Shattering of Adonalsium. Not all of his powers predate, but he does have powers that predate.
Ok, so I was wrong on both counts then… Am I wrong on both counts?
I’m not saying that. I’m saying that he has powers that predate, and has gained powers since.
The similarity of the names is intentional.
Did Hoid start them?
That’s a RAFO. That’s a RAFO, but definitely they have a similar origin.
Hi Brandon! Thank you so much for doing this! I love your work, and I just had a couple questions regarding it...
1) I've heard somewhere that you already have a backstory for Hoid written, but you're waiting to release it as it would reveal too much about the Cosmere universe... is this true?
2) Do you ever plan on bringing different realms together?
3) Do you have a favorite series to write? Or is one more difficult to write than another?
4) What is your favorite book (or series) to read for pleasure (either by yourself, or another author)?
Again, thank you so much for doing this AMA, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of your work!
Would the Scadrian be able to use it.
Yes. You have seen people from off-planet who have Breath before.
Or… perfect pitch?
Yes. [laughter] And are making use of it in variety of ways.
And does it have to do with Connection.
Ah… [sigh] Yes, but not the way you’re thinking. I’m wiggling out of... Yes, it has to do with Connection, but so does a dog. Cause a dog is Connected to things. [laughs in the audience] You said “does it have to do with”! The answer is yes. [more laughs]
I said that I was still suspicious of Hoid,
to which he said I should be, as those two (Hoid and Kelsier) do not get along. He said that the memory uncovered a truth that Kelsier did not want to be known.
Is Chromium involved in that?
Yes. Well, he's not necessarily using Chromium, but the underlying mechanic, yes.