Categories See All →
Hugo Voter Packet Out Now, Signed THE RITHMATIST + Updates
In Brandon's Blog, Yesterday, 02:38 PM
Recent News Comments
Featured Theories: Worldhoppers
Worldhoppers are what first tipped people off to the fact that all Brandon’s books were connected, in a universe called the Cosmere. The biggest, most obvious of these Worldhoppers is the ever mysterious Hoid, present in every Cosmere book to date. Although most of his roles are at the surface unobtrusive, it's fairly obvious that he is doing important work behind the scenes. He also is possibly the author of the Ars Arcanum of Alloy of Law, as well as the Letter in The Way of Kings (which we will talk about in just a bit). If so, he is a veritable expert on the magic systems described within, as the extensive terminology and understanding shown within. He may also have an associate name Nahz, as that is the name that is signed on the map of Elendel. So Hoid is where we’ll start.
Where is Hoid from?
Hoid’s past is rather obscure and Brandon refuses to give much away about him. Most of the early things we know about him come from the Liar of Partinel sample chapters, which is going to be Hoid’s origin story. One thing to remember is that everything we know from these chapters isn’t set in stone and it can all be changed. We are fairly certain that our Hoid is referred to as Midius in these chapters. Hoid is his master of Lightweaving, who is assassinated. Midius kills the assassin and then takes the name Hoid and goes to Partinel to save the city. This all takes place on the planet Yolen, so that is certainly where Hoid is from. Hoid was also present at the Shattering of Adonalsium.
In the descriptions of his true appearance, it seems he is rather tall and thin, with a face that has been described as both hawk-like and arrow-like and a penchant for cocking his head to the side. His hair is a dark onyx color and he has keen blue eyes, with a sharp nose and jaw.
What magics can Hoid use?
Hoid’s powers are for the most part very mysterious. At this point we don’t know anything about where his powers come from or where he learned most of his abilities. We’ll start with his least mysterious magic, Lightweaving. He was trained in it back on Yolen in his youth. Lightweaving is an illusion magic, that can make extremely realistic images appear through the manipulation of light and the use of some sort of dust. It appears to be a simple magic, with only one unknown trick to making it work. The illusions it makes can be complex and even appear to take on a life of their own if the Lightweaver wishes them to. In the Hoid sample chapters, he Lightweaves guards to accompany him, and they are even capable of chatting with each other. However, these illusions are not corporeal and if someone passes through them, the image will break back down.
One ability of Hoid’s that may be tied to his Lightweaving is his ability to Worldhop. Every world has its way to access Shadesmar, or the Cognitive Realm, like Shallan and Jasnah do. It’s not a stretch to assume that Hoid can manipulate Lightweaving in some way to get to Shadesmar. This doesn’t have to be the only way though. Once he’s inside Shadesmar he can move easily between the Shardworlds, as shown by this quote.
You've said that Shadesmar is the cognitive realm connecting all the worlds in the cosmere, and that Hoid is very good at using Shadesmar. Should we take this to mean Shadesmar is how he travels between the worlds? Do the other worlds have different ways of accessing Shadesmar than the way(s) the people of Roshar use?
He’s actually so good at manipulating Shadesmar that he can move himself to any location he wants, as evidenced by his ability to access the Well of Ascension without opening the door.
Another fascinating aspect of Hoid's abilities is his immortality. The various Cosmere series are often centuries apart so Hoid has to have some sort of immortality.
Can Hoid jump through time? If so, can Shards jump through time?
Hoid, so far, has only moved forward in time. He has not lived all those years, but has used time dilation techniques. That said, he is far older (both in relative and real time) than a normal person can live.
As he isn’t a Shardholder, Hoid’s immortality has to come from somewhere. Either from a Splinter that he conceals like Vasher does, or from some magic system ability. As for the time dilation, the only power we know that can do that at this point is Allomantic cadmium, but it’s uncertain if Hoid has access to that ability.
Hoid has one final ability that we know of for sure.
Hoid knows where he has to be in the future, even if he doesn’t know exactly what he has to do once he gets there. This explains how he always manages to find the people and places in the world that he has to influence.
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 to be in a certain place in a certain time.
What is Hoid doing?
Hoid appears in every book, most of the time in inconspicuous roles. We’ll provide the chapter numbers as well, so you can follow along.
Elantris (Chapter 58)
Hoid appears in Elantris as a simple beggar. He is responsible for moving Sarene’s shipments of goods into Elantris. This is possibly useful for him keeping tabs on Sarene’s plans, as he is able to ascertain when she begins to move weapons into Elantris. It is also possible that he is trying to make her cautious, as he appears worried in this chapter. The Elantrians cannot win this fight and if they are destroyed so is any hope for Arelon’s future. It is also interesting to note that Hoid never shows Sarene his face, so he could be keeping tabs on her in other guises as well.
The Final Empire (Chapter 29)
In The Final Empire, Hoid meets with Kelsier in the guise of a skaa informant. He provides information about House Renoux to him, which I believe he is doing to warn Kelsier about dangers to their operation. He tells Kelsier that other Houses may attempt to take advantage of Renoux since they are shipping at a loss. He also gives him warning that other houses are aware of Vin and Elend’s interactions and believe that Renoux has some sort of control over Venture, which could turn dangerous if Venture discovers what the other houses think. Hoid also warns Elend that Shan Elariel is a Soother. The strange part is that she is actually a Mistborn. Either Hoid doesn’t know this, or he’s trying to just give Kelsier a general warning to watch out for Shan without giving away information he has no way of knowing.
Well of Ascension (Chapter 56)
The Well of Ascension is Hoid’s longest and most subtle appearance in the Mistborn trilogy. He appears as the leader of the Terrismen refugees that Spook and Elend meet. His name is never mentioned at all. It is possible that he is Lightweaving here to appear Terris, as Kelsier thought he was skaa in the last book. Hoid had spent most of the time in this book looking for the Well of Ascension in the Terris mountains with no success. He had been tricked by the Lord Ruler like everyone else.
Hoid overhears them whispering about Vin going to the Well in Luthadel. After they leave Hoid slips into Shadesmar and manages to beat Vin to the Well. Hoid goes there for unknown reasons, although it is possible that Hoid steals a bead of lerasium from there. He has “metal that he shouldn’t have” and Peter has said that there is at least one more bead out there.
This book also provides decent evidence that Hoid is a good guy. He could have easily taken the power at the Well and let Ruin free. Vin and Elend would be none the wiser. He chooses to let Vin do so though, so she can begin the process of fixing Scadrial. Another interesting thing to note is that when Hoid is in his Terrisman guise, he is shaking. Whether that is part of his disguise, or a physical reaction to Scadrial’s environment or something else entirely remains to be seen.
Hero of Ages (Chapter 27)
In Hero of Ages, Hoid barely appears at all. Cett lists him as a trustworthy informant. Vin goes to meet with him but she sees him standing there, whistling to himself, and something spooks her, so she leaves. There have been many theories on why she left. Maybe she could detect that he wasn’t from Scadrial, maybe her bronze was allowing her to sense his Lightweaving, maybe Ruin was trying to keep her away. Whatever it is, Hoid didn’t get to give Vin any information.
Warbreaker (Chapter 32)
Hoid is the storyteller that explains the history of the God Kings to Siri. He manages to at least give her hints of the past so she can try to figure out what is going to happen to Susebron. He also clues her into the nature of Kalad’s Phantoms and that her ancestor was Vo the First Returned. If Hoid is on Nalthis to avert the next Manywar we don’t see much of it.
The Way of Kings (Chapters 12, 15, 22, 53, 57 & Epilogue)
Hoid’s appearance in this book is the King’s Wit. He spends much time interacting with the main characters. As the King’s Wit he has access to the most important people in Alethkar. He is trying to figure something out, asking Dalinar if he has heard the term Adonalsium and mentioning the Cosmere. He also spends time trying to make the main characters grow, prodding at Renarin, and telling Kaladin a story to try to show him that he needs to take responsibility. There is a high chance he Lightweaves while telling Kaladin this story too. Hoid mentions he is hiding from an old acquaintance, which is possibly Rayse, holder of the Shard Odium. Hoid was also mentor to the Sizgil, teaching him the ways of the Worldsingers. He also witnesses the return of Taln. Hopefully he will attempt to send Taln to the Shattered Plains to meet with the true leaders of Alethkar. There are also men looking for him in the Purelake, most likely members of the Seventeenth Shard.
Appearing in the Epigraphs of the Way of Kings in Part Two, from chapters 12 to 28, is the text of a letter. Many people believe that this letter was written by Hoid. Much of the evidence makes sense, as the writer refers to the other Shardholders by name, implying he knew them personally. Brandon has also confirmed the person it was sent to appears in Dragonsteel. If it was written by Hoid this gives more indication that he is a good man. He wishes to stop disaster from consuming more lives and begs for the aid of his friend, who is implied to possibly hold a Shard. He also would have an enourmous grudge against and fear of Rayse, holder of Odium and Bavadin who holds another unspecified Shard on Taldain (the planet of White Sand, an unpublished book, but one that is definitely in the Cosmere).
Alloy of Law (Chapter 4)
In Alloy of Law, Hoid appears as a ragged beggar dressed in black, who speaks to Lord Joshin and Lady Mi’chelle. Unfortunately Wax fails to overhear what is said during the conversation. While these two are obviously worthy of congratulations, I doubt Hoid went to Scadrial to simply attend their wedding. There is always the possibility that one or both of them are Worldhoppers themselves. It is interesting to realize, that at this point in time, if the Pits of Hathsin which are possibly now called the Pits of Eltania, still exist then atium is now being produced again. Kelsier said it would take 300 years for the crystals to regrow, and it has been 342 years since Harmony’s Ascension. It is possible he is checking to see what is happening to the atium.
The Seventeenth Shard
The Seventeenth Shard is an organization of Worldhoppers in the Cosmere. We don’t know much about them, except for the fact that their presumed leader, the recipient of the Letter, is for non-intervention in the various Shardworlds, so that is presumably their goal as well. In the Stormlight Archive we meet men in the first Interlude that are searching the Purelake for Hoid. Brandon has referred to these men as “members,” so its basically fact that they are part of the Seventeenth Shard. They are who we will talk about for this section of Featured Theories.
Who are they?
The group dispatched to the Purelake is made up of three men, two who we have identified. The first is the Elantrian Galladon from Sel, referred to as Grumpy. The second is Captain Demoux of Scadrial, called the Thinker. The third man, Blunt, is from a book that hasn’t yet been published. Not even people who have read Brandon’s unpublished works know who he is. We won’t talk about him anymore.
What magic can they use?
Gallodon is an Elantrian, a user of AonDor. He is likely using an Aon disguise to hide his glowing silver skin. If Galladon has been trained well by Raoden and has spent the centuries since Elantris practicing, he should be a master. His immortality can be easily explained due to his Elantrian powers, they are practically immortal and can heal from most any injury with the Aon Ien. If he used Shadesmar to Worldhop, he probably also accessed that via Aon, but that may not be what he has done, considering the fact that Brandon has said you don’t want to go to Shadesmar on Sel.
Demoux is an atium Misting, which will work well with his excellent combat skills. The problem hinges on whether or not he actually has any atium. Harmony may have supplied him with some. Demoux’s immortality is a little bit of a mystery. If somehow he ended up with Feruchemical atium powers, either through a spike or Harmony’s intervention he could Compound for agelessness, at least for a while. If Demoux used Shadesmar to Worldhop he could have potentially used an atium alloy to reach it. That depends on whether atium mistings can burn the alloys of atium. It’s also possible that atium itself could be used to access Shadesmar, as it has an unseen side effect.
What are they doing?
For some reason the Seventeenth Shard is searching for Hoid. The Letter implies that they seek to not interfere with the Shardworlds. This means that potentially one of their roles is as the Cosmere police force, dealing with rogue Worldhoppers. We haven’t seen any of those though, aside from Hoid. This would explain why they are trying to find Hoid, as he is the king of intervention.
However they are likely up to more than this. They are possibly the authors of the Ars Arcanum. Studying the magics of the various worlds could be another potential goal of these people. This would imply that Nahz, the man who signed the map of Elendel is one of them or associated with them. If Raoden is also a member it is quite possible that he is the author of the Ars Arcanums, as he is definitely the scholarly type.
Although we’ve only identified a few people in the books as Worldhoppers, we’re likely missing more then we’ve found.
So if you see someone acting odd, or appearing strangely, or with a funny accent, you may have found a Worldhopper. Hopefully we’ll end up finding more and more the closer we look.
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.