Drawing by Isaac Stewart
|Abilities||Worldhopper, Allomancy, Feruchemy, Awakening, Lightweaving|
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
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. It has been hinted that he was a rogue student of Silverlight University. He has abandoned his real name.
It is virtually impossible to keep anything from Hoid/Wit. He knows useful, important things.
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.
Hoid is described by his peers as having white 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.
Wit is also described as appearing as a thin, 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 eyes. 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.*
Hoid is additionally described as a man with a long white 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.
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.
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.
*Hoid can appear to be different ages in different books, but when he is being Wit, he looks to be in his older thirties.
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.
Wit shows his cleverness with words by insulting Brightlords at the king's feasts.
Despite his tendency to very cleverly insult those around him, 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.
In his pack is a small jar, sealed at the top. It is mostly black, but one side is instead white.
Hoid believes that all great art is hated. Further, that it is obscenely difficult - if not impossible - to make something that nobody hates. Yet conversely, that it is incredibly easy - if not expected - to make something that nobody loves.
Further still, that art is about emotion, examination, and going places people have never gone before to discover and investigate new things. That the only way to create something that nobody hates is to ensure that it can't be loved either.
Also, that if one is inevitably going to inspire hate, then just how much enjoyment is needed to balance out the risk?
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.
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
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." 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wit seemingly has an uncanny ability to appear when people least expect it. For this, he makes use of Fortune. 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.
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.
He then tells her to just wait where she is.
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.
- 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.
- Storytelling - Hoid demonstrates his storytelling ability by presenting the tale of Derethil and the Wandersail to Kaladin, the story of the first Returned to Siri and Lightsong in Warbreaker, and the story of Mishim to the people in Kholinar Market.
- Lightweaving - Hoid manipulates a Yolish illusion magic that is similar to, but not quite the same as, the Illumination Surge used by Lightweavers.* 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.
- 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, 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. However, readers don't yet know just how he obtained this power, or if he is a full Feruchemist or a Ferring.
- 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.
- 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.**
- 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.
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. He's been alive since Dragonsteel, but he has not spent all of that time awake and alert. 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. 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.
Hoid does not hold a Shard of Adonalsium.
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.
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 every published cosmere novel since.
- 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. 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, he expresses that beauty lies in the fact that there are secrets that remain unknown.
- In Mistborn: The Final Empire, Hoid appears as an informant who poses in guise of a beggar in the capital city of Luthadel.
- 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. 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.
- In The Emperor's Soul, Hoid is only referenced. 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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 Scadriel.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Hoid - The name of his master, which he assumed, after his master had been assassinated.
- Topaz - A name Hoid called himself in the original draft of Dragonsteel.
- 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)
- Cephandrius Maxtori
- A storyteller in the Court of the Gods
- Roamer (by Galladon at the Purelake)
- The King's Wit
- Midius (Hoid's original name) - "After a rock".
- Imperial Fool of the Rose Empire
- Lunu'anaki (by Rock describing a meeting in the Horneater Peaks)
- Dust (by Zahel)
- Drifter (by Kelsier)
- Ol' White-hair (by Lift)
- The Traveler (recognized by Shallan)
Letter From the CosmereEdit
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.
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.
*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.
The Traveler, a short story featuring Hoid, can be found here.
- 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. He was on a planet trying to figure out how the magical system of the area worked.
- Brandon has stated that Hoid is his favorite character, but he couldn't say why without giving away spoilers.
- Brandon may eventually write a parallel novel to the Mistborn series that chronicles what Hoid was up to behind the scenes.
- Hoid loves bacon.
- Hoid = Hero Of Infinite Dimensions (Although Peter has heard of this definition, he has stated that it is not an actual acronym for Hoid.)
**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 BrandonEdit
Q. We know that Hoid was offered a Shard and turned it down. Was he offered a specific Shard?
A. He was. There is one of the Shards that he would've ... yeah.
Q. Would he have been the 17th person or did someone take his place?
A. No. Someone took his place.
- ↑ Hoid
- ↑ Observer or instigator?
- ↑ Arcanum Unbounded
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Way of Kings, 54. Gibletish
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
- ↑ The Letter
- ↑ The Second Letter
- ↑ Mistborn: Secret History, pg. 97
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Way of Kings, Inter1.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Oathbringer, 67. Mishim
- ↑ Warbreaker
- ↑ Savant #22
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 22. Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?
- ↑ Savant #23
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 The Way of Kings, 57. Wandersail
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 Oathbringer, 122. A Debt Repaid
- ↑ Warbreaker
- ↑ Hoid & Worldsingers
- ↑ The Way of Kings, Epilogue - Of Most Worth
- ↑ Enthir
- ↑ 
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Words of Radiance, 45. Middlefest
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 Words of Radiance, Epilogue - Art And Expectation
- ↑ Mistborn: Secret History
- ↑ Arcanum Unbounded, pg. 230-235
- ↑ Worldhopping
- ↑ Warbreaker
- ↑ Feruchemy?
- ↑ Second Heightening
- ↑ Cosmere Q&A With Sanderson
- ↑ Hoid's age?
- ↑ Older than ... ?
- ↑ Stormblessed.com Interview with Sanderson
- ↑ Shardless!
- ↑ Elantris
- ↑ Skaze
- ↑ Elantris, Tenth Anniversary Edition
- ↑ Moon Scepter
- ↑ Investiture
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 Words of Radiance, 46. Patriots
- ↑ Arcanum Unbounded, pg. 230
- ↑ White Sand
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Oathbringer, Epilogue - Great Art
- ↑ The Liar of Partinel
- ↑ Topaz
- ↑ Dragonsteel Prime
- ↑ Cephandrius Maxtori
- ↑ Annotation Warbreaker, Ch. 32
- ↑ Imperial Fool
- ↑ Words of Radiance, 81. The Last Day
- ↑ Secret History, part 3, ch. 2
- ↑ Edgedancer, 12.
- ↑ Arcanum Unbounded, pg. 266
- ↑ Kamp
- ↑ Magical System
- ↑ Favorite!
- ↑ Parallel novel?
- ↑ Bacon?
- ↑ Private Message, 10/21/16
- ↑ 17th?