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Hoid
Hoid
Drawing by Isaac Stewart
Biographical information
Ethnicity Yolish
Nationality Unknown
Gender Male
Status Alive
Abilities Worldhopping, Allomancy, Feruchemy, Awakening, Lightweaving (Yolish), Surgebinding
Social Information
Aliases Hoid, etc. ...
Title(s) King's Wit, Queen's Wit
Appears in Elantris, Dragonsteel Prime,
Mistborn: The Final Empire,
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension,
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Warbreaker, The Way of Kings,
The Alloy of Law,
The Emperor's Soul,
Words of Radiance, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning,
Mistborn: Secret History,
Arcanum Unbounded:
The Cosmere Collection
, Edgedancer, White Sand, Oathbringer, Dawnshard,
Rhythm of War, The Lost Metal,
Tress of the Emerald Sea,
Yumi and the Nightmare Painter,
The Sunlit Man

Hoid is former King Elhokar's Wit and entertainer.* He is a recurring mysterious character in the cosmere who existed before the gods of the various worlds were created, and was involved in that situation.[1] It has been hinted that he was a rogue student of Silverlight University.[2] He has abandoned his real name.[3]

It is virtually impossible to keep anything from Hoid/Wit. He knows useful, important things.[4]

The King's Wit was not a silly court fool such as one might find in other kingdoms. He was a sword, a tool maintained by the king. Insulting others was beneath the dignity [of] the king, so just as one used gloves when forced to handle something vile, the king retained a Wit so he didn't have to debase himself to the level of rudeness or offensiveness.[4]

Hoid is trying to accomplish something on Roshar, something that he thinks is the most important purpose he's ever had. His "old friend" (i.e., Frost) remains unconvinced.[5][6]

Hoid was born on the planet where all of this started. Long ago, in the early history of the cosmere. Certain things that happened there made him immortal. A bunch of the people who were involved in this became Shards of Adonalsium. They took up deific power. He did not, but he is one of the only other people who was around during that time who's still around.[7]

Preservation thought that Hoid would have stopped interfering after he'd rejected the rest of them.[8]

Appearance[]

Wit

Wit
Fan art by botanicaxu[1]

Hoid is described by his peers as having brown hair, a clever tongue, and an arrowlike face. They note that he dyes his hair sometimes and often wears a disguise which makes his true appearance difficult to ascertain.[9]

Wit is also described as appearing as a thick, tall man with short, deep onyx hair. He wears a sleek, black uniform and a silver sword at his waist. His description places him as neither a lighteyes or a darkeyes, although he has pale blue, green and yellow eyes.[4][10] Further, he is described as having a hawklike face: all lines and peaks, with a sharp nose and jaw, delicate eyebrows, keen eyes, and a keen smile.**[3]

That said, when he's being Wit, he looks like he's in his elder 30's.[11]

Hoid is additionally described as a man with a short brown/red beard which seems to be bleached ... to obscure his true identity. In other words, at times - at his choosing - he appears to be not quite as old as he might well be.[12]

So, Hoid does not simply dye or bleach only the hair on his head when in disguise. Further, he is extremely thorough when concealing his identity. Given that his silver tongue often leads to extreme promiscuity when he happens to have a free moment, every hair, no matter how often the sun of his current world may shine upon it, must match.[citation needed]

Dressed in a soldier's uniform of Sadeas's livery, with the coat unbuttoned and a colored scarf around his neck, he appears to Shallan in Kholinar as the traveler, with angular features, a sharp nose, hair that is stark black.[10]

According to Jasnah, Wit has keen eyes, and a nose that is perhaps a bit too sharp. She suspects that most women would find him physically attractive. She appreciates his statuesque quality, with such interesting proportions and such an intense face. In her opinion, his nose humanizes him, makes him feel more real.[13]

Personality[]

Wit Bota

Wit
Fan art by botanicaxu[2]

He is equally at home being called Wit or Hoid, and his several appearances throughout the cosmere indicate that he is a multi-talented entertainer and intelligent man.

At first, Dalinar doesn't like Wit, but Adolin acknowledges that Wit is almost always good-natured with Renarin.[4]

Wit shows his cleverness with words by insulting Brightlords at the king's feasts.[14]

He admits that he is frequently quite silly, but that he is almost always truthful.[15]

According to himself, he is so storming clever that half the time, even he can't follow what he's talking about.[16]

Hoid likes playing with fire, so to speak.[17]

Character[]

Despite his tendency to very cleverly insult those around him,[14] he always seems to know what needs to be said or done to help and encourage those who need it. He often tells stories to get a point across.

However, Hoid would not describe himself as a good person.[18]

When Shallan asks Wit what he is, he tells her the following:

"Some men, as they age, grow kinder. I am not one of those, for I have seen how the cosmere can mistreat the innocent - and that leaves me disinclined toward kindness. Some men, as they age, grow wiser. I am not one of those, for wisdom and I have always been at cross-purposes, and I have yet to learn the tongue in which she speaks. Some men, as they age, grow more cynical. I, fortunately, am not one of those. If I were, the very air would warp around me, sucking in all emotion, leaving only scorn."[16]


Further, that ...

"Other men ... other men, as they age, merely grow stranger. I fear that I am one of those. I am the bones of a foreign species left drying on the plain that was once, long ago, a sea. A curiosity, perhaps a reminder, that all has not always been as it is now."[16]


He likes to live every day like it's his last.[16]

He claims he cannot judge the worth of a life. That he would not dare to attempt it.[19]

When Jasnah asks Wit who he really is, he tells her that he is someone " ... who wisely turned down the power the others all took - and in so doing, gained freedoms they can never again have."*** Further, that he is someone who is not bound.[13]

Wit is bored by normal human interactions, to the point that he must put constraints upon himself to keep himself engaged in normal conversations, even ones that are full of import and emotion where he maybe shouldn't be acting like this. And that is one of his failings.[20]

"Hoid is legitimately empathetic to the individual. This is how he is. He is very empathetic to people's problems. But in the grand scale, he is more self-interested than I think people are seeing and fandom him being. These things aren't mutually exclusive. He can be very empathetic to the problems Shallan is going through while at the same time understanding that if Roshar were destroyed but Odium were contained, then it meets his goals better than if other things were to happen. And in a moment of decision, like if he were said, "Alright, you can sacrifice Roshar⁠—Odium is contained forever," he would probably say yes. Meaning all these people that he's empathizing with would be dead. (And that's what I'm saying right there when I say sacrifice Roshar.) Not that that is what would happen necessarily. I'm not saying that, but y'know, given that kind of impossible false dichotomy, that's one of the places where his mind and heart is. Depending on your axis and things like this, he has, like many of us, a complex morality. But those are legitimate moments of empathy on his part where he is trying to make their lives better. But it doesn't mean that every motivation he has is purely altruistic or purely aligned with what the people on Roshar would want."

Brandon Sanderson[21]

Characteristics[]

TC-TM G

Tarot Card: The Magician
Fan art by Geryss[3]

According to Brandon, Hoid doesn't really have friends, but more like people who find him less annoying (or he finds less annoying?).[22]

As Wit, Hoid treats people differently because he has an opinion of what each person needs to hear. He isn't always correct in this opinion, but he tries to give people what he thinks they need. In Dalinar's case, he simply has too much respect for the man to be glib. In Renarin's case, he believes that the boy has had more than enough breaking down, and is much more in need of building up.[23]

Hoid uses magical means to communicate, so when he says a word, it just transliterates or just doesn't translate into anything in the language of whichever world upon which he is at the time. Readers will notice him slipping up on a number of occasions as he's the only one who uses certain words in the course of just speaking normally and allowing his other means to translate for him. And, according to Brandon, that's a sign, a symbol, of that happening.[24]

According to beta-reader, Drew McCaffrey, Hoid is not a Feruchemist, but Brandon gave some WoBs way back in the day that implied it,[citation needed] yet has since clarified that Hoid uses Fortune in the same way a Feruchemist might.[15]

He has extra Breath, and has said that storytelling is easier with perfect pitch.[25]

Hoid knows multiple varieties of magic.[26]

Hoid is happiest when he's getting away with something.[27]

Again as Wit, Hoid will always tell someone a story in a novel.[28]

Hoid has had romantic interest in the past.[29]

When Hoid thinks that certain information is being kept, and certain lies are being perpetuated, he prefers for that information to be out.[30]

Even before Hoid had been changed from all the places he'd been, he's not exactly one hundred percent human anymore. But he's his own agent. He's not an avatar of somebody else.[31]

Hoid gets his tooth knocked out while in Kholinar.[32] He prompts someone else to help him with that afterward. This is because he has issues hurting not only other people but also himself. (Hoid can mentally hurt someone, or allow them to be hurt, but when considering the physical trauma of others, he gets nauseous, to the point that he can be incapacitated.)[33] Hoid later considers using a magic system that predates any other to heal that.[34]

He knows more than a lot of people do, and knows to be more wary of Soulcasting than others are.[35]

Hoid's immortality comes from the fact that he was once a Dawnshard. This is also tied into why Hoid didn't eat his food in a scene with Shallan,[citation needed] and why he has a hard time hurting anybody.[36][37] However, in Secret History, he quips the following: "Huh. Since you're already dead, I can do this." And he goes a little crazy. There's a bit of built-up aggravation.[38]

His Dawnshard is in some way connected to the First Gem, topaz.[39]

According to Brandon, eating something that's still alive would be very difficult for Hoid. But there aren't foods that would be forbidden to him by his particular ailment.[40] He could eat Soulcast bacon, and could probably eat lab-grown meat if he knew that it was (or magic-grown meat). His psychology would be influencing this, but the magic would allow it.[41] Still, that Dawnshard has done some weird things to Hoid.[42]

When Shallan asks Wit whether he's old, yet not a Herald, but as old as they are, he tells her that when the Heralds were but babes, he'd already lived dozens of lifetimes. He says he's something else entirely.[16]

When Shallan looks into his blue eyes, shadows play within them. Shapes move, and are worn down by time. Boulders become dust. Mountains become hills. Rivers change course. Seas become deserts.[16]

He can know where he's supposed to be, but not always what he's supposed to do there.[16]

He doesn't care about how he'll be remembered because, as he tells Shallan, he'll remember himself, which - for him - is enough.[16]

He claims that he is a terrible teacher, and instead is an artist.[19]

Skipping part of a story is something he would never consider doing.[19]

He has a way of being where he shouldn't, but not being where one would expect.[19]

Again, according to Brandon, sometimes people pay Hoid to do things. And he doesn't do them. Or he does them his own way. The thing that happens in Oathbringer with him and the innkeeper,[16] that is a really common occurrence with Hoid. There are times where he has actually worked for someone. There are times where they thought he has. And there are times where something entirely different has occurred.[43]

Yet again, according to Brandon, Wit considers too extravagant the use of the various arts to be cheating to an extent, because it makes things too easy. There are other reasons not do so, though. He would become visible very quickly to entities to whom he wishes to remain non-visible if he were aggressively using Allomancy.[44]

Hoid is afraid of the Beyond.[45]

Having bonded with a Cryptic has bound him tighter to Roshar, but he's been offworld since then.[46] (He attempted to bond a spren in past Desolations, in the time of the original Knights Radiant.[47])

Hoid hopes that if he collects a form of Investiture from every planet, it will grant him special effects.[48]

Beliefs[]

Wit tells Shallan that people who aren't him are prone to spontaneous bouts of sincerity, and that 'sincerity' is a word people use to justify their chronic dullness.[16]

He also tells her that one should never debate an idiot, no more than one should use one's best sword to spread butter.[16]

Plus, put two smart people together, and they will eventually find their common stupidity, and in so doing become idiots.[16]

And unique though its properties may be, stupidity is frighteningly common. The sum total of stupid people is somewhere around the population of the planet.[16]

There are two kinds of important men. There are those who, when the boulder of time rolls toward them, stand up in front of it and hold out their hands. All their lives, they've been told how great they are. They assume the world itself will bend to their whims as their nurse did when fetching them a fresh cup of milk.[16]

These men end up squished.[16]

Other men stand to the side when the boulder of time passes, but are quick to say, 'See what I did! I made the boulder roll there. Don't make me do it again!'[16]

These men end up getting everyone else squished.[16]

There is a third type of person, but they are rare. These know they can't stop the boulder. So they walk beside it, study it, and bide their time. Then they shove it - ever so slightly - to create a deviation in its path.[16]

These are the men who actually change the world. They terrify Hoid because men never see as far as they think they do.[16]

Having power is a terrible burden, the worst thing imaginable, except for every other alternative.[16]

Power is a terrible, dangerous knife that can't be wielded without cutting oneself.[16]

In reality, most people aren't stupid. Many are simply frustrated at how little control they have over their lives. They lash out. Sometimes in spectacular ways.[16]

Be wary of anyone who claims to be able to see the future.[16]

Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.[19]

Art is not art if it has a function.[19]

The world is monstrous at times, and there are those who would have one believe that he/she is terrible by association. One is not worse for one's association with the world, but it is better for its association with him/her.[19]

All people fail now and then.[19]

All great art is hated. Further, that it is obscenely difficult - if not impossible - to make something that nobody hates. Yet conversely, it is incredibly easy - if not expected - to make something that nobody loves.[49]

Further still, art is about emotion, examination, and going places people have never gone before to discover and investigate new things. The only way to create something that nobody hates is to ensure that it can't be loved either.[49]

Also, if one is inevitably going to inspire hate, then just how much enjoyment is needed to balance out the risk?[49]

One uses the same dirty tricks for storytelling as one does for fighting in an alley. One needs to always be ready to hit another where they aren't prepared.[50]

Accoutrements[]

Wandersail

Wit
Fan art by botanicaxu[4]

Hoid has a bead of Lerasium from the world Scadrial.[51] It's a powerful metal that grants magical powers. He also has a Moon Scepter from the world Sel.[52]

He was in possession of a flute,[53] but now misses it.[10][54] In fact, according to Brandon, Wit is very mad about Kaladin losing the flute. If he recovers it, he won't let Kaladin have it again.[55]

Again, according to Brandon, Hoid is in possession of a silver sword that is not Invested, but that has personal value to him.[56]

Additionally, according to Brandon, Hoid has access to lots of different things, so he is also in possession of unkeyed metalminds.[57]

In his pack is a small jar, sealed at the top. It is mostly black, but one side is instead white.[10]

He also has in his ownership many hemalurgic spikes.[58]

Hoid hopes that if he collects a form of Investiture from every world that it will it grant him special effects.[59]

Biography[]

According to Brandon, Hoid was born naturally.[60] Although he remains human, his DNA has changed, and one wouldn't call him Homo Sapiens anymore.[61] Unlike the Alethi, he came from a land (i.e., Yolen) where men had been encouraged to write, the same as women.[13]

Master Storyteller[]

Hoid is employed by Lightsong as a storyteller to answer Siri's questions in Warbreaker. Lightsong introduces him to Siri who inquires of him the history of Hallandren and its God Kings.[62]

As a storyteller, Hoid does quite a bit of investigative research to verify important details of the stories he tells. He has done his leg work and is telling a story the best that he can, which is better than any normal storyteller could.[63]

King's Wit[]

Hoid is introduced as King Elhokar's Wit (court jester); he plays the part of the king's weapon, tasked with insulting those that the King can't afford to personally offend.

He seems to be concerned about the future of Dalinar as he warns him that Sadeas is planning something at one of the King's feasts. Wit leaves the warcamps after this, first to visit Kaladin, then off to Kholinar.

"I've come to your land to chase an old acquaintance, but I end up spending most of my time hiding from him instead."

–Hoid to Kaladin[53]

During the exchange between Hoid and Kaladin, Hoid reveals that Hoid is not actually his name (originally Midius, then Cephandrius Maxtori), but the "name of someone he (Hoid) should have loved."[53] It is also during this exchange that he reveals that he is a thief of sorts, and that his name is something he stole. He has a relationship with Worldsingers,[64] is Sigzil's former master, and he uses words and stories to influence those around him.

While introducing himself to Kaladin, Hoid relates that he began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page ... and that this was something he stole, himself. He also reveals that at another time he was named for a rock ... a beautiful one that became worthless for his wearing it.[53]

Talenel'Elin Encounter[]

Taln vs wit

Talenel and Wit
Fan art by botanicaxu[5]

Hoid is present in the epilogue of The Way of Kings when Talenel’Elin (Talenelat in modern Alethkar) arrives in Kholinar. After Talenel’Elin falls, Wit remarks that the most important thing humanity values is "timeliness" and that he fears Talenel’Elin has arrived too late.[65]

Hoid seemed rather unimpressed by the arrival of Talenel’Elin and even referred to him as "friend." It is also interesting to note that Hoid just happened to be waiting at the spot that Talenel'Elin showed up.

Prior to this encounter, Hoid was playing an enthir (i.e., a stringed instrument similar to a ukulele.[66][67]

Shallan Encounter[]

At Middlefest, when she is still a child, Hoid addresses Shallan and asks of her if she sees spren. Remembering somewhat of her past, she then asks him why a spren would speak to her. He presses her, asking her whether she hears voices, whether spheres go dark when she is near.[68]

When she then tells him that she should be getting back to her father, Wit tells her that her father is slowly destroying her family. That her brother was right on that count, but that he was wrong about everything else.[68]

In Kholinar, when Shallan is seeking to infiltrate the Cult of Moments, Hoid and she banter back and forth about such topics as sincerity, stupidity, people, and power.[16]

Jasnah Encounter[]

Wit seemingly has an uncanny ability to appear when people least expect it.[69] In the epilogue of Words of Radiance, when Jasnah "comes back from the dead," Wit says that she Elsecalled, which means that Wit knows more about the Radiants than he has previously led people to believe. He actually is waiting for her in the middle of the wilderness and is there to help her back to civilization upon her arrival.[15]

Kelsier Encounter[]

Hoid and Kelsier - who cannot stand one another - encounter each other and the result is devastating ... to Kelsier.[70][71]

Azure Encounter[]

Soon after the strangeness at the palace begins, Wit pulls a chull cart up to the front of the Wall Guard's barrack. He has sheets of metal in the back of the cart. Azure thinks him to be an odd fellow and has had interactions with him before.[72]

Wit warns Azure to only Soulcast inside a room lined with this metal. So far as she can tell, it prevents the screamers from sensing them. Unfortunately, it also blocks spanreeds from contacting the outside.[72]

Kheni Encounter[]

After the fall of Kholinar, Wit asks questions of Kheni - to which she doesn't respond, but when he asks her if he should put one of his eyes out, she looks at him, incredulous. He then pats her on the shoulder, acknowledging that she is listening to him.[49]

He then tells her to just wait where she is.[49]

He returns with a little girl in his arms and tells Kheni that he has to leave the city and someone needs to take care of the child. Kheni then holds out her arms and Wit puts the girl into them. Kheni's husband takes him by the arm, smiling.[49]

Abilities[]

  • Worldhopping - Hoid is very good at manipulating Shadesmar, so he can travel between worlds in the cosmere. One method he has used is by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. Worlds are connected through Shadesmar, so when most of the space between worlds is cut out, there's a passage through to them.[73]
  • Lightweaving - Hoid manipulates a Yolish illusion magic - which could produce light - that is similar to, but not quite the same as, the Illumination Surge used by Lightweavers.[75]**** Brandon has confirmed that Hoid has had this ability since before the Shattering.[76] It is believed that he used this power during his storytelling with Kaladin, and - potentially, that with Siri in Warbreaker, and - further, with the people in Kholinar. Shallan sees this there and wonders if he is Lightweaving, yet she sees no Stormlight. She determines that there is something more organic about what he does. His images live.[10]
  • Allomancy - It has been long suspected that Hoid ate the bead of Lerasium he stole in Mistborn: The Well of Ascension. Plus, the scene in Shallan's flashbacks where he pours metal flakes into his drink,[68] combined with the confirmation that Allomancy was used in Words of Radiance, seem to support this.
  • Feruchemy - Brandon has stated that Hoid's ability to always know where he needs to be is connected to Feruchemy in some way.[77][78] However, readers don't yet know just how he obtained this power, or if he is a full Feruchemist or a Ferring. Further, he's using the underlying principal of Feruchemy and with chromium, Feruchemy has to do with Fortune.
  • Awakening - Readers know that Hoid was on Nalthis prior to the events within The Stormlight Archive and his comments about perfect pitch seem to suggest that he has at least the Second Heightening.[79]
  • Unknown immunity - Hoid was threatened by Jasnah with a Shardblade but he remained unconcerned, saying "I'd be surprised if that little knife of yours poses me any real threat ...," implying that he is immune to the effects of a Shardblade or is very nearly so.[15]
  • Unknown ability - When Wit told the story of Mishim to the people of Kholinar, he recognized Shallan in the audience for who she is, even though she was wearing the illusion of Veil.[10]
  • Hoid has been breaking certain rules along the lines of transporting oneself via a perpendicularity for a some time. Though he's not breaking any actual rules, he's found - via Stormlight - to do things in ways that others are not using. He'd been looking forward to having a spren bond that would make things like this easier ... .[80]

Cosmere[]

Background[]

Hoid TS

Hoid
Tarot card by Tara Spruit[6]

Hoid is from the world Yolen, where it is believed that Adonalsium was Shattered into sixteen Shards. Hoid was there at the moment of the Shattering but has 'been around forever', long before Adonalsium became the central plot of his story.[81] He's been alive since Dragonsteel, but he has not spent all of that time awake and alert.[82] He uses his unique abilities to move forward through time, though it isn't known at what pace he can do so, and he has definitely not found a way to go back through time. Most common speculation is that Hoid has found a way to either put himself into stasis, or perhaps used some form of compounded effect to slide forward through time until he gets where he needs to be. He's found a way to cheat the space-time continuum by using some time dilation techniques. That said, he is far older (both in relative and real time) than a normal person can live.[83] In fact, he and the dragon, Frost, are the oldest living entities in the cosmere.

Hoid is constrained by magic like everyone else, but he is far more adept at using it. He is very good at using Shadesmar - the Cognitive Realm, connecting all the worlds in the cosmere, particularly to travel between worlds within it.[84]

Hoid does not hold a Shard of Adonalsium.[85]

Further, he is almost certainly not a Returned, since he's not originally from Nalthis, but Hoid does have a lot of Breaths - enough at least to have perfect pitch, and probably more.[citation needed]

Hoid tells Shallan that when he was young he made a vow. He said he'd always be there when he was needed. When Shallan asks him if he had been, he replies that he had. Still, he says that it turned out he should have been more specific, as there is technically anywhere.[16]

Further, that there had so far been a random location that was of absolutely no use to anyone.[16]

Appearances[]

Hoid first appeared in Brandon's 6th book, Elantris; next, in his 7th book, the unpublished Dragonsteel, then in his 8th book, the unpublished White Sand, and has appeared in most published cosmere novels since. For example, he does not appear in Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and Sixth of the Dusk.[86]

  • In Elantris, Hoid appears as a beggar whom Sarene trusts to bring weapons into New Elantris, but one who will only meet with her at night. Still, she knows that he and his men know where to deliver the boxes she gives them to deploy. He has managed to survive a decade on the streets of the city of Kae without being caught. Sarene has never seen his face, but assumes from his voice that he is an older man.[87] In the Tenth Anniversary Author's Definitive Edition of Elantris, Hoid is afforded the endnote of the novel in which he removes bandages from his body, having expected to have been transformed into a resurrected Elantrian. In his conversation with a skaze,[88] he expresses that beauty lies in the fact that there are secrets that remain unknown.[89]
  • In Mistborn: The Final Empire, Hoid appears as an informant who poses in the guise of a blind beggar who meets with Kelsier in the capital city of Luthadel.[90]
  • In Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, Hoid spends most of the book looking for the Well in the Terris homeland in the north. He is present when the Inquisitors destroy it and leads the evacuation of the Terris people to Luthadel. On the way back he is the Terris leader that Elend and Spook meet as they chase after Vin when she realises where the Well is. Once Hoid realises this too, based on his conversation with Elend, he worldhops to the Well and steals a bead of Lerasium, which he later eats.[91] The footprints that Vin sees leading up to the well are Hoid's and the smashed container is his doing. Hoid is not named in the book but is there to be picked out by description.
  • In Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Hoid again appears as an informant, but at the last second Vin decides not to meet with him.
  • In The Way of Kings, Hoid appears as King Elhokar's Wit, or the King's Wit. He is rather an enigma and his role seems to be to enlighten some of those around him with regard to their unrecognized strengths. He tells Kaladin the story of Derethil and the Wandersail while playing a flute which assists him in illuminating the story.[53]
  • In The Emperor's Soul, Hoid is only referenced as the Imperial Fool.***** Initially he was featured in the prologue speaking with the main character and setting some of the plot in motion, but it didn't fit and was cut before final revision. However, Hoid did want the Moon Scepter for more than getting Shai imprisoned at the beginning of the novella.[92]****** That said, Shai did eventually track him down.[93]
  • In Warbreaker, Hoid is summoned by Lightsong and appears as a storyteller who performs for princess Siri. He uses a flute when telling a story of the first Returned to Siri and Lightsong. He Lightweaves while using the flute so it may have some kind of Investiture in it.[94]
  • In The Alloy of Law, Hoid appears as scruffy-looking "beggar in black" at the wedding dinner, but is not named. The events happening here are not of deep interest to Hoid, unlike the events in the original trilogy, so he plays a much smaller role.
  • In Words of Radiance, Hoid appears in one of Shallan's flashbacks, as a stranger speaking with her father, who then asks her a series of odd questions about spren.[68] Further, therein Rock reveals that he has previously encountered Hoid. This occurs during an instance when Kaladin goes out drinking with Bridge Four before meeting with Graves and Moash. As Rock is telling his story about the hot springs on top of his homeland, the "Peaks," he says that they are on top just water, but below something else (i.e., "Place of gods"). Rock said further that he met Lunu'anaki, god of mischief and travel, who asked him what year it was. While he says that Lunu'anaki has white hair, he further mentions the angular face used to describe Hoid over and over.[95]
  • In Shadows of Self, Hoid appears as Wax's new coachman and is hailed by Wayne so that Wayne might ride on top of the carriage with him. He transports Wax and Wayne while Wax has his first extended conversation with Harmony.
  • In The Bands of Mourning, Hoid appears as a seemingly blind beggar who hurls a coin with exacting accuracy at Wax's head after Wax has tossed him a banknote, after Hoid had also given his name. When Wax approaches and asks Kelesina about the coin, she becomes nervous. In the novel's epilogue, Wax discovers the coin is a coppermind that anyone can tap. It appears to be filled with memories of Kelsier's journey to southern Scadrial. (This is actually a memory of Kelsier's brother, Marsh.)*******
  • In Mistborn: Secret History, Hoid appears as himself and encounters Kelsier, which doesn't go well for Kelsier. The two do not like one another ... at all. Still, when asked by Kelsier who he is, Hoid describes himself as a drifter, a miscreant, the flame's last breath, made of smoke at its passing. He also agrees that he is needlessly obtuse.[96]
  • In Edgedancer, the white-haired man whom Lift said jumped into the mouth of a greatshell is implied to be Hoid.[97][53]
  • In White Sand, Hoid appears as a hooded musician with a lute outside the hall when Kenton declares himself lord and was given two weeks to save the Sandmasters.[98]
  • In Oathbringer, Hoid appears as Wit telling the story of Mishim in Kholinar Market. He has a conversation with Shallan, and says that he knew of a group like the Cult of Moments, describing them as equally foolish and equally dangerous.[10] Later, he helps her get into the Cult. Further, in the novel's epilogue, Hoid speaks with and rescues a Cryptic spren hiding in Kholinar, now under the control of Odium's forces. He promises to offer the spren truths, and is cut off saying "Life before death, little one," thereby implying that he has bonded with the spren.[32]
  • In Dawnshard, Hoid appears as ... ?
  • In Rhythm of War, as the Queen's Wit, Hoid becomes romantically involved with Jasnah,[13] though he legitimately got hornswoggled at the end of the novel.[99]
  • In Dragonsteel (unfinished), Hoid will play the part of protagonist and primary viewpoint. The plot will take place before all of the other cosmere books.
  • In The Liar of Partinel (unfinished), the original Hoid is the recently deceased senior jesk and master Lightweaver. The Hoid featured in all other stories, called Midius here, stole the original Hoid's name, as mentioned above.

Aliases[]

  • Hoid - The name of his master, which he assumed, after his master had been assassinated.[100]
  • Topaz - A name Hoid called himself in the original draft of Dragonsteel.[101]
  • Cellin (by a strange being that appeared to him, to which he reacted very strongly, claiming that he hadn't heard it in a long time)[102]
  • Cephandrius Maxtori[103]
  • A storyteller in the Court of the Gods[104]
  • Roamer (by Galladon at the Purelake)[9]
  • The King's Wit[3]
  • Midius (Hoid's original name) - "After a rock".[53]
  • Imperial Fool of the Rose Empire[105]
  • Lunu'anaki (by Rock describing a meeting in the Horneater Peaks)[95]
  • Dust (by Zahel)[106]
  • Drifter (by Kelsier)[107]
  • Ol' White-hair (by Lift)[97][15]
  • Bearer of the First Gem[108][109]
  • The Traveler (recognized by Shallan)[10]
  • A storyteller in the city of Kholinar.[10][16]

Apprentices[]

Brandon has indicated that of Hoid's apprentices, there are three.[110]

They are apprentices in Hoid's weird little thing that he does, in teaching people about other world, other planets, training them in storytelling. You can see in the Stormlight Archive Sigzil trying to be Hoid's apprentice, and doing a mediocre job of it, shall we say. I think that's in Oathbringer, that we get to see Sigzil give it his best shot. Basically he has this thing that he does, jumping around planets and doing stuff and these apprentices - they're like his Doctor Who companions, a little bit, you could imagine. But he does train them, so it's not really Doctor Who companions, because he does actually teach them to become like him, theoretically.

–Brandon Sanderson[111]

Also according to Brandon, Hoid has a different term for apprentice than just someone that has learned at his feet. He looks for ineffable things that are difficult to put a finger on. Potential. He looks for potential.[112]

Shallan was someone he was considering strongly for an apprentice.[113]

Relationships[]

Bat'Chor[]

Back in the day, Bat'Chor was Hoid's best friend in the books that were relevant.[114] It remains unclear as to just which those books were.

Frost[]

(To be continued.)

Kelsier[]

Hoid has the ability to hurt Kelsier predominantly due to his perceptions and beliefs.[115]

They have met several times on other worlds, and they can't stand one another.[116]

Sigzil[]

Hoid found Sigzil in Azir when he was in some kind of trouble and began training him as a Worldsinger.[53] That said, Sigzil butts heads with his former master.[117]

Hoid and Sigzil are Connected now because they both held the same Dawnshard. For this reason, Sigzil is worried about Hoid being traced if he himself is caught.[118]

Shallan[]

Hoid first encounters Shallan at Middlefest and asks her whether spren speak to her.[68] Later, he speaks with her at the market in Kholinar, appearing as the Traveler, discussing with her the Cult of Moments.[10] Later still, he helps her get into it.

He tells her that her illusion as Veil is a nice one. That said, he also tells her that as a lighteyes, she'll only be able to pull off a coat and hat if she owns them.[16]

In order to infiltrate the cult, Wit tells Veil via a note left where she's staying in Kholinar, that she needs to do something to get their attention.[119]

Dalinar[]

"And while I am your friend, please understand that our goals do not completely align. You must not trust yourself with me. If I have to watch this world crumble and burn to get what I need, I will do so. With tears, yes, but I would let it happen."

–Hoid to Dalinar[120]

Jasnah[]

WWW JC

Wit Will Wilt
Fan art by Jessi Chen Liu[7]

Sometime between her coronation and the events of Rhythm of War, Jasnah became romantically involved with Hoid, who is now the Queen's Wit. It is unclear when this relationship began, or how long they have felt romantically towards each other. Jasnah is confirmed to be asexual,[121][122] but she is willing to offer Wit intimacy because she cares for him. Jasnah internally remarks that the relationship caught them both by surprise, but she's excited to see how it develops. Wit seems to genuinely like her, and his company and support seems to put her at ease.[13] The Alethi court gossips about the amount of time they spend together, but they have not confirmed or denied rumors about their relationship to the general public.[citation needed]

Navani[]

He treats Navani as if he knows her intimately.[123]

Notes[]

Khriss and Nazh know well the man whom Kelsier refers to as Drifter ... after Kelsier describes Drifter's appearance to them. Khriss asks Kelsier whether the man got to the Well of Ascension, to which Kelsier replies that the man had stolen something there: a bit of metal. Upon learning this, Khriss indicates that she and Nazh need to depart and, doing so abruptly, Khriss says to Kelsier that they aren't leaving because of what he'd just told them.[124]

Hoid has tried to get to First of the Sun[125]

Someone tried to assassinate Wit during The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, though it's not clear if that was the same someone.[126]

*Taking on the Wit persona was Hoid's choice.[127]

**Hoid can appear to be different ages in different books, but when he is being Wit, he looks to be in his older thirties.[128]

***With regard to the others, Hoid is referring to the Shardholders.[13]

****The Lightweavers are probably the only order through which Hoid could feasibly advance through the ranks. His goals (especially with his stated willingness to see Roshar burn to achieve them) are likely incompatible with the Ideals. As a Lightweaver, however, all he needs are deep truths. Still, when he bonded his Cryptic, he didn't even say the entire First Ideal. He only said "Life before death, little one," and avoided the rest, which contradicts his point made to Dalinar about his views on the ends justifying the means.[32]

*****Hoid's role as the royal jester in The Emperor's Soul was influenced by author Robin Hobb's character the fool.[129]

******The Moon Scepter helps figure out how the different magic systems do the different things they do on Sel. It has Aons along one side of it. Hoid got the information he needed off of it, from that.[130] He wanted it to be able to use the magics on Sel.[131]

*******As well, on the "New Ascendancy" broadsheets, "The Ghastly Gondola" mentions someone baring Hoid's traits, "... a young white-haired man was there and offered to tell me a story, I declined."

According to Brandon, Hoid should not be a Lightweaver. He is too close to various things that happened with Dawnshards, and is playing with fire.[132]

The Traveler, a short story featuring Hoid, can be found here.

Trivia[]

  • The character Hoid existed before the concept of Adonalsium was developed. He first appeared in a short story Brandon wrote long ago, going by the name Kamp.[133] He was on a planet trying to figure out how the magical system of the area worked.[134]
  • Hoid = Hero Of Infinite Dimensions (Although Peter has heard of this definition, he has stated that it is not an actual acronym for Hoid.)[135]
  • Hoid loves instant noodles.[136] His favorite flavor is spicy Korean.[137]
  • According to Brandon, Hoid's favorite planet in the cosmere beyond his own would probably be Scadrial. Hoid likes his creature comforts. Scadrial is the nicest place to live right now.[138]
  • Hoid's handwriting is terrible, but it can also be really beautiful when he wants it to be.[139]
  • According to Brandon, Hoid's favorite color is probably black, though maybe silver.[140]
  • Hoid is not Brandon's cameo character in the cosmere. He's actually not very much like Hoid. The thing he shares with him is a love of stories. So, the closest Hoid will be to Brandon is when he's talking about storytelling; that's the part of Brandon that is in him. Personality-wise, they're very different. While he's a main character in the cosmere, Brandon doesn't consider him to be an author insert character.[141]
  • Brandon has stated that Hoid is his favorite character, but he couldn't say why without giving away spoilers.[142] That said, while he always enjoys writing Hoid, Hoid is annoying to write.[143]
  • Brandon may eventually write a parallel novel to the Mistborn series that chronicles what Hoid was up to behind the scenes.[144]
  • Hoid loves bacon.[145]

Letter From the Cosmere[]

I am not sure how many men or women I have met who have lived as long as I have. Part of me can hardly believe how much it cost me both spiritually and monetarily to achieve this timelessness. Yet it doesn't feel unnatural. On the contrary, I have been able to hone and master my skills far beyond what they were when my journey began. I was always skilled in the art of politics and playing the games of the nobility. However due to my longevity, I feel that even my sub-par combat skills have improved greatly. When I found myself with more time than I could fathom, I took to the ways of the Cosmere and walked the paths between worlds. And I am far from alone in my exploration.

I am not sure if it is my newfound abilities or a consequence of my long life, but there are "old souls" of whom I have recognized at a mere glance. Perhaps it is the vestige in their eyes, eyes that have seen too many wonders to be contained. Souls that have aged and flourished. As I sit at the edge of these chasms, awaiting my first walk into the mystery that is Urithiru, I seem able to see far into the night. Somewhere on this world, is another Wanderer, one who has lived far longer than I. You know of him as well, for he was to be found walking my homeland before I lost everything. Your response was cryptic when I inquired about the Wanderer whom I encountered, but I have more or less filled in the gaps you left bare. Oddly he looks nothing like he did back then, and your description of the man reminded me of yet another time we might have crossed paths. His eyes, the eyes of this Hoid, if that is his real name, look familiar to me for a reason. I met him in Hallandren itself. At that time, he was a master story weaver, a man who was often called before the court of gods and was very expensive. I assumed him to be an informant and never hired him personally. Yet those eyes struck me that day, although I didn't realize why. He happened to be called to a party I had attended. He never said a word to me, but as he moved through the colorful attendees we locked eyes for the briefest moment and I nearly tripped. His eyes had such an intensity, like a fire burning too bright to look at directly. Those eyes drilling right through me seemed to strip me of my facade and examine my very soul. And then the moment passed and he was gone. Until now I had put aside this memory, but I am sure that it was him.

Now the rest of my knowledge is distilled from speculation and guesswork. However, I understand that you are curious about this man and his intentions. Quite honestly, if I hadn't seen the pure steel behind those eyes, I would say he makes things up as he goes. When he confronted me in the Cognitive Realm he seemed driven by a compulsion to stand before me and encourage my passions. He whispered his talk of the 16 Shards and the coming deaths that a fallen Shard would soon be bringing. It seemed so important, so well timed to catch me right before my mission began. And now I am here, directly interfering in the plans of gods and men alike. He moves with a purpose, following a plan that I feel I have only glimpsed a drop's worth in an ocean of mysterious intent.

It is safe to say that this Hoid has traveled all over the Cosmere. He steps in right when a critical nudge is needed. I have observed him doing this, as well as confirmed some of the strange whispers of the King of Alethkar's servant, someone called Wit. If there are important events happening in the Cosmere, a tipping point or critical juncture, Hoid will be there I can guarantee it. Each time I have seen him he has worn a completely different appearance. From age to hairstyles he all but reinvents himself from place to place. But you can be sure it is him. In fact, I would guess that his compulsion to throw out witticisms and sarcastic remarks might be the only way to truly know who he is for sure. That level of self-confident mockery cannot be faked. How he knows where to be is a mystery of the ages. However, I have seen many strange and impossible things these past centuries. Perhaps he sees where he needs to be before he gets there. This is a comforting theory, because I wonder if I am making a difference. If this "appointed path" idea is real, then I have been swept along with him.

I also must impress upon you the age of Hoid, or more accurately the vast age of Hoid. To him I felt as but a child. He seemed to see patterns in the very fabric of creation itself. He might even be as old as creation itself. Hoid spoke of the ascended men and women who are now gods as if he knew them personally. He whispered of the machinations that had been turning for thousands of years, and he said all this without batting an eye. To hear him speak was akin to hearing the stones tell tales of all they have seen. Entire nations have risen and fallen before his eyes, including my own. And yet there seems more. This is more of a feeling, but it seems he has seen the beginning of all that the Cosmere is, and that he plans to see the end as well. I wouldn't be surprised if he outlives us all, and that is saying something.

It would be folly to look for him. He knows how to hide, and I suspect he understands your abilities all too well. A man such as he must carry powers beyond what I have seen or imagined. Perhaps he seeks to chronicle all the powers of the Cosmere itself? His motivations are unclear, and that troubles me. I believe he is working to save lives, that much was clear when he spoke about the desolation that was coming to Roshar. No, what worries me is what he plans to do with all this time. There are things in motion now. My instincts tell me that Hoid is playing two games at once. A game that has been set and played for a very long time, and we are all just pawns dancing our dance before his agile fingers. This is a game he plans on winning. I am an informant, and such games are nearly second nature to me. I am impressed by those who understand the power of subtlety, and Hoid might be a master, despite his powerful personality. Perhaps this is his source of strength. Regardless, informants and secret keepers learn quickly that the short term game always leads to an eventual loss. If you want to win, you make every victory and defeat a part of the true plan.

Hoid is a crafty manipulator. For that alone, I intend to keep my eye on him as best I can. So you can count on future letters about his work, so long as I can keep him within earshot. Despite all that he has done for me, the ones who know the most are the most dangerous. If I'm not careful, I could be set up to fall. Perhaps I will eventually see the board he plays. If knowledge is power, then he shouldn't be the only one wielding it.

- Paraphrased from transcript.[8]

Speculation[]

***It is also possible that he is simply too fast to be hit by a Shardblade due to Feruchemy, or some other ability.

Q&A with Brandon[]

Q. Is Hoid's flute actually the Lord Ruler's?

A. RAFO![146]

Q. Where did you come up with the idea of Hoid? (Paraphrased)

A. Hoid is inspired by my desire to tell a story that spans other stories. I would say the origins of that are probably Asimov, when he made the Robots books and the Foundation books tie together. Something like that. Maybe Michael Moorcock, he had a similar sort of cross-world thing. I was reading both of them a lot right when I started coming up with that. So I would say, that's the origin of it. Stephen King has done it, but I didn't know he'd done it. I hadn't been reading him as much.[147]

Q. When in the books do you think is Hoid's most genuine moment?

A. When Shallan hugs him ... maybe. You get him out of sorts there. He doesn't quite know what to do. I don't know if that counts as genuine. He often would consider himself as being very genuine. But you rarely catch him with his guard down.[148]

Q. Does Hoid have any rules, self-imposed or otherwise, about how much he can interfere with what is going on on whatever planet he is currently on? And why does he take such an active part on Roshar, compared to the other planets he has visited?

A. Hoid has a few rules of thumb, but he does not have the same rules that the Shards have to follow, which is basically one of the big points that makes Hoid do what he does. He has to watch out, because drawing their attention at the wrong time can be very dangerous. But that's not necessarily a rule, it's more of a "be careful." He's defined by the fact that he doesn't have to follow the rules. And he's also defined by the fact that he intervenes when a lot of others think that one should not intervene, as made evident by the chastisement he receives from Frost. So, I would say, no and yes. There are some weird limitations on him related to things in his past that you will find out about eventually, but those are not really about intervening.

Why Roshar more than others? There are a couple of reasons for this. One is: the way he is intervening on Roshar is something that is directly involving the main characters of the book I'm writing. He actually has done a lot on other planets as well, you just haven't seen it because he hasn't been as involved with the main characters. Why is he involved with the main characters? Well, he is trying to get to be a Knight Radiant, and he wants to be involved with the people who are becoming Knights Radiant, because he wants to figure out how that magic works and specifically how you can get off-world with it, which is the real trick on Roshar. So he, in this specific instance, is really involved with those characters because of that reason. A lot of the other places he will go, the magic is already extant, and it's not like Roshar, where the magic has not been around for a while. So he is kind of by necessity more involved in the plot.[149]

Q. When you were writing Elantris and you introduced Hoid, did you already have planned for him to be what he is now?

A. Hoid started appearing in books I was reading when I was fifteen; I would imagine him in other people's books. By then, I already had this character in my head that had been worldhopping between Anne McCaffrey's books, and David Eddings' books, and all those things. So I did know what I was gonna be doing. I didn't know where it would all go. I didn't have the whole cosmere built, but I did have him. He was my first D&D character. I'm being recorded; I don't even know if they know that, that I used Topaz (is what he was called back then) as my first D&D character. He's in my first book that I tried writing when I was fourteen.[150]

Q. Hoid refers to himself as a "renowned interdimensional storyteller." Does this word "interdimensional" refer to traveling between the Physical and Cognitive Realms, or does it mean something more?

A. Nope, that's what it means. Well, and Spiritual on occasions. He is not referencing moving through time, and there is no multiverse in the cosmere. Good to ask that so I can reinforce it. No time travel to the past. No multiverse. These are two of my big no-nos in the cosmere.[151]

References[]

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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
  5. The Letter
  6. The Second Letter
  7. Book signing, Idaho Falls, ID, 7/21/18
  8. Mistborn: Secret History, pg. 97
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Way of Kings, Inter1.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Oathbringer, 67. Mishim
  11. Arcanum Unbounded release party, Provo, UT, 11/22/16
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  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Rhythm of War, 99. Not Bound
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Way of Kings, 22. Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Words of Radiance, Epilogue - Art And Expectation
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  18. Arcanum Unbounded release party, Provo, UT, 11/22/16
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 Oathbringer, 82. The Girl Who Stood Up
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  21. YouTube Spoiler Stream 3, 12/16/21
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  23. When Worlds Collide 2014, Calgary, AB, 8/9/14
  24. Book signing, Manchester, UK, 8/6/14
  25. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2014, Salt Lake City, UT, 9/4/14
  26. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2014, Salt Lake City, UT, 9/4/14
  27. Book signing, Paris, France, 10/22/16
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  29. Book signing, Paris, France, 10/22/16
  30. Arcanum Unbounded release party, Provo, UT, 11/22/16
  31. Book signing, San Diego, CA, 11/14/17
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Oathbringer, Epilogue - Great Art
  33. Supanova Perth 2017, Perth, AU, 6/24/17
  34. Book signing, Naperville, IL, 11/21/17
  35. FanX Spring 2019, Salt Lake City, UT, 4/19/19
  36. Book signing, London, UK, 11/28/17
  37. Dawnshard Annotations, 11/6/20
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  40. FanX Spring 2019, Salt Lake City, UT, 4/19/19
  41. JordanCon 2021, Atlanta, GA, 7/17/21
  42. FanX 2021, 9/16/21
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  45. YouTube Livestream 32, 6/3/21
  46. JordanCon 2021, Atlanta, GA, 7/17/21
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  119. Oathbringer, 72. Rockfall
  120. Words of Radiance, 67. Spit And Bile
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  145. Bacon?
  146. Stormlight Three Update #4, /r/Stormlight_Archive, 9/8/16
  147. Book signing, Houston, TX, 11/18/17
  148. Book signing, Orem, UT, 3/16/19
  149. YouTube Livestream 1, 1/11/20
  150. FanX 2021, 9/18/21
  151. Secret Project #3 Reveal and Livestream, 3/17/22
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